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1. In addition to your wallet and cell phone, you can generally easily find extra safety pins, zip ties, a #1 spring clamp and an “emergency” pair of pliers in your purse.

2. You own a dolly with all terrain tires.

3. Your car boot has a 2A:10BC fire extinguisher (recently serviced and tagged), at least 6 burlap wrapped Pepsi liter bottles full of rocks or cat sand, duct tape, a spool of heavy twine, extra burlap and a package of extra tent stakes in it at all times.

4. You can fix anything, and I do mean anything, with twine, a zip tie or a spring clamp. At least, long enough to hold up until Sunday at 5pm. If there isn’t a strong and gusty wind.

5. You know that just about anything can be used as a table riser, in a pinch.

6. You have at least two bins of extra lengths of muslin, assorted cotton print bedspreads and remnant bits of “pretty” fabric to drape over and hide a multitude of sins. Like, that piece of “anything” you just used as a table riser because it was a pinch.

6. Heavy twine = “Elizabethan Duct Tape.”

7. You’ve spent at least $100 this season on those heavy canvas painter’s tarps from Lowe’s. So versatile…

8. You have two different costume collections.  A set of costumes that you have to wear for those Faires that have strict costuming guidelines. These are probably earth-toned, involve steel boning, and about 35 lbs of fabric.  Then there are the costumes that you’re actually happy to wear, when you are doing the Faires that let you get away with anything you want. Yay purple! Turquoise! Wings! Glitter!

Because you are a pretty, pretty princess.

9. Fairies are real. You see them at work every day!

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10. Yes, you did spend $250 on an in period belt to hold your Square and cell phone, and after an hour spent arguing with your accountant about it, you can still see no good reason why the IRS won’t let you deduct it. It’s for work.

11. Costume pieces – machine washable vs. artisan made hand dyed silk? The conflict is real.

12. But, why won’t the IRS let me deduct a pair of $700 custom made 7 button faire boots? They’re for work!

13. You can tuck, knot and roll any configuration of any costume and  use a port-a-potty without incident after drinking mead all day. You can’t make change without a calculator after all that mead, but you can pee without incident.

14. Your “emergency first aid kit” includes a jar of dill pickles.

15. You are always really happy when you see that one guy who brings the crepes and gyro booth down from Portland. He makes the good coffee. All day. On site. You can live on his gyros for 2 days without a problem, unlike the teriyaki chicken two booths down.

16. If you never eat another $5 stick full of teriyaki chicken again…

17. You have a bin devoted to “seasonal” plastic flower garlands and ribbon arrangements so that your booth decor matches spring fertility festivals OR harvest festivals.

18. You see nothing at all unusual about bowing to the Queen as she swans by, waving at some fairies, and then calling out, “Hey Captain America! Nice boots!” within the same 5 minute span.

19. Beagle in a pirate suit? Bearded dragon with tiny resin wings? Kitty in a fairy costume? You’ve seen it all. In fact, their owners routinely bring them by to say hello.

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20. This seems pretty normal. Yeah? What about it? Minotaur.
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21. Yes, The Doctor did drop by your booth that one time at that one faire… hello, sweetie!
Meeting the Doctor

Got more? I’d love to hear ’em!

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The saga continues.

Some of you may remember that we’ve been having some ongoing issues with keeping our cat Bug in the house when it’s summer and the sliding glass doors are open.

When we moved in to Spacious Green Acres, we made sure that we had a screen door that latched very securely, so that the cat could not get out or slide it open.

The saga continues

I’m happy to report that the door totally works. The cat can not, in fact, slide the door open.

Yep.

That went well.

We have said goodbye to spacious Nuthouse Estates and moved into even more spacious Green Acres. It’s a great little duplex and we kind of love everything about it. Needless to say, it’s been kind of a busy month.

I’m still living in boxes, mostly, but I’ve got the living room unpacked. I am happy to have my friendly art and my books around me.

Also, high speed internet has been hooked up, which does not suck one little bit. Oh Netflix, I am so happy to have you again. Look at all the series I’ve missed!

Green Acres has a fireplace!

We can’t seem to escape that 60’s era wood paneling! Fortunately it’s just one short wall.

 

 

 

Back to the sofa and my ice packs… if I don’t emerge from this pile of boxes in a few weeks, send Mounties! Lots and lots of Mounties!

Kearney Park Renaissance Faire has come and gone. This was a nice site and it looked like the actors and battle re-enactors were really having a good time. The weather was quite pleasant, though it was foggy enough at night that our canvas was soaked through each morning.

We saw some familiar faces – Mr. James Fraser and Mrs. Claire Beauchamp of the Outlander saga were strolling about the village green at one point. I always enjoy the cosplay that is out at these small faires, but at every event there is one that is just a standout. These guys did a fantastic job, just fantastic.

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Gate was low and our sales were disappointing, but we got some vendor leads on a few other festivals to try out next year. Time spent with family who live in the area was nice and the Captain came up for the weekend, which was also fantastic.

And then… it was Monday.

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This picture pretty much sums up the Monday I had.

See, I drive a 2007 Honda with one of those neato programmable car keys, the ones with the clicky buttons that unlock your door from across the parking lot. Well my fancy clicky car keys decided they were tired of mountain living and didn’t want to return to spacious Nuthouse Estates. They stowed away in the van and went to Los Angeles with Captain Sexypants this morning (at 2am), instead. This went undiscovered until Burbank, and precipitated a panicked text at around 6am, which precipitated a panicked phone call.

Locksmiths might have happened. Tow trucks became involved.

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This is Tony.  He’s Italian and really friendly and he saved me. Call Tony if you ever break down in Fresno. 10/10, highly recommend!

The upshot of Monday is that the Fresno Honda dealership charges $350 for one new programmable key.

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Because, fuck you, that’s why.

Thanks for that, Honda. I mean, thanks so much for having my key blank in town and for going to get it and for making my car drivable again. I’m super grateful. But really, $350? Is it made of gold? Are there tiny hobbits inside the fob? Is it run on elfin magic? Pixie dust? What is up with that?

Oh and the wifi at the Honda dealership? Totally broken. Because, fuck you, that’s why.

All of this is obviously why God invented wine.

Can All Hallows have come and gone? Yep. We had a fantastic time! I always love this fun local festival. The costumes, the kids, the music…

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These parents were good sports and obviously understood that they are living props for their charming and adorable baby. Who is here, obviously WINNING at Halloween. If this picture is any indication, he is also winning at parents and at life. Be happy, little family. You are awesome.

 

There’s just something about this magical little fall festival.

 

I love to see all the familiar faces, love the kids and the air of excitement that pervades the fairgrounds all weekend. It is just so unique out of all the events that I do. We had a deluge of rain and thunder on Saturday, but folks were in very good spirits. The local coffee roaster who had set up on our row was happy to meet the needs of the wet and shivering crowd, as did The Kitchen Witch with her amazing and magical teas.

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I am here to tell you that it is not possible to get too much of the Wicked Tinkers, they just get better and better. And yes, before you ask, that is a Tinker on the table. I’d make a joke about not looking up, but, well someone probably already made it.

So that was the end of October. It is hard to believe that it is November already. Where did the year go? Weren’t we just growing tomatoes and blueberries? I just sent out the first of the Autumn Earring club offerings.

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Teahouse theme was “Russia”, and they got a gorgeous array of richly hued natural sapphires.

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Fairy Tales theme was “The Firebird” and they got rubies, tanzanite, moonstone, carnelian and yellow garnets.

Autumn is my favorite time of year on the mountain. The oak, aspen and dogwoods are turning, their yellows and reds splashed against the evergreen sugar pine and cedar trees. Much to the delight of the cats, our daily average temperatures have dropped enough that we are using the wood stove every day. Team Woodstove is committed to outdoing last season’s synchronized napping record, and if the pre-season effort is anything to go by, I think they just might do it. I am also delighted by the woodstove and might have contributed to the synchronized napping effort once or twice…

The Folsom Renaissance Faire was a blast. I’ve been consistently impressed with the folks from Renaissance Productions all season and this Faire was probably my favorite of them all so far.

The Cap is not doing any more shows with me this year (gosh darn that need to earn a living) so I could not use our wooden market stall. It takes two people to set up, at minimum. One of those people must know how to use the power tools and how all the bits go together. Of the two of us, I am not that person. The alternative was the pop up that we use at non-Faire festivals.

One problem with using pop ups at Faire is that you have to disguise them in clever and crafty ways.

It’s a good thing that I am both clever and crafty.

The new tent

So here are some important things that I learned when I was adapting the pop up for Faire.
1. When you dag a canvas wraparound (dags are the little scallops) that was 40 feet long to start, you are basically doubling the amount of hem around which you will have to painstakingly fold and iron those little bits of bias tape.

You might want to pack a snack.

2. Did I mention you’re ironing that shit on, with your iron set on “Wool”? Buy some band-aids and burn cream.

3. When doing interesting things at 3am with fabric, toxic chemicals, and a very hot iron, it’s more than likely that you will get more help than you need, whether you asked for it or not.

Please, stop helping.

4. When the iron-on Velcro that was supposed to hold the roof and back wall of your booth together fails spectacularly, do not fall to the ground and sob hysterically. That’s what G-d made spring clamps for.

5. This remains true when the Velcro that (in theory) anchors the wraparound to the edges of your roof fabric also fails.

6. Spilled Fray-Check will inevitably wind up dried into clumps in the long-haired cat’s tail. You will probably never get it all out.

In the end it all worked out and I spent <$200 to get it all together, if you don’t count having to replace the iron and ironing board.

Not bad for $200 and a little elbow grease!

 

It’s been a busy few weeks and the next few will be busy too. It has all come down to one crazy push before we end our 2014 show season with the Sonora Christmas Festival in November. Applications for 2015 are already going out, if you can believe it. The wheel, it keeps on spinning…

We had SUCH a nice time at the KMVR Celtic Festival.

The weather was, alas, not so congenial all the time. It thundered, roared and rained like mad. Our booth held up pretty well overall. I was pretty amazed at the hardy Northern California festival-goers – they were total troopers and came out in droves.

On Saturday night, we ate organic crepes, drank hot sweet spice tea, and danced in the rain to the lively tunes of the Screaming Orphans. Joy was rather overflowing at times.

Also (and it is entirely possible that it was not an “also” but rather, the first thing I noticed when we arrived) there was a pie truck.

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I might have eaten six warm, freshly baked, hand pies.

Blackberry.

Actually, let’s just be real, I totally ate all those warm and fresh blackberry hand pies over the course of the festival weekend.

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It takes a lot of pie to keep smiles like this intact.

We had the best time ever!

Such a difference from when we were sitting in our booth at Crafted, waiting for crowds of shoppers who never came (though I hear that it’s a little more lively there now and that the market is really picking up steam, which is great news). A former co-vendor once said how glad she was that she had a “home” because it meant that she never had to go do an outside show again. I am genuinely glad that it has all worked out for her. Just because that particular model didn’t work out for my business doesn’t mean it isn’t a great model for hers. The model that resulted in stagnation for me was, perhaps, exactly what she needed to bloom.

I guess that’s one of the great things about small, creative businesses. It isn’t a one size fits all thing. We all have a niche, somewhere!

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