My Blog

Whatever rings Mel's bells

Posts Tagged ‘farmers market’

Great weekend

This weekend was really quite lovely.  Not what I expected in many ways, but lovely nonetheless.

Friday Shawn and I were planning on playing the Life Care Center in Port Orchard, but it was moved to next week.  So we got together and worked on some originals instead – finding harmonies and working out the arrangements, that sort of thing.  Then we put together a full 3-hour set list so we’ll be ready for gigs.  I was once again struck by how much I value these musical friendships that I’ve made recently.  There’s something so special in having at least a few people around you who share the same feelings and joys, and with whom you can share the crazy excited thoughts that run through your brain when you get random song ideas!

Well, after a couple of hours we headed for the Alderbrook, which was fabulous as always.  The crowd was good, the drinks were great, the scenery was incredible.  We played about a set and a half, then Robert Poole and Robert the flutist jammed for a bit.  The band actually went outside and sat down near the water while the guys did their thing!  😉  Then we headed back in to take over again and, lo and behold, Mike Pratt was in the house.  So when we got back up I dragged Mike on stage for a few songs, including a Travis Tritt duet and a group jam on Mustang Sally that had so many people we didn’t all fit on stage!  Before we knew it, it was time to shut down, but the party didn’t stop there.

Since several other musically inclined folks had showed up by then, we all ended up out on the patio around a fire pit, passing around a guitar and making up harmonies to all kinds of wonderful songs.  It wasn’t heaven, but it was pretty damn close, being outside with the music and the dancing and the people and the fire and the water and the stars…  Unfortunately, as the night wore on a very well-lubricated individual showed up and began making too much noise.  This of course Cannot Happen at a respectable establishment like the Alderbrook, so we were promptly removed from the scene.  That’s right, the BAND got bounced!  Priceless, eh?  It’s okay tho, I really had to get home to give Gumby his meds.

By the by, I got refills for him yesterday and I’m really happy!  See, I have to cut one of his three meds in half, and the pill is large and round, hence it tends to crush rather than break clean.  So every 4th pill or so ends up wasted.  (It’s still cheaper than getting the next smaller size and giving him 2 morning and 2 night!)  Well, to make a short story long, the pills are shaped differently now, so they cut easily and cleanly.  *happy dance*

Okay, back to the weekend…  Once again I missed my swim lesson, but this time it was because I had a class to teach at the same time, not because I’d been up too late the night before.  So I did my class, which went very well indeed.  Hopefully I will see my students back for project classes!  I’m really on the fence about teaching up there.  It’s hard to schedule, since my calendar changes around so often.  And the classes are set around 3 months in advance!  So it’s difficult.  And when I end up canceling other plans to drive 17 miles and teach a single student…  Well, let’s just say that the cost-benefit equation isn’t favorable.  But lately I’ve been having lots of multi-student classes, which makes things more palatable.  As you can see, I have reasons for wanting to quit before the next session starts.

But my class did go well, and after that I had a good chat with Jon about Navy issues while we moved more of Albert’s things out.  I’m going to sit down with Jeff the recruiter (Should I go all Mr. Rogers and capitalize that?) about the officer programs.  Jon suggested I go in as a yeoman, spend the first year getting my Bachelor’s, then go for a commission and the big money.  Not a bad plan!  And worth considering, since the band thing doesn’t seem to be happening.  }:-(

Saturday night we were at the Man-Pub, which was not nearly as busy as it usually is.  Perhaps everyone was nursing sunburns, what with the beautiful weather!  Honestly, it felt like we were a little off…  Not sure what the deal was, but to me it felt like we were trying too hard and it just wasn’t working.  I know Shawn was – he pretty much lost his voice by the end of the night!  We were both struggling to get some of those songs at the end.  But we (once again) overfilled the stage area – Tim and Kim Silke came out, so of course we had to drag Tim up front to join us.  We ended the night with Southern Cross and Seven Bridges Road, which was absolutely fabulous.  I love singing with these guys – the harmonies make me sooooooo happy!

Today I had anticipated playing at the Downtown Market, but as it turned out they had entertainment lined up already.  So…  I slept in.  😀  Can’t argue with that, huh?  Got down to Evergreen in time for my set at Kitsap Pride, but unfortunately that didn’t go as well as I anticipated.  First of all, the audience disappeared just as I started.  (The drag queens performed, then Michael spoke, then Derek Kilmer spoke, during which many people departed.  *phooey*)  So I stood up to a greatly depleted audience – and promptly started playing in a different key than I was singing.  *facepalm*  And more people left.

The rest of my set went well, and in fact they kept me for a couple of encores, which was sweet.  But the best part (aside from having friends come out specifically to see me play, which always gives me warm-and-fuzzies) was that I met some gals who live right down the hill from me!  So I made some new friends, and we’re gonna get together and jam some time.  How cool is that?!?

Went home, stopping on the way to drop booth stuff in storage for daMama and to hit the grocery store for a few things, and commenced with the domesticity.  In particular, the making of chili and the baking of various breads.  I was planning on white bread, wheat bread, corn bread, and banana bread.  Unfortunately, I did not realize that my milk was nasty – so much for the wheat bread!  And I took too much time on the other things, so the white bread wouldn’t have time to rise before I went to bed.  So that was out.  And then I ran out of cumin, so knowing that my chili wouldn’t be ready tonight I said “to hell with it” and put the cornbread off till tomorrow.  So…  Um…  I has banana bread muffins.

All in all, the weekend was lovely and fun and filled with many wonderful memories.  Not at all what I expected…  But isn’t that just how life works?  Tomorrow morning I’ll be meeting a couple of the other vixens at the garden, and we will break our fast with banana muffins and coffee, and then work our ass ends off to feed ourselves and our families.  So I guess it’s time that I put the last nail in this weekend’s coffin and hit the hay.  Good night all, and let’s all enjoy another week filled with unexpected surprises!

Building Kitsap Businesses

It’s no secret that the economy is bad and local businesses are in trouble.  It seems almost every other day I hear about another local business closing its doors, and sometimes it feels like half the storefronts in the county are empty.

But there’s a quiet resurgence of small business in the county right now.  It’s being led by groups like Washington CASH and Washington Small Business Development Centers.  These groups are providing small business owners (like myself) with the tools and resources we need to rebuild the local economy from the ground up.  In fact, Kitsap County has proven to be one of the most effective areas in the state for small business seed money programs!  We do more and go farther in this area when we’re given the opportunity.

How can you help this trend grow?  By patronizing local businesses as much as possible – go to the “mom & pop” flower shop down the street instead of ordering a bouquet online, and hire a local handyman instead of calling the big box store on your next home improvement project.  By purchasing locally grown food – sign up with a local farm for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share, shop at the farmers’ market, or buy the produce at the supermarket that has the “locally grown” sticker.  By keeping your money local – instead of patronizing a large national bank, pull your money out and put it in a local bank or Credit Union.

All these things will keep money in our local economy and build our community up, instead of sending our money out-of-area or out-of-state, or even out of the country!  Kitsap County has existed as a kind of “bedroom community” of Seattle for too long.  Many of our residents can’t afford to buy a house here, and our graduates leave the area in droves as they look for work.  Let’s all do what we can to build the local economy and keep Kitsap dollars here in Kitsap.

Bad news

Let me be brief: I’m not opening a store any time soon.

Yup, after spending the last year writing a business plan, doing market research, and building interest, I’m going to have to set aside the plans to open The Bead and Bean (and Broads and Bullets and Brews and I forget what the other thing was), at least for now.

Apparently I should have taken a few steps earlier that I waited to take till I had my stuff together better.  One of those things was sitting down with somebody from the bank and talking turkey.  ‘Cause it turns out, the turkey is me.

The short version is that after a brief presentation of my business plan to a panel of four mentors, they’re very impressed with the work I’ve done and the passion I have for my dreams and ideas, but – here’s the kicker – money talks.  And I’d have to have an awful lot of it to get a lease.  In my case, around $50,000.

Once the hysterical laughter subsided and I picked myself back up off the floor, I realized they weren’t kidding and there’s no way I can do this.  I mean, really?  Fifty grand?  Ain’t gonna happen unless I win the lottery, and you can’t win if you don’t play.  So I’m out.

Now, the good news is that by waiting, I’ll be able to open the store at a better time, when the economy is stronger and I’m in a better position to make it all work.  I mean, there really isn’t any advantage to opening a store now.  Let’s be realistic.  Consumer spending is starting to come back up, but it’s still pretty darned low.  And the commercial real estate market isn’t like the residential market; all those empty buildings are not causing lessors to lower their rates.  So there wouldn’t be an upside to opening now anyways.

Still, it’s pretty disappointing for me to have to do a 180 on this, especially since I could have spent the past year improving and refining my presentation for market.  But you know, I’m still teaching, and I’m still offering classes and parties, and I’m still selling online.  And I’m not giving up, not by far.  Just going to focus on those aspects of the biz for now, and leave the store for later.

So it’s bad news.  But it’s better than opening the store in ignorance and failing miserably!

Survey says…

So I’ve been doing a survey, asking folks at market which is their favorite of the spring’s new looks.  It’s not at all scientific, and the limitations are several.  For one thing, I didn’t want to overwhelm people with options, so I picked five.  Another problem is that several people asked me what one or more of the choices meant, which says there were others who didn’t ask.  But the idea was conceived out of fun, not for a million-dollar marketing project.  So I’m okay with a little uncertainty in my results.

Speaking of the results…  Here they are!

 

Three strand pearl necklace by Agnes of treasures570

#1  Classy multi-strand pearls
By a hair, the pearls won the contest.  Any why not?  Pearls can be done in so many ways.  They can be traditional, contemporary, or anything else you want them to be.  Today pearls can be seen on brides (though they once were avoided as they represent tears), on the red carpet, at work, or at the grocery store.  Is there anywhere pearls can’t go?  I submit that there is not.

 

"Rosey lock and key" by Nikki of bejeweledbynikki on Etsy

#2  Anything in rose gold
Rose gold is an alloy that results from mixing gold, silver, and copper.  Without going into a bunch of boring details and percentages (which can be found on Wikipedia), that’s how we get the different colors in Black Hills Gold.  Which no longer comes from the Black Hills, but that’s another story entirely.  Suffice it to say here that rose gold is delicate without being fluffy-cute, is rich without being stuffy, and is an elegant third option to the eternal gold-or-silver question.

 

"Lush Sterling Silver Chandelier Post Earrings" by Jessica of JessicaC on Etsy

#3  Big chandelier earrings
Let’s face it, ladies, who doesn’t love a great pair of dangly earrings?  They make a trip to the mall feel like a fancy outing.  As they swing against your neck (highlighting the graceful curves, I might add) you remember that even rock stars have to get their oil changed and their clothes pressed.  Maybe you feel a little like a rock star or a movie diva yourself…  And there’s nothing wrong with that!

 

"Sweet Yellow Rose Hair Pins" by brontesattic on Etsy

#4  Cabachon stones
The top three items on the survey were very close together, but cab stones made a showing.  There was more confusion about what cab stones are than with any of the other items, so if you weren’t sure, a cabachon stone refers to a flat-backed stone that is set with a bezel; instead of prongs holding the stone down, there is a band of metal going all the way around the edge of the stone holding the stone to the piece.  Most often cab stones are round or oval shaped, and the face of the stone is rounded rather than faceted, but they can occasionally be seen with facets, and one of the advantages of the bezel is that you can corral any irregular shape that comes your way!

 

"Recycled silver, gold and chain earring" by Marja of lemonadehandmade on Etsy

#5  Chain – fringes and tassels
Obviously, chain itself is hardly a new fashion (Hey look!  Somebody invented hair!), but this season we’re seeing more of it used in tassels and fringes, dangling from random items.  On purses, belts, hair accessories, and more, chain seems to be replacing the Bedazzler as the ubiquitous random-embellishment-of-choice.  Not that it’s a problem.  Personally, I’ll take chain over Bedazzles any day of the week.  And twice on Sunday.

Honorable Mention – Cocktail rings
I did get a single write-in vote, which is great, and the gal voted for the cocktail ring.  This 60’s staple has been “new again”  for a couple seasons, but it’s still going strong.  Like most of these styles, you can take it anywhere (except perhaps into the pool) and it’s a very personalized look.

Thanks to all the folks who contributed their opinions (and to my fellow Etsians who graciously allowed me to use their photos).  Now I’d like to hear from you – which of these looks is your favorite?  Add a comment below, I’d love to know what’s on your mind!

Poulsbo Farmers Market

Tomorrow morning I will be vending at the Poulsbo Farmers market!  I’m really excited; this will be the largest farmers market I’ve ever sold at!  I have done larger shows (hell, I did the Tacoma Dome at Christmas!) but not on a regular basis.  Thoroughly excited to be part of such a big group and looking very much forward to what tomorrow brings.

Huzzah!

 

ed. note:  Um…  Not exactly what I had in mind.  Apparently there was some kind of mix-up and I may not be vending there after all.  🙁  Will keep you all posted on the results of the board meeting Tuesday.  *fingers crossed*