Our yearly Christmas drive through the city in our pajamas always yields some interesting light photos. As I was taking them, I was telling Chris that our children are going to have to dig through all sorts of this nonsense if they ever delve into my photo files after I’m gone. Bloggers have a strange collection of photos: plates of food, raindrops, craft supplies, streaking Christmas lights.
It has felt odd but necessary to continue on with our Christmas traditions this week. I have not told my children about the unthinkable tragedy in Connecticut. There is no reason those children should have had such terror visited upon them, and there is no reason my children should live in fear either. My mind is full of sympathy, grief and worry — mentally composing letters to my representatives and wondering what can be done. But my girls are oblivious and joyful. So we frost sugar cookies and roast marshmallows in the fireplace and watch the pretty lights go by.
I finished my first sale! That was my main ceramics goal for the year, so I’m glad I managed to make it happen. I know yearly goals are arbitrary, but they give me a framework for progress, which is important when time seems to be slipping by more and more quickly now that I have kids.
The sale went well. I came home with many fewer pots and also acquired a chest cold that has slowed me down this week. (Hence the lack of an etsy update. I don’t think it’s going to happen before the end of the year, and that is OK. Making Christmas happen for my kids is important, too.)
What I learned:
- To my surprise, people like buttons! If they don’t do so themselves, everyone knows someone who sews or knits or collects buttons. The problem: these are a low-price item. So, they are nice, but by no means am I going into an all-button business.
- People are not freaked out by handle-less mugs! I sold all my cups, and not as many mugs. Huh.
- If people are confused by something, they won’t buy it. That was the fate of my button bows. Fambly: expect button bows on your Christmas packages this year.
- I could use more shelves/vertical elements in my display.
- The people at the Clay Guild couldn’t be nicer. It was a pleasure to hang out with them all weekend. I was one of the only first-timers, and everyone was very helpful and encouraging.
So, all good things. I’m relieved. And tired. And ready to do it all over again next year.
Today is the big day! I’ll be at the Kansas City Clay Guild’s holiday sale, tonight 6-10, Saturday 10-5 and Sunday 12-5. I’ll have mugs, bowls, cups, wall tiles, ornaments, buttons, and button bows. I’ll be putting the shop on vacation until Monday. I’ll report back next week — I’m sure I’ll learn so much! Like, uh, nobody wants to buy buttons at a ceramics sale, or $30 for a mug???, or five thousand ornaments are too. many. ornaments. You know, useful stuff like that.
We always do a craft or two as one of our advent calendar activities. Last night the girls made marshmallow wreaths. (Instructions here.) I came across these on Pinterest. (Of course — where else?)
Here’s how it went. The girls were able to complete these fairly independently, which is my main concern. So thumbs up on that count. But the instructions said you could use full-length toothpicks on a flat foam wreath. When we did this, the toothpicks were way too long, and went completely through the marshmallow by quite a lot. There was no way the girls were going to be able to partially skewer the marshmallows, so we cut the toothpicks in half. This created a ten-minute lag during which the children ate half the marshmallows. So Chris had to run out and buy more. Then while he was gone, Elise decided to roast a marshmallow on the advent candle and set it on fire.
So, stabbing! Fire! Fun holiday times!
No, really, this was a pretty good craft for the girls. I tried hanging the wreaths before setting in the refrigerator overnight, but marshmallows kept falling off. So I refrigerated them and hung them this morning. The marshmallows are still falling off. So, fingers crossed for no toothpick ingestion. Happy fun Christmas times!
So this is my idea of Christmas decorating: clear off two shelves and stick all the Christmas stuff on them. Done.
I have never bought many Christmas decorations besides ornaments. The only things in this photo that were chosen by me are the fabric for the pillow cover I made, the tree, and that candy cane candle up on the shelf. The rest were gifts or hand-me downs. They are all fun things, and somehow they sorta all go together. Kind of.
Sometimes I get the urge to go all color-coordinated and modern with the decorations, but I know my kids have already developed sentimental attachments to the things we have. And so have I. Maybe I’ll add in some more things once we’ve gotten past the point where every decoration is a toy. I hate to invest my time in something that will just be destroyed (you can also apply this phrase to everything in my house).
Actually, half of this stuff is probably going to be broken in ten years’ time anyway! My children will inherit a pile of sentiment-laden, glued-together holiday decor — just as it should be.
The one new thing I may add this year is a pretty centerpiece for a family dinner. Something shiny. Something not breakable. Metal maybe? Brass. That sounds sturdy.
My first sale is one week from today! And I have the sleepy eyes to prove it. I think I’ll send one more partial load into the kiln, and call it good.
We’re starting to get into the holiday season here, and my kids are begging me to put out more Christmas decorations. The decorations are coming out of the boxes at a very slow trickle. I’ll be done just in time for them to go back in the basement!
I did manage to get our advent calendar filled and on the shelf before bed last night (at uh, 2 a.m.?). I call it advent, but it’s really just a countdown calendar. The boxes are filled with either slips of paper suggesting various activities or little wooden letters that spell out *CHEERS* on top of the box. We do the same sorts of activities every year: wearing PJs to drive around and see lights, having a picnic under the Christmas tree, doing a craft project, buying gifts for children in need, giving red & green manicures, etc.
Good times, but tired mama.
My etsy shop has been re-opened for business! I’ll keep it up through December 5, and then I’ll put it on vacation for the KC Clay Guild holiday sale. Right now I only have ornaments, but I’ll post pots after the holiday sale. Thanks for looking!
Mere hours before we set off for Thanksgiving in Virginia, I was able to peek into the kiln and see my ornaments. I’m happy to report that my kiln is functioning as usual once again. I added some gold detail to the ornaments when we got back.
We had a busy, somewhat worrisome (some health issues for my niece), but also wonderful Thanksgiving. How was yours?
I’ll be listing these ornaments on etsy later this week. Catch me on facebook or twitter if you want to get a special friendly discount code. I’ll let you all know as soon as they are listed. Until then, here are a few more photos.
I’ve been working hard to get ready for the holiday sale, but I had a bit of a hiccup last week. My kiln stopped working. I had glazed all the ornaments in the photo above, and they were loaded in the kiln. Then I turned it on, and it would either give me an error message or tell me it was -20 degrees in there. I figured it was the thermocouple on my kiln, and that is what it was. I had a new one installed today, and I’m back on track. I’m not sure how practical it will be to list ornaments on etsy at this point, but I’ll do my best, and I’ll have them at the sale.
Trying to get ready for this sale has been maybe a little too much for me. My days are already full to the brim with three small children, and this has pushed me into exhausted/weepy territory. So I expect this small business to stay super small until I can get all the littles into elementary school. That will at least lead me into a realm somewhere between part-time and full-time. Right now it’s more like wee-hours-time. Or during-The-Little-Mermaid-time. Or please-for-the-love-of-pete-stop-yelling-at-me-for-snacks-time.
November came up on me so quickly that when I went to change the calendar, I realized I had never changed it to October! And that is a shame, because I missed a month of looking at Leah Duncan‘s lovely designs. If you want to see all of her 2012 calendar, you can see it here. Or, check out next year’s calendars here. I don’t know what to pick for 2013.
I need to keep an eye out for a calendar for the girls, too. They are always making their own countdown calendars with confusing grids and checkmarks. They’re fun, but I have no idea what to tell them when they ask me to look at it and determine how many days are left until Easter/Halloween/grandma visiting/etc.
This November I decided not to participate in NaBloPoMo, even though I have enjoyed it before. I am having trouble keeping all the plate spinning lately, and I just didn’t need another plate. So, instead, I will be taking a photo here and there for Habit‘s open month. You can see my photos on flickr in my flickr stream or on the Habit group page.