Christmas Signs are in the Shop!

 

 

Finally. My rustic, weathered (you know that well-loved look) Christmas signs. Perfect for holiday decorating. Every year I look for (a) new Christmas decoration(s) to add to my collection. It has to be unique and it has to speak to me. These would fit the bill perfectly. Click on the pictures and you will be taken to my shop.
IMG_6155

IMG_6156

IMG_6158

IMG_6159

IMG_6163

IMG_6164

IMG_6166

What it Means to be a Handcrafter When it Comes to Christmas

As soon as Halloween is over the Christmas markets start up in abundance. Have you ever thought “what?, already”?! What if I told you that as a handcrafter you need to start thinking about Christmas in the Spring?! I know … and you thought it was bad that people didn’t even wait until Rememberance Day was past!

I opened my shop last March. It was July when I realized that I had already missed the deadline on some applications to be a vendor at Christmas markets. Wow. I also had the opportunity to apply to a couple of markets but I didn’t feel confident that I would have enough inventory to be a vendor at one market let alone multiple. As someone who crafts around the schedule of my 4 year old it is difficult to know if I will have guaranteed time to get things done. So, I passed on the opportunities.

Shortly after (maybe end of July beginning of August) I came across another opportunity to be at a Christmas market so I took the plunge and applied. I wouldn’t find out until mid-September if I was accepted. I wasn’t. Which was fine but at the same time it’s hard to know if you should apply to more markets when you don’t know for some time which ones you will be accepted to. I suppose one should just apply to a bunch with the notion you can say no if you are accepted to two on the same day.

After I wasn’t accepted I found a couple more to apply to and in the end will be at the Sunnyside Elementary School Winter Market Fair on December 6, 2014 (details in the photo below). I am happy with just doing one this year as I learn the ropes of the handcrafting world. It certainly is a crazy time of year with lots of extras already thrown in …shopping, decorating, events, the list goes on. I don’t think I would have been prepared to do more than one market anyway. I would have had to start preparing last spring! I should have been making my Christmas items then so I could spend the time now updating my shop etc. It’s really amazing how much time it all takes.

I have a friend from high school who does markets pretty much every weekend throughout the Christmas season. I am in complete awe as to how she does it and stays sane! (Her shop is Home for the Holidays if you are curious). Perhaps it gets easier with time and experience.

10471554_740135366053026_7280610914128468729_n

 

My Christmas Ornaments are Done and in My Shop

I finally finished my ornaments and listed them in my shop. (Well they have been done for a bit it just took me time to get it together and take photos, write descriptions and all that fun stuff.

The wood ornaments are almost like miniature versions of my signs. They are actually made from the odds and ends leftover from hubby cutting wood to size. Back in September I had been looking at a pile of the wood bits trying to think what they could be transformed into when suddenly the light bulb went off …christmas ornaments, of course!

Here is what I came up with:

IMG_6185

Simple Rustic Tree Ornaments

IMG_6184

Simple Rustic Star Ornaments

IMG_6181

Rustic Reindeer Ornaments

IMG_6180

Rustic Heart Ornaments

And then I have really been loving all the tree branch ornaments I have been seeing. I showed my hubby the ones my sister made and the next thing I knew he brought me a pile of a sliced up branch he chopped down from one of his jobs. Here is what I came up with:

IMG_6178

Simple Wreath Tree Branch Ornaments

IMG_6176

Well Loved Ice Skates Tree Branch Ornaments

IMG_6175

Pine Cone Tree Branch Ornaments

IMG_6174

Decorative Peace Tree Branch Ornaments

IMG_6173

Berries and Branches Tree Branch Ornaments

IMG_6172

Sleigh Tree Branch Ornaments

And that has been my christmas ornament fun so far. I have done a few christmas signs, too that I am excited about. Those will be posted soon.

I have to admit that it has taken me a little time to do the photos. We have moved since my last real set of photos and it takes time to find the right spot in the house with the right light. Also, I used to use the wood floor in our old place as the back drop for my photos so I had to creatively come up with something new. In the end I (mostly) used a pile of driftwood I have as a back drop and I am quite happy with how it turned out.

 

 

Oops.

Ignore that last (incomplete) post please. I was trying to test something out on my blog and managed to hit publish on an old draft by mistake. (I have since deleted it). I just realized it automatically got sent to Facebook and Twitter, too so thought I would explain in case anyone wondering (like my husband just was …he was curious why I would be posting about his birthday which is in June now ). Oh, the fun of blogging. 🙂

Friends as Customers

I received another order from another dear friend this week. This time it was for two of my crocheted cowls.

It’s funny because when you start a business often friends and family are the first people to see what you are about. So it only makes sense that a lot of your first customers are friends and family.

I find it a little difficult though because whenever I get such an order I want to make something for them for free because after all they are friends and family.

I actually have to fight the urge though. If it were the other way around I know I would be excited to order something from a friend and help their business at the same time. It would make me happy to give my money to someone I know rather than an anonymous big box store. This thinking is what helps me fight that urge of giving things away to my loved ones.

I Found Something to Make into a Chalkboard!

10513378_10152520888065279_3829045036500615621_n

Before: The old mirror I picked up begging for a transformation.

IMG_5282

After: With a little paint, elbow grease, and a photo transfer you get a lovely vintage chalkboard.

 

 

I have mentioned before that I have a love for chalkboards. So, I have been on the lookout for things I can add some chalkboard paint to and convert to a fabulous chalkboard something or other (like the chalkboard I made for my daughter from an old oil painting or the chalkboard table I made out of an old table I picked up on craigslist).  I have looked and looked and haven’t been able to find anything …until a couple of weeks ago.

I was minding my own business as much as one does while looking through Facebook when I came across a post for an old mirror for sale. It was perfect. So I promptly said I’d take it and that night I drove out to get it. It ended up being twice the size as I expected but that was okay it would still do.

I initially thought I would paint the frame a teal colour but that would entail me going to buy paint. When I did finally get a chance to start my project it was after the girly was asleep and the paint store wasn’t open so I started looking at what I had on hand. I found some old sample pots of Farrow and Ball paint so I decided to give Dix Blue a try. I decided I liked it.

I had been trying to figure out what to do at the top of the chalkboard. Perhaps a word? Or a picture? Or something? But what? Well, once I had painted the Dix Blue on all I could see was flowers in my head …the sort you might see on some type of vintage wallpaper. I wasn’t confident I could paint them on myself though. So, I started to search the internet for the flowers I had in mind. I found the ones you can see in the after picture and thought they were perfect. And then I remembered a blog post I had read about photo transferring. Basically you apply a transfer medium to a laser copy of the photo you want to use and place the photo down on the wood. Then, wait 24 hours, sponge off the paper and your picture should now be on the wood. I thought I would give it a try.

I uploaded my file to Staples and later went out to pick up my copies (I ordered 2 just in case). Unfortunately, I didn’t give the correct instructions and my copies ended up being smaller than I needed width wise. I figure I could just cut a part off and put it on in two pieces. With my first try there ended up being a line where the two pieces met which I didn’t like. So I tried to sand the area to make it look aged but I only just ended up making it a big mess. There were also a couple of other spots that didn’t work out because I didn’t read the instructions correctly and applied the medium to the wood and not the photocopy. It caused a couple of lumps to happen.  So, I sanded it all off and did it again (with copy #2). This time the line was still there but I just rubbed away some more of the photo along the line and in a couple of other spots to make it looked aged and vintage-y. Then I made some really strong tea to make the white parts where I rubbed the photo away look aged, too. I also sanded some of the paint to add more aged character. And, voila, I now have a lovely vintage chalkboard ready to sell.

I haven’t put it in my Etsy shop because it is heavy (it was a mirror and is almost 4 feet by 2 1/2 feet) and would be extremely expensive to ship. I did try to put it in my shop and just have a note about picking up locally but apparently you have to put shipping in for at least one country. So, I have put an ad on craigslist for local buyers instead.

Let me know in the comments what you think of the transformation. Do you like the vintage-y feel of the rubbed away spots on the floral part or not?