This Week at Norton’s Cove

I’m still packaging up product to send out to shops, and I’ve got a few more prints to pull before my orders are all full. We’ve also been updating our own displays, moved the coffee machine out of the studio, and we’re getting things ready to open up the café on the 16th! Lots to do! I can’t wait to order my first cappuccino and a hand-pie for elevenses two weeks from now! But for now, back to packaging squid!


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Norton’s Cove Café Opens!


This Week at Norton’s Cove

We are printing and packaging Norton’s Cove Cards, Mini-prints, and Bookmarks this week at the studio. Order due dates are passing us by and we’re printing into the night to get it all done! We’re working on about half of the spring orders now, and will start printing all over again once these are sent out. This year is different than most because orders were taken in April at the Craft & Gift Wholesale Show instead of in February as usual, so I normally have an extra two months to work on those orders.

Packaging all those pieces: folding cards, stamping their backs, stuffing them into bags, adding tassels to bookmarks, putting mats on mini-prints & etc., can be tedious work sometimes. I love having visitors while I’m doing that kind of work to keep me company. Please do stop in for a chat. We’re open 10-6 Wednesday to Saturday.

We’re making plans for the Café: opening dates and booking bands and that sort of thing. There’s just three weeks left until the Café is in full swing- I can hardly believe it’s almost summer already! And yes, we are taking reservations for the full season already!

Blue-Green

Blue-Green is the #printapalooza colour of the day!

I am blue, wishing it was green! There’s a bit of white winter weather out there today- nothing new- I expected exactly this, but it’s still disappointing to see the ground covered in snow again when the last little hummock was just leaving.

This time of year I’m dreaming of gardening and boating, and a spring snowstorm always feels like a big step backwards. We’ve been making plans to improve our deck space, and I’m really itching to get at that project! It’s already gorgeous in my head!

Blue

Printapalooza starts the new week with blue.

I’ve been listening to a podcast made just for retailers while going about my physical work cutting paper and printing and the like, and I’ve been really focused on planning for my business to grow this year like never before. Really spending a lot of time fine tuning things like work schedules, hours of operation, how to keep employees happy (including this CEO) and away from burnout. Every year I learn a bit more by reading and listening and making all the mistakes I can. Listening to this podcast, Creative Shop Talk with Wendy Batten, is kind of reaffirming much of what I already know, but really convincing me that I CAN have a successful business if I just apply all these things I’ve picked up over the years, really building on my self-confidence like I’ve never felt before.

One of those things that I’m very slow to learn is that I need to take better care of myself. In the past, I have let myself get so burnt out I didn’t think life was worth living. Then even when I thought I was doing really great personally last year, instead of taking the time off that I needed to deal with the death of one of my best friends, I worked myself into a panic attack, ruining an event for myself that I had looked forward to for weeks.

So… after 19 years of doing it all wrong, I’m going to correct myself. I’ve decided that while the Café will have the same hours as last year, my studio will change to match the Café, giving me two days a week when I can destress, enjoy the summer weather, sail, visit with friends, garden, just sit on the deck, and keep myself energized all through the busy season. 🤞

Lamp Light

I carved a new printing plate this evening as a new card/mini-print to add to the 2020 line-up of Norton’s Cove products. It isn’t a new image though- and it comes with a bit of history.

Carving the new printing plate.
The first proof, printed as a card.
The second proof, after some minor adjustment to the carving.

Waaaay back around 2004 or 2005 maybe, my new business was not doing so well. I had not been able to pay the power bill for the studio for three months in a row. Newfoundland Power cut me off. It was winter. I was desperate to keep my business going, but it was a long few months before I’d see the return of summer visitors. What to do?

My design instructor at the Textile Studies program, J Barry, had suggested to me several years earlier to make note cards with my little lino images. I remembered that advice, and decided to run with it.

My mother gave me some money from her income tax return, and Duke installed the least expensive wood stove he could find in the studio. I had heat. I had inherited a number of oil lamps from my Uncle Donald & Aunt Geraldine’s place a while before, and they had been used solely as decorative pieces in the shop until then. Now they were useful tools, as the dark of winter did not allow me many hours of working time with daylight alone.

With my family’s support, I made five card designs to bring to that year’s Provincial Wholesale Trade Show, and I took enough orders to pay the bills and get my power turned back on. I even brought home a ‘Best New Product’ award.

These small products have been my bread and butter ever since, and I still enjoy making them. My mother does most of the packaging, my son has been cutting all the paper, and my hustband has been doing the ‘clean hands’ work for all production for the second year now. I still wouldn’t be able to do it without the support of my family. And that little oil lamp is a keen reminder of that.

Lamp Light will be available as a card and as a mini-print this spring in the online shop, and beautiful stores around Atlantic Canada.