Why are you crying??

Why are you crying??

Have you heard those words coming out of your mouth lately? They are rarely said in a gentle way, but usually barked in a harsh, impatient voice.

I heard them recently on a camping trip with some friends. I was in the bath house showering, and the people in the campsite next to the bath house had just arrived. I past them on the way in, and I saw that the two women there had 3 very small children.

As I took my shower, one of them started crying, for reasons unknown to me. He sounded like he was about 1.5-2 years old. Neither of them women tried to calm him or help him adjust to the unfamiliar situation. They were too busy setting up the tent, etc.

This didn’t stop one of them from repetitively demanding of the child, “WHY are you crying??” Telling him to, “just stop it, right now” that he was being a pain or a brat, etc. etc.

But it was the constant demanding of an explanation for a child who was not much more than a babe-in-arms that really made me want to scream at this woman.

I’m sure you’ve been in similar situations, and probably even, like me, catch yourself doing the same thing at times. But please, catch yourself when you hear yourself demanding an explanation from small children.

Even older children (and even grown-ups!) can have a hard time articulating why they are upset about something. But people even ask their babies impatiently what’s the problem?? So why do we do it?

Often, our reasons are highly suspect. If the child doesn’t have a “good” reason for being upset, we dismiss their feelings, and possibly even try to squelch them. I’m sure you’ve heard the injury assessment that, if it’s not bleeding, “you’re fine. Stop crying.” But add a little blood, and the parent will be properly (even excessively) sympathetic and offer (or insist upon) first aid.

There is also the parent (who is all of us sometime) that will not offer comfort for emotional injury, only for physical injury. “If you’re not hurt, stop crying.”

Sometimes kids don’t want comfort. They want to be left alone. This is mostly when they are older. They might get mad about something and cry, but they don’t want you (the perpetrator of their pain-in their eyes) to hold them. But they also don’t want to have their pain rationalized away or be told to (essentially) shut up or go away.

“Why are you crying” can still be a useless thing to ask, even when you are really concerned and want to help. Caleb HATES to answer questions about how he got hurt, and I didn’t really understand this until one day when my mom was visiting us.

Somehow (I forget how) I banged my head really hard on the door frame, and I was in huge amounts of pain. My mother and Caleb kept asking me what was wrong, what happened, what was wrong?? They were honestly concerned, but I was hurt! I didn’t want to answer their questions! They couldn’t do anything to help. I gasped out that I hit my head, and escaped upstairs until the pain subsided.

Now I try to hold my tongue when Caleb comes to me with an injury. He’ll tell me when he’s ready.

As an unschooler, I believe that my son’s knowledge (or lack thereof) of an area is none of my business. That I don’t have a right to go poking and prodding him to trot out his knowledge (or exposing his lack of knowledge) on command. The same principle can be applied to your child’s feelings.

I have no right to force him into telling me what he’s upset about. WHEN HE’S READY, he’ll tell me, if I am receptive and if he wants me to know. I can ask him (gently) once, if he doesn’t want to share, then I need to respect that, and give him what comfort or space he needs.

Babies on the other hand (and I include 0-4 years in this general grouping) do not even have the words to answer your questions. I have to refer you to Carrie at The Parenting Passageway on this one. I love how she constantly exhorts us to avoid lots of words and long explanations when dealing with our kids.

When it comes to small children (or even big children), the why questions should rarely be addressed to them. Open your eyes and your heart, and see if you can figure out the problem.

Think about how annoying it is when you get that same question from your spouse, “Why are you so upset??” With the implication is that you shouldn’t be, there is nothing to be upset about, and you are being unreasonable. This is not a question that leaves you feeling that they will be receptive to anything that you say.

Storms of emotion come and go, and the things we say during them can be worse than doing nothing.

As our parents liked to say to us, be careful what you say. Guard your tongue. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.

 

 

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Death and Nana’s Applesauce

At the farmer’s market, there was an older gentleman selling July apples and green peppers off of the back of his pickup truck. The apples were small, spotted, and some of them were bad, but I bought all 3 baskets full.

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We recently ran out of the applesauce we made last fall, and I have been missing the tasty goodness of it. My grandmother, who died 7 years ago, made tons of applesauce every year. She would bring it to every family gathering.

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It was pink, and so delicious that when she would give us a bag of it, my mother would ration it out carefully so one of the six of us kids wouldn’t get more than our share.

My grandfather, of course, shared the work with her, but somehow it became known as Nana’s Applesauce.

The same night of the farmer’s market, I got word that my grandfather had passed away. After living to 90 and still driving and visiting up until a few months ago, he took a turn for the worse, and his bad heart had had enough.

It felt very fitting to be making applesauce the day after his death. Caleb and I working as a team to make something delicious.

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Since they were July apples, they weren’t red, so the resulting sauce wasn’t pink, but it’s still Nana’s applesauce.

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Line Drying Your Clothes

The dryer is one of the biggest energy wasters in my house. If I’m using the dryer regularly, my electric bill doubles. You might save some money on your electric bill by buying spending $500-$1000 on a new “efficient” dryer, but clearly that doesn’t save you money, that costs you money!

My dryer is I-don’t-know how old, and I bought it for $40 (the same price as my washer actually, though from different people).

The best way to save money on drying clothes, is to do it for free.

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Enter the clothesline.

People have been drying their clothes like this for thousands of years. It’s cheap, effective, and your clothes smell great!

But what about the crunchy towels?

I don’t mind line-dried towels, but this is a common complaint. You can try shaking them out, or hanging them slightly overlapping so the edges are bumping each other as the wind blows. If those aren’t enough for you, just toss them in the dryer for a couple minutes on air fluff, and that should do the trick.

But what about when it rains?

For this I have to thank a dedicated line-drying friend of mine. She recommended putting the clothes on a rack in a room with a ceiling fan. It’s genius! If you don’t have any ceiling fans, just turn on a regular fan pointed at the clothes.

Fans use very, very little energy, and they create enough breeze to dry your clothes in less than 24 hours.

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A drying rack or indoor clothes line is essential for this. I got ours at a thrift store, and I really need a second one to dry a full load on. I’ve just been biding my time, hoping I can find another used one. I have been eyeing up retractable clothes lines though, for in my guest room (where I dry the clothes).

Even in the summer when it’s sunny, I use the indoor rack. I use it for underwear, wash cloths, hand towels, little boy shirts and shorts, and other things that would take too many clothes pins to hang them all on the line.

But what about the winter??

I could leave my clothes outside for days and days in the winter before they would dry. Even indoors, my house is fairly cool, so they take a long time to dry even with the fan on.

Enter your heating system.

I put the drying rack over the heat vent. Voila. They are dry overnight. I actually love drying clothes in the winter now indoors, because it’s so fast! I pick the vent with the strongest blowing power, which happens to be in the foyer. I hang the clothes before bed, and fold them in the morning to get them out of the way.

I usually use the dryer for sheets in the winter (and some times towels), just because they take so much room to dry.

And sometimes your clothes line can save your garden from being damaged by these crazy storms we keep having…

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What are your line-drying tips?

Life without Refrigeration

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The refrigerator has been going for weeks. Slowly cooling less and less. It did this last summer too. When the house heats up, the fridge can’t keep up. Still, I was hoping it would struggle along.

But when the ice in the freezer was water, and the melted blackberries were collecting fruit flies, I knew it was over.

I spent about a day being sad, and I even went to Rent-a-Center to see what they were offering (even though I’m morally opposed to buying things on credit). I was stressing out over the expense of buying a new (or rather a new-to-me fridge). Sales have been abysmal this month, and I was already feeling that tightening in my throat when it comes time to buy groceries, much less a new fridge.

Then I cleaned out the fridge and freezer of everything (including a really nasty collection of brown water under the vegetable crisper drawer).

Fortunately I have a large stand alone freezer, so I put everything I could in there, tossed everything that had spoiled, and resigned myself to a warmer life.

It’s not like this is the first time I’ve been without a fridge.

When we lived in the van, there was no refrigeration. We only had a cooler that I very, very occasionally bought ice for. I learned that jam doesn’t need refrigeration, that Earth Balance “Butter” definitely does (it separates quickly), and that you learn to live without an electric icebox.

The first 9 months or so of living in this house, we also didn’t have a full-sized fridge–just a tiny square dorm fridge. It fit the milk, Earth Balance, and the strawberries. For that year, I also didn’t have a furnace, so keeping things cool in the winter was simple, just leave them on the counter. Though on the really cold nights, we had to keep the liquids in the heated room, because they would freeze.

The dorm fridge was worthless during the winter, because refrigerators can’t handle it when the outer temperature gets lower than the inner temperature. It messes them up somehow.

So I’ve been here before. It’s comforting knowing that. When you lose a treasured part of this modern life, first you panic and fret, but then you realize that it’s not the end of the world.

Living without a furnace was uncomfortable and inconvenient (and I really wish I had a fireplace or woodstove), but we managed. When the van became too expensive to fix, we managed. When I moved in, I couldn’t afford a fridge. But more than that, I couldn’t handle buying one.

A purchase of a major appliance is at heart a risky thing. It took me months gearing up to buy my car, and I wouldn’t have even done it if I didn’t need a way to get wood home reliably (and if I wasn’t going stir-crazy from being stuck alone in town).

My endless saga with my Dewalt Scroll Saw (it’s in the shop for the 5th time this year), has left me with a fear of purchasing new electronic devices. My parents’ new dishwasher has broken about 5 times in a couple years. Their new heat pumps and air conditioners also have broken down twice in the first year.

I’ve had enough. If manufacturers can’t be bothered to make something worth buying, then I’m not buying it. I bought an antique ice cream maker, because the reviews of the new hand crank ice cream makers (that retailed from $100-$200) were terrible.

I was talking to a farmer that we are friends with, and he was expressing his disgust with the farm tools that they have gotten that break after minimal use in the field. He said, “Some things just aren’t worth making if you can’t make them properly.”

I might buy a fridge in the fall, but for now, I’m going to sit back and remember where we came from. Refrigeration is a wonderful invention, but it’s not necessary for life. And I do have the freezer still (bought for $35 from someone on craigslist, looks to be 20-30 years old), so I’m not rejecting technology. But I plan to live my life on my terms, and that includes not sending 34 dollars a week to Rent A Center, so I can be like everyone else.

Christmas in July Sale, June giveaway winner, and Healthier Homemade Ice Cream Recipe

CHRISTMAS IN JULY SALE!

Save 25% on Little Kitchens and Wooden Dollhouses!

Use the coupon code XMASJULY13 for 25% off of Little Kitchens, Wooden Dollhouses, or any other order that adds up to $100.

The sale only lasts til July 25th, so order your Christmas presents now and save.

I also needed to announce the June Giveaway winner of the hardwood car set:

And the winner is…

Kelly Castiglione

We also got an antique ice cream maker. We got it specifically to make ice cream with some friends that are coming to visit, but before we did that, we had to test out the machine and test out a recipe.

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We found an acceptable recipe here.

Stacy’s Base Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe

1 cup whole milk

¾ cup turbindo sugar (or 2/3 cup honey or maple syrup)

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon vanilla

2 cups heavy cream

Combine milk and sugar, stirring until sugar is dissolved (you will have to heat the milk a tad to get the sugar or the honey to dissolve quickly). Add salt, vanilla, and cream. Stir well. Refrigerate for 2-24 hours. Churn according to directions. Devour. Holy cow, Batman.

We used 3 cups of organic half and half that was on sale at Kroger and 2/3 cup of maple syrup plus the vanilla. I skipped the pinch of salt. For our next ice cream making I bought fresh milk and cream to follow the recipe exactly, but we didn’t have enough for the test, so I went with the half and half for the test.

After scouring the ice cream maker (and scouring the internet to find out whether or not a little rust is bad for you, and coming to the conclusion that it’s not really gonna kill you), we started churning the ice cream.

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After about a half an hour, Caleb decided he couldn’t wait any longer, and we dug in. It was sooo good. I put some fresh blueberries in mine, because that’s the best way to eat vanilla ice cream.

We had too much ice cream for just the two of us, so we went over to the neighbors to see if they wanted some. They did, so we filled a small tub up for them. Caleb said, “let’s stay outside in case they come out wanting to tell us how good it was.” Ha!

In about a minute, one of them came out raving about how GOOD it was, and what did I put in it?! She went on and on, and then her mother (who’s about 60 or 70) came out saying how amazing it was too. We were happy.

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The Garden-July 2013

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Hi, welcome to my home. I know, it needs a paint job. Wild grapevines are also trying to swallow our hill, I weedwack them back every week.

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These were the first two garden boxes I made when I first moved in. Up until a week ago they housed spinach (the front one with the swiss chard in it) and peas (the rear one with the peppers in it). I plan on planting New Zealand spinach (supposedly stands up under the heat) and bush beans.

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This box is also one of the first I made, and it houses onions, swiss chard, and formerly lettuce.

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I also planted blueberries when I first moved in, and the second year I was here (I’ll plant more this year too, if I can get them on sale). We sustained heavy deer damage the first year, so now I keep the ones by the road netted, and planted the second planting right next to the house where the deer won’t come. This year we got a handful of berries. I’m hoping next year all of them fruit.

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I even have tomatoes growing out of the compost pile (the one I used up this year).

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I planted one raspberry plant when I first moved in, and this year it has arrived! We are harvesting at least a handful a day. I plan on putting in more raspberries, because they are so easy. And they reproduce themselves!

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This is my newest garden that I dug in the backyard. I bordered it with the rocks I dug out of the ground, but I didn’t have enough to go all the way around. It’s planted with potatoes (which I planted really late).

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We also have loads of tomatoes in the backyard. The fenced in part I had lettuce in. That’s also a movable fence, but now the tomatoes are using it for support, so it’s not going anywhere this year. I am replanting it with chard and spinach, but we’ve had so much rain, it’s hard to get anything to come up.

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The roses are my one nod to landscaping. I don’t plant things that I don’t eat. Although in a pinch, roses are edible. But I love to cut one and put it on the table or windowsill.

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This picture is at a crazy angle, but these gardens are right in front of my front porch. The raised bed one that is half out of the picture used to have lettuce in it. They were lovely huge heads of red leaf lettuce-nine of them. I ate them all in about 2 weeks.

The far box had broccoli in it, but the groundhog snuck in while I was on vacation and decimated it. The middle box has lacinato kale (aka dino kale) that is struggling. It’s full of holes. I remember at the farm I worked at the dino kale was always full of holes too, maybe the bugs just like it more than the curly stuff? The final box has strawberries in it. This is my first year for them, so we’ll see how they do next year. These front boxes I just used whatever there was laying around to frame them. Rocks from the ground, old pieces of concrete, old bricks from torn down houses, old boards and logs, anything goes.

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This is to the left of the other front yard gardens. We have 2 volunteer pumpkin plants growing from seeds in the compost that are just going crazy! I’ve been pruning it back from the peppers, because they have first priority. We also have 4 celery plants in there that are loving all this rain. And there is a pot of dill there in the middle for some reason.

We also have collard greens and cauliflower. The cauliflower was a mistake. It was labeled collard greens, and at the baby stage, it’s really hard to tell the difference, but we’ve been eating the leaves of both. The collard greens we must have had eight or more meals from already.

Next to the collards, there is a volunteer cilantro plant that came up from seeds I planted last year, that never did anything. It’s going to seed, so I’m going to have some coriander for free.

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I also dug these this year. They are to the side of the house, but still in front of it. There are some strawberry plants, basil, tomatoes, patio tomatoes in the right hand one, and some butternut squash and pole beans (climbing up the ugly evergreen bush) in the other one.

The squash is covered with chicken wire, so the cats wouldn’t step all over the dirt and prevent the seeds from coming up at all (which is what they did the first time). It seems to have worked, now I need to fence it to keep the groundhog from feasting on the leaves.

If you are wondering why I didn’t just connect the two, I certainly would have. The ground however was too hard for me to dig in between them-super rocky.

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Finally we have the herb patch, well more of a tangle. There is mint (obviously), rosemary, oregano, tarragon, french lavender, chives, and in one of the pots, which is hiding behind the rosemary, there is chamomile. I also have a pot of basil (which I keep letting dry out-somehow the rain isn’t enough. There are also irises in there. They pre-date me.

The other pot has an almond or peach tree in it that grew from seed in my garden. I think it’s a peach. Someone was careless with the hose this past weekend and broke the top of it off (and it wasn’t me!).  I also have a cherry tree (not pictured) on the side of the house that is doing well considering all the deer damage (and those *&^%&#^%$@#$!! japanese beetles!!!!).

So there you have it-my tenth of an acre homestead! I keep thinking about adding some ducks to eat the bugs for me, but I don’t think I’m fit for animal husbandry (and I’d have to sell their eggs, because I don’t really eat eggs). Plus then I couldn’t disappear for weeks on end. Still some ducks waddling about eating pill bugs would be nice….

I hope I’ve inspired you to use whatever land you have (or can use-the part up where I park my car isn’t technically mine per se) to grow your own food. Convention says don’t put your garden in your front yard-I say do what you have to. Of course if you are in one of the housing associations with rules and whatnot about those sorts of things, well, you dug your own grave. Around here, no one cares.

But you can make a garden look pretty. Blueberry bushes are attractive shrubs, and useful unlike the dreary perennials in most people’s landscaped front yards. Raspberries can be trained along your fence. You can plant fruit trees anywhere you have room. Or even a nice small hazelnut tree, which is my current lust, though I don’t really have the space for it.

My next experiment will be growing things on other people’s property-not like in their yards, like in abandoned lots and waste areas. I’m looking for a nice, safe place for that hazelnut tree all the time….

 

Local Food Challenge

If you’ve been following my blog, you may remember how I challenged myself to a local food experiment last winter. Well, I won’t tell you that I forgot about it, but circumstances have not been favorable so far.

When I sat down to think about why I haven’t gotten on board with this yet, I came up with a variety of reasons.

First and foremost, our local farmer’s market just started this week. I bought all the strawberries and blueberries they had, plus potatoes, onions, beets, green peppers, grape tomatoes (which were amazing!) and peaches. Without buying at the farmer’s market, I have to travel a significant distance to get local produce. Which I really should have done, particularly in strawberry season.

The reason I didn’t drive an hour and buy 100 pounds or so of strawberries, was simply because I could not afford it. This wooden toymaker lives more or less hand to mouth. I support the idea of stocking up on local produce and freezing it for later, but in practice, my capital is limited to what I’ll eat in a week or two. In the fall, I have more money, and I can stock up a little bit.

Living in steeltown, usa, farms are at a distance. I’m spoiled growing up in southern New Jersey, which is very developed, but still has multiple farms in almost every town near where I lived. We lived a mile away from a 100+ acre farm that sold loads of fruit and some vegetables and delicious sweet corn. Now the nearest farms are 30 or more minutes away and small, the larger farms (with more variety) are an hour or more away. (I know, I’m a big whiner.)

The selection at the markets are pretty limited, especially for fruit, which makes up a large portion of my diet. And they almost never have any lettuce!

So I was going over all these excuses in my head, when I stopped myself. First of all, I asked myself, why are you doing this?

Well, I want really good food, preferably organic. Small farmers grow really good food.

I also want to support businesses that don’t lobby the government to put their competition out of business (check out Joel Salitin’s books for more about that sordid affair).

I want my money to go to family farms, where people can work at their own pace, on their own land. As a small business owner myself, I love working at home, and I want more people to experience that same freedom. Why should I pay some corporation in California for inferior produce at more or less the same price (or more) just because I’m too lazy to hit up the farmer’s market??

I also agree with the usual environmental reasons, but I can’t get excited about them like I can about immediate reasons like money in my farmer friends pockets and tomatoes that are to die for.

When I went over those reasons, I realized that I don’t have to scrap the whole experiment because my farmers can’t meet ALL my needs. I just need to meet as many of my needs at the market as I can, and let the farmer’s know, that if they can get me lettuce or more fruit or kale, I’ll buy it. If they start early in the summer/spring, I’ll be there. In the meantime, I’ll try to make all the allowances I can for the season and the limited supply, and buy whatever I feel I can’t live without at Kroger.

BUT for the month of August, I am going off the deep end and plan on eating nothing but what I can get locally (except bananas, I must have bananas and I already have dates, so I’ll eat them too).

-I can use whatever I have in my freezer that is local (none of the pineapple) plus whatever pantry items/condiments I already have (no stocking up at the grocery store ahead of time).

-I’ll use raw goat or cows milk that I can get locally for granola and baking, ditto for butter, cream, and cheese (though we don’t use cheese of any variety generally speaking).

-I’ll make my own tomato sauce and pasta.

-Flour and Oatmeal and Beans I’ll buy at the store, but I’ll only use dried beans, no cans.

-I won’t have any sugar and use honey and maple syrup (both which are produced locally) for sweetening.

-I think I will probably buy oil, if necessary, though I think the oil I have now will last me another month or so, since I don’t use much.

Remind me of anything I might be forgetting, and let me know if you want to join me for August!

Make Your Own Ladder Shelf for your Craft Show Display

I want to get away from using tables in my display. Tables are very limited in their display potential. You can add shelves to them, but you are still losing the bottom three feet or so of vertical space.

After reviewing the options, I decided to go with a ladder shelf. I didn’t actually have a ladder, so I made my own.

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It was very easy to make.

I just bought eight 6 foot long 1×4’s and 3 1×10’s (they were on sale at Busy Beaver, but 1×12’s would give you even more space on your shelves).

Then I cut up eight of them to make the crossbars. I cut them to fit the 1×10 boards, but cut them for whatever size board you are using for the shelves.

I laid out the 4 6 foot pieces and the 8 crossbars on top of each other as I was glueing so they would line up correctly. I “clamped” them by putting 20 and 15 pound dumbbells on top of them.

I was planning on adding screws as well, but I got lazy. If you have heavy items to display like pottery or something, definitely add the screws to be safe.

After the glue was dry, I laid them out and added the hinges.

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I didn’t, but I suggest that you sand before you put the hinges on. I sanded it afterward while it was standing up (on my porch). I also sanded the boards, so everything has nice smooth rounded edges. After sanding, add a rope or chain to keep the ladder from spreading out too far.

I drilled holes through the second crossbars from the bottom and ran a rope through the hole and tied a good knot on each end.

After it’s all sanded, you are ready for your show. Though of course you might want to stain and/or lacquer it. I didn’t.

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I’m even thinking of using this for indoor shows. Imagine everyone else with tables, and your eye catches this across the room. You have to go check it out.

It is heavy. It’s a lot of solid wood, so it’s heavy. And it takes up a lot of room in the vehicle. In fact, if you only transport your stuff in a car, you are probably out of luck.

But if you have a station wagon or a van, it’s still very portable. It folds up flat. I made the 2 bottom shelves 6 feet long, so it’s a lot of space too. I’m considering making another one, but I may not have the space for it in my station wagon. Another thing you could do is make mini ladder shelves like this one below, but using the same template as I used to make my big one.

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I hope you are inspired to make your own craft show shelving now. It’s so super easy, and you can save a bunch of money. My shelf cost me about 40 dollars. Though of course, my wood was on sale, and I can use every bit of my scrap pieces to make toys out of. I can even use the shelves if I need to during the winter, and make more shelves next year.

Update: If I made this again, I would go with 1×2’s for the sides and crosspieces instead of the 1×4’s. It would be lighter and “cleaner” looking, because the wide boards wouldn’t be sticking out as far from the shelves. I would definitely screw in the shelves for a ladder shelf made with 1×2’s.

I haven’t been using the ladder shelf as much, since I made a larger, floor version of these shelves. They are 5 feet tall, with 1×10’s for the shelf boards. I use 2 folding things to hold up 6 foot long boards. They are lighter and hold more because the shelves don’t have to be tapered up with the ladder design.

 

 

Best Show EVER!

Friday evening we were at the WYEP Music Festival in Pittsburgh. The show was from 4pm-whenever it got too dark or late for you.

It was my first outdoor show since I moved out here 3 years ago, so I basically had nothing. My old canopy got left up in the rain overnight and collapsed on me (well, not ON me, but it collapsed). I still had my folding tables, but at 4 feet long they didn’t really fit in my station wagon with all my other stuff. Plus they are holding my table saw and my sliding miter saw and lots of scrap wood and dust and drill bits and so on.

What I did have was my folding shelves. But I really wanted to have was larger shelves to reduce the need for tables. I thought about making larger versions of the ones I had, but it seemed like too much work. So I made a ladder shelf. I’ll have more details on that tomorrow, but it ran me about $40 for the wood.

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I still needed a canopy. It was storming on and off pretty much the whole week, and more storms were forecasted for Friday, so I wasn’t going to take a chance on going without one. After debating, I finally just got the cheapest one they had at Lowes ($79), but it seems good enough for occasional use. I also bought one fold-up folding table at Lowes (on sale for $32).

Of course the thing to do is not wait until the last minute and try to get these things used, but of course, I was buying it the day before. The table was actually a game day decision–I picked it up on the way to the show.

The show was AWESOME. We were under these big trees so we were shaded from the hot sun (when it was shining). They also had a children’s area that had someone making balloon animals, a booth where you could make your own noisemaker things, dancers dancing ballet mostly, a band, and a bouncy house.

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Caleb is the green blur with the green balloon sword.

So Caleb was bouncing, swordfighting with balloon swords, running around amidst the concert goers in the grass, visiting a crafter he befriended at the last show we did in Pittsburgh…I barely saw him the whole show. He stopped in to eat some Panera whole grain baguette (so good!) around dinner and to beg for money to buy a cookie, but really it was the best show ever because he had so much to do.

I also made enough money to recoup my losses on the canopy, shelves, and table, and then some. It may have been the most I ever sold at a show. I had a steady stream of shoppers (even though most of them don’t buy, I still have to be there), so I didn’t get to look around much even.

The park had a carousel, so I sent Caleb to check it out. He came back reporting that it was $1.25 a ride, so I handed over some money (easy to do when you are having a good show). He then came back reporting that he was not allowed to ride without an adult. What?! It’s a merry-go-round. What’s he going to do jump under the wheels?? Well, it was on the other side of the park, and I couldn’t leave. But later he asked someone else to take him over with them, and by then it had closed, because of the rain, I think.

My canopy was very necessary, it turned out. An hour or so into the show it started thundering, and the wind was gusting and blowing everyone’s stuff over. Then the sky opened up. Some people even left, but I held on to my tent (literally, I was afraid the wind would blow it away), and the storm blew over after a half an hour or so of rain.

Things I forgot: my extra wee people, my full-size table cloth, my price tags, and probably more things that I’m forgetting right now! I also didn’t bring my camera, figuring I’d just use the one on my new phone, but the pictures are all blurry, so I won’t be doing that again.

The rest of the evening was lovely. Somebody bought the dollhouse and the furniture. Someone else recruited me for a couple more craft shows. I stayed until it was too dark to see, and then packed up and went home.

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