Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Historic Venue Great for A Market

This is my second fall as a craft vendor on Wednesdays in the historic Paddock Arcade in downtown Watertown, New York.  If you haven't stopped in to take a look at the inside of this building, not to mention the market on Wednesdays, you really should.  I so look forward each week to working with such a great group of people in this beautful place.

As I understand it, the Paddock Arcade is the nation's first and oldest continuously operating indoor shopping mall.  Its condition has suffered ups and downs over the years, but it is definitely in an up cycle right now, and it is decorated beautifully for the holidays!  Businesses in the Arcade include a newly opened gourmet sandwich shop, a beauty salon combined with a bar (genius idea, IMHO!), an art and antiques shop, a bike repair shop, a media marketing business, an all-faiths emporium, a casual sit-down lunch restaurant (serving dinner now Thursday, Friday and Saturday), and a tavern with a seemingly endless martini menu!  Next month, a cake and coffee shop will open that features European cake recipes and decorating.

Every Wednesday, mid-October to just before Christmas, even more is offered to customers when vendors set up for the weekly market in the center hallway.  On these days customers can also find homemade baked goods, original artwork, handpainted note cards, tie-dyed clothing and footwear, recycled sweater mittens, wine, flavored popcorn, jewelry made from antique solid silver forks, knives and spoons, Amish baskets, executive pens, my hand crocheted accessories (of course), and more at the Arcade!

Being a part of the Paddock Arcade's vendor community has been such a pleasure, and I hope you'll stop in to say hello sometime :D.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Linda Grows A Craft Business

This summer sure flew by!  With little to no rainy market days here (drought), I found myself mighty busy on a regular basis.  In August, I expanded my enterprise from one steady market day a week to three.  This meant three 10 hour days in a row, counting driving, setup, selling, takedown and followup administration.  It nearly killed me, but it was also lots of fun meeting all those new kindred spirits selling their wares and making new customer friends!

On 'at home' days I worked on my online shop, researched marketing and business stuff, crocheted like crazy to make new inventory and restock, and worked my other job as resident house tidier, taxi driver for teens, and minder for my resident elderly and very spry mother-in-law.  OK, I also spent a bit of time on Facebook, but maintaining and cultivating those relationships and keeping an all-important presence online are important business tasks, people!

Now we're in the middle of the holiday craft fair schedule and I can hardly believe it's here already!  I'm out there every Wednesday at a historic indoor market in my small city until just before Christmas, and have set up at two one-day weekend events so far.  Three more events and six Wednesdays to go before the after-holiday lull, when I'll have time to breath and test out all the new designs I've been wanting to try!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Iced Tea In Many Forms

What's your favorite summer drink?  Mine is a nice, tall, unsweetened very cold iced tea.  I try to have at least one of these every day - it's my morning coffee, if you will.  My son gave me a reusable insulated cup from Starbucks that I take there every day to fill with this marvelous refreshing beverage.  Sometimes  I sit inside or on the outside patio and sketch, read, or work out new product ideas in my head.  Or watch the clouds and people.  In any case, savoring that iced tea and a little "me" time usually sets me up for a good, productive day.

Here's a treasury on Etsy I made - an ode to my favorite drink:

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Red Fox Inspirations

Last evening, my family and I went to a favorite vantage point to see the supermoon come into view.  Getting out of the car, we noticed a rare and wondrous sight:  a mother red fox nursing her six kits!!  Enthralled, delighted and blessed was how I felt.  The kits stuck around and played while keeping a wary eye on us.  What a treat! I was able to get off a few shots with my nifty camera extended to its maximum zoom:

I'm thinking of designing something with the incredibly rich color combinations of red fox fur.  Maybe a capelet or hat...  or a set! 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Crochet Muscle Strain Remedies, Anyone?

Since February, I've been beginning to work with worsted weight cotton again in earnest.  I have to get my inventory up for the summer market and events!  And boy, do my fingers hurt.  It's not only my digits - I'm finding that my elbows and shoulders are taking a beating, too.

What to do?  I am alternating the heavier items with lace scarves and berets in lighter weight organic cotton, bamboo and acrylic blends to relieve some of the strain.  My boys give really good neck and shoulder massages, for which I am immensely grateful.  A parafin dip machine may be in my near future.  Yoga stretches help, too.

What do you do to maintain your crochet muscles and relieve overwork?  Suggestions welcome!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What's in a Name?

I've been thinking a lot about names over the past few months, particulary business names, because I have wanted to change my business name to reflect my vision for its future.  Names are so important! Did I want to be jingly or catchy, or use my own name as the business identity? Did I want to incorporate crochet in the name or other descriptive words?  I certainly didn't want to sack my "baby" with a name that others might make find insulting, flippant or amateurish, or, dear me, easy to convolute into some derogatory variation.  Being primarily a hooker, the possibilities were endless!

I tried out a lot of ideas before making a final decision, but it's a new year and time for a change, so I've chosen Linda Gibbs Handmade (no more crafty nature lady, although the moniker will always fit :D).  The new business name will allow me to continue to evolve with handmade items in many directions, continuing with crochet and possibly expanding to include beading, sewing or other fun pursuits that catch my fancy.  As the business grows and my need to employ other handcrafters and designers emerges, I can still keep this name and be true to my passion.  So Linda Gibbs Handmade I am!  Now to change all those links... 

Have you run across any interesting shop names lately?