Easy Sewing Project: Shopping Bag Caddy

Good morning! Today I am going to share a very easy sewing project. It is a great one for kids to make too as gifts. It is a bag to wrangle all of those plastic shopping bags we get when we forget to take our cloth ones to the store. I like to have these plastic bags around for lining trash cans, collecting road-trip rubbish in the car and of course when I walk the dog. 🙂

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You will need:

1 fat quarter of fabric (or fabric left over from another project)

1/4″ sewing elastic

sew-on Velcro

grosgrain ribbon

sewing machine, thread, strait pins and a safety pin. You will also need scissors and something round to trace such as a plate.

Watch the video to see how it is done!

Well, how easy was that! I love it when a project can teach new skills such as making a casing for an elastic (hey, now you can make a skirt or pair of pajama pants) or sewing on Velcro witch is a great thing to know your all of you home decor divas out there! If you enjoyed this project and want to try yourself please check out the wonderful ribbons and other craft supplies available from our sponsor Papermart! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

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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!

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