Retrospectivly Funny: Setup

9 Sep

“Tell us about a situation that was not funny at all while it was happening, but that you now laugh about whenever you remember it.” – Writing prompt

As many of you may remember, Entwined Vines Jewelry did a couple years vending at the Portland Saturday Market most weekends for 10 out of 12 months per year. The first year, you show up in the mega morning on Saturday 4 hours before the market opens to sign up for a booth space. Each person would sign in and then stand around waiting to be called to pick a space based on seniority. All in all this seems reasonable and really is but the hour plus waiting for “your” turn to pick gets tiring and in some ways funny. The same person that has been in the first slot has had first pick for over 10 years and even though he knows the place with his eyes closed still takes an average of 10 minutes every week to pick the best spot while others hope for one spot but have backups in mind. The weekly dance to get just the perfect spot at the time would frustrate both Tammy and I. Now I look back and giggle at how silly we really were. What is a retrospective funny for you? Post in the comments as we would love to join in your giggle.

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Artistic Portland we will miss you

25 Feb

If you have been following Entwined Vines for long, you will probably know that 2 years ago we joined forces with a group of creative people here in the Portland, Oregon metro area to achieve a dream. That dream that many artists have of having a home also known as a storefront that people will be able to go a really look and shop not just online or at bazaars or craft shows. No more bouncing all over the place but an actual “home” for our pieces. In the beginning we met a peoples homes to plan and make the paperwork so we could be real and official. The bylaws took a lot of time and discussion but went very well even when people did not agree on something. The whole project flew into being from December of 2012 till the actual storefront was found, contract signed, and doors opened in June of 2013. There where highs and lows but all in all it was an incredible experience! Artistic Portland was no longer a dream but a reality!!!

As a co-operative we all split the expenses and shared floor space. We each had something to bring to the table for experience and ideas as well as sharing the time in the actual running of the shop. This was a great thing as most of us want to have time to create and run our business while still having time to “have a life” with friends and family. We each could sign up for the shifts and pay levels that worked best for our individual needs.

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The first month came and went with our doors open and most of us made our rent and maybe a little more or less from our sales. Things were getting better and better and more people found their way into the shop as shoppers and artisans. We had the usual growing pains of a large group of varied personalities all being “the boss” as we were all equal members of the co-op. We had a great team on the board of directors that were also learning as we went but as adults we were able to mostly work through all that came our way.

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At the end of the first year Entwined Vines did pretty well financially especially since we knew that a store front takes time and exposure to make it work. We had a nice turn around of product. Artistic Portland started talking about having more workshops in our outside and downstairs space as well as opening an outdoor market option to members for the nice weather weekends. We had a large turnaround of members and with that there was a steady supply of new and interesting skills and products. Life and Business was looking pretty darn good so we elected to continue being members and active in working on the Marketing team to help spread the word.

By the middle of 2014 Tammy and I both had so much on our plate with work, health, family and so on, we dropped how many hours we could work in the shop but expanded how much time we could help with the committee including working on the website. It was tough going and we were falling further behind in other aspect of our business such as paperwork, and most importantly – creating. We kept hoping that life would slow down and we could be the members we wanted to be but by the end of 2014 we had to accept that we just did not have the time or energy to give to the co-op any longer.

We also often felt that we were battling an up-hill battle in getting members to understand why certain things needed to happen to help the whole group in the aspect of marketing. We understood that many people did not have a back ground in marketing and that we were all learning as we went, although some had more understanding and experience than others.Many members had etsy accounts and were limited on online marketing experience as etsy made it easy and a bit different that standard social media marketing tends to be. We learned about SEO, spiders, and algorithms in helping to expand our reach online with a shoe-string budget. We learned how blogs and photos can help or hurt a business. We learned so much that we will not look back and wounder why we stayed members or that it was not worth our time. Most of the people we worked with were AMAZING and we will fortunately be able to keep track of each other and so new friendships were formed.

We are no longer members of the fantastic creative forces at Artistic Portland and we will miss all that being a member entailed but we are also grateful that we were wise enough to know when it was time for us to bow out and move on to continue growing our own business in the best possible way we could for ourselves. Thank you all the past, present, and future members that are so incredible we will miss you but we will visit often!

Road Tripping (Dream) pt. 1: Portland to Crater Lake

23 Feb

Back in the fall I wrote a piece with a map of a dream trip that Tammy and I would like to do at some point partly as friends and partly as a business plan to acquire product and to improve what we do. We use a LOT of semi precious stone and have talked for many years of what we would do if we could make it to the largest rock and gem show in our country in Arizona. I decided to take this a lot further and do a mega 1 month road trip with eating adventures, hikes, and hot spot visits there and back all because of a writing prompt that seems oh so fun and spoke to my spirit of travel. When you read these installments please keep in mind that this is dream land and we have not as of yet been able to actually do ANY of this regardless of what tense I am writing in…

imagesWe start with a slow leisurely Southern brunch at the BEST spot in Portland, Oregon for a hearty start: Screen Door has been serving fantastic comfort foods fresh from the farm to the plate for some time now. Although they are not really Paleo (both Tammy and I strive to stay mostly (80/20) we do venture into gluten free non-paleo occasionally) the grits and potatoes are worth a minor detour on our dietary path to a healthy life.  Once our tummies are full and our minds are fully on the go we hit the road for the slightly over four and a half hour trek down the Oregon segment of interstate and highway system.

The slow start was possible by the fact that we had the fan fully loaded with everything we could possibly need or want over the course of the month while leaving ample room for our fun shopping along the way and especially in Arizona (or that is our hope anyway)!

What we packed into our mini van of fun:

* 2 small tents that are fast to set up and take down

* 2 camp mats

* 2 pillows

* 2 sleeping bags

* 2 lap blankets

* 2 flashlights

* 2 small lanters

* 1 medium 7 day coolers loaded with healthy vegetables, cooked meats, nuts, and fruits for hikes, snacks, and meals to last us till we get to vegas

* French Press for our morning coffee desires

* a 2 burner camp stove with 2 cylinders of gas

* small pot to heat water and cook in

* a medium skillet to make fast and easy meals

* plates, bowls, cups, thermos, eating utensils, and knives

* personal gear: clothes, hair supplies, hygiene, etc.

* Cameras, and electronics

*Batteries

this is a brief list but you get the idea that we plan to do a bunch of camping along with a few select stays in leisure.

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When we get to our first real stop at Crater Lake National Park, we decided that for the best view with a great rate without detracting from the natural beauty we will camp at the Lost Creek campground. We get to be within easy walk to a great lookout point and in the morning we can enjoy a scrumptious breakfast at the Crater Lake Lodge restaurant. There are over ninety miles of trails to hike including the Pacific Crest Trail passes through this National Park.

After breakfast, we wander over to the Rim Visitors center to take a look at things, get a few more maps, and pay for our backcountry permits. We loaded up out hiking packs with yummy food that will help us make it though hard hiking with enough energy to really revel in the aw inspiring beauty of this area with the solitude brought by the limit number of people allowed to visit at a time. We spend the majority of the day (from mid morning till dusk) hiking the Pacific Crest Trail then jigging off onto the Rim Trail that takes us right to the rim of Crater lake for the spectacular views.

After a long but relaxing day of hiking we make it back to camp to cook up a fast stir fry of steak and mixed vegetable to spoon over cauli-rice with large bowls of egg drop soup to warm us down to our toes.

We would like to have time and leisure to stay a few more days but adventure and new experiences are calling so in the morning we load the van back up, take a hot shower on that camp ground showers, visit the Lodge restaurant again for a hearty breakfast while we pull the photos off our camera cards and make our first real blog to make live once we reach a location with internet since Crater Lake has no; phone, cell, or internet. We then look at the maps and information collected on places to see and foods to taste on our next leg of the journey to Mt. Shasta.

Check back often to get the next installment on this dream trip and please post comments with your own pictures and tales sharing your dreams and experiences as we love the sharing that our followers contribute.

Writing Prompt: Road Tripping

11 Aug

“‘Tis the season for road trips — if time and money were out of the equation, what car-based adventure would you go on? (If you don’t or can’t drive, any land-based journey counts.)

Bonus (optional): show us your itinerary by embedding a Google Map into your post!”

Tammy and I both have crazy busy lives yet yearn to travel. One of the first trips we have talked about is a car trip from Oregon/Washington all the way to Arizona so that we could go to one of the largest gem and bead shows in the country. This trip is over 1400 miles one way without taking any side trips or any real stops, so we might as well do a full crazy excursion! 

As you can see the fastest most direct route would be doing most of our driving through California. Instead the adventures can include several other states and since this is a dream road trip without money or time limitations, why not dream a bit bigger than the fastest most direct route? There are tons of things that we both want to do as we pass through! From hikes, to places that hit our must try eateries, and a few off the “norm” touristy things like hitting a seldom heard of or known mining town.

Over the next several weeks (each Monday) I will walk you through the potentials of this dream road trip. Check back often as we touch on Crater Lake Oregon after 112 miles.

Throw Back Thursday: Oh the Places We have Been

7 Aug

 

Entwined Vines is not THAT old but we have been around for several years now. We have had many ups and downs on this adventure and today we are taking you down memory lane with us!

 

When we first got started we did a skin care MLM styled product line and since we both enjoyed making jewelry we agreed when we worked events together we would set up a small section of hand made jewelry and see how it went.

 

 

 

After about half a year and several interesting events, the MLM company changed their product line enough that we both walked away and began pursuing Entwined Vines in a much more serious manner. With this in mind we researched several online options and elected to put out our shingle so to speak on Artfire as you can see here. We found that at the time they had the most tools to help us on our journey while being open to all (you do not need to have an account to order like another very well known location), had the best online security for personal information for ourselves and out potential customers, and the rates were stable enough that we could keep our pricing stay lower (we put true cost pricing on ALL our goods). As you can see from this example of one of our first pieces posted, we had already started growing…

 

Earlier wire wrap bracelet

 

As you can see that bracelet is pretty yet still basic. The photo quality is alright but has tons of room for improvement. We were taking all our photo’s with bare bones point and shoot camera’s and had NO editing software and even if we did, we would not have had clue one as to where to start without making things way, way worse! We continued having a table or booth at shows but the budget was small and so the events we were able to sign up for were lacking in mostly advertising and attendance. We were part of three of the worst shows in the first year! One was so bad that the organizers ended up in court (not by us but other vendors at the event we were unfortunately a part of due to not holding up their end of the contract AND a second case from bills they racked up and failed to pay for that event) to give you an idea of just how BAD some of the events out there can and have been. On the other hand, that first year we stumbled along through these events having NO CLUE what we were really doing, what kind of set-up would work best and travel well through all the beating of stacking, packing, and heavy traffic (when we were fortunate to be at a GREAT show). We talked and learned through those around us, reading everything we could find, and keeping notes of what worked and what did not, and why, so we could work on making our business better at every turn.

 

Check back and see what Throw Back Thursday has in store for you next week.  Feel free to leave us a comment and if it is approved, we will put your name into our drawing to be held later this year.

 

Writing Prompt: Back to Life

4 Aug

After an especially long and exhausting drive or flight, a grueling week at work, or a mind-numbing

exam period — what’s the one thing you do to feel human again?”

Tammy and I of Entwined Vines Jewelry both have very busy lives. Tammy works at a corporate styled job that frequently requires overtime. This entire year has entailed mandatory 7 days a week with an average of 10 hours each day. This is on top of everyone normal; laundry, house work, yard work, maintaining of this house that she is the sole owner and resident. As you can imagine this is grueling week after week. I also have a pretty crazy life of a household of 6, running and operating of an in-home child care that is open a minimum of 60 hours a week, extended care with a special needs child for an additional 59 hours a week, as well as another business where I create cards, scrapbook pages, and sell products like paper and embellishments. We both continue to work Entwined Vines Jewelry AND work our share of duties with Artistic Portland a local artisans co-operative storefront (If you find yourself in the Portland, Oregon area be sure to stop by the shop and check it out as it is way cool and always changing depending on the members and what we are all creating at the time!) We both have one primary thing that always makes us feel human again and that is weaving wire. I know that I have mentioned many times that our passion is creating Viking knit pieces of jewelry and I am going to keep repeating this as it holds true many years later.  Interested in seeing more? Checkout our studio on Artfire or swing by Artistic Portland for the in-person experience. Until then please take a moment to look through the following and then make a comment. If the comment is approved your name will be entered into a drawing for a free product later this year!

Dichroic Lampwork Glass Viking Knit Bracelet

 

Red Tigers Eye Viking Knit Bracelet

 

Fused Glass Fish Viking Knit Necklace

Amethyst Viking Knit Necklace

August 2014 Crazy Train Riders

1 Aug

THE SUNNY SIDE BIZ

”  In the early 70’s, I made long dresses from colorful cotton bedspreads printed in India, macramed belts and jewelry, denim bags and muslin peasant blouses and sold them in the shop my mother, my aunt and I owned and operated in Brielle, NJ called The Deck House. Those were halcyon days at the Jersey Shore. Now that I have discovered that same entrepreneurial spirit and the time to sit and sew and create whatever I want, my obsessive creative disorder and I are on The Sunny Side. “

TROCHE WOOD DESIGNS

” I am a young Old Guy who retired at 62 and have not looked backward even 1 day, and find that there are still not enough hours in the day to get the things done that I want to.My week days start at 4:30AM. I am a member of the Rome, NY YMCA and play racquetball 3 days a week and do the treadmill/bike and jacuzzi 2 days. I take off Saturday and Sunday but usually get up early on those days too. The rest of the day is spent in my “shop”, blowing snow, or mowing the grass depending on the season. I really take great pleasure creating something useful from a piece of wood that will last for years. The most rewarding thing about my woodworking is to see a “happy person” with something I created. Nothing leaves my shop until it is in perfect condition. I have “unique” Cutting Boards/Cheese Boardsthat come in the shaped of an Apple, piece of Bread, Moose, Wine Bottle, Sailboat, Owl to name a few, There is also a number of “Mini” Cutting boards for you to look at. A selection of “Coasters” are also out there in addition to many other items. Please contact me with any questions or requests. “

VDR FAMILY

” precious and glass beads with traditional and modern centerpieces and crucifixes. I design my rosaries and chaplets for both for everyday use and for their unique design.  “

ANDRUS GARDENS

”  A degree in horticulture, and working in that industry have greatly influenced my art. Most of the fabrics I use in my original designs are hand painted and(or) sunprinted by me to achieve colors and textures that can not be found in stores. Sunprinting on fabric can give many surprising results- the paint never dries the same way twice (It really can be fun to watch paint dry), and my gardens supply me with the many flowers and leaves I use for the sunprints. My photos of flowers and more from gardens or in the wild, are now finding their way into my art after I print them onto fabric. The beauty of this earth we have been given to live in, with it’s flowers, gardens and rock formations is the main inspiration for my fabrics and art.
I began writing and selling patterns for my gift items so that others can make them with their own fabrics and creative styles (find them in my AndrusGardensDesigns shop here on ArtFire or at Craftsy.com). I love sharing creative knowledge through my blog, teaching workshops and lecturing. “

ARTISTIC CREATIONS BY ROSE

“I have been Creating Art as long as I can remember… I remember drawing the cartoons when I was a Very Small child.  I’ve always loved to Create Beautiful Things.  Anytime I can take something ordinary and turn it into a Beautiful piece of Art,  it is so Amazing!  I am a self taught Portrait Artist,  but I love working with all types of mediums,such as Pencil, Acrylic, Oil, Ceramic, Wire, Stone, just to name a few…. All of the Jewelry on this site is Handmade by myself… I really enjoy making Original, Artistic “One of a Kind” Jewelry! When I wear my Pendant Necklaces, Sooo many people say to me…….  “I LOVE your Necklace!” “It’s Really Different!”…

AUNTIE CHRIS QUILT FABRIC

” AUNTIE CHRIS AFFORDABLE QUILT FABRICS We carry quilt shop quality fabrics without the quilt shop prices, affordable quilting/sewing kits and patterns. Quality fabrics will make a difference in the appearance and longevity of your finished projects. We strive to find beautiful, interesting and quality fabrics for less. We have hundreds of items to populate my shop, please check back often. Affordable heirlooms start here. Will happily ship a fat eighth to a whole bolt if that’s what you need. Always adding new items and surprises!! “

  AYA DESIGNS

” I’m an Army Brat who was born in France to a U.S. Dad and French Mom. I grew up in Europe and Turkey and was lucky enough to have traveled all over the world. I still love the traveling and seeing the fashions and styles of other countries … which I love incorporating into my “style”. “

 ANDREA DESIGNS

” Welcome to my shop. My name is Andrea, I was born and raised in Lima-Peru, Southamerica. I love to knit and create different things like jewelry, cards, you name it. I design scarves, ponchos, shawls, baby clothing etc. In general I handknit, however sometimes I used a knitting machine. I was a knitting machine instructor. I did all my clothing, including dresses, jacquets, sweaters, pants, baby clothing, and more. When I got married (21 years ago) and came to the USA, I did not bring my knitting machine with me (big mistake); after several years working as a Call Center Supervisor, I thought I could buy a knitting machine to do stuff for me and my husband, and have a small busniness. I started to research in my city for places to buy one, I found out in the States the knitting machines are very expensive, more than $1000 dollars, depending on the brand, and very difficult to get one in my own city, checking in the internet I got a seller 35 miles from my city, and I got the knitting machine from her. First of all, I wanted to start making scarves, but the end product was not what I was expecting …because I did not know were to find yarn in my city; I again started searching the internet for places, brands, and..I discovered a new world…I fall in love with yarn that I could not use in my knitting machine, in order to use the yarn that I like it so much, I will need to use the needles and crochet again….I design gorgeous scarves, shawls, ponchos, baby clothing, scarfette using beautiful yarns combining differents types of textures, that is soft to the skin, light, comfortable, elegant and breath taking. My goal is reached when my customer is happy with the product she has chosen and tells me she was asked… .WHERE DID YOU GET THAT? IT IS SO BEAUTIFUL.!.. I am in the Master Knitter Program to become a Master Knitter”

BEAD SOUK

” I have a large collection of silver beads, gemstones, some crystals and cabochons. New items added every day. My goal is to provide buyers with unique quality beading supplies and sell them in smaller quantities. I am also a jewelry artist specializing in unique handmade jewelry in a variety of styles and colors. My jewelry pieces can be found at: http://dianesdangles.artfire.com”

BITS PEACES

” I am a Rag Quilter. I have been experimenting with traditional quilting also. I love to mix both styles.”

 CLASSY ART GLASS

” Our home is in Lake Mary, Florida and we have been married for nineteen years. My husband Jack, has over thirty three years experience as an award-winning Art Director with various design and advertising agencies, then for his own successful graphic design firm. He puts his talents to work now by making lampwork beads and jewelry. I (Mary) have always been attracted to anything that sparkled, and what sparkles as much as jewelry? “Glass”. I was very lucky to find a friend that taught me how to create beautiful beads, starting out with a glass rod and melting it like butter. Form it, roll it, and add more color! I then passed what she showed me to my husband and look where it has taken us! Visit our gallery of Classy Art Glass to see the beautiful glass he has created. What could be more fun doing something you love?!! “