Friday, December 23, 2011

Last Day!! Last Day!!

I just posted this on the Wingdoodle site, but thought I'd share it with you all as well (and now, off to bed!):

I just walked in the door and my cat gave me a dirty look. Like she was going to waste away to nothing from my neglect. It IS midnight and neither of us has eaten anything but a few cookies and bugs all day. (I had the cookies - actually ginger scones - Thanks Christine!! - and the cat ate the bugs).

The store was open until 8pm tonight and it was busy all day! When I got to work at 1pm, there was a line from the desk all the way to the back office! Thank you everyone who came and shopped today!!! I met so many cool people and even set up a playdate for me and my daughter. Yah!

There is still plenty of good stuff left and I spent the last four hours restocking and tidying the chaos. So there is fresh chaos for tomorrow's customers.

Everything in the store is 50% off (that's off the retail prices). And all of you who subscribed to our newsletter and were getting the "Secret Coupons" - the secret was an extra 20%... so that means everything was 70% off for you. So I'll do the same thing tomorrow, the very last day of the sale. So fill a basket or two with stuff and bring it to the counter. Say "I got the secret coupon, but I didn't print it out." That's the secret password. Very important. We'll automatically, and super-secretly add the discount to your slip. And don't stand in line telling everyone around you WHAT the secret sale is!!!?
By the way, 70% off is a freaking lot of money. So if you can't decide between two things, buy them both.

And please plan on being patient. People are buying MORE stuff, but we still have to scan the barcodes and add it all up. Math is hard. But Alex and Jillian don't have school tomorrow so they'll be in the shop helping. They are High School Kids and have more stamina and brain cells. And my mother won't force the poor innocent customers to help her bag stuff. If you bring ginger scones or chocolate chip cookies, please be sure to bring a lot because we have to share with all the people waiting in line. And my mom likes her coffee with milk. You know, just in case you were wondering... 
;-D
Cheers,
-Sandy

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Holidays!


I am sorry if you feel a little neglected right now... Thursday and Friday are the last two days before my store, Wingdoodle, is closed! We are doing a 50% off sale in the store. My daughter, Lilah, and I dragged stuff out of the storage room  all afternoon... oh, wait, that part was me... but she did help me empty the drawers in the store and put a gazillion finger puppets on the rack. (Ooo - that sounds like a torture device for toys!)

The store was starting to show some empty spots, but then I "discovered" forgotten caches of polymer clay and tape guns and toothbrushes with feet and buttocks (seriously!), MORE rubber stamps and... finger puppets. I can't believe no one noticed a huge Rubber Maid box FILLED with little bars of Sculpey in the back room? Two days? There's still so much to sell off.

My little helper would put one finger puppet (on the rack) and then set one aside for her Pre-school class. I was making little piles of my own. As the afternoon wore on, here's how the conversation went:

Lilah: "Can I have this, Mom?"
Me: "No."

Lilah: "Can we donate this to my class?"
Me: "... OK."

Lilah: "Can I give this giant pipe cleaner to my friend Amelia?"
Me: "Why don't you take the entire canister to school?"
Lilah: "Eeeee!! And this?"
Me: "Sure."
Lilah: "And this?"
Me: "Yep"
Lilah:"And..."
Me: "Lilah, if it fits in the bag, you can have it!"

Yes, there are perks to having a mom who owns a toy store. But we have been trying to spread the cheer outside the family too. A man came in with his son a week ago and picked out a few little things. Then his gaze fell on a Lily doll and his eyes lit up. It would be so perfect for his daughter! When he saw the price tag ($49.99) his face fell. But I watched his hands (they looked like a mechanic's hands) and he just couldn't put the doll's box back on the shelf.
I asked him "What price would you have rather seen on the box?"
He said, "Oh, I hoped it would be, like, $20 bucks."
"OK", I said. "It's $20."

I totally GET why Santa does what he does!

Donating toys and stuff to local families who have had a sucky year feels good too. But I start feeling sad that I can't really change anything, just put a cuddly band-aid on the problem for a day. :-(

Selling off all this stuff - even at a ridiculous discount - is nice too. I own the building and my Belfry studio is upstairs, AND my track record is to start a new biz every few years... so chances are pretty good I'll have a new business in there by this summer. And I'll need some money to get it started, so 2 more days to sell!!

Speaking of selling... if you want to buy anything at my Etsy site, (it's too late to get it before Christmas), you'll want to place your order in the next couple of days. I'm going to put it in Vacation Mode from Friday afternoon until next Wednesday. If you haven't been on there in a while (www.bumblebat.com), I have all the official Zentangle® supplies as well as all my books (get them signed!) Totally Tangled is being reprinted, again, by the publisher so it is hard to find. I have a few copies left and after the New Year, I'll have plenty more. AND! After the New Year, I should have my NEW BOOK!!! It's called Tangled Fashionista. I'll tell you more about it when I post it next week on Etsy.

Cheers - and here's wishing you a relaxing holiday with people who make you laugh. :-)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Post-Open Studio

Yes, it takes me at least four days to post about my events. It's as if they have to marinate a little before I can write about them. That, and I need to get some pics from my friend, Laurie Strysko, the photographer. Luckily, I am either really busy, or really lazy, and I never cleaned up the Open Studio, so I snapped a few pictures to show you what you missed. ;-D

Lots of my sketchbooks and journals to paw through...
And some of my eraser carvings that I use to make my prints...
Can you tell which books were the MOST popular? Yes, YFYB, they're all gone!
Sold one of my Time Fairies too! (Spring) and a few posters...
I really wanted to sell that big-ass one in the expensive frame. It does look impressive though...
Setting everything up made me realize how many postcards and prints I have - I really should put them on Etsy someday. Don't you love my giant PURPLE chalkboard!? I paint chalkboards everywhere. Yes, even in my living room.
I'm glad Laurie took this photo or you might not believe I actually had visitors! Val and Barbara are crafters of the highest level. See the button machine in the foreground? We were all happily pressing our tangles into cute little buttons, when Barbara HAD to show me her exploding 12 Days of Xmas Book/Box. Thanks, Barbara! As if I am not insecure enough already. ;-D
I think we'll do another one this Spring. Or maybe... we'll do the Launch Party for Tangled Fashionista up here in The Belfry since Wingdoodle will be closed...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Open Studio - Sat. Dec. 10th

I have spent the whole day cleaning up my studio (actually the past three days!) so I would not embarrass myself when you show up for my Open Studio tomorrow. I just got home 15 minutes ago -yes, it is now 1:15 am - and my eyes are crossing. Here's the scoop:

Open Studio at The Belfry
11 am to 3 pm

19 E. Main Street in Warner, NH
(Exit 8 off I-89)

You can see the Amazing Tangled Staircase and even add your own marks if you like! Explore my studio, poke at my Lego town, make your own tangled button, look through ALL my sketchbooks (well, most of them), eat some snacks, get your books signed, pick my brain, ask me "why are you closing Wingdoodle?!" and buy some of my original artwork. YES! You can own your own piece of Sandy Steen Bartholomew art! I even have a really expensive, ginormous, framed, super-fancy Zentangle you can buy. Or you can buy a postcard or pin if you have spent all your Christmas money already. My feelings won't be hurt. Much. Mostly, I DO NOT want to sit all alone in my nice clean studio and twiddle my thumbs! So, come and play or just poke your head in and say "Wow! I've never seen it this clean! Lilah must be with her daddy this weekend?" (hee hee - yes, that is true.) Oh- and I have new body stickers (tattoos). Lots of them. And I'll share!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pssst!... Wanna buy some... stuff?

I mentioned a few posts back that I am closing my retail store, Wingdoodle. I have been having some rather exciting ideas of what I might do with the space (Zentangle related).... and I will probably share those ideas with you at a later date. But right now, I need your help clearing out the store!! Most of you are not local, so I have been trying to think of a way to show you what I have available. Tonight I put up three posts on Wingdoodle's blog, showing all the shelves and walls at the store! I split them into three posts:
Part One: Gifts, Games, Toys
Part Two: Rubber Stamps 
Part Three: Artsy Stuff and Books
If you subscribe to the Wingdoodle email/newsletter (where you can get extra secret coupons) - then you will get these posts in your email - don't freak out! They are long - but it's all photos.

Here's the explanation I posted:
I can't set up an instant online store, but I did the next-best-lazy-person thing... I took photos of all the shelves and walls around the store! I'll post the pictures in a few blog posts with some descriptions. If you see something you would like, send an email to: info@wingdoodle.com and be sure to put "Blog Sale" in the Title. List the items you would like and we'll get back to you with prices. You can apply any of the coupons you have received and everything else (w/o coupons) is 20% off. I will raise the discount as we get closer to closing, but many items are selling out, so there won't be as much choice. The only items that don't get a discount are Zentangle products and my books. 
(There will be a shipping charge as well).

And I am happy to sell off chunks of inventory to other store owners too! And if you buy lots and lots of stuff, I can be bribed to wheel and deal (although we don't have many wheels). So, bring it on! Pass this on to your friends and help me get rid of this stuff!!

Here is a group shot of the Wingdoodle staff:

Yes, my mother, Kay, her agenda calendar, and her bottomless bag of tricks. That's it. We've already sold off the rest of the staff.

But she is happy to read your emails and hunt down the items you request. Just try to be a bit more specific than "the squishy pink thingy up above the little metal goo-gaws..." or you may end up with that stuffed pink kidney (?!) behind her, in the photo!

If you ARE local, we are participating in a town-wide Holiday Shopping Tour this Saturday (it is a lot of fun with activities and decorated trees at town hall...) I'm sure there will be even MORE specials that day too!

I will be doing an Open Studio in The Belfry that day as well. You can come visit, snoop around, add your own tangles to the tangled staircase, SEE the amazing staircase!, and even hang out and tangle with me and some other tanglers. I'll have snacks too and some of my artwork for sale. I'm happy to sign your books, your Kidz! books, heck, I'll even sign your kids! I'll post some more about it soon, but be sure to white-out whatever you had written in your calendar for that day!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Excuses, Excuses? Part Two

There was a time when people would say, "You are so lucky to work at home and spend lots of time with your kids." Hmmm... is that an oxymoron - Work/Kids? No one says that to me anymore. I stopped speaking to those people many, many years ago. Plus, I actually leave the house every few days now, so I am not always working at home. But even with my son in HS and my daughter in daycare most of the day, I get almost nothing accomplished when they are around. I am in the habit of doing all the phone calls, meetings, fix what is broken at Wingdoodle  stuff during the day. Then I try to do the laundry, dishes, groceries, fill orders at the Belfry stuff after I pick my daughter up. (I've gotten really efficient lately - I can fill TWO orders in three hours now!) I look forward to my daughter going to bed so that I can FINALLY concentrate on my online classes, writing, email, all that stuff that needs my full attention. But alas, that's when my son needs rides to and from rehearsals for band, drama and dance. Then he needs to talk (I AM grateful that he still talks to me!!) So...THEN... I start working for "real". When my brain is mush and just wants to lie on the couch and watch "Merlin" and "Glee." Yes, I go to bed around 2am. No, this schedule is not sustainable. (Remember, I run away to a hotel in Maine to write my books?)
But - on the lighter side of things, I thought I'd share with you some of the things that I do with my daughter when I am not accomplishing anything that pays my mortgage. I tried to photograph some of the things that I do with my son, but I have learned that HS kids are a bit like vampires- they don't "appear" in photos. (He was just in The Snow Queen ballet this weekend and I'll post some shots of that later, if there are any.)


The neighbor's Halloween snowman inspired us to draw...
We decided these are "tangles"
Visited by inspiration with whiskers...
Weird picture! looks like the cat is climbing my shadow-leg and standing on our box of chalk.

Lilah was inspired by the cat! Why not lie down in the warm sun?  Uh-OH! A sneeeeee-EZE - Bleh!

A "pajama day" includes a walk downtown. Don't you wish you looked this great in pj's?

The perfect red leaf. And it MATCHES her outfit! Yes, polka dotted fleece nightgowns go with anything. I'm not sure about Hello Kitty and Minnie Mouse. Aren't they natural enemies? or at least licensing competitors?
Another pajama day... and a tea party! The cups change color with cold water, the sugar bowl has brown sugar, and Lilo (the cat) has her own dish. The towel (king Tut!) is a necessity - we have had MANY wet tea parties.
Gingerbread time! Lilah wore her apron inside out so she wouldn't get the nice side dirty. What? Are those pajamas underneath?! Doesn't this child ever wear clothes?!
Her favorite part? Flouring... everything.
Just so you don't start thinking I am a wonderful, domesticated-mom-type, notice the roll of Pillsbury dough in the background...
We even had some Moomintroll characters!

Perfect! (And yummy.)

And we set up the Christmas Village. Any CZTs out there may notice that our "snow" is the fluff from the jewelry boxes used for ZT class kits. I also discovered that two of the houses are burnt out and only one of the two outlets in the dining room still works. Ah, holiday cheer.
And, when I came up to my studio this evening to write this blog post, I had to step over this... Unicorn Ranch Parade(?) which I am NOT supposed to move. (For a week?!)
 Leave 'em dancing, right? So here is one last little gem... this is my "working" studio. I was asked by my little performer to please get my clutter off the table because she had important things to do on it...

Excuses, excuses? Part One

This is what my living room looked like in July - when they had just started ripping off the entire back wall of my house...
When my Doubtful Guest mural on the other wall was destroyed, I posted a death threat notice on the Wild Things mural! That's our family growth chart (the leafy vine climbing up the trunk). Who says i don't defend my art!?

This is what my living room looked like in late October as I was moving the family back in, finally. Notice the plastic is still on the bookcases in the other room? I wish I had covered the entire house! There was dust and yuck everywhere - muddy footprints in rooms that had nothing to do with the actual work... It took weeks to clean, paint and find new homes for stuff. This is one of the reasons I asked my publisher for a sabbatical! I had no idea then that I would also end up laying off everyone at my store and start the process of selling everything off... it's been a busy fall!


 Then the relatives came! This was actually quite enjoyable although my OCD, introverted, anti-social self is still reeling! Perhaps it was the three teenage boys...? Although, this one in yellow, Pierce, was actually pretty cool... and useful... as far as teenagers go! He is preparing pineapple and pomegranates here, and he had just finished making tomato and mozzarella appetizers! Yum! My brother-in-law also took over my kitchen and made the ham dinner AND the day-after waffles. Although one of the teens damaged my new exercise machine (like I NEED another excuse NOT to use it?) - in general, they renewed my faith in the male species. Or at least, they suggested some reasons to keep a few around.

How many teenage boys that you know, know how to prepare a pineapple AND a pomegranate? (Pierce taught ME how!)
Brother-in-law, Brian, also useful.
Even my son felt shamed into helping... a little.
And then, she was 5. Lilah's Birthday added to the excitement and meltdown.

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