I Enjoy Sewing

Contributor post by Catherine from DesignsbyCnC

Sewing dates all the way back to the prehistoric era.  During the last ice age, almost 25000 years ago, man used a needle and thread to make clothing from fur, hide and bark.

Sewing was done by hand for thousands of years.  The first practical sewing machine was designed and patented in 1930 by Barthelemy Thimonnier, a French tailor.  This totally revolutionized the sewing industry.   Over the years, there have been many new additions and patents that continue to change the stitching industry.

Sewing began as a way to create clothing and progressed into other industries such as upholstery and book binding.

I asked the members of the Etsy Christmas In July Team to share a handmade sewn creation from their shop and the following questions:  What are the sewing-related trends you see in your corner of the world?  Where do you see growth in the sewing industry, and where do you see decline?

 

Lisa Neal Behrens from sparkklejar says:

The hand-made sewing related trends I see in my corner of the world, Portland Oregon, seem to be things that help the environment. Items sewn from recycled materials, or items sewn to be re-usable things that help reduce the carbon footprint, like lunch bags and totes for groceries. This is also where I see the most growth.

I see a decline in the handmade sewing of clothing, with exception to formal and bridal wear. It has become much more economical and less time-consuming to buy a t-shirt rather than make it.  But with that said, kids and adults are doing some amazing things with a sewing machine. Sewing is not just for fabric but for other mediums like, plastic, paper, etc.

Sewing things other than clothing, is my own personal new trend.

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Owl Microwave Heating Pad Set

 

Alexandra Richards from EyeLoveKnots replied:

I can’t exactly call myself a sewer because most of my sewing is done in the form of weaving my ends in on my crocheted pieces, but I do enjoy working plastic canvas needlepoint projects, which I think is a basic form of sewing. It was my first love, and I am amazed at what can be created with a little imagination, yarn, needle and plastic mesh.
Though it is an older form of crafting, I feel like there are still several crafters in love with this form, and looking for simple and fun designs like those that I create. I have seen a big interest in my new, modern designs to match the trends – like the sweet penguin earrings featured here.

I was looking to enroll in a fashion design program at a local tech school, but have since decided to hold off. I think there will always be a need for those handy with needle and thread, but with the online market really guiding sales and trends, I think it isn’t as simple as it used to be for sewers, especially when you can always purchase it cheaper from somewhere else. I think nowadays, it’s much more about how unique the piece is and customization, and not the fact that it’s handmade.

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Plastic Canvas Penguin Earrings

 

Draco N. Knut from DragoninKnots responded:

I’ve seen an increase in creative pastimes over the last decade. Millennials, especially those in their 30’s or late 20’s, are the Pinterest generation. So many of them are revitalizing and reinventing traditional skills, like sewing and baking. Most of them are not at a professional skill level and realize that creating a sewn (or knitted or crocheted) object is more expensive than buying a mass-produced one, so it may not have a huge effect on the clothing industry. However, these skills are not going to be dying out anytime soon.

Damask Book Weight

 

Susan-Sharon Passmore from MsPDesignsUSA added this comment:

Everywhere I look, I’m seeing hand-sewn handbags and totes. Someone with basic sewing skills can make a one-of-a-kind bag, using fabric and a pattern of their choice. I’m also seeing lots of embellishment on the bags; buttons, rhinestones, metal studs, beads, ribbons, and appliques.

Here’s an example of a fun way to embellish a bag, using one of the applique patterns from our shop:

Giraffe Elf PDF Applique Quilt Pattern

 

Custom Orders – #CIJParty 2016

Contributor post by Sheila from BeadyEyedBird

Those of us who do custom orders can appreciate what a special gift a custom order can be — to the buyer or to the person the buyer is giving it to. It’s not just any old thing — something mass-produced that anybody could find or buy. Instead, it’s something that incorporates the unique spirit of the artist, perhaps even something that is designed with a particular person in mind.

We asked our friends at Christmas In July what kind of customized item/s they offer, and their experience has been with designing/producing for particular clients. Here’s what they said.

Alexandra Richards from EyeLoveKnots said:

One of the first orders for my shop was a custom order for some ceramic tile coasters in hot pink with bunnies on it. I did some digging for bunny clip art and found the cutest one! My client loved the idea, and ordered a set, and has since been back to put in several different custom orders.
It is so wonderful being able to work so closely with clients to make their visions come to life, and it’s even more wonderful when you hear from them about how they use their item, how they gifted it or what they like about it.
It takes lots of time and patience to put together custom orders, and sometimes you have to step outside your comfort area and get creative and resourceful, but in the end, I think it’s way worth it. Not only do you produce a new item for your client, but I also feel like the flood gates open up with similar ideas or different ways to approach the idea.
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Hot pink bunny ceramic tile coasters

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Dawn Whitehand from DeeDeeDeesigns said:
 I definitely do custom orders! Making a range of table wares I can custom make sets of plates or cups or bowls, in custom sizes and custom colours.

I can also custom make jewellery. I have had many custom orders for specific ring sizes, which can be tricky given the shrinkage that occurs with clay, however, I have worked out all my shrinkage rates and regularly create successful orders.

I usually make a few rings, and the spares I list in my shop!

My most recent custom order was for a set of earrings. the customer was replacing a set of broken earrings and wanted a set as close as possible to the originals. I think they turned out wonderfully!

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Blue ceramic earrings -custom order

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Dana Hamant from LilybeanzBowtique said:

 A majority of my items are custom items. I originally stocked my shop with ready to ship items. Almost all of the orders I have received since opening in February of 2015 have been custom items. I love when I get a custom request. Some customers have a very specific idea in mind and want me to produce it exactly. I find these to be the most challenging, yet rewarding. I love seeing their vision come to life in my hands. Most of my customers have an idea of what they want and tell me to “have fun with it.”

The cover picture in this listing is my most recent custom order. This was for a local customer. She wanted a fabric wreath in her local school’s colors: Red, White, & Black. I had so much fun going to the craft store and matching up the fabrics to create this piece.

wreath

Made-to-Order Wreath, Holiday Decorations, Country Style Decor, Scrap Fabric Wreath, Rag Wreath for Door, Fabric Wall Wreath, Outdoor Wreath

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Valerie Brown from FirepanJewellery said:

I definitely do custom orders, ranging from enamel earrings (the client wanted each earring to be a different color), one of a kind silver pendants, gemstone jewellery, and of course engagement + wedding rings!

I just recently had the pleasure of making the wedding rings for my friends. I had made her engagement ring four years ago. We collaborated on the initial design which incorporated elements that were meaningful for the both of them. We used diamonds and sapphires from her Grandma’s Art Deco cocktail ring and I carved a lotus into the gold at the bottom of the ring as a very personal reminder of his Buddhist beliefs. When it came time to make their wedding rings, she just wanted a simple, plain band and he got the custom design ring. His wedding ring is a very wide band with a lotus cut out (this is meant to be on the bottom of the ring, to mirror hers). Aside from being able to incorporate very personal elements into their rings, they were able to choose different materials for their rings. Hers is 18K white gold, and his is 18K yellow gold (this was done to suit their skin tones better).

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Custom wedding ring set

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Wendy from wendysuniquecreation said:
I accept custom orders on everything I make except for upcycled glass pieces. Even with some of them I’d accept custom orders since some pieces may be customizable to an extent or if the customer wants a specific theme.

My most memorable custom order started when a Facebook game neighbor posted they had excess game resources I needed. From there we became game partners and then friends. We’d chat daily and one day I noticed her sending me lots of minion characters in Facebook chat. I proceeded to say she must love minions and she responded by saying she’s a minion nut. Well, I mentioned that I have a minion slipper pattern for ladies and when looking for that pattern, I found a minion hat pattern as well for sizes 0 – adult. She ended up buying a minion hat, minion slippers, and minion purse that I enjoyed making for her since I too love minions. My favorite part was where we would joke around and laugh, resulting in me making a blue tongue for both her slippers and hat instead of the usual pink tongue. Since then she has placed 2 more custom orders with me and she loves everything I make her.

I believe a happy customer brings repeat customers and word of mouth is the best free advertising.

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Many thanks to everyone who shared their stories with us!

Until Next Time,

Sheila

How’s Your Creative Journey Going? – #CIJ Party 2016

Contributor post by Sheila from BeadyEyedBird

I love the book The Artist’s Journey by Julia Cameron. Amidst other great advice, she reminds us that when we nurture our creativity, it often leads to breakthroughs in problem-solving. The form of artist-brain ‘mulling’ cracks open our normal rigid ‘point a to point b’ thinking. As we serve a hobby, such as gardening, pottery, or cooking, we reap spiritual benefits never previously imagined. We are freed from the demands of the ego — allowing us to have a perspective that is lost in the everyday world of work.

We asked our great CIJ colleagues to tell us how their creative journey was going, and to share some items that represented the experience — here’s what they shared with us.

Sherri from ButterflyFeetDigital said:

 I usually find that if I work on my digital art any given day I learn something new. I can’t quit because not only is this fun but I haven’t yet stopped learning new things.

I’ve been trying some of the new things lately and love the way some of my paper packs are turning out. Too much fun. I am inspired by color combinations, and mint seems to be popular these days, so I have tried it out with a couple of combinations – this one is coral and mint.

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Coral and Mint Digital Paper Pack, 14 Printable Papers, Scrapbooking, Card Making, DIY Invitations, Paper Crafting, Instant Download

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Richard and Tatiana from DesignstheLimit said:

 True to form, we have been learning the hard way and continue to constantly evolve the products in our shop and the design options in our portfolio. We are working on adding even more options for all of our favorite spirits and for every spirited occasion. We get rid of design options no one selects and create new designs to give our customers a variety of options. We also accept custom design requests!
We originally offered stemless wine glasses or stemware and have now grown our product selection to include heavy bottom stemless wine glasses and a more traditional stemless wine glass offering both in either red or white wine. We have added a diamond-shaped wine glass in addition to our other glass and crystal stemware. We have added a few additional monogram options, expanded our font lists, and updated our listings with calculated international shipping options as well. We hope our customers appreciate our work and look forward to working with them to make every gift giving occasion a personalized experience.
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Design Your Own Monogrammed Stemware Personalized with Our Monogram Design Options & Font Selection (Each)

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Annie from DesignedbyAnneliese said:

 I seem to have lots of ideas of things to create running around my head nearly all of the time! I really need to just sit down and write them all down in a book. At the moment, I am enjoying making different envelopes and cards using Japanese origami papers. I think they are lovely! So here are some bird themed envelopes I have done. I just love to see how they turn out!
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Bird envelopes, bird stationery, snail mail japanese style, handmade envelopes, set of 6, patterned, spring

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Stock Lane Studio from StockLaneStudio said:

 I am in love with the world around me and I’m proud of how our shop photography reflects that, but I am equally excited about the graphic design I have been creating lately. I have so much fun learning and discovering new ways to reflect feelings or concepts. Our ‘Milky Way’ prints and printables have been a labor of love. So many layers were used to create the starry sky background!
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Sweet Dreams Milky Way Printed nursery decor, 8×10 blue galaxy typography, space art for boys girls, baby shower gift nursery decor wall art

Alexandra Richards from EyeLoveKnots  says:

A recent break up forced me to step back and re-evaluate where I stand as a crafter and designer, and has left me without inspiration and motivation. To keep my mind off of things, I have tried my best to keep up with my crocheting, which is currently in the form of working Crochet Pattern Reviews of others patterns – one of those being the Bead & Lace Cocoon Shrug, designed by my good friend Rhelena of Crochet n Crafts. A beautiful piece that has also brought me much comfort in both the crocheting of it, and in being able to wear it around.

Bead & Lace Cocoon Shrug-Sage and Ivory

Bead & Lace Cocoon Shrug-Sage and Ivory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Michelle Emma Kay from EmmaKayInks says:

Reading “The Artist’s Way” revolutionized my artist’s practice. It represents the point where I made a conscious decision to turn towards creativity. It gave me the confidence to call myself an artist and cemented by commitment to pursuing a creative life.

Things were happening in my life and I could have participated in one of the other twelve step programs where the focus is on recovery from the addiction. I decided instead to do Julia’s program due to its focus on creativity.

It felt right for me to put the energy into building something, rather than to step into a maze of self-reflection. I’d done a lot of that. What I needed was to redirect the energy to making and developing and growing.

I am by nature pretty enthusiastic and get excited easily! I choose to use this force to bring new things and positive energy into the world. Joining etsy and offering my art for sale is a part of this.

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ORIGINAL art – Ink drawing – Hand drawn – Unique artwork – Abstract – Collectible – Colorful – Detailed – Line art – Pattern – Quality

Carola Bartz from CarolaBartz states sometimes I wonder myself how my creative journey is going. It seems it is mainly going detours!

I fell in love with photography very early in life, before I was ten years old. However, I never truly thought to pursuit it seriously. I took the typical travel and landscape pictures, and that was it.

When I moved to the States at the age of 41 I finally realized that there is an artistic side in me that has been dormant since 10th grade when I had my last inspiring art teacher. I started to scrapbook and make greeting cards, quickly moved on to stamping and then started to paint. I love painting, but I often lack the time to do – I always seem to be pre-occupied with something else.

I also re-discovered my love for knitting and have become quite the expert knitter by now.

However, throughout these years I have always come back to photography. When I got my first digital camera it was quite a change after having shot film for 35 years. But I quickly saw all the possibilities of digital photography and the immediate learning from mistakes. I took classes in Photoshop and Lightroom and use both of these programs frequently. Altering photos is a special pleasure. This photograph of an old barn in our county was processed by layering textures and giving it a distressed, old world look. It is a very popular item in my shop.

Old Barn Photography -Fine Art

Old Barn Photography -Fine Art

Susan Burton from SusieBDesigns says my creative journey has been a life long process. As a child my Mother sewed all of my clothes and even though I didn’t appreciate it at the time, she instilled a creativity in me that has never stopped growing.

During my college years and young adulthood, I turned to sewing out of necessity so I could afford to have the latest styles. I would go to department stores and examine garments to see how they were made and then buy bargain priced fabric and make my own pattern.

When I got married and became a Mother, I of course made my own maternity clothes but discovered a new creative outlet when designing my baby’s nursery. Soon I started making pillows and quilts and the sky became the limit. Home decor design and creation became my new passion.

I never lost my creative desires but the demands of raising a family and a demanding day job left little time for creativity. Things got put on hold and the only sewing I did was the occasional special outfit or gift for a friend or family member.

Fast forward 30 years. My kids are grown and thankfully employed and my husband and I recently moved to a new city and bought a very old house where I have my own design studio. I have a new and still demanding day job but I try to find time to create each day. It is my happy place! When I am designing and creating I can leave the world behind and become completely absorbed. It is great therapy!

I opened my Etsy shop in 2010 and had no clue what I was doing; it just felt like something I needed to do. Recently I have become interested in painting fabric and have made some pillows from my designs. This is my current favorite.

Abstract Hand Painted Pillow

Abstract Hand Painted Pillow

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Many thanks to all who contributed — awesome creations and talent here!

Until Next Time,

Sheila

The History of Crafting

Contributor post by Catherine from DesignsbyCnC

Crafting has always been a human activity.  We are driven to create for many different reasons sometimes by need, challenge, spiritual or the drive for artistic expression.

Early in the 19th century, decorative home crafts, as we recognize them today, came into being as a byproduct of the Industrial Revolution.  Craft ideas and instructions first appeared in women’s magazines during this time. Fabric crafts and needlework were principal, with home crafting being the main occupation of women.

By 1830, scrapbooking became a popular family pastime to record family histories.  Once photography became available in the last half of the century, its popularity reached new heights.

Thanks to an increased interest in natural materials and handcrafted quality, the arts and crafts movement experienced a 20th century revival.  Many craft guilds were reestablished, crafter organizations formed and craft industry associations  founded during the 1920’s – 50’s.  Today we live in a worldwide community of crafters and scrapbookers, aided in part by craft magazines and publications, instructional television programs and the internet.

According to the 1998 study by the Craft and Hobby Association:

  • More than 8 out of 10 American households have one family member engaged in crafting.
  • A staggering 97% of adult women (ages 55-64) surveyed had participated in a crafting activity in their lifetime.
  • The most popular crafts were cross-stitch/embroidery (45%), crocheting (29%), apparel/fashion sewing (26%), home decor painting/accessories (25%), craft sewing (24%), cake decorating/cake making (22%), needlepoint/plastic canvas (22%), art/drawing (21%), floral arranging (21%), home decor sewing (21%) and scrapbooking/memory crafts (20%).
  • The breakdown of how people used their craft projects was: gifts (71%), home decorating (69%), personal use (62%), holiday decorating (59%) and items to sell (16%).
  • The major sources from which craft/hobby participants get their ideas are magazines, books and catalogs. Family and friends are also an important source of ideas.

I have been an avid crafter all of my life.  The very first crafting technique that I learned was knitting. This skill was acquired participating in 4H.  I still have the first knitting projects that I created and the ribbons earned, lovingly packed away in my cedar chest.

I asked the members of the Christmas In July team the following questions:  What was the first craft technique that you ever learned? Do you still do this craft today and sell items made with this technique in your shop?

 

Alexandra Richards from EyeLoveKnots shared her story:

I can remember always being a crafty person – inspired by my mom and grandma – but the first craft I can remember wanting to pick up and learn was plastic canvas. My Aunt Arlys used to work plastic canvas projects all of the time, and I just had to work them too. She took me down to AC Moore and bought me some yarn, canvas and a book and gave me some pointers like carrying my yarn under stitches. That was almost 10 years ago – I have been hooked since, and have recently been inspired to think outside the box with it to work up quicker projects, and my own designs using the plastic canvas.

I wear my earrings all over the place, and get a lot of compliments on them. I have them listed in my shop, and have downloadable versions of my designs and tutorials available for purchase.

I have many favorite designs, but I suppose the one I love above all (for now) are my Two Tiny Hearts Dangle Earrings – inspired by Valentine’s Day. I love how lightweight they are, and that both hearts are visible when worn. I have created five pairs since working my first up – have to match each outfit I wear. Hehe.

I am really glad my aunt shared her passion with me, and that I can share it with others now.

Red dangle plastic canvas heart earrings

 

Dawn Whitehand from DeeDeeDeesigns had this to say:

The first craft I learned was embroidery from my grandmother. I don’t do much of that anymore, however I still have her old embroidery box and some old threads and buttons. I also have some old metal winders she used to organize her cottons.

These days I use embroidery cotton and blanket stitch to make the jewelry gift pouches which all of my jewelry comes packaged in… not exactly embroidery, but inspired by this early experience, as opposed to machine sewing the pouches, for example.

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Upcycled Marble Choker

 

Jessica and Bryan King from FeathandKee replied:

So the earliest thing that I remember is my grandmother doing the hook and loop kits – I guess that is what they are called. She taught me how to do those. Very close to that time, my great-grandmother taught me how to sew by hand – vital skill! Yes, this is something that I am still doing.

Fluttery Black Flower Headband

Craft Booth Advice, Tips and Suggestions

Contributor post by Alexandra from EyeLoveKnots
This month I will be starting my journey into the beginnings of a storefront business with opening a booth at my local flea market on the weekends. I know I am not alone when I say, “HELP!” Hehe.

I reached out to my fellow Christmas in July Etsy Team members for some advice. I wanted to know things like what they’ve found easy to make and good sellers, suggestions for merchandising/displaying the goods, and how packaging and custom orders were handled.

Here are some great words of advice!

 

Owner of StockLaneStudio says, “I participated in a few local fairs last year and was really frustrated with the results. It’s a lot of work so it has to be worth it. I decided to rethink my craft fair approach. I first scouted out local fairs and markets to see if they were worth it for me and then decided on which ones to return to next year. I feel bad resolving to not participate in some of my local fairs, but I actually lost money, and felt depressed.

I had a pretty cool looking set up that was a lot of work to haul and took a lot of time to set up, so I am rethinking my booth space also to make it easier on me, yet still look polished and professional, unique and attention grabbing.

You really have to check out the venue to make sure:
– it is well attended and advertised and geared toward your niche market
– will you make more than your booth fee
– is it a ‘vendor market’ or a craft fair
– are they attenders buyers or gawkers (or cheese and wine samplers)

I have also decided not to do any outdoor markets for the moment because I can’t afford a tent. I have printed material that I just don’t want to risk getting damaged.

I do still think it’s worth it though. It’s a good way to advertise and network and fun to meet locals and support the economy.”

 

Belinda of BillieMakes says, “I am a newbie to the craft markets. I signed up for several at the same venue last year. I had a pretty successful time there, although turning out every Saturday from October to December got very tiring in the end. I picked up quite a few custom orders, which were really what I made the most on. Not sure I will do the same again this year though, as the football coming up to Christmas was very poor.

Best seller was children’s reversible waistcoats and machine embroidered grandparents house rules.

I had merchandise priced from low to high and there was a huge amount of publicity, but would have liked to have sold much more than I did. Looking around at the other sellers, jewelry did reasonably well as did candles and chocolate items.

I tried varying my table each week, but I didn’t find an exact science to what sold and what didn’t.

The table space was quite expensive, so I’ve looked at other events this year at a far cheaper rate and have my fingers crossed that these may be well attended and I sell lots of things. First is next week.”

 

Alicia of AliciasFindings says, “Most shows I do are $50 and under for a table, and have had very good sales. I don’t always find that more expensive venues equal better sales. I would say, make sure and have a wide array of price points – high to low. This will mean you have the potential for more sales.
I also have a wide range of items (earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, etc).

I would also try to make sets, kits of the like for those interested. I would say my most widely bought items are earrings and sets.

Make sure your items are clearly priced (either tags or on boards) as well as different heights for visual interest. You can achieve height by using boxes covered in fabric, picture frames, risers, etc.

Since I sell jewelry, I package in an organza bag, but I do bring boxes of varying sizes (just in case). I would say keep it easy in terms of packaging, but also branded (if possible). 

I always bring a pad for keeping track of sales as well as custom orders. I also started using one for people to sign up for my email list.

Get yourself a checklist so you don’t forget anything. My first show I had all kinds of things, but no paper or pen. Having business cards and signage is a great thing to have also. Even if they don’t buy, you still have another potential sale.

I do accept custom orders at shows. I make sure to get their info and exactly what they want. I will go so far as to send photos in stages to make sure it is how they want it to be. I also let them know the timeline for completion.

There are so many awesome finds on Pinterest about craft shows (case in point my whole board on show ideas) and these really did help me and I feel I am still learning.

I also don’t do them every other or every weekend as I feel it is just too much for me.”

 

Alison of Mettaville says, “I usually visit the craft fair at least once before deciding if I wish to apply, that way you get to have a look and feel of the place and see how the set up of stall holders, especially to get the table size so you can at least know how much stock to bring along. Do a mock up a home (I did this before my very first craft market). If you have a table to do it, great! If not, clear away a space in the house, tape it with masking tape the table size and display up your wares.  Saves the panic on the day.

Have a list of “stuff to bring” and check them off the day before the fair so all is in order. Don’t forget some snacks and water.”

 

Rose from RosesWorkshop says, “I have a regular summer stall, and some days I sell nothing priced over £10, then sometimes people are buying multiples of my top-end products. As a result, I tend to take everything. Last year, I sold more woolly hats in July and August than in the rest of the year combined!

I would recommend making yourself a stall essentials kits, whether it’s a biscuit tin or a briefcase, so everything is ready to grab as you run out the door.

Into your kit put obvious stuff like a change purse, receipt book and pens, UV note tester, credit card machine, business cards, as well as mini tools and fixing stuff such as scissors, sellotape, blu-tack, safety pins, maybe a spare screwdriver or allen key if appropriate to your display. A few personal items such as tissues and painkillers might help too.

Try to top-up anything that’s running low as soon as you get home because you’ll forget by next week.”

 


Heather from ArabellaBlossoms says, “Your thread takes me back to my first market where I had endless lists, too much product but a desire to learn from the experience! All was well, and I am pleased to say I very much enjoy the few markets I attend. I am selective and check out requests to attend, and other opportunities thoroughly before participating as markets are a lot of work before, during and afterwards!

I cannot advise about your product range as I make fabric gifts from bags to spectacle holders and lots in-between. My range is ever-changing, and my customers sometimes return to ask what new items I have been designing and creating which is appreciated. I have items available in a wide price range to cater for those who wish to spend from $5 (sometimes less). The Holiday Season (Christmas), especially is when larger-value items sell better.
An example of one of my most popular item is the Cosmetic Bag/Pencil Case Pouch seen above.

I offer to package a purchase in a bag for my customers. Many politely decline as they have their own.

Smaller denomination coins and notes for change are important as some people may call past an ATM on the way to the market and the machine may issue only large value notes. My stall essentials kit is in a small carry bag and I sometimes add to it and up-date it.

Have a safe place to carry your phone and money (preferably on you). A waist bag, neck bag or a large pocket helps to save any extra worries. It is also a good idea to have a notebook and pen. You can record transactions (so you know what sells well), items as you de-list them from Etsy after they are sold, record custom orders, etc.

I sometimes take a photo of my display if I am setting one up at home so that it’s on my phone as a memory jogger when the pressure is on! I also take a photo of my display at the market, as soon as I have it set up and before the market starts to share on social media.

I am selective with markets but I look upon each on as the most cost-effective form of marketing. A market stall provides great public relations and promotional opportunities. I’ve met some delightful and supportive people including organizers, customers and fellow stallholders. Each market is a learning experience even when takings may have been less than expected.

A business card is a good memory prompt for customers and it’s amazing how your handmade message can be spread and the people can find you months later (sometimes via your Etsy shop).

Have fun and I hope you enjoy your local market!”

So much awesome advice and stories shared here! 

I also reached out to a friend of mine, not part of this team but with great advice and a cute set up idea! 
Rachel says,
1.) Promote! Don’t leave it in the hands of those running the craft show.

2.) Display. “A hat that’s propped up is way more likely to sell than one laying flat on the table.” I relate this to sales online – people want to see what the piece looks like on, versus just a flat product.”

3.) Have “universally eye catching pieces”. Even if you think the pieces won’t sell – bring them anyway! You need items that will bring people to your table.

I just love the set up found in the above image. Though the craft fair is over, this image is a fantastic example of table set up. Check out more in her Craft Fair Recap.

If you have any tips or suggestions to share, we’d LOVE to hear them! Drop us a line in the comments below.

Good luck in YOUR craft booth from the Christmas in July Etsy Team!

Cupid Has Us ‘Struck in Love’

Contributor post by Alexandra from EyeLoveKnots

EYE_2016_01_CupidStruckByLove2

For as long as I can remember, Cupid has been an iconic part of my Valentine’s celebrations as Santa Claus has been an iconic part of my Christmas celebration. There are many other love-gods such as Juno Februata, and Eros as well as Saint Valentine. I reached out to my fellow Christmas in July team members to see how they celebrate and what kinds of traditions were out there.

Wendy from CardNotions shared this Pop Up Valentine Card with Cupids.

She says, “I loved growing up with the tradition of sharing those little die-cut Valentines Day cards with classmates. A few days before, the art project in every classroom would be to decorate a shoe box with everything Valentines – hearts, lace, etc – with a slot in the top to receive cards. We then would exchange silly cards that we spent hours picking out and even longer deciding the appropriate message to send each recipient. It was a pretty subtle way to let someone know that you had a crush on them… or not… since all of the cards we basically cute and silly with a similar message. I loved that it allowed everyone to connect, laugh and share.
With that in mind, I decided to create a pop-up card that was cute and silly with a couple of cupids and subtle message of love.
“Please by my Valentine!” request is on the front of the card, which becomes much more persuasive when the card opens to two cupids shooting arrows into a large pop-up heart. Hidden inside the heart you will see one arrow has found its mark and the words, “…a little cupid persuasion…” Maybe a little darker humor than you might expect to find in the Valentine’s shoe boxes.”

Richard and Tatiana from DesignsTheLimit shared this Personalized ‘Struck by Love’ Picture Frame.

They say, “We love to study the history of ancient Greece and Rome with a great fascination for the polytheistic religions of the ancient world. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we introduced this ‘Struck by Love’ Picture Frame which also makes a great wedding, anniversary or birthday gift for your significant other. 
Although not as popular as the other custom picture frames in our portfolio, the story of Cupid is one of our favorites and we were happy to see it persevere into the modern age. We are happy to post this listing all year long for anyone who is struck by Cupid’s arrow. We also have several other Valentine’s Day picture frame designs and will be accepting orders right up until the last minute!”

Have you been struck by one of those arrows? Do you have any projects you’ve designed inspired by Cupid, Valentine’s Day or Love in general? We would love to see them and hear YOUR story!

Celebrating National Braille Literacy Month through Textures

Contributor post by Alexandra from EyeLoveKnots

January is National Braille Literacy Month. Braille is something we are thankful for worldwide, but especially in my family as a few of my family members have been affected by Retinoblastoma, a cancer of the eye – You can read more about this in my personal About Me. Braille is all about the raised dots and touch/feel. I thought it’d be a neat twist on that to do a textured topic.

I invited my fellow Christmas in July Etsy team members to share items from their shops that were textured, and a short story about their items.

Usually, I try to narrow down the entries, but this time I couldn’t help but share them all! They are all great items, and a wide variety of them shared here. What fun!

She says, “This is some vintage burlap ribbon I got a hold of but it had damage all thru the roll because of a pin that was placed in it and the pin rusted so there were rust spots. I loved the ribbon and got it at a great deal because of the rust. When I got it home it sat for a few months til I noticed I could use the ribbon between the rust spots by cutting it and using it on gift tags, so I used this what would be an unusable ribbon in these wonderful tags. The tags are made out of a textured paper and the lace and burlap gives it even more texture in these OOAK [One of a Kind] tags.”


She says, “The pin hole design on the copper sleeve of this ceramic pot reminds me of the dots created by a brailler. I worked with visually impaired students before my retirement.”


She says, “As an artist, I love texture and much of my sculptural work is highly textured. This ring is made from upcycled buttons, the top blue button featuring raised dots, and certainly capturing the theme of this topic.”


She says, “This was the first item I knit using the Trinity Stitch and thought it was tough, but once I got the hang of the pattern I found myself whizzing through it and it was finished in no time! It was really satisfying seeing the finished scarf, and I was so glad I stuck with it to the end – now knitting the Trinity Stitch is a breeze!  “


She says, “What a great way to bridge our work with awareness! The texture of this yarn is soft, and somewhat bumpy and then to add the twists to the fabric it makes gives a dimensional feel to the texture making the scarf soft and cuddly with a great feel.”


She says, “Having worked with a number of visually impaired students, I chose this leaf bowl. It has a serrated edge like a real leaf and the veins are the type that you would find in a real leaf. Tactile-wise, the dish is an interesting piece.”


She says, “I make crochet cotton wash cloths and soap sacks with raised “nubs” that massage and exfoliate for a spa-like experience. They are so popular I had to be sure to carry some “manly” colors for the menfolk, but the example shared here is for the ladies! These are fun to crochet as the “nubs” keep the feel of things interesting.”


This was such a fun topic to write on, and I love all of the wonderful items chosen by our fellow Christmas in July team members! They are all quite different from one another and have their own individual stories to them, but all have great texture that tie into our posed topic.

Have you created anything with exceptional texture that you think make it stand out above the rest of your items? Share your story with us!