Monday, November 24, 2008

Successful Craft Show!

This past Saturday was my first craft show of the season at St. Timothy’s Catholic School in Chantilly. For my fellow crafters who are always looking for ideas on display or what sells well, I shall indulge you :-)

My set up was a 6 ft. table & a 2 ft. table under one tablecloth. The white shelves are just plastic snap together ones I used in my old dorm room & just rediscovered in my mom's attic-lol. The wire basket stand is one of those "narrow laundry shelves" with the caskets removed. The stand alone card rack I got free from from Eileen Hull (thanks again Eileen!) who used to do craft shows--so it never hurts to ask! If you can get one, I highly recommend it--I sold more cards than I ever have & that might have had something to do with it. The other items are just dollar store trays or xmas containers I had around the house. The wire basket that the bookmark clips are on I usually use in my bathroom for lotions, etc. I used my kids' play magnet board to display the magnets. I have 2 more fairs to do so I definitely had more stuff than I needed!

Some thoughts on some of my items …I had my nicer cards in clear envelopes in the rack. I was pleasantly surprised the individual Xmas cards did well--the lady said she wanted special envelopes to put money in for family. I did explain to people how to mail in the clear envelopes but they could take a regular envelope if they really wanted (no one asked). I think they did well (first cards I've sold in three years of fairs) because of the rack & the clear envies--just made them look so much more classy & easy to look at.

Card Totes/purses—These fit 4 cards with envelopes & I meant for people to choose cards for them but it didn’t really work out (didn’t sell any). I’m planning on whipping up some generic cards to put in them. I’ll have each set look the same & say they’re a gift set.

Lollipops—I sold 7 out of 18 at 25 cents each. Of course, three of the sales were from my own kids…

Gift Tags (set of 10)—I only sold 4 out of 26 at $3 so I’m going to lower the price to $2.50 & advertise they can be used on cards or in scrapbooks. I heard one lady comment she wished they were bigger so that’s a thought for next year.

Christmas Card Holders (altered letter sorters): One lady commented she wished I had some any season ones so she could use it year round. Another idea for next year.

Post-it Holders with matching beaded pen--Wow, these were popular at $6 each. One teen asked me if I’d take $5.46 (all she had) so she could get one for her mom (I said yes—& an awww inside). Another commented that she liked the ones without sayings because they were great teacher gifts & you never know if the teacher wants to “Live with Passion” (as 4 of mine said) Hee.

So…yeah, I’ve been working every naptime & then some since Aug. for all this stuff. I’m very pleased with the results & I have plenty left for my next 2 shows (not til Dec. 6 &7). The only things I’ll be making more of are the lg. notebook sets & the post-it holders (I’m going to make some magnet ones this time too) & then the cards for the totes. Then, I have a couple of other small projects I just thought of. Anything that doesn’t sell will be Xmas gifts or put on my etsy store or saved for next year.

General tips—try to do a sample set up at home to make sure stuff fits. I had the SU! kid tattoo kits & when a kid shopping with his mom looked bored, I offered to do a free tattoo & they really seemed to like that (I had a stamped sample so they could easily choose which one they wanted). Pretty packaging seemed to help. Having samples of how to use things helped (like the tealight in the candle, the card holder with a card in it, a wine glass with the charm on it). The most popular items in a nutshell: altered domino pin or magnet ornaments, large notebook sets & the post-it holder sets.

This was the largest (& most expensive table fee) show I’ve done in three years so turning a profit & all the positive comments were definitely affirming. Will I do it again next year? I think I’ll wait til my other shows & maybe just pick one to do—as much as I love it, ours is a very time-consuming hobby!


Friday, November 21, 2008

Just in Time for Thanksgiving--another Hostess Gift

A big thanks to Katie at Katie's Niche for this inspiration (& the tip about adding the scallop punch around the neck): Wine Tags! I saw those & thought they'd be perfect to make for my craft fair tomorrow (and the only one I have before Thanksgiving).

I'd seen these before but for some reason, the purpose didn't click with me until I saw Katie's blog. Duh! Use them as gift tags on bottles you bring as a hostess gift (instead of paying a bunch for a little wine bag). I always looked at them & wondered "Why would I want to put that on my wine bottle?" What does that say about my resistance to giving my wine away?

Anyway, here are some samples all using SU!'s Top Note Bigz Die & a stamp from "Frames with a Flourish" embossed on the bottom in gold with a sentiment inside. In the first picture, for the Christmas one I used the Snow-Swirled set with markers. On the Blessed one, I made a pumpkin with punches (sponge the edges with ink--really makes it pop) & the vine is from "Baroque Motifs."

In the second picture, I used the hostess set "Fall Flair" for the Thanksgiving tag and the retired "Glorious Garlands." If you enlarge the picture, you'll be able to see that there are little snowflakes that I stamped with Versamark & embossed with Irisdescent Ice--adds a really nice subtle sparkle.

Ok--off to bed--got to get up early for my first craft show of the season!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Snowflake Die Projects

My poor husband is starting to feel like a "Craft show Widower." I don't know when to stop. I was inspired by the blog "Addicted to Stamping" to buy SU!'s Snowflake Die & I'm so glad I did! (By the way, you have to look at her reindeer punch projects--SO cute!)

Anyway, I came up with a couple of projects using this die. First is a Christmas card holder (or letter or napkin holder). I saw these mesh letter holders in a store & then I was browsing the Oriental Trading catalog & saw a card holder project--combined the two & this is what I came up with. I used an old holiday scrapbooking kit for the paper & sentiment (it's a matted sticker--gasp!). Then I added SU!'s felt snowflakes, brads & Stickles to the snowflake die cut (used a thin white chipboard that backs SU! designer papers). I've had fun decorating each one differently to sell at my craft fairs (made ten--at least if they don't sell, I'll have cute teacher gifts!)

Next is a pretty straightforward snowflake ornament. I layered three die cuts together. They are held together with clear snowflake buttons tied with a bit of silver elastic cord. I also decorated them with Liquid Pearlz & Stickles. I used Shimmery White paper & while you can't tell from the photo, it's quite glittery.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Like Mother, Like Daughter

If you're a crafter with kids, I think you'll be able to relate to this situation--whenever I steal away into my craft room, before long "they" find me! & when they find me, especially my 4 yr.old daughter Maddie, they insist on doing what I do.

Okay, so last February I did a class on creating 16 cards in a tote made from half of Stampin' Up!'s Boho Blend Simply Scrappin' Kit (see pics--got the idea from a local SU! meeting). It's been sitting out in my craft room ever since then & numerous times Maddie has eyed it.

Yesterday, I was in there an inordinate amount of time trying out a couple of new craft fairs ideas. There's kind of a point of no return when my time becomes non-productive because one of the kids will inevitably come in looking for attention. (My craft room is right off their playroom so I can keep an ear on them.) With Maddie, it usually involves me having to stop what I'm working on to help her make "something pretty." This time she wanted to make the Simply Scrappin' tote & cards.

As you can imagine, you're trying to get stuff done, the creative juices are flowing, the last thing you want to do is stop & figure out a way a 4 yr. old can make something complicated without using your good supplies! (I keep a stash of "dispensable" supplies for the kids & taught them not to use my good stuff.) Anyway, on her own initiative, Maddie goes to get her paper & proceeds to cut it up(using my Stampin' Up! tabletop cutter--safe for the kids!) & puts on glue stick, & then brings me the pieces to fold together to make a tote. When we were done, she asked for the handle, which I did. Then on her own, she made a bunch of "cards" to put inside & here's the result!

So, while I know as a good mother, I should probably spend more time making stuff with her, I also can't help but be tickled & proud of what she does when left to her own devices with just a little assistance :-)

Monday, November 10, 2008

SU! Virginia Beach Regional

This past weekend I headed to VA Beach for the SU! Regional. It'll probably be the closest I'll ever come to making it to a convention. This was my second Regional, but the first one Shelli (the founder) was at. So, I had to get the requisite Shelli on stage pic.

Even though I wasn't able to meet up with the other lady from my SU! team there, I found a place at a table with some other VA demos. I've found stampers in general to be a friendly bunch (& a bunch of enablers!) They had some great projects for us to make (I'll post those later) & I learned a bunch of cool tips. I guess I've been doing this long enough now that I've at least heard of most techniques (at least the ones they showed us), but it's the little things that I love learning the most!

This "Snowman Kit" was a project demonstrated on stage. I doubt I'd ever make it but I still thought it was the cutest thing. She made the buttons (on clothespins) out of foam run through the Big Shot. So of course today I had to run out & get some foam! She had buttons, a styrofoam nose, foam eyes & a scarf all in the top hat to form the kit. A cool little tip was how she made the little snowman tag's face. Sorry--I didn't get a good picture of it, but instead of punching out little black bits for the eyes & teeth & sticking them on the white head, she punched out circles & squares for the eyes & mouth & then put black cardstock behind his white circle head so it only looked like she'd messed with itty bitty punch-out pieces.

The neat little idea I got from this card on one of the sample displays was simply using the Photo Corner punch to make a Christmas tree. How simple but cool is that?

This last project Shelli showed us from the stage. It's a little game where you try to rest two little BBs in the punched out holes. The display shows all the pieces. First a box of Designer Paper, two layers of foam, watercolor paper (the layer you stamp the image on) & an acetate top (click to really see it). Then you just punch a hole in the top foam & watercolor paper layers. The whole thing was about 3" x3". Probably not something I'll get around to making, but who knows--maybe stocking stuffers for the boys since they won't want my pink barrettes?


Monday, November 3, 2008

Fun with Shrinky Dinks Pt. 2: Barrettes!

While browsing the jewelry aisle at the local big box craft store for my wine charms (& thus with shrinky dinks on my mind), I saw some barrette clips & inspiration hit. It took a while of trial & error to hit on the correct measurements to fit the barrettes (ended up with a White
Shrinky Dink strip of 1" x 5 1/2" for this size barrette). Next, I used a 1/4" hole punch (to thread ribbon through) close to either end of the strip & rounded the corners.

Then I decorated the strip with various stamps (the Christmas trees are re-purposed Birthday party hats from "Party Hearty" by the way). I just used craft ink. On a few barrettes not pictured, I stamped ballet slippers in Staz-on Black & then colored in with markers since I didn't have the right pink in a permanent marker. The water-based dye beads up which creates an interesting polka dot look. That's okay with the small images produced because it still gives an overall pink color but for larger images, I'd splurge for the $1.99 permanent marker :-) I also found that simple shapes worked best since they shrink so small. I tried one intricate pattern & colored it in with permanent markers. However, it was all lost when the image shrunk & everything just blended together. When choosing colors, also remember that the color gets darker or more intense when shrunk.

Once the strip was stamped, it was time to shrink. I simply used my heat tool, holding down one end with a craft tweezer in one of the holes. This also took lots of trial & error because the long narrow shape was very tricky to shrink without it twisting & folding up on itself (& thus getting stuck & ruined!) The best I can describe the winning technique is to start on one end & let it shrink about a third of the way then switch sides. When the strip is shrunk, quickly flip it over & put the barrette onto the back of it. Then, with one side pressed down, pull the other side of the strip up to touch the barrette. You need to do this step quickly so that the strip forms to the curve of the barrette before cooling completely.

Before attaching the strip, I added an optional step of embossing the whole thing. I pressed the strip onto a Versamark pad & then scooped Iridescent Ice Embossing Powder over it. Then, I used my Heat Tool to melt the powder. If you do this too long, the strip will straighten out again. If this happens just re-shape it with the barrette as described before.

Finally, I attached the strip by first putting some Crystal Effects on the barrette & laying the strip down on the barrette with the holes on the strips & barrette lined up. When it was dry, I threaded the ribbon through the holes & tied a bow on each end (this helps the strip more closely fit against the barrette since the shape will not be perfectly contoured). My packaging, once again, is SU!'s exclusive Top Note Die.