Monday, June 29, 2009

Link Round Up: Finding a Craft Show

Here's a collection of links to sites where you can find craft shows to participate in.

State Arts Sites - Your state likely has an arts commission or similar agency to help out artists, most also have event calenders to help you out.

Indie Craft Shows
- Indie Craft Shows is a directory of indepedently-run craft shows featuring handmade goods.

Festival Network Online - Find music festivals, craft shows, art festivals & fairs in the US and Canada

CraftLister - lists 50,000+ events year

Friday, June 26, 2009

Weekly Inspiration

Lovely use of a model.

Double Your Fun, originally uploaded by The Cozy Farmhouse.

Submit your photos for consideration as a Weekly Inspiration by adding them to the Flickr Group.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Two Very Easy To Make Displays

As promised here are two DIY displays that are very easy to make with just a few tools and materials that are easy to find. I'm using these for the two upcoming art fairs that I'm doing.

Fish Bowl Display

I made this display for my hair sticks but it could be adapted to display other items.

Small glass fishbowls or votive bowls
Floral styrofoam (the dense kind you used in gradeschool not the soft kind that absorbs water)

Hot glue gun

Step 1: Give the bowls a good wash, even brand new ones probably sat on a store shelf for a while gathering dust.
Step 2: Hot glue the piece of styrofoam into the bottom of the bowl. Allow the glue time to cool.
Step 3: Carefully fill around the foam with pebbles. I used some lovely moss green ones I found in the floral department. If you are collecting pebbles yourself try around a stream or river to get nice smooth ones and give them a good wash before using them.
Step 4: Decorate around the top with sea shells.
Step 5: Using the item you're displaying or a sharp pencil poke evenly spaced holes in the foam. I put some on the outside edge of the foam at an angle for more visual interest.

  • Get some of those plastic card holders for flower arrangements and stick those in the foam to display small prints or cards
  • For a garden/woodland theme use pebbles and top with moss instead of shells
  • Use glass marbles in colors that compliment for work for a more sparkley fanciful look

Frame Trays

Cheap yardsale picture frames
Spray paint
Cardboard (use the backing for the frame if it still has it)
Flannel or other thick fabric

Newspaper, drop cloth, etc.
White glue
Hot glue gun

Step 1: Remove glass and cardboard backing from the frames.
Step 2: Taking the frames and your newspaper or drop cloth outside, spray paint them the color of your choice. This may take 2-3 coats of paint. Allow to dry thoroughly.
Step 3: Cut the fabric to fit the frame backing. Run white glue along the edges of the backing and glue to the back side of the fabric. Allow to dry.
Step 4: Apply hot glue around the inside edge of the back of the frame and insert the fabric covered backing. Once cool you have an attractive display try for your jewelry.

Tip: Use a small block of wood under the top of the frame to tilt it rather than laying flat. If you have several frames you can do display them at different tilt angles.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Link Roundup - DIY Displays

My long post for Wednesday is going to be how I made some pretty displays for my art show booth. So to lead up to that here are some links to other ways to make your own displays.

Indie Craft Shows - DIY Displays: An ongoing series of posts with display ideas such as a greeting card earring display, DIT display risers, and using a vintage truck to make a jewelry display.
Ring Display - Using a wooden tray, soft foam, and fabric.
Pendant Display - Cute idea using pieces of tile
Wire Earing Display - Made larger and with hooks rather than loops it could be used for bracelets, necklaces, etc.

And a few quick ideas for re-purposing objects as displays I've come up with:
  • Use terra-cotta pots as risers.
  • Lazy susans make nice displays that people can rotate
  • Small wire trashcans can be flipped upside down and used to hang earrings, ornaments, etc.tura
  • Large sea shells can be used to hold business cards or small items (I use this one)
  • Branches can be used to hang items like necklaces
  • Baskets come in so many sizes you can find them to hold almost anything from small jewelry items to large prints.
  • Connect 3 old doors together with hinges (think folding screen) and use for hanging paintings, frames photos, etc. I got this idea from the Shy, Novice, and Closeted Art Show

For more inspiration here's the Show Me Your Booths Flickr group

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Weekly Inspiration

Oops. Tiny bit late with this weeks inspiration post.

Here's a great photo, I love the contrast of the black and white journal against such a bright green backdrop. Usually I'd say to stay away from really brightly colored backdrops for photos but one exception when you're doing black and white objects. They really pop against a vivid color.

Submit your photos for consideration as a Weekly Inspiration by adding them to the Flickr Group.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

How To Lose Sales

I'm always covering things to do on this blog, I rarely cover things you shouldn't do. I have to give lots of credit to everyone on Twitter who helped me compile this list. Most of these are obvious and hopefully none of my wonderful readers do these but there are some people who still do.

1: Lousy photo. Blurry, dark, yellow tinged, bad background, etc. these photos don't give customers a good impression aboNothing telut your products.
2: Ignore emails. Nothing tells customers you don't care than not acknowledging their emails.
3: Lacking descriptions. How is a customer supposed to know they won't have an allergic reaction to your soap without ingredients or that a shirt will fit without the size?
4: Shipping is more than the cost of the item or extremely high. Find a cheaper shipping option or adjust your prices to balance them out.
5: Poor spelling and grammar. One or two mistakes, especially if very common ones like it's and its, isnt going to be a big problem. Howevar if ur listing make no cents, you has a problm.
6: Don't offer Paypal. Yes, I know it's owned by eBay and therefore evil in many eyes but it is the biggest player in taking payments online so you need to offer it.
7: Smoke around your products or let your pets around fabric/fiber goods. Nothing will cause someone to never buy from you again more than an allergic reaction or icky smell. If you want repeat customers smoke outside and banish the pets from your workspace.
8: Underpricing yourself. This is very common and I know it sounds counterintuitive but it's true. Prices that are too low imply cheap construction and materials. If your products are high quality you shoudl be pricing them accordingly.
9: Outrageous prices. Okay, so in the are of handmade products underpricing is a far more common problem but you can overprice your work as well. $300 is perfectly reasonable for an original painting (depending on size & skill maybe too low) but not for a print no matter how high quality is it.
10: Don't fill out your profile and location. Would you want to buy from someone who's anonymous?
11: Threaten your customers. Don't fill your policies with threats and don'ts, keep things positive but firm. For example "Items are shipped as soon as payment clears" is much better than "If your check bounces you don't get your item".
12: Unclear policies. If you only ship on Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays you needs to state this. Be simple and straightforward.
13: Don't organize your shop. 100 items with no sections/categories is hard to navigate when looking for something specific.
14: Make a bad quality product. Strange, unusual, creepy, even ugly (chinese crested dogs?) all sell great if you can find your market, but bad doesn't sell.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Quick Tip #8 - Craft Show Checklist

If you're getting ready to do any shows this summer, make a checklist of everything you need.

Here's my checklist, yours may vary depending on what you sell:
☑ Canopy for outdoor shows w/weights for the legs
☑ Tables w/table cloths
☑ Sign and an easel to display it on
☑ Chair
☑ Cash box with plenty of bills and change
☑ Receipt books
☑ Retail certificate
☑ Small sign stating your policies
☑ Calculator
☑ Business cards, brochures, etc
☑ Bags and boxes for purchases
☑ Bubble wrap, tissue paper, etc.
☑ Pens and markers
☑ Price tags
☑ Cooler filled with snacks and lots of water
☑ Comfy but attractive clothing (think lunch out with friends attire)
☑ First aid kit (just in case)
☑ Tool kit (includes hammer, scissors, box cutter, pliers, duct tape, etc)
☑ Garbage bags
☑ Paper Towels
☑ Hand wipes
☑ Sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat, I don't need to look like a boiled lobster at the end of the day
☑ Displays for my items (make a list of these so you can make sure you bring them all)
☑ Items for sale plus extras
☑ Supplies to work with if you plan to do demonstrations
☑ Tools and supplies for modifying my jewelry in case someone wants a necklace lengthened, shortened, etc.
☑ Notebook for writing down information on custom orders
☑ A friend to help me out

Preparing for an Art or Craft Festival

Friday, June 12, 2009

Weekly Inspiration

This week we've got a clean, simple solution for packaging cards.

Make sure to drop by the Suggestion post if there's something specific you'd like the blog to cover.

Packaging, originally uploaded by kitschcafe.

Submit your photos for consideration as a Weekly Inspiration by adding them to the Flickr Group.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


No big post this week. Really sorry, yesterday was my birthday and I'm also participating in the Etsy Yart sale so I haven't been able to put together a post for today.

I'm opening up the comments for today to any and all suggestions of topics you'd like to see the blog cover. Please don't be shy.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Learning from Failure

Here's a wonderful video of a talk by Adam Savage of the Mythbusters all about the things he's learned from failure. The talk was given at Maker Faire Bay Area 2009.

Just a note, there may not be a Wednesday post this week because tomorrow is my birthday and I'm not sure if I'll have time to write anything.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Weekly Inspiration

Adorable shipping box, I know I'd be excited to receive this in the mail.

New Shipping Boxes, originally uploaded by Pretty by Pistachio.

Submit your photos for consideration as a Weekly Inspiration by adding them to the Flickr Group.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Book Review: DIY: Do It Yourself Design

DIY is an interesting introduction to design for people inexperienced with design. It's less about the details of design than a book of ideas you can implement. A few of the topics covered are business cards, books, tshirts, logos, posters and more. While it does have some how to projects and advice about design I found it more useful as a source of inspiration on things I'd like to try.

If you need a good run down of creative ways to brand your business or promote yourself this is a good book for you. If you want more in depth information on graphic design you should pick up a more focussed book.

  • Lots of ideas
  • Beautiful photos to illustrate the ideas
  • Covers online as well as offline design
  • Very focussed on doing things yourself versus outsourcing your printing

  • Lack of depth about design principals
  • Chapters are very short
  • Instructions could be clearer

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Link Round Up: Labels for your Fabric Creations

Here are some links for making your own fabric labels for clothing, bags, plush toys, etc.

Label Tutorials
Iron-On Transfer Labels
Printed Labels - Labels printed on special ink jet fabric
Washable Printed Labels
Embroidered Labels - Using machine embroidery *required computerized sewing machine*

Another Option
If you've had custom rubber stamps made you can use fabric inks to stamp labels.

Buying Labels
Here are a few links to Etsy sellers who offer custom fabric labels.
WorldwideLabel - Woven labels
Custom Couture Label Company Multiple styles of fabric labels
Herjodren - Washable printed labels and other print products

Monday, June 1, 2009

Silence is the Enemy

I had a post ready for today but I just read something so important that I'm postponing the regular post until tomorrow.

Sheril Kirshenbaum of the Intersection blog has started a campaign called Silence is the Enemy to bring attention to rape around the world. Along with several other bloggers, she's raising money for Doctors Without Borders to help them treat these women and children. Please go read the post and subscribe to her blog, she'll be writing more about the subject all month along with discussion of what we can do to help. There's also a facebook group you can join as well.

I've never been a victim of a sexual assault but I don't fool myself by believing it could never happen to me, I've known too many women that's it's happened to. I can't imagine what these victims, many of them children under 12 years old, must go through and I want to do what I can to help.
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