Wednesday, March 28, 2007

NEXT SHOW!!! And fun at sales

First, a quick announcement: I will be at the Aetna Fire Hall Spring Craft Show in Newark, DE this Sunday, April 1 (no, it's no joke, I WILL be there selling my handcrafted items). It was a last-minute registration. Karma, actually, as I had thought the show was already filled, but then got an invitation email from the promoter just the other day. So, please come on out and see me! The show is free to get in, and will be open from 10am to 3pm.

Now, about fun at sales. I had some sad news yesterday that turned into a ton of fun. Backwards, perhaps. But there is a Hancock Fabrics near to my house, and it's closing. Not the entire chain, but that particular store.

And that's where the fun comes in - the closing sale. Everything is on sale! I had a great time and bought lots of supplies to make more fun stuff for my store: fabric, purse handles, ribbon...

Tomorrow I get to shop some more, this time for storage bins. Large ones. After setting up and then packing up displays and products this past weekend, I decided life would be much easier with a set of 4 or 5 large plastic bins, rather than various sized boxes and bags for moving all my stuff. After all, a display is more than just the large furniture; there are the cloths to cover and make everything look uniform and neat, there are decorative cloths/doilies to be, well, decorative, there is my model for the hats, and baskets, and candles and flowers for homey touches. Yes, I really do up my booth right. And I don't want to have to cart all that stuff in multiple boxes and bags ever again!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Smileville Bears make their public debut

Today was the first day of the Handcraft Unlimited Craft Show at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark, DE. The weather outside was frightful (rainy and generally gross), but inside was so delightful. There were lots of people, and fellow vendors were friendly. It was a long day, though, and I'm ready to retire for the night.

Before I do so, however, I wanted to give the newest of the Smileville Bears their "coming out," so to speak. Seven bears joined Bradford Bear in Smileville: Tiffany, Da-lee, Tootsie, Toby, Moe, and Gramps. Next week I'll be creating a special section here on my blog just for pictures and stories of the little bears. For now, I hope you'll accept my apology for simply posting a picture of each, and a brief bio statement.

Tiffany is Bradford Bear's little sister. She likes to play dress-up, and always wears cute headbands and flowers.

Da-lee is an artist. She loves to paint, and comes with her own paint palette.

Tootsie and Toby are the littlest bears in the day camp. They are fraternal twins; Tootsie, the lavender bear, is a girl and Toby, the green bear, is a boy.

Moe is a bit of a clown. He loves to make other bears laugh. He knows lots of jokes and magic tricks.

Gramps is a great story-teller. The baby bears favorite part of the day is when Gramps comes to visit. They love his stories about growing up in the forest.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Last minute details

Table covers and decorative baskets, plenty of change, and a lunch. Just a few of the last minute details I need to work out today.

Tonight Dan and I will go set up my booth at the Bob Carpenter Center for tomorrow/Sunday's show. We have about 2.5 hours to set up all the display furniture. Then I'll return tomorrow morning -- EARLY -- to actually set out the items. I am very excited. I have seen billboards on all the major highways.... Rte 2, Rte 4, Rte 95.... I hope there is a huge crowd at the show tomorrow.

The last thing I'll do tonight is take down my Etsy store. Not permanently; only for the next two days. I wouldn't want someone to buy online the item that I had just sold at the show!! So for the next two days, the showcase of my Etsy items that usually appears on the right hand column of my blog will be empty. But remember, it's ONLY because I have many of the items at my show!

I hope to see you at the show this weekend! If you can't make it, wish me luck, and stay tuned as I'll post pics and news from the show early next week (once I've recovered from tons of adrenaline and a serious lack of sleep!). :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Craft Show countdown continues. . .

Busy, busy. There is still much to be done!

My attempts to buy a silk/material flag for my booth this weekend have finally gone bust. I was hoping to have a custom flag with my logo on it.... it would be more visible throughout the craft show floor, I think, than just an ordinary paper/printed sign. However, such is not to be, at least not this time. As a last resort, I visited a flag place in Newport, DE today. The owner (rather crotchety, if I may say so) indicated that contrary to public understanding, he does not create the flags in house, and that most take at least 3 weeks to deliver. Bummer. So my main task for tomorrow is to create a booth sign, as well as the other pricing and general signs I need for the show this weekend.

I was successful, however, in purchasing some custom imprinted pens to give away at my booth. They write really well; I love the sample one that I rec'd in the mail a few weeks ago. They are red, and have happy faces all over. Fairly apropos, I thought. I hope they arrive by Friday!

Tomorrow, Wednesday, I will also be heading to NJ, to celebrate my sister's birthday. I won't say which one, only that it's kinda momentous, and big sister must be there. :)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Countdown to the craft show

Five days til my craft show in Newark, DE. Five days, and quite a bit left to do. Inventory, pricing, signage... I have a lovely long list to organize my week. Can I do it? Of course I can! My mom is coming tomorrow to help with some of it. I think we'll tackle the inventory and pricing first. I hope it warms up later this week, because I'd like to put some finishing touches on the display unit for my wreaths as well.

Speaking of wreaths, I think I promised some pictures of them as a teaser for this weekend. If I didn't, here are some, anyway. Since the wreaths are difficult to ship, I usually just sell them at shows, and don't have any photos of them on my Etsy website. If one catches your fancy, though, and you can't make the show, email me and we'll discuss shipping options.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Craft Show Coupon

Have you marked your calendar yet to come to my craft show? It's in two weeks... March 24th and 25th. I hope I'll see you there!

As an added incentive, I chose to participate in their exhibitor coupon offer. These special coupons are now available on the Handcraft Unlimited website. Either follow the instructions from the Newark, DE show page, or just click here, to print a free 10% off coupon for use in my store! Be sure to scroll down.... my coupon is the last one at the bottom.

Monday, March 12, 2007


Today is so beautiful outside, that I decided it was finally time to finish some door wreaths. I love to use real pine cones in my wreaths, which means sitting outside with a bucket of water so I can get said cones into the actual wreath frames. It was so nice to sit outside for awhile... the birds were singing happily, and my cat was thrilled to sit at the porch window, alternately staring and me and the myriad of birds.

The downside to this otherwise happy picture is becoming covered with sticky sap as I push the pine cones into the wreath frames. That, and the not-so-pleasant smell that results from bakeing them to achieve a deep chestnut-y color and sap-glaze shine. Today I got the added pleasure of burning my wrist as I was removing a wreath from the oven. :( I hope that's not an omen for the week.... I have much to do and so little time!

Oh well. Now I have numerous beautiful wreaths all ready to embellish later this week.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

New Gizmo lets you shop more easily from here!

I love the programmers at Etsy.

Etsy is the mother-site where my shop, Smile Creations Crafts, is hosted. The programmers are forever cooking up cool ideas to help us sell our handcrafted items. Their newest is "Etsy mini," a mini glance at our shop for posting on our web sites or blogs. Mine is to the right, under my logo. Click on any pictured item to go directly to that item on my Etsy site.

Other news:
1) I am making headway on a database to track all my products and supplies. It is turning out to be a complicated task, since I feel like every time I turn around, I remember more info that I should be tracking, but I'm getting there.
2)After my blog rant about "finishing" on Tuesday, I got off my butt and got about finishing. I finished a slew of cute little totes and purses, each with a unique look. And yesterday my mom and dad visited, and with their craft assistance, I completed many colorful paperback book covers for my craft show. Added bonus: anyone who buys a book cover at my booth on March 24th or 25th, gets a complimentary paperback book from me!
3) I finished and delivered the newsboy-style hat to my friend at UPenn, who looks adorable in it! I made a second one while I was at it, to post in my store, and will post a pic here once I take one.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

A few thoughts on Finishing....

As I get closer to my craft show date (March 24/25), I am thinking more along the lines of finishing projects that I have already begun, rather than starting new ones (despite how desperately I want to try that new pattern!).

Now, in order to understand, you should know that I'm a "typical" Gemini; I have many projects in the fire at once because otherwise I get bored. On one hand, that's a good thing, because when I finish what I have going, I'll have plenty of items for my craft show.

But working on the finishing is a bit like pulling teeth. For weeks, I found myself avoiding it, until suddenly, I'm three weeks out from a show (NOW!!) and realize that I have to strictly schedule my days in order to force myself to finish.

It reminded me of school, and term papers (ick!), and how after putting in hours of research and reading, I (and many of my classmates) was loath to actually write the paper. It wasn't that I didn't know my stuff, or that I couldn't write it. It was simply that all the excitement (challenge is probably a better word) had been taken out of the paper already, and all that was left was regurgitating what I already knew onto paper for someone else to judge.

I think there's a parallel in crafting. Once you've picked the pattern, enjoyed the feel of the fabric or yarn as you selected it, cast on your stitches or begun cutting the pieces, and cleared the hurdles of a new stitch or sewing skill, all the excitement is gone. All that's left at that point is trimming threads, weaving in yarn ends, seaming, ironing..... you get the picture.

But... what I'm using to spur myself on these days is the forgotten thrill --- the thrill of the completed project. When you look at your creation and know there is NOTHING else to do on it; it's done, and it's wonderful/beautiful/exactly as you envisioned. That thrill that is hard to beat. The tough part is working through the finishing doldrums to reach the final goal --- completion.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

It's a beautiful Saturday

It is! Warm (for a Delaware March, anyway), sunny, clear-skied...... I feel happier than I have in days! Darn the winter blues!

Despite a raging cold, I decided to take advantage of the day, if only for a short while. I donned a jacket, and, armed with paint brush, varnished the desk and chair set that I carefully sanded last weekend. It looks great (if I do say so myself), but it also looks as if I have really thirsty wood. I mean, there are parts that look dry ALREADY, and I know it's not THAT warm. So I think I may have to do another coat next weekend. But I'm getting closer to having all my display furniture ready for the craft show season. Good thing, too, since my first show of this year is just 3 weeks away!

On other news, the newsboy hat is nearly complete. It is only missing a brim, which I plan to finish tomorrow. And I'm also nearly done knitting a little girls' caplet in white ribbon yarn and edged in wonderful fuzzy blue/green yarn. It will be perfect for those upcoming spring days. I'll post pics tomorrow; I'm just not in the mood to drag out my camera today.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Newsboy hat coming along

The newsboy hat is coming along nicely. Many, many thanks to Mrs. reMANGO, one of my Newark knitting buddies who showed me a way to make the cables go easier and faster! Also thanks to Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, whose wisdom I only recently discovered in her book, Knitting Rules!: The Yarn Harlot's Bag of Knitting Tricks.

As I no longer work with the hat recipient, it is sometimes difficult to find time in our schedules to meet. And I want to ensure that the hat I am knitting will fit properly, no? How to do that without a long drive into Philadelphia? Easy, according to the Yarn Harlot. Simply measure the recipient's hand, from palm base to tip of the middle finger. That measurement should equal the hat, from the brim/edge to the first row of decreases (this assumes, obviously, that you're knitting bottom up, as thankfully I am).

The good news is: the hat fits! Onward, to the brim!