Saturday, August 23, 2008

How it all started

I did not start out to make handmade crafts to sell online or at craft fairs.
Believe it or not I was a Home Economics Major in college!
I majored in Food & Nutrition and had enough course for a Minor in Chemistry.
So, how did I end up with a little shop on Etsy doing Craft Fairs??
My Sister.

My sister took some pottery class for fun. After awhile she began to sell her work and took the big leap, quitting her day to make pottery full time. I would help out with her craft shows.

For Christmas two years ago, I made her an organizer so she could keep her show information together until she got back to her studio. A section for contact information, one for orders, one to jot notes, an envelope to put checks in for deposit and another for receipts for tax purposes.
I personalized the organizer with her Studio name & made a little pocket for her business cards too! The Organizer was a hit and when she did craft shows it drew interest from others.

My sister encouraged me to make these & sell them. One of the small galleries she was in was expanding and she suggested I try it out. She offered to give me a shelf in her booth to see how it goes. The first day I put my little books in I sold 3 books! I got busy making more books and by the next month I had my own booth! It was exciting and I was hooked! In the fall my sister talked me into sharing a booth with her at a craft fair we had heard about. It was fun, a learning experience for me to get my feet wet and also talk directly to the people who liked my work.
The show did not have a lot of traffic, but I met another artist who told me about selling on Etsy.
I had signed up on Etsy as a buyer and took the next step & listed my first book on
Halloween 2007!

I have only been selling 10 months and love it!! I did my first solo craft fair this summer, my sister was close by (in the booth right beside me). We will share another booth again this fall at the Junior League Holiday Galleria in Shelby and I will have another solo craft fair two weeks before. I didn't set out to do this, but I am glad I took the journey!

This is one of my sister's works and my favorite! She hand rolls each grape and builds the bunch one 'grape' at a time. The leaves are made by rolling out clay very thin and pressing real grape leaves into the clay. She then forms them into handles and accents.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tools of the Trade????????????

So you would expect some one who makes little books and other paper things to
have alot of the scrapbooking tools, the paper cutters, scissors, knife, glue ink,
bone folder, binding machine. As I was working the other day & picked up my push pin
I thought about how some of the things I use as 'tools' might surprise others and tried to think of all my 'not neccessarily thought of as a tool' tools.
  1. push pins (great for poking a hole to put in brads)
  2. sandpaper ( great for smoothing some rough edges off the paper & distressing
  3. hot pad from my kitchen (it's made of cork so great when I need to push an awl through things and not poke me by mistake!)
  4. make up sponges (even my books get a beauty treatment when I use these to paint!)
  5. q tips (sometimes I need a little paint touch up or when I distress papers)
  6. baby wipes ( my books get cleaned up after the sandpaper or inking! me too sometimes!!
  7. my sewing machine ( I like sewing papers together to make pockets or sometimes instead of glue to hold things together)
  8. toothbrush (my tools are sounding more like my things primp in the mirror alot!! The toothbrush I use to make splatter spots to distress or age the paper or book)
  9. A piece of crepe rubber (like on the bottom of shoes, this is my magic eraser for glue smudges, rub it on the spot and it erases the glue off without messing up my paper!)

So there are my 'tools' of the trade, I like being able to find different uses for everyday things!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Unusual request

I love doing custom orders and part of that fun is creating something special and one of a kind
for special occasions! Weddings are always exciting, that one special day you dream about as a little girl! A good friend came to me with a request for an unusual gift for her neice's upcoming wedding. She wanted me to make her a guest book/photo album and a reception card box.

Nothing unusual there, have made quite a few for buyers on etsy, but the theme this time was a bit different. Camo! Not cameo, but camo as in hunting, army guy camo! I am up to a challenge so Chris & I discussed her niece's wedding colors and how the soon to be newly weds are into 'muddin', 4 wheeling & other fun things. She brought me the wedding invitation and drawing from that & the camo I started making the album & card box.

The invitation was a very nice casual wedding with great pictures of the couple with western hats and a twine bow. I took the invitation and cut it in half. The front I used to decorate the outside of the album/guest book. The base color was camo with a dark green textured paper on top. I really liked the bow picture in the invitation so I took some twine and coiled it around in a design to the left and tucked in two green hearts to accent the front. Chris also gave me a photo
she had of the couple and I inserted that in the inside front cover with two horseshoes intertwined. I made it so the couple could change the picture out later with one from their wedding day if they wanted. On the first page of the book I took the announcement part of their invitation and accented it with a little twine bow with beige card stock underneath.

Next for the box! When I started it looked like a hunting storage box & I was stumped! I needed to dress it up, you know it is going to a wedding so it needs it's Sunday Best!!!

The dark green paper just was too dark, so I pulled out a light brown and what a difference it made!! I accented the top with a green sheer ribbon bow, lighter green velvet ribbon with a silver buckle that reminds me of what I cowboy would have and I dressed up the card stock under the 'cards' tag like I did for their photo album.

Chris is on her way now to see the happy couple with a little something special just for them for their wedding day. The pics aren't my best, but you get a good idea!

Friday, August 15, 2008

What's next......

I had a great time at the Mount Mitchell Craft Fair in Burnsville, NC! Met alot of new friends (Check out , sold my books and got some requests for some new items. One of the newest additions are clipboards. I usually have one that I use for my booth and the week before the show I decided to spruce it up a bit because as with all my books, why have plain when you can have pretty???Check Spelling

After decking out my clipboard, I had so much fun with it, I couldn't stop there and went out and bought more to embellish. Day one of the show the clipboards were gone including the one I made for me :( so I am busy making more for the next shows coming up in October and a couple of custom orders.

Another suggestion was photo albums. I have a mini one I am working on and another one that holds 4x6 photos. Here are the rough drafts of the albums, without the bling as my youngest says!