Friday, April 28, 2017

Camp Thundercraft: Urban Craft Uprising Creates A Weekend Camp for Small Businesses

Last month I went to camp...Camp Thundercraft! Because I am a fan of the Urban Craft Uprising indie craft shows in Seattle, I saw information via their Facebook Page about their new camp for small business owners/makers. How could I resist? 
The weekend event was held on Vashon Island (a short ferry ride from Seattle) at Camp Burton, a rustic waterfront camp with cabins and meeting facilities. When I got an email with my cabin assignment, I knew it was real. 

I had never been to camp as a child (apart from a wonderful Girl Scout overnight), so the only reference I had were scenes from The Parent Trap. I ordered a sleeping bag on Amazon and was giddy with the idea of meeting other makers.

There were 5 of us in our cabin and I really connected with the girls right off the bat. We seemed to chose the same classes and spent a lot of time together at meals or walking between events. It reminded me of the best times in college when our time was our own and we could talk face-to-face about the things on our mind. It was very interesting to me that although we are all very dialed in to social media, this group was not lost on their phones the whole weekend. We understood that this was a rare opportunity to connect and we weren't going to squander it.

On Friday night after a grand potluck dinner, we broke out into groups and talked about the highs and lows of business/making and discussed the tools we use to make life easier. It was terrific.

There is something reassuring about talking to other women who run their own small businesses. Filing taxes, iPhone credit card apps and business card font issues can almost be discussed with a glance. We've been there, done that. Our experiences were similar enough that we could skip the basics and really communicate about the solutions. It felt wonderful.

You know what else I loved? Encouraging others. My favorite moment was when a group of us admired someone's art collage and encouraged her to pursue scanning and selling it as a print (something that can be sold over and over) vs. selling it only once as an original. She was thrilled that we saw a larger audience for her work and we felt like we helped someone to imagine the steps to a broader revenue stream.

The camp had morning and afternoon classes available on so many different topics (wholesale and private labeling your work, product styling and photography, DIY business taxes & record keeping) that choosing just one each session was difficult. A plus is that the organizers have promised class notes & resources available online after camp, so we can always investigate something we missed. 

You know what else was great? We now have our own Facebook group. I can pop over there and remind myself of a name or business website with just a click. We can easily stay connected and share relevant information as we learn it. This type of connection helps us to remember each other and I look forward to attending the Urban Craft Uprising events and seeking out some of my new friends.

On Saturday evening, we took a breather from the din of conversation to enjoy some tea & macaroons (mine was tie-dyed!) while we reflected on camp and what message we wanted to come away with. We all wrote a note to our future selves on pretty stationary by Annie's Art & Press knowing that it will be mailed to us when we need a kick in the pants just before the rush of the 2017 holiday season. 
On Sunday morning, before breakfast in the main lodge, some of us took a cup of coffee down to walk along the shoreline. It was so very quiet and peaceful that I didn't want to leave. 

I could have had a session on planning and implementing a social media timeline while sitting here like a bump on a log. The irony of that is not lost on me, but it still feels like a great idea.

After losing power for a spell on Friday night, we really lucked out with the weather that weekend. Look at the sand dollar (above) that my new friend, Becka found for me to photograph. The tide was low and so many treasures were exposed. As a Michigan girl, the opportunity to see shells on the shore are only possible on a tropical vacation. Seeing them here so close to my new home was a thrill.

Since I am new to the Pacific Northwest, my main objective for camp was to meet creative people living in this area. Where do you shop for materials? What's it like to sell at Pike Place Market? I am not settled enough to take the world by storm, but I am ready to make some friends and start exploring a new normal. 

I really had a great time at Camp Thundercraft. I met some very interesting women (and one cool ceramicist named Sean), got my head around the phenom called Instagram and I left with a list a mile long to tweak and improve this creative life.

What more could I ask for really? Bravo, Urban Craft Uprising, I am your newest biggest fan.

P.S. Don't you love the fabric the top of this post? I toyed with the idea of making myself a travel makeup bag for Camp Thundercraft, but then I talked myself out of it. Mistake! Always err on the side of super cute.  

#urbancraftuprising #campthundercraft #vashonisland #creativelife #seattle

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Seattle: Birthday Dinner at Scout

Dinner at Scout within the Thompson Seattle hotel was delicious. I ordered the rather manly dinner of a New York Strip Steak and when it was placed before me, this whole scene came together. This image could double as a promotional photo for my ANA cigar box purses, don't you think?
Our birthday celebration filled the 2 tables inside Scout's indoor wooden gazebo. The design definitely makes the party seem private while still being accessible. 
We took our time, enjoyed great drinks, a lovely meal and a chance to catch up on conversation. I highly recommend this chic spot in Seattle.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Seattle: Nest: Day and Night

This view from the rooftop bar Nest at Thompson Seattle confirms what you thought, only the eagles have it better. 

We were celebrating a friend's birthday last week with dinner at Scout (inside Thompson Seattle) and we arrived a tad early, so we went up to Nest to have a drink and enjoy the sun.

I ordered a citrus mocktail and enjoyed it while watching the Washington State ferries travel back and forth to Bainbridge Island. 

Though I am so very happy to be living in the same city as my husband in a beautiful new house, I am still grappling with the reality of moving to the Pacific Northwest. This isn't temporary. Our house is Michigan has been sold and my friends of 20 years are trapped on the other side of my glass monitor, residing within Facebookland. 

When I am in my home office, life feels weird. When I am in a big city on a weeknight looking at this view, life feels exciting.

After a delicious dinner, we returned to Nest where the management was holding the indoor corner lounge for the birthday girl and her guests.
I dashed between the raindrops out on the rooftop deck to take this photo. From left to right, you can see the blue arc of Century Link Field (home of Seattle Seahawks football), a cruise ship docked in Puget Sound with her lights ablaze, the Great Wheel Ferris wheel and then the bright red sign "Public Market" at the entrance to the famous Pike Place market, where fresh fish are thrown and fresh flowers are photographed. 

What a view! 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Cigar Box Purse POP UP Shop during Issaquah WINE WALK

Announcing my first POP UP Shop for cigar box purses 
in the Pacific Northwest!

Troy Salon (195 Front Street, Studio C, Issaquah,WA) 
is generously hosting me during the 
Issaquah WINE WALK on Friday, May 5 from 6-9 pm.

Come see a grand display of one-of-a-kind ANA cigar box purses. Each purse is a signed and numbered art piece.
The inside of each purse is just gorgeous - hand lined with fabric and matching gussets (to help keep the contents inside), velcro closure (for added security), tiny metal feet and an 
ANA ceramic logo tag. 

I use real cigar boxes and carefully select only the ones in the best condition to make into a purse. I try to preserve all labels too - except the smoking warning, those I remove when I can.

 Talk about a conversation piece! My purses have been sold in the Ritz Carlon Hotel, within resort gift shops and shipped individually to diserning buyers around the country. 

My kiln-fired ceramic ANA logo distinguishes my unique brand.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter Cake: Ombre Effect

It was our first Easter in the house and I wanted to celebrate! I had saved a beautiful image of an ombre cake that I wanted to make. It had 5 layers in varying shades of pink and peach. I used white cake mix and dyed each layer with gel food coloring. I made homemade buttercream and sprinkled pastel jelly beans on top. The effect was dramatic and beautiful. The only problem? A cake this huge requires a really big plate! I had to pull out dinner plates to hold each giant slice.  

#easterdessert #ombre #baking

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Pysanka Easter Eggs

What a gift! Do you love these as much as I do? A friend sent me a set of Ukrainian Easter egg sleeves in the style called Pysanka

The egg sleeves are incredibly easy to use and since I had some faux Easter eggs (made of plastic, but textured to feel more like a real egg) I will be able to keep these treasures forever.

The instructions were to slide an egg sleeve onto an egg, rest the covered egg in a large spoon and quickly dunk the egg in a pot of boiling water. "Sloop!" the sleeve shrinks in seconds to fit the egg perfectly. I realize now that this technology has probably been around for a while and used for children's egg kits featuring superheros etc., but this is my first experience with it. 

If you are celebrating Easter, I hope that you have a glorious and meaningful holiday weekend. 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Paas Botanical Easter Egg transfers

I made my first little instruction video. This is a 2 minute video on how to apply the new Paas Botanical transfers to faux Easter eggs. They are so beautiful and I can keep them for years.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Spring Market at the Skagit Valley Fairgrounds

The Spring Market at the Skagit Valley Fairgrounds was exactly what I was hoping it would be: a kooky mix of vintage finds, garden art and upcycled items to buy and blend into your own d├ęcor. I had collected a handful of promotional fliers for upcoming antique shows at the Vintage Garden Market section within the Northwest Flower & Garden Show. Show exhibitors were promoting their upcoming events and I noticed that all of "the good ones" were going to be selling their wares at this Spring Market.

I invited a new friend of mine named Amy to come along on a day of gallivanting around the Skagit Valley. I told her that I'd pick her up at 10, we'd drive 1 1/2 hours up to the fairgrounds and spend as long as we wanted shopping the fair. It was a beautiful day and we had high hopes. This market was fun because almost every booth had flower arrangements for sale or moss covered baskets or little live plants in interesting pots. It made the rusty-dusty items seem bright and happy.
Our adventure paid off almost immediately! I collect Chelsea china and I am always on the hunt for dinner plates and unusual serving pieces - score! I bought these 3 open pedestal cups and one large dinner plate from the first booth I looked in! I tried to explain to Amy what a unique find this was and she was tickled that I found something right off the bat.
I noticed that many booths had botanical prints and some of the drawings had been glittered. They weren't necessarily old, but they were beautiful and interesting. I haven't glittered anything in a while and it made me want to get back into it.
Amy and I were both drawn to a booth full of vintage watch parts called Steam Punk Junq. I knew immediately that I'd like to buy a few sets of watch faces and make a necklace by combining them with vintage buttons. You can see how my first necklace (above) is taking shape.
We went to this show on April 1st and Easter was right around the corner. Many of the booths had vintage Easter cards and decorations. Amy found a set of Easter cookie cutters in their original box in this booth. So sweet!

We had a wonderful time and even managed to drive around and see the fields of yellow daffodils in bloom. It was a great day. Meet you there next year?

*NOTE: 2018 This event name and date seems to have changed. I'll confirm and post new info here.

#springmarket #girlfriend #shoppingday #skagitvalley

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Skagit Valley Daffoldils: April 1

"This is Anne Reeves, reporting from the Skagit Valley..."

It's gorgeous in the valley, but the tulips are not ready! Spring has been late this year. Don't worry, just give it a little time. If you are in the area and need a lift after a long winter, there are fields of yellow daffoldils in bloom. 

What I love about this modern age is that you can "like" a Facebook Page for an event (Skagit Valley Tulip Festival) and get real time photos. When the flowers make the festival, we all need current information to show up at the right time.

I was in the Mt. Vernon area for the April 1st Vintage Spring Market at the Skagit Valley Fairgrounds and my friend and I drove the tulip route in case we could see some signs of spring. These daffodils were just what we needed!