Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I write this sitting in the parking lot at the Greensboro NC Colosseum sports complex. We drove down from Warrenton VA where we spent the night in a Wally World parking lot. Yesterday we went to the National Air and Space Museum in Chantilly. I spent six hours leisurely examining everything from a retired Concord, space shuttle, to a single seater helicopter.
Thursday we set up for the show here. This show is rated higher than the rest in Sunshine magazine so we hope we do well....

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Warmer Temps, colder temps.

This was our 2nd day in Chantilly at the Dulles Expo center. We are doing well compared to some. We made our booth fees on Friday, which is always a relief. We did not do as well today but that is OK. We made some money.
One more day here and we have to head for Greensboro, NC. It is certainly going to feel like we are headed in the wrong direction, going south instead of North.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Of Geese and Men

I am writting this from a geese-filled parking lot in Chantilly VA. Maybe they saw the rain slicked lot in the dark and thought it a nice pond to land on.
Yesterday was the mad rush, well OK not so mad of a rush. These GIlmore shows have turned out to be pretty relaxed as far as settin up. Even though we set up a booth and a half this time for the first time it worked out pretty well. We are mostly set up for our Chantilly show.
We bought 2 extra shutter panels at Home Depot and stopped at Goodwills all over VA looking for lace curtains, of which Betty got a lot..
I bought 4 more lites, bringing our total to 9. There must be some sort of wierd mathmatical formula, when you increase your booth space by half you need more than twice as many lites. We went to Wally world again last nite and bought two more of the clip-on lites we are using for display and another 4'x5' carpet for the booth.
The math is off, even with carpet, you should only have to buy half as much square feet of carpet when you increase booth space by half but twice the square feet of carpets are just going to cover..

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Rolling Virginia

Virginia has been revealed to us this trip as never before. Betty and I have spent a lot of time in this state but seen more of the northern part of the state around Washington DC. Traveling the 'boonies' in southern and western VA has opened out eyes a bit. It is far more agricultural and far more horsey than I thought. I ofton think of Western NY state as more rolling hills than ideal but VA may beat us out there.
We are at Bull Run regional park, about twenty minutes from our next show. Friends who live not to far from hear came and took us out to dinner last night, we had a great time...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

What do beads have to do with camping?

In our weekend off from our tour of Arts and Crafts shows, Betty and I are exploring some of Western VA. We have been in and around the Shenandoah National park and its Skyline Drive and George Washington National Forest.
Betty doesn't want it to get out, she is terribly depressed because we are in a KOA campground. It is the nicest one (in our view) than most. Usually KOA comes in cuts down all the trees and paves the ground. This one still has trees and some squirrels that don't act like pets. We also have high-speed internet and for $2.75 I got cable, I'm going to watch George Stephanopoulos in a few minutes.

We have always tried to find not only free and or cheap campgrounds, but those away from other people. It’s why we backpacked all those years, looking for the out of the way places. Thursday night we found a National Forest Campground that was pretty nice - $10 a night. Two other sites were taken, one of which had 13 teens and young adults in it.
I thought they looked to be escaped children from the homicidal-maniac-teen group home. I expected to see some wearing t-shirts that read "Old people are best when buried deeply in the ground." As it turned out they started playing hide and seek through out the campground and they were kid of cute homicidal children.
In any event, Thursday night turned out well. The kids were quiet after 11PM or so.
Friday was a different matter. There was a group of small children in tents 3-9 years of age next door to us, they were with their Dad and Grandfather. They were little noisemakers but were in bed by 9. Across the road from the campground was a group of people camping in tents in a big parking lot at a trailhead. They were hooting and hollering loudly until midnight, but the worst from them was some guys yelling, presumably in a fight. It was very loud, for a long period of time and with threats of severe violence.

Keep in mind, Betty and I are in a solid walled camper, it stops a lot of the noise and provides some security. I can't imagine sleeping in a tent with small children, they couldn't have slept through it and I felt terrible for them.
In addition, around 9PM about six college-aged guys came in to a site near ours. The had a loud ATV which they proceeded to tool around the campground in the dark but only for a short time. After that they sat in their tent talking and laughing loudly till 2AM.
It seems more and more that college kids have no consideration for anyone around them. They will have loud boisterous fun at anyone's expense. Again, let me point out that our solid sided camper cuts the noise. Most other people were in tents, which stops no noise. They had to stay up or were woken continually by this crew.
It leaves a bad taste in my mouth for those less expensive campgrounds. It is too bad because if you are a young couple with kids and limited means that is what those federal campgrounds are for, instead you have to deal with miscreants. Probably the only place you should take your kids is a KOA and many do not allow tents, meaning an expenditure of many dollars for an RV.

More from this high paced jewelry tour later..


Friday, March 20, 2009

posting with no internet again

I write this from the George Washington National Forest. Betty and I have some time between shows so we decided to go camping a bit. We camped in a rural County Fairgrounds last night, near Stanardsville, VA. The night before that, we camped in the Shenandoah National Forest near the Ramadan River. It was near or on a wildlife management area and the road was terrible to get into the area, but beautiful and quite.
Before we left the Richmond show we heard that the Gilmores had booth and a half spaces at the Chantilly show. We chewed on a decision to get one for a day and a half and finally decided to. That brings it to close to $800 dollars for a booth. We have never paid that for a space. We did notice in Richmond tho, that we had an amazing amount of bottlenecking going on. We would get three or four woman in the booth and others wanted in but had to pass because the booth was tied up. I hope the gamble pays off.
We stopped at a couple of Goodwill stores and Betty found tablecloths to match our other ones, then we went to Wally World and bought 4 more lites and some lace to cover up our lite bars.
At our camping spot last night we had enough of a signal to use the internet card. We figured since we had the equipment to lite up and fill a booth and a half we might as well see if the had more available in Greensboro. We emailed the Gilmore people they had one so we upped the anti there as well. It was only $45 dollars more there. We can only hope it all works out.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Of Dogs in the Arts..

I am writing this in Word, while Betty and I are in the back woods in part of the Shenandoah National Forest. No internet means I have to write it and send (and transfer to the blog) when we do get a signal.
We are between shows, our last was in Richmond our next in Chantilly, and so we thought we would do R&R here. It is really quite and really dark outside. We are only 20 feet off the road the traffic is killing us. Since noon, there have been four vehicles. Three of those were traveling together; a “tower” crew, probably there will be cell service up here after a while.
At the last show in Richmond, we were the only campers in the Raceway campground that didn’t have a dog. I was outside talking with a couple of the other people doing the show, more and more showed up, each person or couple had a dog. A woman from a huge diesel pusher behind us showed up with the tiniest full-grown dog I’ve seen. She looked around and said aloud what I was already thinking, “Where’s your dog?”
I was feeling out of place like I was at a turkey shoot with no gun.
But that’s not why I write. In the camper next to our's was the nicest dog, which I thought was some sort of weird poodle. It had a nice personality, and barked each time it saw me but quickly made amends with a friendly sniff and lick. It was dark gray and black mottled, but the oddest thing was its ears. The dog was on the small side like a long legged cocker spaniel, but closely barbered. All except it’s ears. You couldn’t tell where the ear left off and the hair began. They were about 8 inches long including hair and stood right on end at nice symmetrical angles from each other.
Turns out it was a Schnauzer, pure breed, but without the ears cropped as they were supposed to be. When they told me I realized and should have known it all along. It was the same as two dogs friends of ours had owned, just incognito with the ear thing. The dog was bought cheap because it was no good for showing for some other reason, maybe it was too nice. Later..

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Betty and I slept in the Wal Mart stupid center in Culpeper Va. We met another vender from our show in Richmond, he was from Onieda NY and we hit it off pretty well. He offered to let me drop our trailer at his place while we wandered into the Shenandoah National forest for a few days. It saved us hours of driving and $44 dollars of storage at Bull Run Campground.
In the end our Richmond show was mildly profitable. We learned that there were some booth-and-a-half spaces available for the Chantilly show, we splurged $200 more!!! and will get one. We never have spent so much on booth fees at a show, but we noticed that more and more people seem to galk, not buy, and others can't get into the booth. We hope the gamble pays off. Betty is busily trying to figure out how to stretch our disply to fit. She bought extra fabric and I bought four more lights- we'll see.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday in Richmond

The Friday show so far is much better here in Richmond than the Friday show in Columbia. Betty paid for her booth by 3pm or so meaning we should show a profit rather than just making expenses. Friday is traditionally a slow day because people are working, not spending money. You hear every excuse and reason why things are or are not selling and they are all true and they are all lies.
Many of us blamed Columbia’s poor showing on good weather. We ended the day in Richmond ahead of our whole weekend in Columbia, sad thing is that is not a stunning gain but it does put us in a place where we can breath at least a partial sigh of relief for this show. Possibly the idea that the weather has to be bad enough to keep people from working outside is one of the truths in craft shows..

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Richmond Raceway

Emmy and I are having a hard time communicating on this ‘show trip’. We did not realize how much we use email at home. It is not unlike writing things down. At home, she forwards things to me that concern her business.
On the road, we both use my ‘notebook’ computer; Betty doesn’t email me because we are using the same computer, that would be just silly. She also doesn’t tell me about forwards from the show promoters so I often find my self out of the loop.
Coming from the cold climes of Western NY, we have been reveling in 80 degree plus sunny weather for the past 5 days in South and North Carolina and Virginia. We are told, and it makes sense that one reason we had mediocre sales at our show in Columbia was because the weather was too good. Too many people stayed home to enjoy it.
If that is the case, then this weekend we should sell out, as the weather is supposed to be terrible. Rain and possibly snow are predicted. So far, set up for these series of shows has been great. We have been told we have from 3PM to 8PM the day prior to the show for set up and both times they have let us start before noon. It is nice when you don’t feel rushed setting up.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Will the South prevail????

I write this sitting in a Wally World Stupid Center near Richmond Va. We got into town late and there was no sense in driving to the craft show camping area site so we could pay $27 to stay there what would be an extra night.
We stayed in a friend’s driveway last night in Charlotte NC. She fed us dinner and was very hospitable. I watched with amazement as my spouse ate a huge, thick barbequed hamburger- her first in 15 or twenty years. That is how long it has been since she has had red meat. She didn’t want our friend Cathy to feel bad about fixing something that Betty has sworn off for so long.
She thought she might be sick today but there seemed to be no lasting ill effects..
We are hoping for a better showing in Richmond. In Columbia, the weather was so beautiful we think a lot of people stayed home to work outside- the first time they were able to since fall. The weather in Richmond this weekend is supposed to be rainy and cold.. Hurrah for bad weather… I think..

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Columbia Revisited

Yesterday was a poor showing in Columbia. The crowds I’m told are sparse today and sales showed it to be so. All venders, even veterans at this show say they aren’t making money. One woman who sells baked goods told me she thinks that craft shows are dyeing out because it is a generational activity, she proposes that as we boomers die off so will the craft shows. This evaluation seems kind of bleak to me. It made me pay attention to the age of patrons. It is more of a mix than would prove her point.

It is unlike me to be optimistic but, the people in this area have had cold and wet weather for some time. This is the first nice weekend since fall. Besides not having money I think they are spending time in their gardens and yard..
We ended the day covering our expenses. We have never finished a show, other than the first one we ever did with a loss, but there are exhibitors that do. We have seen it happen to very talented painters more than once.

Friday, March 6, 2009


We are at the Columbia State fair grounds on what Betty and I hope is not a fools’ mission. We are here for this weekends’ Craftsmen’s classic shows. One of four we are participating in “down south.” We have way too much money laid out on booth fees and of course all the expenses a 5 or 6 week trip can add up.
As we drove down, and before, I was thinking how great it would be to get down to the southern climate. The morning we left it was 4 degrees. The next morning near Pittsburg in was 3 degrees. On the interstate headed south in North Carolina we saw the aftermath of the snow storm from a few days earlier. There were tracks off the road and stranded motorists had made snow men on the shoulders and in the median.
Yesterday afternoon when we arrived at the Columbia fairgrounds, it was 57 glorious degrees outside. I felt we had arrived it wasn’t snowing and 57 war summerlike to me.
We pulled in behind a monster “pusher” one of those huge RV’s that have far more room and luxury than most of my homes have had.
The term “pusher”, is an old trucker’s term now widely used, referring to a rear engine bus ‘pushed’ down the road.
A woman was walking around the vehicle at the same time I was walking past and she shivered and said ‘burr, it’s cold’. I was reveling in the temp thinking how summer like it had become.. The vehicle had Tennessee license plates but they had just been in Florida for some time. It’s all in how you look at things I guess.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Changing Gears Corning to Columbia

After our week in Corning, dipping in molton glass and melting chunks in a kiln and making colorful beads, then driving home, we brought everthing into the house. Bags and bags of hand made glass items, suitcases, dirty clothes and dumped it all.. Then I and Betty ran all the clothes thru washer and dryer. She folded, she always folds, I have a disease in which I pass out if I try to fold clothes. Kind of like a narcoleptic response to folding and stacking cloth material of any kind. I touch on it a little if I help her make our bed..
We furiously unpacked and packed our camper, hooked up and finished loading the trailer for our "southern" trip to SC, NC and Virginia. As we are doing it, as Betty is thinking she doesn't have enough stock (seems funny to call her artistic jewelry work 'stock') and spends every minute beading, I for one wonder how we thought it was a good idea to go from one event to the other..
We drove out our driveway Monday at 2pm from home to our friends home in Mercer Pa. We had never been there but found they have a great patch of beautiful ground far enough from town to make it just they right amount of rural.. We were going to sleep in their nice little guest room but when I went to get some things from the camper I found the furnace had not been working. I fixed the problem thermostat but the water pump was frozen. I was worried the furnace wouldn't run all night so we slept in the camper. THe pump thawed out overnight (more importantly wasn't damaged) and our kitchen water worked by lunchtime.
We are are now sitting in a Wal Mart Stupid Center (there is nothing stupid about it, I'm just jealous I don't own a few WW stocks) in Princton, West Virginia.
We found out we were refused our SC tax number (a friend is pillfering our mail) so we have to stop and get that straightened out tommorow, hopefully in Rockhill SC on our way to Columbia..
They did not like the way I filled out the tax form and said a dasn't do business without registering or I'd never see the light of day from my SOuth Carolina jail cell..

More later