Archive for the ‘end grain’ Tag

Big Ones   1 comment

I love making big cutting boards.

I make them for 2 reasons:

  1. They are really good – essential – kitchen tools. They are made to be of use.
  2. I find pretty when I make them

Like all good things, they do not come quickly nor cheaply. When I’m making then out of quality hardwoods (which is always), then my costs are significant. I have to go through a lot of wood to choose the pieces that belong in these cutting boards. Not every board makes the grade.

Some of these boards required over 30 minutes just in the sanding & smoothing process. That’s a lot of sandpaper, at 60 cents a sheet, yaknowhatImean?

Another interesting aspect of these large cutting boards is that I don’t make them in large quantities. I only keep a few on hand, and then make more as the need arises. At our last event, I sold 3 large cutting boards (very unusual!), so it was good that I had this batch in the shop and very close to the finish line. However, of these 4 boards, 1 is already sold … so I’m really just keeping my inventory even.

I have to make more large cutting boards in the near future to get ready for our Spring Fling.

Another odd thing is that I show large cutting boards at every event, but I often sell more custom pieces than I sell the actual large cutting boards on display. The first large Hickory board that I put on display sold 4 other boards before it finally sold itself. And, no, none of these boards are Hickory. That’s on my never ending to do list.

On that board that is already sold (the 4th one shown), please note the very unusual grain pattern on the Black Walnut. I take what the wood gives me, and in this case I had a large plank that allowed me to make a very unusual sweeping curve, book matched, across the face of the board. It’s the first time I’ve been able to do that, and I’m quite happy with that board. It will soon be winging its way to Florida.

These boards are intended to be generational purchases. With minimal care, they will last for decades. They are made from very good hardwood, both domestic and international. All have routed handholds and non-skid rubber feet held on with stainless steel screws. All of these boards also have juice grooves. Here are the 4 all-new designs that made it out of the shop today:

Cutting Board 17 – 424. Bubinga, Cherry, Purpleheart & Hard Maple. End Grain, Juice Groove. 17″ x 21-1/2″ x 1-1/2″.

Cutting Board 17 – 425. Cherry, Jatoba, Canarywood & Hard Maple. End Grain, Juice Groove. 16″ x 21″ x 1-1/2″.

Cutting Board 17 – 423. Cherry, Hard Maple & Purpleheart. End Grain, Juice Groove. 16″ x 21-1/2″ x 1-1/2″.

Cutting Board 17 – 422. Black Walnut & Cherry. End Grain, Juice Groove. 18″ x 20″ x 1-1/2″. Commissioned Piece.

The Board Chronicles: Almond Blossom Festival 2017   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..

Anticipation was building. We were very excited to be a part of the 68th Annual Almond Blossom Festival in Quartz Hill. This would be our 3rd appearance at this event in the last 3 years.

You know I love local. Quartz Hill is a community in the Antelope Valley, about 45 minutes north of us.

When we do this event, we stay with our two granddaughters, so this event has about the best side benefits I can imagine.

In 2015, we had a 10×10 booth and sales of $1,291. Last year, it rained. Nothing to be done about that, and sales dropped to $879, in spite of our 10×20 booth and expanded product selection. This year, we have Mrs M’s purpose-built display. My inventory isn’t perfect (no chess boards!), but I have as good an array as I’ve ever had. We’re ready for Quartz Hill.

New Ideas

  • Mrs M’s soap will be at this event for the first time – hardly a new idea, really, but it should help us increase sales this year.

Observations

  • Every year, there is confusion with load-in and booth placement. This year, I was on an end … then I wasn’t. There was plenty of room in the park, though (fewer vendors this year, for some reason), so it was a non-issue. There was plenty of room, and the atmosphere was very casual during set-up. Very casual.
  • This is a community event in a county park. Local dance studios perform. Local bands perform. It’s all sponsored by the Quartz Hill Chamber of Commerce, so local businesses have booths, too. It’s all about the community.
  • When the Quartz Hill queens & princesses came around handing out candy to the vendors as a thank you for supporting Quartz Hill, I was amazed. Can’t remember the last time a pre-teen gave me candy.
  • And, of course, it’s cute when a little girl strolls through a park & gives me candy. Me strolling through a park & giving a little girl candy … not so much.
  • Wine Bottle Holders were prominently displayed for the 2nd time, and for the 2nd time I had a senior citizen ask me if they are door stops.
  • They are not.
  • An artist’s work is so seldom understood.
  • The fire marshal closed the vendor section early on Saturday, the last day of standard time. It was scheduled to be open until 7pm (which was way too late). As darkness descended, the fire marshal said to close the vendor area at 6:15pm so no one would be hurt in the darkness.
  • Huh?
  • Every vendor was complaining about the low traffic this year. The weather was glorious: over 80* each day. This was our first weekend this year with great SoCal weather, in fact … maybe the weather was too good? In any event, there were slow sales for everyone, it seemed.
  • There is live music playing throughout the event, and 2 bands were noteworthy. Big Coyote sounded great this year, and happens to include one of our next door neighbor musicians as a guitarist & vocalist. Also sounding great was The Fulcos, a family act based in the AV. Both bands had excellent presentations, and even this critic enjoyed them. Good thing, as there wasn’t enough traffic to hold my attention.
  • Requests from this event were for a kitchen island top (2x), a hope chest and, once again as the # 1 request … chess boards (of course).
  • This is our 2nd event in a row where Sunday sales exceeded Saturday sales. No complaints … but has the world gone crazy?
  • In the end, sales were a disappointment. We did not equal our 2015 sales – where we had much less product, and only a 10×10 booth. Our booth expenses have more than doubled, and sales did not increase. Perhaps we have saturated this event, and should give it a break next year? There aren’t that many good March events, however, and none allow us to spend time with the granddaughters except for this one. Much to think about before we schedule 2018.

The Food

Saturday Breakfast: Bagels & cream cheese, brought from home.

Saturday Lunch: “Half a Polish,” he said. Of course, I’m not half Polish … I’m not half anything. I’m a mutt. “English, Irish, German, Dutch….”

Saturday Snack: A Twisted Spud. They look better than they taste, every time. Maybe I’ll learn someday.

Saturday Dinner: “Deconstructed cabbage rolls,” she said. Well, OK then. Tasted great.

Sunday Breakfast: See above.

Sunday Lunch: See above. I’m consistent.

Sunday Snack: Nope. I learn, too.

Sunday Dinner: A carnitas burrito from the local Mexican restaurant, La Cocina. And guacamole. And a Cadillac Margarita.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 226
  • Booth cost: $255
  • Food cost: $81
  • Travel cost: $121
  • Total sales: $1,264
  • Net Revenue (does not include product cost): $807
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 1
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: Several, including 3 visits from 3 different people explaining to us the load-out procedure. I thought that was overkill. Been there, done that, and didn’t learn a thing.
  • Saturday alarm: 6:15am
  • Sunday alarm: nope
  • # transactions: 70
  • # soap & lotion vendors: Incredibly, just Mrs M. Maybe the soap fad is over?
  • # woodworking vendors: Just me. No fad here.
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 10:1
  • Returning next year? Maybe.

Boards sold: 11

Small Boards: 3

Magic Bottle Openers: 3

Cheese Boards: 2

Wine Bottle Holder: 1

Lazy Susan: 1

Cutting Board: 1

Cutting Boards, Large & Small   Leave a comment

People use all sizes of cutting boards … which is something I had to learn.

I now stock as many sizes as possible at each event. In my lexicon, cutting boards are:

  • At least 12″ x 12″ x 7/8″
  • Made with suitable hardwoods: “hard maple or its equivalent,” as the FDA regulations for commercial applications say. That’s the same regulation that most states copy into their regulations for commercial kitchens. Every cutting board that I make fulfills those requirements.
  • Either edge grain or end grain
  • Almost every cutting board has non-skid rubber feet, held on with stainless steel screws. I do make some 2-sided boards that don’t have feet, but those are generally smaller than my “cutting board minimum size,” above.
  • Almost every cutting board has routed handholds for easy handling of the board. There are some exceptions, but those are generally special orders.

One of my challenges is to create an event display with enough cutting boards to show the breadth of my work, while still making it pretty. I struggle with those two conflicting goals … and there’s a new display and all new look for the booth just around the corner.

Meanwhile, here are the latest 7 boards to make it out of the shop.

 

 

The Board Chronicles: Fresno Home & Garden Show 2017   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.

fresno-home-garden-showVacation’s over. Time to get to work.

I’ve enjoyed 75 glorious days since my last event … but now it’s time for some vendoring.

The Fresno Home & Garden Show (“the 3rd largest in California!”) boasts 30,000 in attendance over its three days. The private producers have 3 shows each year at the Fresno fairgrounds, and this is the largest. The show isn’t inexpensive … and Mrs M has a bad taste in her mouth with central valley Home & Garden shows after only selling $150 at the Bakersfield H&G we did last year. So, she opted out as I opted in.

After all, it fit our calendar.

Time to shake off the cobwebs.

New Ideas

  • It’s not a new idea for me to solo with just my booth, but it is new for me to drive the trailer to the event to carry just me & my stuff. I’m giving more meaning to the phrase “Go big or go home.”
  • One of the vendor comments offered as testimonial on the producer’s website described the area as “a little rough.” This is the first venue we’ve had an event in that’s surrounded by concertina wire. The Fresno fairgrounds are located near the old downtown area, and the surrounding blocks are not picture postcard pretty. The fairgrounds are in good shape, however.
  • Wine bottle holders made their debut at this event. Finally.

Observations

  • Drove in to the fairgrounds, in search of the unfortunately named “More Exhibits” building that I was assigned to. The map actually called my building “More Exhibits.” Here’s the problem: every building on the fairgrounds had a big banner on it: “More Exhibits.” Luckily, my More Exhibits was the 2nd More Exhibits building I tried.
  • My booth was between the Tupperware ladies and a fence builder. Problem was the fence builder had put up a 5′ spite fence blocking the view of my booth which was against the rules (vendors are limited to 3′ obstructions in the front half of their booths, which is standard for pipe & drape environments like this one). I complained … and the builder moved the fence. Wow. Rules enforced by the producer. Maybe there’s hope here.
  • “Park at the lot on the corner of Maple & Butler,” I was told. Free for vendors. I drove there … and on the 4 corner lots there were 2 fair or city developments with fencing, a park with fencing, and a liquor store. No parking lot entrance near the intersection, except for the liquor store. No signage for the fair, for parking, or for vendors. NO signage. Come to find out, the “park” was a grass lot behind a fence, and that was the parking lot. Not the other corners with asphalt. But since I couldn’t find any cars, nor an open entrance anyway….
  • Forgotten, Day 1: Left my Bubba Keg in the Jeep, so I had to survive over 10 hours without a Bubba filled with Diet Coke within 5′ of my hand. The horrors of vending.
  • We use Paypal, which pushed a mandatory software update the weekend prior to the event. I dutifully installed it. All was well until I tried to use the app for our first transaction, and the keyboard was screwy. Push 4, and it said 4. Push 5, and it said 8. Push 7, and it said 1. The numbers were randomly generated, it seemed, and I could not figure out how to get it to work. Luckily that first customer had cash … and then I found that the software update had changed my default to include sale tax in the transaction, so every time I pushed a number, the app added 8.5%. Automatically.
  • Shut that off.
  • I hear it all of the time: customers come into the booth, like my stuff, and promise to come back later. Generally, those people get lost on the way to their car, or something. All I know is they usually don’t come back. Friday, the majority of those people did come back. Friday had surprisingly good results, and I was off to a great start.
  • Forgotten, Day 2: Discovered I had left my cooler at the venue the night before, so I had to deal with getting ice & soda to the venue without a cooler. Not as bad as being without my Bubba, but still. Also forgotten was the Paypal e-chip reader, left at the hotel on Saturday. Why am I forgetting things???
  • Expectations can kill you. Saturday was totally underwhelming – barely better than Friday, in fact. My expectation for Friday was almost no sales, and I did 5 transactions, including a big board. All good! Saturday, I did 9 transactions, but they were all small. And it was forecast to rain on Sunday … hope wasn’t fleeting; it fled. Saturday had huge traffic … and few buyers in my booth. Other vendors had very good days with the traffic surge.
  • Overheard: “I can not WAIT to get tickets to go see Neil Young … I mean Neil Diamond.” I understood her excitement, since one Neil is so much like the other.
  • This event was open for 25 hours. During that time, I had a total of 20 transactions. When Mrs M is there, we have a lot more transactions … but don’t think that more transactions always result in more profits. A big difference, though, is that I have to deal with boredom. I had hours go by with few quality conversations and no transactions, and that’s just not fun.
  • During the slow times, I wasn’t even happy talking to DIYers and the ever-present shop teacher that trolled my booth to tell me of their accomplishments. Normally, those are very pleasant conversations, but here I could not avoid my frustrations that the event was not fulfilling my high expectations.
  • Although, I did note on Saturday that it was great to hear my skills lauded by other woodworkers. Translation: I’m better at hiding my mistakes than they are.
  • Thank goodness.
  • Requests: a lamb-shaped cutting board (that’s new), business card holders, a pepper mill, rolling pin (2x – but I am NOT a turner!), decorative mason jar lid covers (You know you’re in an agricultural area when….), a cutting board with a built-in drawer, a pizza peel, a cutting board with bowls built in to collect your work, a 4’x6′ island, a cribbage board, a custom gunstock, and my # 1 request was (wait for it) … chess boards.
  • Saturday was slow, but Sunday was my best day. In the rain. No other vendor I talked to did better on Sunday, but Sunday saw 2 of 3 large cutting boards sell. Sunday grew beyond expectations, and was 40% of my sales.

Best. Solo. Event. Ever.

  • Every event has the same rule: no breaking down of your booth until the event closes. In this case, that was 6pm Sunday. The event started breaking down their gear at about 4pm. When vendors followed immediately, the producers did not stop them (though my neighbor was told not to break down by a temp employee).
  • When a producer doesn’t follow their own rules, then there are no rules.
  • Strike at 6, packed by 7, loaded & on the road at 7:47pm. Only 186 miles to home….

The Food

Friday Breakfast: Best Western Village Inn free breakfast. All good with biscuits & gravy.

Friday Lunch: Granola bars, trail mix, cashews. No fair food.

Friday Snack: See above.

Friday Dinner: My MOS (Mushroom, Onion, Sausage) from Mama Mia Pizza. Definitely a good pizza, just as Yelp predicted.

Saturday Breakfast: Back to the Village Inn for a disappointing choice between “cheese” omelets and pre-cooked egg slabs (they tried to look like a fried egg, but, yuck).

Saturday Lunch: Granola bars, trail mix, cashews and a banana. And Oreos. No fair food.

Saturday Snack: See above.

Saturday Dinner: I was desperate enough to drive to Olive Garden (!), but they had a line out the door. I ended up at Carrow’s, where I was not the youngest person there, but every single table had an older person at it than was sitting at my table. I felt young.

Sunday Breakfast: Back to biscuits & gravy. Thank goodness.

Sunday Lunch: Same as Saturday, but no Oreos. No fair food … but I would have had a cinnamon roll if someone would have been there to cover the booth while I stood in line.

Sunday Snack: See above.

Sunday Dinner: McDonald’s # 1 on the road. No time to eat; I had to drive.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 428
  • Booth cost: $450
  • # of people I met during the event from the producer: 0
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: Two: one when they showed me a potential leak in the roof above my booth, and one when they dropped off a solicitation for their next 2 shows. Pass.
  • Total sales: $1,940
  • Saturday alarm: nope
  • Sunday alarm: nope
  • # transactions: 20
  • # soap & lotion vendors: a couple
  • # woodworking vendors: I seemed to be the only cutting board maker; there were 4 guys there showing furniture & such made from wine barrels. Four!
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 18:4
  • Returning next year? Yes

Boards sold: 22

Magic Bottle Openers: 8

Cheese Boards: 4

Large Cutting Boards: 3

Cutting Boards: 2

Pizza Server: 1

Large Sous Chef Board: 1

Wine Bottle Holder: 1

Lazy Susan: 1

Small Board: 1

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!

 

Personalizing A Board   Leave a comment

Mr-Ms-Logo---LargeAny board can be engraved … indeed, I engrave my logo onto the back of everything I make.

As people have warmed to the idea, I’ve begun doing more and more personalizations on just about every kind of board that I make.

My only recommendation is that personalizations be done on light-colored wood; engraving on dark woods tends to get lost. Further, engraving across different species/colors of woods makes for poor legibility. The best engravings, in my opinion, are done on a single color of wood. Hard Maple is the lightest color and works best, but Cherry and even Yellowheart engravings work very well.

On cutting boards, engraving on the work surface is not recommended. Engraving on the very edge is possible, but any engraving on the face of the board results in a small workspace as well as a decorative element that you have to remember to avoid … because who wants to cut up their name? The better option for cutting boards, I feel, is to engrave the board on the back.

Yes, a board can be personalized after it’s oiled & waxed, though most of my engraving is done before the board is oiled. Here’s a collection of cutting boards, serving pieces and even Magic Bottle Openers that I’ve personalized for people in the past several months.

Restoring A Board   6 comments

Mr-Ms-Logo---LargeIt’s January, when everything feels new. Well, except for those scratched-up cutting boards that need help recovering from those holiday fêtes.

Once a year, I restore Mrs M’s cutting board to pristine condition. This year, I got 2 other boards from the family. The pictures below show the results, which, quite frankly, are easily attained. Here’s what I do:

  1. Clean the board to get as much oil & such off of it. That will make the sanding easier.
  2. Remove the non-skid rubber feet so you don’t have to sand around them.
  3. If the board has any cracks (as one of these boards did), then those have to be cut apart and re-glued before sanding begins. Cracks are not good on a cutting board; they will harbor bits of food and bacteria.
  4. Use a random orbital sander to sand each board through 5 grits (just as I do with new boards): 80, 120, 180, 220, 320. The oily, damaged wood that you’re removing will clog up the sanding disk rather quickly but that’s OK: you only need about 1 minute per grit per board.
  5. Honest.
  6. Saturate the smooth board with mineral oil. I typically apply about 3 or 4 coats; one every couple of hours. I always let it soak overnight, and then apply one more coat of mineral oil in the morning.
  7. After the oil has soaked in, apply a top coat of board butter, and then remove the excess.
  8. You’re done … in about 24 hours, start to finish.

Here’s a photo gallery that shows all of the boards, the damage that they came to the shop with, and the result of my restoration. Click on the photos to open them and read the photo captions, if you’re unable to see them automatically on your screen.

More

Cutting Boards: Restoration

Christmas Boards   1 comment

Mr-Ms-Logo---LargeI’m always amazed as I look back to see what I’ve made … and how quickly they are gone!

These are the last few boards I made this month for pre-Christmas delivery. All are now with their new owners. I’ll have another post in the next few days, as well as an update to my other site (Mr M’s Woodshop), to show the personalization that I’ve done on many boards also sold & delivered over the last few days. It’s become a thing!

As the year draws to a close, I am so appreciative of good delivery services! I only hand-delivered one of these, bringing my annual total to 3 boards that had to be delivered by me, or else I would have disappointed some people that deserved better. I’m sometimes slower than I would like, which a few of my customers definitely agree with this time of year!

Today, I only have 3 more boards to finish this year (!), and then I’ll have a nap. And then, see a movie. Eat some popcorn, too.

I think.

Then the new 2017 energy will come into play, and I’m going to make a whole lot of new stuff.

Next year.

 

The Board Chronicles: Valencia Summit Holiday Craft Boutique   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.

Summit Holiday BoutiqueThis will be our second year doing this event, which is staged at the clubhouse of a local homeowner’s association. 100% of vendor fees go to a charity supporting the homeless in our area. The producer is a vendor friend that does this event as a labor of love, and we are happy to support her.

It’s local. It’s for a good cause.

Did I mention it’s local? You bet we’re in.

Here’s what happened at this event last year, when it had an unusual split weekend schedule, with one day in November and one in December. The 2016 iteration of the event will be on a single weekend, which saves a set-up and is much easier to negotiate on the calendar … but we still had to double book to do the event.

It’s the final event of our 2016. I love it before it starts.

New Ideas

  • This event was double booked with the Valencia High Choir Holiday Boutique, so Mrs M covered this one on Saturday while I was enjoying the choir sing a jazzed-up suite of Christmas carols. On Sunday, I worked on some commissions Sunday morning while she covered the early part of day 2; I joined her for the afternoon & load-out.
  • This is a table top presentation, but Mrs M gets her full purpose-built display on her 6′ table. Zoosoapia then fell onto my side of the next table.

Observations

  • Event # 11 of our 11 events in the 4th quarter.
  • Thank goodness.
  • There are only 20 or so vendors at this event, and many are friends. That makes for a fun time, which is much appreciated.
  • One nice element that adds to the camaraderie is a pot luck of munchables contributed by the vendors, for the vendors. It adds to the atmosphere, and with the kitchen set-up in the clubhouse, is very easy to do. This is a great part of this event.
  • We got several calls & emails in the week leading up to this event, with customers verifying that they could find us here for last-minute shopping. I do love local, but being local & being available are both important.
  • I arrived 5 minutes after 1p on Sunday, and one of my appointments was already there waiting. I feel like I’m late for everything these days, and I’m not late for anything. Ever. Except during the holiday rush!
  • Personalized Cutting Boards are a thing, clearly. I sold 2 more today, and now I need to adjust my plans for new boards to ensure I have boards that can be personalized (Hard Maple makes the best engravable space).
  • Only one request today, and it was for a Lazy Susan. Geez.
  • Merry Christmas!

The Food

Saturday Breakfast: No time. Gotta go. (can you tell this is not what I did?)

Saturday Lunch: Mrs M shared in the munchables

Saturday Snack: See above!

Saturday Dinner: Walnut Shrimp + Cashew Chicken at Grand Panda. Oh, and egg rolls. Of course.

Sunday Breakfast: Better bad bagels & cream cheese. Bad is still not that bad.

Sunday Lunch: Tostada salad from Baja Fresh.

Sunday Snack: a cookie!

Sunday Dinner: Burrito al Mador from La Cucina, with a Cadillac Margarita.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 65
  • Booth cost: $160
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 1 (and there’s only 1!)
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: many
  • Total sales: $1,907
  • # boards available: about half of them, but no Pigs, no Lazy Susans, no Clipboards and no Surfboards
  • Saturday alarm: 7am
  • Sunday alarm: nope
  • # transactions: 59
  • # soap & lotion vendors: there was one other, doing melt & pour
  • # woodworking vendors: just me
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 7:2
  • Returning next year? You bet.

Boards sold: 9

Magic Bottler Openers: 3

Large Cutting Boards: 2

Cheese Boards: 2

Cutting Boards: 2

 

The Board Chronicles: VHS Choir Holiday Boutique 2016   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.

vhs-choir-boutique-2016Valencia High School is about 3 miles from our house. Our kids didn’t go there, but it’s in our neighborhood.

The choir stages a holiday boutique as a fund raiser … and the choir director’s parents were both involved with teaching The Engineer in his formative years.

It’s local. It’s good people. You bet we’re doing it.

Here’s what happened last year: 2015’s VHS Holiday Boutique.

New Ideas

  • We haven’t done a table top event since April, and we haven’t done a split event since last year. On Saturday, I covered day 2 of this event while Mrs M covered day 1 of the Summit Holiday Boutique. We like both *local* events enough that we double booked ourselves for our last events of the year.
  • Haven’t used this table top, stair step display since we brought out Mrs M’s purpose-built display early this year. It’s been months since we used it; that qualifies as a new idea, right?

Observations

  • Event # 10 of 11 events we’re doing in the 4th quarter this year.
  • I love local.
  • Since we were doing a split event on table tops, neither event got full inventory. This event didn’t get MBOs, large cutting boards or Lazy Susans. I only got one request at this event … for a Lazy Susan. Sorry!
  • Every holiday boutique should have a choir perform. Valencia High’s choir is available for bookings, I am told.
  • Since I was solo at this event, that means I did the lotion bar demo many times this weekend. Benefit: my hands are now soft and plyable.
  • When you’re used to doing 100+ transactions at a 2 day event, it really feels wrong to only do 38 transactions at this event. I know it was slow, but, geez.
  • Sales were down from last year … but we really don’t do this event just to make money. We’re waving the flag, building brand awareness, and supporting a local high school’s music program. 100% of vendor fees go to support the choir program. What’s not to like?
  • What’s it like doing a local event?
    • 4:00pm – event ends. Packing.
    • 4:16pm – choir carries *everything* to the Jeep
    • 4:27pm – loaded and going home
    • 4:34pm – home
    • 4:35pm – stow boards, lotions, soaps & display pieces in the trailer (storage), garage (long term storage), dining room (for Mrs M to sort) and Jeep (one container, going to tomorrow’s event)
    • 4:53pm – bourbon in hand, writing this blog
  • I love local.

The Food

Friday Breakfast: Bad bagels & cream cheese. Even bad bagels aren’t that bad.

Friday Lunch: A ham sandwich & chips, at home. Of course.

Saturday Breakfast: A ham & cheese omelette @ Jimmy Dean’s.

Saturday Lunch: A protein bar & trail mix. Vendor lunch of champions.

Saturday Snack: Nope.

Saturday Dinner: Blackened Ribeye at Marston’s. Yum.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 13
  • Booth cost: $180
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: Just the choir director & teacher … but every single choir student came by the booth!
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: many
  • Total sales: $778
  • # boards available: about half of the inventory … no big cutting boards, MBOs, or Lazy Susans (sigh)
  • Saturday alarm: 5:35am
  • Sunday alarm: nope
  • # transactions: 38
  • # soap & lotion vendors: there were a couple of anti-aging vendors selling an array of, uh, stuff. And another vendor was selling essential oils.
  • # woodworking vendors: just me
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 5:0
  • Returning next year? Maybe. If it fits in the schedule!

Boards sold: 5

Pig: 1

Cheese Board: 1

Notepad Clipboard: 1

Small Surfboard: 1

Custom Order: 1

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