Archive for the ‘Carpinteria’ Tag

The Board Chronicles: California Avocado Festival 2019   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.

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A note about my absence. After a few months of getting more and more behind … I still haven’t caught up.

I will, just not today. In the interim, here’s the latest installment of The Board Chronicles for all of you that have been missing my missives.

Enjoy, and thank you for your patience!

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Avocados everywhere. Sounds like a good idea, yes?

We’ve done the California Avocado Festival 3 times previously. You can read about 2016, 2017 and 2018.

This event has had some landmark results for us. In 2016, it was at the time our most expensive event ever, and resulted in our most transactions ever.

Unfortunately, sales were down in 2017 … and then down again in 2018. It’s hard to feel good about that.

Time to see what’s what with the 33rd Annual California Avocado Festival.

New Ideas

  • We’re doing just what we did each of the last 3 years: a 10×20 booth, shared. Mrs M always does avocado soap, and I do a (somewhat) limited display in my 10×10 space. So, nothing new here. Just get it done.


  • This is a Saturday morning setup, unfortunately, so we arrived at about 6am to get going. We drove the trailer into the booth area … and couldn’t find our booth. After 3 years in one location, we had been moved. But, I thought we had the same booth number … ?
  • We were on the opposite side of the street, nearer to the end of the event. Nothing to do but to get to it, since we have less than 3 hours to get the booth up before we have walkers in the area. We started setting up our 2 pop-up canopies, and we began hearing neighboring vendor complaints almost immediately. No one was happy. Everyone was moved.
  • The organizer? We didn’t see her – in her first year in charge of this area – until perhaps 6:45am. This is well after the official beginning of set-up. We were way into our hard goods by that point; nothing was going to move easily.
  • Come to find out, the entire booth area had been chalked on the asphalt … backwards. Upside down. We should have been in the same location, but the guy with the chalk did everything wrong. Everything.
  • So, that began a period of chaos where some vendors went to their original spot, some (like us) stayed where their canopies were, and the organizer was there to smooth the ruffled feathers of those that were angry about losing their space, being moved, upset that they couldn’t have the space that was now marked out for them … you name it, people complained about it. I just tried to keep my head down. It was a total, total mess.
  • Finally, the crowd arrived and things got better. At least I didn’t hear any more moaning and complaining.
  • The great part of this event is that we have many fans that find us. A lot of people drive to this event from all over Southern California (attendance for the 3 day event is estimated at 100,000) … so we see a lot of familiar faces. We also meet a lot of Santa Claritans that come to these event that we’ve never met before. It’s all good. Legacy is a wonderful thing. A hometown crowd is a wonderful thing, even if you’re 90 minutes from home.
  • Long, amusing conversation between 2 customers. One of them made a comment about the 6 degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon, and the other said they actually were related to Kevin Bacon. That created an uproar – what are the odds? – until the 2nd customer admitted that their cousin was Kevin Bacon, just not THE Kevin Bacon. A good time was had by all.
  • I had a critical eye on the results of this event. It’s not a cheap one, and our sales had been down in 2017 … and then again in 2018. In total we were down over 20%, and I wasn’t happy.
  • Last year, we arrived for our early set up, but the street access was blocked by cement barricades that had to be moved by a fork lift. Come to find out, the city worker that was responsible for that job had overslept. So, this year … different problem, but another problem. It seems this event has trouble getting the details handled.
  • Happily, our sales were up almost 10%, but we’re still substantially down from our first year. Add that sales decline to the 2 years in a row with major infrastructure mistakes that affected me directly, and I’m out. I have another event in mind for next year.

The Food

  • Best Meal: We love a traditional steakhouse in Carpinteria, so we went to Clementine’s Friday evening. They include dessert with every meal, so I got Blackberry Pie with homemade whipped cream. Yum.
  • Honorable Mention: Saturday evening, we were tired. We weren’t creative. So, we went back to Clementine’s.
  • 2nd Honorable Mention: Sunday breakfast, by tradition, is at Esau’s. It’s on the same block as our booth (either location!), and they have a great breakfast. I’ll miss both of these restaurants next year.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 138
  • Booth cost: $1,046
  • Food cost: $331
  • Travel cost: $282
  • Total sales: $3,334
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 1
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: 2
  • # transactions: 102
  • # soap & lotion vendors: Several
  • # woodworking vendors: Several
  • Returning next year? Nope

Boards sold: 26

  • Signs: 2
  • Garlic Dipping Boards: 4
  • Bread Saw: 1
  • Trivets: 2
  • Cheese Boards: 5
  • Serving Piece: 1
  • Lazy Susans: 2
  • Cribbage Board: 1
  • Cutting Boards: 3
  • Cheese Slicers: 4
  • Small Board: 1

Surfboards: Mr M’s Epic Quiver   2 comments

I’ve stared at a surfboard display for 4 years.

We go, every year, to a party in Carpinteria … it’s the California Avocado Festival. It features the world’s largest vat of guacamole.

Vat. Guacamole.

But I digress.

Every year, our booth is opposite a shop that does surfboard rentals, and they display their quiver of boards in front of the shop.

That display has been working on me for 4 years.

I had been displaying my surfboard-shaped cutting boards … in a crate. This is one step up from a display where you just throw the boards out on a table & call it good.

I call that the vomit display. I hate those.

I knew I could do better, and I finally spent some time thinking about the surfboard display I’ve been staring at all of these years.

The California Avocado Festival is this weekend, and I’m excited to have a new display for my new surfboards. I’ve got 2 shapes in 3 sizes: in addition to the traditional (for me) flat bottomed board, I also now have fish-tail boards.

Hope to see you in Carpinteria!

The new display will have its debut this weekend!

The Board Chronicles: Carpinteria Museum of Natural History Holiday Boutique 2018   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.

In the continuing saga of how far behind am I, here’s one part of that. So, from Carpinteria:

We have done this event 3 times … and had a no call no show one year due to weather. It was going to rain, 100% … and I just didn’t have it in me. But, I digress.

This event is the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend. It’s sponsored by Carpinteria’s Museum of Natural History, which sponsors a monthly swap meet on its grounds. In November, though, it transforms into a handmade event.

Sort of.

But, we like Carpinteria. The weather can be outstanding … as it was for us in 2014 and 2015. I tried something else in 2017 … and decided to go back in 2018. Mistake?

New Ideas

  • We have a double booth, but we’re committed to not taking the trailer. The booth location in the back of the museum is just not workable for a trailer. Since we can’t get a street/front booth space, we’re driving separately.
  • I don’t like doing single day events, so this is a rare one for us. Thank goodness. Drive 70 miles, set up, do the event, load out, drive home. A full day of fun.


  • We felt the legacy of being at this event almost immediately. It’s good for people to remember you. It’s even better when they buy again.
  • A Lady asked me, “Are you the one with the sense of humor?”
  • Uh…. Sure. That’s me. Funny guy.
  • There were an incredible 6 woodworkers at this small neighborhood event. One guy was selling small cutting boards for $10. Uh huh.
  • At the end of the day, it wasn’t much of a buying crowd. Competitive pricing was brutal (even if the quality of work wasn’t). Other vendors also had a tough day at this event in 2018.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 280
  • Booth cost: $200
  • Food cost: $8
  • Total sales: $412
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 1
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: a few
  • Saturday alarm: 4a
  • # transactions: 21
  • # soap & lotion vendors: a few
  • # woodworking vendors: more than a few
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: nope
  • Returning next year? nope

Boards sold: 2

Small Boards: 2


The Board Chronicles: California Avocado Festival 2018   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.

Their slogan is “Peace, Love & Guacamole.” Who can’t get behind that?

This was our 3rd trek to Carpinteria to enjoy the California Avocado Festival. It’s been a good event for us; you can read about previous successes in 2016 and 2017.

Though we have enjoyed this event, it is not without its challenges. The event is expensive, for one: a 10×10 is $450 (corner is $550). Plus, they take a $100 cleaning deposit to ensure you leave the asphalt in the middle of the street as clean as you found it.


Finding an affordable hotel in Santa Barbara County is also a challenge. This year, we’re opting for an AirBnB which is still pricey, but when you are a bit north of an hour from home, it’s difficult to drive home after a hard day of vendoring.

Mrs M got her avocado soap made, and my inventory is in pretty good shape these days. Let’s see what is in store for us in Carpinteria.

New Ideas

  • After being off for 7 weeks, Mrs M had nearly forgotten how to go a-vendoring. We both took too long to set up … it was almost 4 hours. Not. Good.
  • Cribbage boards are not completely finished, but I have a dozen to take to the event. This will be the first time I’ve shown the options with, uh, options.


  • Getting to our AirBnB proved to be an adventure. We followed my old, portable GPS which led us to a washed out bridge on a twisty overgrown mountain road. Good times. I then *read the directions* from our hostess, got back on the freeway and drove to our home for the weekend without further incident. Thank goodness.
  • I know inventory is expanding. I have 6 containers of signs. 2 containers of cribbage boards. 3 containers of cheese boards, and I have no idea how many cutting boards. No wonder setup takes 4 hours.
  • The sign making business is a competitive one, and I note that a lot of people are taking pictures of my signs … many without asking permission. Some artists put up “No Pictures, Please” signs. Some just say “No Pictures!” I think the signs are ineffective (I have signs displayed on an outer wall … am i supposed to get up and police people throughout the day?), but I wonder if I should do that. My signs are popular; should I let people copy what I do without even asking for my permission?
  • So far, my answer is to follow Elsa’s advice: “Let it go.”
  • Carpinteria is 66 miles away … and this event is a good getaway from Santa Clarita, apparently. At one point, someone asked where I lived in Santa Clarita, and 3 groups in my booth at the same time were all from Santa Clarita … and didn’t know each other!
  • Best moment of the day was when a very young lady solemnly passed her ZooSoapia turtle to me so that we could wrap it up for her. She was very focused on not hurting her turtle. Total cuteness, in the booth.
  • At the end of the event, I did ask our event representative what the official policy was on “handmade” in our handmade section. He called over some other guy on the 2-way, and the other guy said everything should be 100% handmade.
  • Uh, no.
  • I think a good clue is that my neighbor for the last 3 years brought merchandise in a box labeled “Made in China.” That’s a clue, right?
  • Both load in and load out were extremely tight. A double row of booths is in the center of the street, and a row of parked cars and a driving lane is on each side. Very tight. During load out, a vendor driving a U-Haul van hit our canopy with her mirror.
  • She got to meet Frenzied Velda. As Geena Davis said in The Fly, “Be afraid. Be very afraid.”
  • After Frenzied Velda came out, the organizer apologized to us several times.
  • This event has been very good for us … but in our 3rd year, we were down from our 2nd year … which was down from our fantastic 1st year. It’s still a good event, but it’s also a very high cost event. There are alternatives that we must consider for 2019.
  • Requests were for custom signs (at least 6x!), a kitchen counter and a Go board. Time will tell if any actual orders follow, which will affect how we look at this event.

The Food

  • Best Meal: Breakfast at Esau’s, which is half a block from our booth. It’s an annual treat.
  • Honorable Mention: Dinner at Clementine’s, another annual treat … with blackberry pie to go.
  • Worst Meal: A getaway chicken sandwich at Carl’s Jr after teardown. The fries weren’t edible … and I didn’t want to eat, really. I wanted to go home. But, ya gotta eat, y’know?

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 175
  • Booth cost: $950
  • Food cost: $181
  • Travel cost: $423
  • Total sales: $3,047
  • Net Revenue (does not include product cost): $1,453
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 0
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: Several
  • Saturday alarm: 4:45a
  • Sunday alarm: 5:45a
  • # transactions: 115
  • # soap & lotion vendors: At least 5
  • # woodworking vendors: There were several; one does work similar to mine
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 25:2
  • Returning next year? Maybe

Boards sold: 27

Signs: 11x

Cribbage Boards: 4x

Cutting Boards: 3x

Cheese Boards: 2x

Trivets: 2x

Large Serving Piece: 2x

Coasters: 2x

Small Board: 1x


The Board Chronicles: California Avocado 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.

Time to get serious. The holidays are upon us.

Yes. Upon us.

We loved doing this event last year. Big traffic. Happy people. Party.

What’s not to like?

We stayed busy, Mrs M sold out of Avocado Soap, and we even got a very nice steak dinner Saturday night. Spectacular, even.

You bet we wanted to return for the 31st Annual California Avocado Festival!

As we eagerly anticipated returning to Carpinteria, we had 13 events in front of us during this 4th quarter. We truly have miles to go before we sleep, and here’s our very big first step.

New Ideas

  • We’re doing it just like last year … but with better inventory. We hope.


  • We drove up Friday, and had dinner at Clementine’s. Their filet is highly recommended. If you’re in Carpinteria, enjoy!
  • The event’s on a city street, so, as is often the case with a street fair-styled event, it’s a Saturday morning set-up … even though the commercial section in the next block was up on Friday night as well. Hmmmm.
  • The alarm didn’t go off. WHAT? My phone died … the outlet I plugged the phone in, on the desk lamp, worked just fine until it stopped working. My phone’s battery drained, and I had no alarm. Oh, and our credit card transactions go through my phone. We’re running a bit late, and the majority of our business has to go through my dead phone. OK, go.
  • Love turbo charging. I am a droid fan.
  • Went to go get my favorite breakfast, and charged the phone more in the only outlet in the restaurant, located between the 2 restrooms. 83% will have to be enough today.
  • We arrived at 6:20a for a 6:30a load-in, only to find that the City had left a forklift in the street to block access. The fork lift driver … was not there. OK, go.
  • I carted everything in. About a city block, which was a flat block, thankfully. But, it was 6:30a and I was playing mule to get everything to booths 23 & 24. Good times.
  • Fork lift driver showed up at 7:08a for what he thought was a 7a call. I was almost finished carting in, no thanks to Public Works Department. We were running more than 30 minutes behind schedule. We had walkers in the booth before we were setup due to the forklift delay.
  • First sale of the day = vindication. I can make a serving tray that people believe will be of use. It only took me most of my lifetime to get there….
  • A lady saw the trivets and asked, “Do you put crackers in the slots?”
  • Uh … no.  Not recommended. Sorry.
  • Vending can be a humbling experience.
  • A young lady walked into the booth wearing a pair of bananas on her purse. She observed that it’s the perfect snack … I observed it was an unusual accessory. She offered me a banana as a reward. I think.
  • A pirate walked into the booth with his wench. (That is what the women associating with pirates are called, right? I don’t want to be politically incorrect with the title for a woman accompanying a pirate in my booth.) They were doing some cosplay thing, I guess. She later assured me they were good pirates, and did take exception to being called a wench. So, now you know. Don’t make the same mistake I did when a pirate walks into your booth with his … uh … well, when 2 pirates walk into your booth.
  • Business was way up on Saturday. Looking good for a great weekend.
  • Sunday started with a spectacular breakfast. No load in, of course, and we were assured we would not have a fork lift problem for load out! Life was good.
  • A client came by that custom ordered 2 large cutting boards last year, and he loves them. Lots of kudos. I smiled.
  • And then his wife came by, and the kudos happened all over again. Life is good.
  • Business, though, slowed down. Way down. Last year, Sunday was unusual at this event: it was 20% up from Saturday. At most events, Sunday is 50% down from Saturday. This year, we seem to be following the normal model. Unfortunately.
  • Strike started promptly at 6p. We were in the dark soon … and they didn’t turn on the rented floodlights until well after dark. The Department of Public Works, late to the party. Again.
  • A 3 year old was walking with her family in front of our booth, and went into meltdown. She had a spectacular tantrum, with full-throated screaming for at least 5 minutes. She then got a time out (still in front of our booth) and screaming continued for another 8 minutes as the family tried to figure out what to do with little miss screamer. Finally, a family member picked her up and carried her away. Screaming.
  • I have had days like that, but I believe I was not as demonstratively spectacular as the young miss.
  • In the end, we were disappointed by this event. We were down from last year … but this was STILL our 7th best event ever. How can you be disappointed when you had one of your best ever?
  • Expectations kill you.

The Food

Saturday Breakfast: Hello, old friend. Thanks for the electricity, too.

Saturday Lunch: Pizza Dan’s was right in front of our booth, so it was easy. And cold, when I finally got to it.

Saturday Snack: Chips & guac when Little Girl came to visit. Life was good.

Saturday Dinner: Comfort food in the hotel bar, which I will not honor by calling it a restaurant.

Sunday Breakfast: Goodbye, old friend. Esau’s was just down the street from us, and this breakfast/lunch cafe is highly recommended. Yum.

Sunday Lunch: Carry out from Esau’s. Yum. A new tradition.

Sunday Snack: Nope.

Sunday Dinner: Carl’s Jr, eaten in the car on the way home. High living.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 274
  • Booth cost: $950
  • Food cost: $247
  • Travel cost: $747
  • Total sales: $3,476
  • Net Revenue (does not include product cost): $1,532
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 2
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: several
  • Saturday alarm: It wanted to be 4:30a, but ’twas not to be.
  • Sunday alarm: 6:30a
  • # transactions: 119
  • # soap & lotion vendors: At least 3 other soapers. There may have only been 1 other last year, according to my notes … so perhaps this explains why Mrs M’s sales fell.
  • # woodworking vendors: There was another cutting board maker, located in the Carpinteria Artist Center (he is a member, he said). They were up near the action, adjacent to the food/music area, but off the street. I heard traffic was not great. They were a bit hidden, it seems.
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 31:2
  • Returning next year? Probably

Boards sold: 33

MBOs: 9

Cheese Boards: 5

Trivets: 5

Cutting Boards: 3

Lazy Susans: 3

Serving Trays: 2

Custom Order: 1

Small Surfboard: 1

Large Cutting Board: 1

Bread Board: 1

Notepad Clipboard: 1

Legal Clipboard: 1

The Board Chronicles: Carpinteria Holiday Faire 2016   2 comments

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.

carpinteriaThe Carpinteria Valley Museum of History hosts a monthly swap meet-style event on their grounds in their city. In November, the event transforms into a handmade-only holiday boutique. We’ve done the event for a couple of years, and have thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere of this community event.

Here’s the Board Chronicles from last year: Carpinteria Holiday Faire 2015.

OK, so doing an event on a holiday weekend is a bit crazy.

OK, so doing an event on a holiday weekend when we could be making product for next week’s biggest event of the year might be a bit crazy.

But we like the feel of this event! It’s community. It’s handmade. It’s what we do.

We’re in.

New Ideas

  • We asked for a booth on the front side of the museum (the city street) instead of our traditional booth on the other side (the parking lot, which is cramped quarters). No double space was available on the street, but the museum director assured us he would help us get the trailer through the unloading/loading process. We’re in.


  • We checked the forecast Friday … and it was bad. Rain was forecast throughout the event. In fact, the forecast said it would rain 10a – 3p … the entire span of the event! Rain would continue through 6pm, so we would not have any respite for the load out.
  • I just did a wet event last weekend.
  • Velda’s recovering from a bad cold.
  • We became 2 of “those people.”
  • I learned the phrase when I was running marathons: DNS DNF. Did Not Start, Did Not Finish. We stayed home.
  • We made product.
  • And the weather was awful; raining as predicted. We made the right call, IMHO.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 0
  • Booth cost: $150
  • Total sales: 0
  • Returning next year? If we continue down the path of not doing one day events….

Boards sold: 0

The Board Chronicles: California Avocado Festival 2016   8 comments

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.

Avocado FestivalThe California Avocado Festival is set in Carpinteria, which is on the coast in Santa Barbara county.

How far away? About an hour.

We enjoy doing the Carpinteria Valley Museum of History Holiday Boutique in November, so it was natural to add this much, much larger event. We tried to get in last year, actually, but we were late to the party and could not get a space. With advance planning and patience, we were accepted into this very expensive event that promises traffic of over 100,000.

That sounds like a party to me.

I’ve called the event Holy Guacamole ever since, much to Mrs M’s chagrin. Come to find out, there was a booth called Holy Guaca-Moly selling the stuff … but they were sold out when I finally went to buy our snack on Sunday. We got no guacamole at the event that proudly states they have the largest vat of the stuff in the world.

As if you want a vat of food.

This year was the 30th annual California Avocado Festival. There were community fundraisers everywhere you looked – unless you looked to the west, where the ocean was just 6 blocks away. The event itself is a non-profit that raises funds for local charities, which might explain why the booth fees are so high. Charity events are always pricey for vendors, it seems.

We have had a run of a few events with unexpectedly poor sales results … and unexpectedly poor food choices, as well. We were anxious to get back to our winning ways.

New Ideas

  • This event set a new record for us, with a booth fee for our 10×20 space of $950.
  • This event was unprecedented in our experience, as they kept a $100 cleaning deposit per 10×10 booth space. Since we do a double booth, we had to provide a $200 cleaning deposit to guarantee our little piece of roadway would be left as clean as asphalt should be.
  • Mrs M brought out Lime Avocado soap just for this event … which speaks to 8 weeks of planning, culminating in this new offering that was properly cured in her soap drying rack. Hope it sells!


  • This is event # 2 of 11 in our 4th quarter. Yes, we’ve added an event. No, we won’t be adding another.
  • Overheard, 9:30am, from a 4-year old. “I want ice cream.” She was doing it right, even though Mom was a bit aghast.
  • My goal is to be of use. I make kitchen tools … not kitchen decor. I am aware, however, that some people make their own decisions about how to use my boards without consulting me. I need to come to terms with that. On the other hand, I’m thinking about traveling with a knife & an array of vegetables. Then, I can make every buyer chop something before I’ll let them have their board. The first cut’s the hardest.
  • My goal is to be of use. I may become the Soup Nazi of cutting boards.
  • It was surprising how many people approached us here and told stories of buying boards in Ventura, Oxnard, Carpinteria, and even Ridgecrest (200 miles away) in years past. Everyone was still ecstatic with their purchase, thankfully. This whole brand loyalty thing just might be worth serious consideration….
  • As soon as I sold 3 boards (today’s first 3 were 2 Magic Bottle Openers & 1 Lazy Susan), I was under 200 pieces in inventory … and then I sold 31 more. 200 is but a distant memory. Again.
  • I had 3 new cutting boards on display this weekend, and my booth was in the sun most of the day. The result: the boards heat up, and the oil weeps out. I explained this to a lady in the booth, telling her that the boards were wet because the sun makes the oil weep out. Her reply, “Me, too.” Best line I’ve heard in quite some time.
  • Two different purchasers were rewarded with a passionate kiss from their significant other in the booth on Saturday. My boards create happiness. My goal is to be of use.
  • Saturday night found us hot, tired, and resolved that we would not eat at the hotel. We drove to the hotel, and then just made a right turn in search of acceptable sustenance. Velda was Yelping as I was driving, and we quickly found Clementine’s. 4 stars. Steak. Sold. We found a very homey, old-fashioned kind of place that gives you celery, carrots & pickles to munch on before the bread arrives. When Pat came to take our order, Velda had just taken a bite and was chewing furiously to be able to speak. Seeing her distress, I started to give my order, but Pat shushed me. “Be quiet. It’s not your turn,” she said. Duly noted.
  • I went walkabout to see the event, and at the top of the street, there was a party going on. The whole food area was a designated drinking area … and there was music on 3 stages, going constantly. So, you had music, guacamole & beer. It was clear that people were having a very good time here!
  • Mrs M did sell the Lime Avocado soap … all 17 bars that were available. Next year, she promises to make 3 times as much. She’ll also highlight that she uses avocado oil in all of her lotions, a little fact she kept hidden at this event for no good reason at all. Well, not hidden, exactly, if you read the ingredients list on the back of the lotion bottle, but next year the avocado inclusion will be highlighted, not ignored.
  • A nearby neighbor sold jewelry, and left some glass bead debris on the pavement. The organizers documented the mess she left … and then she came back with a broom to clean it up & save her $100 deposit.
  • Requests were for a pineapple-shaped board, an elephant-shaped board, a turtle-shaped board, and hair sticks. I could help none of them, but I’m now considering doing some sort of shaped board complement to the soon-to-be ZooSoapia.
  • Mrs M thought she was busy this weekend.

Most. Transactions. Ever.

Best. Mrs. M. Event. Ever.

  • This is an expensive event, and the sales results were not spectacular (it was only our 3rd best sales event ever). This event was not our most profitable, given the high costs, but I’ll take this level of success any day.

The Food

Saturday Breakfast: Cold bagels in the hotel room at 0 dark 30. We were at the event site at 6:15am for setup.

Saturday Lunch: Mrs M’s Cheese & Crackers & Charcuterie

Saturday Snack: Trail mix

Saturday Dinner: Clementine’s is the place to go in Carpinteria … and I even got blackberry pie! Dessert is included with dinner, so you know they’re treating people right at Clementine’s.

Sunday Breakfast: An omelet at the hotel. Hardly good, but it was hot.

Sunday Lunch: Cheese & Crackers & Charcuterie, part deux

Sunday Snack: Trail mix … and mixed nuts

Sunday Dinner: Carl’s Jr was at the freeway on-ramp. We ate while driving home (sigh).

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 142
  • Booth cost: $950
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 3
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: many. This was a rare high-touch event; the organizers were present, and engaged with their vendors.
  • Total sales: $3,931
  • # containers of product taken: almost all of them
  • # boards available: 202
  • Saturday alarm: 5:30a
  • Sunday alarm: 6:15a
  • # transactions: 167
  • # soap & lotion vendors: there were a couple of others that seemed to be less than truthful about their products. “Organic” has a specific meaning, which some people choose to ignore.
  • # woodworking vendors: only one other, a newby that was making boards specifically tricked out for the eating of avocados – and made from avocado wood. Now, this was the perfect event for that, but how many people really want a board just for the eating of avocados?
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 33:1
  • Returning next year? Absolutely

Boards sold: 34

Magic Bottle Openers: 11

Cheese Boards: 6

Cutting Boards: 3

Lazy Susan: 2

Pigs: 2

Legal Clipboards: 2

Letter Clipboards: 2

Notepad Clipboards: 1

Small Surfboard: 1

Medium Surfboard: 1

Small Board: 1

Large Cutting Board: 1

Domed Cheese & Cracker Server: 1

The Board Chronicles: Carpinteria Arts & Crafts Faire   1 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.

The Carpinteria Valley Museum of History hosts a monthly swap meet-type affair on its grounds, and in November it transforms into a holiday boutique featuring handmade goods only.

I did the event solo last year, and did it poorly. We decided that I would only take boards, but it was near the end of my inventory last year … so I didn’t have a good stock.

And then I left one container of boards at home, to boot.

But it was a lovely day in Carpinteria. 70+ degrees, sunny, blue skies … what’s not to like on a Thanksgiving Saturday? Total sales were only $285, though … but I enjoyed the day, and we decided to do the event again. After all, it fit on the calendar.

So we doubled down, and the elder Mrs M joined me to see if we could have a better day with a full effort.

New Ideas

  • Our standard 10×20 booth, with both of us driving to get the product and booths to Carpinteria.
  • We did this for a 5 hour event on a holiday weekend.
  • Mrs M set up her tables with a price list on both … and that worked very well. Having to create 2 separate booth displays for earlier events, and then being able to combine them for the rest of this year’s events, definitely was a good thing in this case.


  • We’re crazy.
  • After enjoying a wonderful Thanksgiving with family – even though I’ve been working non-stop in the woodshop – packing the cars for this event Friday evening just seemed crazy. We doubled down on an event that didn’t work well last year, no matter the reason. I was crazy. We were crazy. We had crossed over from sanity to looney land.
  • But at least it was a beautiful ride. We hit PCH (that’s Pacific Coast Highway for you non-SoCal folks) just as the sun crested the mountains, so we watched the sun rise and kiss the Pacific ocean for a glorious day. Blue skies. Blue water. Some people have to pay lots of money to get to see that sight.
  • My second customer of the day told me that my work had been highly recommended to her while she was buying a taquito snack. Apparently, I’ve made an impact on taquito eaters, so I’ve got that.
  • This show is probably the best I’ve seen at selecting vendors that are only offering handmade goods. If any were offering “buy & sell” goods, I didn’t see them. This is truly a handmade show.
  • While talking to my cutting board maker competitor (who’s a really nice guy that calls me “brother”), I explained that I have one chess board on display, and then I said it out loud: I hope I never sell it. That way, I’ll continue to have an answer to what was my # 1 request (“Do you make chess boards?”) without having to make another. This single board, the final remnant of my June production of 5 boards, has been on display since the July 4 event.
  • I sold it an hour later.
  • Lots of dog walkers at this community event. At one point, we had a convention of 4 Yorkies sharing fashion tips in front of our booth. Well, I assume they were sharing fashion tips, as they were all wearing sweaters that each closely examined. That’s how it looked to me, anyway.
  • Joke of the Day:

A senior citizen walked into the booth, and eventually declared that he was an 80-year old cabinet maker that had built over 100 houses in Carpinteria. He said he had a complete shop, but he just didn’t go into it much anymore. He asked what glue I used, and when I said “Titebond III” he said he’s never heard of it. He came back a minute later, and asked me to write it down for him so he could investigate. I’d taught him something, he said, and he wanted to look it up.


Then he stepped in close to me, and in sotto voice, said, “Don’t get mad at me. I don’t know what side you’re on. Don’t get mad at me.” “OK,” I said. (Where in the world is this going to lead???)

“A man walked into the White House, walked up to the guard, and asked to speak to President Obama. The guard replied, ‘Sir, it’s 2017. President Obama is not the President anymore.’ The man left.

“The next day, the man returned and walked up to the same guard. He asked to speak to President Obama. The guard replied, ‘Sir, as I told you yesterday, it’s 2017. President Obama is not here. He’s not President anymore.’ The man left.

“The third day, the man again returned and walked up to the same guard. He asked to speak to President Obama. The guard replied, ‘Sir, it’s 2017. As I’ve told you for the last 2 days, President Obama is not here. Why do you keep asking me that question?’

The confident reply: “Because it sounds so damn good to hear you say it.”

With that, my retired cabinet maker turned on his heel and left the booth to the sound of my laughter. To quote Larry the Cable Guy, “I don’t care who you are, that’s funny.”

  • The drive home was as the sun set over the Pacific. Some were fishing in the surf; some were camping. Every sunset is precious. Some people pay good money to see sunsets like this.
  • Did we make our goal? Absolutely.
  • Same booth next year? Absolutely.

The Food

Saturday Breakfast: Jack In The Box # 28

Saturday Lunch: Taquitos, sold by the Museum. They bought frozen and served them for $1 each with salsa & guacamole. Same lunch I had last year, and they were the only thing I saw not handmade at this event.

Saturday Snack: nope. Velda wanted to go to the bake sale … but didn’t.

Saturday Dinner: Thanksgiving leftovers, of course.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 262
  • Booth cost: $150
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 2
  • Total sales: $1,093
  • # containers of product taken: 17
  • # boards available: 77
  • Saturday alarm: 5:01 am
  • # transactions: 43
  • # soap & lotion vendors: 5. We had 3 soapers, one lotion vendor right across from us, and someone else selling oils. Lots of activity in the skin & body products area at this handmade event.
  • # woodworking vendors: 7. WOW. We had another cutting board maker (incredibly, 1 of only 2 true direct competitors I’ve met in Southern California), a trio of turners, a wooden jewelry maker, a rustic furniture maker and me. That’s an unprecedented collection of craftsmen in my experience at pop-up events.
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 7:1

Boards sold: 8

Large Sous Chef Board: 3

Cutting Board: 1

Small Board: 1

Cheese Board: 1

Medium Surfboard: 1

Chess Board: 1