Saturday, November 16, 2013

Going to a Craft Show

Craft shows are how Michael got his start. He used to pack up his truck and head to one just about every single weekend with his fused glass and metal working. I used to do craft shows as well on my own. However, since opening the store neither Michael or I have not done a single one.

A few weeks ago we were invited by Blanchard Elementary school in Boxboro to their Holiday Shopping Night, and so we figured, why not?

So last night we packed up the car to its brim with inventory from the store, and headed over. Sara even came to help us set up.

Michael made the mistake of telling her we were going to a "show" on Friday, which she got really excited about. When she found out that Daddy meant a CRAFT show, not a show on stage she was a wee bit bummed.

But, she is such a good sport and was really into it by the time we got to the school. She even insisted on carrying some things in herself. She's a great little helper :)

As we were going through the process of unloading the boxes and boxes of items and setting up our table I kept turning to Michael and laughing. I am not exaggerating when I say that craft shows used to be a way of life. It almost felt like going back to your old elementary school or something. I probably sound crazy right now, but it's true.

I want to apologize for the lack of photos. We were so busy the whole night that I didn't even have a moment to remember to snap a photo. We had a fairly large space to ourselves, but here is one of the tables.



Honestly, I had much more fun than I thought I would. The event was really well attended and I had a fantastic time talking with so many wonderful people.

Michael even surprised me with a caramel apple cupcake break! Yum :)



Tonight we are having another artisan reception at the gallery for a mother/daughter team, Sarah and Kayla Beardslee. That means that today Michael and I will be running around preparing for that. I will be sure to let you guys know how that goes.

Happy Weekend!

-Brooke

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Window Washing and Holiday Cards!

As business owners we constantly get to put on new hats. Today's hat? Window Washers!

In all honesty, I had been dreading today for a while because deep cleaning the window area seemed so daunting.


We pulled all of the inventory out of the window and disassembled the entire shelving unit. Then we got out our squeegees and went to town.


A kind of messy chore, and very cold for a chilly November afternoon, but there's no choice but to get it done!

Second task of the day was taking our store Holiday card photo. We thought that this would be a nice way to say thank you to our customers who have supported us throughout the year.

We truly do appreciate each and every one of our customers. I get really excited about every chance we get to let you guys get to know us a little better, even if that just means putting faces to our names.

Sara kept wriggling around and making funny faces the whole time so it took about ten shots, and a promise to do one silly photo at the end to get her to stand still and do a plain smile.

She insisted that it was more funny to do a silly photo.

And she was right!

Michael ended up using our silly photo for the Christmas card :) The plain ones felt a bit stodgy. Stay tuned for that.


I hope everyone is having a nice November so far. It's certainly getting cold here in Massachusetts. The forecast called for snow this morning, which did not happen but it certainly felt like it could snow all day today!

-Brooke

Monday, November 11, 2013

Update


Alright. I know, I know. I haven’t posted anything in way too long. Ah! Horrible excuse, I know, but Michael and I both have been absolutely SWAMPED with preparations for the holidays.

But, more importantly, I am back. I figured I would do a quick catch up post to give some highlights from the past few weeks.

 

DOWNTOWN TRICK-OR-TREAT



As it was last year, so much fun! The wonderful thing about this particular event is that you get to see so many costumes! We went through 1500 pieces of candy, and I was only giving out one per person, yikes.

Michael took Sara trick-or-treating around town along with a handful of her friends from school. Sara was a fairy, of course. Her latest favorite thing in the world :) And I had candy duty. Here is a picture of the two of us all ready to go.

Last year I wore a witch hat as my costume, but I figured I would dress up a bit more this year for fun. Costume of choice? Princess Belle, of course. I didn’t realize how fancy my dress was going to be when I ordered it online, but it was a full-on ball gown. Hoop skirt, boning, and all. Well, if I ever have a royal ball to go to I am all set, right?

 
Might I mention that I was freezing? But I was determined to make it the whole time without covering up my costume! I made it ALMOST. I had to throw on a cardigan during the last hour of the event because downtown Maynard is like a wind tunnel.

But the costume was a hit, and that’s what matters. I must have taken 20 photos with entire families who wanted to pose with me! I also loved the look on the faces of the dozen, or so little girls who ALSO dressed up as Belle.
 
CHRISTMAS TREE
November 1 is when the tree goes up at the store. Call us crazy, but I am not exaggerating when I say that customers have been asking for it since September. It always gets me how controversial the Christmas Season can be. People get very passionate over exactly when it is time to get in the spirit. We pick a happy medium for the store when it comes to introducing Christmas. We start with the tree and ornaments and then slowly build from there throughout November. In about a week or so we will have our outdoor decorations up, so stay tuned for that!
 
ARTIST RECEPTIONS
This  Saturday we kicked off what is going to be a long string of Local Artisan Parties. We love giving local artists a chance to promote and sell their work, which is why we created this series in the first place. We give juried artists a certain region of featured display space in our store or a given amount of time. We throw them a party to kick off their show to give them the opportunity to promote themselves as well as celebrate with friends and family. I mentioned the reception for Kim Morgan in a previous post.
 
 
The Local Artisan Series is a favorite of mine. We run one sequence of parties throughout the spring and then typically a second series before the holidays.
 
This reception was extra-special to me because it was for a personal friend of mine, Clarissa Budd.
 
We have known each other since grade school, so it was amazing to give her this opportunity. She does stunning art photography as well as portrait sessions locally.
She sold her very first piece of art photography, to who else but her lovely grandmother. How beautiful are the two of them?
 
 
 
Her party was a ball and I love seeing Clarissa. There is nothing like old friends :)
 
 
Clarissa's work will be displayed on our walls for the duration of November, so be sure to stop by and check it out.
Those are the major events since I last checked in. We have also had tons of new inventory arriving daily for Christmas. Look out for plenty of posts featuring the new work.
 
Other than that, Michael and I have been working non stop on the website. Check it out if you haven't. There are new things showing up daily!
 
Goodbye for now!
 
-Brooke
 
 
 
 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Really Heavy Pumpkins

Check out our newest addition to the gallery: Pumpkins!



They are made out of cast stone and made to display in a garden. This happens to make them humorously heavy.

This morning Michael and I were both working in the office when he noticed there was a delivery on the front steps, so he went out to grab it like he always does. Fifteen minutes later I started getting a bit concerned...

I poked my head out and he was fumbling with the boxes completely unable to move them more than a foot at a time. Oh dear! Usually we both know exactly what is coming and when but I did not know what these were so I was completely perplexed haha.

Any way, here we are unpacking them at the store. (Michael was getting a bit testy with me because I was trying to take pictures when he was needing my help to with the boxes.)




These guys are stunning in person. The photos do not even begin to give them a justice. The largest one looks out of a story book!


 
One of the things I love about running the store is that there is a different story every day. We get to laugh so much which is wonderful, and something that not everyone gets to say about their work :)

In other news... Maynard hosts a large downtown trick-or-treat each year the week before Halloween. I ordered a costume online for the event and it came today. Good gosh! It is way fancier in person than I thought it was going to be. is it even possible to be overdressed for Halloween? Stay tuned for that...

-Brooke

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Maynardfest 2013

Maynardfest was yesterday and we had so much fun!

Maynard is actually a tiny town in comparison to most, so it amazes me the quality and size of the town events. Just like I mentioned in my post about the Maynard Road Race, when you tell Maynard there is an event, everyone shows up.



This year we went relatively simple and put together a beaded bracelet project to do out in front of our store. Oh, and of COURSE we had tons of munchkins (I may or may not have eaten half of them myself.)


 
Michael and I made note to get to the store really early to set up. But......There was a car parked right in our spot until ten minutes before the event began. I get kind of panicky about that type of thing which Michael was later teasing me about. In reality was that ten minutes was plenty enough time to set up.


These are really cute right? This is the only one I actually thought to take a photo of, but there were so many great ones that folks put together throughout the day.

And here are some photos of kids having fun making our bracelets. I must admit, I was having a lot of fun just putting together the demos all day. Valerie and Sandy, the employees also both came out to make ones for themselves!





Michael and I also worked on making some earrings during the day. I figured I would throw in a few pictures of some of them. He is much better than I am. I think he made about 20 beautiful pairs in the time it took me to make one.


 

Michael and I talk a lot about what we love about running this business, and one thing that comes up every time is that we get to be so involved in this wonderful community. I love that a long day of working means laughing with families and watching so many little faces light up when I fasten  bracelets onto their wrists.

Even if you are not a business owner I strongly urge you to get out there in your community. Find the events and go to them every single time. Better yet, rent a booth space and become a part of the event. There are so many warm memories to be made.

-Brooke

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Empty Walls

We rotate the artwork on the walls about once every month or so. There is typically a day or two between when one artist picks up their work and when the next one drops their work off. This means that the walls are just... empty...

It makes the space feel really different and bare.


Empty...


Empty...


Anyway, we have an artist reception in two days and this afternoon we received  the new work. It is now on the walls so we no longer have a naked store.

I will wait until Friday to post any more images of the paintings, but because I could not resist, here is my absolutely favorite of the bunch.



Too cute, right?

-Brooke

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Old School Kiln Firing

We go to Old Sturbridge Village a lot. I don't know who is from the area and already knows, but it is a collection of buildings from the 1800s clustered into a living history museum. They always have great crafts and activities for kids and adults, and the scenery is just stunning.

Every fall they host a night time Harvest Party where they light up the park by candlelight and have a bunch of activities through the park. The thing that made Michael and I really excited this year was that they were firing up their old-style pottery kiln.

Michael obviously knows a lot about modern kilns, but neither of us had ever seen this before, so we were really curious.

There it is!

 
The amount of wood that they needed to fuel this thing was crazy. They had two re enactors dumping wood into it non stop the whole time we were there. It definitely requires a lot more physical work than our kilns.


It works essentially the same as a modern kiln, by heating up the pottery until it's solid and the glazes fire. However, one of the men mentioned that there is very little heat control so breakage was fairly common.

Bummer huh? Can you imagine all that work only to realize a bunch of your pieces cracked?

We also checked out the potter on his pottery wheel.


Sara also got a chance to try her hand at the pottery wheel. Look how sweet she looks in her Denault Studios shirt haha.

She asked the potter to make a flower pot and got to help him make the rippled brim. It was nighttime, and there was not a lot of light, but you can kinda see her in there :)

It is really interesting to see how things were produced hundreds of years ago, and honestly humbling. I couldn't help but feel a little lazy watching those men lugging that wood all night when I thought of our kilns.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful start to the fall. The leaves in New England are definitely starting to change and the air already has that refreshing crispness.

-Brooke