Well, I have really been slacking on writing, but have been oh-so-busy with so many other things. As you know, we now have a puppy again, which definitely causes a major delay in getting anything done. The first few weeks was just focussing on her and getting her settled into a routine at the house. She has been amazing so far, though Kurt and I realized that although Basil was ready for a new friend, we weren’t quite there. It has been a challenge grieving Ellie and going through the challenges of bringing a new puppy into the house. But, it was worth the early arrival of Berkley for the tail wags, kisses and absolute love and adoration that Basil has for her. We also adore and love Berkley, but this new puppy has felt very different that our past additions. Though early for us, it was the perfect timing for Basil which makes it all worth-while.
So what have we been up to other than welcoming little Berkley to our family? LOTS! November was craft fair season, which I was poorly prepared for, so there was a lot of time in the shop. This year, I put our shop into 2 craft fairs, one at the beginning of November and the other at the end of November. Both are larger events in our town with over 100 vendors at each one. They were both awesome, but the beginning of November event definitely had higher sales, likely because it was the first craft fair of the season and people were excited to start their holiday shopping. The second fair was also really good, but we found a lot more people came to our booth to chat about our products, rather than buy, which is absolutely fine, but the sales would have also been nice.
Here are some things that kept me busy in the month of October and November in preparation for these fairs. Kurt was awesome and kept Berkley occupied while I spent time in the shop.
Cutting boards were once again part of the plan for the craft fair season. I had planned on making a whole bunch and trying out some new patterns. Unfortunately, due to losing Ellie, I didn’t get out to the shop much in October so I didn’t get the cutting boards made that I had hoped to. Luckily I still had some stock that just needed an oiling and wax. I did manage to get a board started, but I still haven’t had a chance to finish it due to some other projects that I started.
I didn’t have have any of my smaller 14″ lazy susan’s made, so I went out and purchased some great curly maple and toasted curly maple to make up some more. I accented with some of the woods I still had in the shop like padauk (red), yellow tarara, walnut, maple, purple heart and mahogany. I think they turned out great. The curly maples are such a great option for the lazy susans, because they shimmer and shine as they are turned.
I also had this adorable figurine that I had been meaning to make for a while. I managed to get a few put together for the first craft-fair and they sold out quickly. Our next craft fair was an SPCA craft fair fundraiser, so I knew they would do well there. I started making a bunch more with the intention of having a good stock. My mom, who recently retired, offered to come and learn how to make them and lend a helping hand in getting the stock ready. So dad and I taught her how to use the scroll saw and away she went! She did a fantastic job. At first, I cut out the first batch and she sanded them for me, but since she wanted to learn to use the scroll saw, why not! The shop is really becoming a family affair! She did great, and we sold most of the stock at the fair.
At the first craft fair I sold out of most of my wood butter, so I had to make another large batch in preparation for the second craft fair. Luckily that is a pretty quick and easy process.
I also sold out of almost all my coasters at the first craft fair, so I had to get a bunch more prepared for the second craft fair. Funny enough, I only ended up selling 1 set, so I guess I have a stock for future fairs, markets and shows.
I also did what I could to get our social media going, updating our shop with all the new product and learning to use the square. After the first craft fair we realized that having an option for debit or credit was essential for our booths. We have some great low-cost items, but we also have a lot of higher cost items that people likely won’t be carrying cash for. It was a pretty quick and easy process to get it going and paid off during that second show.
And where did we get with the yard? Well, the snow came early and has stuck around so not as far as we had thought we would get. We often get a snowfall or 2 in November but it never sticks around. We often do some small projects in the yard, but this year, not only have we had consistent snow that has stuck around, but we have also had super cold temperatures. I’ll get into all this in the next blog post.