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The rantings and ramblings of Kimberly Allison

Monday, May 24, 2010

My Little Gypsy Wagon

I love doing my shows. But sometimes, being just another vendor in a sea of white EZ-Up canopies can be a drag. This is especially true when it is a family business. My sons are exposed to the constant drill of my "Show Rules" which for them must be especially boring.

So, once in a while, I take on a show with something exciting, making it more of a "working holiday" for all involved. maybe its at the beautiful Tierra Miguel Organic Farm where they can run through the fields and catch bugs. Perhaps, the Music Festival at Poway Heritage Park where they can play in the creek, watch the little trains and listen to wonderful music (the Marine Jazz Ensemble is the BEST). It becomes less of a job and more of a family day out.

This year, it hit me that my sons were getting older ( as in, I will have a teenager this year!) and chasing butterflies in the meadow just isn't "cool" anymore. That is when the idea hit me...

Renaissance Fairs!

Our first Renaissance Fair brings back amusing memories to my husband and I. With a fresh engagement ring on my finger, I convinced him to take me to one. Oh lord... Mark was not happy. He moped the entire drive. He dragged his feet to the entrance. He walked through those gates like a man condemned. But, then the energy caught up with him. Fresh strawberry shortcake with real whipped cream? (Sounds yummy!) A chance to learn how to shoot a real bow and arrow? (Why not!) Pretty girls with heaving bosoms laced into tight corsets? (No comment.)

So, it didn't take much convincing when I suggested to my endearing hubby that a Renaissance Fair might be a perfect venue for my handmade ceramic pendants. Our only challenge would be logistics. It doesn't make much sense to lease a full booth space, as the fees are usually steep and I didn't know how to arrange our wares appropriately. Upon research, I discovered the terms of a "wandering vendor". Fees are generally much lower, with the added advantage of following the crowds. But how can we manage to do this, when juggling 3 kids, mom's Fibro and a mess of necklaces?

Become Gypsies.

If we could design a wagon that would allow us to display my wares, while hiding the necessities like food and comforts, plus be beautiful to boot, we could manage this!

The first step is designing a wagon that would be functional. Another point: it had to fit into a Sienna minivan. Finally, it had to be sturdy since I had no plans of making multiples!

I purchased a good quality garden cart with a metal frame and large wheels. Then I designed a plan that would allow us to dismantle the cart for transport. Mark constructed a wood box that would sit inside the cart frame. We allowed areas for posts which would display our inventory and an interior to carry all of our supplies. I then chose a paint palette that would be bright enough to attract attention, yet still be historically accurate. A set of shutters was sacrificed to close off the storage area.

I used a selection of both new and re-purposed fabrics to construct a skirt that would hide the wagon base. A carefully placed velcro base makes it removable. Then, a tiny table was added for business transactions. I painted the wagon to include an acorn theme and she was named Lady Fortune.

We had carefully considered all ways for he use. After a bit of consideration, I even painted the interior, which in the proper setting, could be used for display. I am still a bit reeling by the amount of time, energy and money she took!

Lady Fortune made her professional debut at the Mermaid's Mercantile in Solana Beach on May 23, 2010.

1 comment:

  1. You did a fantastic job making this! I know this took a lot of work, it sure looks like it did.