Monday, April 21, 2014

works in progress - take 87

 Last Friday the lovely Lolita and I got together for side by side work along (if her name sounds familiar Lolita's previous session was the one I had to scratch because I flipped off the porch and mangled my foot.)
 We had fun, talked a lot as we went along (normal!) about styles, personal sticking points and procrastinations.
 On this lovely Easter Monday, my mission is to finish some of the 15 half done things I have (see previous post).
 start some more and get some laundry done!  We had 18 at table for supper yesterday.
 Blessings indeed.
handsome fellows that deserve to be showcased, don't you think?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Putting yourself in position

The good thing about my studio?  I have a beautiful dedicated space to make art. With more "found" collage materials than I will EVER use in my lifetime.

The bad news? It's on a separate floor so it's easy not to get "down there"and actually work on the many half done projects I have cooking.  I have had a rough week/month to the point that multiple friends have chastised me and asked me if I have actually MADE anything this month.  Answer no?
Tried an old trick today.  Set the timer. Half an hour on email, half an hour on work, half an hour on art. Repeat cycle.  Actually got some work done, 3 loads of laundry and an hour of "arting" in when I got a call from an out of town friend asking if I was free for lunch.
 
Because I wasn't over booked (for a change!) we got to sit outside and Judy treated me to a crab cake sandwich sitting on the new outside patio at Dogwood Tavern. A welcome respite.
Even better, tomorrow is my make up class from a couple weeks ago when I cancelled after falling down my steps, so get to play tomorrow too!  Wish me luck actually loading my truck...

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Best Recommendation

I was standing behind the shop counter yesterday checking my email AND texting a customer when a client walked in the door.  After a hearty greeting and an inquiry as to whether they needed my assistance I went back to my communication after laughing at the fact I looked like one of my teenagers (except that I didn't have earphones in!).


It really is sort of astounding today how many ways of communicating there are.  When I open the shop in the morning, I turn on the open sign, tie balloons to the sandwich board, and prop open the front door.   I ALSO check my email, answering machine, and social media feeds.

On the outgoing front, we send newsletters, make phone calls on land lines and mobile phones, send emails.
The shop also networks with community organizations, contributes to worthy causes, and sponsors student art shows.  We pray for press coverage to reach people we are not connected to spread the word so we can stay in business!

Did you know Stifel and Capra also has a Pinterest Page, Facebook Page, Website, and Twitter feed and an Etsy site?  Although all of these methods are fun and creative and introduce us to amazing people guess which one of these has the highest retention rate the experts say?  Still, hands down?  Recommendation of a friend.

Sometimes the old fashioned things are the best-

Thank you.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Cowabunga!

When I was a team leader in my past life (as a corporate recruiter) I would occasionally have to sit down with a colleague and help them focus.  "What's the problem?" I'd ask? "Oh my gosh, I have a million phone calls to return, 2 million things to set up, I'm not sure which of my candidates is going to get an offer, so and so is mad at me, and I feel like my head is going to explode." she said.
"So, what's the problem?" say I.  Deafening silence and incredulous look from said colleague.

I reminded them if you feel like you are skiing down the mountain with no poles, it's probably because you are about to take a big leap forward. 

Today I am 
Tagging and inventorying 162 items I took out of a house on a house call
Trying to make plans to actually watch the NCAA tourney
Putting a second coat of finish on a table top
Needing a better way to organize our Client Wish List
Working the numbers for a corporate art deal
Being sad for me & happy for her that Cathy is retiring from her jewelry business
Still cleaning up after the Food & Beverage Show for Bob's Best
Regretting NOT working on my art +sigh+
Sneaking breaks to read Malcolm Gladwell's "The Tipping Point"
Trying to book consignors
Needing to thank Anna for painting that table
Wondering if it is going to snow again
Wondering if I need to go back to the doctor after falling down the stairs
Stacking up bills to pay
Not calling my mother back
Not cleaning the shop
Trying to slog through my email
Dragging the laundry downstairs wondering why it is not cleaning itself
Wishing I could repave the parking lot (the winter has been brutal!)
Excited that I have leads to call for Bob
Wondering what are in those bins in the shop basement
Wondering what are in those bins in my studio
Wishing I was rearranging the furniture
Loving that I am never bored

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Changing Hats

 Yesterday I took off my gallery owner/consignment shop manager/occasional artist hat and put on my supportive spouse hat.  I tied on an apron and went to be the "Booth Babe" or in my case the "Stifel who can stick to the point and not tell just tell stories" with Bob at the 2014 Virgnia Food and Beverage Expo.
 We were pretty happy with our booth set-up.  And with the smell of Bob's famous Pork BBQ and Apple Pie filling the air (happily we were next to people who were not cooking!), we were very popular in the "smellavison" category as well! .

 Folks were really intrigued by all of the applications Bob's Best has.  Everything from meat to veggies to dips to dessert was covered and covered well.
 The Easy as Pie mix was a big winner because no one had seen a product like it before!  What was surprising to us was the fact that we wasn't just retailers that were interested in it but caterers and institutions too. Easy -as-Pie coming to a school near you?  We even had a query from a gentleman that wanted to know how fast we could drop ship him 500 pies.  When I explained that we were only selling the pie MIX ans not the pie, he was visibly disappointed.
Maybe something to look into... Time to go write my follow-up letters.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Survivor Guilt

I remember when my friend Anna told us she was starting a blog and the group of church ladies I was with was like "O that Anna, is this like when you tried out for America's Funniest Housewife?"  We barely knew what a blog was.  Anna riffed on family life incognito until she outed by the horror of a parent's worse nightmare.  Outliving your child.


I don't see Anna as often as I'd like to because I am a self employed working artist/wife/mom/shopkeeper/house cleaner/laundress.  Lame excuses.


My boy and Jack were the same age & in the same Sunday school class. Anna and I would meet for lunch and commiserate about our quirky, passionate, intelligent , funny sons and wonder why didn't we get them together more often.


Yesterday would have been Jack's 15th birthday.  I am honored Anna still takes my calls.
We need to get together more often.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Small Details

Some times small changes make a big difference. I found these graceful figurines but I wasn't thrilled with the paint job on them. (If you are I apologize in advance for what is about to happen.)

 It took 2 coats of CeCe Caldwell's Simply White paint and a coat of brush on satin finish but I think that they look more elegant now.
 What do you think?
I am been busy getting ready for yet ANOTHER first for the New Year.  I and 2 other CeCe retailers are exhibiting and demoing the paint at the Expo Center in Chantilly this weekend.  Oh and tonight we are having out Client Appreciation evening!  I gotta work on my pacing!