Let's see, where to begin? The week has been a little off-kilter because Sachi needed me to work on Monday and she worked Sunday for me. I'm not quite accustomed to having a Sunday off, though I spent it with the girl, so it wasn't totally "off." We are still taking field trip days on Wednesdays so that breaks up the week and it is also that slow time of the year... which means I should have plenty of time to work on projects but I might have overdone it on jewelry-making the week before. I was rather sluggish this week.
We started the day with chocolate chip pancakes at The Original Pancake House. Then back to my parents' house where we played in the snow. I was chipping ice and Lily came up with the idea to create a miniature golf course. Here she is with her ball stuck in the water hazard.
That afternoon, we went to the Chazen to watch My Neighbor Totoro as part of the UW Cinematheque's Miyazaki animation series. It was fun to see the film on the big screen and to walk around the Chazen just a little bit. I already have my favorite pieces that I like to return to.
I was feeling a little overwhelmed by the chaos in the office so I started tackling the file cabinet. We are now in our birthmonth and will be celebrating our 5th birthday towards the end of the month. To that end, I've been thinking a lot about where we've come from, where we are going. I have plans to take some small business development workshops so I can do what I need to keep us growing. Let me tell you, spending hundreds of dollars on workshops that weren't art-related was not a thrilling task. All I was thinking about was Valley Ridge Art Studio. But I'm sure there will be time for those kinds of workshops too. (Speaking of, the Create Mixed Media Retreat Chicago workshop registration has begun. We went down last year as vendors and we're trying to figure out what we have room for in our schedule this year).
Here's a newspaper clipping I found from the very beginning of the store. That REALLY brings home how far we've come. I remember when the photographer came around. We weren't even open yet and things were rather in disarray, but the person who arranged the interview recommended that we have something interesting for the camera so we set up this pretend arrangement of product. Probably the only important thing was that the girl was in the picture. LOOK how much she's grown!
And we've started to ponder birthday party plans (specifically party platters and how much cake to get). I finished up the birthday postcard so we are getting ready to mail that out. If you aren't on our paper mailing list and want to be, feel free to send us an email (Anthology@tds.net) and we'll send one to you.
Oh, also this week I watched Makers on PBS. It has had me stewing a little bit - about feminism past, present and future, about my own role, my hopes for my niece. But it ties in with my thoughts about the growth of the store and all that I've been able to accomplish. I feel really grateful for all the people that came before me and all the work that they've done, specifically my own personal role models who have taught me so much about believing in my strengths and following my dreams. There's so much that I have been able to accomplish that I never would have been able to do 40 years ago, and I really don't believe those things can be undone. Not that there aren't plenty of battles still to be fought, and battles that were never particularly won but I think the younger generations have a level of (all) human rights awareness that really changes the ground that we stand on. In a good way.
But that did give me one last kick in the pants to get back to button making. We have our state Supreme Court election coming up in May and it would be really nice if the incumbent who has accepted money from the pro-school voucher WalMart family would lose. I really don't have anything against private schools, nor finding ways for low-income families to access education, but if you are going to use taxpayer money then you should be as accountable for spending it as public schools are. Writing blank checks to people does not, in my opinion, ever end well. The Governor would also remove income caps on school vouchers which basically means taxpayer money going to send wealthy children to private school. And I still think that public schools deserve our public support. And then there's the matter of rolling back environmental quality standards and endangering our outdoor recreation industry so that an out-of-state mining company can create some jobs for some out-of-state miners... and pretty no end to all the other issues. Sachi is really close to moving to a more solidly blue state and I occasionally revisit my fantasy of having Anthology branches in several locations so I can just move wherever the conditions are nicest at the moment.
On Monday, I mostly focused on little tasks. Like stamping our bags with our new bag stamp.
As I mentioned, I haven't been crafting too much this week, though I did work on my cupcake garlands. I saw these on Pinterest and thought they'd be a fun project for our craft table and also decoration for our birthday window. I did my usual thing of getting totally carried away with the gathering of supplies for the project, including two trips to Vanilla Bean (which is fabulous if you need any cake-decorating or party supplies. I went a little crazy getting sprinkles for the girl) and an order from one of our wholesalers. Then I sat down and created little kits and had fun dispersing the various colors of wrappers. And THEN I actually started stringing together the wrappers. It was pretty much a total Pinterest Fail (just Google that phrase and you'll see I'm not alone). I had already spent time and money on the project and was feeling a little deflated. But I kept going - because my general approach when things aren't working out, craft-wise, is just to keep adding more. I think most of the problem will be resolved as I add more wrappers and maybe diversify the color assortment just a little bit more. I think I'll end up using about 150 wrappers per garland - it' IS all about quantitiy.
On Tuesday I had plans to install our birthday window. Those plans were supposed to include the cupcake wrapper garlands but those will have to be added in next week. We are loving the new chalkboard cards and signs from Curly Girl so I have been saving those for the main focus.
As always, I only had a vague idea of what the window was going to look like - I don't really know until I start adding product. It was feeling a little hodgepode so I thought maybe it would be interesting to keep everything black and white, at least for the front plane of the window. Let me tell you, that is a lot harder than it sounds. But I managed, even though all the color of the rest of the window minimizes the effect of the front plane. Nonetheless, I sold some items that first day - I do love the instant gratification and power of a window!
On Wednesday, the snow that was supposed to come on Tuesday arrived. Sachi and I had plans to take the whole day off and go to Galena to visit the inspiration of Vintaj. Instead we scaled back and went to Mineral Point. Unfortunately, I didn't think about the off season and we were disappointed to find many of our favorite places were not open. At least we got to the Johnston Gallery which is always lovely. There were many items there that overlapped with my old days at Little Luxuries so it was a fun trip down memory lane. The trip wasn't a total bust because I did get a great black wrap dress from the Bargain Book. The tags are cut off but I believe it is a Land's End second - for $12. The Bargain Nook also had this really clever signage running along the top of the wall. It spells out "Welcome to the Bargain Nook" with mostly one letter per frame. I REALLY liked that! I might be copying that idea one of these days.
On Thursday, I was still lazy even though Sachi was busy making more cameo necklaces, button picture frames and bird nest necklaces. Sheesh, it's hard to keep up with that pace! I unpacked more lovely cut metal pieces from Haiti. And thought about Easter.
And now it is Friday. When I came to work this morning, this was sitting on the desk. So that was a lovely way to start the day. I'm pacing myself but the cinnamon roll was very tasty. Thanks, Baker's Window!