Archive for the ‘Valencia’ Tag

Shredded: A Special Edition of The Board Chronicles   4 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.

There I was, settling into a long drive home from the World’s Oldest Rodeo. Prescott, AZ had not been kind to me on this trip (read the event review, here), and I was 400+ miles from home.

I had elected to take the northern route home (I-40 to I-15) instead of the southern route (I-10). The southern route takes me across 50 miles of absolutely nothing desert before I get to the freeway, and I just don’t like the drive. The northern route is about 40 miles longer, but I like the drive more.

So there I was, 30 minutes out of Prescott on Arizona 89 North. It’s a 2 lane blacktop, connecting to I-40.

I felt the trailer fishtail a bit, so I checked the side mirrors.

The semi behind me was flashing his lights.

There was smoke in the right side mirror.

This is bad. Very bad.

I pulled over immediately. Here’s what I saw:

The tire was shredded. When the tire came apart, the flailing rubber pieces caught the aluminum fender and bent it back underneath itself. The white side of the trailer was marked by all of the revolving rubber pieces. The tire totally came apart.

Why? Who knows. Maybe it was a blowout. Maybe I hit something. Maybe the tire was tired of carrying an overloaded trailer and decided to teach me a lesson. I don’t know … but I do know that my spare tire is now required to get me home, and I need help to get it on the trailer. Thank goodness for AAA (which Mrs M insisted we get last year, by the way).

So I call AAA, and am told that 1) my policy doesn’t cover changing a tire on my trailer and 2) the person I called was in California, and I need to talk to an Arizona person. I was told I would have to pay cash to the tow truck driver. Oh, joy. She then transferred me … and I was disconnected.

Strike 1.

I called back, and got a different person that could help me. She had a great deal of difficulty with my location. “What city are you in? What’s your address? Your cross streets?” All very reasonable questions … and I had no answer. I was 21 miles south of I-40 on AZ 89 N. That I knew, from the GPS. Other than that … there was nothing visible but highway, junipers and brown grasses as far as the eye could see.

Nothing else.

I knew I had gone through Chino Valley after leaving Prescott, and knew I’d gone by a post office a while after that. Eventually, the AAA lady decided she knew where I was, and told me help would be there within 3 hours (sigh).

I then got a call from another lady, from the designated tow company out of Flagstaff. She asked me where I was … and, yup, we had to do the whole routine again. She eventually decided that I was outside of their territory, and she told me someone else would be coming to help. Not her territory.

Strike 2.

I noticed it was getting hot, so I decided to get a folding chair out of the trailer and set it up in the shade of a convenient Juniper bush, about 10 yards off of the highway. It was very nice in the shade, but the temperature was only going to go up.

15 minutes later, I got a text that help was on the way.

Then Officer Krumm of the Arizona Highway Patrol stopped by to see if I needed assistance. I told him I was fine – and learned that he and his wife had visited my booth at Prescott Frontier Days! His wife, a seasoned trail cook, he said, really liked my cutting boards! I did ask where I was. Come to find out, there were mile markers on the highway and I was near mile marker 241. Paulden was the nearest community … and the cement plant in Drake was just up the road. I was on the edge of the Coconino National Forest, I’ve since learned.

Pro tip: you can always call 911, and then have them give you the GPS coordinates of the call, which you can then relay to AAA for roadside service … if you should ever find yourself on a remote highway on the edge of a National Forest without a cross street!

I was not lost.

About a half hour later, the tow truck driver showed up. He surveyed the situation, rolled out his mechanic’s jack, and changed my tire. Come to find out, the tread of the tire had wound itself around the axle after it detached from the shreds of the tire still on the rim, so he had a bit of a struggle to clean it all up. No worries: the tire got changed, and in the end, I was back on the road with only a 90 minute delay.

The driver only asked for my signature. I did not have to pay cash for the tire changing service.

Next stop: I went to the next gas station to check the inflation of the trailer’s tires, and the newly mounted spare was indeed low. $1 of air later, I was on my way across the Mojave & back to home in Valencia, CA.

  • I visited my local AAA office, and the clerk there confirmed that I needed “RV” level coverage to get roadside assistance for my cargo trailer. Further, my “classic” level of coverage only provided 7 miles of towing, should that be required … and I know I was way more than 7 miles from a garage on this latest trip. I upgraded to Plus membership as well. Pro-rated, that was $53.09 to upgrade to the additional coverage, good until next February.
  • My tire store carries trailer tires, and I have an appointment tomorrow to get both my old tire & my shredded remnant replaced. The spare will … go back to being a spare. $285.
  • My trailer retailer will inspect the trailer, and I’ve got an appointment Friday for them to replace the broken fender, repair the running light and get the trailer back to good condition. I don’t have an estimate on that cost yet, but I’m certain it’ll be more than a dollar.

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The Board Chronicles: Prescott Frontier Days 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.

My first trip to Prescott, AZ was for the Faire on the Square event last Labor Day. Nice community … and when I heard that they had a big event in July, I was interested.

Prescott is at altitude, so it’s cooler than most of Arizona. It’s a getaway destination and a retirement community for many. Events there have the ability to appeal to tourists as well as locals. Add in a big attraction, and there’s a real opportunity. I hope.

The World’s Oldest Rodeo? It started in 1888, and has happened every year since! Sounds like a it could be a good one for me. I was tired of our traditional July 4th one day event in Ventura that was good … but not great. And, I hate one day events with our big set-up and tear down. Frontier Days, on the other hand, is a 7 day event. Time to try something new, I think.

New Ideas

  • When I go a-vendoring these days, I frequently state that “This is not my first rodeo.” But …
  • I’ve never had a long-term show before; the longest previously were a couple of long weekend shows. 7 days in one place, with no tear downs in the middle? Sweet.
  • Dirty & dusty. Everything was dirty and dusty. I cleaned daily, and it was a losing cause. I watered the ground to minimize dust in the booth, and that may have helped … but not much.

Observations

  • This is a casual community affair. The organizer, Suzy, has been there and done that. Many of the vendors know each other and have done this event before. I’m the tenderfoot.
  • Suzy greeted me by name as I stepped out of the Jeep … she knew who I had to be. Set up was a breeze. We’re upwind from the livestock, so there is that.
  • As Dad used to say, “Smells like money.”
  • Did not love that my neighbor on one side turned his 12×20 booth into something like 18×24 … totally trampling on my aisle, and sticking 5′ forward from my space. 2 vendors were sharing the space, and I was not impressed.
  • On the other side, it was the Dodge Ram 5th wheel … and a truck was parked in my 5′ aisle on that side … that I paid for. Honestly, I don’t think either incursion affected my sales, but I was not pleased.
  • Rules mean so little to vendors. And how they treat other vendors … I’m not normal, I know that. I’m too polite at events, I think. But in the end, I have to live with me.
  • First person in the booth bought a cutting board. This might work.
  • Second person in the booth really liked my Shakespeare sign. This might work. No sale though.
  • You wouldn’t hear this in LA. Overheard from a 40-something lady: “I don’t think I’ve been in a truck that small before.”
  • I found that me saying that I’ll be back in town for the Labor day event, Faire on the Square … works. I love appointment selling.
  • Live country, bluegrass or even alt country next to my booth every day for 2 hours. This is a good thing.
  • There’s an open bar throughout the event. I could grow to like events like this.
  • Great conversation with a 91-year old woodworker, still active and still making. He loved my work, and I loved hearing about what he did.
  • I think I’m getting truck envy. So, so many pretty Dodge trucks here …
    Dodge Ram is a big sponsor of rodeo.
  • I had a guy ask me about using lemon on a chopping block, and I explained it was an old butcher’s trick. Come to find out, he was an old butcher.
  • He was not the first person at this event that told me I knew what I was talking about. Me, I just wish knowledge paid better.
  • This is one of my most commented on signs:
  • One of the observers looked at me and said, “Your sign is broken. The answer is whiskey, not beer.”
  • Well, OK, then.
  • An advantage of this long term event is that my wounds are healing. One of my most irritating minor injuries of late was a paper cut (!) from a cardboard edge. The cut happened when I picked up a sheet of plywood to move it into the shop and partially grabbed the protective cardboard … that sliced the pad of my index finger. Very happy that wound has now healed with my time away from the shop.
  • Requests were for an Arizona-shaped cutting board (multiple requests, actually, and it’s on my list … my long list), a game board for a marble game I’ve never heard of (sounded like a variation of Wahoo, which I WILL MAKE THIS YEAR), a Chinese checkers board (which I WILL MAKE THIS YEAR), a tray with sides (hmmmm), rolling pins (nope) and plates (maybe … someday).
  • Sunday began with a bus parking behind my booth … with the diesel motor running. It was really harshing my mellow. I called Suzy, and she got it shut down.
  • Love working with a professional.
  • I also had a long conversation about how to treat the wood from a treasured marquetry piece (I believe it was actually intarsia) that the artist left untreated. The owners were properly concerned about how to finish the wood now that they had moved to this very, very dry climate, and I helped them as best I could. They loved the information, thanked me … and walked away. It’s always nice when my free information results in a mercy sale, but ’twas not to be this time.
  • In the end, this event didn’t work for me. Loved the long term set up. Loved the vibe. Didn’t love the lack of sales. At all.
  • Final sale: family of 5 came into the booth. Young mother had 3 small boys, which I commented on. We shared a smile. She wanted to buy a sign for her mother-in-law, but her husband had the money. She returned … and he had given her $5 less than the price. She commented on how much they spent on lemonade and popcorn, and I bet there was no negotiation on those prices. But on the sign for HIS MOTHER, the young man thought negotiation was in order.
  • A fitting end to a frustrating event.

The Food

  • Best Meal: Velda’s spaghetti. Naturally. Leftovers were packaged for me, and I brought them from home in a cooler. Velda stayed at home.
  • Honorable Mention: Velda’s meatloaf. See above.
  • Worst Meal: My first night here, I ended up at a conveniently located Mexican restaurant in Cottonwood, AZ. It was next to the motel. Both were mistakes. Big mistakes.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 1,059
  • Booth cost: $975
  • Food cost: most meals were from home
  • Travel cost: I don’t want to think about this.
  • Total sales: $1,407
  • Net Revenue (does not include product cost): I lost money on this one. It wasn’t even close.
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 2
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: many
  • # transactions: bored. bored. bored.
  • # soap & lotion vendors: none, but there was someone selling natural infusions, I think. Sort of like essential oils … but not. Odd.
  • # woodworking vendors: just me
  • Returning next year? Nope.

Boards sold: 17

  • Cutting Boards: 4
  • Signs: 7
  • Cheese Slicer: 2
  • Cheese Board: 1
  • Trivet: 1
  • Custom Orders: 1
  • Coaster Set: 1

The Board Chronicles: Fun In The Sun Chili Cookoff 2018   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.

A brief note about timing: I am BEHIND. This event happened last October; just getting to writing about oh so many events. My apologies to my loyal readers. Draw your own conclusions about why I’m so, so far behind. Meanwhile … from Castaic:

This event is sponsored by our Sherriff’s department, and is a fundraiser for a kid-focused charity.

Community.

Vendor fees help make the event happen, and the funds raised help our community. We’ve done the event 3 times, I believe, and know it well. It’s not a big money maker, but it’s a good thing.

My calendar is open.

I’m in.

New Ideas

  • I’m solo this year, and it’s a Jeep-only set-up. Easy in, easy out.

Observations

  • A question that I’ve never been asked before: “What’s a Foodie?”
  • Uh … read the sign.
  • I want to make spoons. I need to make spoons.
  • This event had more than its fair share of shade stealers. It was a hot October day, I get it … but my shade is provided for my customers. Please.
  • Worse than a shade stealer was the table swipe by a Mom’s Purse … knocking a board onto the ground. Mom didn’t notice.
  • With only the room in the Jeep, inventory was necessarily limited. But I was still frustrated when I was asked for a chess board and a cribbage board. They were at home.
  • I love the energy of this event.  It’s a good day … even if the results were not stellar this year.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 24
  • Booth cost: $25
  • Food cost: $0
  • Travel cost: $11
  • Total sales: $483
  • Net Revenue (does not include product cost): $447
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 0
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: 0
  • # transactions: 10
  • # soap & lotion vendors: none
  • # woodworking vendors: Just me
  • Returning next year? Maybe

Boards sold: 14

  • Cheese Boards: 4
  • Heart: 3
  • Individual Coasters: 4
  • Coaster Set: 1
  • Sign: 1
  • Trivet: 1

The Board Chronicles: Trailer Park 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.

A brief note about timing: I am BEHIND. This event happened last December, and I’m just now getting to blogs from the 4th quarter. My apologies to my loyal readers. Draw your own conclusions about why I’m so, so far behind. Meanwhile … from Hollywood:

This is an office boutique.

Trailer Park is a company that makes trailers … for movies. Clearly, they have a sense of humor.

After all, they invited me to their holiday boutique.

New Ideas

  • Nope. Did this last year; doing it again.
  • This is a table top event. I have 2 tables, plus a grid I borrowed from my good friend Jan to display a few signs.

Observations

  • Urban events are a pain. Parking. Elevators. Congestion. Nice host, though.
  • Mrs M had an OK day … Mr M didn’t. I sold one sign.
  • Ultimately, this is a low impact, low cost event. The sales were poor though; it wasn’t worth my time in the end.

The Food

  • Best Meal: Pizza take-out for lunch. Winner.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 74
  • Booth cost: $11
  • Food cost: $9
  • Travel cost: $40
  • Total sales: $156
  • Net Revenue (does not include product cost): $96
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 1
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: many
  • # transactions: 8
  • # soap & lotion vendors: 2
  • # woodworking vendors: just me
  • Returning next year? nope

Boards sold: 1

 

CNC Sign 18 – 116 Why Limit Happy

Every Heart Is Unique   Leave a comment

When I design a piece, I always think about what I’m making. I mean, wouldn’t you?

When I make hearts, I know a few things to be true:

  1. Every heart is unique.
  2. Every heart has Bloodwood in it.
  3. People love to pick up a heart, turn to their beloved, and show them their big heart. Some even show their beating heart.

People have fun with my hearts, and I have to remember to keep making them. Like so many things, these have been sold out since last year … and I’m just catching up. In May.

I’m almost caught up. Almost.

Final thought: some people ask me if these are cutting boards. I always ask if they want people cutting on their heart. Making boards like these, you see, is really a philosophical endeavor for me.

Meanwhile, here are 16 hearts, submitted for your consideration.


New: Clocks   1 comment

“Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care?”

Those memorable words helped fuel my college years, sung by one of my favorite bands, the Chicago Transit Authority. You’ll find a link at the bottom of this post to a video of this signature tune.

If you are needing to know the time … I’m here to help. Clocks are the newest products to make it out of the garage woodshop. If you think people should know how to read a traditional clock … I’m here to help.

I’ve designed a small clock collection with 2 designs. Some have all of the numbers, some don’t. Woods used are Bloodwood, Hard Maple and Cherry. Each clock has a quartz movement, and comes with the AA battery to keep the time flowing for you. Each clock is 11″ across at its widest point.

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Posted May 4, 2019 by henrymowry in Woodworking

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The Cheese Slicer Success   Leave a comment

After a successful debut for this new product, it was back to the shop to make more before I ran out. 16 started … 15 made it to the finish line. One had a facial blowout along the way, so that one found its way to the recycling barrel.

These slicers are between 6″ and 7″ wide, and all are 11″ long. They’ve got non-skid rubber feet, and are now Mrs M approved.

She chose one of these (it’s in the first picture) to go into her personal collection. She doesn’t do that often, so I’ll take that sign of approval when I can!

If you’re in the mood for some expertly sliced cheese, you’ll find these at the Simi Valley Street Fair this Saturday. You’ll find me in booths 1901 and 1902.

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New: Cheese Slicers

The Board Chronicles: KHTS Home & Garden Show 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.

First, a note about my long absence from writing these Chronicles.

I’ve been busy. I’ve been behind.

Way, Way Behind.

Way.

I have resolved to catch up, though, and one way to not get farther behind is to not let more events pile up in my “I have to write about this” pile.

This is my 5th time doing the KHTS Home & Garden Show … and it’s their 10th Annual show. It’s my home town. It’s a radio-sponsored event. It’s also city-sponsored; their Arbor Day celebration is a big part of this event which takes place in Santa Clarita’s Central Park … Soccer Fields # 7 & 8, if I remember correctly from my refereeing days.

You bet I’m there.

New Ideas

  • It just seems like a new idea … Mrs M joined me at the event! This is the first Mrs M event since December.
  • Lots of new products here for me: Cheese Slicers, Magic Knife Holders, Clocks, CNC Signs, Cribbage Boards, Card Boxes, Charcuterie Boards….

Observations

  • I was behind (remember?), so I was finishing product on Friday morning instead of setting up. It was a lovely day, this Friday. It got up to 85*. So, that’s when I finally got to do the setup. When it was the heat of the day.
  • And this is our largest setup: the Trimline 10×20 canopy + a 10×10 pop-up Undercover canopy. Yes, for the 3rd year we did a 10×30 at this hometown show, in an “L” shape. My solo setup was 4+ hours in the heat.
  • I did as much as I could stand, and then stopped. No awnings for this event. I just didn’t have it in me.
  • The event starts with the Arbor Day celebration, complete with free tree giveaway to several hundred people (no clue how many … but it was a lot of trees). Those seeking free stuff didn’t seem to be my customers, but there was lots of early traffic. Lots.
  • In spite of the seemingly good traffic … we were down to prior year. Down 13%, the tally showed. Maybe Sunday….
  • The headline of this event for me was legacy. I had 4 different people come to the booth, tell me that they came to the event just to order something from me, and then proceeded to do so. 4 special orders at one event, all caused by people knowing I would be there … that’s never happened before.
  • Legacy.
  • Sunday started slowly, as all Sundays seem to. A couple of the special orders happened, then a big board sold … but it seemed like we were going to be short again. Then a large special order came in right at closing, which was great.
  • Then a couple of vendors came over after closing and picked up smaller boards. That’s what did it.

Best. Santa. Clarita. Event. Ever.

  • By $4. We beat last year by $4.

The Food

  • Best Meal: Lunches at this event were from the food trucks that KHTS brings in, and they do well. There were 10 trucks, so there was lots of choices. Definitely recommended.
  • Honorable Mention: I had to go out early Sunday morning to buy groceries (!), so I stopped at Jimmy Dean’s for a breakfast burrito. Delish.
  • Worst Meal: We tried to go to Marston’s at 8p on Sunday … but they closed early due to lack of business (the manager said that!), so we ended up at Wolf Creek. I was very disappointed … the pasta I had was Oh So Bland. We may not be back … until the next Sunday 8p dinner. Options are limited at that time, we’ve found.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 18
  • Total sales: $2,690
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 3
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: many
  • Saturday alarm: 4:45a
  • Sunday alarm: nope
  • # transactions: 49
  • # soap & lotion vendors: there were 5, which is too many for an event this size. One soaper came by & told Mrs M that Mrs M’s display last year is what inspired her to get serious about making soap!
  • # woodworking vendors: Several. Everyone does different types of work, though.
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 20:2
  • Returning next year? Yes

Boards sold: 22

  • Special Orders: 4
  • Hearts: 3
  • Cutting Boards: 3
  • Surfboards: 2
  • Trivets: 2
  • Coaster Sets: 2
  • CNC Sign: 1
  • Small Board: 1
  • Cheese Board: 1
  • Large Serving Piece: 1

The Return Of LSPs   1 comment

It’s been almost a year since I made Large Serving Pieces, or LSPs. I sold out of them months ago, of course, but I never quite got around to making more.

The set-up to make these is unique, and the nibbling away at the underside of the board to make the cove cuts that I’m so happy with … well, it takes awhile. And, today, it’s probably the dirtiest job I do in the shop. I made 15 of these LSPs this time. It took most of a day to do the primary shaping, and I covered the shop in dust.

Detail of Large Serving Piece 18 – 05.

The cove cuts are done by taking the work piece across the blade at an oblique angle … and that launches the dust to the left of the blade before the dust collector has much of a chance to get it. Further, these are open-faced cuts, so the above-the-table dust collection that I’ve recently added is disconnected. This cut that can only be done with the blade fully exposed.

Dust flies. A lot of dust flies.

That’s just a hazard of what I do. While making the cove cuts, I used a very large pushing device to keep my hand away from the cutting edge. I wore hearing protection and eye protection … next time, I’ll add a dust mask, too.

Because, you see, there will be a next time. I really enjoy making these unique pieces – even though birthing that unique design creates a bit of disruption on the shop!

All LSPs come with non-skid rubber feet held on with stainless steel screws. They have a food-ready finish: mineral oil + board butter, which is made with locally harvested beeswax.

New: Cheese Slicers   4 comments


These have been in my head for 18 months.

Crowded, it was.

Finally, these have sprung to life after I sat on the hardware for way, way too long.

Painful, it was.

These cheese slicers are each 7″ x 11″ x 7/8″. The slicer is a stainless steel wire that sits in the slot until it’s called upon to guillotine the cheese. In the first use of these, we found that they were interactive: perfect entertainment for a 7 year old boy.

Fun, it was.

This first run features 2 colors of handles: black and chrome. Each of the slicers has non-skid rubber feet held on with stainless steel screws, as does just about everything I make.

Want to see these live? You’ll have to be in Lake Havasu City, AZ this weekend for Winterfest. I know I’ll be there. Come join me!

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