Saturday, October 03, 2009

Hello I have lost my mind and how are you today?

Well. I did…a rather foolish thing.

I mean, it’s a great thing and I’m glad I did (am doing, will do) it, and I’m excited and thrilled and all like that…but it was also kind of…well, foolish.

SEE, my Original Brilliant Plan was like this: I was going to spend most of October and the first half of November building up inventory in the things I like to do. Dye some cotton and silk handkerchiefs and scarves, make some hand warmers and other small-ish knitted projects, make some soap and candles, and then take those things on the near-to-home road for some local craft fairs.

This is part of the ‘household endeavors paying for household needs’ thing, see. We need soap, but I make five pounds instead of one and sell the other four. We need candles, but instead of just two tapers I make fourteen and a few votives and as long as I’ve got the wax melted maybe a couple bigger pillar candles too.

We need cotton handkerchiefs, so I dye 2,000, keep 20 and sell the other 1,980.

OK, I’m exaggerating. But also, I am loving the tie-dyed cotton handkerchiefs to a point where I think my husband may be getting jealous. It’s just so…magical, the way you can fold and crease and tie or band, then dunk or spray or squirt dye all over it…then you have to waaaaaaaaaait for it [24 hour cure time], and then, breathless (and gloveless, if you are an idiot like me), you get to take off the bindings and unfold and these colors just leap out at you and it’s just so…funky-cool-cute-fresh.

And each one can be washed hundreds of times, replacing who knows how many boxes of Kleenex.

And they’re blissfully inexpensive to boot. I think the final retail price on them will be around two bucks each. I mean, seriously…environmentally friendly, fun to dye, cheerful to use, each one unique even if it was tied and dyed exactly the same way as five other ones, and inexpensive?!

Dudes. Look, they won’t replace knitting in my heart, but they are perilously close to being more fun to dye than yarn. (Don’t tell the Merino I said that, ‘kay?) (Yes. I am fickle. Tune in later this week for swooning about the joys of marbling silk.)

But I digress.

The Original Brilliant Plan would have seen me puttering around the kitchen and garage dyeing, cooking soap, dipping candles, knitting wrist-warmers and other smallish things until right before Thanksgiving – and then the frenzied rush of craft-fairs-every-weekend until right before Christmas and then I’d be taking a small wad of cash to the mall for Christmas presents.

And then a couple months sort of “off” (with “just” the Etsy shop going), and then a new kind of push through spring and summer for farmer’s markets (if we’re allowed – there are some technicalities we’d have to deal with first) and craft fairs.

Instead, well, I sort of got invited to think about applying for a fair next weekend. NEXT. WEEKEND.

And I applied. And was accepted. And I’m all excited and happy because the cold weather is starting to happen and it has been pointed out to me (repeatedly) that the Denizens need new “real” jackets.

Darn kids, always with the growing thing…so hopefully, I’ll be able to net enough profits from this earlier fair to pay for their jackets and perhaps to get Eldest into pants that cover her ankles for once and our little experiment will finally be fully underway, right? Right!

Besides, it’s awesome! It’ll be a fun venue and a great way for me to get my feet wet again on the whole fair-booth-doing-thing.

It’s been a lot of years. My skilz, they are rusty. And hey, let’s do an inventory check, shall we? Hmm, OK, well, I’ve got…uh…well, pretty much, I’ve got nothing at this point. A few of these a little of that and none of the other.

Ahem. Well. OK.

Fortunately, what I did have was a massive box of blanks ready to be dyed. And the dye, and the soda ash, vinegar, pots and pans and jars and measuring cups to get it done.

Unfortunately, they were all still in the box – they hadn’t been prepped at all for dyeing.

It’s been a frantic week around here, but the rubber is finally hitting the road. Things are happening. Final Products are being rolled off the line – the clothing line, which is the last step for them. unless they need ironing. In which case, yeah, the clothing line is still often the last step because I’m WAY too lazy to iron 200 cotton handkerchiefs, what are ya, mental?! I prefer to stick with Truth In Advertising, and after all – 100% cotton will come out of the dryer a bit wrinkled and I wouldn’t want to have my customers thinking they will stay just like this even after being washed, right?

I am so noble, I scare myself. (Ahem.)

Anyway. I actually have the wild fantasy that I will not only get all the dyeing done, but will also have time to produce a few hot method soaps (still from-scratch-with-lye soaps, but ‘cooked’ during the process so they can be used right away, unlike cold method which must cure for a good three weeks before use) and maybe even a set or three of mold candles.

It won’t happen, of course. I’ll be lucky – insanely lucky – to get done just the dyeing I’ve got on my plate right now.

In other news, my hands are turning all kind of ugly colors. I have gloves, but I have a problem with them: The ones that are long enough to actually protect my forearms and keep the dye from simply slipping neatly past my wrist down into my palm contain latex which, as it turns out, is a rash-inducer for me.

The latex-free gloves I have are wee tiny short gloves that end right at the wrist – hence, dye spillage down into the glove itself is frequent. They’re also thinner than the latex gloves and tear very easily – hence, Red thumb! Red thumb!!

But the way I figure it, push come to shove, nobody will be walking up to my little booth at Witchapalooza and saying, “Waitasecond…I don’t think YOU actually dyed ANY of this!!”

Because these hands? Are the hands of a dyer, my friends.

In related news, hey! Guess what! If you have a little tiny cut on, say, your index finger? And then you try to use ReDuRan on it?

Only thing that hurts more is pouring Krazy Glue into it.

Please don’t ask me how I know that.


ANYWAY, SO! If you don’t hear from me for, like, a week? It’s because I’m up to my neck in dye and promising that I will never, ever do anything like this to myself again. EVER. And this time, I really mean it! And furthermore, once this fair is over, I am going to take two days completely off to reprioritize my philosophy around What Really Matters and hey look, a squirrel!!!! …is that a fair application in it’s teeth? KEWL! Sign me up, I’m ready to do another one…!!!!

…just let me place an order for more inventory and yeah, better pay for priority shipping on this bad boy…

I have a theory on why I keep doing this to myself. The truth is, I was just sitting on all that inventory and ideas. I was fiddling around with knitting projects going nowhere, and doodling around with stuff instead of doing stuff. Then an opportunity floats by at just the right moment and in grabbing at it I slap an irrational deadline on myself and WHAM!

I’m energized, moving, thinking fast and sharp thoughts.

Suddenly, I’m fully engaged in my life – my actual life, what it really is in the here and now. I appreciate my family more, when I’m in this kind of crazy mode. I see their beauty, appreciate their putting up with me support more, become more aware of just how important they are to me.

Without these occasional spurts of self-inflicted insanity, I tend to drift and dream, but never do.

Every so often, I need to pull off something Crazy Big to keep myself rooted.

That’s my theory, anyway. I have to have some reason, because I do it to myself again and again and again.

Sometimes it ends up good; sometimes bad; sometimes indifferent.

But always, there has been some forward movement - whether it got the results I’d hoped for or not, that part is always good.


PipneyJane said...

Good luck, Tama!

I have an idea about gloves. One of my best friends is allergic to latex. Not only does she special order elbow-length non-latex gloves (gets them at the pharmacy), but she wears a cotton liner so that she doesn't become reactive to those gloves, too.


emily10 said...

Good luck!
And I totally agree with your self-induced-craziness theory.

Mizzle said...

I like the idea of selling non-ironed handkercheifs...

There's no way I'd ever (consistently) iron them, and seeing them sold un-ironed would 'confirm' that that's okay... that I'm 'allowed' to buy them even if I will never iron them.

So I say, go for it: you're doing people a favor! :D

Steph B said...

Once again you've frightened me with your ability to channel what I've been thinking....I've spent the morning tracking down craft shows and art fairs in the area and shooting off e-mails for applications. My "go for it" voice is all excited, happily contemplating doing a show every weekend between now and Thanksgiving with maybe a couple tucked in before Christmas. My "you don't have enough Prozac" voice is moaning dramatically in protest and warning me that I don't do well with self-inflicted crazy at the holidays. Oh, which voice to heed? I'll give you three guesses (first two don't count). Why, yes, I did bead my very own wrap-around happy coat, how could you tell?

Tola said...

please please put some handkerchiefs in your Etsy shop! both my husband and my father use them and i need holiday gifts!