Tuesday, 30 April 2013

"I'm blogging this" isn't a joke in my world...

Sometimes my favourite part of my day is my conversations with my closest peeps. Because they get me, and they laugh when I'm being hilarious, which I often think I am. Also, I threw in some pictures I've been snapping that I haven't gotten to share yet. You're welcome.

_______________________________________________________________
Creepy doll at an antique store that
I found and immediately texted to MJ.
Because what are BFF's for.

WHEN I GO...


Me: When I die, I wanna go out doing something that no one else is doing.

Jai: Like flossing?

Me: No.

Jai: Voting?
_____________________________________________________________

GIVE ME A LEVER, AND A BARMAID...

Me: We could rig one of those wench systems.

Alan: I'm not sure about a wench system but we could do a winch system.

Me: Ahahaha, right.

Alan: I need my phone right now to put that on Facebook.

Me: No. You're horrible.

Alan: Me?! You're the one who believes women should have rights, and now you're using them as pullies.

Who knew Spy Vs Spy rocked such a sexy look
in the springtime?
See also: Star Wars Battledroids.

_________________________________________________________ 
THE 'MANATEE GREY' DEBATE AT TARGET 

Jordan Danger
So apparently Target labeled a plus-size piece of clothing 'manatee grey'. Ohhhhh the lady bloggers.

MJ
I heard, and everyone promptly lost their shit.

Jordan Danger
Honestly, I think it was a) a mistake or b) a programmer/writer who thought they'd sneak it in.

MJ
I can't see Target knowingly enraging that big a portion of the demographic. And I mean, Manatee's are grey, so there's that.

Jordan Danger
They say it's a seasonal thing. It's called heather in the winter, manatee in the summer, something like that.

MJ
lol I didn't know manatees had a season.

Jordan Danger
Well, they're a summer animal.

MJ
They are?

Jordan Danger
Florida. Anyway, I get it. If I had a sweater to sell year round I would call it 'sea foam' in the summer and 'icicle' in the winter.

MJ
See, If I had to think of a summer animal I would choose an Otter or a Timon... I can't remember what they are.

Jordan Danger
lol just random animal names, then.

MJ
I think a summer name would still be good in the winter because it would make people think of warmer times. Like cherry blossoms or miami blue. But as I understand it those are not colours to wear in winter anyways...unless you have my savvy fashion sense, lol; then you wear it all at once. With a jaunty hat and bow tie.

Ultimately though I guess choosing an animal of an immense size was not a great business decision for a plus sized line. Elephants and whales can be grey too. Both bad choices.

Hippo Brown

Brontosaurus green

All bad choices.

Jordan Danger
I'm trying so hard not to laugh out loud right now. I don't think they used the name just on plus sizes. It's not like the other one made for skinny girls was called skeletal grey or anything.

MJ
Well that's a horse of a different colour, then.

Jordan Danger
A manatee-coloured horse?

MJ
That would be a grey horse. A horsatee? Manatorse.

Jordan Danger
Ahahaha

MJ
If a person painted a room manatee grey, I wouldn't think it was a reflection of their build.

Jordan Danger
They SHOULD just start making up crazy colour names that don't exist.
What colour is this blouse? It's indinurple.

MJ
lol

Jordan Danger
I think i'm blogging this dialogue.
  
MJ
you probably should.

This is supposed to tell you that snow and ice fall
off the roof here. Me, I say it warns you of spike-
drooling alligators.

I came home to find these Domo characters in a standoff
with my Tokidoki, who was apparently mocking them
from atop a table. Clearly Bruce the Roommate was
trying to communicate something to me.

We tweaked the scene slightly.

Also, Bruce shaved his poor cat for the spring, but did a
terrible job, so I put him in Mr Darcy's raincoat. He is
SOOOO impressed.
My dad with one of his puppies. The apple doesn't
fall far from the tree.


Thursday, 25 April 2013

A random lottery of meaningless tragedies, and one bright moment.

It's been a week of stupid.

My car decided it was time to die, for one. Jude is a 13 year-old Corolla, and I've driven her hard for three years now. I know it's technically not her fault, but I swear she breaks down on purpose just when it's the least convenient. I'm not sure why she hates me; I've kept her fairly well oiled and take her lots of places. Yet, I know that if I  mention any sort of surplus of money in her presence, she will immediately break down and cost me that exact amount of money. She *hears* me. It's creepy.

Anyway, Jude is actually going to just stop working sometime very soon. My mechanic stopped adding up parts and estimates around $1200 and suggested it was simply time to get a new car. So dad and I started looking, but the reality is, I just want an exact replica of Jude--except working, and maybe a little younger. And that, for the pittance I'm able to pay right now, seems virtually impossible.
 
This is what I sing to Jude when I'm trying to keep her appeased.

Then, in the midst of this futile car search, my house starts to fall apart.

I mean, it kind of already was; some of you are familiar with the leak that seems to be coming from the tub, ruining the dining room ceiling, even though we have had a plumber and various other experts investigate the hole. At this point I'm thinking of just putting some crown moulding around the damn thing and calling it an architectural feature. I'd call it a skylight, but it looks up into the underside of my tub, so it's more of a tublight.

Aside from the tublight, I just got a notice that the condo board is sending someone to examine for potential basement problems. And yes, that same night, I noticed a serious crack running from stem to stern of the basement floor, with a bump in the middle heaving upwards. No one tells you to watch for these things, just like no one tells you that your furnace humidifier can malfunction and start pouring water onto your roommates' boxes of comics (this also happen this week). So I guess the good news is that the basement guy happens to be coming just as the floor starts to heave up, revealing what will undoubtedly be a haunted pet cemetary or a very large, very angry groundhog that got lost and refuses to ask for direction.

Adding to the 'spring has sprung' joy I'm feeling, I had a run-in with my new animal foe. Readers of my old blog will recall that my old apartment had a bat infestation--surely four bats counts as an infestation--and that I discovered I'm afraid, not so much of bats, as bats flying into my face. Well the other day I was headed outside on a break at work and as I exited the building, what should I espy mere inches from my head, but a bat. He was mysteriously scaling the wall, one brick at a time, his scaly black winged arms finding shaky purchase in the mortar in between. After an initial bout of panic and fleeing, I returned to watch him and took this footage:
 
video
 

Remind you of anything? Here, let me help:
 
 

So I've surmised that the bat is obviously an Adam West fan, and was mimicking something he'd seen on TV. Which we've all tried to do at some point, but this little monster was actually managing it pretty well.

Anyway, all of this was offset by one incredibly cool and wondrous event:

The Bloggess followed me.

(On twitter, not on the street. But that would have been just as cool, if not cooler.)

I wrote a post not long ago about the upcoming Ottawa Comiccon, and how I was hoping to get a picture with Wil Wheaton because if Wheaton and I were friends, then by proxy I was basically also friends with The Bloggess. (If you don't know who the Bloggess is, good. Don't go read her blog, because she is way funnier than I am and you'll never come back.) Anyway, Wheaton hasn't responded to the pictures or links to the blog post I've tweeted out--I'm pretty sure he's straight-up ignoring me at this point--but out of the blue, my Twitter pinged and said, 'The Bloggess is now following you'. 

I happen to be on the phone with my best friend MJ at the time, which was a good thing because I never would have calmed down enough to manage dialing her number and I would have melted in a sticky pile of goo from sheer excitement. 

Yes, Jenny Lawson follows lots of people. Yes, it's maybe not such a big deal, and about 20,000 people in the world could read this post and comment that they, too, are followed by the Bloggess. But it's a thrill for me, one I can't explain exactly. It's better than getting a nod from a movie star in a restaurant, slightly less cool than getting chatted up by one in a coffee shop--which happened to me once, but how was I supposed to know it was Daniel Alfredsson? Anyway, I went straight from checking my twitter to having a really torturous chiro appointment, and the whole time the doctor was whacking away at my funhouse-style vertebrae, I just kept thinking, "The Bloggess is following me..."

It was a good week, in a way.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

MAKE STUFF: Altoids tin makeover, into a compact!

So I was late on the bandwagon, but I recently discovered the local eco-friendly store, Terra20, and I hadn't even realized that this was where my entire paycheque was supposed to be going every month, but that's how it works now and I'm okay with that.

Anyway, I figured out this year that I'm allergic to something (maybe everything) in commercially-produced personal care products, which meant no more makeup, moisturizer, shampoo, hair spray--you name it. Obviously the solution was either to stop cleaning myself and look like Grizzly Adams, or find some alternative products. I chose the latter, much to the relief of everyone around me. When I found a brand of eye shadow that I liked at Terra20, I was stoked; but I discovered that the cakes of powder were sold without a compact. There's a compact available, but it's made of cardboard (to be eco-friendly) and if you've seen me handle my belongings, you know I'm better off with something made of kevlar. 

This is how the eye shadow comes, with minimal packaging. 


So I made this lovely Altoids tin compact. Still eco-friendly, still reusable, but just way more personalized and super sturdy. Want one of your own? Here's how to do it. (And it's really very easy.)

ALTOIDS TIN COMPACT


WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
-Altoids tin (or other metal tin), devoid of mints
-primer (spray or paint-on kind)
-paintbrushes, scissors, and perhaps an Xacto knife
-pretty paper, ideally cardstock weight
-other pretty images, from a magazine, or printed with a photocopier or laser printer for water resistance
-Tacky Glue
-Polyurethane craft varnish
-nail polish

WHAT YOU WILL DO: 
1. Prime the tin and let it dry. Don't prime the inside--it's chemicals you don't need near your eye makeup.



2. Cut out your pretty paper to fit the top, bottom, and wide part of the sides. If you can't trace or eyeball this (it takes some practice), look for a template online by just googling 'Altoids tin template'. You'll find what feels easiest for you. But I just traced the top, the bottom, and then loosely measured the side so I could cut one long strip to wrap around the box. I don't try to paper the inner lip (the part of the box's side that is covered up when the lid is closed) because I don't like it interfering with the smooth closure of the box. We'll use nail polish there instead--you'll see.




3. Use the Tacky Glue (essentially, just thicker white glue) to glue down the various pieces of paper. You'll have to find a balance between too much glue and not enough glue. Gently smooth out any bumps or bubbles. I recommend having extra paper on hand in case of a screw-up. Also, many Altoids tins have raised letters on the top; this is why cardstock is better to use here. You'll still have some bumpiness when you're done, but the cardstock covers those raised letters pretty well.

4. Add images from magazines, books, old cards, or printed on a laser printer. My lotus here was printed off the 'net with a laser printer and cut out so you would still see lots of the pretty paper around the edges.

5. Once that's all relatively dry, grab your nail polish. I used a red one (also from Terra20, so it isn't as toxic), and I painted the edge of the lid, as well as the hidden edge of the side (the part that hides under the lid when it's closed). I did three or four coats to be sure it'd be tough. I also chose a nail polish that I know dries very hard--not bendy or sticky or stretchy. 



6. Leave to dry overnight.

7. Add any last minute details, touch up any paint. I ended up adding some little plastic pearls from my scrapbooking supplies around the edge of the lotus. 



8. Varnish the whole thing with your water-based craft polyurethane. I use a fan brush because it's got wide coverage and doesn't streak the varnish. Let it dry between coats, and do 3 coats. If any of the paper tries to wrinkle or buckle, you're probably applying the varnish too thickly; slow down, gently press the paper flat again, and wait longer between coats.



9. Leave it alone for 3 days so everything is good and hard. While you're doing that, decide what to do with the inside. I considered sticking small pieces of adhesive magnet onto the back of my makeup cakes, then letting physics do the rest since the tins are indeed magnet-friendly. But I was worried that they may come loose during transit, when I occasionally carry my makeup to a location. So I cut out a piece of blue plastic from some packaging, hot glued that in the bottom of the tin, then hot-glued my powder cakes into place. When they're empty, I can pull them gently off the plastic--and worse case scenario, of the plastic has gotten gross by then, I can pull it out, too, and put in a new piece. I could have done paper or fabric, but I like things to be easy to sterilize. 



10. Show it off to everyone you can. I was a bit surprised at myself for choosing such girly colours, but I found the lotus and then I found the paper, and the rest just happened. MJ says it looks like a vintage soap ad or something, and I'm happy with that. And I've still got room for another shadow in there! Happy day, indeed.






Still room to add another, and tuck in a small brush!



Friday, 19 April 2013

Creative Comfort: Laura Daub Gallery & Art School

Post Script: Laura has moved herself and her studio to Toronto, Canada since the time of this article. However, I'm leaving it posted because Max and I had such a fabulous time and it was such a great learning and bonding experience. If you have the opportunity to take a kid in your life to a similar class, I absolutely recommend you do.

AN ART CLASS FOR TWO


A couple weeks ago, 8 year-old Max and I headed down to Laura Daub's gallery and studio for an art lesson. Max is a great mini-human (the son of my sweetheart, Alan); he's patient, kind, sweet, and personable. He is, unfortunately, nearly six years older than his little sister Blueberry, who is turning 3 next month. Max is incredibly good with Blueberry, and I can say with certainty that, if my little brother had been a toddler when I was Max's age, I'd have stuffed him in the microwave long ago. Everyone's attention tends to get hijacked by her antics. Both Max and I occasionally reach our breaking point with this, and so when Laura offered to give Karter a special art lesson, he and I both jumped on the chance to go. It would be Jordan-Max time without any screaming, crying, or Dora the Explorer.

I met Laura Daub about six months back at the Handmade Harvest craft show. Her mini houses and colourful acorn sculptures drew me in, and I was lucky enough to get a print of a fox done by her, as well. I immediately started following her social media channels, and was thrilled when she announced that she was opening a gallery/studio space down in Britannia Village.

Max was thrilled when we arrived at the studio and looked around, and frankly so was I. The space that Laura has claimed is right down by Britannia Bay; it's a great little building that stood vacant when I was a kid, until another art gallery took it over and ran for over a decade. Laura has restyled the space with warm white walls, simple decor, and some of her fabulous friendly art, making a place that says, "Come create here".

We settled in and Laura explained to Max that we'd be working on superheroes today--faces in particular. Armed with a tiny bit of information I'd given her over email, Laura had prepared a lesson based around Hawkman--a Max favourite. Her way of explaining things was kid-friendly without being patronizing, and Max listened in rapt fascination as she explained the proportions of the human head. We both drew along with her instructions, with Max happily tossing in some comic book trivia as we all conversed. 

The environment was comfortable, the lesson was at a level Max could understand, and before long he had a drawing he was seriously proud of. I was so happy to see him enjoy the time so much, and I know he felt pretty cool being allowed to use high-end art supplies like the drafting markers and inking pens that Laura brought out. When we left and were walking to the car, I asked Max if that was fun and he quite literally yelled a happy 'Yeah!'

Two weeks later, we were sitting together and drawing again, and Max asked about the proportions that Laura had taught him. He remembered everything, and we practiced measuring each other's heads to see if the math really worked. Then he drew the Flash, and I couldn't get over how much his skills had improved from that one short hour with Laura. We immediately hung his Flash drawing beside his Hawkman on the fridge--the place of honour for all great art accomplishments. My fridge is a happy fridge.

ABOUT LAURA


So who is this Laura Daub, and how did she get to be so awesome? I asked Laura some questions about how she got started and what drives her passion. She was kind enough to give some tips on encouraging new artists, too:

In 5 sentences or less, what do you offer at the studio?

I make and sell my own artwork at my studio, with a focus on illustration, intuitive paintings and clay sculptures. I do commission work and also attend shows and sell in shops! I also offer private and small group art classes for parents who are looking for focused art instruction for their child who has a a serious passion in the Arts and are looking to further explore their talents. My goal is to teach children who thrive on exploring creatively through different artistic mediums. I meet with parents and students first, to ensure a good fit with the classes I offer and to ensure each student will get the most out of their learning experience in a creatively-focused, collaborative, non-competive atmosphere.

[Author's note: Laura also offers adult courses; be sure to check them out.]

How long have you been teaching art?

I started teaching adults Media and Design related courses 13 years ago at the college level. I just made the switch to teaching art lessons to children a couple of years ago and loving it.

Why is art important for young people?

Oh boy, I could go on and on about the benefits of nurturing visual art in children for hours! :) I will try to be brief! Nurturing a love of the Arts promotes creative thinking, problem-solving and aids in mastering fine motor skills, but nurturing a love for fine arts and crafts to children also allows them to explore their imaginations and express their creativity in all aspects of life.  I do appreciate that the need to teach art to children is perhaps just one facet of learning in life, but it is such an important tool in positively shaping their lives for the future. I truly believe exposure to Visual Arts is NO LESS IMPORTANT than any other skill that requires creativity, whether learning to play an instrument, writing poems, stories or singing, learning to dance or even learning to play a competitive sport.

Is it important for adults? How so?

Yes! Definitely! For the same reasons as above… it is never too late to explore the Arts to help nurture creativity in other areas of life.

What are a couple good ways to support a young artist? What are a couple things to avoid saying/doing that would dissuade a youngster in art?

I cannot stress enough that a child who is artistically-inclined may well actually have a need to pursue this passion. If you ever read interviews on working artists, I’m sure you will find a common element in the answers to the question, “When did you know you wanted to become an artist?”… almost every artist states that they remember drawing/painting/colouring/creating from a very early age and always reference their passion as something that they have always done and art has always been a huge part of their lives. You might also notice that they also talk about the actual “need” to work creatively and mention that when they don’t, things just aren’t right in their lives! I wholeheartedly agree with this, as this is also my story! As a parent of a child like this and an artist myself, I can suggest to nurture your child as much as possible. I have heard from many parents that they know their child is artistic, but they themselves “can’t even draw a straight line”. I totally understand this and that your child may not have the same interests!

Here are a few helpful tips to help nurture your child in their artistic exploration:

1. Understand that the Arts are important to your child and allow them to explore it! Encourage them, and be conscious of making positive comments on their latest creations. I have to say my student’s pieces of art that I think are amazing are usually the ones that look messy and childlike! One of my hardest tasks as an art instructor of children is to break them of the need to be “perfect” right from the first pencil mark. My goal is always to ensure they keep a free-spiritedness in their drawings!

2. Try out different creative things with your child. There are so many arts and crafts DIY tutorials out there online… many of them not requiring special tools and supplies. Try recycling things into art… maybe your child will collaborate with you on what you can do with that jar of buttons or that newspaper and glue you’ve got. Google DIY Arts and Crafts with your child or check out Pinterest, which is a wonderful resource!



3. Visit Art Galleries with your child… The National Art Gallery has a wonderful program called Artissimo on Sundays. For free, you can also visit many of the smaller galleries in Ottawa too that are selling amazing artist’s work… in the Byward Market, Hintonburg, Westboro and all over the city, There are great art gallery websites as well… the Louvre’s website is pretty amazing. Come and visit my studio too (shameless plug) :)

What does a person get out of making something with their own hands?

I do believe we are not just using our hands, but actually using our head, heart and hands! I learn something new in each piece I do, whether it is a painting, drawing or sculpture… sometimes things seem effortless, but I often make mistakes and get frustrated during the process… but then I feel encouraged by something that's working well and a whole new positive energy arises. In the end, I am always happy and proud of my work and I think there is no better feeling!

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time”. - Thomas Merton

Deciding to leave a 'traditional' career and pursue something in the arts: that takes a lot of courage and vision. What's your advice to others who have a creative streak they want to help flourish?

Yes, I agree that leaving a traditional career to pursue something in the Arts does seem like a huge leap that takes a lot of courage and vision! I guess in my case though, my traditional career choices have always been in Arts and Design related and I am grateful that every job I had in the last 20 years prepared me for the adventure of running my own art business today. I think my best advice would be to never give up on a dream, no matter what it is, surround yourself with truly encouraging, supportive people (family and like-minded friends) and to be perfectly honest… be prepared that it is not easy path to take. I have to say this, as I suppose many people might think a career as an artist/artisan looks like an easy career choice, but it takes a lot of dedication and continuous practice, as I'm sure every business or skill does. If you are a creative person who is truly passionate about your artwork, it is definitely possible… there's no question about that in my mind!


You can connect with Laura on her website and her facebookpage; I heartily encourage you to take any mini-humans in your life down to the studio. Laura's warm and inviting space makes art more accessible and engaging for young and old alike.

Max and I bought a pair of Laura's tiny houses on our way out of the lesson, and I don't know what Max was more excited about: that he had drawn a fabulous piece himself, or that he now owned a tiny piece of art from a real live artist who owned an art studio. Thank you, Laura, for this fun and Dora-free adventure.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Business, Crafted: Stroked Ego for the dapper man!


Girl, Crafted is all about crafting life for yourself, and who better knows about that concept than an independent business owner? I love to talk with and learn about local businesses and artisans, and so I'm pleased to be launching the first Business, Crafted spotlight post; and even better, it's with one of my favourite shops--StrokedEgo.

The video shows my interview with Kevin, as well as a killer tie tying tutorial at minute 7:58 and a shaving product demo at minute 2:24 that'll make you purr, it looks so luxurious. (I'm seriously debating if If want to start using this stuff on my legs, boar hair brush and all.)

Stroked Ego, located on Bank Street in Ottawa's Centretown area, is the shop for discerning
gentlemen. Specializing in personal care products, accessories, and apparel, Stroked Ego is my go-to shop for any important male milestone--and occasionally, a female milestone for my more 'tomboy' lady friends. You'd be hard pressed to send a fella into this shop and not have him come out looking dapper and chic. Gone are the days of a baseball cap and jersey being acceptable casual wear; men are taking better care of themselves and working harder on their appearance. Likewise, a shift in formal wear is happening, with men trying to add a flash of personalization to office attire--a fashion wasteland that has barely changed in generations.

Oh, and the cufflinks...soooo many cool cufflinks.



Kevin Martin, co-owner of Stroked Ego, was kind enough to show us around the shop. They opened their doors in 2010, and quickly gained notoriety, most particularly for their underwear. While I have little to no understanding of men's underthings, I do appreciate it when a man is in something more impressive than a pair of heather grey Fruit of the Looms. Having a few swank pairs of boxer briefs seems like a basic necessity, though; your private parts are precious, afterall, and why not take some pride in them.

We got a little carried away in our interview with Kevin, and had such a swell time that, aside from the spotlight post above, we also made a short video tutorial with just Kevin teaching us thePratt tie knot; as well, there's a minute-long 'tour' of the shop you can see, too.

Thanks to Stroked Ego for having us in! You can check out their website (with online store, to boot) and also follow them on Facebook and Twitter

(Follow Girl, Crafted on Facebook and Twitter while you're at it, eh?)

Extra note: Stroked Ego is hosting a simultaneous ladies-only party in tandem with the Capital Geek Girls Ladies' Night (Apr 21 '13)...making them the coolest shop on the block. Learn more on the Ladies Night event page

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Handmade Harvest: not your grandma's craft show!


A BIANNUAL HANDMADE MECCA
Craft season is gearing back up for the spring. This is one of my favourite times of year, given my devotion to all things handmade. I’ve done some serious tours of the local craft shows, but my favourite every year is the Handmade Harvest show that happens both spring and winter. I got to chat with HH organizers Emily and Colleen this year, and here’s what they shared about the show, coming up May 4th in Almonte, Ontario at the Agricultural Hall:

1. Who are you ladies and what do you do, aside from planning the best craft show in the valley?
We are Emily Arbour and Colleen Hewitt, two entrepreneurial moms who love to craft and plan events. 

I [Emily] am a freelance writer/marketer who works for various clients, as well as writing an advice column in our local arts community newspaper under the pen name Miss Write. 

Colleen owns and operates a little shop of goodies called {smitten} in beautiful downtown Almonte. Home to many of our Handmade Harvest vendors alongside fun & funky finds.

2. What's happening at Handmade Harvest this season? 
Golden Weather Productions
We are really excited about this year's spring show. It's the third time we've shown at the Almonte Ag Hall, and the space really allows us to showcase our vendors well. It's a stunning old building just on the river's edge in the centre of town. We had several new faces apply to the show and we're always thrilled to welcome new talent to our line up. Shoppers can expect to find a really well rounded mix of products. Everything from bath and body, jewellery and accessories, baby and kids products, textiles and art, printmaking, clothing, edibles...you name it. 
  
3. What do you think attracts people to handmade goods? Is the Ottawa area particularly fond of handmade?
We think people want to be connected to the products they're purchasing. Folks love a good story to tell and they want to feel good about the way they spend their money and the products they consume. We're not sure that it's just Ottawa that is particularly fond of handmade (though it is) but more so that there’s been a North America-wide handmade movement. People love items that are unique, and handmade usually means one of a kind!

4. What's your favourite part about running Handmade Harvest? 
Crazy Fox Studio (love them! -Jordan)
I think we can agree that our favourite part about running the show is meeting all the incredibly creative (and enthusiastic) participants. We love hearing that they've had a great sales day, and that we've helped to inspire them to turn their hobbies into bonafide businesses. That's our mission. Several of our vendors have gone on to quit their jobs and create full time. Personally, I also love working closely with Colleen. We used to work side-by-side almost every day and now that we've got our own businesses to tend to, we don't get to powwow as frequently. Granted, we can drive each other completely insane, but we have a very unique friendship in which we seem to always find the balance (and forgiveness) that allows us to make this show so great. I think our vendors and our shoppers can sense our enthusiasm for the show and our support each other's success. We hope anyway.

5. What's in those goody bags and how do people get them?
Well wouldn't you like to know!? Each of our vendors is required to donate 25-50 small items to our swag bags, so they're chock full of stuff. Because we stuff them the evening before the big event, we truly couldn't tell you what's in them, but in the past our bags have seen loads of coupons, earring sets, hair clips, buttons, food samples, mini pieces of pottery...you name it! Swag bags are given to the first 50 shoppers in line the morning of each show. We've had a shopper line up as early as 3 hours in advance of the doors opening, but that's an extreme case. Anyone who arrives an hour before we open (at 10am) should be good.

6. Who's new this year that you're excited to showcase? 
Add caption
That's a tough one. We have so many new vendors this year that we're pretty pumped about a lot of them. If I (Emily) had to pick, I'd say I'm most looking forward to seeing Winged Beast Outfitters. We've had silkscreen artists in the past, but these guys are polished and have a certain "funk factor". I need more t-shirts in my life. Colleen says she's brimming with excitement over the new clutches that Gillian Hyde of Pip Robins will be bringing.  And secretly crossing her fingers that there will be some left to go in her shop.
  
7. How can people learn more about the show(s) and stay in touch?
People can learn more about the show by joining our mailing list (found on our website ), visiting our website, liking us on Facebook or following us on Twitter.

Thanks so much ladies! I hope all of you come enjoy the show on May 4th and pick up something to cherish!

The line for swag bags. I do this every year, cursing the whole time.
(But I'm a baby when it comes to weather.)

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