Monday, August 26, 2013

Trading Up

Not much to report around here.  We are gearing up for a long weekend in New Orleans for Labor Day.  James is off Monday and taking an extra vacation day for Tuesday.  We're leaving Friday after he gets home from work, and driving as far as Mobile, Alabama that first night.  We've got plenty planned for NOLA.  The last time we were there, it was for a football game and we only had one day to go sightseeing.  We're going to hit all the highlights this time- the aquarium, the zoo.  We've got a few other places on the list too, like Mardi Gras World where we can watch them actually building floats for the next parade.  Also the National WWII Museum.  Most of the places we're going have the penny machines, so they get first priority as far as our limited time.  If we can squeeze it in, we'll ride the trolley on St. Charles Avenue and perhaps take a steamboat up the Mississippi.  As for me, I'm most interested in food and art, and want plenty of time to stroll around the French Market.  And of course, I'm bringing an empty bag that I can load up with a few cans of Cafe Du Monde chicory coffee!   (Yes, I'm sorry, it's better than Community.)

Once we get back from our trip, I'll have one week to get my house in order, because my wrist surgery will be the following week.  I don't expect a painful recovery, it's a simple procedure, but I know I will have to wear my big awkward brace 24/7 for at least two weeks.  I imagine the first few days I may be a little sore, and James is always super protective of me.  He won't allow me to do anything around the house for awhile.  So before Tuesday 9/10, I'll be busy cleaning up the house, cooking up extra food for my hubby to have good dinners that week, and finishing up any of my pottery for Etsy.

I'm working on the last batch of beads that need to be glazed, and I hope to get them in the kiln this week.  I'll have all the next week to photograph them and get them listed.  I have a huge job ahead of me as far as cleaning up the studio, because when I'm glazing I just drag every jar of glaze out of the cabinets so that I can look at everything.  My work table is covered with jars, paintbrushes, wires, the boards I use for letting pieces dry.  When those beads are done, I don't think I'm going to make anymore for awhile, since they aren't selling.  I've got a few new ideas in my head I want to work on instead, as soon as I can.  The beads have been great for right now with my wrist issues, but I'm ready to move on to other things.  I've got a friend who requested two small dishes from me, so I have to get those done.  I also want to get more into upcycling, we go to so many auctions and flea markets and I see so many cool things but think to myself, wow what could I do with that??  Look on Etsy folks, you will see all sorts of very cool "new" items made from vintage things.

Michaels has awesome classes, and I've been wanting to take their jewelry and beading classes, but they are fairly pricey.  But once my wrist heals completely, I want to take a course.  I also plan to start making my tiles again.  Not just the ones where I use my rubber stamps, but also ones where I have relief images.  I've been collecting old wooden butter molds for about a year now, and they make spectacular designs in relief.  I've bought a few very cool ones lately- last week I got one with a cat on it, and this weekend at the auction I got a big one with a milkmaid and cow.  As soon as I can use my wrist to roll out the clay and pound the molds, I'll be working on these.  I am trying to convince James to learn how to make frames for my tiles, but then again, why can't I learn how to use the power tools and do it myself??  The sample below- NOT my tile- is the type of frame I'm looking to make.  It seems simple enough.  The tile itself is similar to what the relief tiles would look like made from the butter molds.  I've been buying a lot of other items that I can use, mostly old vintage kitchen molds (tin) and cookie cutters, and even some Wilton cake decorating tools.  I'm think about trying to create my own molds too- I recently took several Brighton hearts, smashed them into clay blocks, and after they came out of the kiln I now have molds I can use to make relief images for jewelry or tiles.

I want to have a better game plan for the next year, which is right around the corner.  Etsy is great, but I want to be able to make bigger items that I wouldn't necessarily want to ship. I've got some great ideas using repurposed old picture frames and some pottery letters from cookie cutters.  I would like to be able to set up at some of the local art festivals and street fairs.  The once a month Market Days here in Newnan is quite expensive to set up at, but if I get my act together- tables, tent, enough items to cover said tables- then I don't see why I shouldn't be able to do it.  We have plenty of Farmers Markets in the area as well.  And one nearby town just started a monthly street fair that is free to set up at, although last month was their first time doing it.  Some of the bigger annual festivals in the area- the Powers Ferry Festival, the Atlanta Dogwood Festival, the Yellow Daisy Festival- these are only dreams at this point.  Not only are they terribly expensive to get a booth space, but because they are attended by thousands of people from all over the country, I would have to have a poopload of items to sell.  I am not at that point right now, but boy I sure would love to be!  So these last two months of "playing" on Etsy have been fun, but 2014 needs to have a good business plan in place.  I have a retirement fantasy of traveling around the South to craft fairs and beach art festivals, and selling pottery and paintings.  Hey, why not!

Yesterday we drove around to several Ford dealerships to look at new vehicles.  By the way, they were all closed on Sunday so if you are car shopping and don't want to be followed around by the pesky salesman, go on Sunday!  We were not the only ones out doing this.  James has been thinking about getting a new truck.  His 2010 F150 already has over 85,000 miles on it, because this is the vehicle we use for all our traveling.  Plus he puts 250 miles a week on it just driving back and forth to work.  The 2004 Mustang is still our "fun" car, but it has 104,000 miles on it.  And that leaves my Saturn Vue- the 2006 SUV only has about 84,000 miles on it and now that I'm not working, I don't do much driving except into town once or twice a week.  A full gas tank can last me 2 months these days.  But, even though it's a comfortable drive for me (it's a 4 cylinder and handles like a car), James does not like driving it at all.  He said it's very uncomfortable for him, plus he said he doesn't trust it to drive long distances.

So we always take the truck, which is SO big I have trouble driving it- the few times I've been behind its wheel.  While we were out yesterday, looking at 2013 F150's (couldn't find any 2014 so they may not be out yet), I told James wow these new 2014 Explorers are super cute and nice.  He said, well then instead of a new truck, let's get you a new SUV.  The Explorer is bigger than the Saturn (the Saturn is about the same size as the Escape, which is much smaller) so James said it would be more comfortable and roomy for him.  We looked at a few, and found a nice black one with no extras, and it would be cheaper than a new F150 and with better gas mileage, and it's a V6.  James said if we get this, then this would be our new traveling car.  Since I won't put many miles on it around town, it makes sense. I'm not sure we will get it, it cost about twice what my Saturn did back in 2005, but it cost a lot less than a new truck.  So we'll see, I'm not getting too excited about it, James said unless they can meet his "magic number" that he has in his head for the price, we won't do it.  He wants to pay it off in only one year.  I doubt I'll get a good trade-in amount for my Saturn, although we recently got it repainted.  I think it's hard to sell a car from a company that doesn't exist anymore.  I do see a lot of Saturns still on the road, and my car runs fine, there are no problems with it whatsoever. 

A new car would be cool, but since I don't hate my Saturn, if I don't get the Explorer it's not a big deal.  But it sure is cute!

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