Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Applefest! Cedaredge, Colorado

Applefest! is sponsored by the Cedaredge Chamber of Commerce and occurs the first weekend in October annually. In a addition to the arts & crafts show, there's a chili cookoff (fundraiser for the Cedaredge Volunteer Fire Department), a rodeo (sponsored by J$ Cattle Company), several concerts (at The Old Slaughterhouse and at the Grand Mesa Arts & Events Center), a Pancake Breakfast (fundraiser for the Masonic Lodge), a 5K Run (fundraiser for the local Boy Scouts), a Classic Car/Tractor Show (sponsored by Pioneer Town Museum), A Stein Holding Challenge (Chamber of Commerce), Coolest Ride, Truck, Car & Bike Show followed by a Pin-Up Girl Contest (The Old Slaughterhouse), along with a myriad of other fundraisers around the community sponsored by and benefiting various groups.  In short, although the Chamber of Commerce oversees this event, the entire community of Cedaredge participates.  What's more, amazingly this all happens over the course of only 4 days - no, that's not a typo!

The Arts & Crafts show runs on the final two days of Applefest (Saturday & Sunday).  This year, there were nearly 300 "vendors," and 40 or 50 food booths!  This is an enormous event that stages for five full blocks on Main Street, rounds the corner on Fifth Street and completely surrounds the Park!

The Chamber does allow non-handmade items and businesses to participate in the event.  My guess is that 75% of all of the booths were handmade arts and crafts.  Interestingly, they stage the non-arts/crafts booths interspersed among the artists/craftsmen, rather than creating a section for them.  But the layout works really well.

Set-up is Friday afternoon, giving everyone ample time and opportunity to get somewhere near their space.  The Cedaredge Police Department maintains a high visibility throughout the event, and as far as I know, there are no problems with security.

The only real figures I could find state that Applefest draws between 20,000-25,000 people annually.  I took this picture Saturday morning about 10:30 AM; I think there were 20,000 people on Main Street when I took this!  We've done and been to a LOT of arts & crafts shows and we have never, EVER, seen crowds like this!  We had already made our booth fee ($150) by the time I took this photo.  One of my customers claimed she was visiting her friend in Grand Junction from Louisiana just so she could come to Applefest!  So not only is this event well-attended, it draws people who are there to shop! We set a new personal record at Applefest this year, selling a total of 63 items!  This was by far the most transactions we have ever done at any show in any location by almost double!

This year, the weather was our enemy.  Saturday was intermittently rainy, but it honestly did not seem to impact attendance in the least.  Last year, our best day was Sunday.  But this year, it rained steadily all Saturday night, and well into Sunday morning, finally letting up around noon.  It's been so incredibly dry, that I am not complaining about the rain - we will take all we can get!  And even though the crowd was significantly smaller on Sunday, we still had a decent day.

The Chamber does an incredible job of taking care of their artists/vendors with the exception of parking, which is an issue in a small town that simply wasn't ever intended to host an event the size of this one.  They allow ample set-up time, provide great security, and promote this event far and wide to boost attendance.  They even host a reception for all of us in the Beer/Wine Garden on Friday evening.  They also work hard to provide staging to accommodate special requests such as location on Main Street, directional facing and power.

I didn't review Applefest! last year.  We were simply blown away by the show overall which turned out to be our best show ever as far as dollars go.  We thought it might be a flook.  But having done it again this year, I can confidently say that this is our very favorite show.  It's well-run, well-attended and simply a joy to be part of. Even though we didn't do as well monetarily this year as last, this year's Applefest! will still be our best show of this year.

Here is our rating, on a scale of 1 (atrocious) to 10 (spectacular) for Applefest!

Load in/Load Out  10

Availability of show organizers during show  10

Overall layout and traffic pattern  10

Mix of show  10 

Show matched pre-show materials  10

Parking for exhibitors  2 (it was a scavenger hunt to find a place to park)

Overall Rating  10

Weather Expectations:  This show is the first weekend of October annually, in a town that is at an elevation of 6200 feet in the Rocky Mountains.  Expect cool, fall weather.

Who should do this show?  Absolutely everyone we talked to said they had a record-breaking, fabulous day on Saturday and did "okay" on Sunday.  This includes potters, sculptors, painters, sign makers, tie-dye artists, jewelers, and the list goes on and on.  I can't think of anyone that should NOT do this show!

Would we recommend this show to other exhibitors?  Yes!

Will we do this show again?  Honest, if I could sign up for next year today, I would!  We will absolutely do this show next year.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Many Hands Fiber Arts Festival


We were so very excited to be accepted into the Many Hands Fiber Arts Festival in Telluride which was a three-day event the last weekend in July.  We were concerned that we could not reserve a campsite near the event, but the organizer assured us that there would be one on a first-come basis at one of the several nearby campgrounds.  The thing that was a first for us was merchandise being paid for through a central checkout rather than at each booth.  But the information on the show's website (https://www.manyhandsfiberartsfestival.org/) was so positive and intriguing that we were willing to give it a go.

We arrived in Telluride a day before the show began.  The campground in town was full.  So we set off to pick a spot in the nearby Forest Service Campgrounds.  What we found was that these too were full to capacity.  The host at one of them directed us to a campground that he was certain was not full.  Even though it was a significant distance away, we went straight there.  


Woods Lake Campground did indeed have open spaces...  a grand total of three of them out of 33 when we arrived.  We happily took one and breathed a sigh of relief; we had a home for the next four days.  And Woods Lake Campground is absolutely gorgeous!

What we discovered the next morning was that we were camped 22 miles from the show location, making our commute 44 miles per day...  we didn't have a choice and it was a nice drive!  When we arrived at the location, we were greeted by charming, attentive, and delightful people.  We were given more space than we had reserved, which was great and sad at the same time.  We thought it was 8 x 10, and had permanently cut down our indoor display structures to fit, plus, we brought smaller tables for displays since our regular tables would not work in an 8-foot-wide space.  They apologized for not having let us know.  Nevertheless, we got set up without a problem and were ready to go at show start time.

The organizers had signs and ads everywhere for the event which read Quilt Show with the location.  But nowhere did we see any promotion for fiber arts in general.  The promotion seemed to us to be come and look rather than come and buy.  And the location (inside the Middle School Gym) was invisible to the constant flow of traffic passing by.  We did see visitors to the event each of the three days, but far, far fewer than we expected.  Fortunately, the few folks we did see did made a purchase from us.  And, we tore down at the end of the final day with no money in our pockets, since all items went through the central checkout system.  Ultimately, it was a bit more than two full weeks before we received the check from the show sales.  After all was said and done, considering all of the costs involved with doing this show (booth fee, campground fees, and a LOT of mileage), we cleared a grand total of $7.00 from this show.

Here is our rating, on a scale of 1 (atrocious) to 10 (spectacular) for Many Hands Fiber Arts Festival:
Load In/Load Out  10


Availability of show organizers during show 10


Overall layout and traffic pattern 10


Mix of show 10 (there was a vast array of fiber arts on display in keeping with the show's concept)


Show matched pre-show materials 5 (we believed we would see more shoppers)


Parking for exhibitors 10 


Overall rating 3


Weather Expectations: Warm days and cool nights with intermittent thunderstorms; typical high-elevation summer weather!


Who should do this show? Quilters who wish to display their work


Would we recommend this show to other exhibitors? No


Will we do this show again?  No.  Finding a place to stay was a nightmare.  Attendance numbers were so low that we didn't have enough visitors to promote our pieces to.  And, the two-week wait to see if all of the things that left our booth got paid for (they did!) was nerve-wracking. 

Monday, August 6, 2018

I need your help. Years ago, I wrote a novel. I test marketed it at my own expense, and my test market seemed to agree that it was a good book. I tried to sell a publisher on it for the better part of two years with no success. At that point, I just put it away.
But I've decided that it needs to be published, and so I have. It's available for all kinds of different e-formats on Smashwords (goo.gl/j2H7kc) and in print on Lulu (goo.gl/LVoiZW).
I am NOT asking you to buy it (unless you read the description and think it might be interesting to you!). What I am asking that you share this and ask your friends to share it as well.
Thanks so very much for your help!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

It Was an Adventure!

I am so excited and thrilled to have been accepted in the Many Hands Fiber Arts Festival in Telluride, Colorado the last weekend of July.  We've never been to Telluride, and knew that we needed to take a small trip there and check out the drive and the town and find the show venue.  Since the weather looked to be nice yesterday, with no thunderstorms predicted, and it was Wednesday, we thought it would be a good day to go.  Wednesday is a great mid-week day to stroll through the town, chat with shop owners, and generally explore this terrific little mountain town.

It never occurred to either one of us to check festival schedules.  Traffic was reasonable all the way there, with the most congested part being through the city of Montrose.  It was an incredibly beautiful drive on well-maintained roads.

But when we got within a couple of miles of Telluride, there were signs along the road to turn right or left for "Festival Parking."  Festival?  It's Wednesday!  Who has a festival on Wednesday.  And all of the parking areas had lots of cars in them, and the highway into town was packed on both sides with parked vehicles.  What the...??

Little did we know, we had chosen the Wednesday which is the day before the first full day of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, an event that's in its 45th year and which draws nearly 50,000 people to this tiny hamlet over 4 days.  Town was absolutely packed.  So much for a leisurely stroll and some chats with shopkeepers!  We wanted to take a look at the Town Park Campground as well.  Not only was it full to overflowing, but so was the nearby baseball field.  I don't think I have ever seen so many tents in one place before!

It was still a beautiful drive back and forth.  I just want to share what I learned with everyone...  before you go to a new place in the middle of the summer, it's a really good idea to check the web and see if it's actually a good day to go!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Do You Upcycle?

The word "upcycle" may not even really be a word.  But today, it indicates that you take something discarded and give it new life as something different.


I love garage/yard sales.  Certainly, I don't need anything.  But you've heard the old saying, "One man's trash is another's treasure."  A couple of weekends ago, I purchased this polyester/acrylic fur coat at a yard sale for $3.  The lady I purchased it from said that she used to wear it to play 'dress up' when she was a little girl.  Certainly, it's a vintage coat. But I never saw "a coat."  I saw something else entirely.

The first thing I wanted to do was wash it.  So I cut off one cuff, hand washed it in cold water and threw it in the dryer for 15 minutes.  And to my delight, it worked!  So the whole coat went through a complete washer/dryer cycle this morning.


Next thing that needed to be done was to take it apart.  I took the lining out first and then cut away the seams.  This left me with quite a pile of fur! 
It also left me with three leather buttons. They will be very happy in my button box (which actually was my grandmother's button box!) until I have a need for them.


My pile of fur is sure smaller, but now I have a pile of smaller pieces, too.  It's time to put those pieces together and see if what I saw on that hanger actually works in reality!





And VOILA! It wasn't a coat after all.  It was a vintage teddy bear and a FurPet©!  Even the felt in the teddy's feet and ears is upcycled; it is made from recycled water bottles!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

What Do You Do With Your Scraps?

Since I quilt, I do generate a lot of scrap fabric; scraps that are really not big enough to do anything significant with but too big to just throw away.  So a few years ago, I decided to invent something worthwhile to do with my scraps.  I make miniature rag dolls which were originally intended to be Christmas tree ornaments.  Since I've made four quilts since the first of this year, it is time to use up some of the scraps I've created, which is why I have the array of little dolls, little dresses and various yarns all over my work space!

I also knit, as you know.  This also generates scraps.  With my yarn scraps, I knit baby headbands.  In fact, I even wrote a tutorial so that you, too, can use up those end-of-skein bits of yarn (click HERE for that tutorial).

There are too many art forms to list, but I would bet that each and every one of them generate scrap, just as my passions do.  I would love to hear about your medium and what creative ways you have developed to use up your scraps!

Monday, April 30, 2018

Fix Your Chrome Browser

I use my computer a lot, like most of us do these days.  It's so handy to check on my web shops, Facebook, email, etc.  But during the past week, I had some issues with my Chrome browser.

First, it wouldn't remember or allow cookies.  It wasn't too hard to find the setting to fix this, but it was frustrating.

Then I found that Chrome forgot that I wanted to stay logged in to all of my favorite sites.  Every time I opened Chrome to do whatever, I had to re-login to every site I visit.  This was so annoying.  

After a couple of days of frustration, I finally found the setting that was causing me this grief.  There is a toggle switch which reads, "Keep local data only until you quit your browser."  This was turned on.  When I turned it off, everything was how it had always been.

If you are having this problem that Chrome doesn't remember anything, you may have the same issue.  Click on the 3 dots in the upper right-hand corner of the screen, then choose Settings from the drop-down menu.  Scroll all the way down the next page and click Advanced.  Choose Content Settings, and then Cookies.  If Keep local data only until you quit your browser is turned on (bright blue color), turn it off.  This should fix the problem.

If I have saved even just one person some frustration, I am thrilled!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Handmade Pot Scrubbies

I got asked again if I make the handmade pot scrubbies that so many people love.  Sadly, I don't - they are crochet which is a skill I don't have.  But I promised a lady that I would see if I could find them for her and post the results here.

Large Crochet Pot Scrubbers - Set of 2 through 8 - Pastel Nylon Dish Scrubbies - 5 inch Kitchen ScrubbyRebekah Wheat has a shop on Etsy with reasonable prices and a great selection.  Her shop is ArtistBeeBee.  I am sure she would love to hear from you!  

If you would rather shop on Amazon, Michael and Kristine are TheLotusShop.  They have been on Handmade at Amazon for quite a while, have great feedback and reasonable shipping/delivery times.  They, too, would surely love to hear from you.

I hope these sources will help any/all of you who are looking for these handy dish scrubbies!

Friday, January 26, 2018

A New Way to Destash

Those of us who are artsy/crafty people tend to collect things that may someday be used in a project.  Sooner or later, we all find ourselves in a situation where we simply must cull our collection of stuff.  It's time to destash.

I have hit this point, even though I disposed of all kinds of minuscule fabric and yarn scraps when we moved.  I still have more fabric than I have room to store.  So I am making a quilt out of it.  I'm calling it a Pioneer Quilt, since I am only using what I have.

Looking through my piles of fabric, I simply couldn't come up with an idea on my own.  My wonderful husband came up with the idea to cut it into squares.  This is exactly what I did.  I decided on 4 inch squares, meaning they would be 3.5 inches sewn.  Considering that I wanted this to be crib or lap size, I needed to cut at least 220 of them.

The cutting phase took a bit more than two days.  Then came the sew-them-together phase, or another two days.  Since I didn't have equal quantities of squares, I chose to sew them together in no particular order. Yesterday, I laid all of my strips out on the floor (17 of them!) until I was satisfied that no two identical squares were aligned with each other, and began the assemble-the-quilt phase.

And today, I have a quilt top.  Tomorrow, I will decide what to do for the back.  Then, all that will be left will be to quilt and bind it!

Monday, January 15, 2018

I Have Been "Sewing Woman" Lately!


We have needed a new quilt or comforter for our bed for a while.  The one that has been there for a bit more than 13 years owes us nothing!  It's been slept under every night for all that time.  It's been washed and dried I-don't-know-how-many times. But it's been showing it's age for a while.  Having made that quilt, I'm really happy with how it has stood up to the test of use and time.

I really didn't want to make us another quilt, and have been shopping for a replacement for almost a year.  We actually did buy a quilt from Wayfair.  But when it arrived and we put it on the bed, we both agreed that it did NOT look like the picture online.  I guess it was at that point that I knew this was going to be my quest.  By the way, returning it to Wayfair was pretty painless.  I would recommend Wayfair.

It took six full days of sewing and 19 yards of material, but it's done and on the bed.  Paul picked out a really nice wood-plank pattern for the base and a beautiful digital print for the panel/pillows.  It must be okay because this new quilt has passed the "Maggie test;" she's snoozing in the sunshine at the foot of the bed.


We are hoping that this quilt will last as long as the one it replaced.