Yucka-Poo Weather and no AAC this week:(

Hi friends! Guess who doesn’t have her act together this week? Yep, that would be me. It’s funny just how much time gets sucked up dealing with feet upon feet of snow. I feel like I have been behind all year (I blame snow, jury duty and taxes…boy, I’m really gonna have to start coming up with a better excuse than jury duty, then again I’m still blaming my extra 15 pounds on my twin pregnancy. They’re 10 now.) So today was spent driving in a nasty snowstorm (not bad enough to cancel school so I figured the roads were fine and I had all 3 kids yearly well visits scheduled so I hated to cancel) I allowed 45 minutes to drive a distance that would have taken 20 normally and I was still 2 minutes late! The roads were not any better coming back but I was home by noon with the kids safely deposited at school BUT THEN I got my darn car stuck in my own snow bank in my own driveway except for the tail end hanging out in the road. Did you ever see the move Fargo and the scene when William F Macy’s character is scraping ice off the windshield and then he just loses it? Yep, that is this winter in Maine. For a born and bred Mainer I am pretty useless with outdoor winter car problems, luckily my niece Sarah around and helped me try to dig out the van (it did not work) but then our friend Jim stopped by in his truck and he was able to pull my van out. After that I needed a nap. I was somewhat productive yesterday but could not get an AAC filmed and Monday I ended up grocery shopping and since I HAD to leave the house so I decided to bring some more handmade stuff to my shop and freshen up my booth while I was out. But hey, I got the booth tour video I have been promising since January 1st done, so that’s something! Check that of the to do list LOL!

The Schoolhouse Antiques Mall is located at 530 S Main St, Brewer, ME 04412 Phone: (207) 989-9777 if you are ever in the area and want to check it out:)
I have arranged with Kathy and Lorraine to film a fresh batch of Ask a Crafters on Monday so you won’t be high and dry next week. Thanks for understanding and til next time happy crafting!

Farmer’s Markets & Upcoming Projects:)

Hello friend! Anyone else having a busy summer? I have already seen my friends counting down the days til school begins on Facebook so I am thinking yes. 🙂 I’ve been having a fantastic summer, the weather has been really nice after a long cold winter and spring so I want to be outside all the time! I had a chance to participate in an outdoor farmer’s market last weekend. Want to know how I did? Watch the video:

So…if no farmers attend a farmer’s Market is it still a farmer’s market? It kinda reminds me of the scrapbooking crop I went to a few months ago and nobody else showed up LOL! Speaking of scrapbooking I will be doing a week of scrapbook tutorials next month (August 4th-9th…maybe the 3rd-10th depending on how many tutorials I make LOL!) so if there is anything you would like me to cover let me know as I am filming the tutorials over the next few days. I am finding that keeping it simple is hard, I have too many doo-dads that would be just the perfect touch LOL! I hope people find the scrapbook tutorials encouraging and helpful and not overwhelming. We will see. I mean I don’t want to bore someone with just the basics, I want to share techniques and ideas too. I am going to try to start the pages off simple and build up and if someone does not want to see the fru-fru they can bail out on the video when they think it is done. What do you think? Leave your scrapbook wishes in the comments below and I will take them into consideration when I film the tutorials. Speaking of videos, did you know I put a new video tutorial up almost every day? If you want to see what you are missing check out my YouTube channel (and subscribe so you don’t miss any tutorials!) Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Ahhhh, I can relax now -or- Christmas craft fair done!

Hmm, I couldn’t quite decide on a title for tonight’s blog post. I love doing craft fairs and preparing for them but there is a span of about a week before it happens that I am a complete stressed out lunatic. When the power was out for 4 hours yesterday I could have had a psychotic break but instead I decided to sit in my living room with the wood stove on and knock out a few more watercolor cards (and film them as tutorials, hey my camera was freshly charged LOL, they are up on my YouTube channel) rather than throw a nutty. Cuz really, what would a tantrum have solved? I changed my craft fair booth up a bit going with an “L” shaped table and using all of my booth as “shoppable space” rather than hiding behind a table. I really like it more this way. I filmed a video showing how I set up and share tips for craft fair sellers:

What do you think? OK, you are probably wondering how the show went…

…it was S-L-O-W! But, that’s OK, the people who came were ready to shop (it’s 12 days till Christmas you know!) and I was prepared for the slowness by having my watercolors and blank cards so I could create custom cards on the spot. I also found that it drew people into my booth that might have been shy about coming over, what can I say I’m quite a spectacle to behold! LOL did I mention there was juggling?

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So I thought that I would offer some  more tips for those of you selling (or wanting to sell) at craft fairs:

  1. If you make jewelry, clothes or knits wear them! I got a commission to make a wrap like I was wearing for a lady, she even paid me half up front! It may seem obvious what items will look like on but you will have more buyers if you wear it! “hmmm, this is a necklace but good heavens, what will I do with it?” I am not kidding.
  2. Demonstrate a product. I brought my watercolors, a waterbrush and blank cards along in case it was slow. I painted cards on demand and people who might have walked on by stopped to watch. I also juggled which caught the eye of another vendor who snuck over to grab a set of juggling balls for her grandson. She never would have seen them otherwise!
  3. Act like you are happy to be there! Nobody wants to buy from a sourpuss. Be friendly but not stalky. Let them know you are here to help or explain anything to them. Also get to know your neighbor because you can keep an eye on each other’s booths if you need to grab a cup of coffee or go pee..and you will need to go pee after all of that coffee!
  4. Price everything. People won’t ask. Just price it.
  5. Speaking of pricing charge a fair price, you work hard at your craft, it probably is not going to make you rich but you should at least earn minimum wage for your labor. Rather than discounting a $5 pair of earrings to $3 offer 3 pair for $10 or $5 each. That way your best customers get the best deal and no one feels ripped off.  I feel the same way about offering slashed prices at the end of the day (unless it is perishable) because how would you feel if you paid full price and then walked by a booth and they were selling it cheaper to someone else? Next time that person will wait til the end of the day to buy. My prices are the same at 9am as they are at closing. I saw people giving away their stuff at the end of the day! You need to value your work and charge for your time, you are worth it.
  6. Upcycle items for display. Buying fancy displays cut into your profits and if you are a first timer it will put you into the red. Use crates and suitcases that can be used as storage and display. Build tables from saw horses and hollow doors (nobody will know after you put on a table cloth!) and use boxes and baskets to make your table tidy! Old picture frames make great displays, you can staple wire mesh to the back or add foam core to make a pin board display. You can even glue clothespins to the backing board to clip cards and stuff up on! My standing display racks were throw-aways from a local store, keep those eyes peeled when you see a shop changing displays! They might give you the old one or sell it cheap!

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I bet the question that you all are too polite to ask is how much did I sell? Well, we are friends so I’ll tell you:  about $220, I say about because my 3 kids were hitting me up for cash throughout the day hahaha! I not going to complain, it was good considering the low turnout for the show, with a strong turnout I reckon I would have tripled it but you just never know, factors like it being so close to Christmas, the frigid coldness today and a snowstorm on the horizon for tonight may have pushed people to go to town to hit the big stores rather than a leisurely craft fair shopping day. Still it beats staying home and making nothing! 😀 I had a hunch it would be slow and I’m glad I brought my watercolors. I had a fun day and so did the shoppers and the kids who came to see Santa and partake of the candy buffet and other activities. Go into a craft fair with a positive attitude and you will do well no matter how much you sell! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

How To Make a Burlap Wreath! {video!}

Hello and happy Friday! Wow, I have been so busy today, we lost power this morning and the school sent the kids home early. This day being the one to get all of my stuff ready and packed up for the craft fair tomorrow! I am so thankful to Jaimie, Susan and Amy (our Girl Scout Leaders) for stepping up and re scheduling the girls scout activities so they could have them this afternoon rather than this evening. Not only did it help me getting ready for my craft fair but the other moms who work outside of the house from having to shuffle jobs and kids. Make sure you appreciate all that your school and scout volunteers do, I sure do! So, I got back from setting up my craft fair booth, sat down to watch TV with the kids and fell asleep in like 10 minutes flat! The kids did not wake me up to inform me it was time for them to go to bed LOL! I’m gonna hit the hay early myself but first I wanted to share a fun holiday project. Yesterday, for the first time, I set about learning how to make a burlap wreath, let me tell you it would be a hit at a craft fair, and it is quite easy. All you need is burlap/jute fabric rolls (I used 14″ wide in moss color, it is $10 a roll and you can make 2 wreaths with one 10 yard roll), ribbon and decorations. You will need a wreath form too but I’ll show you how to make one for free in today’s video!

You can find the mesh and ribbon I used at Papermart. You can also use the same technique I showed you with all of the Deco Mesh products they offer. I’ve seen burlap wreaths selling for $45 and up on Etsy and the Deco Mesh wreaths fetch a pretty penny too. I recommend making your wreath form out of white foam core or spray painting a cardboard one to match with the more sheer mesh. It’s smart to purchase supplies from Papermart because you will get the best price (more profit for you if you sell at a craft fair or on Etsy) and you will also get the best quality available.  I wish I tried this sooner, I’d have a craft fair booth full of wreaths LOL! Right now I don’t think I could squeeze anything else in my booth and there is not a wreath to be seen…hmmm, maybe I could squeeze one in? I’ll share pictures tomorrow:) Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

My First Spring Craft Fair Experience!

Howdy folks! Now gather ’round y’all and hear the tale of my latest crafty adventure: Selling crafts at the local Parent Teacher Group Spring Fair. I have been taking my kids to our school Spring Fair since they were toddlers. It is not a craft fair, it is  a carnival like fair with bounce houses, games, photo booth, hair salon and a huge silent auction. The proceed benefit the PTG which provide funding for field trips, technology and classroom supplies for the teachers… basically they pay for everything the school budget does not. Cost for a table was $15. There is always a big crowd and everyone has a great time!

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I vaguely remembered they had vendors at this event (I was usually too busy chasing after my kids to notice LOL!) so this year when the form went out I was the first to sign up and I requested the spot in the breeze-way between the gym (where all of the games were) and the cafeteria where all of the food was sold and auction was being held. I knew most people would pass right by my booth several times during their visit and since I was the fist one to fill out my form and send my $15 payment I got the spot.

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I was allowed to set up my booth the night before. They wanted to make sure it was not going to stick out too much and block traffic. Also if it was not going to work they were going to put me in the cafeteria and they would rather know that the night before and not the morning before the event. Tearing down a booth and moving would take time!

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I planned to push my table against the wall so I could lean my two large display boards against the wall. I put a rack at each end of the table, one for cards and one for packages barrettes and pendents. I had one more rack I could have brought but I didn’t want to press my luck! 😛

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What worked…and what did not…

People did not have time to stop and browse, almost all of the women were chasing after their kids or volunteering. There is not much in my booth for men (who probably were not thinking about mother’s day yet LOL!) A couple of people asked to shop early because they would be working all day (yes please!) and I had a fair amount of children shopping, they really liked the bright bottle cap jewelry my daughters made! Next year (yes, I am totally doing this fair again) I will have some more kid-themed products to appeal to the children at a lower price point that kids can afford. My Enchanted Bubble Wands were my top seller at $5 each, also were my $5 earrings, I made a batch of summer lampwork glass earrings that went over great. Never underestimate novelty! As I was setting up my earring display board and was thinking that if I made my earring cards half the size I could get twice as much on the board but I think that would be a mistake because the stamped ATC frames showcase the earrings better that small traditional cards would. The large shopping bag caddies also sold pretty well when people knew what the heck they were LOL! People were worried about pulling out the bags and messing up my display, “don’t worry about that, pull them out and have a look!” I said. It is important to be OK with people rifling through your wares, don’t worry about it. Remember who needs who more in this relationship. If people are afraid to touch anything you won’t sell anything!

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That said your display should look nice, nice but approachable. Smile and talk about your work. Price everything. Tell people what a product is if it is not obvious, a lot of people won’t ask because they don’t wan to look foolish. Engage your customers but don’t be pushy, you don’t want people to sprint by your table because they are afraid you will snare them LOL!

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Bottom Line: I set a goal of $300 in sales for this 3 hour fair. I knew this goal was high because people do not come to the carnival to shop but the crowd is huge here so I figured people in need of mother’s day cards and gifts as well as goodies for themselves would make up for that. I sold about 40 items. I’m glad I brought a variety of things because sales were all over the place, there were a lot of things I sold only 1 of like a matted watercolor, a set of juggling balls, a bird’s nest pendent…if I decided to leave anything home who knows how I would have done? Cards sold well, mostly mother’s day seed packet cards but other random ones did too. You just never know. I came in at a little over half of my goal but more importantly the knowledge of what to do next time so I am more profitable. I am not discouraged at all, anytime you attempt vending at a fair you gather data, pay attention to the shopping habits of a particular crowd. I had nothing breakable on my table so it was approachable for all (heck I could have taken out my displays with my juggling balls at any moment LOL!) no worries of ruining anything.

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I’m thinking with all of the inventory I currently have I might rent a stall at an antiques mall. I have done it a couple of times before and it was quite profitable and a place to keep merchandise when not at shows. I feel like I am really getting the hang of setting up/tearing down a show (thanks Kath for helping mt tear down LOL!) and honestly, I just have a ball! I hope I have helped anyone thinking about selling their crafts.  I want to share what worked for me and what did not to hopefully help others. Making stuff is awesome fun & selling it is pretty cool too! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

One more item for the craft table…

So, the other day I had a bit of a freak-out that I would not have enough product for my craft fair table (not the case BTW, I completely filled a table and 3 display stands AND had to flip a storage tote over for another surface) and I remembered some covered button kits I had in my stash so naturally I made a bunch of earrings with them!

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The kits were from Dritz and you don’t need any tools. You cut a circle from fabric using the provided template (great for scraps!) and then center your button top on the wrong side of the fabric and pull the fabric to the back and hook it to the teeth on the back then snap the back of the button on! I cut off the shank on the back and glued on an earring post with one part epoxy.

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For the earring cards I cut scrapbook paper 3″x4″ and scored the piece at 1″, 2″ & 3 3/4″ and folded it in a triangle and glued it on the bottom with the smaller flap tucked under. Before I glued it I added an embossed punched shape (cut in half) and poked holes for the earrings and placed the earrings in and ear-nuts on the back. They remind me of something Jackie O would wear!

I guess I better get going, I managed to get my booth 99% set up last night but of course I want to tweak it a bit 😉 and I promised to make a sign for my daughters Brownie fundraiser booth and I have a list of stuff I forgot last night I need to round up too! I will take a photo of my set-up and share it with you tomorrow and let you know how I did, till then happy crafting!

WOYWW: Talkin’ ’bout beads!

Happy What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday folks! I have to report that the Easter Bunny was very good to me this year (imagine that, 36 years old and the Easter Bunny still leaves a basket for me at my parents house, I must have been really good this year…no wait, that CAN”T be it LOL!) I got a basket full of beads and 2 more Ultimate Stackers to start filling! With new beads comes sorting and that is what I have been up to:

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I also have to send out a lovely hug and thank you to Ginny who saw my WOYWW post last week about my new-to-me sewing machine that did not come with any accessories and low and behold she had spare parts for that model and she sent them to me, for free! She is such a  sweetie and a talented artist as well. Thanks so much Ginny!

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So as I was sorting (and beading) I got tot thinking about my upcoming craft fair and remembered all of the questions people had about selling at craft fairs last winter so I decided to answer them in a video blog…I’m thinking about doing a video blog every week and talk about random crafty stuff, what do you think?

I held some of my current projects up to the camera but it is hard to see in a video so here are some photos of this weeks projects so far, basic stringing but it great for showcasing unique beads!

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Well that’s it for me, I still have all of those boxes of beads to put away LOL! I get so distracted by them…I’ll just make a few little pretties before I pack them all up, famous last words right? They will probably still be on my desk next week! If you want to see more crafty desks hop over to Julia’s blog for more WOYWW fun and til next time happy crafting!

Resolutions, eh?

Here we are, another year, 2013! I’m ready for a fresh year, how about you? I typically do not make resolutions but I find that during the craziness of Christmas prepping and the long lazy days (that my kids are off from school) afterward I come up with better ways to do things…for instance: jotting down and planning out art projects that I want to complete so that I do not forget that I want to try them OR forget that I have supplies to do certain projects…so…I give you my not-so-fancy-but-totally-usefull Craft Fair 2013 Planning book:

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It is a mini composition book covered with scraps of patterned paper, no biggie but it does the trick.

I just recently heard this quote by Harvey MacKay:

“If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail”

So true, I had never heard it before {it was relayed to me by my wise husband 😀 } but I loved it. Next year I will not have the stress-filled-November-panic that I experienced last year upon realizing that I had no inventory for my upcoming craft fair (thank goodness I can produce quickly!) or will I stand around in my craftroom staring blankly wondering what I want to work on today. Nope. Not again. And for those of you (and by you I mean me) who browse Pinterest for hours pinning away cool ideas and then immediately forgetting them never to gander at your boards again you can write the aforementioned ideas on honest-to-goodness paper and have a fair crack at remembering them for once…please say I am not alone here?

Also I do a craft-room clean up and I am happy to admit that it is almost done! My beads are sorted and put away, craft Christmas presents have been put away and I came up with a clever way to corral my yarn stash so I can actually see (and use) what I have…now that’s a concept! I am planning a new craftroom video since my last tour was done 3 years ago, I’ll try to get to it this week before I mess the place up again LOL!

So how about you, any resolutions this year? Go ahead and make a crafy resolution and you will have fun keeping it! Til next time happy crafting!

Craft Fair Success!

Happy Sunday evening! I wanted to pop in earlier and tell you how my craft fair went yesterday but I had to get the house in order first. I vacuumed, mopped and scaled Mt. Washmore and I am pleased to report the place is clean and neat and I am relaxed and happy. Before I get to the nitty-gritty I want to remind you that you still have a few hours to sign up to win a stamp from about Art Accents, just leave a comment on last Monday’s post.

OK, folks, I luckily took some photos Friday night when I set up because I was way too busy on Saturday to take any. Here is a look at the front of my table:

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I scored the same corner spot I got last year (and have requested for all future craft fairs) so I had a lot of display room! At the corner of my booth I put a rack of mounted/matted watercolors, all original, and they sold like freaking hotcakes! I priced them cheap, $15-$30 but I am a fast painter so it works for me:) I even got 3 commissions! BTW my hubby built me this print rack years ago when I used to do sidewalk art shows.

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I was stressed all week that I did not have enough product for the fair, I crafted like a mad woman and I was still afraid I wouldn’t fill my table. 20 minutes into setting up I realized I had way too much to fit on my table and I had to run home and grab something else to put stuff on, I had this garden cart in my cellar and I hauled it to the fair. I like it!

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You haven’t missed any tutorials, many of these projects I made this week and I will be sharing the tutorial later. Like the one for hand warmers. I sold the for $3 a pair of 4/$10 and they seemed to be a hit! I have so many baskets of finished cards that I rotate around to different shops and I grabbed them all for the sale. I scored this card rack for free because the cards were discontinued and the slots are 7″ wide and that accommodates all of my cards (although some might have to be sideways…LOL…oh well, beggars can’t be choosers!) I put small dumbbells in the bottom of the stand to weight it so it would not tip over and cold-cock any of my potential customers 🙂 Oh and the tall white spinner stand (also a freebie) holds my kids handmade jewelry 🙂

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My earrings were a big hit, they were $5 and sold like the proverbial hotcakes I mentioned earlier.  People really liked the x-mas earrings too, I offered them at 3/$10 or $5 each…not each, a pair…who need 3 earrings?!?

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I think $5 must be the “sweet spot” for craft fair sales, the juggling kits were $5 too and I sold all but one set!

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But hey, I did give free lessons!

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Who is that crazy girl? I juggled off and on (mostly on) the entire day between ringing up sales that were surprisingly brisk! I think I had a dumb grin on my face the entire day, “They like me, they really like me!”

Of course they might just be wondering “Who is that crazy juggler chick in the Santa hat?” but whatever, it brought them into the booth, now didn’t it. Another conversation starter was the wine bottle display…not sure how effective it was because I did not sell a single piece of jewelry displayed on said bottles but again it made people stop and take a closer look and then they noticed my wine bottle bottom candles. I sold most of them too and I considered not bringing them because I though people would think they were tacky (personally I think they are chic)…I am obviously very concerned with what people think of me…NOT!

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Apparently people bought the candles for gifts. I brought tiny alpha stamps so I could personalize the wine labels…I did not thing to bring another table so I sat on the floor and stamped…not a new thing for me…people thought I was quirky and delightful…or maybe just weird…

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The gift bags that I made in this post were surprise grab bags filled with jewelry I was too lazy to repackage with my snazzy new ATC card labels. I optimistically priced them at $10 but dropped the price to $5 a couple hours into the show when there were no takers. Again, $5 is the sweet spot I think. I sold all but 4 of the grab bags…I though more people would like a surprise…huh.

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Oh, I made some goodies too and they sold out, I’ll be sharing the printable for the Santa S’mores later this week so you can make some too! I sold the S’mores for $1 and the pretzels for $2. The kids made the pretzels so they got to split the spoils 🙂 The lip balm purses were quick to make using my Nifty Gifty Template and I sold them for $1. All but 4 sold but I have an order to make more for a customer because I did not have the amount she needed. I made these for my daughters scout troop last year and they were a hit! Oh, in the upper right hand corner I have knot tying kits, they were a also hit and I sold almost all of them! I’ll have a video tutorial on that later this week.

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OK, lets get down to brass tacks. Sales were great! I’m not comfortable telling people exactly how much I sold but it was a couple hundred dollars more than I sold last year and the only money I had to shell out was the $25 for the space rental and about $22 for the ingredients for food goodies and lip balm and a few beads that I used for the xmas earrings.  I think the increase in sales this year had to do with the fact that I had some paintings for sale and they were more expensive. Also this being the second year of the show we had more traffic. It also helped that I offered a variety of items at a variety of price points. I had a hope in my mind to make a certain amount but I did not know if it was possible with mainly $1-$5 items but I surpassed my “pie-in-the-sky hope” by $58! Wow!

I was surprised that my Christmas cards did not sell at all this year when I sold out last year but maybe because this years fair was a week later had an effect (too late to send x-mas cards?) but my blank and occasion cards sold very well.

I didn’t need half of the boxes I brought my wares to the show in to bring them home in and after I unpacked the van I sorted and organized everything and packed it away neatly for next year. What was left fit in 2 crates! Hooray to getting rid of stuff! I hope I don’t sound like I am bragging, but it was a great day, I am grateful that people liked my stuff, it can be a little nerve-wracking to put your creations out there for sale, there is the fear that no one will like them or buy them but the payoff is great when they do. I can’t wait til next year! Thanks for sharing this adventure with me and til next time happy crafting!

 

A Painterly Playdate!

Back to the ol’ grind today! I hope you had a nice weekend! It was a mini vacation here as the kids had nearly a week off for Thanksgiving break. We are in full craft fair prep mode. My kids have been crafting stuff to sell, as have I! This year I have conned…er I mean invited some friends to exhibit at a craft fair with me. My Friend Kath who is an extremely talented seamstress is making “American Girl” sized clothes to sell and we have gotten together several times for crafty playdates to prepare… basically we drink a lot of tea, chit-chat and occasionally make some product for our tables. On Friday she invited me over to craft, I was going to bring my beads and make jewelry but I decided it would be less of a bother to bring my watercolor supplies. Here is one of the paintings I completed:

I started 6 paintings. I have a method where I start a painting and put in the background and then sketch out and paint the backgrounds on as many paintings as I can while waiting for the first one to dry. I like to work on very wet paper to start so I would have quite lot of ‘sittin’ around waiting’ to do if I did not get to work on other paintings. I started 6 and finished 3!

Did I mention we had 6 kids between the two of us. Actually we each have a set of 8-year-old twin daughters who entertained themselves playing with their American Girl dolls while we crafted and our boys wandered about playing video games and chess. You would never have know that there were a half-dozen kids there LOL!

I have quite a stack of watercolors to mat and put in clear archival bags to sell at the craft fair, my booth is going to be so schizophrenic looking with the mish-mash of craftyness I have planned but oh what fun it is to plan for a craft fair! BTW, I will be working some of the new paintings into downloadable how-to painting packets for my shop, I’ll let you know when they are available! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

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