Monday, August 11, 2014

Happy Anniversary Mom & Pop!

Skott's aunt and uncle have been more like parents to him his whole life.  He spent much of his childhood living with them and his grandmother.  He has many fond memories of time spent with them and I am very grateful he had their influences growing up!
For their 50th wedding anniversary, they wanted to come to the Oregon Coast and visit us.  We had an amazing time and we're so grateful they made the sacrifices to come and see us!
Pop walking along the bay

Sitting on a log people watching
(wondering if the crazy guy out on the sandbar
was going to make it back ok)


Treasure hunting!
We spent a day walking and wandering at the bay.  The weather was beautiful with just a little wind.

We got fish and chips from J's one afternoon and ate them at a beach access:

Took a day trip to Newport.  We stopped by Panini for breakfast pastries.  It was really windy that day but we found a place to eat our breakfast and watch the waves here:

Love these two!!!

We tried to head south of Newport to go fossil hunting, but barely made it down the path before it started POURING
The tale of "How many people does it take to
zip up a jacket?"

Love the contrast of the storm and sun
One of the biggest highlights of the trip was taking them to the glass studio to blow their own glass floats!

tools used

Walking in.... it was RAINY

Gloves for safety!

Aunt Liddy with her artist, Andrew. He's getting the glass to start the float

Rolling the glass into the chosen colors

making it round

Pop rushing to get to the station 

Finishing touches

adding the hook

Skott did a video of Pop's

Pop making his float with view of workshop
In true Oregon fashion, it rained the last day of their visit.  We went to Inn at Spanish Head for lunch:

It was such a wonderful visit.  We went to so many places (many of which I didn't get pics).  Can't wait for the next one!
Love you guys!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Blooms, Birthday, and Bella-sitting

The first tulips out front in our secret garden:

I don't remember ordering the color on the right.

Cherry Tree in backyard is LOADED
We've had a pretty amazing spring!  I've really enjoyed watching all my plants come back from their winter dormancy.... well, most of them anyways.  I didn't lose too many.

We celebrated Skott's "birthday" on April 17th this year.  I had a blast finding unique things for him on etsy.  One of my favorites was this:
Look familiar?  I found an artist in the U.K. that will draw a robot portrait.  I sent him two pictures of Skott and one of Confuscious.  I told him Skott was my coffee hound. I love the result!  Great artist to work with and very affordable.

Skott's big project this month was completing the island.
We scored two tables from a restaurant that was downsizing.
Here's the smaller one:

And here's the larger one, midway through sanding process: 
The result: 

We have VERY limited countertop space in our kitchen so this was something we had been wanting to do for a long time.

We also got to doggie-sit Bella for 4 days while Paul and Jen went to Reno for their anniversary.  When we picked her up, she quickly went from the back seat to the front seat and wouldn't let me in:
So..... I ended up riding in the backseat and listening to Bella's big butt set off the seatbelt warning alarm all the way home:

We took her to the beach every day and wore her out.  Some days she barely made it back inside the door:

I sure miss having a dog around!  It's nice to be able to watch Bella now and then, even if she does hog all our favorite chairs!

We finally had to get a new coffee roaster.  We researched FOREVER and couldn't find one we liked.  Then we found a seller who had some old, original, new in box ones like our original model.
Average life span for a roaster (using it as much as we do) is 3 years.  
We had ours for 11.

Can you guess which one is the new one?
We have this odd, empty-ish space behind our couch (which is also serving as a room divider of sorts).  I really wanted cube-style bookshelves that can be rearranged and reconfigured.
We thought we had enough, until I started loading books.  We need more cubes,  then I will show you a completed bookshelf system WITH books in it!
before paint

a pop of color!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

April brings us our first ray of hope

We have always loved farmers markets -the atmosphere, the smells, the energy of the people....  
When we hatched a plan to sell at markets, we were originally going to do driftwood art.  As we saw the challenges of the logistics of that with beachwalkerz on etsy, we realized that the driftwood was our creative outlet, but not likely something that we could make a living from.
Since last April, we have been working on getting the recipes and logistics figured out for Botanical Sweets and Treats.  There were many times I just wanted to give up!  We were trying to do everything legally, legitimately, proper licensing, insurance, etc.  We kept hitting wall after wall after wall.  Everything was a fight.  For example:  the commercial kitchen.  We looked for several months, explored many options.  Most places wanted $50/hr or more.  We finally decided to inquire about the kitchen at the Elks, where our friends do their pickles and jams.  At first, the Elks said no.  Another crushing blow.  Then, the president of the Elks (whom we work with at the casino) approached us and asked how things were going.  We told him about our troubles with finding a commercial kitchen.  He offered to "sponsor"  our proposal to the Elks.  Apparently, the people we spoke with before that turned us down, didn't really have the authority to say no in the first place.  He had no idea we had even asked.  So he sponsored our proposal and after several weeks of waiting, we got the approval to rent their commercial kitchen.  Then came the insurance.  We went through our agent and he finally came up with a company that would insure us selling online and at markets.  Apparently, selling online was a no-go for every company but one.  So we had one option.  And it was EXPENSIVE.  But we had to do it.  Filled out paperwork, wrote out a ridiculous check, moved on with plans.  Then, a month later we get a phone call from an insurance inspector.  They want to inspect the kitchen before they grant us coverage.  What?!  You have our money but we're not "really" insured yet?  So we schedule appointment and go through the inspection and all that.  Thought things were good.  Then, get a letter a few weeks later saying our policy was going to be cancelled unless a different type of oven hood vent cover was installed.  (Mind you, we don't even use the oven hood).  Called our agent, called the Elks, talked to a bunch of different people.  Elks kitchen meets all state and county requirements so we didn't understand what was going on.  No one could give us a straight answer.  So then we decided we would go talk to the insurance agent that our friends use that they got insurance through for the Elks kitchen.  Exact same policy type as our friends, except we were selling online.  Come to find out, the only company who he could find to insure us was the one we were already dealing with AND come to find out, it's the same company that insures our friends!  So why we got slapped with an inspection is beyond me, we think it must have been the fact that we wanted to sell online.  BOTH the insurance agents said "Selling online is a new thing and our underwriters are just not that familiar with it and most don't want to cover people selling online because it's so new."   Ummmm, really?!?!  I wasn't aware online selling was such a new concept.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but the internet has been around for awhile, right?!?
At this point I am in tears, we have to have insurance and we have 30 days before our policy is cancelled.  Then my brilliant husband says "Have you checked online?  There's got to be something out there that covers people selling online and at markets.  And if they're selling their insurance online, they've got to have the capacity to insure online sellers as well."  Brilliant!  I found a WEALTH of companies, one in particular I matched the policy they were offering to the one we currently had and it was WORD FOR WORD the same, actually the coverage limits were a little better.  Yes!  Problem solved!  -or so I thought.
Called my insurance agent and told him that we had found this company online and when our policy was cancelled we would go with this online insurance.  He told me to let the company cancel us (not us cancel them) so we would get more of our policy money back. He gave me info about what day exactly we were being cancelled, money back, etc.
Purchased new insurance and had it set to start the day our policy was getting cancelled.  Went on our merry way applying for markets, etc.  Cancellation day comes and goes and after a couple weeks I start to wonder where our refund check is.  Call our agent to check on the status of our refund and Hmmmm, it seems the old company has a change of heart and decides not to cancel our policy after all.  What?!?!  I was LIVID!  Now I am stuck with two insurances and have been paying two extra weeks for a policy that was supposedly going to be cancelled?  I go down to the agents office and we have a nice little "conversation".  He is pissed I got a new policy even though I told him I was going to.  We exchange words and I don't back down.  He gets the cancellation paperwork together and I sign it all and THEN find out that they can't process the cancellation for another week, and then they have to wait for the refund, which only processes every calendar month, so I have to wait a full month for him to get the refund sent to him, then, I have to wait until the NEXT calendar month for him to process the money to me.  Interesting how this all works since the original check was made out directly to the underwriters of the policy, not this agents office.  But whatever.  Lesson learned.  Deal with people who are familiar with what your needs are and don't waste time trying to support the locals if they don't have experience with what you need.

Just an example of some of the hoops we have been jumping through!

But on to happy news:  our first event!
We were invited to sell at a Jane Austen faire in Salem, which is about an hour away.  It was held at The Mill.  There were two buildings- one was a museum with lots of cute shops.  Then you went outside and over this cute little bridge to this building:

 We were up on the third floor.  It was an amazing space!  Lots of windows, big exposed beams, tall ceiling.
We found our spot (sorry, blogger thinks this picture needs to be upside-down no matter how I saved it) and got set up Friday afternoon.

we have the tables with the colorful flags

We melted and painted wax to hold the flavor signs.
People kept picking up the cups and smelling them? haha
We had an awesome turnout Friday night and all day Saturday.  The event was VERY well organized and advertised.  It was so much fun and such a boost to have some success after all our hard work and troubles.  We got a lot of good feedback (positive and constructive) and realized we needed to change our packaging.  We really like our current packaging because it is eco-friendly and fully compostable, but, people look at it and don't know what it is.  So we are making the switch to something more "candy-like", what do you think?