Thursday, May 26, 2016

Heat Guns, and Tie-Dyes, and PayPal, Oh My!

I know you won’t be surprised to hear that what Dale refers to as my “one woman sweat shop” has been going full speed ahead this week. Yes, I am continuing to create fairy wings, lickety-split, one pair just right after the other. I’ll include photos of some of them below. Not all of them. One pair, in particular, I’m not going to show you until their recipient sees them. They are quite amazing, though. Even if I am saying it myself.  I’m looking forward to sharing a picture of them with you. Maybe next week. If not, probably the week after.
In addition to fairy wing creation, I received a wonderful email this week, from a local Juneau reader who shared how much she’s enjoying my books, and who ordered a whole pan of lemon bars! There are very few things that make me as happy as hearing that someone is enjoying my writing. I experience this odd, but delightful mix of feeling delighted and a bit shy about the praise. Then, I go bouncing around the house, thinking of stories and shaking fairy dust on everything. ;)
Did I mention that I’ve received my first order for a set of custom wings? Indeed. I’ll probably start them first thing tomorrow morning, so when you read this post in your email, you can visualize me playing with my brand new heat gun (watch out world, I’m ready to melt everything that comes my way!) and lining up the sparkly hot glue sticks. Last, but not least, a good internet friend decided to buy one of my newest sets of wings. Yay!!! I do believe her daughter is going to love them!
I did my first batch of tie-dyes this week, in a long time. I can’t believe it’s been over ten years since I did this. It certainly doesn’t feel that long. Here’s the best of the batch, a t-shirt I made for my dad.

Soon, I’m going to acquire more shirts for dying and I’ll offer those for sale, as well. Stay tuned for more details on that.
I’m working on setting up an Etsy store, but have run into some tech problems. I have a plan, but it may take a week or so for me to implement it. On the other hand, I am now, officially, a PayPal seller. This means that if you want to order an enscribed copy of my paperback books, a magic wand, fairy wings, or a soon to be tie-dye, we can conduct our business over the internet. I can email you an invoice and, even if you don’t have a PayPal account yourself, you can pay me, via credit or debit card. Shoot, I could even mail you some authentic Alaskan liquid sunshine! Alright, on that note, I’ll reel in my silliness.
As always, thank you for reading, and thank you for your support. Happy Friday and I hope you have a terrific holiday weekend!

Wingspan 20"

Wingspan 20"

Klondike Pond
Wingspan 23"

Wingspan 26"

Stellar's Jay
Wingspan 20"

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Community Day on Campus

 Is there any more picturesque campus in the world, than UAS Juneau? 

Community Day on Campus, last Saturday, was my first attempt at selling my homemade fairy wings, magic wands, and baked goods. It was both terrific fun, and terrific market research, which counts as a resounding success in my book. It was a spectacularly beautiful sunny day with temperatures near 80 degrees, and while my Mom may have wished for more direct sunlight, I was deeply grateful to be under a pavilion tent and on the shady side of the plaza. Even then, I wore my sunglasses and gulped copious amounts of water for much of the day.
Mom was amazing as my financial investor (supplies, tent rental, plus that pesky parking ticket she got picking up the tent), co-baker, creator of a series of gorgeous feathered hair clips, and assistant vendor.

 My amazing mom, who will be mortified that I've included this photo.
Too bad, Mom, the rest of us think you're beautiful! <3
Dale, meanwhile, knocked it out of the park by making display tables sturdy, building a stand-alone mirror, and building a wing display post while coming up with the most innovative use for a Christmas tree stand that I have ever seen. He also made set-up and break-down a breeze. There’s no way I would have been able to pull this event off without their help.
 I ADORE this wing display!

Here are the observations that Mom and I made while walking around the event, and manning our stall:
1-      After all this time, we are still introverts, and five hours of vending left us utterly spent…in a good a way.
2-      Folks will cross a parking lot to get to fairy wings, and they will crowd into a stall to get free samples of sweet baked goods.
3-      Teens and adults are NOT the most common admirers of fairy wings. Children, from toddlers on up, were utterly wonder-struck by the wings and were the most frequent people to take us up on trying on a set.
4-      Children don’t tend to have a lot of money and parents aren’t always eager to leap at a $40 price tag, which I quite understand. This was a lesson about target audience. I really think that if we’d had a selection of smaller, lower priced wings, we could have sold a bunch of them.
5-      Little boys seemed equally as entranced as little girls, by the wings, but a few male parents seemed especially quick to reinforce gender expectations about costuming in general and fairies, specifically. This was the only downer about the entire day, and led to some productive brainstorming (see action plan).
6-      We sold an equal, but small number of each type of baked good (Pucker-Up Lemon Bars, Dutch Butter Cake, and Spicy Surprise Brownies), but the brownies were the most frequently sampled. The surprise part of the brownie name intrigued folks and several people were quite hopeful that the surprise might be green and mind-altering. No, I’m not going into the pot business, but I predict that whoever does open up shop here, now that folks can get licenses, is going to make a pretty penny.
7-      Very few people ventured deep into our stall, stopping at the fairy wings at the entrance, and just inside for free samples.
8-      Even though the books were at the back of the stall, and not many folks ventured that far inside, I still sold more books than I did at the same event two years ago when I was selling only books.
So…here’s our action plan.
1-      Plan to vend at the “block party” held each Friday this summer (June 10 through August) at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center and continue to test the market and improve selling techniques.
2-      Consider Vending at the monthly Farmer’s Market
3-      Spend the big bucks to vend at the annual Public Market the weekend after Thanksgiving
4-      Make fairy wings in three price brackets by adding small two-wing sets for $15, small butterfly and small damselfly sets (four wings) for $25, and keep the large butterfly and damselfly sets at $40).
5-      Experiment with making dragon wings, which may seem more masculine, or perhaps more gender neutral, and which may be appealing to folks of any gender because dragons are every bit as cool as fairies, and less fraught with gender stereotypes.
6-      Don’t make lemon bars to sell because they are twice as much work as the other two recipes, and are sticky and messy to get out of the pan and into tiny cellophane bags!
7-      Don’t plan to make a profit from baked goods but continue to have them for sale and use those free samples to lure customers in. Low-down and sneaky, I know.
8-      Put another display of fairy wings, perhaps some of the smaller, less expensive ones, at the back of the stall to draw folks all the way in…and over to my books.
9-      Display Mom’s beautiful hair clips in a visible, nay, eye-catching fashion, instead of in a basket.
Whew! I think those are all the major highlights.
Since Saturday, I re-invested most of our profits and ordered more iridescent cellophane and a whole lotta glittery hot glue sticks in a variety of colors. The cellophane arrived yesterday and it is both thicker/sturdier than the previous kind I’d purchased locally, and also heat bonds under the iron almost instantaneously, which saves me about an hour of ironing for each set of wings!
Here’s the set I made yesterday after the cellophane arrived.
Dale named this set "Amelia" for Amelia Earhart
36"x18" Wing details in gold & silver with a subtle hint of teal
Circular brace wrapped in teal and gold

And here’s the set I’m still working on today. This is my first set of small butterfly wings, and I’m excited with how they’re coming along.
 Still Unamed
Folks have been asking me about whether I’ll set up an Etsy shop. I think it’s likely, but before I put my cart before my horse, I need to raise the horse and build the cart. ;) Even though it’s going to be a while, yet, before I get to the Etsy-shop-stage, if you’d like to special order a set of wings from me, please send me a message or e-mail. I’ve begun researching shipping methods and costs, and even have a line on affordable boxes of the appropriate sizes and shapes. I’m very excited about this new facet of Magic All Around, and I’d love to be able to make it a permanent fixture.
As always, thank you, all of you, for being so supportive. The feedback and responses from so many of you on Facebook, and elsewhere, have been tremendously encouraging, and I hope I can share a bit of magic with all of you.
Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Dazzled By My Own Handiwork


 "Whimsy" a.k.a. "Moose Rack"

I think I'm getting better with each new set and I'm really excited to sell these, so I can make more! Seriously, they have a way of filling up the house. 
I have two custom orders that I'll begin work on next week...but first, baking tomorrow, and Community Day on Campus from 11a.m. to 4p.m. on Saturday! Come visit us and check out the exotic feathered hair clips my mom has been making, try on a set of wings, sample the baked goods, ogle the books, and wave around a couple of the magic wands. I promise, there'll be Magic All Around!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Iridescent Fairy Dreams

 Ooops! Caught me with my eyes closed. 
Fairy dust makes me sleepy.
Slightly crooked wings and uninspired pose,
but authors don't usually do a lot of modeling.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have the distinct pleasure of introducing you to FWP3 (Fairy Wing Prototype 3)! This prototype is constructed with 14 gauge galvanized stainless steel wire, two kinds of tape, one kind of glue, two layers of iridescent cellophane, gold paint, ribbon, and the firm application of a hot iron. Oh, and fairy dust! 
It's been another rip-roarin' week, and I'm continuing to make magic wands and fairy wings in preparation for the Community Day on Campus on May 14th. Did I mention that I'll also be selling Dutch Buttercake, Whole Lemon Bars and my famous Curried Brownies? If you haven't tried curried brownies, you haven't tasted magic yet! If you're in Juneau, I hope you'll stop by. Every book or fairy wing purchase comes with a free dessert, and I've heard a rumor that my mom will even be there, fluttering around in her own set of wings! Now, if that doesn't sound like some fairy godmother magic, I don't know what does.
Not here in Juneau? No problem! I would be happy to create your dream fairy wings and/or magic wand! For the time being, wings will be in the $40 range, plus shipping. According to the listings on Etsy and Ebay, this is a steal of a deal, so get your iridescent Fairy Wings while I'm still a nervous amateur testing the market. ;-) 
Now, I have to excuse myself. I've been staying up melting cellophane into the wee hours, so now I'm going to flutter off to take a nap under a flower petal!
Next week at this time, I'll be in a baking frenzy. I'll post...but expect every word to be coated in flour dust and powdered curry!
Have a great weekend and a lovely week!