Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Fun busy weekend it was, then

Sorry not to write sooner. I've been resting up after a busy three days at Weeki Wachee Swamp Fest. The crowds were great, the show was well organized and I am amazed I still have a voice after endlessly explaining my work to everyone interested.  I am just thrilled and flattered by all of the compliments and sales I received.

It was exhausting and I missed Kevin to help with the heavy stuff and details. He was my right hand and back up person. I got lots of help from Anna and Phyllis. They took shifts and made sure I was covered for bathroom breaks, assisting with set up and break down as well as helping with potential customers.

The weather was nice, except for wind on Sunday. I had great sales. Thanks to Serena who designed my new business cards. People were picking them up like crazy. The craft show attendees are much more savvy and know all about Etsy, these days. Other vendors I met during the weekend were very nice and I kept thinking Kevin would've made a bunch of new friends if he was there.

Only thing I questioned was why did the Republican Party have a booth set up? No election in the near future, as far as I know. I didn't ask and didn't listen.

The biggest bump for me happened between Saturday and Sunday. Anna brought some of her mermaid and ocean related aprons to sell at my booth. On Saturday she had some good sales including three to the woman who makes the mermaid costumes. The customer had to leave the aprons and return after the next Mermaid show to pay and pick up. Anna was leaving, so I told her I would take care of it for her.

I put the cash and woman's card in a plastic bag and in my pouch with my phone and money for safe keeping. Between then and the next morning after I got to my booth I couldn't find the bag with the money. I'd either lost it on Saturday or it was at home. Nothing was turned in to the info desk and the Boy Scout volunteers doing trash pick up hadn't turned anything in, so home was the next place it could be.

I looked and looked on Sunday night. I looked again on Monday, but found nothing.

This morning, I said in passing, as I always do lately when I can't find something, "Kevin, please help me find this little bag of money."  About 15 minutes later I sat down at the desk and something caught my eye. There it was by my feet under the desk. I sat here Saturday night while taking money out of my pouch and setting up my change for the next day. I sat here on Sunday morning before leaving to check stuff on my laptop. I sat here Sunday night as I removed sold items from my Etsy store as well as off and on yesterday while I updated stock and whatever on the laptop. I kept searching around  my desk Sunday evening and on Monday.  I was resolved that I lost it and I was getting over feeling ill over it.

You better believe this brought me to tears. Kevin found the bag for me and I believe, put it in plain sight. I miss him so much and I know in both my heart and brain that wherever the bag was, Kevin made sure it was in a place where I would find it. Oh I could go on about this.  I absolutely know it wasn't there before. Not even this morning when I first sat down to turn on the laptop, then went to make breakfast.

One thing, I took all of this a lot better than I ever would before. I didn't have an anxiety attack or go crazy thinking up all of the possible bad things that happened because of me.

Kevin always took care of me in ways I never realized. He would try to calm me down when I was upset. He was ALWAYS good at finding things I'd lose. Both of those incidents happened together. I couldn't find something so I would get all stressed out, shower blame on myself and get upset.

Kevin was always organized and that probably says a lot. I am more scattered, even though I try to keep some semblance of organization. I thought it was because I have  lot of stuff. But, I am realizing he had just as much and still knew where everything was at all times. That must have something to do with a part of the brain I am missing.

I am sure he is helping me. He must be pretty happy I didn't freak out and instead I kept reminding myself negative energy doesn't help solve problems. Instead I stayed positive.

And on Sunday I was asked to consider a pretty hefty special order that could lead to something more lucrative. I will keep you updated.

Back to Swamp Fest. It was a lot of work. There is so much to do and maintain. Doing a show for three days straight takes a lot of energy. In the end the contacts you make with so many people make it worthwhile. Years ago when we were doing shows on a regular basis, we were use to the rigor and pace. But that was then. Maybe I'll try some two-day events. But not this week. :)

Anyway, I must be looking more senior these days. On Sunday someone said to me, "These shows are tough on people our age." I looked up and thought, "Am I as old as You?"

No pictures of me, but here's one of Anna and customers:

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Looking forward to this weekend ....

... and really missing Kevin. I am doing a three-day craft show. That's fun. It is Swamp Fest at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park and it starts tomorrow. Kevin's been my right hand when it comes to craft shows. Three days of nonstop hawking your wares in the sun, wind, sometimes rain can get the best of us down. But, we looked at differently. In the first place it seldom rains three days straight this time of the year. The sun is pretty nice in March and we tried to ignore the wind. The best part, about three-day shows, Kevin always said, was we get a days' break between set up and tear down. Even though, we went through a nightly procedure of closing our booth , setting up tearing down were the most exhausting parts of the weekend.

We did this show a few years ago when it was held in a county park and it was a two-day show. The first day we did pretty well and I was looking forward to Sunday. However, a bad storm swept through the area on Saturday night and the park was badly hit. Because of Kevin's diligence and regard for the overnight care of our belongings, he had secured the tent, tables and  goods. Our things were spared. Nothing was broken lost or otherwise damaged.

When we showed up on Sunday morning we were horrified to see the mayhem. I had a sick feeling that faded as we approached our spot. Many of the tents around us were overturned and stuff was scattered everywhere on the ground. A stained glass vendor had just arrived to a tent full of smashed artwork. They closed down the show.

Turned out the park was jinxed. Every storm whipped up turbulent wind in the park. We quit doing shows held there. The shows and concerts that were held there have been moved.

So, this year, I decided to give it another try. It is less than five miles from home, so why not?  All this week, I've been so excited. I love doing craft shows and meeting people. It is fun to explain how I do what I do. I spent many hours selecting which items to take. I made sure everything listed on Etsy was coded so I can use my Etsy card reader for both charges and cash sales. I was careful to pack things in some logical  order. Although, I decided to take a lot more stock than usual, I tried to follow how Kevin would pack the car and I actually got everything to fit.

But by this morning, worry started creeping into my head. Luckily Anna offered to help on  mornings through out the weekend. She's also adding a few of her items with mine. And neighbor Phyllis plans to come by on afternoons to  give me a break.

After setting up the tent and carefully anchoring the tables and bins this afternoon I worried all the way home that I had forgotten to do something or hadn't anchored everything properly.

Its just not the same. Kevin did so much. He had a big part in doing shows. There were all of these things I didn't have to think about, because those were his tasks. And everything ran pretty smoothly.

Most of all I miss the joy. He would talk to customers, tell them what processes I undertook for each piece. He'd take many pictures through out the weekend and put them on our website. I closed it a while ago. He'd wander talking to vendors we knew and make new friends with others. He would buy small treasures and bring me treats.

I loved looking back in the tent behind the tables, where he'd be reading a book, listening to a baseball game or just sitting there, taking it all in. I hardly ever worried back then. We both enjoyed doing this together.

When Kevin started feeling sick, we stopped doing shows.

I know he will be with me in my heart. I just hope I don't screw up. So please send me any good luck and best wishes you can spare. This weekend I need them.

Swamp Fest