I'm in business! 11:22 a.m. 2006-06-29

Time to commit. After a summer of relative inaction, I have done a couple of things this morning. First, a little history:

I have been making my shrine frames for the last 2 years. I would get the frames from Hobby Lobby - and would even visit ALL of the Hobby Lobby stores in my area, as they only stock 2-4 at a time. I once ordered 20 frames at once, and should have continued like that, but... hindsight. Anyway, I found out a couple of months ago that HL was discontinuing my frames - MY frames! Obviously, no one else was using them! After searching and searching, and gathering up the last frames in the stores, I decided to take action.

I went on a website called TradeKey.com, and put out an ad of sorts. I simply wrote that I wanted some company to custom make these frames for me. I got my first response from a craft company in China called Crafty Max. I sent them pictures and measurements and they made an identical - actually superior version of the frame, which I had shipped to me. I also had a company in India make frames, but they were nowhere near the same.

Since I am already quite a bit in debt, I have been hesitating to place the order. I am fearful of what the costs will be on this end - I am pretty sure of what they will be on the China end. Needless to say, when all is said and done, these frames will end up costing at least twice as much as the ones from Hobby Lobby. Is it really worth it?

Well, here is my answer. I started out charging about $25 - $30 for these frames when I first put them on E-Bay. Now, the standard fee is about $30 to $40 for the Virgin of Guadalupe shrines. The Blue Dog shrines are around $50. That is some validation - I know that I can sell more.

Then, yesterday I got this e-mail through an E-Bay message on my shower curtain:

"Sorry--I am asking about another item. I bought a wonderful Blue Dog piece from you a while ago. I used it in my classroom as a writing prompt, along with many other Blue Dog items. Alas, someone stole my entire collection, including my pretty yellow nicho (or whatever it is called). Any chance of doing more? I would love the opportunity to buy another. Thanks."

Isn't that awesome? Now, I have only four frames left - and most of them are not A-1 quality - having been rescued from the Hobby Lobby Clearance bin. This was my reply:

"Oh, wow! My first piece of art now on the black market!!! I actually have only 4 of those frames left - my source dried up and I am trying to have some made in China. I would be happy to make you another. It will be $50, with $6 shipping. I had been meaning to make one and put it up for auction, since I am on summer break as well. This way, you can tell me what colors you like and I could make something custom."

Here was my reply:

I HOPE your first piece is on the black market. I lost all my kewl Blue Dog stuff in one fell swoop. I am trying to replace it, but that piece was, to me, irreplaceable. I really loved it. It was so Louisianian..."

That's so flattering. I decided to take the plunge. I am waiting to see where to send the check - God knows what time it is in Beijing.

Not only that, I have put in a submission to be on a TV show. Now, I know that's a long shot, but I got this e-mail from Kathy Cano-Murillo, who is heading a MySpace group called the Crafty Latinas. The heading said: CRAFT LAB: Crafty TV show looking for guests! YOU!. It's a long shot, but I went ahead and sent an e-mail to the producer, pitching my story boxes or shrine frames. If I were, by chance, to by chosen, they would fly ME to L.A. to tape the show! Keep your fingers crossed!!!!

Next business with China - ordering baking dishes to produce my Pour Deux bakers. Hang on world - here I come!

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