scenes from Handmade Arlington

Another successful show marked down in the books!

Despite the rainy weather this past Saturday, the Handmde Arlington event went off without any noticeable glitches or hitches.

The organizers did a wonderful job of getting browsers and shoppers to come on in, all throughout the day. It was so nice to meet so many lovely people! That includes some of my fellow vendors. I got to chat with Julie from Jules’ Jewelry, Lisa from Royal Revolution Crowns, Eileen O’Brien who does beautiful mosaic work, Robin from Heartfelt by Robin and Kate from Mirajean Designs. Kate has some wonderful handcrafted fabrics that I immediately loved, being the fabric addict that I am. I hope to get my hands on some of her textiles and use them in my work in the future.

It was such a great event and I honestly can’t wait to do it again next year!

Here’s some snaps of my set-up this year:

handmadearlington1

handmadearlington2

handmadearlington3

handmadearlington4

Appearing this Saturday!

Here’s where I’ll be in just a few short days!

swansonad

This years is expected to be even bigger and better than last years event. (Which was great by the way!) They even had food trucks coming in. Foooooodd truuuuccckkks!

Washington-Lee Holiday Bazaar

After having such a successful event at TC Williams a few weeks ago, I’ve really had my work cut out for me producing more items for my inventory. Especially with the Washington-Lee Bazaar happening in mere days! I’m making lots of fresh new goodies for my booth with super cool and adorable fabrics. I’m excited and exhausted!

buyhandmade3

w-lbazaar

a little show

A few months ago my friend Denise alerted me to an upcoming craft event right in our town. I’m ALWAYS looking for shows where the travel is minimum. We only have one car and zero babysitters, so it’s helpful when the boys can come help me set up and simply head home until I need their assistance again. (Usually in the form of fluid replenishment and then for the end-of-day breakdown.) This show, Discover Cherrydale, seriously could not have been more convenient. It took ten minutes to get there and it was held from noon until 5pm. Dream hours! I appreciated the timespan especially because it was quite a windy day and I had a REAL tough time trying to get my fabric goods to stay put.

Did I mention that this was my first outdoor event? Indeed! In the eight years that I’ve been doing shows/events, this is the first time I decided to go for it and sign up for some that were outside. Once the wind started though, I immediately chastised myself, “THIS is why I never did outdoor events!!”

It was a beautiful day, it’s just that the tent and the breeze and my stuff being very lightweight, well, all of that didn’t work very well together. I felt like my booth would have looked better if I could have placed everything that I had out, including my little signs. But all in all, I was pleased with my first inception of an outdoor setup. I’ll still have to think about how I can handle the elements better in the future though. Or I’ll put my newly acquired canopy up for sale on Craigslist. Either or.

Just a few snaps so you can get the idea:

IMG_9276 copy

IMG_9277 copy

IMG_9280 copy

I made the bunting on the cheap, using craft felt and ribbon yardage.

IMG_9281 copy

I love my old business banner (seen festooned on my tables here), but I wanted something bigger for the back wall of my new tent. I based it off of my website and business card design.

See?

businesscard

IMG_9284 copy

I handcut each letter and the red birdie out of red wool felt. I then fused them to the background fabric, which is a laminated cotton. I printed the “hello” on my inkjet printer using printable cotton sheets. (which I think are awesome!) Lastly, I added a nickel grommet to each corner so I can hang it up. I made this banner in one night. The night RIGHT BEFORE the event! I was waiting for that laminated cotton to come in! But I do think it’s beautiful and cute and sweet and adorable and I’m super glad that I took the time to make it!

where I’ll be!

Today, in mere hours!

cherrydale

I’ve been working feverishly in getting my new outdoor setup ready. This will be the first outside event for me and Little Red Birdie! How exciting!

The weather looks beautiful and I’m feeling optimistic! How many exclamation points CAN I use in this post anyways?

easy-peasy party favor tutorial

So my oldest son is turning 10. Which, allow me a moment to let that sink in properly. Eek.
Since it’s such a big milestone to hit the double digits, we decided this was the year that we’d hold a party for friends. In the past we always kept our celebrations simple, with just the family. Since my bubs ADORES swimming, we decided to have his party at the local high school’s pool. All of the high schools in our county have pools and have the ability to be rented out for parties. Which is awesome. There is a party room right next to the pool, where we can set up decorations and enjoy pizza and cake.

When considering the party of a ten year old, I was thinking about party favors. Personally I felt like ten is too old for the typical loot bag of small plastic goodies and truth be told, I didn’t want to spend money on, nor hoist such a thing on other families. I’ve thrown away far too many stickers, trinkets, and mini erasers over the years. I know kids get excited about them and rightfully so, but as a parent, it tends to wind up to be clutter. I’m appreciative of all the neat things given to the boys over the years however and wanted to find a little something that would be a token of our gratitude. I was talking to my friend about all this, she too is a mom, and she was recalling all of the favors that she gave out over the years. The one that hit the ticket for me was for her sons twelfth birthday, a candy bar with a personalized wrapper. Fantastic! I knew it was something that I could accomplish easily on my own and who doesn’t love a chocolate bar?

I picked up my bars o’chocolate from Trader Joes and got a small scrapbooking paper pad from Target. I set to work.

I needed only a few things:

favor1

Since I don’t scrapbook, I don’t have a papercutter. But my rotary cutter and ruler works just as well! I measured the bars, leaving a bit on the ends. Here my paper wrappers all cut to size:

favor2

Double-sided tape works GREAT for this project. Just add one strip to the back of the bar:

favor3

Next take a piece of the paper and place it on the tape:

favor4

Wrap the paper all the way around and place one more strip of tape on the to back, placing the edge overlapping on the seam:

favor5

Look how nice all of the different papers look!

favor6

Next I printed up some THANKS! labels on my printer. I simply used an image I found online and added the additional line. I cut them out using my rotary tool again and taped the final piece onto the bar.

favor7

And here they all are ready to go!

favor8

I think they look so cute and I’m super happy!

It took just about an hour to do everything from start to finished. I had 18 favors and spent just under $17 dollars total.

Little Red Birdie Car

Making the decision this year to put a ton more effort into making my business bigger and more profitable was easy. Doing all of the things to actually accomplish that goal has been indeed challenging and difficult. But I’m working hard and planning and I feel optimistic about what’s ahead for this year and in the future.

One part of business that I never really found enjoyable was the marketing side. I’m good at designing and creating, but when it comes to advertising and tooting my own horn, eh, it’s just not me. I try and it feels false and I don’t like that. So I’ve been using Twitter and Facebook and Instagram sparingly but consistently. I don’t want to spam my followers but I do want to keep them interested in my work.

Since I’ll be doing more shows this year and using our car to transport myself and my goods to these shows, I thought it would be cool to put a little advertising on our vehicle. This was an inexpensive and simple way to get my name out to even more people. You never know where your next customer can come from. The more eyes that come across my website the better!

I decided to search Etsy for a vehicle graphics business that could help me come up with something. I quickly came across AmericanSign, a sign shop located in NJ. The gentleman I worked with, Kevin, was great at customer service. We convo’d back and forth and he created my logo into a car decal quickly and professionally.

It looks so great on our red Rav4!

lrbcar

And here’s a pic that my oldest took, trying to get me and the logo in. Only half accomplished, LOL

lrbcar2

Flu+Strep=Happy Birthday?

So it was my birthday recently. A big one actually. Number 40! Instead of enjoying the beginning of my middle age, I started it off with a real bang. Hello flu, hello strep! I’m pretty sure this is my first time ever dealing with strep throat and boohoy, it is not fun. Even less fun when EVERY SINGLE one of us has it. That’s the other thing about strep, not only is it incredibly painful, it’s also incredibly contagious! So one by one, down we went. Myself and my older son got a nice Influenza A on top of it.

I could only wear the mask for so long though. How do people breathe with these things on?! (I also found it a little creepy)

bdaymask

Before it all really hit the fan, we did get to enjoy a cake from a local bakery. It wouldn’t be a birthday without a cake, now would it? Even though I couldn’t blow out my own candles.

bdaymask2

I did get some beautiful flowers on top of other wonderful homemade cards and gifts from my boys.

See how pretty!

bdayflowers

Now, bring on the next 40! At least!

Rainy Holiday Market

We took the opportunity to scout out a two craft market locations today. It was a rainy day and there wasn’t much else to do. I was still recovering/coming down from my mild euphoria of doing so well at the W-L Bazaar. Figured might as well see what else is out there and plan for next holiday season. Glad I did too!

First we went to Wakefield High School because this was their second year having a holiday fair. In the brand spanking new building no less. It was NICE! And it looked like a lot of foot traffic. I stopped and spoke with Kate from Kate & Moose Designs, another local artisan and she gave me the scoop on how the fair was going and how she does in general participating in local shows. I’m definitely going to do Wakefield next year. (It feels good to be planning out my show schedule, I haven’t do that in so long!)

Next we headed to the Downtown Holiday Market near Chinatown. It had just started to rain, but it didn’t bother us much. I liked the chill of the evening, it made me feel Christmas-y! We first stopped by the doughnut booth and got a bag of 12 minis to share. The boys LOVED them! And so did I! Melt in your mouth delicious. Next it was time to peruse the merchants. I picked up an ornament and a necklace. Nothing like shopping for yourself for the holidays!

It’s a really well ran market, very professional and just adorable. TONS of foot traffic even on such a rainy day. I would consider doing a market like that, but the commitment is pretty big, it runs almost a month, every day for eight hours. YIKES. I’m sure there is a way to split it up, but I don’t know if I’m ready for that yet. I’m glad we went though, it was a good experience.

IMG_7757 copy