Monday, December 24, 2012

Getting in the Christmas mood

December has flown by in a blur of jewelry and displays, but here in the Nikiverse I was able to find time to do some traditional preparations for the holidays.
For the first time i attended the Mayor's Parade in beautiful downtown Hampden.
Well... by attend i mean that i was watching my friends' lovely antique store so that they could attend the parade. But the parade did go by the Parisian Flea so i was able to peek out whenever there weren't customers.

There were all of the necessary parade components: marching bands and drum corps from school and local clubs, dance troops dressed like santas,  drum and fife recreationists, and unbelievable pom outfits.
 I was surprised that there were actually big helium characters, like a sweet reindeer and the Raven.

It was hilarious to watch the handlers try to get them past the street banners.
As with any local parade there were businesses advertising with forced child labor: this construction business had an organ hooked up so that a little girl could play Christmas tunes.

Also there were groups of kids riding in the parade, waving and shouting and throwing candy, but somehow there is always that one kid who manages to be fast asleep in the middle of the mayhem.
There was a horde and a half of Shriners riding all types of various ridiculous vehicles, horses, a Harley club, antique cars and crazy pimped out hydraulic cars, but i was too busy selling jewelry to get pics.
I was barely able to catch a tail-end photo of the ginormous tree float that David (one of the Flea owners) had worked on with the local business owners - they were driving realllllllly fast, but David was able to jump in quick for a photo op.
For some real local flavor there were the winners of the annual toilet races (really) and the Oriole Bird, who got the biggest reaction of anything in the whole parade.

fTM Karen, Cricket and Nancy had me over for our tree trimming party. It is fun every year to see the ornaments again (except that one hideous glass Santa head that creeps me out, but Cricket loves so i have to put it somewhere that he can see it) and find new ways to place them on the tree. Cricket does tree construction and lights, Nancy is in charge of hooks while Karen and I make a bitchin' decorating team. We have the same homogeny/balance sensibility so we can work in tandem to get the job done right. There are no pics of the tree, however, cause i was kidnapped and whisked away to movie quote trivia with my old team. It was a super fun blast from the past and yes, we did win.
As i eluded to in a previous haiku i also made wreaths for the first time this year. My friend Sheri and I were meeting for lunch; she called right beforehand and asked if i knew how to wire wreaths as she was picking up a few greens.
Imagine my surprise when i found the entire backseat of her SUV filled with branches. I figured i'd spend some time helping her out since i knew the theory of wreath-wiring and she had no clue; seven hours later i was finally going home. Here is a quick and dirty tutorial for guerrilla wreath making.
Get some evergreen trimmings from local tree sellers, neighbors and your backyard. Have a friend carry them to your workroom (dining room), taking pictures of her along the way making it look like she is being attacked by foliage.
Sort out the branches by types (we have pine, spruce, cypress, holly and some wiggly stuff that i have never seen before and have no idea where Sheri found it) and lay out clippers, pliers, nippers and wire.

Decide on a shape - Sheri wanted a long swap for over her front door - and take long pieces of a sturdy wood to wire together as a backbone to your piece.
Be sure to check the size and shape for your chosen location.
Try not to laugh too hard as your friend tries to reach the base waaaaaay over her head.
Once you are happy with the base, wire together accent branches of various types, work them into the base and wire 'em in place
Now for the finishing touches: wrap the exposed wiring with ribbon, add a bow, wire in ornament clusters and hang that puppy up.

Sheri also had a square wire frame so i did a wreath for her by wiring layers and layers of branches directly to it, adding a simple bow and attaching it to an old window frame.

She insisted that i needed to make something for myself, but i was pretty tired by this point so i did a quick door swag of flat cypress, wired in some holly, added a plaid bow and a pretty gold bell.

All that was left was to clean up the glittery, foresty devastation that was Sheri's dining room table.

Real wreaths smell so good and though it felt like it took forever to make them, I will probably do it again in the future.
I wasn't able to make it to AVAM's Sock Monkey Saturday this year, so i invited my upstairs neighbors down to make some at home. Anaya went with the traditional monkey shape in purple argyle to make Bob, but added a jaunty scarf and bracelet for the holidays.

Naomi decided to do a bear instead of a monkey, using striped holiday socks to create Candycane who is totally decked out from his starry eyes to his custom fur hat and boots.

Anaya and Bob

Naomi and Candycane
Some former co-workers and I tried to volunteer with toy distribution at the Salvation Army, but had the hours wrong so we ate stir-fry and did holiday baking instead.
Viva maple cupcakes with bacon, peppermint bark and the best candied almonds ever!
The last thing i did to really get ready for the holidays was drive to Ohio in a snowstorm - best idea ever!
It took 12 hours to go 440 miles, but i made it.
Mom and i have been busily decorating our new-to-us tree (my sister got a bigger tree this year so she gave us her old one- it is beautiful), finishing wrapping presents and preparing to host Christmas dinner for 10.
Hope you are all having a wonderful time surrounded by friends, family and love.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

bushes can be viscious

Blog needed writing,
but shanghaied by greenery.
Who could make that up?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

stand by

My dear Nikiverse:
I have not forgotten you;
Fun posts coming soon.
what is this?

Friday, December 7, 2012

I have officially spent too much time on youTube

I just unexpectedly saw myself in footage from 1997 at a CD release party for a local band wearing a lace granny dress with clunky black boots and dancing like a spastic wombat.

It might be time to go to bed.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

super quick check-in

- Hello, i'm still alive.
- I did end up buying shelves.
- Love how my earring cards came out.
- Love how my Quirkees tree looks.
- Less thrilled by the overall display.
- Forgot my camera so don't have pictures to share.
- Gotta finish one more display tomorrow morning in the booth.
- Will be at the Antique Depot tomorrow after 8pm(ish) for the Ellicott City Midnight Madness celebration; come see me in booth 110.
- Holiday Bazaar at Relay Town Hall Saturday from 9am to 3pm.
- hmmmmm... just hung most of my stock at the Depot; mayhaps i should make some more by Saturday.
- If i hear Feliz Navidad on the radio one more time i might be moved to violence.

No time for haikus;
I hafta ...

Monday, December 3, 2012

trashy turkey display

No, it didn't come out trashy; i saved it from the trash.
I was in Objects Found when the staff realized that a piece of a wooden thanksgiving decoration was missing; my shocked exclamation [imagine a slow-mo No-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o with me diving towards the counter] as they threw the remaining pieces into the trash gave poor little Maggie such a fright that she snatched them out of the can and handed them to me before i think they even had time to hit the bottom.

These foam gourds (and a random apple) have been in the ugly craft overflow dresser (the crafts aren't ugly; the dresser is) for... ummmmmm... four years maybe.
I tried all the pieces and not surprisingly they looked best with the punkin.

It took tin snips and a hard plastic mallet to get all the pieces in place, but it looked cute when everything was finally in place.

Of course, since it was missing a piece and my gourd was foam instead of, you know, gourd the turkey couldn't sit up straight.

Velcro to the rescue!

I velcroed him to a plastic lazy susan and added some foam shims to keep him balanced and negate wobble.


A piece of cotton calico nicely covered up all the nonsense once i cut and tucked it.
To help keep the earrings from slipping the back of the feathers got notches from my Dremel.
With a few silk leaves i think it made quite a presentable display (several people inquired about the price on it actually) for some Thanksgiving earrings.

The notched wood and velcroed base worked so well for my turkey that at that show in early November i did it to my small winter tree, too; now i have so many winter and Christmas earrings that at the last show i used an actual Christmas tree instead (that looked much cuter than this pic i swear; the lighting was dag-nasty in that room) and will probably use it this weekend as well.

On a semi-related note:
I wrote this specific post tonight because i had to take a break from the earring rack i am working on making for the store. You know, the one that i am constructing from a broken laundry rack, wire and binder clips; the one i am supposed to install in 37 hours.
It isn't going well.
I needed to remind myself that perseverance really can turn trash to treasure; that sometimes it just takes time to figure out how to make the idea in my head work in reality.
Though if it doesn't start coming together in the next hour i am tossing the idea and buying a shelf tomorrow... stupid reality.

Friday, November 30, 2012

things are happening quickly

Hiya everybody!
Are you wondering when the Etsy update scheduled for today is gonna happen?
It isn't.
But why, Niki? you ask, knowing that i've already taken all the pictures and have had ample time to edit them. Haven't you written the descriptions?
Why yes, yes i have. In fact, I could easily make the 8pm update deadline i gave myself.
But i'm not gonna do it.
I need the stock.
Because i am moving into a physical location ON WEDNESDAY!
It all came together in about an hour this morning.
I am going to share part of my friend Michelle's booth at a big antique mall in historic Ellicott City.
This weekend needs to be devoted to turning this:

pieces, parts of a broken laundry rack

into a usable display for the cool earring cards i am making from counter samples.
And of course i need to make the aforementioned earring cards.
And more stock for the show next weekend in Relay.

I just got home from measuring and planning and display brainstorming to find a little box waiting for me from Kaaren that contained:

Yes, it is a NikCo unicorn stamp. In fact that would be a Russian Unicorn in honor of my favorite Bad Lip Reading song. Yes, it is in the same font as my logo. You know, because she CARVED it for me. Think about that for a moment. if only i had a physical location that needed me to make price tags and wee signs where i could use my custom, hand made NikCo unicorn sign - OH WAIT, i do.
Thank you so, so ,so much Kaaren for believing in me and for using your amazing talent to support me. I couldn't love my stamp more if i tried.

So much to do and so much excitement and so much emotion and so much adrenaline; i feel like an overstimulated toddler.
I'm gonna go take a nap.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

today's haiku brough to you by Picasa

Click, click, crop, crop, crop,
another batch of shop pics
has to be resized.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

gosh i love music

Mayhaps you've heard that i have an affinity for music and many of you know that since starting my life of  self-employment i've developed a bit of a youTube problem.
I have tried so hard not to send a jillion video links to people or put them up here, but i've just seen a song that is too fabulous for a music lover like me to not share. It is the Axis of Awesome performing pieces of 40 songs based on the same four chords and it is frankly amazing:
[be warned if you are at work or hanging with kids, they do drop the f-bomb once at 5:21]
Even more scary than the commonality of the songs involved is the commonality of how many of them i own in one musical form or another. (and the fact that i recognize all of the video references as well)

i do appreciate the effort

So lost. So very lost.
Nice pharmacist drew a map...
Well, that clears it up.

Monday, November 26, 2012

i am a hard a**

One of the last things Erin said to me,
 as she turned over the keys to her zoo was,

What does she think i am? Some kind of soft-hearted pushover?

but there's no problem staying warm

Dog, cat, dog, cat, me:
even in a king-sized bed,
it's kinda crowded.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


This Thanksgiving I finally, finally got to see  a turkey deep frying.
I've eaten deep fried turkey several times, but have never been present for the cooking.
Timmy and Phil
When Ron and I arrived at his brother Phil's house i was delighted to find not one but two turkey fryers in front of the house. With at least 16 people coming for dinner, Phil and Danielle decided to cook four smaller turkeys instead of two large ones, hence the double fryer action.

After the oil was at the right temperature, Phil and his son Josh (a firefighter who had already pointed out the location of all the fire extinguishers) used what appeared to be an extendable paint roller handle to lower the marinated toms into the pots.
What say we use something from the garage to stand as far away as possible?
Did you know it only takes about 4 minutes per pound to deep fry a turkey? From marinating to the table it only took an hour. Including the post cooking rest period.

That's crazy.

And delicious.