Archive for the ‘Antelope Valley’ Tag

The Board Chronicles: California Poppy Festival 2017   Leave a comment

The Board Chronicles is an ongoing series of articles about the adventures of Mrs M’s Handmade as a vendor at community festivals & craft fairs. Mrs M’s subsidiary, Mr M’s Woodshop, has been approved to create this chronicle for the good of vendorkind.

We had a good event two years ago when we did the California Poppy Festival 2015 … it was actually our first-ever event where we did a double booth.

It was our 30th event all-time … and set a record as our Best. Event. Ever.

That record held for 4 months. Today, 2 years later, those sales from 2015 were below our average event in 2016. Still, though, we had very good sales at this event in 2015. But oh, my, that wind. After a weekend “out in it,” it felt like we had been camping. We were covered in grime – just like the product was. There was a definite downside to doing this event, no matter what the sales were.

But there’s a big upside as well: we stay with the Granddaughters when we go a-vendoring in the Antelope Valley.

Given our history & the side benefits, who wouldn’t want to go to the California Poppy Festival?

New Ideas

  • At long last, the new Lip Balm dispenser premiered at this event. It’s only a year late.
  • At long last, the ZooSoapia display premiered at this event. It’s only 5 months late.


  • Our 3rd Spring Fling has begun: 7 (hopefully) big events in 7 consecutive weeks. This is event # 1.
  • This event always gives me fits with their requirement for a certificate of insurance. In 2015, they had very specific language that they required, and then changed. They rejected my COIs, and I redid them after receiving conflicting instructions. Very frustrating. This year they had a clear clause in the contract with instructions for the COI to name as additionally insured:

“City of Lancaster, its elected officials, officers, employees and volunteers are included as additional covered parties, but only insofar as the operations under this contract are concerned”. The name and date(s) of the event must also be included on the certificate.

I did precisely that … and got a call that my COI was unacceptable. I asked for specific instructions, as I had followed the contract, and they sent me the same instructions. I decided to play their game. I submitted the same COI to them a 2nd time.

  • It was approved.
  • Friday set-up, and they handed me a manila envelope with my receipt, 4 vendor name tags, and one parking pass at check-in. When I commented that I needed 2 parking passes for my double booth, the reply was, “Did you put that on your application?” I did not remember, of course … and after the event, I found there was no place to put such a comment on the application (since I wasn’t applying for overnight parking). Luckily, our good friend Jan had an extra, so it all worked out.
  • This is a big city-sponsored event in a big city park. There are 210 “arts & crafts” booth spaces & probably more “commercial” booths for area businesses, charities & such. There’s a carnival. Farmer’s market. Kid attractions. Performances by local dance groups. A car show. Lots of fair food. A beer garden (which must have made a lot of money, given the number of beer cups I saw walking by the booth). The city website boasts 55 acres of activities; there’s a lot going on here.
  • First question of the day: as I was walking back from parking my car, a vendor stopped in their truck and asked me, “where is the vendor parking?” I told her, “Just drive 50 feet forward to where that sign says ‘Parking,’ and you are there.” 50′. Jeez.
  • One of my pet peeves at big events is a vendor selling the wooden boxes, ships, tanks & military logos that are imported from China. The work is not that good, but the prices are really cheap. It’s woodworking, but not anything that I enjoy seeing. There were 2 vendors with these products, and one of them was our backdoor neighbor. (sigh)
  • Across the aisle from us was a quadruple booth for LuLaRoe. That must be a thing. And, of course, the Mrs M’s went shopping.
  • Saturday was hot, but not as hot as projected. With a gentle breeze, it was a great day in the park. Except for the buyers staying home. Some vendors had good days, some didn’t. We didn’t.
  • For some reason, the city didn’t put trash containers out anywhere but near the food booths & bathrooms. If you were walking through the vendor area and finished your food or drink … there was nowhere to put your trash. And that doesn’t end well for the vendor area, let me assure you.
  • I got to go walk about Sunday morning before the crowd arrived, and was disappointed to see that handmade goods were such a small part of this event. The vast majority of booths were for cheap imports. There were some of the normal buy & sell vendors, but even they were not well represented, I felt. Perhaps 25% of the booths were for handmade goods (and I’m probably being kind with that estimate). Given our poor Saturday, I was not in a wonderful mood … but this event seemed to be more swap meet than craft fair. The city of Lancaster, though, bills the vendor area as the “arts & crafts section.”
  • Some gentlemen from another culture visited the booth, and they enthusiastically commented that my boards were tight. They were dope. I believe they liked them, but it was hard to tell. They didn’t buy anything.
  • Huge attendance at this event, though I’m told Saturday was down 9,000 from prior year. I don’t know the actual attendance number, but it’s very big. I can’t complain about the attendance, I just wish there were more buyers in the crowd. But that’s me; I know other vendors were happy.
  • Sunday, we remembered why this event was so hard 2 years ago.
  • Wind. Blows.
  • There is nothing good about a constant wind with 25 MPH gusts that rocks the portable, pop-up shade structure that is our booth. I’ve got about 150 pounds of weight holding down our shade structure, so it’s really not going to go anywhere … but under the canopy, almost everything can blow over if the wind catches it wrong.
  • Big wind is pretty normal in Lancaster, but it is not fun as a vendor. Packing the booth was a real challenge – everything wanted to blow away while being packed. Containers, lids, packing materials … and don’t get me started on taking down the canopies while keeping them from blowing away. The load-out was over 2 hours because of the wind.
  • Requests were for gun grips, a cribbage board, clipboards (which, sadly, I left at home), a board to cut beef jerky with – a first!, a backgammon board and the # 1 request of the weekend … I just can’t type the words.

The Food

Saturday Breakfast: Hello, old friend.

Saturday Lunch: Velda’s cheese & cracker plate was a tasty alternative to fair food.

Saturday Snack: A soft serve ice cream that really put the soft into soft serve.

Saturday Dinner: BLTs with Christopher & the girls. Excellent.

Sunday Breakfast: A burrito from Primo Burgers. Excellent … though it would have been nice had their parking lot been large enough for the trailer. Or even had a way to escape that didn’t involve backing up.

Sunday Lunch: Cheese & crackers, of course!

Sunday Snack: Nope.

Sunday Dinner: In ‘N Out. It’s what eating at 9:30pm on a Sunday is all about.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 257
  • Booth cost: $350
  • Food cost: $46
  • Travel cost: $0
  • Total sales: $1,722
  • Net Revenue (does not include product cost): $1,306
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer:
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative:
  • Saturday alarm: 5:30a
  • Sunday alarm: 6a
  • # transactions: 78
  • # soap & lotion vendors: There were at least 5 soapers other than Mrs M. None had as complete a skin care line, but that’s a lot of handmade soap in one place, I believe.
  • # woodworking vendors: There were a few. A toy maker, a carver & small box maker that I spoke with. There was a professional redwood sign maker with a trailer custom rigged for him to route your sign on the spot. And me.
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 9:4
  • Returning next year? I hope not.

Boards sold: 13

Magic Bottle Openers: 4

Cheese Boards: 3

Cutting Board: 3

Small Boards: 2

Small Surfboard: 1

The Board Chronicles: AV Home Show 2017   Leave a comment

The Board Chronicles is an ongoing series of articles about the adventures of Mrs M’s Handmade as a vendor at community festivals & craft fairs. Mrs M’s subsidiary, Mr M’s Woodshop, has been approved to create this chronicle for the good of vendorkind.

Going into this event, I knew 2 things:

  1. I love local.
  2. Mrs M hates Home & Garden shows.

She’s got a bad taste in her mouth after a frustrating Home & Garden experience last year – she even passed up a trip to Fresno a couple of weeks ago to do that Home & Garden Show. The Fresno H&G turned out to be a good show for me … not to mention a bachelor weekend in Fresno. Apparently, Mrs M endorses that.

With the AV Home Show, however, she gets to spend the weekend with the Granddaughters. That’s a winner, regardless of the event results. She’s in.

This is the 29th Annual AV Home Show in Lancaster. Will it meet Mrs M’s expectations, or mine?

New Ideas

  • The show talked about an open presentation in their vendor materials – nothing above 36″ in the front 5′ of the booth. That’s common in pipe & drape environments, but not so much in open craft fair environments. I opted to not use our canopies, so we went with our 6 tables at the event & no sides or backdrop. No signage, either. The booth felt naked.
  • The only way the canopies would have worked would be to either take off their tops and just leave the bones … or use the canopies as is and use our lights to better display our stuff. The neon-like lights in our building were pretty garish. The light was very blue, which washed out a lot of color in the boards. However, I decided it wasn’t worth it to put our lights up.
  • Note to self: negative thoughts are a bad thing.
  • Come to find out, this was the 29th Annual AV Home Show … but the first time that they’ve added a craft fair to the event. That was a surprise. First time events are seldom great. Unfortunately.


  • The craft fair building was located perhaps 100 yards from the two main buildings that housed the Home Show. There were a few outdoor exhibits to walk by while you were going to the craft fair … but not many. And since there was limited signage that announced the craft fair and pointed the way, some people came to the Home Show & had no idea that we were there (which I confirmed by talking to actual attendees). There were 2 or 3 portable signs, but if you missed those … you missed it.
  • I knew this event was going off the rails when our craft fair had booths for Damsel in Defense, LuLaRoe and a few vendors offering unbranded imported merchandise. Though most of the vendors were showing handmade goods, more than a few were not. I really don’t like it when I have to sign a 15 page contract, provide insurance and jump through multiple hoops to be a part of a “craft fair” … and I’m not.
  • Friday was a waste of my time. Only 5 hours for the event, but sales were a puny $131.
  • Saturday was worse.
  • This was our 2nd event with a major pet adoption presence near us, and it was again an irritant. One common rule for all events is that you’re not allowed to solicit outside of your booth: you can’t wander the aisles harassing customers. The volunteers showcasing the dogs weren’t harassing customers … but the dogs were. Volunteers actually sat in the aisles holding dogs. Aisles were clogged. Since the dog cages were located right next to the entrance (mistake!), the entrances were clogged as the dogs were taken on walks.
  • The first vendor to leave early & load out on Sunday was in the booth directly adjacent to the pet adoption chaos.
  • I like dogs. I support pet adoptions. I have always had pets. But when pet adoptions from an organization that doesn’t pay for their space interfere with the “craft fair” that I’ve paid money to be a part of, I get a bit less enthusiastic. And, for the record, a “craft fair” has nothing to do with pet adoptions. Just sayin’.
  • 50% of the vendors broke the 4th wall of their booths and extended their displays into the aisle. Most of these infractions were minor, but it bugs me when vendors don’t follow the rules that are there for the common good. Some just think they’re more special than that … about 50% at this event, come to find out. When people take unfair advantage of the public space, I’m irked.
  • Not to mention when event producers don’t enforce their own rules.
  • Breakdown could not begin before the event closing at 5pm Sunday, per the rules. The cages & such for the animals, though, were broken down beginning at 3pm Sunday – with a truck parked right beside the entrance for their gear. This was a very visible sign that the event was over, and traffic fell precipitously and predictably at that point.
  • The event was OOTW.

One. Of. The. Worst.

  • Requests were for a board with metal handles, a banana holder, a paper plate holder, really big juice grooves, and, to complete my bad weekend, the # 1 request was for … chess boards.

The Food

Saturday Breakfast: Bagel & cream cheese. Toasted, of course.

Saturday Lunch: A hot dog & fries. The only reasonable choice, it seems. Oh, and the cheapest one, as well.

Saturday Snack: Nope.

Saturday Dinner: No motivation = no good food.

Sunday Breakfast: See Saturday.

Sunday Lunch: See Saturday.

Sunday Snack: See Saturday.

Sunday Dinner: Brisket at the Southern Smoke BBQ & Brew in Newhall. This is a delightful place.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 116
  • Booth cost: $200
  • Food cost: $151
  • Travel cost: $0
  • Total sales: $473
  • Net Revenue (does not include product cost): $122
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 0
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: 1
  • Saturday alarm: 6:15a
  • Sunday alarm: 6:15a
  • # transactions: 20
  • # soap & lotion vendors: There were at least 5 vendors offering soap; a couple offering lotion. None had the complete presentation & varied group of products offered by Mrs M, IMHO.
  • # woodworking vendors: There was a turner and a scroll saw artist. Several wooden sign makers, of course. And me.
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 3:1
  • Returning next year? No. Hell no.

Boards sold: 4

Small Boards: 2

Magic Bottle Opener: 1

Small Surfboard: 1

Odd Desert Beauty   Leave a comment

Antelope Valley purple flower

It’s not a caterpillar, it’s a beautiful wildflower!  Lace Leaf Phacelia, with a fragrance that is delightful.

Antelope Valley purple flower

Here you see a grouping of the Lace Leaf Phacelia, with some Fiddleneck (the tiny gold flowers) in the background.

Posted September 25, 2012 by henrymowry in California, Photography

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Spring in the Desert   1 comment

The beauty of the Antelope Valley in the spring. The snow-capped San Gabriel mountains are in the background; Mount Baden Powell is the tallest peak. A flower called, appropriately enough, goldfield, gives the golden color which is broken up by red stemmed filaree.  Creosote bushes are in the foreground; small joshua trees are in the distance.  April 5, 2011.

Desert Rhubarb   Leave a comment

Posted September 18, 2012 by henrymowry in California, Photography

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Desert Chia   Leave a comment

Posted September 18, 2012 by henrymowry in California, Photography

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Antelope Valley Desert   Leave a comment

Silver Cholla with Indian Rice grass growing in bunches in the foreground


Fremont’s Pincushion

Posted September 15, 2012 by henrymowry in California, Photography

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