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New Brushes and Fixing Spray Now Available!

I’ve recently added a few more new items to my online shop!

We are now carrying two new synthetic flat brushes, Kryolan Torey brushes made of synthetic Japanese fibers, in 1/4″ wide ($4.00) and 1/2″ wide ($6.50).  Synthetic bristles hold their shape well, making them great for crisp lines! 

After painting a few pregnant bellies lately, I realized that the moms I’ve painted would have liked to keep their designs on as long as possible.  So, I’ve also added some Kryolan fixing spray to my assortment!  Apply it thinly and evenly and allow to dry, to help prevent smudging and protect your work from perspiration and cold water.  Removes easily with warm water and soap.  I’m not quite sure where to put it in the shop, but for now it sits at the end of the paint section!  Check it out, available in 2 ounce spray pump bottles for $10.00.

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Dakota County fair 2012 Recap

I recently completed my 15th year at the Dakota County Fair with the help of my fabulous mom!  My mom painted Monday through Thursday and I painted Friday through Sunday.  12 hours of painting and 2.5 hours of driving every day does have a way of wearing you out!  But, we made it and I’m happy to have done another fair.  It’s so fun to have kids come back year after year, and to see college kids whom we’ve previously painted as toddlers!

This year the fair allowed a vendor to offer face painting as their free giveaway to help draw in people to their booth, which was a bummer.  Let me just say though, folks, the phrase “you get what you pay for” definitely applies to face painting!!  😉  But, we still did well and I hope that this sort of thing is not tolerated next year from more vendors, so that we are able to come return for a 16th year!

Here are a few photos from this year’s fair…

Painting my favorite customers, my boys!
Mom and Dad!! It was weird not ever seeing each other at the fair this year!  In the past we’ve split a few week days, where Mom took part of the day and I took the other part.  This year we each took full days, so we never crossed paths.  Mom did a great job holding down the fort…and I mean literally!  The new banner system caused some headaches for her on one really windy day…the only downfall of being right inside the big doors! (Thanks Mom, and thanks Dad for the extra clamps!)

I always LOVE it when my husband brings my boys to visit me at the fair!  He did an awesome job taking care of them while I painted Friday through Sunday.  He took them to an indoor trampoline park, did a movie night, and went camping in the back yard just to name a few of the fun things they did!

Here are some of the paintings done during this year’s fair…

Batman mask

Love these requests that aren’t on my board: cow!

My first eagle eye

White & Gold Mask. This is the niece of the lady in the booth next to me…I traded this face painting for one of the pretty bracelet / cuffs she makes!

I always love the chance to sit and paint something detailed on my own arm during slow times at the fair.  Since I wasn’t there during many week days this year, I had less down time to paint myself.  But, I did manage to get something on my arm each day…

Lacy heart done on my arm

Dragon done on my arm

Rose done on my arm – been working on some tribal stuff lately!

It was definitely the most gorgeous weather of all my 15 years at the fair.  In the past we’ve always had at least one really rainy day with major storms that caused huge mud pits around the fair!  But this year it was just beautiful every day.  The last day, Sunday, it was overcast all day and then we had some small sprinkles on and off, so it wasn’t too busy.  But, luckily we got the booth torn down without getting drenched!

The last day: Sammy helping Daddy haul out the last piece of my booth: the carpet!

Huge thanks to everyone who stopped by the booth this year!  We really love to see you all every year and are honored to be a part of your annual Dakota County Fair tradition!!

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2012 Dakota County Fair Booth Re-Design!

The 2012 Dakota County Fair booth is UP! 

A funny thing happened this year.  The day after I had all my design boards complete and ready to go, I was struck with a totally new idea for displaying designs, and decided to completely re-design it all 10 days before the fair.  Nuts, huh?  It involved many many hours of work and a lot of rush shipping charges, but luckily it all came together just in the nick of time.  And I really mean the nick of time…my last banner arrived in the mail yesterday and I had to set up today!

The booth empty! (almost…just the carpet square)
The booth done!

This afternoon I had a company picnic gig about half way between home and the fair, so I decided to go straight from there and try setting the entire booth up myself this year, sparing my hubby and kiddo’s from the whole ordeal.  I did it in 1 hour and 40 minutes, but I expect it to go much quicker in the future.  This was the first time doing the new display setup so it took me some time to figure some things out for the first time.  I’m betting with this new layout, we’ll have it packed up in a half hour or less come tear-down day.

I’m on an outside corner spot.

 This is my 15th year at the fair in this same spot!  I love my spot…being in a commercial building I don’t have to worry about weather or security.  I’m right inside the huge main door, so you can see this banner (above) from a good distance outside.  Being on the end I get visibility from two sides, and plenty of sunshine and breeze.

The new banner display system

 In the past I’ve had boards that sit on the table.  I had them anchored down really well, and never had any problems.  But, it always made me nervous when a strong wind would come into the building, that it might knock the whole works over.  Thankfully it never did, but this year I don’t have that worry at all.  I took advantage of a banner sale at Vistaprint and designed a bunch of banners that hang from the booth structure.  I then found some adhesive backed clear sleeves that I stuck on the banners, and now I am able to slide the designs into the sleeves.  I love how they turned out…so clean and simple, yet still eye catching, and easy for me to change on a whim!

I’ve only ever done cheek art at the fair, until last year when I experimented with a little tabletop booklet of full face designs and masks.  This year they have graduated to the $10-$15 banner.

Photo collage banner & Mirror Stand

I printed a large photo collage banner and hung it in the side, which eliminated my old system of another table with a large tabletop sign.  Hooray for less stuff to haul and set up!  I made this mirror stand years ago out of plywood.  It has a hinge in the back so I can fold it up for easy transport.  The arms attach with bolts and wing nuts, and they hold the giant mirror that I bought at Ikea.

All in all I think the new design came together nicely!  Time will tell how the banners hold up…but I’m constantly working on ways to improve my booth.  After 15 years, I think it’s becoming quite the well oiled machine!  (Of course, being a retail display designer helps a lot with booth design!)

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little sneak peek at my 2012 booth design!  Feel free to stop on by the fair and visit usMy mom, Rollie Brandt, will be painting Monday through Thursday, and I will be there Friday through Sunday.  Want to follow what’s going on at the fair this year? “Like” us on Facebook to get all the latest updates!