Sunday, June 5, 2011

They say the Economy is Bad...

And it is, but like I always say, the ones with the $$ will continue to spend it. These are the folks I need to tap into with my work.

An example is 'Christopher Ross', a name I keep seeing in selling venues. I wondered who/what that is, and checked it out.

It turns out he's a designer who made a line of belts in the 1980s with large buckles shaped like animals and other things. They've become hugely popular from being worn by Sarah Jessica Parker's Carrie in the 'Sex in the City' movie. That's all it took, and the things are selling for big money to avid collectors.

They are really well made, beautiful, and go for hundreds of dollars, even for the buckles alone without their belts. Ross has reproduced much of his 80s line, with some pieces running upwards of $1,000.
Yes, over $1,000 for a belt. The original 1980s pieces are on fire right now.

I did a Google Shopping search for 'Christopher Ross belt', the results are below:

Christopher Ross

Ride the wave.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Peace Pole (Nine Eleven)

When It Happened, we froze.
We cried, we hugged, we spoke to many a stranger
like never before.

We lit candles and sang,
and had to explain something we didn't understand ourselves
to children too young for such news,
because for all we knew,
we may be next.

It's good for us, in a sick way
'makes us strong' they say.
Has brought us together and now we will never
look at the
the same way again.

The dewy morning walks
with only me and the birds,
breaking the mist of dawn.
The occasional soft hum
of a small plane
is now a threatening drone,
potential cause for concern.

Millions in sync diving deep Within
our hearts to find the light,
uniting our brains to pull it out.

One common goal-
to open the gates of infinite
Send it out like a flood over the earth and Beyond.

White to gold, it streams
covering it as a blanket, saturating everything
until all is aglow in unison.

While at The National Theater
a tribe of the faithful
anchor this worldwide event
with the planting of a pole.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Writing Can Be a Dangerous Business

Vast white ghost-faced beast
beckons--no, it taunts:
"C'mon, I dare you!'

I pull out my secret weapon:
"Hah! I'm a painter, I've seen your kind before!"
I wait--we sit nose to nose, eye to eye

Sneak attack: I scribble, doodle, try my old favorite, penmanship ovals
in 2 directions.
It winks at me; I think I hear a chuckle.

Shift my weight, stretch, go get some coffee.
While pouring the sugar, I hear
faint rumblings way back there somewhere.
Sounds like an opening line!

I head back from the kitchen, shushing the inner dialogue,
like trying to retain a dream before it fades.
Rush to the desk--

I take a walk, my favorite all-purpose medicine
being very careful not to call it 'giving up'
No, no--I'm Taking a Break.

Into the air, nice bright sun,
birds, squirrels, carbon monoxide.

Check the pickup time on the mail box (as if it ever changes)
Cross the street and suddenly, while passing the center line rushing
to beat the truck making a left turn (no blinker)
words fly out of their backroom hideout
faster than I can record them
in the part of my brain that does that.

I barely manage to get across the road in one piece
and fumble in my pockets for a napkin, wrapper, anything to write on.

Rush toward a nearby deli
completely disheveled and slightly unhinged,
cross the rows of gas pumps where everyone is pulling out at once,
hop a few puddles, bound up the steps,
almost knock over a smallish man with his hot coffee

Get a pen and some looks from the clerk,
only to find the change in lighting or something else caused me to experience
a total blank.

But I got the final laugh--I wrote this.

It's a Spring Thing

Well, hello again.

I've been wading through the bags and boxes of papers that I am currently buried under, and in the middle of throwing out 12 year old household bills and receipts ("you never know when you might need them!"), magazine clippings, design notes and 'to-do' lists that I kept for who-knows-what-reason, I came across a bunch of old writing of mine that I completely forgot about. It's mostly in 'raw' form, stuff I scribbled down in a moment of clarity and/or emotion, and put aside to work on later. I thought I'd share some of it 'as is' because frankly, it's pretty neat, I think :o) Anyway, here we go. This first one was written during that time when winter has long overstayed its welcome and I desperately search for a sign of spring, in any form it cares to take:

One more monotone morning
cursing this annual February madness
Sick of drab, lifeless grey
of sinuses and lungs chilled from the inside.

Constricted, bound in too many layers
of wool and Thinsulate,
I begin my daily walk, a stubborn
ritual in defiance of a northeastern climate.

Greeted by remnants of slush the color of carbon monoxide
and bits of litter embedded in hazy soot-speckled ice.

The snap of a freeze dried leaf is
but no less dead than the twigs
crackling beneath my feet.

Between my grumblings I notice a faint something familiar in the breeze.
It smells--slightly green.

It seems the Not Quite Prodigal Mom returns,
just when we thought she had gone off to a better, warmer place.
Like a frustrating wayward lover,
away just long enough to forget
his scent, his warmth,
has face, but for a vestige of form.

But she does return, reminding me
how she fuels us, feeds us,
endless flow of energy below every surface
humming, vibrating, rumbling,
calling from every brook and stone.

Air full of sweet healing life
as cold shocked soil contorts in response, heaving under
the brittle blades of last year's lawns.

Tips of branches near bursting,
reaching outward to a new sun
warmer, brighter, friendly and true.

The stuff painters dream of
and live to duplicate, but can't.
Bird, plant, animal wait.
Wait for the glorious eruption that is
Life Renewed.

Wait to drink the moist fullness of a gentle shower
laden with lush greens and rich browns,
and dare I say--sultry.
Wait for that outstretched hand,
the cloak of security
to wrap us all in the assurance that
we are fed, and all is well again.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Love or Something Like It (musings)

And now for something completely different...

LOVE. What a word. It means so many things and at the same time, is an enigma. No one seems to be able to define it, really. It's almost 4am and I'm here writing because I'm going to, as Papa Roach puts it 'tear my heart open'. I need closure on some things and to lift a weight that is bogging me down. Hopefully, this will work and as a bonus, if it helps anyone else understand life a little bit, all the better.

As we all know, there are many different kinds of love: for friends, parents, children, animals, beauty, country, music, art, God etc. The ever-elusive 'unconditional love' seems to be the hardest to pull off, and for many people, the hardest to receive. The word seems to be thrown around so often and so easily that it's kind of lost its power.

I'm listening to the radio and every other song has the word in it, movies bombard us with it and unfortunately, we are raised from the start to believe that there are certain specific qualities one has to have in order to receive love. Just read any fairy tale with their 'he saw her and fell in love with her instantly'. Baloney. We're fed this from childhood and it's misleading at best, damaging at worst.

I've been told many times in different relationships 'I love you', and when I really think about it, most of them really didn't 'love' me as much as I filled a void, they needed a mama, they were lonely and anyone suitable would do, they were fascinated by me or any number of other reasons, none of which are horrible, but weren't love. I say this because they really didn't 'know' me. I would say a few did, but one or both of us were either too young and/or inexperienced to really know the difference.

The longest relationship I've had was 7 years, and I honestly don't know what would have happened if he didn't die young, but it wasn't one of those situations where it was a starry-eyed, passion-fest, but good because we were alike enough to get along well, but different enough that we could give each other room to breathe and grow. We were a good 'fit'.

Another one years ago, and again more recently, turned out to be one of the most puzzling, frustrating and damaging (to me) times I've ever had and even then, love was spoken. I think now it was too much too soon as they say, and something that just had to happen either way. Neither of them could understand why I wouldn't take their bad treatment, as if this is what thought my job was.

While no one can define what love is, I do know what it isn't. If someone harms you physically, emotionally or otherwise, it's not love. If it was, they'd not be able to even think of doing anything like that. It's not changing the person, either. I'm not talking about telling them that they're hurting themselves when they are, but if you love someone, you love 'them' and not 'them with alterations'.

This has always been my main problem; guys are attracted to my being smart/independent/honest/whatever and sooner or later, those very things are what cause the problems. I don't get this really. I'm an open book; I hide nothing and often, unlike my sisters, will put my 'worst foot forward' so that everything's out in the open and the person can decide if they want to deal with it. No surprises.

Everyone, no matter who they are, no matter what their upbringing, station or background, when it comes down to it, wants someone to 'get' them, to understand and know who they are and how they got there. This takes work, and it's much easier to just look at someone, hear something, anything, and think they love them for that, but that's a disaster in the making. I want someone to love me because I'm kind, honest, compassionate, whatever I may be and not because they want to feel 'big' or because they need to treat me like crap because of their own unresolved issues. Fixing that stuff is something one can only do for themselves. I know, I deal with my own issues every day, and it's work.

Ideally, both people will acknowledge their own issues and shortcomings and you help each other be the best people you can be for yourself, and then for each other. That's love--helping someone with something because it needs doing, not because you're going to get some prize out of it in the end.

There are no 'standards' for love. You can't go by old worn out fantasy-driven things like butterflies, not eating, walking on air and all that romance novel business. You really have to know yourself and what you want and need before even thinking you're ready to be in love. If not, it's probably a crush or temporary infatuation that will fill a void that can only be filled by introspection and growing up.

When I hear that someone is 'completed' or made 'whole' by someone else, it bothers me because we can't take on the responsibility of love if we can't stand on our own as a person first, and need someone else to make us whole.
Sure, we are inspired by someone we love, energized, motivated, comforted, elated even, but that can't be dependent on them; it needs to happen because they brought these things out of us. There's a big difference.

When I first started seeing Jerry (the man who died), he asked me what I was looking for. I said that I didn't want to be his 'boss' or him, my 'boss' but rather, a partnership. I also said that I was not going to stop working and (because he had 2 children and had recently split with their mother) that I wanted him to be with me because of me being who I am, and not because he wanted to fill a space in the family unit that was now empty. On other words, I needed him to be able to still be him, even if I wasn't in the picture. He agreed, so it was good.

Another situation involved someone who for many different reasons, none of them having to do with me, spent most of his time telling me all that was 'wrong' with me and at the same time, telling me he loved me. This is very confusing because as I said before, this stuff doesn't come with conditions, it just is. Honestly, none of us can help how they look, talk, walk, think or anything else and the deal is, take it or leave it. Hell, I'm not thrilled with the way I look and I don't need to be reminded of it, especially by someone who claims to care about me. Looks are way overrated to begin with, and is the easiest thing to change and the least important part of a person. I couldn't even tell you if those who I loved (or thought I loved) were good looking or not in the traditional sense, because when you love someone, they are beautiful automatically.

There is no such thing as "You should change because you love him/her" or the other way around. I don't care how many women's magazines or websites say otherwise, it's all crap. You always regret it and you always feel like you were 'bought' to some degree because you are selling part of yourself off when you wouldn't have done so otherwise.

So no one thinks I'm a total bitch on wheels, let me clarify: I'm not talking about doing something for the other person because you in your heart, want to, but rather those times when (like the fellows I describe above and below) that you change something only because you think (or are told) that if you don't do it, the person will leave you. That's in no way shape or form love, and never, ever works out.

I had a boyfriend years ago who wanted to marry me, and to convince me was going to buy a beautiful old Victorian house I loved and give it to me, just to get me to agree to it. The trade-off was that I needed to wear my hair a certain way, dress and act a certain way, and (a little-known artsfarm factoid) wear a bra, something I hadn't done since I was 14. I balked at all this, and every one of my girlfriends thought I was out of my mind. They yelled at me, told me I was crazy, he's gorgeous, wealthy, etc and said they would take him up on it if I didn't. I told them to go for it.

For just a minute, I tried to imagine myself going along with this, not because of the money (which I hated) but because I did like him a lot, but when I really thought about it, I couldn't see myself sitting across from the table every morning and evening for the rest of my life from someone I knew wouldn't be with me if I was just being me. So I ended it. He didn't understand and got very upset, but that's ok. Within a year, he wound up marrying someone who looked like me, but who was pliable so I'm sure he's happy.

I guess I ranted on about this long enough. Even if no one reads it, it's ok because I just needed to get this out in some form, even if just into the ether.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The $47 Bag of Cat Litter

I walk a lot, always have. I don't drive, but even if I did, I love walking and would do it anyway. Yesterday I needed to go to the market and would normally have walked the 1-1/2 miles there, but since we're buried under 8 tons of snow I decided to take a cab. Another time I'd have put off the trip until I could walk, but I needed cat litter and if you have a cat, you know that's something you can't wait on.

When I lived in upstate NY, $5.50 would get you anywhere within about a 5-mile radius in town, another $1 for the next town over. I'd plan my trips to get everything done at the same time, so it didn't cost much at all. So when I called the local cab company, I didn't think to ask how much it would be since in everything costs more in NY, so I thought it would be ok.

We went to the market, and when I asked the guy to pick me up in an hour, and how much it was, he said 'Well, it's local so it'll be $18". I confirmed what I was thinking: "This is round trip, right?". He smiled and said that no, it was for a one-way trip, meaning it would be $36 to get there and home.

I literally got lightheaded hearing this. I'm not rich, and even if I was, would never give in to price-gouging. We were already at the store, so I had to pay him for the trip there. It turned out that the sidewalks were clean all the way there and I could have walked to the store and taken the cab back, but I didn't know this until afterwards. So I was stuck.

I was so freaked out that I had to walk for a few blocks just to get my head back to normal. I got the litter (Plug: 'Feline Pine' is the BEST) and a few other things. I didn't get everything I planned to buy because I had to offset the extra expense. I went home paying another $18. So $36 there and back, plus $10.99 for the litter comes to $46.99.

I'll shred newspapers and douse it with baking soda for a day or two before I'll ever do that again.

I was trying to figure out how this was possible; why such a difference in price from one place to another, then it hit me. In NY, many people didn't have cars and a lot of them are poor, but have to get to work, doctors, etc. There were about a half dozen cab companies in my town alone, so there was competition and price wars, similar to what gas stations do. There are also buses into NYC and even a 'Dial-a-Bus', a little van that you could schedule a local pick up with for only $1. But here in suburbia, there are no buses, no private services, nothing. There are tons of McMansions and more Lexuses and SUVs than I care to count. So the demand isn't there, nor is the competition. But, they're all doing the same thing--driving a mile or two and that's it. Capitalism at its finest I guess.

I need to take a walk.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Valentine's Day: Yeah or Bleh?

I have an online shop, and like any self-respecting retailer, am wondering if I should do anything special for Valentine's Day. I know my fellow entrepreneurs are right now making and listing everything red and/or heart-shaped they can, but since I have mixed feelings for the holiday, am still not sure what to do. I do like the idea of dedicating a day to l'amour but at the same time, it sends the message to some people that it's ok to act like an ass 364 days a year and then somehow 'make up for it' on the 14th. That doesn't cut it, folks. We should be nice and show others we care about them all the time, whenever the urge arises and not just when the mall tells us to.

There is one Valentine's Day tradition that I always thought was horrible. When I was in grammar school, one of the biggest days of the year was the day we made the Valentine's Day Mailbox. This was a big event, done with ritual seriousness. It was essentially a plain old cardboard carton wrapped in gift wrap, a slit cut into the top for depositing our cards. Then when the time came, we all stood around while some lucky student got to hand them out, usually yelling out names like it was a military mail call.

There was always at least one kid who didn't get a card, and that was the awful part. They would stand there empty handed, while everyone else swooned, blushed and giggled over secret admirers and 'be mine' sentiments. It was a cruel and unnecessary tradition, I think, and surely scarred more than a few kids well into adulthood. If you were one of those left out, you might as well have had the Plague for the next 2 weeks or so.

One would never know this now, but back then, I was painfully shy, extremely quiet, smart (not good if you're a girl!), a year younger than the rest of the class, left-handed (and yes, they tried to 'fix' me) and so skinny I needed rubber bands to keep my knee socks up (Catholic school). But even with all this, I still got at least one or two cards and so was spared the scorn that some of the others received.

One thing everyone noticed even back then: the girls who got the most cards were always the first ones to grow boobs. Some things never change, eh?

My first Valentine's Day gift was from my first boyfriend, Joey DiPasquale, a cute chubby kid with glasses, about a head shorter than me who always let me win when foot racing. He was 8 and I was 7. He gave me a little plastic change purse shaped like a bear's head, with googly wiggle eyes. Our 'relationship' consisted mainly of us running home after school together while our mothers walked behind us, saying how cute we were and planning our next 20 years. I have no idea what happened to Joey as he moved away after 3rd grade, but he was pretty cool from what I remember of him.

Many Valentine's Days later, my socks stay up just fine on their own, but I still don't think of Valentine's Day as a really good thing. I never could picture buying my guy boxer shorts with lips or hearts all over them, or one of those obnoxious singing, dancing stuffed animals that sound like crap and get dragged out of every stock room in the country at this time of year. I really hate those things. Maybe it's because I worked in retail for many years and without fail, at least once a day someone would walk down the aisle where they were and turn every single last one of them on at the same time. I'd want to throw them all into the incinerator, the stuffed animals too.

If you're still reading this, thanks. Let me know what you think about all this; I'd love to hear some opinions. Personally, I think leaving nice notes, giving flowers, kisses, hugs, little gifts, etc should be something we do without prompting, and done 'just because'. There are a million ways to show someone you care, and you can do it anytime and most of the time, it's free. How cool is that?

So what say you?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


First we had to deal with the "Orphaned Works Act" which steals the ownership of artists' work by stripping away the right to automatic copyright by creation/..publishing, forcing artists to either pay prohibitively enormous amounts of money to own the rights to their own work,

then the incredibly damaging "Consumer Product Safety Information Act" of last year, the vagueness of which makes it virtually impossible to buy anything except mass-produced garbage sold by the same gigantic corporations that sat in to "help draft" the bill,

and recently, the battle to put the few remaining small/sustainable/organic farms out of business so that we are forced to eat and drink the poisonous, non-nutritive crap that factory farms spew out,

(and don't even get me started on the seed industry, our total refusal to even start seriously considering alternative energy, or the uselessness of the FDA & AMA over their decades-long attacks on natural medicine and chiropractic/holistic healing, all to put more money in their pockets instead of healing people (but they will approve poison that can kill you, and feel as long as they add that microscopic disclaimer in there, it's ok).

Now our use of the internet will come under corporate control and influence as well (yes, more than it is now, and yes, you do pay for it and should have a say):

The FCC is rewriting the Net Neutrality law, which up until now, provides a built-in safeguard against corporations ( or anyone, for that matter) to tell you what to view, read or listen to, or influence it in any way. The changes will effectively leave us with the internet equivalent of "network TV' with all its pre-programmed material, brain-numbing (by design) whitewashed schlock and whatever else the sponsors want you to see (or not see), even down to what is or is not considered 'news'--all so a few behemoth-sized companies can make even more money at our expense.

Go here:

and start yelling--the deadline for public input is Jan14--TWO DAYS away.

This mess was hidden from the public just like the CPSIA which didn't become well-known until people on the internet caught wind of it and spread the word, months after the original draft was written up, and it almost made it through unaltered.
Nothing less then a FLOOD of calls, e-mails and letters from concerned small businesses (just like many of ours right here) telling their legislators that the bill would literally put them out of business and cause even more unemployment as it stood. It got them to take a closer look at the bill and get a few crucial things amended.

Check it out, and remember that if we can't stop a 'Soylent green' scenario, we can at least postpone it for a while.

Monday, December 7, 2009

"As Per Your Contract", or..."The Little Dictator"

Ok, I promised in the beginning there would be the occasional rant here, and it's been a while but this one really merits writing about. Hopefully, it will make those who do craft shows pay more attention and be somewhat selective in their choice of venue.
I've been doing all kinds of shows for years: craft shows, art shows, flea markets, antiques fairs, etc etc, and like anything else, there are good ones and crappy ones. The things that distinguish one kind from another is the way your entry fee is spent (or not).

I did everything from tiny little school & church ones to giant street fairs and since the fees keep going up at all of these things, have whittled it down to only the ones that are worth it.

Anyway, I did one this past weekend that was new to me, but I knew the place had been around for a long time, so figured give it a shot. It was at St.Philip's school in Clifton, NJ, and I shared the spot with my friend Claire. It was $40, which to me is pretty high for a school show, but often this indicates an established show with a good return for the $$.

Well, usually yes, but not this time.

1. First off, we requested a wall with electricity since it's Christmastime and we needed lights. The contract came and confirmed we had a wall with electricity.

-We got there and the woman running the thing told us to go to 'table 27' which was smack in the middle of the room, no wall anywhere, no electricity. Claire told her what was on the confirmation, and she said "Well, if you don't want that space, you can go in the hall."

Oh, REALLY? You have our money and now you're playing the 'And what are you going to do about it' game? Oh my.

Now, anyone who's ever done any of these shows knows that 'the hall' is basically Purgatory; it's where customers 'might' go if they have any money left after shopping the main room, and if even then, they'd have to know that there's a hall to begin with. You end up there if you send in your money at the last minute, which we didn't.

2. The contract also said that vendors "will be asked to remove commercially made merchandise".

-There were 5 or 6 other jewelry makers besides me, and 3 of them had at least half commerically-made stuff (yes I can tell), and one vendor's merchandise was 100% out of Fire Mountain's wholesale jewelry/gift catalogue. I guess since he bought 2 spaces, that was ok with them. Had I known, I would have brought half of my vintage shop and passed it off as 'made by someone a long time ago'.
There was also a vendor with a huge display of Christmas ornaments, most of which were made by 'someone' (probably them), but other things were machine made and right out of a gift catalogue. Nothing was done about any of this.

This is one thing that makers of any kind of craft/art have been griping about for years. It devalues the honest vendors' merchandise because people coming to a craft show want handmade, and they often can't tell what's what, if some vendors are selling things made by a 6 year old slave worker in some obscure village somewhere, and passing it off as their own work. Plus, you're supporting the very thing that today's handmade vendors are supposed to be uniting against: mass-produced, low-quality crap that profits only Big Business and exploits the poor and their children.
The customers trust us to be legit, and venues that allow mass-produced crap are making us all look like liars.

They all say 'no commercial merchandise', but they all don't enforce it, including this place. I am so sick of being told my things have to be handmade (which they always are), and then find that I'm set up next to Beanie Babies, Made-in-Somewhere cheap clothing, or fibre optic rose bouquets. It is fraud on the part of the venue, and is legitimate grounds for a refund, but try to get one without a lawyer and see what happens. Maybe we should start paying for our spaces with Monopoly money, and see how they react. ('Hey, it looks like real money, kind of, so what's the big deal?')

3-Contract Says: "vendor must not sell food of any kind".Right across from us was a table with nothing but chocolate-covered popcorn, Pringles, fruit, etc--all food.

And my favorite (it's a double, folks):

(a)Vendor "must stay for the entire show 9am-4pm or you will not be sent a contract for future craft fairs."


The place was a desert, complete with tumbleweeds, and you know why? Not one single ad, flier, sign, nothing anywhere except one right in front of the building, in which case you'd have to be going down that specific street to even know the thing was happening. Even if you saw that one sign and had the time and money to stop in, you'd not know where to park or enter. There was a tiny paper sign on two doors telling you not to enter through them, and then finally you found the main door if you poked around a bit. It was like paying hide-and-seek, with a big fat 'HaHa we got your money!' on top.
Promotion is what we are paying for, and didn't get it.
We (vendors) provide the merchandise, the venue provides a space and promotion. There is way more than enough places that offer free 'community service' ad space, both online and in the 'real world' that there is NO excuse for taking vendors' money and then not doing anything for them.

So we paid $40 for this waste of time, and took in $35 between the two of us. And no, it's not that our merchandise is crap; it's not. We're both seasoned at making and selling lots of things, and price more than fairly. I can tell you personally, I've made 10 times my space fee at tons of other shows, so that's not it. No one 'made' money. The only people who were actually shopping were the other vendors and they only buy once they make some money themselves. People were talking all day about this fiasco, and how the 'Little Dictator' and Co. basically ripped us all off and laughed about it.

So now the Longest Day in History was winding down, and a lot of us started packing up at around 3:30. The show ended at 4. As soon as the woman who told us to go into the hall saw this (The L.D.), she bellowed into the microphone with the voice and attitude of a mother who's got no control over her children, "vendors are to stay until the end of the show, as per your contracts, and if you leave before then, you'll not get a contract next year."

You violate YOUR OWN contract, lied, cost all of us money and time (which=money), and now are pulling rank with the same contract you basically blew your nose on?

Well, that was it. Artsy/craftsy folks are by nature, a pretty mellow bunch, but this was too much. The noise level rose in the room for the first time all day, and we were glad we weren't the only ones who thought this was a great big scam.

First off, who would WANT a contract for next year??? Besides, no one was going to leave before 4; it takes time to pack a thousand things up (since nothing sold) and we'd be able to actually LEAVE at 4, and not have to hang around and watch her count the money for the school's new whatever they were raising funds for. It would have been easier to just go to our homes and ask for money for whatever it was they needed, instead of making people schlep their stuff from wherever they are, to sit there and vegetate.
Also, it had been snowing nonstop since about noon, so that was another reason to get out of there ASAP, especially since no one was going to come to a show that no one knew about to begin with.
I make good products, I am honest and a professional. I play by the Rules. I expect every venue to play by them as well, especially when it's THEIR rules.

So in closing, I say this once again:

-If you're doing any kind of show, large or small, ask questions, as many as you need to feel comfortable before writing that check out.

-Ask around if anyone you know has shopped at or sold at a show you're thinking of doing.

-Remember, more expensive is not always an indicator of quality. (This goes for anything)

-Check out Craftlister's database, called 'Eventlister', which gives you information on all kinds of shows and what they cost, venue info, attendance, etc. They also ask vendors to leave reviews of shows they've done, so people new to the show can get an idea of what to expect first-hand from a vendor's perspective. Am I going over there to review this one? Youbetcha.
Here's a link to Craftlister; you can sign up for their weekly mailer and get show info right in your inbox:

That's all for now. Have a wonderful and prosperous holiday season!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

"Blonde Senior Moments"

(I'm going off track a bit here from the art/craft thing, but it's sometimes good to know that you're not the only one who can do something incredibly dumb or embarassing. So I offer up this little tale as a public service to those suffering from age-related foot-in-mouth disorder.)
Ok, so I'm not exactly 'senior' and while my hair may be 3 or 4 different colors, blonde isn't one of them. But, the 'moments' are.
I'm sort of watching this aging thing happen from the sidelines as if it's not happening to me, but to someone who looks and sounds like me. The reason for this could be one of two things: denial, or the more interesting choice: the soul watching the body. Yes, that one fits better, I think. I'm much too realistic to be in THAT much denial :-)

I always tell young people, especially the ones who think 'old people' (as in over 30) are from another solar system, "Just wait, you'll find out that no matter how old you get, you're still you. You're the same person with one exception: random body parts start hurting for absolutely no reason and it's very confusing."

I can look at anyone, no matter their age and regress them in my head. They're 70, then 40, then 20, then 12. It's something I learned to occupy myself with while on buses when I was a kid because where I lived, if you looked at someone in what they thought was the 'wrong way' you could get beat up or worse.

So I concentrated on the old folks and it worked.

Anyway, what brought all this about is something that happened the other day. I sort of take pride in the fact that there are very few times I've really put my foot in my mouth and it hasn't happened in years, until this past Thursday.

There's a great Italian deli right around the corner and I go there a couple of times a week to reinforce my 'roots'. This place is the real deal, just like the markets my grandmother brought me to when we lived in Jersey, where the owners thought I was 'too skinny' and wanted to fatten me up.

By the time I was 12, I must have eaten thousands of dollars (by today's $20 per pound standards) worth of prosciutto, roasted chick peas ('cheechee beans') and pepperoni. The owner would hand me a huge chunk of meat or cheese, or bag of chick peas and while he and Gram were chatting, I'd walk around eating and staring at the piles of homemade pasta in wooden boxes, barrels of dried beans and that strange board-like stuff called baccala.

The deli here is kind of like that: hard cheeses in ropes hanging from the ceiling, every type of salami one could ever imagine, lots of different olive oils and vinegars, fresh pasta and mozzarella made in the store, anchovies in bulk, an amazing bakery area (the real thing, not the crap you see in supermarkets), 10 kinds of espresso, loads of olives, hot pickled peppers and those weird, greyish-tan cherries in a jar that have been sitting in brandy since Mussolini was in power. About 80% of the packages are printed in Italian--this is the good stuff.

The shop is run by a bunch of guys, all 'familia' (of course), and they remember what each customer likes, who wants their sopressata cut on an angle, who doesn't want seeds on their bread and if you get there at the right time, you can taste things the second they come out of the kitchen--you get the idea.

Joe is the boss, a real nice guy; a rugged looking, sturdy, grey haired man with a gravelly voice and thick accent. I'd guess he's in his early/mid-60s or so. His is the classic New York immigrant story: born in Italy, came over as a kid, worked his butt off his entire life and will never retire because working is just 'what you do'.

So I went in there on Thursday and as usual he asked about my mother, work, whatever and we drifted into a discussion about the current situation here and in the world in general. He said even with all the nutty things that go on here in the U.S., it's still THE place to be, and he beamed with pride while talking about being a citizen. It was nice to see.

He then told me about a time when he was in the service and got stuck in France overnight, then stuck in Germany (some kind of red tape problem), and I blurted out:
"When was this Joe, World War 2?"

This no sooner came out of my mouth than my foot was firmly implanted in it. In a nanosecond I saw his face, heard my words, my brain rewound and I felt like the biggest idiot on the planet. The man is maybe only 10 or 15 years older than me! My father was in WWII and if he was still alive he'd be 94 years old, so it's not hard to figure out.

Thing is, since I don't 'feel' like I'm 51, I responded like I wasn't. He was the 'older person', not me.

So I had one of my first Blonde Senior Moments--God forbid it continues; I'll go live in a cave to spare people from dealing with it, and me.

Poor Joe. Of course, he was polite and said 'nahh, it was way after that' and laughed. That's how these people are: gracious, friendly and everybody's like 'familia'. They yell sometimes, but it's more of a way of communicating rather than out of anger. You have a problem, it ends, you laugh, and then you eat.


Monday, September 22, 2008

2nd Attempt, Locked in, All Systems Go

Ok, so here we go again. I WILL keep this thing up from now on.
This is what's planned so far:

-Interviews with my (and soon, your) favorite artists/craftspeople.
-Reviews of great stuff found online.
-Reports on shows, fairs and other events.
-New work and W.I.P.
-Creative riting as the urge hits me.
-Opinions, often on the curmudgeon-y side. Very often, actually.
-Etsy news from the Artsfarm shop.
and today's topic:
"Thanks to the nice people who have featured Artsfarm on their blogs"
Below are some of the blogs that have featured Artsfarm lately. Many thanks to them all, I really appreiate it!

An interview I did back in May by the EtsyVintage Street Team
A Chat with Artsfarmstudios

VINTAGE INDIE (Artsfarm received the first-ever VintagePulse 'Peer Award'!)

JODISCRAFTEMPORIUM (Rose quartz heart necklace, black velvet bag)

SUNSHINE CITY LASSIE (Vintage buttons)

JUST MY CUP OF TEA (Vintage Trifari brooch)

DAILY OUTFITTING (Smoky Quartz Earrings)

THE VINTAGE ZOO (Vintage Lace Doilies Used in Darla's New Scarf)

FASHION ME FABULOUS (Glass Fruit Bracelet)

PESKY CAT DESIGNS (Vintage Vegetable Ivory Buttons)

THEN & NOW (A gallery of various artisans' work, then...and now)

SNICKER-SNACK (Vintage sellers with 'alter-egos')

PAST PRESENTS SHOP (Vintage teacup/saucer set)

INDIE GALS (Aventurine Leaf Necklace)

I think that's it, but if I find any others, I'll be sure to add them to the list.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


Well, hello.

I've been putting off starting this thing because there are so many ways to start, so many directions to go in that it makes my brain hurt. So the solution seems to be to just let it rip and see what happens. Hopefully, it will take its own care & feeding upon itself at some point, and I'll not have to deal with the 'blank white page' issue so often. The really cool thing is there is no right or wrong because,'s my blog he heh.

I guess I'll start at the top, literally. The title of this was originally going to be "The Starving Artist, Daily Curmudgeon, Indigo Blues from the Chrysalis". I like the rhythm of it, it has meaning and encompasses pretty much everything that I think, feel and do. (Why this is all relevant will come to light at some point--stay tuned) But there already is a blog called "The Daily Curmudgeon" (how dare they!). Plus, if I did leave it at the original version it is a bit long for practical purposes. So we'll stick with the abbreviated one.

As for the rest, I am a 'starving artist'. Not literally "starving" (I am Italian, after all), but I'm smart enough to know that as an artist I'm nowhere close to where I should be, and recognize that sacrifices have to be made to get there. This is not uncommon; if anyone ever thinks they've learned and done all there is to know and do, they're lying to themselves. I've come to the realization that I cannot (not 'won't, but really 'can't') make a living or spend the majority of my time doing something that isn't a creative expression of some kind.
Unfortunately, society as a whole hasn't caught up with that reality, and it can knock our kind around quite a bit. (More on that later--have I got some stories on 'bucking the system' and all that entails) I will however, go without all the trappings of a normal American lifestyle as a welcome tradeoff to working at what I love, and must do. You have to make a choice and figure out if you really need the little 'luxuries' that everyone seems to think are necessary. I don't, and this is a good thing. It's not hard, really, and makes for a reasonable facsimile of 'contentment' for what it's worth.

"From the Chrysalis" is the title of a poem that I wrote when I was 17 and is another thing that will come up at some point here, at another time."Indigo Blues" is the working title of a book of poetry and drawings that has been in the queue for quite a while which I hope to get it into tangible form very soon. Indigo, yes :-)

All I'll say about that right now is to direct you to these two sites:

Great organizations, great people. Check 'em out; it may save you a lot of grief.

"But artsfarm, what is the purpose of all this anyway, and why should we even read this drivel of yours?"

Well, several reasons, Bunky.

Basically, I've seen a lot and have way too much stored in this head of mine that needs somewhere to go. I like to talk, and to write. I figure if any of it can help someone along the way, all the better. It's always easier to deal with something if we know someone else has been through it. If we have to go through crap in our lives, it may as well have some value, even if not to us directly ('waste not, want not' and all that).

One thing that I hope to address is kids, young and old, who are artists and/or indigos. Being either type is hard enough, but being both and surviving takes some major work. The indigo thing is touched on above, so we'll elaborate on that later. But first-art, or rather, 'the arts'--music, writing, and all the rest, as well as the more traditional aspects like drawing, painting, etc.
There is an overwhelming number of folks who think they don't have any artistic ability at all, and the problem is that virtually everyone does, but have been 'trained' to believe otherwise by parents, siblings, teachers etc. That is a crime, plain & simple, and if I can get through to even one person the FACT that we all have innate creativity that just needs to be recognized and developed, then I've done my job.

This blog is just one of several self-indulgent ways to fix my own stuff so I can move on. So we're in this together, kids.

So that's all for now; I have to get some work done here, and will be back to continue this strange ride as soon as I can.

See ya!

*Now playing: "Easter" by Patti Smith. Get it NOW.