Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year Everyone!

I was trying to simplify my card this year but then it did end up still taking me awhile to complete them--it's using markers on the stamps--gets me every time & takes longer than I expect! I used the "Snow-Swirled" set & the negative of the Top Note Die. I had tons of them left over from my craft fair packaging so I thought to use them as frames for the picture of my kids.

Just in case you didn't get one in the mail, consider this my Christmas Card to all of you :-) Thanks for reading my blog & encouraging me in my creative endeavours this year!


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Truly Inspirational

Way back in the summer I posted about SU!'s generosity in donating to my favorite non-profit Divine Mercy Care. Well, the DMC Gala was in November & I'm just now posting about it (had to wait 'til all the recipients got their gift frame pictured below).

The theme was about the parable of the seeds that fall in the good soil & grow because DMC has really grown this year! I was excited to be able to share with Heather the Decorations chair that Stampin' Up! has a "wheatgrass" stamp in the "Inspired by Nature" set. They used it on the menu cards (pictured), which went nicely with the REAL wheatgrass centerpieces! Cool, huh?

I've also included a picture of the Stampin' Up! basket (which was bid up nicely in the silent auction, I might add)--note the gold wheatgrass on the description frame too.

Finally, I made nine of these gift frames for the top donors and the gala co-chairs. This fall I was honored to become a Board Member so I wanted to do something a little special. The frame was made using a masking technique & sponge daubers to apply the ink. The Mother Teresa quote that comes with the set was just too perfect--I had to find a way to use it! Then, I incorporated a personal message from the Founder & President, Dr. John Bruchalski. This stamp set got a nice little workout for a great cause!


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Free Shipping & 10% Off Retiring Sets!

Get 10% off retiring stamp sets & free shipping on any orders over $70!
Wow, this is fantastic!! I've never seen free shipping from Stampin' Up! so I am all over this. I've been eyeing "Summer by the Sea" for years too! Take advantage of this limited offer (Dec. 9 -Dec. 23) by ordering now through my website: http://www.stamp4life.stampinup.net/


Monday, December 8, 2008

Craft Fair Musings

So I finished my craft fair season--whew--I did 3 shows in all. I thought I would just post my general conclusions. This is the third year I've done them & I learn new stuff every year. This year I was doing the biggest ones I'd done so I didn't know what to expect & ended up making WAY more than I needed to.

Of course, most of it can be used next year. The items that had chocolate in them that didn't sell--well, I'm going to recycle the containers for next year & put the chocolates in stockings this Christmas. Those cute jars I made with nuggets? Well, I didn't sell many--I suspect it was because there are cheaper ways to buy chocolate & not because they weren't cute--I did get compliments on them (the purses did sell pretty well though--maybe because they were more Christmasy). So, I'm going to make them "card candy jars" & put my card candy (punched flowers, images I didn't use) in them. Then I'll advertise as for the "scrapper in your life". All of a sudden it's a much more unique gift & I think they'll do much better.

I also made tons of the SU! baskets (easy & fun to make--kind of addictive, really) so I still have a lot left. So instead of chocolate kisses, I'm thinking about making them into "gift card holders"--& lowering the price. Regular gift card envies from the store won't fit, but if I custom-make smaller ones, I can do it (see my Beach Basket from back in August).

I'm glad I had a lot of variety but I'd say next time I wouldn't make so much of each item except the ones I know from experience sell really well. So, next year the only items I really have to make are my best-sellers (the post-it holder sets, ring wine charms, domino pins/magnet ornaments (see pic--these things FLEW! I sold them at $3.50 or 2/$6), photo clips, altered notebook sets, rhinestone beaded pens, christmas card holders--but I'm not going to make as many of these items as I did this year) & I have enough of the other things left over to make the table look interesting. For example, I might have 20 post-it holders, 50 domino ornaments & 10 of the other things mentioned (that's to last 2 craft fairs). I like that the two craft fairs I want to do have some time in between to replenish & adjust pricing if necessary. Of course, if inspiration hits, I might try a new item---I did just get a "Melt Art" melting pot so you never know...

If you're going to sell cards, I definitely recommend a nice display rack that makes it easy for people to look through & of course, label the subjects. I didn't make cards specifically to sell but just used cards or cardfronts (put them on cards) I already had. The lightly embellished ones in clear envelopes on my spinning display rack sold much better then my cheaper, plain ones that I had on my table. I did have regular envelopes available if they wanted them in addition to the clear envelopes. I personally would not make extra cards to sell if you already have some lying around--I had less than ten cards for each subject and that was more than enough.

On a logistics note--don't forget a water bottle, a snack & some tylenol! I had a raging headache yesterday. After weighing all the time I spent preparing (usually during naptime on school days), I'm cutting back to 2 shows next year (besides--my youngest won't be napping next year). I've decided on the two shows I did at schools--St. Timothy's was my best in terms of profit & it's great because people I know shop there; Fox Mill Elementary, while less profitable (but definitely still worth it), allows me to sell as a demonstrator & is very close to my neighborhood & only half a day. The Herndon Community Center one was the most expensive table fee but I only made a little more than Fox Mill. It's also the same weekend as Fox Mill & that's really hard on the family. I woke up this morning panicked that my kids didn't have clean clothes for school but thank goodness, my husband had done the laundry on his own accord.

So, if you're looking into doing this craft fair thing, it's great fun but it does take a while to learn the right work/family balance (as in all things). Since I do this for a little extra play money & for fun, I think I've made the right adjustments for me. Hope this helps some of you :-)


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Post-it Holder & Matching Beaded Pen Sets

Have I mentioned how much I love Freecycle.org? Last year I scored a bunch of acrylic frames (6" x 4") from someone & this year I had a revelation of how I could use them: post-it holders! This was my first time making these things but I'd heard of them from so many crafters through splitcoaststampers.com.

I LOVE making them. I just used a piece of designer paper & then adhered a cardstock block so I'd know where to attach the post-its later. Then I made some kind of matted stamped or rub-on image to match & adhered it on the paper. Put that into the frame & then added the post-its, ribbon & generic dew drops directly onto the frame. The finishing touch is a beaded pen made from matching designer paper. I almost sold out of them at my first craft fair so I went out & bought more frames to make more for my craft fairs this weekend.

Come find me at Fox Mill Elementary in Herndon on Sat. Dec. 6 from 9-1 & at the Herndon Community Center on Ferndale Rd. in Herndon on Sun. Dec. 7 from 10-4!


Monday, December 1, 2008

I Believe Too!

Just wanted to give a shout out to my friend JoEllen who started a counter ad campaign to the American Humanist Association ads proclaiming, "Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness' sake," that will appear on Washington, D.C buses through December. The I Believe Too campaign has raised $2400 so far to place ads of their own on DC buses! The ads will say, "Why Believe? Because I created you and I love you, for goodness sake--God." If you'd like to be a part of it, please visit their website at www.ibelievetoo.org & donate to the best Christmas card this season!