Spark(ly) Notes: Aeri Rose in 2013

My goodness it has been a while since my last post! Almost four months, two states, and two shows since my last post in fact.  Being the lead fairy of a costume boutique is hard work!

But so much has happened! I will try to catch you up.  First, the Spark(ly) Notes:

– Adopted by Ace

– Drove to Arizona and opened the Arizona Renaissance Festival

– Was accepted to vend at Scarborough Renaissance Festival

– Sold Alice

– Drove to Texas and opened Scarborough Faire

-Schmooze with Travel Chanel Team

– Road trip to New Orleans

– Bought a Van

– Was accepted to vend at the Virginia Renaissance Festival

– Survived exploding fertilizer plants and rouge Tornados

I think that’s all. That’s enough right? I’m sure some of those sparkly notes have you saying “excuse me what?!”  and I promise they are all as silly and exciting as they sound.

So to begin, at the beginning, which is often a good place to start.  Except when the end seems like a good place to start. So long as working backwards is an alright thing for you to do. But I digress.

In January I arrived in Santa Barbara and spent two weeks with Teri Evans, owner of Unicorn Clothing, in her workshop. While there I learned that Ace needed a home. Ace was a six month old Siberian Husky that was adopted by Teri’s neighbors as a puppy.  Only after adopting him did they learn that their landlord did not allow dogs.  Not the  best order of things to be sure.  So poor Ace was faced with a tough decision: the pound, or me,  He chose me! And so two weeks later, into the Jeep he climbed, and away to Arizona we did go.

Ace is the beast up front. Lucy, my Dad's little lady, is in the back.
Ace is the beast up front. Lucy, my Dad’s little lady, is in the back.

In Arizona we had the exciting task of opening a new booth for Unicorn Clothing.  And I got the exciting information that Reincarnation Outfitters had been accepted to vend at Scarborough Renaissance Festival, in Texas in April and May.  And I sold Alice, my Jeep Cherokee, to my good friends Alex and Stephanie.  With not a few tears I said good bye to my loyal road companion and went from “Has It Together Hippie” to “Irresponsible Road Rennie”.  On the road, with a large dog and a business’s supply of inventory and no way of transporting it.  Yikes!

Operation: [Learn how to] Ask For Help was in full effect.  And I have to say it was a good lesson for me.  After spending the full run of Arizona steadily sewing skirts, making tutus, and preparing for the show; it was finally time to hit the road to Texas as the grateful passengers to Repo and Shadow.  Ace was an AMAZING road dog, incredibly patient and calm for the 20 hour road trip ahead of us.  Repo and Shadow were entertaining travel company and Repo’s van did a decent job of getting us to our destination.  It willingly humored our midnight departure and my through the night shift as driver.  It patiently weathered the hail and freezing rain that met us over the Texas border.  And it finally gave up with a cough when we cracked a radiator hose.  Luckily Shadow and some gaffing tape came to the rescue.

Pulling onto site the next morning, I was instantly faced with the next adventure: Set Up Camp.  Yes, I would be CAMPING at the show this year. I hadn’t had to CAMP at a festival since 2009 and I was feeling very uncertain of my memory and skills regarding such an activity.  Could I still put up a decent shade/weather tarp? What about platforms. What about lights? God I didn’t even have a KNIFE with me. How unprepared could I be?

But again, thanks to the success of Operation: Ask For Help and the local Wallyworld I soon had a cozy camp established.  And I have to say, after countless storms, and tornado threats (keep reading!) I am pretty damn proud of my Tarpentry skills.  Not a single unwanted drop has entered my tent.  Well, maybe five unwanted drops found coming through a hole in the tarp; a hole quickly defeated by a sliding a trash bag in between the tarp and the tent’s rain fly.

"Abstract Roofentry"
“Abstract Roofentry”

Cold nights forced me to warily grant Ace tent privileges, an honor he me with surprisingly good behavior.  What a cuddle butt he is.   But I knew the cool days and cold nights would not last.  Soon the Texas heat would descend: 90 degree days with 90% humidity and no where to hide from it.  But luckily I had a plan.

Ale, my adventurous step-mom, was going to be meeting me in New Orleans after the second weekend of the show to deliver the inventory I had stored in Maryland.  She took Ace home with  her to spend time as a house dog, complete with a yard to run in and air condition to hide in.  New Orleans was New Orleans.  Repo, loyal road dog himself, came with me for the adventure and a chance to see The Big Easy for himself.  New Orleans is great. Every time I go I tell myself, “Self. You need to live here one day. You really do.”

This time was no different. We three wandered the city by night, exploring streets with music pouring out of dodgy bars and lit by real gas lights on the corners.  In the morning we ate beignets and drank chicory root coffee and hit the road home by the afternoon.  I got to introduce another road connoisseur to some of my favorite roads in the country: the beauty of I-10 as it spans the swamps outside of the city.

First Faire Booth!
First Faire Booth!

Back in Texas things seemed to settle down. Sort of.  Each weekend was a whirlwind of tutus, and hula hoops.  Each week was filled with tutu production, dance parties and concerts, and other standard Scarborough Fare.  Pun intended. The highlight of the season was again the Naughty Clown Party. The Naughty Clown is an annual show hosted by the resident clowns.  It began as a chance for the clowns to get out some of the naughty jokes they just can’t use on the kiddies during the weekend.  It has since grown into the most stunning display of talent on the circuit.  Performers and those who don’t perform professional but sure as hell could if they wanted to put on acts of such beauty and skill that it makes you cry out of joy and love and respect for our amazing community.  Those of us in the audience are just as enthusiastic, dressing to the nines- or the sixty-nines as the case may be- in our best naughty clown attire.  This year I wore a rainbow.  That’s what it felt like anyway, an accurate description do you think?

20130514_210751
Dudes in Drag: Another Naughty Clown Tradition!
Dress like you love yourself!
Dress like you love yourself!

One weekend the Travel Channel was on site filming for a new show about fan culture. The renaissance festivals, with their playtrons, comicon fans, and authentic hobbits, was a wealth of footage I am sure.  And of course I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to talk to someone from the TRAVEL CHANNEL!   I couldn’t leave my booth to find them, sadly, so I planned- and pounced! I sent a flower with a message something along the lines of this: “No festival experience is complete without feeling the excited delight of being told you’ve been sent a flower. But there is no blushing admirer at the other end of this bloom. Only an enterprising fairy who hopes you’ll stop by her booth to hear some tales of travel and adventure, glitter and angels.” I sent it with the flower girl with instructions to give the flower and the not to “the most important looking crew guy”, and it worked! The next morning someone came by and we  chatted and I told him about this here blog and gave him my card and I hope hope HOPE that someone from the TRAVEL CHANNEL is reading this blog! What do you think? Would you watch a show about a backpacking fairy? Wouldya?

Whew!

Somewhere in all that merriment I managed to find my new road vehicle.  A 1994 Chevrolet Sportvan…the kind of van that the Mystery Machine was drawn to resemble.  I am going to paint the sh*t out of that van! No white space will be left unadorned.  The Era of the Van has begun.  I LOVE IT! Lets just hope she is as loyal as Alice was.  Her first big test is coming up in less than two weeks when we make another mad dash north.  I’ll have four days to tear down in Texas, drive north, and set up in Virginia.  Wahoo!! Coffee please!

The new Van. Name still Needed!
The new Van. Name still Needed!

And there you have it.  An update on the life of Aeri the Traveling Fairy.  I promise I’ll try to keep on top of it this spring!

Much Love! I’ll be back soon!

Aeri

Advertisements

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

i love doggies with wings!

I spent this weekend at the Spoutwood Faerie Festival as a vendor for Reincarnation Outfitters.  It was my first time as a vendor, and I was nervous and excited.  But I didn’t need to be nervous! It was SO much fun!!

I arrived on Thursday afternoon with plenty of daylight to set up the booth which was comprised of an Easy-Up, some clothing racks, an old wooden barrel and a suitcase.  Oh and some curtains in the corner to make a dressing room.  The shop felt like a vintage living room turned walk in closet.  There was a whimsical air to it once all the colorful flowery skirts were in place.  Thanks so much to my Dad, I had a big beautiful banner with the company name on it.

Friday was slow, a “practice day” everyone said.  But Saturday and Sunday were busy and fun.  I saw so many fairy friends on Sunday that I couldn’t contain myself.  And I made some fun friends across the street that make Hula Hoops!! We traded a hoop for a skirt, and she’s going to wear it next weekend when she performs an interpretive tree hula-hoop dance.  So Cool!!! I hope we can get some pictures!

Throughout the weekend so many things were so fun, but I decided to make a list of my three favorite things about fairy festivals.

1. I love to trade stuff!!

2. I love little kids and tiny dogs with fairy wings on.  I love little girls with dresses and wings, running around the field, pretending or believing they can fly. I love little fluffy dogs with tiny pink wings that chase after butterflies and french fries.  And I love great big dogs with tiny tiny wings that look like overgrown bumble bees, and flop over happily in the grass whenever their people stop to look at something.

Which leads me to my third favorite thing:

3. Confused bumblebees.  I had SO MANY bumble bees flying around my skirts and hair clips this weekend.  And I take it as a huge compliment! If the silly bees confuse my flower skirts with actual flowers, than I consider that a job well done! Though I do feel sorry for the little bees that aren’t getting any pollen from my little cotton skirts.  I’m sure they’re glad to have all these silly glittery people out of their fields now.

Last weekend was so fun, that I am glad we can do it all again this weekend at the Maryland Fairy Festival in Darlington, MD.  If you couldn’t make it last weekend, or even if you could, come out to play this weekend too! And don’t forget about Mother’s Day!!

Love Muchly,

Aeri