oh, honestly, I don't have any excuse at all! I thought we were going to be slammed with shipment arrivals from my 10/1-15 ship dates but it really wasn't that much different from all the arrivals of August and September. The good news is that what arrived in August and September has been selling so that I have room to spare and all my stress about finding room for things has been more or less for naught. (Now the new stress is the things that are already selling out which were supposed to last through Christmas). There are some tall piles in the office - Halloween candy for tomorrow's downtown family Halloween, product for my holiday window, Christmas cards... But there's still a path.
First of all, have I really not told you about the glitter washi tape that arrived to the shop?! Tsk tsk. It's so lovely and sparkly! Sachi's already planning to use some for her gift tag and garland workshops at the libraries in November.
There has been a fair amount of unpacking to be done... oh, isn't it nice when one's shoes and apron goes so cutely with the packaging material?
Other arrivals include more Nikki McClure prints and cards, stickers, knee socks (classic case of a store owner buying something just because she wants it for herself), charming kid art kits, craft books and some of our all-time favorite French postcards. It's a treat not to have to wait 'til Paris to stock up on all the cards I like.
We have not been able to keep these alphabet books in stock. A few letters are already sold out and I'm told they are all working double-time over in Viroqua to meet all their orders. Crosssing my fingers that I can get one more shipment before the holidays!
Sachi's cheese curd onesie continues to be popular and she's been hard at work on new card designs. Her Madison snow globe is pretty great, and I'm not just saying that because she's my sister.
I'm so thankful that I get to be in business with my sister - mostly because I think we make a really good team. It seems like we really complement each other's moods: when one of us is panicking about finances, the other is feeling confident and vice versa. So we usually manage to moderate each other. This is particularly useful as we are rounding the corner on the end of campaign season. We go back and forth between being the one freaking out and the one reassuring. But, really, eek! I'm still trying to find the people I know who are not voting and persuade them that it IS worthwhile and listen to just the right amount of media while keeping my blood pressure in mind (but, really, is that Paul Ryan commercial so annoying? I always change it quickly so all I hear from him is that his mother and aunt deserve benefits... which leaves me feeling like he thinks I do not). In the middle of all our button making and sign printing, I was trying to figure out what my next window would be. Just a few weeks left before I install the holiday window. I kept running over a variety of options - some formula of product we have a lot of/that is selling well/that won't be in the holiday window and some relevant them. Then it suddently occurred to me that a campaign window is the way to go. I had fun one evening cutting out magazine letters - a seriously fun task that I really should apply to my living room decor, if I could find a free wall - though I decided to omit the first "We <3 Wisconsin" component because I was a little concerned that it implied the same thing that the detested Paul Ryan commercial does; some sense of us vs. them, deserving/loving vs. not - which while I do feel is the case is perhaps not the most effective way to campaign. Our position is pretty clear without that.
And if the number of "Keep calm and vote Mary" prints and buttons that we've sold is worth anything, well, I'm not an optimist for nothing. In quiet moments, I take deep breaths and envision a state that is not run like someone's personal ATM (I read that in some comments section somewhere and thought that perfectly captures the way I feel Scott Walker treats this state - using the people and resources to get whatever personal profit he can get from it). I have been so impressed with Mary Burke's commitment to our local community (like this morning's article about how she sold her home to help struggling families) - a true public servant. Now wouldn't that be an amazing quality to have for Governor?!
I've been rather wrapped up in preparations for Halloween. My niece keeps asking me why I'm not decorating for Halloween but I'm spending most of my energy on our costumes. Tomorrow is the Downtown Madison Family Halloween, during which we historically distribute about 50 pounds of candy. Lily and I have been watching "Adventure Time" which while mostly more a grown-up show than a kid show isn't gruesome or other ways inappropriate. I love all the food come to life, plus the scientific references casually thrown in. Anyway, a princess who is also a scientist - I couldn't resist. I used three skeins of yarn to sew my wig and am putting together a Flame Princess costume with a thrift store wool sweater as a base (good thing too, as I hear it is going to be cold - ah, so many Halloweens past spoiled by the need to wear a winter jacket on top!).
I also finally got PhotoShop on the home computer so I've been working on a zillion different projects. It would, perhaps, be good to focus a bit. Nah... I'm working on some holiday cards and everyday cards to sell at the shop, as well as the store postcard that we send out to customers. There's some balance to be attained between clarity and the number of fonts I want to use. Still working on that. I'll have Sachi stop in and rein me in - another way we make good partners.
I'm thinking of a whole series of customer quotations for December ads. And now that I have the technology, I really should do something about this blog. I know, it is long past time for me to stop using an existing template and create our own banner.
I've also been working on my fortune teller 2x2 book - in the computer. The physical structure is rather simple but there's a lot of work on the back end. I think I've made about a half dozen prototypes. I'm having trouble communicating the colors from the computer to the copy shop. It keeps coming out too dark. But I think I have the text and layout all ready. I'm getting anxious that it looks too simple, but I do think it is fun to recall one's childhood fortune-teller days. And if I am feeling too defensive, you can be sure that everyone at the party will be hearing about how much time I spent creating the background which is barely visible. I try to remember one of my first workshops I ever took, with Claudine Hellmuth, who told us that even if our background collage work isn't highly visible, it all goes into creating the finished piece and a sense of history that it has.
I did get out a little bit to enjoy the fall colors - took Dad to Stewart County Park outside of Mt Horeb last Wednesday and have otherwise been enjoying the amazing colors and the lengthy fall we've been having.
I think the rain was above average but seemed to be offset but many sunny beautiful days. I feel a bit like Frederick the mouse, trying to save up colors and warmth for the winter.