Sunday, October 11, 2009

O'Dark Thirty

My family always calls waking up before the sun, O'Dark Thirty. I don't know anyone who really enjoys getting up that early, but I do know that getting up before 8 am makes me physically ill. Chrissy and Billy are not that good at it either. But the past two Saturday mornings we have pried ourselves from our warm beds to load up our cars and head to Detroit's Eastern Market, to set up for the Cinnamon Owl Studios booth at the Artisan Village at Eastern Market.

I am always amazed at the bustling activity around me - the vendors setting out their fruits and vegetables, the little old honey man putting out his jars, the other artists around us putting the finishing touches on their tables. There is the Beading Nutritionist, the Soy Candle lady, another jewler, and a lady who makes tote bags out of recycled materials. There is the Village Manager, Brian, who also sells handmade baskets from Africa.

Last Saturday was Cinnamon Owl's first day at the Village. It was probably the worst possible day to start this part of our venture; the weather was cold, windy, and pouring down rain. Chrissy and I froze, and felt damp the whole day - not a good combination. We did sell one photo though, so that was exciting, considering not many people were attending either the market or the village. It was miserable. But from that experience, we bonded with our fellow artists, something we may not have done had the weather been a crisp fall day. We began to feel like a small family of artisans, joking around with each other, sharing our food and coffee, stories, advice and backgrounds.

Yesterday was a much nicer day- the wind was a little too chilly, but the sun was out, and the day was dry. A small band that played music you would hear at the Renaissance Fair was playing nearby; when they were finished, a saxophonist started playing. Chrissy and I were content this time to sit in the warm rays when they were out from behind the occasional cloud, listening to the music, and this time, there were actually people visiting the market and the village. We met a few cool people who stopped by our table to look at our photos; the law student from Detroit who belongs to a student animal welfare group that fundraises to change laws for the betterment of animals; the guy who is getting married soon, who brought his super soft rescue dog over to meet us; all the other people who stopped to tell us about their dogs or cats, like the English Cocker Spaniel who hunts birds, and the cat in dogs clothing. Meeting all of these people and talking to them is actually very fun. And, we sold another photo!

The day was so nice yesterday that our families came to visit too. My dad, Shellie, Brayden and Caroline came down, bringing coffee, grilled cheese and cookies, which Chrissy and I greatly appreciated. Chrissy's dad and Terri stopped by too, and purchased a few of Chrissy's photos, which was also cool. Next time, our mothers are going to come visit us, and go out to lunch together. Billy always sticks around too, for a bit after helping us to set up, and watches the booth so that Chrissy and I can do a little shopping. I always buy bread from the Amish bread lady, who has the best baked goods ever- cookies, bread, breadsticks, tarts..I could go on and on. I also buy cheese from R.J. Hirt, and Billy and I eat it for dinner, with the bread and fruit I pick out from the Michigan vendors. I try to buy from the local farmers only, not from the people who sell produce that they hauled in. So usually what I am buying is seasonal to Michigan.

All in all, the experience is a very satisfying one, on many levels - camaraderie, family, the personal satisfaction of knowing other people like your work, and simply the visual and audial feast that Eastern Market offers. The next time we are going is November 14, and while I am not looking forward to that early morning, I am looking forward to seeing my Saturday compatriots.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Feline Forum Part II

Day Two started early! Or at least it felt like it to me, since I had been out having some fun with my friends Chrissy, Jill, Karin and Kris the night before. I spent the day attending more great workshops, and when 5:00 rolled around, I was ready to see Chicago!

Unfortunately Karin and Kris had to leave, which was sad because Jill, Chrissy and I had the best time!! First we shopped along the Magnificent Mile, dreaming of the Coach bags we are going to buy when we strike it rich (lol). We all had a different one we loved. The one I particularly liked was a red plaid - I loved it. Also, there was a sweet owl necklace with a black stone in it that wouldn't look too bad around my neck either.. I did end up buying a soft purple sweater from the Gap, which is more in my price range right now. I am dreaming of the day I get a "grant" to stay home and spend the day doing animal rescue work. By grant, I am thinking that Billy will "grant" me this wish. ;)

After trekking down the Mile, feet were hurting from the walk in high heels, so we headed over to the restaurant where we had reservations, Bistro 110, a French bistro, and had a drink while we waited for our table. Chrissy and I had Pinot Noir, and Jill had a drink called French Heaven, that really was divine. I think it had St. Germaine liqueour in it, but other than that I can't recall. It was pretty good though, and I usually don't like drinks like this.

Once we were seated, the french food frenzy ensued. The three of us decided to fully immerse ourselves in the experience, and enjoy as much as we could - literally. We split two appetizers, artichoke baked with brie, and escargot. I tried one little escargot, and did not care for it. (sorry Jill) But, I was going with the moment. The appetizers were cleared and we made way for our main meal- I had some sort of salmon, which was amazing, Jill had steak au poivre, and Chrissy had mushroom ravioli with some sort of delicous sauce.

And then, of course, dessert. This was after the waiter offered Jill a shoulder massage that she didn't respond to; he also asked Chrissy and I if we wanted a coffee with dessert. We turned that down, and ordered another glass of Pinot instead. We enjoyed our drinks, and couldn't decide which dessert we wanted. So, we ordered three, and split them all. We had creme brulee, Gateau Breton, and Profiteroles. Needless to say, by the end of the meal any plans we had to continue our evening were botched by full bellies. We were so full we could barely move, let alone even contemplate eating or drinking another thing. But it was so worth it - it was a bit of decadence in our do-gooding. (as Bruce Campbell called me a few years ago) I can't wait for next year, and I hope that more of us can go!