Yes, Giuseppe is looking at a hole in our bathroom ceiling. That’s one of the recent events that’s taken some time and attention. And some money.
But I’ll get to that. First, the next time I decide I’m going to do weekly vendor events, remind me how many items I have to make and how much time it takes! Two years ago when I was still attending vendor events I could keep it to a couple full days’ making items, tagging and packing them right before the event. When I signed up for the weekly farmers’ market on Main Street for three hours on Sundays I thought, “Wow, piece of cake!” Then I couldn’t figure out why making, preparing and setting up took so long until I looked around and realized I had easily twice as many items as I did two years ago. You can see I’ve had almost zero time to post, not even time to share photos here on The Creative Cat, and this is why, well, at least the biggest reason.
On the upside, I’ll be at vendor shows fairly frequently in the coming months and possibly years. It’s been good to work it out at a small event close to home. I started out withmy smaller tent and a more limited display because I like to add as needed—I’ve found shoppers need a certain level of items for a display to be appealing to come and explore, but not so much that it’s overwhelming. Then the display needs to be refined so everything can be displayed attractively and browsed easily. The smaller gift items that are popular at my home with my open house events don’t translate as well to this event. But my relatively new products are really popular, like the tote bags, garden flags, dishtowels and suncatchers, and displaying them at a vendor event is the best way to find out which designs are popular so I can narrow down the number of variations I offer.
I thought I was fully stocked until most people preferred certain designs far more than others, which meant I had to make more of several differet items during the week, most of which necessitated printing fabric swatches with my fabric transfers and cutting and sewing totes and accessory bags and garden flags, or cutting fabric and screen printing and hemming. And running out to get blank doormats and dishtowels…and buttons, more lime green buttons please! They were out of stock everywhere for a while, now they are back.
People asked me if I had any greeting cards, and I do, so I made room for them. People asked about my art, so I added the canvas prints and the small prints in the rack. As it grew, I found I had to use my larger tent, which needed a repair, which I did. I can’t take any more things, because now my new big car is FULL!
I kept thinking I’d catch up with making things to stock up my display and get back to my regular schedule, but I did not. I actually got behind with the things I needed to make, in part because my !@#$#% Epson printer, temperamental little flower that it is, needs a repair and took far more time and ink than I’d planned. I use it for so many things I make because of the fabric transfers, and the company I’d used locally closed. The expense and trouble of shipping it to the nearest repair shop is more than it’s worth at this point in its life, so I’m contemplating a new one but changing to a different brand. But that’s not really in the budget, so I tinker with it to make it work as I need it to for at least enough prints for me to get things done. Its expiration in my studio is coming close, though.
Then there was my art exhibit at Rock the Quarry last Friday and Saturday, followed by another farmers’ market on Sunday, and that just about finished me off timewise.
I’ve also been pretty aggressively promoting along with attending the farmers’ market so I’ve actually sold things off my website, which is rare. Honestly, I’d be really happy with even more sales where I can just pack up the item and send it off, and stay home a little more. I’m not complaining, I just needed more time to adjust than I realized. I’ve got everything else under control, enough materials for anticipated volume, things set up around my house for efficiency in what I’m making most. Once I replace the printer things will move more smoothly.
So about that hole in the ceiling…
The hole in the ceiling right after it fell down, then the piece of plaster on the floor for scale.
I’ve known for years my roof was on borrowed time. No one knew how old it was when I moved in here 31 years ago. It was aged then, but it passed inspection and had no leaks at all. I knew I’d have to replace it, but had more pressing repairs in the first years after I moved in. As I neared working at home I decided to wait until I was working at home to get the roof so I wouldn’t take hit to the savings I was building, and financing a roof is a good investment. However, where I’d had no problems getting a business line of credit and some small financing amounts prior to working at home, I could not find any financing after starting to work at home. One of the objections was that I was self-employed, but I’d been in business since 1992 and always shown a profit, my credit was excellent, and advisers had told me those were the best criteria. Ironically, they would turn around and offer me a much bigger loan than I needed. My mother and brother had constant needs, and I decided to put it off, only to have my mortgage transferred to Countrywide Mortgage, and the rest is history. Increasingly over the years I’ve found pieces of my shingles in the yard after a storm, but I’ve regularly checked for leaks and it’s been sound all these years.
However, when I changed insurance companies, the new company would not give me homeowners insurance, and I discovered neither would anyone else, without a new roof. It’s been an unattainable goal, but I’ve been very lucky with no roof leaks. Beginning last year when I was working on everything I called around to have someone check my roof and clean my gutters. I eventually found someone to clean the gutters, but most handy people had the same 24 foot extension ladder I do, which will not get you on the roof. The larger companies either never called back or just gave me an estimate for a replacement roof. All of them said, “That’s the worst roof I’ve ever seen!” But no one could, or would, do anything to check my roof. Rainwater would come in through the plaster around the window, pieces of the finish plaster started falling after it rained.
Earlier this year I had a raccoon in the attic, and then I heard babies. I used a loud radio and a flashlight on strobe, and I also followed her around the attic banging a broom handle on the ceiling. She left, but I couldn’t figure out how she got in because I couldn’t see any openings. The night the plaster fell, just a couple weeks ago, I checked my local NextDoor, which is an awesome place to get referrals.
The day after I contacted one smaller local guy and two roofing companies. One never called back, I talked to the second roofing company, but the little guy actually showed up with two workers and had a ladder to look, determine, then fix the holes in the roof. That’s what I’m currently paying off with my farmers’ market earnings, and I just have a couple hundred to go, but after September 1 this guy charges and extra $10 per day. Well, when you’re a little one you have to have a stronger defense, and I’ll bet that keeps a lot of people from being late or not paying.
We haven’t just had a lot of rain lately, we’ve had these intense, extended downpours. I’m sure the same is happening to you too, unless you’re in a drought area. I’m sure that’s what did it. But now that it’s started I can’t wait any more. I’ve found a number of low-cost or zero interest loans through my county and the state, and I’m hoping my growing income isn’t too low for me to qualify. And, of course, now I have interior repairs too. Years ago I would have handled a lot of that. Now I know it serves me better to just keep working and find someone I can afford to fix the things.
I had intended to write this up last night after I got back from the farmers’ market, I spent the day today on paperwork, preparing reports for my loan applications, but last night I kept falling into a deep, thick sleep that it’s hard to wake up from and I decided to just go to bed.
So wish me happy sales! Lots of them! I’ll be offering some deals, and I’m also planning an open house in October again, which I’ll extend to distant friends. Just remember every sale just helps us along. And I intend to get back to posting too. I miss it, and I will always take time for it, if possible.
Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals
I just couldn’t resist. when Sienna decided to help me make the bed by showing me her belly and looking coy. Especially on that woven throw with its all-over pattern of fruits and leaves, I just had to draw her! Well, paint her, but “draw” is what she actually said in the movie, so I’ll go with that. Read more and purchase.
All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.
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Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters Tuesday: Rescue Stories Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork Thursday: New Merchandise Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!