March 28, 2019 – gardening sidenote

It’s officially Spring Break week for me so I’ve been taking the time to focus myself on some projects and get things settled around the house. Among those projects is getting my plants settled and getting ready for the growing season!

Our apartment has nearly all South facing windows, and a South facing balcony, so I decided I wanted to turn our balcony into a food garden using containers. I started some seeds (minimally successfully) back at the end of February for early Spring crops and then later for a spread of flowers.

My kale seeds came up easily, and so I transplanted the four best seedlings into larger containers. After growing a little more in front of our big window that opens out to the balcony, I moved them outside. It’s still getting pretty cold at night, even as we’re starting to have some days in the 60s. We’re still having frost warnings too. But Kale loves it! I have one in a 10″ terracotta pot, one in a mushroom plastic container, and one in a gallon milk jug out on the balcony, and after the temperature dipped down, the plants look even more happy and resilient than before.

The spinach, not so much… From the seeds, I only had 2 of 8 sprout, and of those two only one survived transplanting. I put it outside with the kale, but the cold seems to have withered it significantly. However! I have a volunteer spinach plant that is doing fantastic! How do you get a volunteer plant, Kecheri? No idea! Last year I dropped lettuce seeds into a glass coke bottle just for fun and the lettuce grew as well as can be expected. Then I pulled it out, used it, and put the bottle away somewhere. Then this year, I happened to leave the bottle I assumed was empty sitting out while surveying my different planting containers for this years garden. Well, a few days later, something sprouted in my SUPPOSEDLY EMPTY bottle! It’s been growing very nicely since the bottle makes a sort of miniature greenhouse, and the leaves are pretty spectacular! It’s definitely a spinach plant by the shape of the leaves. I have no idea how it got there, but I’m definitely not complaining. So that spinach plant has continued to grow really well outside on the balcony and started filling out the little stem of the bottle. I’m not sure what the effect the confined space will have on it’s growth, but we’ll have to just wait and see.

Also successful is the German chamomile (the kind used to make the tea) seeds I bought in February. I’ve had close to 100% seed germination and the little stalks are looking pretty strong. I have some sprouted in my seed starter, pending a transplanting into a more permanent home, and some started in a mini greenhouse I made from a plastic clam-shell salad bar container. The ones in the salad container are doing particularly good, look strong and healthy. I’m excited they came up so quickly and so successfully, but I’ll have to figure out what I’m doing with them as e enter warmer weather. I don’t think they take particularly well (according to some google searching) to transplanting and would rather be planted in their final containers later in the season, but we’ll see! I still have plenty of seeds so I can always do that once the weather is warmer and I’m ready to do more work outside.

To no surprise, the catnip I planted in the seed starter and a salad bar container greenhouse like the chamomile has sprouted fairly successfully as well. Mint plants are particularly easy to grow and spread, so I’m not too surprised, but as this is the first year I’m trying to grow catnip, and my first year with a cat, I’m excited all the same.

I’m growing a number of other herb plants as well this year. In addition to the chamomile and catnip, I’ve picked up some starter plants from our small, local plant nursery. I have Italian oregano and a rosemary that I’ve transplanted into gallon milk jug containers, and a lavender still waiting to be re-homed. As much as I use spices in my cooking, the herbs are a must. (Even though I can get good herbs at the spice and tea shop where I work, nothing beats fresh.) Once weather gets a little warmer and I can start moving things outside, I think the herbs will really take off. So far, they’ve really been thriving in the big window.

I’m also focusing on growing vegetables this year since we’re in such a nice sun situation here. Already I have some potatoes that sprouted in our cupboards growing pretty well in five gallon buckets. My crop last year ended up rotting out after we got so much summer rain, and I’m not entirely positive the buckets have sufficient drainage. The first year I grew potatoes and had a really successful crop, I had mixed my soil with a lot of moderately sized rocks, which I didn’t do last year or this, so we’ll have to see how it goes. Good news is that if these rot similarly, I know how to correct the problem and will still have plenty of growing season to correct the problems.

Vegetables I have seeds for this year are cucumbers, zucchini, broccoli, cabbage, and bush beans. Some of the seeds are a little old, so I’m unsure about germination success, but others like the cucumber, zucchini, and beans are new. My mom is moving houses this year and has offered to lend me her self-watering planters for this summer, which will be great and I think will be enough room for one of these big vining plants. I also want to try my hand at tomatoes in buckets, but haven’t taken steps towards starting them yet.

I still have our living blue spruce Christmas tree outside on the balcony. I picked up a couple 15″ pots, one of which I plan to transplant the spruce into. Then, I can transplant my avocado tree (that I started from a pit two years ago) into the spruce’s current pot, and stick something else in the avocado’s pot.

I’ve gotten into researching and trying out regrowing plants from kitchen scraps this year too. I regrew a bok choi from the base in January or February, but killed it by harvesting leaves too quickly and not actually planting it in dirt. Even so! It lets me know that I can grow a bok choi NEXT time with some precautions. I regrew and transplanted carrot tops for the carrot greens, and those have been growing really happily in the kitchen since planting. At the moment, I’m going to try and regrow some leeks, and be sure to transplant them when new growth comes up. Growing from scraps is pretty exciting because I’m really into sustainability, and have been since I was a kid, and limiting food waste by replanting and growing more food is excellent.

Speaking of limiting food waste, I also have a compost going in the corner of our balcony. Eric’s sister gave me an empty, locking-top kitty litter plastic bin that I’ve been throwing shredded paper scraps, exhausted dirt, and food waste into for a few months now. It needs to be turned, and is pretty full since we eat mostly whole foods and generate a fair amount of scraps, but I think it’s doing what it’s supposed to, which is super exciting! It doesn’t smell much, and the food does seem to be breaking down. My mom has kept a compost since I was a little kid, and aside from the lack of grass cuttings that always made up a lot of her compost piles, my little kitty bucket compost looks like proper compost! I’ve been adding it into a few of my plantings already, like the potatoes that are heavy nutrient feeders. I think when I have the proper planters, the compost will really come in handy.

Some background here, my mom is a big gardener and I’ve been helping her in the yard and with the vegetable garden since I was a kid. We were part of a neighborhood sustainability club that focused on community beauty through gardening, sustainable practices, and environment friendly projects and events like Sweep the Creek. In high school, I helped to found a gardening club at my school in senior year, and we dug up a courtyard to install a vegetable garden to be used and maintained by the home ec and horticulture classes. I’ve always had strong beliefs in the value of food gardens and I have a significant love of plants in general. SO the fact I have the opportunity to take advantage of all South facing windows has been thoroughly utilized and my indoor plants have thrived through the winter. Now that it’s almost warm enough to star utilizing the opportunity to use a take advantage of a South facing balcony, not obscured by trees and the like? I am itching with excitement to start laying the garden out in my small space and planting things. I really want it to be successful, and we’ll just have to wait and see, but I have a good feeling about it.

April and May are really when planting season starts where we are, so I’m jumping the gun kind of significantly, but once the weather warms up and starts staying warm, I will really be able to launch into this project.

Stay tuned for more updates and some pictures!

Cheers,

Kecheri

March 21, 2019

We finally got over being sick and were hit with some pretty nice weather which got us inspired to pick up the apartment and get a few things settled. The place feels much more like home with more art up on the walls and things generally more picked up.

Namely, we managed to clean up the studio room, so it’s now functional! We have wanted to get the studio into working order since we moved in, but one thing always leads to another…but! now it’s organized better and much more usable!

Eric went out and bought a big, put-it-together-yourself set of black plastic shelves that we fit most of our project supplies on. It fits two sets of baskets deep per shelf. We nearly filled the shelves, which got a bunch of stuff off the floor which awards us more space, and which let us move some things around in a way that makes more sense. So now, we’ve got more open floor space, organized desks, more readily available art materials, Eric can get to his drawing table, and we just have more usable space in general.

Whew! Cross that one off the to do list!

March 6, 2019

Even with a mounting pile of papers to write and class practice, etc. I’m still choosing to spend my time working on other projects (and being sick). I picked up some oven-bake modeling clay and some sculpting tools recently. I haven’t broken into it yet and started playing around, but I have been making plans and brainstorming for what I want to sculpt.

I want to do work with teacups — which I’ve thought about before in a different context. I’m visualizing sculpted ornaments to hang and attach to teacups. I’m thinking of the final pieces in context of both ornamental and practical purposes. I’d like to do more than add my sculptures to tea cups for tea drinking, though if I can engineer it right, I think that would be fun too. I’m trying to think outside the box for other fun uses, like bird feeders, etc.

I’m also returning to a previous idea I had about marketing young bonzai Jade trees in teacups. I think adding a sculpture components to the plantings would turn out really neat. Along the same thinking, I’m considering incorporating sculpture with pots and other garden things! I’m pretty excited to get started!

Anything I make in three dimensions, of course, will need a different model of sale than our prints due to the nature of the work. This might lead us to reopening the Etsy shop once I have a handful of pieces to list. We’ll have to discuss our options.

I need to play around some and maybe make a few prototypes first before I sink too far into the idea, but I think it will be really neat once I get started. Hopefully, my sculpting skill hasn’t dulled imensely from years of non-use….

– Kecheri

March 5, 2019

Yikes! It’s March already! It really feels like the year is slipping by quickly…

For me, classes started for the spring semester. I’m taking a course on fingerspelling & ASL number use and a course on American Deaf culture. So far, both classes have been going well. We’ve missed a lot of school already this semester because of the weather. It doesn’t help both my classes are night classes, so even on days the day classes are held, they’ve cancelled evening courses because of ice, etc. Which is a pain, but at the same time, has been fine by me because I’ve been fighting off another cold combination again. Winter is the season of Kecheri being generally ill and consequently in a slightly sour mood…

The fingerspelling & numbers course is both fairly easy and really difficult at the same time. Easy because I’m taking it with a number of previous ASL courses under my belt while others in my class are on their first classes, so the teacher has to gear class for the students who have taken fewer classes. Difficult because both numbers and fingerspelling are ridiculously difficult for me to read because I just need a lot more practice. With natural language acquisition, fingerspelling is learned as a whole movement first, and as a combination of parts second, but that is not the way it’s taught to older students who are learning ASL as a second language. We learn it as individual letters first, and as a movement second. I tend to get hung up on single letters and can’t reach the subject through spelling out of context, same problem with spoken spelled W-O-R-D-S. The only way to get better at it is to practice more and more, not just recognizing the signed letters, but actually practice with spelling when I’m not writing. With my writing, my spelling issues cleared up after I started writing stories and things so regularly. I need to do the same kind of practice off the top of my head if I’m going to get anywhere with this class.

The culture course is a hybrid class, so I’m only in the classroom every other week on Thursdays. It’s a long class once we’re there, about two and a half hours, and there is a lot of work to keep up with, but all in all, it’s been pretty interesting. The on-and-off schedule messes me up a little since I tend to procrastinate so badly. So this week (meeting in class) I’ve got due two chapters worth of reading, typed chapter notes, a news analysis, a feature story review, a cultural comparison film review, and an art presentation tying into a cultural aspect I was expecting to do NEXT week. Which is a lot and I’m kind if freaking out about it, but I’m also not really worried because I always finish classwork before it’s due, always have…I had just managed to delude myself with my previous classes at the community college that I had finally overcome my chronic procrastination.

Whoops, turns out, it’s as bad as always, and so, I’m going to stress myself out to get things done for the foreseeable future.

Cheers,

Kecheri

January 20, 2019

Last night of our short vacation up north.
When we get back to Maryland, our schedules will get jam packed with work and school – Eric going for a full-time position at his work, and me taking two classes on top of part-time work. I

t’ll be busy, but I’m sure we can still get done everything we want to do.
But first, we can bask in a bit of art-block.

Cheers,
Kecheri

Reflection and Moving Forward

Holiday season is here! In fact, Christmas is next week, so we’re actually at the end of the season. We still have a few weeks in 2018 to go, but with the holidays and some traveling that we plan to do before the year is out, I think now is as good a time as any to reflect on the year and plan for the next.

We have been really busy with our day jobs through November and December because of the season, and we have not had a lot of time to put towards the shop. But! We have had the opportunity to evaluate what we’re doing a little better and make some decisions about where we’re taking the shop and what we’re trying to do.

First off, we are aware we have not really been able to put a ton of time and energy into the shop this year, despite what we may have wanted to do starting at the beginning of the year. Making artwork takes a long time and we just haven’t sat down and committed to making pieces to sell. OK, let’s be honest, we (mostly me) haven’t even made the time to properly unpack the studio room after our move in June. It would be a great space to use, if it was clean and not a jumble of things thrown there to “deal with later”. There’s no excuse, it’s just not a fun chore and the longer we’ve been in the apartment, the less motivated we are to fix it up.

We’ve had time to sit and talk some about platform. So far, Etsy has really not worked well for us, and I think it’s because of the products we’re selling. Fine art has a market, but I’m not sure that Etsy is that market, even just for publicity. We have so far not been very successful with the site at all for the print shop. For my kid’s toys shop, TheWingedWhale, it works great; but that shop is more in line, I think, with the things people go on Etsy to find: crafts, knits, tangible things you can use right away. While there is a fine art market on Etsy, I don’t think it’s the right platform for us.

Of course, if Etsy doesn’t work for us, what alternative can we use? We’re definitely not planning to just let the shop go, so we have to find some way to sell our pieces if we continue and have decided what we’re doing doesn’t work.

We’re still planning to talk to a few locations that we frequent about selling our prints locally. We have a few coffee shops, gift stores, and galleries in town here we could talk to about selling our artwork. Lots of the places in town here feature local artists, and really we just need to reach out. We’d still like to put together a proper portfolio with some small sample prints to advertise our art, with the promise to supply small or larger pieces if the shops will take us up. It’s a scary thing to do, and would require a lot of cold calling, and holiday season is perhaps not the time to go about it, but ultimately I really believe that would pay off.

Another plan we’ve had in the works for some time is to apply our artwork to physical products to sell. We want to be able to offer our art as shirts, mugs, mouse pads, phone cases, etc. We have been searching for a way to do so without investing more than we can afford in stocking the items. Eric found one! The site is called RedBubble. It takes artwork and transforms it into clothing, cases, stickers, and more traditional prints like greeting cards or wall art. As of now, we don’t have the shop up and running on the site, but Eric has been working to get our artwork up and we’ll have links soon.

Additionally, we each have our own literary works we want to develop, write, illustrate and ultimately get out there for other people. Again, we haven’t been able to set aside as much productive time with these projects as we hopes we would this year, but we have a better idea of where we’re going with the story lines and just need to work some dedicated time into our schedules to get them on paper and ready to go. I think we’re close to being able to achieve that though, and once we start working on them and get into a rhythm, I think we’ll find everything fall together more easily than expected.

So! for the future of our art, we have a vague battle plan emerging for 2019:

  1. Finish unpacking from our move so we can actually use our space as planned.
  2. Put together a physical art portfolio to put energy into marketing ourselves locally. (You can find Eric’s online portfolio here.)
  3. Get a RedBubble shop up and functional.
  4. Generally set aside more time to work with our art and stories.

As always, I’m looking forward to what the future brings, and I’m sure that we can achieve our goals if we prioritize them correctly. I think we’re in a better position than we were last year, and as life shakes out and we work through more decisions, I think we’ll only continue to improve.

-Kecheri

Injury News

Things have been pretty hectic for us the last few months with a string of responsibilities, jobs, school, some injuries and getting sick. As always the lead up to Christmas means a lot of stress, especially in our retail jobs.

Back at the beginning of August, I fell in the back room at my job and sprained my left wrist catching myself. That healed up after some care, a splint, and training myself to use my right hand (dominant hand) to actually do more than write. I learned pretty quickly that I use my left for nearly everything, and it was a long process to reteach myself to carry things or pour things with my right hand. But! eventually that healed up.

Fast forward to the end of November. My dad and his partner decided to make another trip out to Taiwan to visit some friends and see her family. Dad flew out first, meaning I had to drive his partner to the airport for her flight. Fine, I agreed to do it. Her flight was early in the morning on a Thursday, and you have to arrive at the airport a few hours earlier than your flight, and it took about forty five minutes to get to the airport from their house. So I drove down Wednesday night after an eight hour shift, and we were going to leave at 3:30AM to get her there on time. She’s injured her neck which restricts her movement and she can’t carry anything heavy, so I carried her bags out and threw them in the car. In doing so, I re-injured my left arm.

So now, I’ve had the injury a little over two weeks. The pain is in the middle of my forearm, especially when I make any sort of twisting motion. It is not my wrist again, which I had sprained in August, but I’m wearing the splint to try to keep off it anyway. It has been slowly getting better. I can carry things with that arm now, and I’m capable of a wider range of motion again. The thing is, any twisting of my forearm still hurts, and it hurts about the same as the initial injury. This leads me to believe I pulled a ligament on my ulna or potentially even hairline fractured it, but I’m stubborn so I’m still treating it like a sprain. I said I’d go get it checked out again if it didn’t feel better by last Wednesday, but now I’m just back to trying to mediate it myself, and haven’t seen anyone at the clinic.

The injury made the last couple weeks of my class pretty stressful, on top of how it effected my ability to work efficiently at work. Headed into the end of the semester and the holiday season, neither of these effects have worked out very well for me. I finished out my class with some clumsy signing. I’ve gradually been able to do more at work, especially with help of Tylenol while the shop has started booming with all those people who told us throughout the year that they’d be back for Christmas presents.

I’m getting pretty tired of wearing the splint (which smells like a nice mix of spices from work) but the few days I took it off because I was sick of wearing it, I managed to twist my arm again. Most notably, I took it off to sign my final exam story for my ASL course, and halfway through gestured with my arm to meet pretty sharp pain after a day or two of it being mostly ok. (You can see me wince in the video.) Ironically, the story I chose to tell for my final was how I had sprained my ankle when I was a kid.

Eric got pretty sick at the start of December too. He seemed to have the stomach flu on top of a cold, though he never throws up, so it’s a little uncertain. It took him out of the game for a week or so while we tried to kick that in the butt. He missed work, felt super light headed, and had a fairly upset stomach for days. It was a rough week, and he has informed me he has no more desire to eat soup. But, he did eventually get over it and headed back to work and has been mostly fine. Eric wakes up at 3:00AM to get to work by 5:00AM, and then has to deal with my having energy and wanting to have discussions super late at night and coming to bed at 11:00PM, which I’m sure doesn’t help.

Anyway, we got him mostly threw the worst of it, just in time for me to catch it and be a big sick baby for the next week and a half. I went into work, since I only work three days a week, but I couldn’t stay for my full shift because I have been simply exhausted. I got over the stomach symptoms pretty early on and the whole thing has just become a nasty cold. On top of the arm injury, it’s made me pretty useless for work during a time that I really need to be counted on to come in so my boss isn’t working all hours. I’m his only employee, so it’s kind of important.

He’s had me come in an hour later than normal for the weekend, then I stay and work as long as I can, which both days this weekend meant I stuck around until around 3:30PM. So, I’m looking at a typical 18 hour weekend of work, brought down to 7 or 8 hours total, which is rough. And with my re-injured arm I have difficulty doing a lot of the fine-motor-skill work I need to be able to do for a shift as well. And now, a week out from Christmas, I really need to be at the top of my game so my boss doesn’t burn out.

So that’s where we’ve been for the last few months. Hopefully we’re back to full power soon.

-Kecheri

September update

So, about a month from deciding to try and update the site more regularly, I finally both remembered and found time to write something out.

This last month slipped past so quickly. I feel like it was August yesterday and then got all my September bills and realized the month is almost over. I don’t know where all that time went.

I’ve been working more on my Mystery Kids story, trying to figure out what plot I want to stick with and working in the necessary plot details. I worked on the story during most of my shift today, since my job has quieted down significantly this month. (My boss promises it’ll get busier during the holidays, but for now it’s pretty quiet.) I’m feeling pretty psyched about the storyline and want to start writing for it tomorrow. Writing the story is easier for me than planning a bunch ahead of time and trying to fit it together, so I want to give myself time to start spilling onto the page and develop the story as I go, which always works well for me with first drafts. Briefly, the general idea of the story goes about as follows:

Following three kids and their personal investigations following the death of a classmate to discover what happened to her, they uncover a covert and insidious project. As they each pursue their own investigations, they run into one another around town and recognize that for reasons unknown, each has similar memories and strange abilities all linked to memories past, present, and future. They find themselves sucked into the intricacies of an organization involved in covert human experimentation for reasons yet unknown. The kids find allies and enemies in unexpected places as they search for answers and try to connect with other victims of the Alpha Project.

I’m hoping to have some writing done ready for editing before the start of October.

— Kecheri

Reboot.

Yikes!

We’ve fallen significantly short of our goal to regularly update the blog and the shop! So, we decided there’s no better time than the present to reboot both!

2018 has proven to be a fairly hectic year so far. Eric and I have been kept busy with work, new jobs, a business trip, a move across town, adopting a lovely stay cat, and more! Just this last week, Eric left his job at the local art center to start in a woodworking position with a local shop owner. Starting today, he works a regular five-day week 10am-6pm. The last weekend of July and the first two weeks of August, I was working super-overtime coverage at my job downtown while the owner was on vacation, and getting worn down to the bone.

We are beyond ready to fit art and creativity back into our schedules! We’ve been planning new projects, experimenting with new media, and exploring new story-lines and characters without any real time to devote to them. It’s about time we got back on track and started creating again. To quote John Sloan: “Though a living cannot be made from art, art makes life worth living.”

So, let’s (re)start with some basics!

My name is Kecheri. I’m a twenty -five year old writer and artist with a degree in philosophy and psychology. I like to write fantasy pieces, especially with a real-world tie-in, and I’ve recently started developing some plot ideas that edge on science-fiction. With my artwork, I try to work with two-dimensional and three-dimensional media to create colorful, interesting pieces that incorporate aspects of depth, movement, and emotion. I draw geometric, pattern-based, line illustrations as well as paint brightly colored landscapes. My art is stylized with sharp angles, odd perspectives, geometric shapes, and a focus on vivid color. I also run a (currently) separate shop for knit work and handcrafted kid’s toys and costume pieces called TheWingedWhale on Etsy. Eric and I took the kids and knits shop to a community day event this last Saturday, and we have a separate write up on that experience here.

I have a professional background in portrait, press, and studio photography. I have experience and education with both digital and film photography, and I enjoy working in black and white. I hope to have more time and energy soon to get some artistic photography and digital art pieces up on the shop as well, but for the time being, I’m still in the planning stages of those projects. I’m also hoping to branch out into more three dimensional fine art work with wooden pieces, clay, and even bonzai projects.

Eric Groff makes up the other half of our business. He is a twenty-four year old artist and storyteller with a fine arts degree with a focus in illustration and printmaking. He makes detailed, realistic, and stylized pieces through a variety of traditional and digital media. His work has been used in mobile game development, character design, and public exhibition. With a strong interest in using art as a form of storytelling, Eric applies his artistic talent to fleshing out story-lines and building narratives. He debuted into the world of picture book illustration through his work on the children’s book “Gran, Gran, Granny”, written by Rae McDonald, published through Clear Fork Publishing.

Eric is working on developing, writing, and illustrating a space western webcomic called Harlow. He has been working on it for a few years, and whiles he’s still working out a lot of the writing and story progression, he hopes to start sketching and inking the proper comic soon once he has the parts all in place. It’s a space western style comic about “A man trapped on a messed-up desert planet, trying to make things right again.”

He has also been working on a new project titles The Fatalist, a Noir-style comic that follows a character as she navigates a world of prophesies, visions, and spiritual upset. I cannot reveal much about this story yet, pending further information from the author himself. The darker, more ink-like concept illustrations have me excited to see where Eric takes it.

Another project we’ve started recently is one of my story ideas, following the odd happenings in a mid-Atlantic suburb. Through the experiences of five teenagers, a map begins to form detailing an extensive government cover up, in the middle of which they find themselves. With mysterious disappearances around the Summer Solstice, a reluctant sheriff’s department, missing hours, shadowy figures, and a practical crash-course in cryptozoology, these five teens will have plenty to occupy them over the summer. We think this story would best be told as a comic, so Eric has been helping me work on the story as an illustrated piece. As with Harlow and The Fatalist, this story is still in the design, and development stages, but I hope to have something solid to put out soon. Ideally, I would like to work out a timeline to stay on top of updates and new chapters once I can start production.

All in all, we’ve been fairly busy so far this year, but as we get a better grasp on our schedules,  time management, and caffeine intakes we will make more time to work on doing the art and writing that we love! The first step is updating the blog here more regularly, and we’ll go from there.

Thanks for sticking with us, or for discovering us for the first time!  We look forward to bringing you more information and material as we can make it!

Cheers!

– Kecheri

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First Vendor Table

Eric and I took my kids&knits shop, TheWingedWhale to a Girl Scout troop’s community outreach day out at a church in Havover, MD by Arundel Mills Mall on August 18. It was our first opportunity to set up a vendor table at an event. It sounded like a great event with food, crafts, vendors, scout badge work, face painting, balloon animals, a fire truck, dj, the whole nine yards!  I was informed it would be a “SUPER DUPER” event by the organizer, with more than 60 vendors attending, an event program, etc., lots of hype from the organizer.

So, I entered production mode, made bracelets and last minute knits and stuffed animals, got the day off at work (cashing in on a little guilty accommodation after my over-100 hours of work and consequent work-related injury), and gathered set up supplies from my mom and Eric’s parents. I took out money from the bank to make change, shared the flier on Facebook, talked to some friends who apologized for not being able to make it out, and packed up the car. We drove almost an hour out to the location Saturday morning, talking and anticipating.

When we arrived, we pulled in the driveway and were greeted at our car by girls asking for our table fee, which we had already sent via mail. Then we met the organizer, who shook my hand and commented with some amazement that Eric and I were very patient — which seemed a fairly odd comment following a ten second interaction. We were a little skeptical because of the greeting party and the fact the location was significantly smaller than we imagined for over 60 vendors and all the other stuff promised for the event. Other vendors were getting upset because there was not clear instruction on where the aisles between vendors were meant to be, etc. Still! We’ve never set up for a show like this, so we figured it was all probably pretty normal and got our tent up (eventually with some help from three other vendors), stored the car in the off-location lot available, and set up all the goods we brought, and settled in for the event to start.

And so we waited.

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And waited…

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My mom came by to say hi and check out the venue, but we only saw maybe four or five other groups people walking around throughout the entire day who weren’t other vendors or the few girl scouts present. Many of the other vendors packed up early in pretty sour moods because no one was around. It was about 98 degrees out with 99% humidity, which may have deterred people, but ultimately, it was clear the event had just not been advertised to the public. There wasn’t even a cardboard sign by the main road indicating that there was an event, which I’ve seen almost any other time I’ve seen an event going on anywhere, even for small events like this one.

Eric and I waited it out until the official 2:00 end of the event, but only managed to make one sale. By the end of the day, we only brought in a $2 profit, not counting the cost of gas to drive out there, so all in all, fairly disappointing. But! Now we have the experience, so we are better prepared for a proper show. We’ve set up the table and the tent, and found out what works and what doesn’t, what things we should maybe invest in, and that we should really put our energy into one of the larger shows, even though the table fee is higher.

We are thinking about the Great Frederick Fair– which we have missed the entry deadline for this year– the Annual Frederick Festival of the Arts and the Frederick Fiber Festival for next year. We’re also looking south to Montgomery County which has a number of art and craft festivals down near where I used to live, like the Sugarloaf Crafts Festival in Timonium or Gaithersburg, or the Rockville Town Center Art Festival next year.

All in all, not a lost effort and we’ve learned a lot! But next time, we’ll probably stick to the shows we know more what to expect in terms of turn out.

— Kecheri