Archive for the ‘handmade’ Tag

The Board Chronicles: Vintage Days 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.

I don’t know what I was thinking.

When I put together the calendar for this year – consulting with Mrs M, of course – I scheduled 3 events in Fresno in 8 weeks.

That’s a lot of Fresno.

However, the first event proved to be my best solo event ever, and the 2nd event proved to be … wet. Can’t win them all.

We’ve been told by people for years that we should do Vintage Days: “It’s perfect for you!” Finally, the stars aligned and it’s time to see what all the buzz is about.

This event is the largest special event put on each year by Fresno State University: it’s a community outreach event for them, done right. Free music. Beer garden. Fun for the kids. Vendors with – only – handmade goods. They invite thousands to come onto the campus and see what they’re about.

They even invited us.

New Ideas

  • I drove up on Thursday to set up Thursday afternoon. Mrs M followed after work: she didn’t want to drive up with me. Or her “job” was important. Or something. In any event, I drove up and set up the basic booth on Thursday, and then we went to the event early Friday to set up the product displays.
  • The event is on grass! I set up the booth on luxurious green grass.
  • We again stayed at an AirBNB for this event. This time, we were in a townhome. The cost is not less than a motel, really, but it is private and you have access to a full kitchen, so we did not eat out. That’s where the saving were: eating leftovers & frozen stuff from home.

Observations

  • Load in was about as easy as it could be. I drove to my booth on wide sidewalks, and unloaded. I only had to carry the stuff about 30′. Lovely.
  • You don’t choose your neighbors at events, and I wasn’t happy with mine.
  • No, I’m not talking about Mrs M. I did choose her, a long time ago (though not as a neighbor, come to think of it).
  • This event is exclusively for handmade goods, and the artist is to be in residence. My back door neighbor, though, was a reseller of very artfully made intarsia wall art & veneer-top tables. They are really very pretty … but he is not the artist, and the company that makes them (or, perhaps, imports them?) is famous in the art show business for reselling their work. I’m offended by lying liars getting into shows they don’t belong in.
  • Thankfully, my neighbor seemed to be the exception. I saw one other booth that had too much buy & sell merchandise for my taste (including a big display of sports team key fobs), but all of the other vendors at this show I looked at seemed genuine. Love that.
  • Love the vibe of this show. Love being in a handmade show.
  • The Lady said she came to Vintage Days to buy 2 things: a large cutting board, and a toe ring. I could help her with one of them.
  • Best t-shirt of the weekend:
    • Haikus are easy
    • Sometimes they do not make sense
    • Refrigerator
  • What is it with Fresno? When I came to the Home & Garden Show in March, I sold 6 chess boards. Way, way beyond expectations! This time, I sold zero chess boards … and sold out of coaster sets. Go figure.
  • Requests were for Magic Knife Holders (hmmmm), an expandable board for over a sink (nope), a “breakfast in bed tray” (nope), a magnifying glass (sorry, not a turner!), a mah jong board (nope), and many requests for a backgammon board (nope).
  • We had big hopes for this show … and we didn’t quite get there. I did some checking though, and this show is actually the best show we’ve ever had in April! Funny how everything else in April has been an underachiever. This show is definitely on the calendar for 2019.

The Food

  • Best Meal: Mrs M cooked breakfast on Sunday. Always a treat.
  • Worst Meal: We ordered pizza from a Fresno pizza chain called Me & Eds, and that was a mistake. Not my style.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 937
  • Booth cost: $565 (which includes $50 discount for a first-time vendor, as well as a $30 overnight parking fee for the trailer)
  • Food cost: $21
  • Travel cost: $815
  • Total sales: $2,020
  • Net Revenue (does not include product cost): $619
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 1
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: several
  • Saturday alarm: Nope
  • Sunday alarm: Nope
  • # transactions: 103
  • # soap & lotion vendors: There were several. No one does soap like Mrs M, IMHO, but there were many alternatives.
  • # woodworking vendors: Again, several. Noteworthy was a box maker that did very nice work.
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 31:1
  • Returning next year? Absolutely

Boards sold: 32

23x Coasters

1x Magic Bottle Opener

1x Large Cutting Board

1x Cutting Board

1x Cheese & Cracker Server

1x Bread Board

1x Serving Tray

1x Trivet

1x Cheese Board

1x Cribbage Board

The Board Chronicles: Big Hat Days 2018   3 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.

April is a big month for our family: 2 birthdays for the granddaughters are in April. That means events take 2nd place to them.

As they should.

We did Big Hat Days when we were babies, way back in 2015. We had a single booth and no clue. At the time, that event was our Best. Event. Ever. It wore that crown proudly for all of 7 days, until it was surpassed by our first time at the California Poppy Festival – another April event that we don’t get to do very often.

This year, we carefully planned with the other Mrs Mowry, and decided to do Big Hat Days on the weekend between the 2 girls’ birthdays.

When a birthday party eventually got scheduled.

I’m not bitter. But I was in Fresno to try and recreate our early success.

New Ideas

  • The most different thing about this event was that the Lady & I obsessed over checking the weather. We were both checking the weather multiple times a day leading up to our trek north. Rain was forecast for Friday & Saturday. It was pretty clear we were in for it.

Observations

  • Event # 2 of 10 of the 4th Annual Spring Fling.
  • Our 6th event of the year … and 5 of those have been wet. I’m done with rain. Please.
  • This large vendor event (500 vendors!) takes place on a main street in “Old Downtown Clovis.” It’s full of what we, in a nice moment, call buy & sell vendors that are re-selling imported items for a few dollars. In the vernacular, we call it Chinese S***.
  • It is. When an event gets to where almost every booth seems like it’s offering imported goods for less than $10, then the event is probably not a good one for us. On the other hand, there is SO much traffic at this event (30,000+ I am sure), you’d think success would be there, even for vendors of handmade luxury items.
  • And then rain happened.
  • Load-in was at 5:30am. We just about got both canopies up when the rain started. I was wet until the rain stopped 7 hours later.
  • Wet & miserable.
  • We bought a new canopy to replace them one crushed by the Flying Dry Soup Canopy, but we decided to use the old top to see if we could get some use out of it. We could … and learned the difference between waterproof and water resistant. Both canopy tops are about 7 months old, and they did repel water. Unfortunately, there was enough falling from the sky that the fabric saturated and we had drips just about everywhere.
  • As we were setting up, I looked across the street to the vendor setting up his booth of wind spinners – made in China, naturally. He had a canopy of sorts, but all of his product was getting wet. He didn’t care. Made me think I was in the wrong business. Thankfully, sanity returned quickly.
  • There was really nothing to do but close the walls in a bit, move everything away from the walls as much as possible and just endure. Mrs M’s front corner, with the samples, was soaked. My back table with my biggest boards was soaked, too. Good thing I put rubber feet on them; they were up away from the table cloths.
  • We were on a city street, remember, so water ran from the crown down to the side of the street all day long. Everything on the ground was wet – all of the tablecloths were wicking up moisture. It. Was. Wet. Thankfully, we could set up away from the gutter.
  • Mrs M didn’t put out ZooSoapia because of the, uh, advanced humidity. I cut down on my display, too. In the end, I have a few boards that want to be resurfaced (really not a big thing), and Mrs M will have to launder all of the table cloths. But, honestly, we endured.
  • First sale of the event was from a guy I met at the Home & Garden Show a month ago; he came looking for me to buy his cutting board. In the rain.
  • There was still business to be had, thankfully, and even in the rain there were customers walking down the street eating ice cream. But, of course, the day was impacted by the rain and many, many people stayed home. We were far below our expectations. Far below our results from 2015.
  • Sometimes, it rains.
  • The rain stopped about 1p, and the crowd did grow until the end of the day. Sunday, the forecast was for clouds – but no rain – and we hoped for much bigger results.
  • Nope. We ended the event lower than we did in 2015. When we were babies in a single booth. This year, as drenched veterans in a double booth (twice as expensive) with some pride in our accomplishments, we were quite disappointed in the event. But, there’s nothing we can do about the rain, so all we can do is pack up, drive south … and prepare for our next event, which just happens to be in 2 weeks, right back in Fresno.
  • Sold the chaos board recently chronicled as the 300th Cutting Board, 2nd Time ‘Round. It sold on the 2nd day I showed it, and it had already been touched by oh so many people that walked by and had to feel it. Thank goodness I have a 4 more boards with a similar design on the way….
  • Requests were for an ocean-themed cutting board (you know, like a starfish. HUH?), a grill cleaner (that’s a first), knife blocks (2x, but no) and a backgammon set (nope).

The Food

  • Best Meal: We stayed in an AirBnB cottage behind the owner’s home that was really quite lovely. Mrs M planned our meals so we could eat in and save money, thankfully. Meals came from the fridge & freezer, so you ask me to choose between Velda’s Chicken Piccata (leftovers) and Velda’s Spaghetti (from the freezer). Not going to happen. Both were excellent, as always.
  • Worst Meal: It’s sacrilege, I know, but lunch on the road at the Arvin Black Bear Diner was not satisfying. Too much steam table, not enough comfort food. Should’ve had the omelette.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 412
  • Booth cost: $750
  • Food cost: $76 (we don’t count food brought from home)
  • Travel cost: $414
  • Total sales: $1,561
  • Net Revenue (does not include product cost): $321
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: none
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: none
  • Saturday alarm: 4:15a
  • Sunday alarm: 6a
  • # transactions: Not nearly enough.
  • # soap & lotion vendors: No clue.
  • # woodworking vendors: No clue.
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 17:1
  • Returning next year? Maybe

Boards sold: 18

Coasters: 4

Trivets: 4

Magic Bottle Openers: 3

Cutting Boards: 2

Small Board: 1

Lazy Susan: 1

CNC Engraved Board: 1

Custom Order: 1

Soap Deck: 1

Cheese Boards Are Just Small Cutting Boards   Leave a comment

It was a lesson learned early.

I may call these cheese boards – and I do – but to most customers, these are just little cutting boards.

Most cooks have multiple cutting boards in their kitchen. Some have separate boards for meat, vegetables, and bread. Some have a large counter-top, show piece board, and then smaller portable boards to complement the nice big board.

It’s their kitchen. They get to choose.

Some people like to have a small cutting board to slice fruit for after school snacks.

And, thankfully, some people do actually use these small boards as cheese boards. That’s what we do, and that’s why this small-sized board will always be called cheese boards when I make them!

Bread Board Ends   Leave a comment

They are called bread board ends.

“Bread Boards” are large, thin boards that were made for rolling out dough. Some of these boards had “bread hooks” which were a stop against the edge of the counter, so that when you rolled out your dough, the hook caught the edge of the counter and the board was held in place as you were rolling out the dough towards the back of the counter.

Those boards are rare today … as are bakers in the home.

However, the thin boards with the “bread board ends” are still around, and are most often found as in-counter boards that slide out from underneath the counter. They’re conveniently stored in a slot just below the counter – often above the silverware drawer.

The reason for the specially named ends is that the cross-grain strength helps to keep the board flat. Thin boards might warp without that mechanical stress put into the board.

“No one makes these anymore,” is a complaint I often hear at our events. Well … some woodworkers do.

Some woodworkers do.

This is a re-build of Cutting Board 16 – 023. That board somehow got stuck in the counter, and to unstick it, the owner had to get pliers out. When the board got to me, it looked like a screws had gotten stuck in the slot holding the board in place: there were 1/4″ deep gouges on both sides of the board. Couple that with the damage done by the pliers to the bread board ends, and I had to cut off all 4 edges and re-frame this board with splines holding on the bread board ends. It’s all Hard Maple, 20″ x 22″ x 1″.

One more thought about the above board: the damage happened in the owner’s home, and it had nothing to do with the board’s construction. Still, I repaired it. No charge. All the owner had to do was pay me for shipping … and then wait patiently. I took a while to repair it, so they had to be really patient, but they got a “just like new” board when I was done.

Cutting Board 18 – 311. Hard Maple, Purpleheart & Jatoba. 16″ x 20″ x 3/4″. This is the standard size for most in-counter boards, I’ve found.

Cutting Board 18 – 312. Red Oak ends (to match the kitchen), and a cutting surface made from Hard Maple & Jatoba. 16″ x 21″ x 3/4″. Commissioned piece.

 

The 300th Cutting Board, 2nd Time ‘Round   2 comments

Sometimes, I just can’t leave well enough alone.

I do enjoy making chaos boards, which have become surprisingly popular. I only make these about once a year … here’s one from the 2017 batch:

Cutting Board 17 – 411. Chaos Board, End Grain. Black Walnut, Hard Maple, Cherry, White Oak, Purpleheart, Jatoba, Hickory, Goncalo Alves, Yellowheart & Canarywood. 13-1/2″ x 17-3/4″ x 1-1/4″.

These boards were assembled with the left-brained Mrs M’s assistance, and are the unusually asymmetrical boards that I make.

Made.

This year, I decided I needed to shake it up a bit … because I just couldn’t do the same thing again. Plus, Mrs M politely declined the opportunity to assist me this year, so I was left to cope with just my brain, that’s right.

It’s my blog. Deal with it.

This kind of chaos board begins with me gluing up many boards, slicing them to make end grain pieces, and then only using a piece or 3 from each of several blanks, and assembling them in somewhat random fashion.

That was last year.

I did the same thing this year … and then cut the end grain board apart at an angle. Everything got randomized again … re-glued … and then cut apart at a different angle.

After the 4th glue-up, I spent a lot of time at the drum sander to get the glass-smooth finish that you can get when the joinery is done well.

This is my 300th cutting board; my inventory has reached a magical plateau again. I doubt that I’ll stay above 300 through April, but I’m happy to report that I’m making some satisfying pieces along the way.

Cutting Board 18 – 706. End Grain. Chaos Board. I count 13 species in this board. 14″ x 18″ x 1-1/4″.

Back detail of Cutting Board 18 – 706, showing the non-skid rubber feet held on with stainless steel screws, as well as the routed handholds. These are standard on just about all of the cutting boards that I make.

More

The 300th Cutting Board (2/9/18)

The 250th Cutting Board: Back In The Pig Business (10/13/17)

The 250th Cutting Board (4/8/17)

The 200th Cutting Board, 6th Time ‘Round (2/9/17)

The 200th Cutting Board, 5th Time ‘Round (11/30/16)

The 200th Cutting Board, 4th Time ‘Round (10/7/16)

The 200th Cutting Board, Third Time ‘Round (8/5/16)

The 200th Cutting Board, 8 Months Later (4/9/16)

The 200th Cutting Board (9/18/15)

The Board Chronicles: Champagne on Main 2018   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.

The 4th Annual Spring Fling is upon us … so it’s time to break some rules.

Apparently.

Last year, I found the event to be underwhelming, and I put it on my “don’t do it” list for this year.

And then I broke the rule.

After all, it fit on the calendar. There wasn’t an attractive alternative … and I remembered that many seasoned vendors last year said it was well below average for them. So, maybe there’s an upside?

Let’s see.

New Ideas

  • A solo, one-day event means I fit everything I can into the Jeep, and that’s what goes to the event. I left many things at home … like the keys to the hitch carrier. Ooops.
  • Also left at home were engraved pieces, the Word Blocks, chess pieces, cheese knives and most of my cutting board inventory. I had 5 pieces in back stock below the table. Roomy, it was.
  • I broke another rule: I had no demo of bottle opening and cap catching to propel MBO sales. No crate to put the MBOs in. I did grab some bottle caps to stick on a few of the display MBOs to show their magic … but that was it. Maybe less is more. Maybe.

Observations

  • Event # 1 of 10 in the 4th Annual Spring Fling.
  • Nice to have an event with no rain in the forecast. This is our 5th event of the year, and the first one without rain!
  • Mrs M packed the table cloths for me, but she shorted me a couple. I needed a tablecloth for another 6′ table, not a 4′ … so my back table was sort of partially covered by a too-short cloth. Also, I needed a covering for my container stack that’s used as a platform to wrap boards on. I borrowed a cloth from our good friend Delinda of Sweet Spot Home Decor, and all was well.
  • I arrived at 7:30a, and was setting up by 8a. I was ready to go at 9a … and immediately had people in the booth. The event was “scheduled” to start at 11a, but when you’re on Main Street and it’s open to the public, you’re open when they wander by.
  • My first sale was at 10a … the only Cheese & Cracker Server, AKA Large Surfboard, that I brought. Perhaps I should have found room for more.
  • I get annoyed when people look at my work and talk about how I must use scrap lumber. I do NOT use scraps when I do what I do. Every board is hand selected by me for the piece it goes in. Every time. Scraps are what I recycle, or put in the pizza oven stack to burn.
  • I don’t use scrap in my cutting boards & serving pieces & such.
  • Annoyed, I am.
  • Met another fan of this blog at the event. That’s getting to be a regular occasion … and that’s a good thing!
  • I identified 5 kinds of people that were walking Main Street during the event:
    • People going to the Farmer’s Market, who walked by the booth going to & fro. Produce buyers seem like a good target audience for me, but people that go to Farmer’s Market don’t generally impulse buy a handmade cutting board … in my experience. Today, a few stopped in the booth, but they did not buy from me.
    • Easter Egg Hunters … there was an egg hunt nearby, apparently. Young families are not a particularly good target audience for me, and with kids & baskets in tow, not one stopped in my booth.
    • Dog walkers were on the street throughout the event … not one came into the booth.
    • Restaurant goers and other people on Main Street for reasons having nothing to do with the event were in my booth throughout the day, and they were my primary source of sales.
    • Champagne Drinkers are the reason for the event, on its surface, but they were not the main source of booth traffic all day. The event was officially on 11a – 6:30p, but the drinking was only 3p – 6p. On this day, not one person holding a sampling glass was in my booth. I’m not saying the Champagne Drinkers were not buyers, but they were Secret Shoppers if they were.
  • If your event is not the primary reason that buyers are coming to your booth, then I think there’s a problem with the event. Random traffic & walk-up business is appreciated, of course – but it is not predictable nor repeatable. I do not think it’s a reliable source of business, ever: I am there for the audience of the event that I paid my money to.
  • And on this day, it wasn’t worth it. I heard that same story from other vendors up and down the street. This event is too expensive for the results generated.

The Food

  • Best Meal: Leftovers for dinner – meatloaf. Yum.
  • Worst Meal: In the spirit of the day, I broke a rule and had Jack in the Box for breakfast. Mistake. Again.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 103
  • Booth cost: $225
  • Food cost: $0
  • Travel cost: $54
  • Total sales: $567
  • Net Revenue (does not include product cost): $288
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 1
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: 2
  • Saturday alarm: 5:45a
  • # transactions: 10
  • # soap & lotion vendors: No clue
  • # woodworking vendors: No clue, though I did see a wine barrel products guy.
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 14:0
  • Returning next year? Nope.

Boards sold: 14

5x Coasters

3x Magic Bottle Openers

2x Cheese Boards

1x Cheese & Cracker Server

1x Lazy Susan

1x Medium Surfboard

1x Small Board

Going Big To The Spring Fling   Leave a comment

Not only have I completed a bevy of smaller items, I also have completed a bunch of large cutting boards.

Some are very large.

One is really heavy.

I got to make a few of my favorite end grain cutting boards, too, though not all of those are finished. I have some waiting in the closet for my next opportunity … which will not be in April. I’m otherwise engaged.

However, these cutting boards did make it to the finish line, and I trust you’ll agree that the boards are worth the effort.

There’s more to come, of course, but I’m happy to say that I’m ready for the Spring Fling!

Spring Fling Is Real   Leave a comment

Every year, we do a Spring Fling … a series of events in March/April/May/June. This year, we’ve got 10 events scheduled in 11 weeks.

It’s just a fling. Really. 7 of these events are our traditional duets, but 4 of them are solo events for me. I’m even doing a long holiday bachelor weekend in a double booth in Bishop, to celebrate Mule Days.

So, since we’re going a-vendoring in locales as exotic as Clovis, Montrose and Palos Verdes, I need to get to the shop. A bunch of special orders have been finished, thankfully, and a fair number of boards made it out of the shop simultaneously.

Thank goodness.

Here’s the first batch; please enjoy!

The Board Chronicles: Almond Blossom 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.

The Almond Blossom Festival in nearby Quartz Hill has become one of our traditional first quarter events: this will be our 4th year doing this event. Sales have never been spectacular, but it’s close, it’s easy, and we spend the weekend with the Granddaughters. What’s not to like?

Well, I have a few answers to that question, as you shall see. But we were committed, and we were off to the 69th Annual Almond Blossom Festival!

New Ideas

  • The forecast was very clear: rain throughout Saturday, with more rain Saturday night. We opted for our best weather protection, and put up the big Trimline canopy. It takes more time to put up, but it is dry inside.
  • I now have an array of cheese knives (one individual knife and 4 different sets are available) I can offer to people wanting a “complete” cheese & cracker gift set. I also have chess & checker pieces for those that want a “complete” game set.

Observations

  • This event has a problem with communication. They have no social media presence, and don’t provide any tools for vendors to promote the event for them. Emails sent to the venders vendors had grammatical errors, factual errors, and were just plain annoying to wade through. They’re trying … but with the long legacy of this event, they should have the details right by now.
  • They should know how to use spell check, too.
  • Can you tell I’m annoyed?
  • Two years ago, our booth cost was 1/3 less. They’ve taken a 33% price increase in 2 years. Wanna bet my sales don’t go up that much?
  • I arrived at 11am to set up, only to be told that I had not understood the instructions. Well, I was actually told that they were sorry that their English wasn’t correct. I had to go away because some RV might show up to be parked in the next hour, so they weren’t letting anyone else in until the 12noon start time they had tried to announce.
  • This event does have many youth volunteers that are eager to help you. Unfortunately, they were not available when I most needed them, since they were pulled off to do duties for the event itself. And, as supervision waned, the attention of the youth wandered as well. Still, I appreciate the effort to provide youth volunteers.
  • The weather heavily impacted vendor participation. Many vendors were NCNS: No Call, No Show. That resulted in the aisles being very spotty due to all of the empty spaces. That made the event much less than it might have been had the positions been tight.
  • Another stalker reader of this blog found us on Saturday, and we had a great conversation with Catherine about going a-vendoring with her horseshoe art. Always nice to meet people that already know us because of The Board Chronicles.
  • Philosophy that was shared with me: “I always tell my kids to do what you love. If you like selling a bucket of rocks, then do that. Someone will be looking for that!” And, indeed, that is true.
  • My neighbor was hawking a solar company, and he was standing in his booth and saying “How’s your electric bill?” to every person that passed his booth to engage them in conversation. Every person. Most people just kept walking, but if they acknowledged him, he kept talking to them as they walked past my booth.
  • One lady reached Mrs M’s booth, and then turned and said to us, “I hate solar people. I hate’m.”
  • As a vendor, those kinds of aggressive sales techniques truly lower the quality of the event. The promoters take the booth fees … and vendors like us have to endure potential but lost customers running down the aisles to escape the obnoxious sales pitches.
  • My favorite events are all handmade. Events that mix in some buy & sell vendors can be fine – especially if they keep handmade vendors in a dedicated section – but if there are “professional” hawkers in the mix, then the quality of the shopping experience deteriorates rapidly. IMHO.
  • It started raining on Saturday in mid-afternoon, and didn’t stop. It rained all night, and was still misty/wet in the morning until about 10am.
  • Sunday morning, we were hit by the trifecta: 1) bad weather, 2) Sundays are for church, and 3) it was the day to jump ahead for Daylight Savings Time, so everyone lost an hour’s sleep. No one was at the event at 10am … including many of the vendors. I read most of a book on Sunday. Everything finally got going at about 1:30pm.
  • The Trimline canopy generated a lot of comment from other vendors … one thought it was a car port that I re-purposed as a vendor canopy.
  • Uh, no.
  • From one of Mrs M’s customers: “When you hang out with drag queens, you learn a lot of tricks.”
  • Uh, OK.
  • A lady came by and wanted to talk about the use of a wooden board. She had been told by one of her bosses to never wash a wooden board: only apply mineral oil to it. WOW. That is such incredibly bad advice. OF COURSE you should wash your cutting board! After every use, in fact! For complete instructions on how to care for your cutting board, go here. For a summary of cutting board research done at UC Davis & the University of Wisconsin that shows why wooden cutting boards are the most recommended – by science! – then go here.
  • A guy walked by the booth, and thanked us for being at the event. “You’re classing up the place,” he said. He went on to suggest that he’d once seen a guy making wooden ties, and that perhaps I should make some. He’d take me to the prom if I was wearing a wooden tie, he said. I declined the offer to go to the prom with him – to the relief of everyone present, I expect.
  • In the end, this event was weather-impacted so you should not draw firm conclusions from this one event. However, we’ve done this event 4 times, and 2 of those had heavy weather impacts (2016 was even worse!). 2017 had better weather, but sales were still disappointing. It’s clear after 4 years that this is a convenient but annoying local event that’s significantly below average for us. Time to move on.

The Food

  • Best Meals: Dinners with the Kids & Granddaughters.
  • Worst Meal: We decided to eat lunches at the event … Fair Food, as we call it. Both of them were overpriced and not that good. But, they were easy.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 152
  • Booth cost: $365
  • Food cost: $252
  • Travel cost: $79
  • Total sales: $1,078
  • Net Revenue (does not include product cost): $382
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: none
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: nope
  • Saturday alarm: 5:15a
  • Sunday alarm: 6:45a
  • # transactions: not nearly enough
  • # soap & lotion vendors: There was one other, who is also a member of the Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetics Guild! I looked her up on the member directory, and then reviewed all of the listings for California. I found that Mrs M is one of only 15 certified soapmakers by the HSCG in the state of California.
  • # woodworking vendors: Just me.
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 8:0
  • Returning next year? Nope. We’re done.

Boards sold: 8x

2x Custom Orders

2x Cheese Board

1x Small Board

1x Clipboard

1x Chess Board

1x Cutting Board

I Keep Making New Stuff   Leave a comment

This is a pot pourri of recent boards that made it to the finish line.

The first cutting board was a special order, and it’s the first piece I’m completed that uses Mesquite. Further down in this group is a Lazy Susan that better showcases this wood that’s uncommon in Southern California.

At the bottom of this group are a pair of “Family” signs that are the first of the true 3D carving signs that I’ve gotten to the finish line. Both of these are made from Hard Maple, though one of them is made from a dark wood that’s got some curly figure in it … unusual for Maple.

I got disorganized enough that a few pieces made it out of the shop and to last week’s event … and were sold before I got their pictures. That has not happened before!

I’ve got 4 more Lazy Susans in the shop that just might be finished for this weekend’s event … but I’ve got several custom orders that will be my focus this week.

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