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Sunday, June 30, 2013

let's stay friends

Don't forget: Google Reader is shutting down tomorrow!
The best way to follow me is through 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

walk like an Egyptian

"All the old paintings on the tomb 
They do the sand dance, don'cha know? 
If they move too quick (Oh-Way-Oh) 
They're falling down like a domino "
"And the bazaar man by the Nile 
He got the money on a bet 
GOLD crocodiles (Oh-Way-Oh) 
They snap their teeth on a cigarette "
"Foreign types with their hookah pipes sing: 
Walk like an Egyptian."
I was only a five months old when that song was first released in the UK in 1985  but I was a spry two years old when it hit the top of the charts here in the US... yeah, yeah I'm young.
I know you all know that song but did you know what the heck they were saying?
I didn't until now and I've heard it a million times!
Check out the lyrics here. It's um... pretty crazy.
I found this Egyptian souvenir tunic at a flea market a couple of years ago for $5. It still had the tag on it. Fresh! There was another one in red but I talked myself out of getting it because I probably wanted to use that other $5 to buy a hamburger or a corndog or something greasy and delicious like that...
I like food.
Honestly if someone gave me $100 to go shopping or go out to eat I'd ask:
"What place has the best tiramisu?!"
I got this massive spider necklace from Listia is like Ebay but with points instead of money. You sell stuff for points and then buy stuff with points. It's so simple. I love it.
"All the cops in the donut shops say: 
Walk like an Egyptian "

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Renaissance Woman: In Motion pt 3

Previous Posts:
The Renaissance Woman: The beginning
The Renaissance Woman: In Motion pt 1
The Renaissance Woman: In Motion pt 2

Sunday - October 7th - The last day of the faire
The last day of the faire was slow and steady. We had long since brought our finances into the black and now it was time to just sit and relax. No more worries!
Even though we only ended up with 15 vendors (albeit 15 awesome vendors) the stage shows were no doubt the highlight of  the faire.
 Daniel Greenwolf, a celtic magician from Connecticut was no doubt the crowd favorite.
 Seadog Slam, a poetic pirate group from Hillsboro, TX was a refreshing twist on ren faire entertainment.
 Bellanatana belly dance troupe from Ft Worth, TX were STUNNING!
 Finn & Fiona from came all the way from Florida! The were SO cute!!!
Abby Green is a gorgeous redhead from Austin, TX who sings traditional Irish songs.
Overall preparation for the faire was NOT easy. I cried, I yelled, I stamped my feet and worked my pregnant self to the point of pure exhaustion. There were times when I hated myself for starting such a big project for fear that I had bitten off more than I could chew... but in the end I proved to myself and the town of Texarkana that if you want something done... JUST DO IT!
Sitting around in bars and keg parties complaining about how there's nothing to do in this town will get you nowhere. If you have the desire, the proper connections and a little bit of know-how, then get off your butt and make it happen.
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Renaissance Woman: In Motion pt 2

Previous Posts:

Saturday - October 6 - the second day
Overnight a small chance of rain turned into a massive storm. 2 tents were destroyed and merchandise was strewn all over the ground. One vendor spent the night on the grounds and managed to chase down signs and jewelry and flying tents. If it wasn't for him the damage would have been a lot worse.
Luckily the 2 vendors that lost their tents kept a very positive attitude and were relocated under concession stand awnings. 
The storm brought in a crazy cold front and the temperature dropped dramatically.  The day before was about 85 degrees and now it was about 50 and the wind was high and chilly. We were all scrambling for coats and capes and blankets as none of us were prepared for such a drastic change in temperature. I bought a cape from a merchant that was very pretty but not heavy enough to protect me from the icy wind. Never choose style over function when you're running a ren faire!
Me, my sister and two nieces... (River's in my tummy)
Bundled up!
My pretty little German fairy in furs
Despite the awful weather, the patrons began to POUR into the faire. There were reporters for newspapers and magazines everywhere! The word of the faire spread overnight and attendance had increased by HUNDREDS from the previous day!
I was in heaven, basking in the amazing feeling that my faire wasn't a flop after all!
We made enough money to pay the bills and were now in the profit zone!
Daniel Greenwolf is the best
Stay tuned for tomorrow's post about the third day of the faire!!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Renaissance Woman: In Motion pt 1

In my last post I discussed how I got into the Renaissance Faire business. Now I'm going to share with you what it's like to actually run a Ren faire. I'll do this the best I can by giving you a day by day run down of my adventures at the 2012 Faire.

Thursday - October 4 - Set up and rehearsal
Sleep deprived and six months pregnant I arrived at the fairgrounds around 10am to began decorating... er, by myself. All of my helpers had to work so I had to swing it solo. There was garbage EVERYWHERE from the previous weekend's carnival. There were tractors and vending trailers all over the place and I was about to lose my mind trying to figure out how and when this stuff will be removed. Just as I was about to breakdown and cry from this poor start, a massive crew came and cleaned up the grounds in less than an hour. PHEW! I strung up handmade fabric garland and ribbons in the trees but very quickly ran our of decorations. The grounds were a LOT bigger than I expected so the decor looked kind of patchy and awkward.
In the photo above you'll see a bit of my handmade decor and fabrics on the the ground. Luckily the gypsies brought their own goods to help enhance their area.

I began to receive phone calls from vendors, cast and entertainment having to drop out at the last minute due to awful mishaps (dying mothers, illnesses, car breakdowns). As terrible as this all sounds, I remained very calm and pressed on.

Friday - October 5 - The first day
The weather was beautiful. It was a great day for a faire but I was a nervous wreck. I had no idea what to expect when the gates opened. I was also on edge because we didn't raise enough money to cover all costs. We were now completely relying on the entrance fee to pay the ground rentals, security payment, electric bill and hotel fees.  I wore a simple Irish peasant dress and white cotton chemise, too exhausted from the day before to even THINK about being laced into a 20-lbs dress. The vendors were very easy to deal with and as most of them have experience in selling at faire, they came quietly, set up and waited for the show to begin. 
 A few school groups on a field trip to the faire
Too scared to watch the patrons enter the faire, I went to my makeshift office and sat down and stared off into space wondering, "What the hell have I gotten myself into?" The decorations were crap, there were cars parked in the faire area because of poor communication, cast members were missing, there were only 15 vendors and one of my food vendors was serving out of an RV wearing a t-shirt and jeans. Quite frankly I just wanted to get my car, drive home and leave it all behind. This was not the faire I imagined.
I stayed tucked away in my office most of the day too ashamed to show my face.
Gaping spaces between booths from missing vendors

Cars in the background from the gun and knife show next door

And more giant empty spaces.
This post will be waaaayy too long if I include the second and third day of the faire so I'm going to cut it off here and share the rest in tomorrow's post.  Stay tuned and thanks for reading!!!

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Renaissance Woman: The beginning

As many of you might already know I own and direct our town's annual Renaissance Faire. It's a strange job for me to have seeing as how I'm not really a "Rennie" or Renaissance enthusiast as all. I've only been to one other Renaissance faire and my knowledge of the Renaissance era is very basic, so how on earth did I end up with this job? 
Three years ago at band practice (I played the accordion percussion for an Irish band) the idea of throwing a huge private Renaissance themed party came up and I loved the idea. Later, the party idea turned into "Let's do a small public renaissance faire". As I am a doer, not a dreamer, I took this idea and ran with it. Texarkana NEEDS HELP! There's nothing but rodeos and gun and knife shows here!
 After a couple of months my bandmates began to lose interest in the faire but I was on fire. Like most people in this town, they would rather complain about not having something to do instead of trying to help make it happen. So I stopped discussing the faire with them and began to plan it on my own. 
Well really, how could I let myself miss the opportunity to dress up like a queen and throw a giant party?
Band practice. I was learning how to play the accordion. I sucked and gave up.
During planning the faire, I discovered that I was going to need help so I sent out notices on Facebook inviting local Rennie's to a meeting at a coffeeshop to hear my proposal for something grand for Texarkana. About 50 people showed up and joined the Texarkana Renaissance Faire Club. The faire was now OUR faire, not MY faire. A community event, for the people by the people and that's exactly how I wanted it. It was awesome to see people get so excited and willing to help me with this project! Now with the help and support of 50 people the faire was 100% a go.  The club had monthly meetings about developing the faire until I noticed that less and less people were showing up. At our last meeting only 5 people showed up. Frustrated with everyone's fading zeal and terrible excuses, I disbanded the group and began to work on the faire completely by myself.

I felt kind of silly working on the faire alone since I'm not into the whole Renaissance thing but I knew it was something the townspeople wanted and I knew I had the ability to give it to them.

For months (while working a full time job) I developed applications, contracts, rules, guidelines, marketing strategies and fundraisers. I contacted well over 300 merchants, 50 potential sponsors and over 100 entertainers.... all by myself. 

Later a small group of ex-club members came to me told me that they would support me and help me with anything I need for the faire. I was reluctant at first to accept their help as I had been burned before but then they showed me that they really meant business. We are now known as the Right Handed Pygmies: a small group of loyal people dedicated to bringing Texarkana it's first
(now second) Renaissance Faire.
Promoting the faire at the Arklatex Comic Con
We became an LLC in September 2012 and word of the upcoming faire began to spread like wild fire. The applications for merchants and entertainment began to pour in.
I handle all the paperwork by myself, since there's not really enough to overwhelm me just yet. I scout and hire the entertainment, make the budget, handle the finances, plan the decor and vendor placement, run the website, Twitter, Facebook and (yes) our Pinterest page. I handle the press, create the fundraiser, design the flyers and ads, etc, etc. I'm the boss. I'm MY boss. I make the rules, I set the tone and I'm a stubborn ass at times but my Pygmies help keep me in line.

Stay tuned for more about The Renaissance Woman. In my next blog post I'll be discussing what it's like to RUN a Ren Faire. FUN!

Friday, June 21, 2013

You know what to do!

The great Google Reader shutdown is July 1st!!
Click on any photo to follow me on BlogLovin'

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

where is my mind? waaay out in the water... see it swimmin'...

 I forgot today was Wednesday... so you know what that means? No Wacky Fashion Wednesday today.
I'm a wee bit ashamed to admit that I haven't really done anything productive today.
Well I dropped off a package at the post office and listed some stuff on Etsy... that's about it. Oh yeah, me and the hubs met up with our pastor today to discuss River's upcoming baptism. If it wasn't for that, I'd probably still be in my favorite ratty basketball shorts and oversized El Chico's Mexican Restaurant tee shirt.... bra-less of course.
The office overhaul is going er, ok I guess. Eh, let's face it. I really didn't get much done. I tried though, I really did.
While I was moving things onto this new shelf here I spilled a ton of sequins on the floor and that was actually pretty awesome. 
I know it doesn't look like much here in the photo but it was everywhere.
I really wanted to leave it there and spread it around the carpet and leave it there until time for the next vacuuming. Who doesn't want sparkly carpet?!?!
So this is as far as I got on the office. Just moving crap up on a shelf... ppsshhh....
Here's someone you guys haven't seen in a while. My littler River! He'll be 5 months old tomorrow. Nice. He's almost old enough to get a job and help out with the bills.

And lastly for this weird post that's going nowhere: here's a new find. 
I got this 1930s farmers ledger online last week for my own personal collection of vintage ephemera and it was in worse shape than I thought it was going to be.
The seller didn't explain that it wasn't all in tact. Poo.
  In good condition, a farmers ledger like this can go for around $8-$9 but this ain't in good condition. 
Hee hee! I said "ain't".
 I think I'll resell it in my Etsy store for super cheap. I'm just not crazy about it anymore. But what I am crazy about are the 12 vintage postcards the buyer sent along with the ledger for free. Some of the postcards are from the early 1900s featuring a boarding house called Floral Home in Moores Mill, NY.
I did quite a bit of research about Floral Home and not much came up. All I found out is that it was a popular boarding house/vacation spot that was turned into a spa named Parkway Health Resort in the 50s(?). I doubt that it's still open but the postcards from this place are rare and are selling for a pretty decent price... so Etsy, here we come!
I haven't researched the other postcards just yet, but I'll be sure to share with you all the boring facts and figures when I do.
Do you research the history behind your antiques before you sell them or give them away... (or heaven forbid) throw them away?

Monday, June 17, 2013

unraveled office

Today is Clean Office Day.
The office/nursery is a wreck!! Last week I swept through the entire house in a mad bout of spring cleaning fever only to realize that my office has become a dumping ground for the "what the heck do I do with this?" items.
 Boxes of fabric and craft supplies. Props and decor for my Renaissance Faire. "To-Be-Listed Etsy" items in little piles all over the floor. Shipping supplies spilling out of diaper boxes. Sheesh!!
 Last week I sorted  through this tin of my late grandmother's jewelry and left some pieces strewn about on the floor to be trampled upon by my clumsy feet. How careless!!
Even this Christmas ornament my grandmother made from a photo of a 6 year old me (doing what I do best) has been laying on the floor for days.
I need professional help!
I decided to use my junky office as inspiration for today's outfit. A mish-mash of completely random pieces. I just grabbed stuff and started putting it on. Well, that's really how I get dressed everyday anyway, but today I was actually inspired by something.
 Cotton tank: hand-me-down
Skirt: retail
Shoes: Salvation Army
Hair piece: Etsy (originally bought for my wedding but we changed the theme)
V Necklace: Ebay 99 cents
Gold necklace: Grandmother's, last worn for a wedding in NY last month
 Tibetan Silver Bangles: Ebay 99 cents
Now I'm off to reclaim my work space!! Wish me luck!!
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