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We look at each other and can hardly believe we successfully launched twins into the world! They are both away at college. All of a sudden, I have retired somewhat from being the cook, the cleaner, the psychologist, the stylist, the captain of the hoopdie deluxe, the social director, oh the list goes on and on. So what does this mean? This means that we finally got a new car so my hubby and I are not attached at the hip, and I can still do craft shows. I can go to the flea markets to source cool stuff at 5:30 in the morning, without worrying about waking everyone up. If I feel like cooking a healthy stuff, I do not hear a raft of complaints. If I feel like having a glass of wine, I can. It also means that we can actually take a vacation and not worry too much. I can work in the studio and really work on some new pieces.

For hubby, it meant buying some exotic fish and adding to our fish tank collection, which is ridiculous, but heck, it keeps him happy, and I love to talk to the fish every morning as I have my coffee. Our gold fish are doing nicely in our greenhouse pond, and all is right with the world.

I still worry! I still miss them, I wish they could be here, and I wish I could solve every mystery and issue for them, but I am learning how to let go. Hubby and I are learning who we are to each other (again) and it is honestly fun and weird all the same time.

In the meantime, the Abra Couture show list has altered significantly! A lot of shows are now gone post pandemic, or they were swallowed up by a few hardy companies. Wholesale shows are shrinking more and more each season. The well loved original Buyers Market of American Craft, went through several iterations, before taking its last gasp, and was canceled by their newest corporate holding company. It was a slow death, and painful for all of us who literally grew up together, in this crazy business.

Change can be good honestly. It has propelled me to reinvent the business side of things, and pushed me to try new shows, new designs and trim down things I feel are dated or are just not my thing anymore. You will see a lot of streamlining here! Many items will be One of a Kinds or limited to my current stock. The plan for now is that all of our wholesale business will be online, in a new site yet to be built. Onwards!

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My kiddos (twins, cuz I couldn't make Just one!) are headed to college this fall. Thank you Jeebus. It has been such a haul. You guys know what I mean. The kids today have so many challenges ahead of them: social pressures, socio-economic upheavals, etc. The only thing I know that no one can take away is education. It helped me so much, so what parent/guardian does not want to do that for their charges?

Of course, I do celebrate all ways of betterment: skilled labour is hugely needed in this country, nursing and home health aid is also vital. My kids were a bit unusual in that, Capricorns that they are, are stubborn and driven and knew exactly what they wanted to do when they started their lives. One wants to be a doctor (Cardio-thoracic to be exact) in Pediatrics, and my other one wants to do something like Urban Planning with GIS systems and all the stuff computeryish. *my own word, like Shakespeare.

In the meantime, hubby and I are enjoying our freedom and I am finally able to do things like fix stuff, update stuff, garden, and add to my fish tank collection of baby goldfish, which go on, apparently, to have even more babies. (I am a fish grandma many times over. ) The kids are in Europe on a tour, thanks to us saving along with my folks, and we surprised them for sure! They are going to Spain, England (London), France, Italy, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, and Switzerland. Hopefully, they will enjoy all the culture, and baguettes, they have to offer,

I will be updating (finally!) all of my website nonsense, and will be doing a huge number of new shows this year! See you soon!

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A lot of people really need an outlet. Some folks go fishing or hunting (especially popular in the wilds of PA). I prefer going to Le Flea Market. The flea I go to does not really have the vendors with socks or fake designer purses. No. This one is filled with guys with long beards, plaid shirts, and sweaty helpers hauling crap off trucks. They throw said crapola onto wooden tables and pray that they sell sell sell. Who buys buys buys? Collectors, curiousity seekers, resellers, and artists. They come in all shapes, sizes and colors, much like their material goods that make their hearts go pitter patter. You could be the richest guy in town, or some shlep sleeping in car and some junk in the trunk. You just never know who is shopping, buying etc, and who doesn't love a mystery> Everything has a story, as the people who are wheeling and dealing.

I am very upfront about what I want. I tell the dealers, that most items are too rich for my blood. I am looking for items for a dollar, maybe 2. I am so cheap I squeak. I look for the true steals. A lot of the folks buy cleanouts and don't give a rat's behind what is in the box. That is exactly what I go for. I can tell that that rotund guy chomping on the cigar had probably gone over the pile of jewelry with a magnet. mHe just wants the gold. He does not realize that those pearls though made of glass are worth about $60 online, as they are signed by Gallieries Lafayette. And I grab them for a dollar, gently extracting them from an unimaginable tangled mass of failed Avon junk jewelry and horrendous plastic plastic slap bracelets from 1992.

Every now and then, I nearly faint when I see a strand of real cultured pearls or a diamond ring sitting in the pile of cheap plastic Mardigras beads and dirt. I get these untangled, throw them in with some quasi junk and get it all for, Oh I dunno, 5 bucks? I dance away, stuff everything into my purse and go onto the next table.

Sometimes, I wander over to Joan, the dollar clothing lady, and she lives somewhere on a hill there by the flea. She sells clothes with loads of fancy lables and does. not. care. All the money goes to her church, and she just grabs stuff and dumps in on the table, happily grabbing the dollars the Spanish ladies, crazy middle aged biker chicks, and the Gen Z gals chuck in her general direction. I have found some great items there: my favorite down vest, sweaters for hubby, shirts and dresses for my other kid, and of course, some great items to resell online. I buy for a dollar and sell for 15-20. I would say that is a great little side hustle I have developed.

I have to hustle just like my igar chomping pal. Just like Joan the church lady. Once I have finished going though the rags, the dirt, the tangled messes at each table, I hoist my petard into my hoopdie chariot and off I go to a local dive to drink a cuppa and get my typical Jersey egg sandwich.

But I always always remember to wash my hands, Because You never know where that stuff has been!

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