Saturday, March 22, 2008

Egg Dying

The day dawned bright and colorful. The plan was to experiment with methods of dying eggs. Invitations were given in an informal manner to others to come join in the fun.
5 Dozen eggs were boiled (ok - make that 59 eggs, one didn't even make it into the pan.) 4 eggs cracked during boiling, but not past the point of usability
Other Materials -
1 package of PAAS dye, White vinegar ( thank you Steve) Food coloring. Coffee Filters, Rubber Bands, Cheese Cloth, Fineline Sharpie, Med point Gold Paint Pen.

Once everything was ready, it was time to create.

This is a Mermaid, on an egg.

He accidentally got toy paint on the egg.

My son Finn with Penni's tye dye egg and his own Magic Happy Egg.

The neighborhood was busy with foot traffic. Many families stopped to look into our windows at our eggs and at our toys. Once the egg dying was done, everyone took their favorites home. We also hid some outside near the daffodils, in the flower box and near the street car stop and the bus stop down the block.

Friday, March 21, 2008

shop talk minutes

Shop Talk
March 18, 2008

Wally, Taunnarose, Harbhag, Drew,
Karl, Geni, Clare

We did not have an ice-breaker question for this meeting and proceeded to the business at hand.

Volunteer Appreciation Dinner
Is scheduled for April 22nd at 5-6pm. Clare stated she would like to have appetizers at the Giving Tree at 4:30 OR something later and more casual. Gifts of silk screen Giving Tree logo on t-shirts would be nice or gift certificates for the volunteers. Planning is ongoing and in conjunction with effort of Westlake Residents and Staff.

Green Festival
Giving Tree will be participating in the Community Activist Corner for the 2-day Green Festival Event. This event will be held on April 12-13 at the Washington State Convention Center. We had multiple options for participation, purchasing booth space to sell our toys, or purchasing table space to share our social mission, and or participating in the Community Activist Corner. Clare shared her process of decision making based on the Giving Tree experience with fairs, festivals and consumer shows such as this. She chose this opportunity based on the fact it is free, and would only require a one hour commitment on the day of the event. We will have opportunity to tell the Giving Tree story, and brief personal stories of why this sort of work is meaningful and valuable on an individual level and to invite out Seattle Neighbors to take time to talk about work, how someone values their work, their time, skills they would like to learn, passion for work, personal satisfaction and also. (We will have to limit our selves to 3 on the day of the show.) The over all goal is to plant a seed of interest with regard to participating in a non-profit community based organization, ours or any other. This could be sort of a guerilla marketing strategy.

Easter Egg Painting/Dyeing
The painting and dyeing of eggs will be this coming Saturday 12-4. We could use natural food dyes such as red onion skins if we have time. The basic plan is to get 5 dozen eggs, and see who shows up. Invitations have been informal, and general announcements have been made. Specific volunteers have stepped forward with a willingness to play and to make the most of their own interests and desires.

Rental Space
Taunnarose is getting a team together and would like to rent wall space from the Giving Tree to show their work and attract more people into the shop where they would also see our toys for sale. Clare suggested that efforts be made to rent gallery space from galleries, and not in this shop, we have much to do in order to keep on track with our production schedule. Clare said if that there has been suggestions of leasing of space for other creative purposes, but it needs to be done in a thoughtful manner and at this point our plates are full.

Bookend Order
An email came in for an order of 20 train bookends. The person asked for them to be shipped to an orphanage camp in Ghana. The validity of the order is in question due to the fact that we have been asked to contact an unkown shipper via e-mail ourselves. This is could be an indicator of a particular scam. Drew suggested requiring half the cost now as a deposit. Carl suggested that to handle a large order we need to start thinking about purchasing wood of a standard size. Clare is concerned about the inability to track invoiced orders of our current wholesale partners. The weight itself would be 100lbs. Clare will continue to proceed with caution and in the meantime Don has started production of trains with particular focus on extra engines and caboose for use in bookends.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Check Out This Blog!!!

Hi Guys! Here's something new - A blog for The Giving Tree! It includes information on what's going on here at the shop on a daily basis. Your input is very much needed to help make this a success, so give us your ideas and comments or opinions. The blog is set so that all comments can be anonymous. So let's hear it people!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Rocking Horse
We use a variety of hard woods. This one is made with Maple. Retail price is $50.

Large Ferry - comes with 2 small ferry cars.
Deck is Mahogany in most cases.
Retail Price $85

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Giving Tree Rocks!

The shop is empty. The last 2 volunteers left about an hour ago.
We all know that the next step forward is to focus on marketing. It has been a year since I consulted with a SCORE executive about our skeleton business plan. He recommended that to move forward, the focus should be on managing production, which is highly variable in a volunteer operated shop. So we did. The volunteers met every production deadline I set and we had record sales this past December.
The various wood workers, artists, assemblers and office staff at the shop all give their time and talents with no expectations of personal return, they give for the good of the shop as a whole. I am indebted to my workers. I am so fortunate to be able to use my talents. I am committed to using every avenue at my disposal to tell as many people as possible about the good people of the Giving Tree and why this work is important. And if we can sell more toys - so much the better.

Go Capitalism!