Archive for the ‘Cheese Board’ Tag

Simple Designs   2 comments

It was 14 months ago that I first discussed a special project for a restaurant that was in development. The manager found me at a craft fair, and wanted me to make some special serving pieces for him.

Well, OK then.

After following up with my contact immediately after the event and then again about 13 months ago, I assumed this idea would not move forward.

1 month ago, the phone rang. The restaurant was finally to the point that they almost knew what they wanted. After some design discussions, they gave me direction for 4 pieces … and I decided to make 8 different pieces on spec.

They offered to pay me for the work, but I know that if they don’t like the pieces, then someone else will. The ideas here are very simple – the food will be the star, I’m sure!

I meet with the managers this week, and I’ll let you know how it goes. Here’s what we will be discussing.

 

Cheesy, Or Small?   1 comment

A long time ago, I recall a fabulous late night conversation about plants that are confused. Trees think they are bushes. Bushes think they are trees. Very confusing times.

Alcohol may have been involved.

Today, I confront a similar conundrum. I make cheese boards … and people want them to be cutting boards. I make small cutting boards … and people think they are perfect for serving cheese.

My job, therefore, is to get out of the way and let people choose what they like, and use them how they like.

I’m good with that. Just like I’m good with bushes that think they are trees. After all, everyone should have a dream.

The shop has been humming for the last several weeks, even though you haven’t seen much of what I’ve been doing. There’s big stuff going on … and here’s a small taste of what I’ve been able to get out of the shop this week.

It’s My Birthday: A Special Edition Of The Board Chronicles   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.

2a – It’s my birthday. Why am I awake?

4:04a – Ugh. Cannot sleep.

5a –  Alarm. I’m up. I’m up. Dress. Pack the cooler. Go.

5:29a – On the road.

5:44a – Hello, old friend. Here’s a thought: I could do a diary of my day and blog it, since I think I’m going to be bored today. OK, done. Welcome.

ed. note.: I am doing a solo event today, which we decided was a good plan since Mrs M has to “work” at her “job” and summertime events aren’t good for her since she would melt. I mean the lotions would melt. Or something. In any event, she’s out. I’m in. I decided to do a solo event on my birthday: the Camarillo Fiesta & Street Fair. Welcome.

6:43a – Arrival. Found the guy with the clipboard … who has no map to give me. Who cannot tell me how to get to my booth. He calls over Joe, who also has a clipboard. Who cannot tell me how to get to my booth.

6:45a – Going for it. Drove through, dodging canopies, vendors and vehicles … didn’t find my booth. Found a guy, who gave me a couple of landmarks and I drove through. In the other direction, still with my trailer. Of course. Dodged canopies, vendors and vehicles again. Also rolling freezers. And trailers. And portable lights. And generators. And barricades. And golf carts. Threaded the needle, and didn’t hit anything. This is what I do for fun. I guess.

6:51a – Found the booth … about 50 yards from the original guy with the clipboard (and he couldn’t tell me that?). Hidden, faded chalk marks on top of the curb marked the booth, but they were not visible unless you are standing over them. But, no worries, they’re putting visible papers with booth numbers taped to the face of the curb for the next guy. Unfortunately, their vendor check-in started over an hour and 15 minutes before I got there.

6:52a – Unloaded the trailer. Drove out to park it, and got lucky. I must be early. Parked on a street 2 blocks from my booth.

6:55a – Setup begins. Opened the bag for the canopy … pieces fell out. This is not good.

6:56a – I know these pieces. This is the same thing that broke in Ridgecrest last year, so I know how to fix it. I’ve got this. I have duct tape.

7:03a – Canopy up. Duct tape in place. First thing I do is move the canopy 18″ away from the curb, and farther into the street. Have to get out of the gutter. Nothing good comes from being in the gutter.

8:15a – Setup ongoing, but mostly done. First walker in the booth. He bought a cutting board just 2 weeks ago, and he loves it. Good for him. He did not buy from me.

9:21a – Set up complete. My neighbors are a chiropractor, and a vendor of imported crap. 2 for $5. Or, 1 for $8, 2 for $15. Like that.

9:28a – Street is empty, so I go walkabout. Vendors seem to be just what I expected: heavy on the imported cheap merchandise. No organization that I can see. A few handmade items, mainly food.

9:38a – Bought 2 massive chocolate chip cookies. Handmade. Of course. Happy birthday to me.

9:51a – First sale … had to break a hundred. Great start.

10:15a – Handed an entertainment schedule for the event … and a map! Come to find out, there’s an entertainment stage and beer garden on both ends of the event, with 5 blocks of booths between. I’m at one end, near one of the entertainment stages (but it’s across the street, in a park, so I can’t see/hear it).

1023a – She said: We will be back later.
He said: I knew I wouldn’t get past this booth.

11:07a – Chiropractor’s assistant is now 2 steps into the Midway trying to grab people to get their posture evaluated. Lovely.

11:18a – He and She came back. Bought 2 boards!

11:24a – “I just came from the gym. I am not here to shop.” That’s fine … she almost bought 2 boards. “Settled” on one.

12:54p – 90 minutes later … no more sales (sigh). Yawning. Time for lunch.

1:12p – Another sale, and the sandwich is now dried out.

1:53p She #2 asked: Are your boards dishwasher safe?
I said: No. No, they’re not … and I kept a straight face.

2:13p –  The worst part of a solo show is the boredom. No Mrs M transactions to fill the time. The worst part of a bad show is the boredom. No quality conversations to fill the time. And when it’s a bad, solo show….

2:20p – Another He said “I still have your board that I bought 3 years ago and I still love it.” Love. This.

3:02p – The battery on the chip reader died. This cannot be from use. I know I charged it. Heat? Bad charge? One more problem to contemplate. Luckily, I have a swiper. The Lady packed the bag bag of supplies (with bags in 3 sizes) well.

3:32p – Most heard comment of the day: “too pretty to cut on.” One lady saw the pic I have of a cheese & cracker server in action, showed her husband, and used the picture to prove her point that the cutting boards weren’t really cutting boards … they were serving pieces that were too pretty to cut on. Geez. Speechless.

3:40p – Open-mouthed reaction to the MBO demo. I own the demo. Didn’t sell the MBO, though.

3:45p – What kind of a crowd was it? I noticed a lady, older than me (on my birthday), who was wearing a Todd Rundgren t-shirt. Not something you see every day….

4:08p – Fun conversation with a couple that came into the booth, and were clearly having fun looking. The guy eventually admitted he was a turner (meaning he’s crazy), and the woman also goes into the shop with him to turn smaller stuff like bottle stoppers (good, they’re crazy together).

Why are turners crazy? They take a perfectly good piece of wood, put it on a machine to turn it at a high rate of speed, and then they stick something sharp into it just to see what flies off. Crazy. But I digress.

4:09p – The couple eventually admit that they’ve thought about vending as they like making stuff … but they’re running out of relatives that will take stuff they’ve made. He shows me smartphone pix of the work, and it’s really exquisite. Great, great looking stuff. I caution them that to vend, they need to figure out how to make things for under $50 that will sell … what he likes to make takes a month per piece and should cost hundreds of dollars each. Difficult to vend with art pieces like those. I point them to this blog to read more of my supposed vendor wisdom. Welcome.

4:31p – Hot. Drinking my cooler dry.

4:37p – Another She tells me she bought an MBO at Champagne on Main (April, Ventura) and she loves it. Her He loves it, and uses it every day. Love. This.

4:59p – A lady in the booth is looking for a charcuterie board. Last year, I didn’t know what that was. Now, I’m so continental. And a year wiser.

5:36p – The only thing I like that’s sold by the importers of crap are the battery operated bubble blowers. Every kid should have one. The 4 year old kid in front of the booth had one, and when he stopped walking, he held his finger on the trigger. Bubble blizzard! You couldn’t see through my booth for the bubbles, and I was all good with that.

5:40p – Bubble blizzard cleared up. First time explaining end grain vs edge grain today. First quality conversation about cutting board-sized cutting boards. It was 7+ hours into the event. Geez. Not good.

6:27p – My new catch phrase: “I start with lumber and I end up here.” Works.

7:04p – Shutting down. Wrapping it up, even though people are still in the booth. Doesn’t matter. It’s my birthday.

8:25p – Home. Quick, quick turnaround & out to my favorite Italian restaurant: Bella Cucina. Yum.

9:43p – Home. Check the tally, which was right. 10x boards sold.

10:10p – Return emails with birthday wishes. Haven’t even looked at Facebook. Not today.

10:18p – In the chair. Ahhh.

10:  p – Asleep.

The next day, today, 2:46a – Awake again, still in the chair. Bed.

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When Nature Fights Back: A Special Edition Of The Board Chronicles

Cutting On The Edge   Leave a comment

There are 2 basic kinds of cutting boards: edge grain & end grain. Today’s boards are all edge grain.

Today we celebrate stripes. It is Bastille Day, after all!

All of these boards are made with a variety of hardwoods, both domestic & international. They are made to be of use, and with proper care will last for decades. What’s proper care? Check out my post on that topic, here.

All of these boards have non-skid rubber feet, held on with stainless steel screws for long life. All of these boards have routed fingerholds to make them easier to handle.

If you like what you see, all of these – and more – will be on display at this weekend’s solo event for me at the Camarillo Fiesta & Street Fair. Yup, I’m going to the Street Fair this weekend. After all, it’s my birthday. I’m entitled!

Mrs M isn’t coming along, though … she has to “work” at her “job.” She says.

I hope to see you on Saturday & Sunday at the Camarillo Fiesta & Street Fair, at booth # 128.

Surfers Need Cutting Boards, Too   Leave a comment

I didn’t know surfboard-shaped cutting boards were a thing until I listened to a customer.

Listening. That’s an important thing.

By listening, I’ve learned that just about everyone in SoCal knows a surfer. And when they know a surfer ….

I’ve had senior citizens in the booth tell me that the cutting board in their hand is designed “just like” the surfboard they rode, way back when. And that’s a good thing, in my humble estimation.

Some people use these for cutting; others use them for serving pieces. Some just think they’re fun & want to have them around.

I’ve finally come to terms with it: I make wall art for some people.

So, I may try and be of use to people, but some people just want me for the eye candy.

And who could possibly object to that?

The Latest, Big & Small   Leave a comment

Cutting boards, cheese boards … this post is a potpourri of recent making.

When I’m in the shop and doing what I call free styling … it’s hard to tell what might come out.

In this collection, there are some large, end grain boards because those are selling, suddenly, and I needed more. And that’s a good thing.

Also in this collection is one of the smallest boards I’ve made, because those seem to sell as quickly as I make them. Perhaps I need to get small, in the immortal words of Steve Martin?

I don’t think there’s a wrong answer, honestly. If you want to go big, or get small, then let’s go!

Boards That Are Handled   3 comments

I designed Sous Chef Boards after watching the family work with Velda in the kitchen … her assistants were given assignments to go chop this or slice that, and then they returned to her with the product of their toils. They needed a mobile something, and I started making these handled cutting boards.

These are the larger version of Sous Chef Boards … and therein lies the tale.

You see, when I started making this batch of large Sous Chef Boards, I started experimenting with the handles: length and width were both in play. And then I played with the cutting surface itself, with sizes ranging from 9″ to 11″ wide.

I then discovered that those boards with a lot of Jatoba or Purpleheart were heavier than those with a lot of Hard Maple or Black Walnut, due to their increased density.

Can’t wait to take these 10 boards to market and see who likes what.

The Odd Bits   1 comment

Mr-Ms-Logo---LargeThe leftovers. The last ones. The ones that didn’t make it into the right containers. The unsorted.

The odd bits.

These boards were the final ones to make it out of the shop before the long trip north to Fresno. My inventory now officially stands at 236 unique pieces. I have never attained this number before, and it’ll last … well, for a few more hours. Then, it’s back to vendoring.

But wait, there’s more! There are 30+ boards that are nearly complete in the shop; many of them will be complete for next weekend’s Almond Blossom Festival in Quartz Hill. Thank goodness. I wouldn’t want my inventory to slip now that it’s built into such a varied lot.

On to the odd bits: 2 cheese boards, 3 end grain small boards and 3 cutting boards. Some are simple, some are chaos, and one is already sold. The simplicity of the Hard Maple edge grain board – by far the simplest look in this bunch is counterpointed nicely with the end grain chaos board that features 10 different woods.

Of special note are the 3 Black Walnut end grain small boards. I don’t make this kind of board very often … and as I say at nearly every show, there’s nothing like Black Walnut.

Please enjoy!

 

17 New Boards   Leave a comment

Mr-Ms-Logo---LargeIt has been a glorious vacation. 75 days without sales events has been a wonderful thing.

We’ve created a monster, you see. I make “Cutting Boards, Wooden Serving Pieces & More” … according to my sign. Mrs M makes her “Handmade Soaps & Lotions” … according to her sign. And we’ve found enough success actually selling those products that we’re now constantly chasing our tails trying to keep up.

It’s exhausting.

And, it’s a good thing. No complaints! But it is a job to keep track of what inventory is needed, and then actually following that siren song of creativity to produce what we must. That’s how creativity works: you must create to scratch that itch. You must.

Luckily, this week I’ve had the recently retired Dr H in the shop, and he’s helped me through the many steps of making those several different products, including a rather large one that he’s taking home. He also helped me think through the, ummm, shall we say unusual production of a new product, but that’s a story for another day.

Getting covered with sawdust relaxes him, he says. Everyone has their own wacky ways of having fun, it seems.

Here’s the latest to make it out of the shop:

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Small Boards & Cheese Boards … And How They’re Different

A Big Susan … And The Corners   1 comment

Mr-Ms-Logo---Large“We have a big family,” they said.

I love doing special orders for people, so they get exactly what they want. This lady wanted a Lazy Susan.

A big Lazy Susan.

So, that’s what she got.

This Susan is 30″ across. It actually took me 6 glue-ups after a couple of mistakes that had to be fixed. The woods used are Black Walnut, Yellowheart, Hard Maple, Cherry & Purpleheart. And, as you may have surmised from seeing the pictures, this was a chaos Lazy Susan.

However, the story doesn’t end there. Since this is a really, really big Susan, I had to make a really, really big square to cut the circle out of. And, when you cut out a big circle, you leave big corners behind … and these were big enough, I just had to do something with them. In my latest batch of boards, this new cheese board was the one that everyone commented on, as it’s a new style for me.

“Make more, make more!” they all said.

Now if I can just find someone that wants to buy several large Lazy Susans….

lazy-susan-17-01

Lazy Susan 17 – 01. Black Walnut, Yellowheart, Cherry, Hard Maple & Purpleheart. 30″ diameter. Commissioned piece.

Here’s the Susan with 12″ steel rules included in the picture to give the size of the piece some perspective.

lazy-susan-17-01aSometimes the need for inspiration propels the ability to have it. Doing things differently can be a very good thing!

Cheese Board 17 - 315. Purpleheart, Hard Maple, Cherry, Black Walnut & Yellowheart. Chaos board. 11" x 11" x 3/4".

Cheese Board 17 – 315. Purpleheart, Hard Maple, Cherry, Black Walnut & Yellowheart. Chaos board. 11″ x 11″ x 3/4″.

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