Monday, September 28, 2009

It's the economy, stupid!

What a weekend!
I had a booth at the Riverfest arts & crafts festival in Canton, Georgia. (That's my booth on the right, with the purple tablecloths). This show is normally held in a grassy field, but due to the recent flooding it was moved into the parking lot between two schools. Actually, I think this was a BETTER location because the booths were visible from the road. But nature conspired against us on Saturday with heavy rain and thunderstorms. The show organizers shut the show down due to concerns about lightning.

We all returned on Sunday to a gorgeous, warm, breezy day.
I think everyone was tired of being cooped up for two weeks because of the rain, so they came out in droves. The problem is, they weren't spending any money. I only had a few sales. I checked with the other vendors who had similar items to mine, and they agreed - the economic turndown has hit us.

Even without huge $$ success, I still had a great time. I met lots of nice people and did a lot of people-watching, one of my favorite pastimes. Don't worry; if you were there I won't tell stories about you! :-)

Friday, September 25, 2009

This weekend's show - Riverfest - Canton, Georgia

I'll have a booth this weekend at Riverfest in Canton, Georgia. (There's a link to information about the festival on the left side of the blog.) Normally this festival takes place in Boling Park in Canton. But Boling Park is right on the river . . . hence the name Riverfest, i suppose??? hee hee . . . and that river has flooded the park due to all the rain we've been having! The festival will go on and is being moved just down the road a bit. So I'll be there, rain or shine. And it looks like we might have plenty of "shine" on Sunday!

If you're in the area, drop by and see me!
The flood waters are receding a bit here in Georgia, but there is still lots and lots of water lying around. We need some serious sunshine and wind to help dry everything up!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Georgia's Epic Flood

In case you haven't heard, parts of Georgia received anywhere from 10 to 18 inches of rain over the weekend through Monday. The area where I live was not the hardest hit, but we definitely saw the effects of all that rain.

There is a "swamp" that I drive over every day going to and from work. Normally, it's a great spot to see turtles sunning themselves on logs and cranes walking around in the brush. But here's what it looks like now:

The rains have stopped for the most part, and the sun is shining again. So everyone is hoping that this water will begin to recede soon.
I have a show this weekend in Canton, Georgia. The show is in a park right next to a river . . . I'm betting that the park is completely underwater right now, and it will NOT be fun setting up in all that mud on Saturday morning!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Lessons Learned during my first Arts Festival in the Rain

I participated in the Roswell Arts Festival this weekend. And for the first time since I've been doing shows, it rained the entire weekend. I was really surprised that customers showed up anyway! I didn't expect anyone at all. But we've had rain for over a week straight here, and I think people were getting a bit stir-crazy and wanted something to do. So they showed up! Although my sales weren't fantastic, I think I did very well for the conditions.

Here are a few nuggets of wisdom that I learned:

1. A poncho is an absolute MUST.
2. Bring lots of pins / clothespins. You can use them to pin up your tablecloths so that they don't get quite as wet.
3. Bring a waterproof bag where you can store some dry towels, washcloths, socks, etc.
4. Bring empty trashbags where you can toss your WET towels, washcloths, socks, etc!
5. Bungee cords + duct tape = great hanging hooks! I offered one to my customers where they could hang their umbrellas or jackets while they were looking around. (see picture) They were very appreciative, and I think it may have helped some sales because it was easier for them to browse.
6. Rubber boots. I didn't have a pair, and I wished I did!
7. Tarps. You may think your tent won't leak, and maybe yours won't, but mine did! Fortunately I had a spare poncho that I threw over the leak. But next time, I will have tarps.
8. Use plastic boxes for your product and supplies instead of cardboard. Rain + cardboard = mush.
9. Don't blow off the show completely just because of rain. People will come!

I have another show next weekend - Riverfest in Canton, GA. I'm hoping for better weather!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Festival Preparations - Can you believe this?

Last night I finished packing up all my jewelry and the tabletop displays for my show this weekend. It all reduced down to this little stack. I am always amazed at this point - I start thinking, "Wait - where are all my pieces? Do I have enough? This sure doesn't look like much for all that work!"

Of course there will be much more gear going with me - including my tent, tables, and weights to keep the tent from blowing away in the breeze. I will try to get a picture of the SUV all packed up tomorrow morning.

The end result should look something like this:

If you're in the area, come see me at the Roswell Arts Festival this weekend. There's a link on the top left side of this page for directions.

And here's what my work area ended up looking like. Anyone want to come over & clean up THIS mess for me?????

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dad of the Year Award - In my opinion, anyway.

Have you seen this video of the dad who catches a foul ball at a Phillies game and gives it to his young daughter who promptly tosses it away? If not, here's a link for you:

I would like to nominate this guy for Dad of the Year! Why? His reaction is PRICELESS! After his initial surprise at her reaction, he laughs and then gives her huge hugs! No lecutres, no anger at having thrown away his hard-earned prize - just smiles and hugs. What a guy! Yay Dad!

And get that kid onto a softball team, pronto . . . she's got potential!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Festival Preparations

I will have a booth at two festivals coming up the next two weekends. (Links are posted on the top left column of this blog.) There is SO MUCH WORK involved in getting ready for these festivals; my "bead room" is now officially a disaster area and DH is hyperventilating - he's a neat freak.

Step one: Each piece of jewelry needs a price tag. I print my own tags, but that means printing them, cutting them out, and hole punching every single tag. Most of this takes place in the office area (which as you can see from the dinosaur on the desk, I share with my son).

Then it's over to the "bead room" where I cut strips of raffia and attach tags to everything. This is when I take note of which pieces have tarnished, and into the tumbler they go before getting tagged.

Of course, it never fails that while I'm doing this some other beads call out to me and want to be made into a new piece . . . so here's what my work table ends up looking like!

Once everything is tagged, I begin putting my displays together. I like to do this step before I arrive at a festival; that way all I have to do is set up the busts and stands. Once I've put it all together, the displays go into big plastic storage boxes.

What a mess! Ugh! This process usually takes me several days to complete. But the cool thing is once it's all packed up, my bead room is practically empty and I can actually do some cleaning in there.

More pics coming once all is packed!

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11, 2009

Will I ever see the date "September 11" and not feel a cold chill down my spine?

I hope not. May we never forget the horror that took place on this date eight years ago, and may we strive to keep ourselves and our children safe from terror.
God Bless America.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

What do you think?

I had a *GREAT* idea for a necklace using all black and silver components . . . it was gonna be so funky and really cool . . . I had some black oval shaped black jasper rings, some sterling silver hammered squares, a Swarovski Crystal ring, several different shapes of sterling chain, and black seed beads . . . . All that would make an AMAZING necklace, right??

Hmmm. Here's the result. I'm not happy with it. What do you think?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Breast Reduction Surgery - Recovery

Lots of people have been asking how my post-operative experience has been since my surgery. Let me tell you, you never realize just how much you use those chest muscles until you can't use them! No lifting whatsoever was allowed for the first week. Not that I would have wanted to! OUCH! I was given Percocet for the first five days, and once that ran out I requested more as I was still having pretty significant pain. They gave me Darvocet which is less powerful. Two weeks later, I'm only taking the Darvocet at night just to help me sleep more comfortably. I'm taking Tylenol during the day.

The first couple of days were pretty rough. I had to have help doing everything - including getting dressed and even going to the bathroom. Getting out of bed was extremely difficult, and I found it best to just prop myself up into a sitting position and not get out of bed at all unless I really needed to. If you are considering having this surgery or anything like it, make sure you have someone who can stay with you 24/7 for at least the first 48 hours!

My surgeon used surgical tapes on my incisions instead of bandages. This meant that I could shower normally - as soon as I was able to stand up! - and didn't have to expose the incisions changing the dressings. He took the tapes off a week later. Two weeks after the surgery, I am still having occasional bleeding and fluid discharge from my incisions. This is perfectly normal and can continue as long as four weeks, I'm told. So I asked him what I was supposed to use to cover the incisions - and get this! They recommend super long Maxi pads! Hey, don't knock it!They're soft and absorbent, sanitary, and they work! (Gives a whole new meaning to "padding your bra!")

I went back to work a week after my surgery and am doing pretty well. I occasionally have flare-ups of pain. My right side is healing much faster than my left, for some strange reason. But I've resumed my normal life with the exception of working out and am feeling great about having done this!

It will be a few more weeks before I can wear a regular bra. I'm so excited about going to get myself sized and being able to buy pretty, lacy bras instead of indstrial-strength ones!

I've already bought a couple of new tops - including the one I am most proud of, which is a beautiful white cotton long sleeved button-front blouse. I haven't been able to wear a blouse like that in years! It's still a little too hot in Georgia for long sleeves, but believe me - I plan to wear it the first day the temperatures start to drop!

As always, please feel free to post questions in the comments. I hope that this information is helpful to someone out there!

Friday, September 4, 2009

It's Friday - time for more LOL Cats!

May your last sight in the world be much more pleasant than this.

And here's what DH will look like when I go shopping for new blouses for my newly svelte figure!

Happy Friday, everybody!

The Big Day

I had my surgery on Tuesday, Aug. 25th. Prior to the surgery, I had completed a phone assessment where the nurse went through my medical history and took note of any prescriptions I was taking.

The surgery was performed at an outpatient surgery center which is located right across the street from a major hospital. (I guess if something goes wrong they can just stretchers down the sidewalk and into the ER! Wouldn't that be a sight to see!) This was the first time I had ever been under general anesthesia, so I had no idea what to expect and was very nervous. The nurses were so sweet and helpful; they really put me at ease. I changed into a "lovely" hospital gown and was given some stunningly fashionable(!) mesh underwear to wear. I should have taken a picture of those - they were quite funny! A local anesthetic, then something to relax me, then the surgeon came in and marked me up with a permanent marker. Some of the marks are still on my skin . . . I need one of those puppies! That's all I remember until I woke up in the recovery room.

The next thing I remember was telling someone that my pain was a 6 on a scale of 10. They must have given me something for it, and I woke up about an hour after that, groggy but generally feeling OK. That's when the nurse told me, "Well you should feel a lot lighter now - they removed over three pounds of tissue from you!" I was shocked! I mean, I knew my breasts were heavy but three pounds?????

I must have looked down, because then she told me, "Oh don't worry, you've got plenty of boobage left." Yep, she said boobage! Cracked me up! - and it hurt to laugh. Ugh. Anyway, her guess at that time was that I was still at least a C cup if not bigger. Three pounds gone and STILL a C cup? WOW.

They put me in a post-surgical bra. Note to anyone considering this procedure: you will NOT want to wear that thing any longer than you have to. All the closures were Velcro and were very, very itchy and uncomfortable. The nurse recommended that my husband go to Target and buy me at least two Champion sports bras in style C9. She said that I could shower as early as the next day and could change into that bra after I showered. I was given a prescription painkiller and antibiotic. We headed home and arrived at about 3:00 pm. DH helped me into bed, and I think I slept until the next morning.

In my next installment, I'll tell you about my first shower and more about my recovery. I hope this is helpful information for somebody out there! Please feel free to ask questions in the comments.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I lost Three Pounds in Three Hours! Here's how . . .

HA! I thought that would get your attention. No, this isn't a commercial for a magic diet pill. I had breast reduction surgery last week. And I am one happy camper!!!!!!

I've been debating about whether to blog this or not (possible TMI!!!!), but it seems like everyone that I've talked to is really curious about it. So I thought I'd share some of my experience with you.

The first question I always get is, "Why did you do it?" I have been having upper back, neck, and shoulder pain for quite some time now. I work as an administrative assistant and sit in front of a computer all day long, and of course my jewelry making adds to the strain. Also, it had become very painful for me to run or even walk fast. Not a good thing for a mom with a 6 year old son! I decided to ask my doctor if breast reduction might be the answer, and he agreed that I might be a good candidate for it.

In order for my health insurance to approve the surgery, I had to jump through some hoops. Considering that I'm on a pretty strict HMO plan, I would imagine that these are probably the conditions that just about any health insurance plan might require.

1. BMI has to be less than 30. I had to lose about 10 pounds to meet this one. Here's a website where you can calculate your BMI.

2. Breast size - You don't have to be a particular "cup size" to qualify (I was a DDD). Instead, your breasts have to be a certain length from the collarbone to the nipple. (Mine were 40 and 43 cm; I think the minimum was 30 but I could be wrong about that.)

3. Soft tissue damage - Do you have dents in your shoulders from your bras, or other soft tissue damage due to large breasts? I didn't, but this is another point that would build a case.

4. Pain - do you experience pain in the breasts or back, shoulders, and neck due to the heaviness of your breasts? You don't have to be taking a prescription painkiller, just something like Tylenol, Ibuprofen, or aspirin.

I had to go through physical therapy and have a custom bra made to see if these would help my symptoms. They didn't, and once I finished the physical therapy and lost some weight I returned to my doctor who then referred me to a plastic surgeon.

Tomorrow I'll tell you more about the surgery itself & my recovery so far! If you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comments and I will respond. (Responses with spammy links will be removed. )

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

50% Off Sale

I'm having a 50% off sale until September 15, 2009 on certain items. Click HERE to take a look at the sale section in my shop. Prices include shipping to the US and Canada! Have fun shopping!