Friday, December 21, 2007

Paper Bead Bracelets - $5-6

I've been making these paper bead bracelets for a while now...they make the easiest gift ever. I am not a jewelry maker by any stretch of the imagination! They can easily be made to coordiate or match anyone's taste and quickly become addicting.

The story (and I do love a good one) is that I was organizing the activities for my Women's club last year...and everyone wanted to learn how to make jewelry. I contacted a few local jewelry makers that taught...and asked how much it would be to teach us how to make a bracelet or something simple...they wanted $15 per person minimum. Well that is just beyond the reach of many of our retired pensioners and SAHMs (inlcuding myself). So as usual I started researching for an alternative. I met mariiam at SCS and she was so kind to show me how to make these bracelets. I made up 50 kits, teaching materials and diagrams and off we went! I changed the design considerably from mariiam's because I got a great deal on glass beads at WalMart (of all places) and wanted to use what I found. Eventually I took a 1hr. class at Michael's and learned the basics of making earrings, so added those. About a month later Mariiam wrote me and complimented me on my variation!

I sold 3 bracelets at the craft show...I thought I might sell more, but was happy with that. I do think it is a MUCH better product sold for $10-12 as a set including earrings than just a bracelet alone. So for my next craft show (or on-line) I plan to offer them as sets and include earrings.

I am still working on the correct price for these...they are very inexpensive to make but then again most jewelry is...when you start bead shopping and find out those Swarovski crystals bought in bulk are only like $0.10 a piece you wonder at that $40 price tag for a simple crystal bracelet. But then again you never want to price your item too cheaply because then that is exactly what people think it! And your time and design IS worth something.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Ho Ho Ho Banner - $15

It always pays to chat with people (and you never have to pay to chat with me LOL...I'm a chatterer...I love to talk to people...poor people!). Well I was chatting with a lady and she was lamenting how all she wanted was a "Ho, Ho, Ho" banner to hang in her locker at work. I replied, well what were you looking for, I do custom orders all the time? So I gave her my card with "Ho, Ho, Ho" written on the back, she went off to look through the rest of the show (and another one somewhere else). I returned from the show to an email requesting that she didn't find one and could I make her one. So a few emails back and forth to hammer things out...and yippee I made another sale!

A few things I have learned from custom orders...

1. Always charge a bit more than you think you should, because it will always take longer to make than you think to design something new and you may need to do it caveat...if it is a simple change on an existing design I don't charge anything.

2. If it is personalized (ie has Margaret on it) get the money before you start...that way if the person changes their mind or (more likely) finds it somewhere else you aren't out time and materials.

3. Don't freak out, you can deliver. Custom orders are my favorite because they make someone happy, because you can give them exactly what they want. Creatively they push me to see what I can come up with!! Also don't be afraid to NOT do exactly what they ask...especially if it turns out to be ugly...most people can't visualize the finished make some of the creative decisions for them!

4. Give people finite choice (no more than 3). If you make them decide every detail they get frustrated with all the 'work' you are making them do...that is what they are paying you. Just to give you an idea.
First email: Price Range. What color, red/green, blue/snowflake? Size 4X4 or 6X6
Second Email: Three pattern selections (red/green) this is where you get smart. I give patterns that are a style as well.. Fun and Funky (selection of 3 patterned paper); Old World and Monochromatic/cutesy.
--And that is those two emails I got enough information to complete my project.

And while I don't think I came up with exactly what she envisioned...she absolutely LOVED it...which is the whole point ;-)

Now for the project, it looks very, very simple, but as we all know simple design always takes some careful look simple. LOL.

The client wanted fun, funky and a Santa Claus (so no one got confused about "HO"). As you can see I creatively made a decision...a Santa Clause wouldn't of fit and would've ruined the design...(I think it would've looked tacky).

For the base (to make it stiff) I used Cereal boxes, cut to 6X6", I stapled the ribbon onto the back (which I stamped with Moonlight White Ink and TAC Snowflakes and Winterflakes LE). I only stamped the one side...cuz I wanted to leave the other side non-holiday so she could hang pictures.

I used my friends CriCut (see the time factor) to cut 3.5" letters and their shadow for the HO's. The top and bottom panel are covered with DCWV Christmas Stack papers...the middle one a piece of red cardstock (ProvoCraft Designer series...but it perfectly matched) and the green is from Michael's Brand Designer cardstock.

So the middle was looking a bit boring, when my friend suggested a little something on each corner...and BAM there it was.

We stamped TAC Mini Sampler holly leaves in each corner with VersaMark then used green iridescent chalk. The berries are red stickles! It adds something but doesn't compete with the busier patterns.

Now for the back, I wanted to leave her with something generic (also couldn't exactly leave raw cardboard and staples showing, oh no no!!) bonus she didn't have to store her banner and then find it next year (I always lose things into storage wonderland) I just made a simple scrappy side to display photos. Two pieces of red cardstock and a non-holiday (but in the Christmas stack) pattern paper. I originally was going to provide mats, but decided I wouldn't because I didn't want to force what size photos she had to use!

If anyone is interested...I actually have the materials all ready for a second banner...and that is how I do custom design...I make up an original but then make another one (or a similar one) for myself.

Thanks for looking...and thanks to my friend for helping me out because well I couldn't of done it without her!


Friday, December 14, 2007

Blog Candy Winner!!

I am happy to announce the winner of the snowman poop card!

tyrymom29 said...
I love this card ITs too cute !!!! I adore snowmen and this card is way tooo cute !!! I love the holiday season because its a time for the whole family to get together and HAVE FUN!!!!!! Merry Christmas everyone !!!

Send me your snail mail, and I will get this card in the mail to you!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ho Ho Ho Popcorn Pull-ups - $4

I've been DYING to post was soo hard to get a decent picture. And I still don't think this does it justice! These were a big hit at the Craft Fair...I sold every one I made (5 of them)...and probably could've sold a few more. I was in serious Yes/No Yes make tons, No you don't want to be stuck with 20 Christmas I made a few of everything and didn't run out of anything (except for these Popcorn Pull-up...I lost 1-2 sales because the lady wanted the Ho Ho Ho and not the Believe).

A funny thing, I don't eat Microwave popcorn...I actually still have a hot air popper and prefer that...with maybe a little butter or powdered cheese...but really
I'll eat it plain and so will my kids. Although the older one is catching mom gave them 'real' popcorn...I just explained that Nana's have special popcorn...moms can't get that kind.

So back in October (when I originally made them) I went looking for microwave popcorn...I was smart enough to get the full fat style in mini bags...however I wasn't smart enough to realize that the popcorn came plastered with Halloween Characters...until I opened the box. Now the popcorn was good until well into 2008...but I wasn't sure how people would take Halloween popcorn in their Christmas Stocking. I also didn't want to eat 12 bags of microwave popcorn!!! I got opinions...many said go buy new, and sacrifice and give them the Halloween popcorn, others were like who cares as long as it is still good. So I kept it, I showed each customer and told them the story...I tell you I think that story is why I sold so many...they just thought that was the funniest thing EVER!!!

So never underestimate how valuable a story is to marketing your item!

If you don't know by now...I have a serious Fun Fur Fetish...I love the stuff. It always takes the blah and makes it Brilliant!! And with the little bit of added Bling this stocking stuffer is definitely satisfying. How did I make it?

I used the TAC Ornamental Backgrounds (Candy Cane)...retired unfortunately, stamped with Palette L'Amore Red (I only have Palette spots of colors and this stamp is only a 2X2 so you feel my pain). Then I used my TAC Ancient Alphabet to stamp "H" in Palette Noir and little 'blings' to make the "O". But the best part of course is the FUN FUR!!! I used my Southwestern corner punch to make notches in each corner of the red cardstock square, wrapped that fur...and Voila! Funky fun Ho, Ho Ho!

I just had to add this picture...this is why I only made 6 Christmas Popcorn Pull-ups...I made 6 Halloween ones for my first show...can you believe I didn't sell one of these!!!! I mean they are adorable! Well I'm saving them for next year...don't worry I'll change out the popcorn!

Thanks for looking!

P.S. If you want one of these adorable little "Boos" just let me know I'll sell them *grin*

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Snowman Poop Cards - $4

I made these snowman poop cards at a the design is not mine, StampwithGwen has an annual Black Friday Card Party...stamp til you drop. This was one of the cards...she has made them for years....even had a stamp made up.

I put them out on my craft table to add a little Christmas Cheer and people just loved them. I made 4 (at the class) and sold 2. I thought the price would be a little high, but then again I REALLY didn't want to sell them at all...LOL.

Over at Paula Ponders, she asked the question, "What makes you happy?"...well these cards are a part of that and I'll tell you why.

Every year my women's club hosts a "Home Style Christmas" for a group of at risk boys in a job training program. The Program is gives these boys from all situations (foster care, abuse situations, jail) a vocation (carpentry and building) and the opportunity to finish high school. After they complete the program, the counselors (and very dynamic director) keep tabs on the graduates...this follow-up is the key to less than 11% of these guys going back to drugs, crime, problems of their prior life...they make it.

Well once a year, we go to their home to give them a taste of Christmas...for many their first one. I REALLY look forward to this (been going for 5 years now)...and I bring both my children because while they boys are soo excited for us to be there...the kids really break the ice...and push them to be social...I mean how can you say no to an adorable little two year old (Bella) that asks you to hand her cookies...and says PLEASE!!! So we make homemade cookies, stuff stockings...put up a REAL Christmas tree, string popcorn and cranberries...and because they are 'building' students make Gingerbread Houses. Amazing how they all start with the same kit but get all kinds of variations. Then Santa made an appearance (one of the counselors, that does it professionally as well)...and everyone sat on Santa's many of these boys are emotionally 3 or more years younger, but huge...and Santa isn't all that big...Ha, Ha. So it makes for really cute pictures...and this year with two or more boys piled on Santa...Bella insisted on getting on up there and they go the cutest little picture of red, mostly black and a little pink Elf!

So my part in the whole process? I made 18 snowman poop cards...several steps and I just don't work that fast...but definitely worth it. I mean teenage boys...quite the giggle session after they opened one up ;-)

So I'm grinning from ear to ear today and all warm and cozy inside...despite the crappy, grey rainy is all sunshine and rainbows. And the kids had a great time as well...they were dancing to Christmas Carols...and sang Jingle Bells...alot.

Card Details:
Stamps: TAC Coolest Flakes, Custom Poop Stamp
Paper: White CS; Paper Company Heritage Blue, Baby boy medium blue Embossed with Cuttlebug Snowflakes Watercolored with AquaColor Crayons.

So subscribe to my blog and leave a comment to tell me 'What Makes You Happy during the Christmas Season' and I'll send a randomly picked person a Snowman Poop Card. And go on over and visit StampwithGwen...and get inspired or if you want your own custom 'Poop' stamp!!

Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

More Journals

Here are some pictures of other journals.

Baby Boy Journal

Journal set...
Apple for the Teacher
Pink Magnolia
Husband Helper
...and an altered spiral notebook and altoid tin with mini scrapbook (sold).

Gosh I miss that Pink Journal...and of course I don't have any more of that paper. This was the first journal I made so one of the two sheets I had, one was a casualty of bad cutting. Now I have it all down and efficient...but too late for that paper. I also want to point out see how much prettier the paperclips are on the pink journal...that is because the paper was more dramatic and the distortion/magnification didn't alter the pattern.

Thanks so much for looking!

Baby Journals - $10

I made 8 of these journals in different themes and colors. At the craft fair I sold one, of course my favorite one. Originally I was going to charge $12 (they were a lot of work/steps), but no one seemed interested in them at that price, so I reduced the price to $10. I think people would grab them for $8, but they are too much work except as a labor of love for friends and family and the remaining ones I will give as gifts. Although you can speed up the process considerably by making several at once, in stages. This craft fair I made journals for a:

Baby Girl
Baby Boy
Magnolia Pink floral (the one that sold)
Blue Apple for a Teacher
Green Apple for a Teacher
Husband/Boyfriend Helper

Each set contained the Journal, with Jr. Legal Pad, 2 small cards with decorated envelopes, 2 glass pebble paperclips and a matching pen.

Baby Girl Journal
The purpose of this journal is to give you the paper and pen to do all that journaling you are supposed to do as a new mom and to record all those milestones.

I tried as a new mom, I did! First child I used one of those Calendars you get free with something I ordered. I put the stickers on it but now don't remember what exactly they were supposed to be or the story behind it.

Second child (Bella) I used a private on-line blog and did a really good job...but now have a TON of work ahead of me to get the information BACK off the computer where I can read it. Anyway, if I have a 3rd child perhaps I will get it right...and I think this journal would really work.

Everything you need is all there, the pen, the paper, clips (to round up those loose sheets) as well as a milestone card to make sure you don't miss any of the important moments, and finally a couple of notecards to write Thank Yous or notes because well now that you have a newborn, talking on the phone is over and you never seem to have enough Thank You notes!

The actual book uses the pink plaid from the DCWV Spring Stack...I just love it. The green cardstock (from The Paper Company Meadow cardstock) is not my favorite but it was a great way to use it and meshed nicely.

All these adorable stamps come in the TAC Special Delivery Set and I watercolored the image using my aquacolor crayons...I haven't quite jumped on the Copic Craze. I usually wait until the fad is almost over then jump in...LOL.

The pens were the greatest find...guess what NOT RSVP pens, only $0.33 each at WalMart. They were part of the MainStay Back to School collection. I bought two packs for $0.75 as I wasn't sure they would work...well they did and I returned and bought up every one of those two packs I could find...they are in the office supplies section...and have been marked down to $0.66!!! I may go back, I mean I've already broken into my stash, who knows how quickly it will go.

The glass pebble paperclips came out okay, but I think look much better with brighter colors. The Yes glue I used dried a bit opaque and the pebble distorts and mutes the pattern so they are very, very pale. If I did it again, I honestly would try Elmer's glue to see if it is clearer or Aleenes' Tacky glue. I also wouldn't worry so much about finishing the back. I used E6000 on the back of some but preferred...Silicone glue (for the bath tub). The Lowe's guy recommended it and while it smells terrible after 24 hours it is indestructible, but it can't crack off or anything!

That's it for now! I will try and post a few more pictures a little later.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Snowflake Gift Tag Tins - $10

These gift tag tins were the first thing to sell, a lady came by gasped and bought two at $10 each. It set the tone for me for the rest of the day. I've heard so many negative things about craft shows, from rude customers and no not making back your table fee. I just read a story the other day of a lady that paid $1000 for a table at a VERY exclusive event but only made $500...yikes!!

I was so happy when even those that didn't buy anything had such wonderful things to say about my creations. I think they are good and I do pour my blood (literally...papercuts really hurt), sweat (not on the paper I promise) tears (usually after staying up to all hours trying to finish something...apparently lack of sleep makes me emotional). So it was very gratifying to hear all the positive comments...I was on cloud nine all day.

So this Altered Altoid Tin contains 20 gift tags...some fancy and some simple. My absolute favorite tags are the ones with the snowflake brads...I actually designed these last year for a Tag swap on SCS I was in...and decided to use the design again...except expand the color selection to Olive and Red...and make a few more tags.

The second tag type is stamped with the TAC Snowflakes and Winter Flakes sets using Kaleidacolor Blue Breeze Spectrum ink pad. I sponged around the edge of the smaller white cardstock tag to make it pop.

The third tag is punched with the Marvy Extra Jumbo Scallop Circle Punch (Blue one)...and is exactly 2" wide. I stamped one snowflake in the middle and then used the darkest Kaleidacolor blue to stamp the greeting from Paper Trey Ink's Faux Ribbon.

The trick with setting all the eyelets and punching those holes...was the Crop-A-Dile. I love this tool...I honestly don't know how I lived without it! I mean I just stacked up everything and punched once...then set the eyelets. I had a little trouble with the eyelets and smashed a couple (not shown...reserved for family gifts...LOL). Not sure if I was pushing too hard or I need to experiment more with that.

Here is a picture of the Tag Tin closed. I prepared the Altoid tins by spraying them with Krylon Spray Paint, I find a few light coats of this provides the best coverage without making the paint so thick you can't open the tin.

I glued stamped cardstock on all surfaces both inside and out and torn an edge of navy cardstock embossed with the Cuttlebug snowflakes. I had a few of these little punched stars so I glued one on the blue for contrast. I stamped "Tag Tin" with the TAC Ancient Alphabet and the individual colors in the Kaleidacolor Pad. These tins came together quite quickly, but next time I think I will try to adhere ribbon around the outside to cover the lettering (I'm covering the surfaces anyway) and not stamp Tag Tin, this way after the tags are all gone it could be used to present another gift.

Here is a picture of my green and red tag tin!

Thanks for looking!


Monday, December 03, 2007

Scrapbook Ornaments - $5

One of the items I sold at the Craft Fair was Scrapbook Ornaments. I discovered how to do these over at Capture the Moment aka PaperTrey Ink. They make the perfect ornament year to year...track how the kids (and dog!) have grown...there is plenty of space in this 10 page mini-scrapbook. And by the way, they have GREAT Customer Service...I emailed them asking which punch would fit inside a 2" tin...and not only did she measure it, she went to the warehouse, got one, punched it...just to make sure! Now that is above and beyond!

2" round tin
Marvy Scalloped Circle Punch
PaperTrey Faux Ribbon
TAC Snowflakes and Winter Flakes
Blue Breeze Kaleidacolor
Bazzil Blues Cardstock
Navy grosgrain ribbon

Here it is on the tree! Okay you got is out on the Yew bush out front...give me a break I made them in August...there were no trees!!!

I made 3 of these and sold 2...good thing I have one left, to put in my pictures on the tree.

Thanks for looking.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Craft Show #2...Finished

I have been silent for awhile now busily making stock and designing new items to take to this craft show...and it finished today. I made more money than I could ever imagine! Paid for that stamp order...WooHoo! I was soo incredibly proud!

Here is a picture (after the ravaging...sorry I didn't have time to take a picture beforehand) BUT bonus there is a picture of little ole me...and I actually like it!! Oh yeah...and Community Center Shows rock...I was met at my car by two high school volunteers that carried ALL of my stuff to my booth...I mean I carried NOTHING I was pressed to even get it out of my car fast enough for them...and they had big burly boys to carry heavy tables and furniture...some people bring actual furniture to craft shows (I was wowed...insert Craft Show newbie). I will definitely go to this one was the easiest most positive craft show experience EVER! And I mentioned that my friend was pregnant and in a white Honda and 'shouldn't be carrying things...and the kept an eye out and jumped on her grabbed stuff out of her hand before she could say boo! Way to go volunteers!

I plan to write about what I sold and what worked for me as others have posted this on their site (Taylored Expressions) and I benefited so much, now it is my turn to share.

I will be posting pictures of each item I sold, how many I made and how many sold. So stay I have processed the credit card receipts...which if you are at a craft show I HIGHLY recommend having...I made $85 in 3 orders that I wouldn't have gotten because I accepted credit...cost to me $4 in processing fees WAAY worth it! I use ProPal, I got a reduced rate being an Etsy Merchant and it is dead simple to Partner-In-Crime Shelby of ShelbyB Designs bought a knuckle buster, plate and slips for $ me and I can get you the name.

These are the items I made (just in case there is something you would be interested in learning me and I will write up that one earlier).

Paper Bead Bracelets
Ho Ho Ho PopCorn Pull-ups
Snowman Cocoa Packets
Journals w/ matching pen, cards and paperclips
Scrapbook Ornaments
Gift Tag Tins
Trident Gum Holders (didn't get a picture of those...they were gone 2 secs after I put them out)
Tooth Fairy Tins
Paper and Enamel Pins
Single Cards
Kid Color Your Own Card Kits

Just in case you are shopping I have to put in a plug for my friend Shelby! She makes the most wonderful hand painted vibrant wonderful colors (and most importantly she can reproduce the colors pretty reliably if you need more...that Research Bio Degree really comes in handy).

So if you need a gift for someone who knits this is the ticket...over half of our traffic were people coming over to 'fondle' the really cool yarn!! If you have a Harry Potter fan...she does all kinds of colorways reminiscent of the characters. Check it out in the wire crates. See the top...all empty...we were struggling to 'fill' the space half way through...I loved it!

Bad part is that we had such a good time and experience we are considering doing an outdoor Farmer's Market next weekend. Craft Shows are just like childbirth, you have one teeny good experience and you want another and another, and another...*grin*

That's it for now...thanks so much for stopping bye.


PS. If you buy something let her know you found out from me...maybe if she gets enough word of mouth from Lisa...she will knit me a pair of cool socks, LOL!!