Tuesday, November 11, 2014

10 Things We Learned as Vendors at a Craft Fair

We had the pleasure of working a local craft on Nov 8. Although we share multiple craft talents between the two of us, neither of us had ever rented a table at a venue like this to sell our stuff. In between browsers and buyers, we came up with our top 10 bits of advice for anyone thinking of becoming a craft fair seller.

1. There's no accounting for taste...that is to say one man's trash is another's treasure. All sorts of things are sold at craft fairs and the most popular item week one of the season could be a bust ever other week of the season. It is very hard to peg what will be popular in any given week. So that thing you made that you think is totally tacky? Someone is going to love it and want one in every color. That other thing you made because you love it and think everyone should have it? You'll end up keeping every pair.

2. Pack light. The more you bring with you for props, the more you have to haul out of there.

3. Coffee or tea? Yes please! Don't forget it. Set up is EARLY in the morning and grumpy people sell less.

4. Snacks...you will regret forgetting them and will have to find that brownie the size of Montana.

5. WATER! It gets hot in those buildings once everyone get to setting up and later shopping. The air is also pretty dry. You'll feel like a camel and in the middle of a sale is not the time to go dry.

6. Don't be afraid to slash prices or cut a deal if business is slow. There could be several vendors selling something like what you've got...give the customers a reason to buy your wares!

7. Keep smiling and greet people. Every hour, I liked ot get up and take a tour of the sale to stretch my legs and check out the competition. No matter what someone was selling, I found that few people smiled or greeted me or were even willing to chat about their wares. You don't have to be a pushy sales-person (no one likes that), but be friendly. If you don't wanna be there or really like dealing with people, then why do it?

8. It's not over until the fat lady sings. We sold barely anything, like had $9 profit in the till until the last 60 mins where we then sold a lot. We spent all day talking to many people about the benefits of our wares, offering commission work, talking about anything and everything and nada. It really looked like we'd gone to the bother of paying for a table, investing several hundred hours making things (we met to craft 2 times a week for 4 months AND spent most evenings and weekends crafting alone), to go home craft fair failures. Well, that last burst of business was awesome and we met our modest goal. If you'd asked me at 9am, 10am, 11am, 12pm, or 1pm if I saw the goal happening? Nope. But we did it! We didn't give up, and it paid off. It was rather dejecting to sit there and no one want our stuff. I really think people wandered the show for hours and then bought in the lasst hour after all the best deals were on the table. I can't blame them, but I wish I had prepared myself mentally for hours of rejection. Thankfully I had my BFF to pass the time with.

9. So, given #8, Don't take it too harshly or be insulted when someone bypasses your table. People love to look and touch, but getting them to buy is a hard thing to do. The economy is poorly right now AND the first sale of the season is still WAY before Christmas frenzy has set in. Some people want be done their shopping before the frenzy, but far more people love to look about at all their options, think about it, look at other options, and then buy closer to Christmas. It's the "better" concept. This is a mixture of the desire for a better deal and is not wanting to miss out on a better gift out there. I feel we probably would have had better success at a fair closer to Xmas. It wasn't even cold on Sat and no one wants to Xmas shop when it doesn't even feel like Xmas yet. It's like going into CVS in on the 1st of September to be greeted with light up Christmas trees and Christmas music. Too early to be meaningful.

10. Don't quit your day job. The handful of vendors we talked to made about $200 for the day. That seems like a lot, but consider this: set up was 7am and close was 3pm. Once you factor in the cost of the table, the bother of set up/break down, cost of materials and time to make things....This is not a real way to make a living. It was a nice little bit of side-cash going into Christmas season, but no day job. I like having $200 for our business, but having a "real" job would pay far more faster without the temptation to spend all of my money on other craft booths while i sit and ponder my latest project....

If you've read to the end of this, We've taken everything we didn't sell at the craft sale and have set up a blog store. So look at our yarn addicts shop and see our wares and BUY something! Be aware, we're sell-outs and will totally cut a deal...and often will make a good trade if you've got something cute.

Oink Pen Signing Out

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Permanent Oink Hits the Road

Permanent Oink is planning an adventure. October 10-12 Jilly and I will be attending Creatures, Crime and Creativity Con in Hunt Valley, Maryland. The three day conference is jam packed with learning and networking opportunities. The event is sponsored by Intrigue Publishing, a local publisher.

The C3 Con is a hybrid of a writer’s and fan conference. There are “Master’s Classes” for writer to be taught by John Gilstrap, Rebecca York and other bestselling authors.

John Gilstrap is the author of the Jonathan Graves series set in the Virginia area. Saturday he’ll be teaching the Master’s class for crime fiction writers on the technical “stuff” we often get wrong. He’ll also be the keynote speaker on Saturday night. Rebecca York will be teaching the class on world building. And Brad Parks will be teaching us how to hold the reader’s attention.

If you’re interested you can register just for Saturday at a cost of $135.  The one day registration include three meals and the choice between 20 panels for readers and writers. And you get to hear John Gilstrap speak at dinner.

On Friday at 4 pm I'll be on a panel discussion of
Social media – Can you survive as an author without it? Also on the panel is Weldon Burge, and Bags Hightower.
On Saturday I will moderating the discussion of  Characters: How to keep them fresh and exciting. Authors on the panel are Brad Parks, Kathryn Johnson, and Brandon Patterson.
Jilly will be sitting on the panel discussing, What do Fans want? Also on the panel will be Tom and Marie O'Day. Moderator is Sandra Bowman.
And Oinkwell and Oinkpen (though Oinkpen has rough year) will be there, too, trying to get their photos taken with all the writers and teachers. They’re such hams.
For more about the conference visit http://creaturescrimesandcreativity.com/


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Literary Beauty: Sweet Minerals Make-up

Writing is a solitary pursuit but at least put on some lip gloss.

Read all the way to the bottom of the post to find out how you can win a Sweet Mineral lip gloss of your very own.
With Sweet Minerals
I’ve flirted with using mineral make-ups over the years. I’ve tried various brands from drug store brand, department stores, on-line, and artisan blends but usually end up gravitating back to liquid  make-up. The liquids invariable cause break outs. I’ve even gone to department store counters only to come home with instructions (and a face chart) so complicated I give up.
I tried a new line of mineral make-up called Sweet Minerals.  My niece Jennifer is a true believer in the line and recently, became a consultant. She assured me that makeup didn’t irate her skin and was fool proof. She invited me over to her house to give Sweet Minerals a whirl. Saying I was a skeptic would be putting it mildly; I went over prepared not to like Sweet Minerals.

Jen started out by asking me what I liked.  I told her I would be happy if I could just match my skin tone with a foundation and do a simple neutral face.
In a strange reversal of roles, Jennifer applied make to my clean moisturized skin. (I remember applying her make-up for special event.) We both wear the fairest shade Sweet Minerals offers. She showed me how to quickly apply concealer and the powdered base. Next came Sweet Mineral’s 3 step eye makeup with one try I was able to look competent in applying.

Then came bronzer and blush. The bronzer is dusted in the hollow of the cheek, the hairline, under the jaw and nasal fold. Then the blush is applied to the apple of the cheek. Whatever else the makeup has or doesn’t have—it definitely has that slimming voodoo that made me look thinner and gives the high cheek bones I always wanted. The entire face was lightly brushed with mineral veil. The procedure was simple enough and would only take me about 10 minutes to get the fresh, light, neutral look I liked and could apply.
But what about the makeup itself. Sweet Minerals was found by 3 local Baltimore moms Candace Maurer, Christine Marriner and Heather Lins who wanted a pure mineral makeup that didn’t contain the irritating ingredients of liquid and, some, mineral makeups that will give a flawless, lasting finish.  Two of them. Candace, and Heather are professional makeup artists; Marriner formulated the makeup. The result is that Sweet Minerals doesn’t contain parabens, bismuth, fragrances or filler.

Before. Too scary for me.
So why does the absence of those ingredients matter? Parabens are simply a preservative and the FDA regulates the use in cosmetics. It isn’t associated with causing cancer or anything like that but it has estrogen like qualities that could be a problem for some women and cause break outs. My philosophy is why put chemicals on your skin when you don’t have to. Bismuth is a common coloring ingredient in makeup (and used in some over the counter stomach medications like Pepto-Bismol.) And while the FDA says it is safe to use in cosmetics, if your makeup is giving you black heads and clogged pores bismuth is the most likely culprit. The irritating effects of fragrance, I think is self-evident. Perfume sensitivity seem to have become so common that many work places are becoming fragrance free environments. As to filler—talc comes to mind. Not something that I want to put on my face daily.

So what is in Sweet Minerals. According to their website, “mica, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, iron oxides, silk, ultramarine blue. May contain kaolin, magnesium myristate, boron, silica.” Zinc oxide is a physical sun block. Kaolin clay is a common ingredient in facial masks and noted for drawing impurities from the skin. None of these ingredients are known irritants according to the FDA
I ended up buying the full face kit and haven’t regretted it a day since. I seem to get more competent at using methods taught to me by my niece every time I apply my make-up. My skin just keeps looking better and better. I have had no break outs or blemishes. Even though the FDA says that using mineral make-up will not shrink your pores or improve your skin. And after using Sweet Minerals for 2 months I think they are wrong. My skin looks better even without make-up.
The only negative about the product is that it can be a little drying on skin of a “certain age.” Making certain that I apply a light weight moisturizer over my whole face along with a nourishing eye cream helps. I haven’t had the problem of the powder emphasizing fine lines though powder make-ups often have that tendency. In fact in my before and after photos I can see that a couple of lines I have between my brows have disappear.
The real selling feature for me is that Sweet minerals really does last all day.  The proof came for me on a rainy Saturday when I had to go to outdoor picnic. The rain poured down, breaking only long enough for us to come out from under the tent to grab some barbeque. Yet, when I got home my make-up looked just as fresh and, well, perfect as when I put it on. (I wish I could say the same for my hair.)

My Sweet Minerals representative is my niece Jennifer Hawkins Waltemire but I purchased the make-up I have been using. You can reach Jennifer at jrw.nails@yahoo.com or 410-449-2373

My colors:
Foundation:Fair C1 
Concealed: Light
Eye Primer: Soft Focus
Blush: Naked Caramel
Bronze: Island Tan
Eyes: Champagne Fluff, Brownie Nut, Bakers Chocolate
Eye Liner: Espresso
Lips: Naked Caramel Blush with clear lip gloss
Mineral Veil: Original

Jennifer has generously offered to give a  Sweet Mineral lip gloss to one lucky person . To be entered in the drawing  complete ALL THREE TASKS.
1. Like her Facebook page at http://on.fb.me/YEAW5v
2. Follow the Permanent Oink Blog.

3. Leave a comment on the blog post about which lip gloss you would like to win from the selections on http://bit.ly/1D1H1bS
The lip gloss is a $22 dollar value! Winner will be chosen at random on Saturday September 19, 2014




Wednesday, April 2, 2014


I adore my piglings Oinkette and Oinkling. They're both growing terribly fast and every day they both do new surprising things. Oinkette has entered a story contest and Oinkling is starting to babble. Soon, they will both be grown and I'll be left with only theman and cats to bother. Awful future! After we figure out how to get our piggie logo rolling, I will see about getting this for my girls. Someone has to take over the pig pen when Oink Well and Oink Pen retire to play bingo and shout at neighborhood kids...way way into the future.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Oink Well's Point of View: Where's the Pink?

A month or so back I took a part time job in in a local clothing consignment shop. It been more years than I care to admit since I have worked in fashion or retail. And I have to admit I am hopelessly out of touch with what is actually in-style. Over the years (read decades) I have developed my own unique style that I call “Gypsy Writer with an Aging Hippie Chic Flair.”

In case you’re not familiar with that particular style it incorporates lots of long flowing skirts guaranteed to hide any figure, good or bad. The favorite of my collection is a patchwork maxi that my husband abhors. The variety of fabrics used in the skirt allows me to wear any color of t-shirt including my beloved PINK. (I bought this in an actual store over my husband’s weeping objection.)

Pink is a key color in my style which is why I was shocked when Pantone released their color forecast for Spring 2014 and it did not include a single shade of pink. The closest is Cayenne which more of red. Oh the purples are lovely.  The Violet Tulip makes want to run to the make counter for some fresh eye shadow. And the Placid Blue make makes me long for a lakeside spot to snuggle up with my laptop.
But for Pig’s sake where is the pink? Not a hint of Cotton Candy or Baby Pink. No Blush or Tickle Me Pink. I’d settle for Barbie, Carnation or Champagne. But I really long for is Piggy Pink. 
Stylist say that pink is not a good color for women of a certain age but then why do we love it so. I think we secretly long for those days when nothing gave us more joy that a pink tutu or a stick of peppermint and big pink bow was the height of fashion. And when it comes to it we haven't change much over the years. Inside every woman of a certain age or beyond is the girl who wove pink ribbons in her hair. 

Finding our style is part finding what makes us happy. The pro stylists will turn their noses up at my pink cowboy hat, so be it. They don't have to live in my skin or my clothes. And to them I say Oink! Oink!
For a list of the various shades of pink go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Variations_of_pink.

Keep Calm meme is from http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Oink Pen's Pages: Review of Wool


Wool: Part One by Hugh Howey

Cost: $0 electronically Where: Amazon
I recently read Wool: Part One at the suggestion of Oink Well in preparation for our joint book effort. My quick and dirty review is as follows.

I loved the concept. It was an original plot for the easily clich├ęd post-apocalyptical genre. The entire story was full of suspense and kept me wondering what was going on and rooting for the protagonist. I also LOVED the ending. I cannot say more without major spoilers and so I won’t. Part one is free, so I’m not giving anything more than that away.
I liked the world Howey created. Every bit of new information created more questions I wanted answered. That’s a sign of great writing. I was invested in the characters and their conflict but was not lost in this entire new world Howey created.
I didn’t really loathe anything. I will admit that it took me a bit to get into the story, but once I did, I was all in. I don’t know if the slowness is due to my own sleep deprived state (thanks Oinkling!) making stuff up or actual dragging at the start. But, if you give it a shot and it’s dragging at the start? I promise it won’t for long. It’ll grab you and haul you along on a ride.
My brain always takes sidebars. My brain is also a logistical machine. If I’m reading something and one bit of logical minutiae doesn’t fit? It angers me and I frequently dislike a story based on that alone. 
Howey’s main character described pig’s milk being used in a drink and it being pinkish. I then spent 2 days wondering about pig’s milk. I like goat’s milk. I like cow’s milk. I also like camel’s milk as well as most of the non-milk milks like almond milk. But I’ve never had pig’s milk. So I then I wondered what it’s like. Pig is a magical animal where we consume everything from the squeak to the tail, so Howey’s choice of it as his go-to animal was perfect given the limitations of the environment of his Wool series.


I really liked it and can see why people wished for more and how it has become a big hit. He always keeps one guessing and the plot moving along. When the end happens, I wanted more. That’s a good sign.


So, how does rating work? I have a 1-5 oink scale. 1 (@) being a wild bore and 5 (@@@@@) means it curled my tail!
***Everyone gets at least one oink for effort because writing and publishing takes a lot of effort.

Wool: Part One gets a 5 Oink rating @@@@@ AKA five snouts up! It grabbed me and pulled me along. I cared about the people and wanted more at the end. The structure was good. Also, it was active not passively written. The world Howey created was complete without any info dump, and his tenses weren’t mixed up!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Bay to Ocean 2014

Oink Well is found abandoned in a bag of swag
Jilly and Marie take a selfie.
Well and Pen embrace their new names.
Well and Author Jack Downs

Well and David Wilson

Well and Pen found some sidewalk art.
Austin Camacho, Marie and Oink Well.

Well and Angela Render, Blogger Extraordinaire
Well and Marie take a picture with author Donna Andrews.
Pen is behind the camera.
Well, Pen and friends build a Pig-a-mid.

Omg! They are going to have BBQ Pig for dinner.
Ahh. Relaxing at the hotel with a pig sized slice of Smith Island Cake.
And good time was had by all.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Inspiration behind Permanent Oink

In February of 2014, the Oinktastic writing pair of Marie Davies and Jilly Mosier attended the Bay to Ocean Writers Conference in Wye Mills Maryland. The organizers of the conference in a stroke of genius and pure fun making came up with idea of a Social Media Scavenger Hunt. One of the items was to photograph your swag. In that collection of goodies Marie and Jilly found two pink, stress relief pigs and they needed names. The chain of thought seemed logical: Ink Well became Oink Well. And everyone knows an Oink Well is no good without an Oink Pen. Oink Well and Oink Pen were born. The Pigs became the mascots of the time at event, appearing in most of the pictures and tasks of the Scavenger Hunt.

Back at the hotel room, while dining on pig barbeque and Smith Island Cake, Oink Well and Oink Pen became the Inspiration for the duo’s blog title, Permanent Oink. There is more behind the name than just two pig shaped stress balls. First, the inky/oinky nature of their new endeavor.  And second, the where and how of Marie and Jilly met.  Both know that know that no matter how svelte they are there will always be an oink in their past, especially when presented with such delectable things as pig BBQ and Smith Island cake. (Yum!)  And so Permanent Oink.

What you will find here at Permanent Oink?

o   The escapades of Well and Pen as they share Jilly and Marie’s writing journey.

o   Jilly’s book reviews, and ponderings in Oink Pen’s Pages.

o   Marie’s thoughts on the writing life, literary beauty and whatever pops into her pretty head in Oink Well Weighs-in.

o   About Marie and Jilly’s quest to healthier and happier writers.

o   Excerpts of their adventures in writing.
Please join Permanent Oink on their journey by becoming Pigpals. Follow our blog Permanent Oink and on Twitter @permanetoink.