Thursday, July 21, 2011

Goin' Offline

For several years now, I have sold handcrafted soaps and few other handmade items on vendor sites like Etsy and Artfire. At this point, I have emptied my Etsy shop and have made the decision to close out my pro account on Artfire this coming Sunday, July 24th, 2011. Reason? The business of handcrafted soap is much too time-consuming for me. I am being called in other areas.

I won't stop making soap though; just not as prolific as before. I intend to make enough for my own use and for a few friends and relatives. Perhaps put some in a bazaar fundraiser on occasion? Maybe. The main point is that I will be making soap on MY timeline. That's OK.

All items in my shop are 50% off until this coming Sunday evening, then the shop is CLOSED. The prices in the shop reflect regular price. All items will be refunded via Paypal after purchase.

So, stop by and get a great deal on some fun handcrafted items!

Ai Chihuahua! Click here to go to my shop.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Art in the Park

Every year, the Omak Kiwanis hosts their Art in the Park in Omak, Washington. This year, I was a vendor at Art in the Park. We just came back from Omak a few hours ago and now resting at home, recuperating from this weekend's experience.

The weather didn't completely cooperate with us though. It rained on and off most of the first day, which is when most of the the people show up. Sunday was a BEAUTIFUL day, but being Sunday, the crowd wasn't quite as a large.

The economy has made a large impact on Art in the Park too. People are looking for basics and personal gift ideas that are also inexpensive. Many of the usual vendors that attend Art in the Park come from all over the Northwest. This year, many of the vendors didn't show because the expense required to travel.

Despite all of that, Art in the Park was still a success. I chose to come again this year because I lived in the Okanogan for over 17 years. I still have family and friends that live in the area. We live about 500 miles away though and the gas cost was atrocious. Still, we considered it a success because it allowed us to spend time with our family and we were able to recoup some of our cost of traveling.

Our customers were looking for good deals, unique gift ideas at affordable prices, and handmade product  with quality at reasonable prices.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to provide quality with affordability in this economy. I had to raise my prices and use some lesser priced oils that still that didn't impact the quality of our soaps and other handcrafted items. I also had to use packaging that didn't cost as much.

There were a few customers who complained about the "high price" of handcrafted items and were looking for an even better bargain. I simply explained that they were welcome to check out my "bargain section" which I always have at every arts and craft fair I attend. These items are often half price. Many of my soaps are $5 and more. When someone says this is too spendy, I simply state that I won't compromise the quality of the soap. Besides, people frequently purchase a $5 hamburger without blinking an eye, which they enjoy for maybe 20 minutes. For the same price, I can give them a quality soap or other handcrafted product that will last for 2 months or more.

Handcrafted artists and vendors do not "make a killing" on the price of their handcrafted items. They want to make a quality handcrafted item, they want to be able to afford to do this, and want to attend affairs like Art in the Park and other places to show their wares; which costs $ because they pay to be a part of the arts and crafts fairs, the gas it takes to travel to these affairs, the items they need in order to set up a great display, the business license and insurance, PLUS suffering through all the increased costs of producing their's a wonder that handcrafted artistry is even alive in our country anymore.

We hope to attend Art in the Park again next year and hope that all of your enjoy our soaps, handmade and re-loved treasures.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The McIntyres and the North Carolina Link

McIntyre Farm, North Carolina
Occasionally I write a bit here and there about some of the interesting...or maybe not so interesting, background of my heritage. Most of these items are tidbits that my older brother has actually been researching and was gracious enough to pass down the line.

Well, here is our North Carolina link in our family. They lived around1760, near Charlotte, North Carolina. They were farmers. According the records we know of, they were active in buying and selling large tracts of farm land.

The Scotch-Irish were not particularly fond of the English and were irregular soldiers during the Revolutionary War. They were part of defeating Lord Cornwallis' British Army like the Battle of King Mountain and also in minor skirmishes like the ambush at McIntyre's Farm.

Times were a bit rough after the Revolutionary War though for the next 25 or so years; farms were foreclosing; and our ancestors packed up and headed out west to the fertile, cheap land of Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana.

Our earliest official documented and directly related McIntyre relative that we have been able to find so far is that of John McIntire, who was born in Lincoln County, North Carolina, near Charlotte, 1797. We know that he was at least a third generation Scotch-Irish Colonial, but have no definitive records of siblings or his parents. We DO know that there were several McIntire families living in the area at the time.

Patoka River, Indiana
John left North Carolina to Louisville, Kentucky, which was nothing more than a frontier settlement, just across from Indiana. At the age of 25, he married Margaret Day, who was born in Indiana. Their son was William, born in 1824 in Kentucky. Shortly after, they had built a farm near the Pakota River in southern Indiana where three more sons were born: Edward in 1828, Lawson in 1830, and Anthony in 1833. Lawson McIntyre is whom I am descended from.
McNairy County, Tennessee

They farmed there for about 10 years before relocating to the community of Purdy in McNairy County, Tennessee, near the Mississippi border. Some of their North Carolina relatives were already living in the area and, no doubt, encouraged the relocation.

Such is the little that we know about our first known McIntyre relatives. These were on the paternal side of my family. My grandmother's maiden name was Vaughn and we can trace her relatives as far back as Jamestown. What little we know about them is that her great great great great (I think that's all the greats) grandparents lived in Jamestown, most likely as indentured servants.