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Craft Fair Junkie

Yup, that’s me.  I love craft fairs!  And we officially started the 2012 Craft Fair season last Saturday, March 24, in Laramie, Wyoming.

Now, driving north to Laramie at this time of year is usually a challenge.  We have, in past years, encountered snow, icy roads,  cold, fog so thick you can’t see where you’re going, and wind, wind and wind.  There’s a Country-Western song about a truck driver that has a line something like, “if the wind is blowing, it must be Wyoming.”  Well, this year was a bit windy, but not so bad, and the weather otherwise was wonderful — sunny and warm.  I’ll take that as a positive omen for the weather this season.

There are two major reasons I love craft fairs:  (1)  I meet so many genuinely nice people.  (If you listen to network news, you wonder if there are any of those left!) and (2) I get to shop for high-quality, unique items that you can’t find in stores.

When we arrived at 5:45 AM (yawn, yawn) Deb was already there and had the coffee on.  Deb is a member of Xi Beta Chapter of Laramie Beta Sigma Phi and has, for the past 9 years, organized their Spring Bazaar.  The event is a fundraiser for the charities that they sponsor and the ladies work the kitchen (complete with homemade cinnamon rolls, yum,yum) as well as spread smiles and good cheer all day long.  I admire those ladies who spend their time and efforts to raise money for charity!  Good-hearted, nice people!   And customers and fellow vendors who are also genuinely nice people.  It was a good day!

Then, to make it an even better day, I was shopping and found just the right hat that I’d been looking for!

red hat
Handknitted hat by Mavis

I plan to use the hat on my morning walks.  It will keep my ears warm and the bill will shade my sunglasses.

And Mavis found just the right bag that she was looking for in our booth!  She chose a Navy Queensland Tapestry Teardrop for an upcoming trip because it was sturdy, light-weight, will carry “the big billfold” and has a good pocket for a bottle of water and handy pockets in front for tickets, etc.

 

Like I said … it was a good day!

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MKI Bags Fan supports Friendship Bridge

Our friend, Sara, recently returned from Guatemala, where she visited in conjunction with Friendship Bridge, an organization which provides microcredit and education to Guatemalan women so that they can create thir own solutions to poverty.MKI Bags in Guatemala with Sara

Sara writes, “I am in Panajachel with Lake Atitlan in the background.  Your bags worked very well!”   She has her Navy/Mystic Teardrop over her shoulder and is holding several Packing Cubes and Tubes which she used to organize her suitcase.

I love the scenery!  What a beautiful place …  Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.  Our bags are certainly world travelers!

MKI Tapestry bag on Sara's shoulder at Friendship Bridge Guatemala
MKI Tapestry bag on Sara's shoulder at Friendship Bridge Guatemala

While in Guatemala, Sara had an opportunity to interact with the clients of Friendship Bridge.  Sara writes, ” This client asked to have her picture taken with me.  Check out the size difference between me and her. She’s 73, still working, has 10 kids, I think she is illiterate as many of the older clients are, but dynamite to listen to. She told us, through translation, of her life which had been difficult. She got married (young) and worked and supported her husband’s family who never liked her. She has a business, maybe selling vegetables in the marketplace, maybe weaving.

It was very interesting contrasting her circumstances with some of the younger women in the trust bank group who had much fewer children, like 1-3 instead of 10, and they had stayed in school into high school. Their husbands helped out with family chores and kids so they could work on their business. We saw a lot of change from the older to younger generation at several of our visits.”

Sounds to me like Friendship Bridge is making a difference in the world and I am happy to send a contribution to them.  Check out their website at www.friendshipbridge.org.

 

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IPad all cuddly in the pocket of a Tapestry Tall Plus!

Like I said, I design bags for my own purposes or for the needs of family, friends and customers.  I never woulda thought to put an iPad in the back pocket of a Tapestry Tall Plus.  But a wonderful customer named Nancy did!!  And she has blessed us with lots of pictures and compliments!  Thank you, Nancy.

Here’s what Nancy says:  “I can keep all my different connections that go with the iPad and the computer in this purse, plus checkbook and  few other odds and ends.”

” In front, on the outside of the purse, in the two velcro pockets, I use the larger one on the left for my iPhone since I have a larger case for it.  The other side I keep my ID in it and drivers license and staff ID for quick access.”

” In the zipped front bottom part, I put a couple of pens and a stylus that I use for the iPad in it.  Works great!”

 

Nancy also mentions that the fit is tight because she has a stand-up case on the iPad … but it works!  She also lists the numerous(and I mean LOTS)  items she carries in all the pockets and compartments in the main part and says,”The net sides are invaluable!!!!  You are correct!  Nothing falls out!”

Thanks again, Nancy!

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The Family Discount

Lately, I have been working on our show schedule and getting excited about putting up our booth at different events.  We always enjoy the people we meet and get a chance to chat with.  I’m always delighted by someone’s sense of humor.  Most people just love to have fun!

So… here’s a story.  Last August we were set up under the trees in Ridgway (beautiful setting) and a young man walks in who makes my heart jump!  He looked just like my son Jeff!!  Son Jeff had recently moved out of Colorado to California and I was devastated.   It took me a couple moments to realize that, although the body style was the same, those sunglasses, goatee and ball cap did not indeed belong to Jeff.

The young-man-customer looked at me quizzically, so I told him how similar he looked to son Jeff and how much I missed my son and then I asked him if I could have a hug!  He laughed.  I called my husband over to see the Jeff-look-alike and he agreed that this guy looked like he belonged to us!  The young man was great … asking what was for dinner, etc. and we traded quips and had fun!

When the wife of the young-man-customer found a Tapestry Teardrop to buy, we proceeded with the transaction and he asked, “Do we get the Family Discount?”

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A Little Help from your Friends

Recently, Mary Walewski came to my house to teach me the basics of blogging.   Mary is a social media marketing (SMM) specialist for authors and entrpreneurs.  I’ve  been pleased to have her help for several years now and find that she knows her subject well.   So, here I am now, a fledgling blogger.

As Mary first walked in, I was delighted to notice that she was carrying two MKI bags!  She had a mini-laptop carrier in Navy/Sapphire in one hand and a Black/Southwest Tapestry Tall Plus over her shoulder.  She says that the Tan/Southwest Tapestry Tote

Mary Walewski with her tapestry bags from MKI

Purse serves her well as a summer purse and I am sure she has purchased other bags also for gifts.  Seeing people using our bags is a hugh compliment to us.  We put so much effort into building sturdy, functional bags that are also gorgeous, and, when people show up using them, it’s like a pat on the back, a good performance review, a valedation that our efforts are worthwhile.  Thank you, Mary.

There’s a lot of techy stuff to SMM that I will probably not get into much … my expertise is in bag-making.  But when I’m ready to take the next step, I’ll seek a little help from my friends and call Mary.  Check out her website and blog because she has a lot of interesting things to say… www.buythebookmarketing.com.

 

 

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Four Best Ways to Ruin your Tapestry Purse

Should you wish to ruin your Tapestry Purse, here are the four best ways to achieve that:

1.  Wash your tapestry purse in hot water.  Hot water will shrink the fabric and the purse will be wrinkled and look like your hands that have been in dishwater too much.

2.  Put your tapestry purse in the hot dryer.  This will result in shrinkage as above, only this may also melt your zippers a bit, depending on how hot the dryer was.  Your could end up with the wrinkled look AND sluggish zippers.  This would REALLY ruin the bag!

3.  Overstuff your bag.  When you put lots and lots of things into a small bag when you honestly need a medium-sized bag, the pressure of all that stuff trying to get out compromises the zippers.  Your end up with zipper blow-out!  You know… the zipper opens where it shouldn’t.  Then you can’t use the bag because you can’t close the zipper.

4.  Keep sharp pointy things in your purse without protection.  A loose pair of sharp scissors, for example, can poke a hole in most fabrics, given time.

Now, should you NOT REALLY want to ruin your purse or bag, we can help you with that!

First of all, wash your tapestry purse/bag in COLD water and then, secondly,  hang it out to AIR DRY.  We realize that the Tapestry fabric is not as strong as the nylon Cordura that we use, so everywhere we use Tapestry, we line it.  That gives it extra strength.  It’ll still shrink, but not as much.

Thirdly, we try to prevent zipper compromises by buying the best zipper available.  We use only YKK zippers!  That’s all we can do.

And finally, we have numerous small products into which you can place pointy objects to prevent pokes to the fabric or your fingers!  Consider carrying sharp things in an Organizer, a Money Pouch, or a Grab Bag.

Like Queen Latifa sings in the movie Chicago:  When you’re good to Momma, Momma’s good to you!

 

 

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Celebrate the Tapestry of Life

I believe that life is like the tapestry fabric that I love so much.  It has beautiful pictures and colors and richness to it with threads woven in and out bringing fascinating views at each turn.

I have resisted blogging in the past, viewing it as self-centered and trivial, but I’ve had a

Queensland Tapestry shows threads of life

change of heart.  I’ve noticed that what my husband, Woody, and I enjoy so much in our lives now is the interaction with other people and the ideas and interesting tales we hear from perfect strangers who walk into our booth at fairs and festivals.  There are some very nice people out there!  There are some wonderful senses of humor among them, and some wisdom that is pretty cool!  So I’ve decided to share that and bring to each of you the sunshine and joy that people bring to me.  (Bring me Sunshine). 

Oh, yes, lots of sunshine to me when a customer tells me how much she loves her purse, how it still looks and performs well after all these years, how she gets compliments on it all the time, how it has just the right place to keep ________.  Personally, I am complimented and encouraged to hear these comments.  (Thank you, thank you.)  There is not a better motivator to my creativity! (Love my bag testimonials)

Speaking of creativity!  There is no end to the multiple ways customers pack and use our bags!  Of course, I design them for flexibility so I’m not surprised.  You’ll love these fun suggestions and I’ll share them with you. (Nifty ideas for how to use your bags)

 Of course, I hear many good suggestions on (a) what new products to make and (b) how to improve the products I have.  In fact, most of my designs have been the result of customer ideas and/or needs of the family.  So, as I come up with new fabrics and/or new products, I will share them with you here. (Snazzy new stuff!!)

The truth is that many of my idea work, but some of them just don’t!!  Believe me, I know a lot of what doesn’t work, but it doesn’t discourage me from trying again.  I’ll continue to listen to all of you and we’ll use this blog to take surveys of preferences to help us create the products that best serve our customers.  (Purse Features)

And then there’s FAQs.  I’ll share with you my knowledge of fabrics, cleaning and packing techniques, sewing equipment, “ingredients” for bag-making, how it’s done, etc.  (Mom’s Krazy Ideas details)

So, thanks for joining me on my Baglady Adventures and Search for the Tapestry of Life.  For a delightful pick-me-up, check out this YouTube video – you’ll love it.