moccasisters unite

My goodness has it been a crazy couple of weeks, and the craziness just does not show signs of stopping. So here it is, the grand update on what has happened and what (theoretically planned as of now) will happen for the rest of the summer and into the fall.  When you can’t remember where I am…just refer to this here post and you might get a bit of a hint.
So, what has happened?  Things were cruising along fine ready for a standard rennie summer as of about two weeks ago.  Then my dear friend (she’s like a second mother) and owner of Medieval Moccasins was told that she had a pancreatic tumor.  We are still waiting to hear just how serious the treatment will be, but regardless, the news drastically and instantly changed the mood and plans for the whole Medieval Moccasins Clan (that means me too).
We decided that Chela, the daughter and partner owner of Medieval Moccasins, would stay home in Texas for the summer rather than take to the road on their summer show schedule so that a) she could be close to her mom and b) she could continue to keep up with production in their home workshop. I would fill Chela’s shoes for the summer, taking the stock and supplies on the road.
So I flew to Texas to pick up their Sprinter van full of shoes and foot stools and tenty things and took to the road, mostly excited to have three days to do the journey I had only recently completed in 24 hrs in the mad dash to get my own van and stuff up to Virginia in time for THAT show.  The first day of travel was long but uneventful.  I realized I would be passing through Memphis, TN around lunchtime the next day and made plans with a childhood friend to meet for lunch.
I never made it to lunch.
About 20 miles outside of Memphis (Arkansas side) the Sprinter made a sudden clunk, and lost all power and acceleration. I managed to coast off the nearest exit and into an Exxon parking lot.  The Sprincess would not turn back on.  The usual AAA call and wait followed.  I was towed to a nearby Dodge dealership that has been wonderfully helpful in this whole situation.  They rushed the sprinter to the front of the line and began diagnosing it.  Basically what happened was the dealership in Texas where the sprinter had recently (like a week ago) been taken for a new transmission just didn’t put the transmission in right.  So it fell out. And cracked nearly everything in the engine bay around it while it did so.  We are STILL not sure when it will be fixed- at least a week from now they estimate.
So that left me stranded in Memphis with no vehicle, all the stock, and a show to get to by Saturday morning.  One rented and loaded UHaul cargo van later and I was back on the road…only 24 hours behind schedule.  So much for my leisurely drive north.  I now had to make yet another mad dash through the night to get to Celtic Fling early enough on Friday to set up before the Friday night concert started.  I drove from 4:00 pm Thursday until 2:00 am, slept until dawn sprawled across the front bucket seats and my backpack, and then kept driving until 2:00 pm Friday with barely a pause to refuel on gasoline and coffee.  But I made it! And with my Wonder Twin Janeen we were set up in a record breaking 2.5 hours. Before Dark!
We went on to have a record breaking weekend, beating the previous top year by almost 20%. Thank goodness!  We tore down Sunday night, ahead of the threatening thunderstorms and crawled back to the hotel for the night.  I’ve accepted my +1 in Logistics Management and +3 in Crisis Management, and am reveling in my new level up to Super Gypsy status.
Now I am home in Annapolis for a few days, and we think that this is the plan moving forward:
I’m going to keep the Uhaul through the weekend to get up to Connecticut and set up there.  By next week the Sprinter should (oh please!) be repaired and ready to be picked up. Also by next week my own van should be road worthy again (after getting back to Maryland from Texas I had to bring it in for a Maryland inspection and have the subsequent necessary repairs done. I also had to clear up a little bureaucratic nonsense surrounding the title and that should be resolved by the end of this week I hope.  But of course it had to be problematic NOW).
I’ll drive down from CT with the Uhaul and meet the Texas driver in MD.  I’ll send them on their way with Ace as a traveling companion.  Ace, my husky, will be spending a much less chaotic summer with the Med Mocs Clan in Texas and I will met him there in the fall.  The Uhaul will be returned to Memphis and the Sprinter picked up and taken back to Texas.
I will go back to CT (we are talking July 5th-ish by this point) for the last weekend there, now loaded into my Van.  From Connecticut I’ll go to Sterling in Upstate NY for one weekend before heading west to Pennsylvania again for Pennsic War.  After two weeks of Pennsic War I say good bye to my responsibility over the moccasin stock.  It will head to Maryland to await the opening of the Maryland Renaissance Festival. Meanwhile I will go back to complete the Sterling Faire in NY as a manager for Myles Tonne Leather (Clothing this time).
I will make it back to Maryland just in time for that show where I’ll be working for Unicorn Clothing.  Maryland is open from the end of August until the end of October.   When it is over I’ll pack up the rest of my life possessions, reload the moccasin stock into my van, and make the trek back to Texas. I’ll return the shoes and camp out in Toon Town while I work at the Texas Renaissance Festival until the first week of December.
This winter I will be staying in Texas with the Moccasin Clan in San Marcos.  There is little point in driving back to MD after all that when I have to be in Arizona by the first week of February anyway.
So yeah. That’s where I’ve been and where I’ll be going for the rest of the year.  It is crazy, I know, but baring any more exploding transmissions it should all work out.
That does mean though that I’ve decided to sell my second car, the cute little BMW I picked up about a year ago.  It is a 1984 318i: 2 door, dark blue, sun roof, manual transmission (kind of persnickety though I’ll be honest).  I bought it for $1500 and haven’t put any work into her.  KBB puts her at $1900 even in the state she’s in, but I’d just like to get the $1500 back, or close to it. There’s just no point in keeping her if I never ever get to drive her.  If you are interested or know anyone who is…please send them my way!
Now, I’m going to go take a nap. I think I deserve one.
Much Love,
Aeri
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home sweet home?

For my next trick, I’ll be taking you on a bit of a different kind of adventure. Things have been going pretty well for my costume boutique, Reincarnation Outfitters, and it’s time to consider some permanent (sort of) display space.  Up until now we’ve worked mostly out of a 10 x 10 easy up, which happened to blow away and turn itself into a taco/squished spider at our last event (Pennsic War, if you were wondering).

Do not neglect to stake and weight your easy-ups as soon as you put them up. They are easy-downs too. And easy-cartwheel-across-the-fields.

We still used it, don’t worry! But it forced us to consider the image we were sending by working with such a standard piece of equipment.  Most of the well traveled professionals use beautiful, sturdy, canvas and wood beam tents. Tents that run upwards of $3,000 and require the strength of several strong men to set up and take down.

You may have noticed, I am not a strong man.  Nor are there several of me.  So while I knew these beautiful Panther Tents were an option, I just didn’t think they were the option for me.

What I did think was-  Gypsy Wagon!!!!

Here’s an example of how cute they can be!

Officially termed “vardo” by the Romani who adopted them, these colorful, sturdy, wagons were used by the traveler cultures in the 1900’s.  But even before that, French circus folk used them in the early 1800’s. It is where they lived, set up stages, and sold their wares.  Now that is something I think I can get into!

The more I thought about it, the better it sounded. I talked to my Stepfather (Jeff), an extremely skilled carpenter; and he had even more ideas than I did. But between the two of us we agreed: a vardo is just what I need.

We will build one with a living space and storage spaces inside, and a false wall along one side that can open up into a sizeable display space with clothing racks and shelves.  I could set it up by myself, it wouldn’t blow away in a storm, and a retractable awning could provide additional coverage on rainy days.

With the winter almost upon us, I have landed at home with almost four months before I hit the road again. A lifetime by traveler standards.  So this winter, follow along as we build a colorful home for a fickle fairy artist like myself.

Tataa!

~Aeri

its time to ramble on

This weekend I was at Camp Ramblewood, representing Reincarnation Outfitters as a vendor at the Maryland Fairy Festival.  And, well,  it was a learning experience.  Let’s say that.

Here are the things that were great about this weekend:

1. The weather was BEAUTIFUL! Couldn’t have asked for three better days: warm, sunny and breezy during the day, and cool at night.  Low humidity.  I had forgotten how wonderful Maryland could be in the spring.

2. My neighbors were a delight.  I was vending next to a kindly kitchen witch with yummy oils, and my good friends at Miscellaneous Oddiments, Shane and Leah Odom.  I’ve know them since I was a wee little pixie wanting to be one of their bubble fairies.

mythical masks by Miscellaneous Oddiments LLC

3. Darlington, Maryland is a picturesque and unblemished little town with tree shaded roads that wind past green pastures and happy cows.

Here are the things that I have to learn from:

1. Experiencing loss is hard.  I don’t mean loss of a pet or family member, which is hard as well, but I do mean loss of income.  Sales were slow, to say the least, this weekend.  There just didn’t seem to be a whole lot of fairies running around.  After expenses I reported negative net income.  I mean, not badly, one more skirt and we could have broken even.  But the fact remains that one certainly doesn’t pay to attend events and go through all that effort just to break even.  But a good friend comforted me with the reminder that the only regret to have is not to have tried.  And try we did. And learn we did.  And learn we will continue to do.

This was just a solid reminder that the life of an entrepreneur is not all glitter and rainbows, not even for a fairy entrepreneur.

But in more exciting news, we have been accepted into a weekend artist’s market, in Austin, Texas. I see good things coming from this.  Very good things indeed.  At least I hope so, there are several AWESOME trips in the works, that I need to raise the financing for.

What trips? you may ask.

Well for starters, my friend Morganne might be coming out to do the road trip north with me.  A little vacation for her, and a delightful journey for me.  Maybe a stop in New Orleans is in our cards?

Then, in the fall, I’ll be crossing the pond once again- this time heading to Russia where I’ll be meeting another friend for an epic Trans-Siberian Railway adventure. St. Petersburg to Ulaanbaatar (in Mongolia) in three weeks.  I want to drink vodka, eat caviar, and wear a big furry hat.

Trace my path from St. Petersburg, down to Moscow, then across Siberia until we get to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. AIEE!!!!

Returning from that trip, I’ll have a few weeks rest before returning to Europe; this time to a gentler climate: Italy.  A tri-generational excursion, my Grandmother, my Mother, and I will be returning once again to my Grandmother’s childhood home (Sant’Ambrosio, Sicily) to visit with family. While there, my Grandmother will stay with her sister while my mom and I take a week to bike through the Tuscan countryside.  I hope my bum is up for it!

This is the view of the bay in my family’s little town. With plenty of family, food, and sights like these, I never get tired of going back to visit!

So that’s a little peak at the trips in store.  IF my finances can keep up of course.  I”m sure I’ll find a way.  I’m a fairy entrepreneur after all!! Listen closely as I bounce towards my goals. I’m sure there will be some silly tales and even sillier schemes in store.  Any suggestions welcome as well!!

Glitter and Gladness!

~Aeri