Things I Have Been Working On

With gearing up to do another market of course I set my mind to Valentine’s Day. It still seems so far away to me …wasn’t it just Christmas? …but when I thought about it I realized it is already January 12th! How did that happen?

Anyway, yesterday was a paint day and here are the things I came up with:

She Ran Away In Her Sleep and Dreamed of Paradise

This was a custom order. I was given free reign with the font and I think this one worked perfectly.

you & me

Perfect for a Valentine’s Gift, Valentine’s decor or even year round decor.

P.S. I love you

Who has seen the movie P.S. I love you? It’s one of my favourites. Of course, it comes to mind when I think of love. Another great gift or decor.

Home is wherever I'm with you.

This was actually a shingle my husband brought home. It has a natural heart cutout. I love when nature designs things for us! I have been wanting to put these lyrics on a sign for some time and this was perfect.

XOXO blocks

Recently someone was looking for XOXO blocks so I decided I should do some. Hubby had a 4×4 lying around so I put it to use. I love the rustic well loved feel to these. I made 2 sets.

Heart Block

I had one block leftover after making my sets so a heart it became. Rustic and lovely.

LOVE blocks

And, of course, I had to do a set of LOVE blocks, too. Also, rustic and lovely

Look for these in the shop soon! (Except for the custom order …that one is spoken for. Although you can always ask and I could do another one special!)

 

It’s Been A While

Let’s just say December was one of those months that hit me from behind and spun me around. All I can say is I feel lucky that I was ahead of schedule when it hit.

As a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) (you can read more in my blog post about it here) this is already a difficult time of year. It is a time that I have gotten better at anticipating my reactions and preparing for it. All of the extra tasks leading up to the season as well as the extra activities throughout the season can be extremely hard on an HSP in that we get overwhelmed and then drained fairly easily so we must manage our energy the best we can. Of course, it is challenging because a lot people don’t understand and can also be offended if you turn down invitations. They have to know it’s not them, it’s just the season. And with having a four year old I must put my energies towards her wellbeing first and foremost.

Having said that it doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy the celebrations. I really, really do …I am just limited in how much activity I can cram into a day. I have learned that I have to say no or I will crash and then I won’t be able to do anything …at least not in good humour.

I try really hard to get presents done by the end of November. I also get the tree and decorations up by the end of November. This allows me to have more time when the activities start up in December. And this year I accomplished that. I was especially conscious of it this year with having started up my business as I knew it is a busy time for someone with a handcraft business.

But sometimes there are things beyond your control. I was on top of it but was sideswiped by life. So some of the extras didn’t get done. I had a couple of custom orders that I didn’t get photos of before they left my hands. (And they were good ones, too… If you are lucky enough to live by the ocean you are lucky enough …and …Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part). And, of course, my blog has suffered, too. I haven’t written much at all.

Now I am hoping to get back on track and even have a market coming up. More on that soon. Today I had a much needed painting day. There really is something soothing about  the creative process. It’s been a while and hope they will be more plentiful in the near future.

My First Craft Market

10845985_752549308144965_7349972812362381506_n

My display at the craft market. I was given the table and table cloth to work with.

 

Well, today I attended my first craft market as a vendor. I learned a few things along the way. Previously I wrote about how as a newby I missed a lot of the deadlines to apply to be a vendor at Christmas markets (If you missed that post you can read it here). Then, I applied to a couple but didn’t get in. And eventually I decided to do a market at an elementary school. The table fee was low so I figured I didn’t have a lot to lose and, if anything, it would be good to get some experience with being a vendor at a market.

I think I did pretty well in terms of getting a market checklist together and making sure I had everything I needed. Hubby woke up early with me and drove me and all the stuff (a lot of stuff!) to the school. Hubby only had to go home to get two things I forgot (luckily it wasn’t a far drive). Even so those two things I could have lived without if I had to. (Hubby also surprised me with a handmade rustic business card holder this morning. You can see it on the far right corner of the table. It’s gorgeous. Isn’t he great?)

I also think I did fairly well in terms of setup. It is difficult to set up a bunch of signs on a flat table so I brought a couple of props along, basically things I had on hand, to raise some up off the table to make them easier to look at. Linda from Cottage Living (the shop where I have some signs displayed …if you missed that post you can read it here) kindly lent me a tree from the display in her shop so I could display my ornaments (how awesome is that?!). I may need to rethink a few things for next time but overall I think it turned out okay.

So, we managed to get up early, get there and set up just in time for go time. And then …nothing happened. There were no people (except for the other vendors). Now I will say that this market was run by the PAC (parent advisory committee) of an elementary school and as I found out it was their very first year. However, I was a bit concerned when I noticed earlier in the week that the event wasn’t advertised in the craft market section of the local paper. I know I had seen other school craft fairs in there.

Also, when my son came with his girlfriend he commented that there were no signs on the street leading up to the school. From the outside you would never know there was a craft fair going on in the gym. I think that the main people who came were friends and family of the vendors. I didn’t expect a huge, huge turnout like some of the bigger craft markets get but I guess I at least expected the parents of the students to attend.

On the upside I had lots of time to visit for the friends and family who did come to see me. (Thank you so much for coming to those who did!) I also enjoyed talking to a couple of the other vendors. I got some experience in and won’t be so overwhelmed preparing for the next market. And, at the very end a lady came to ask me about a custom order and took my card. If that order follows through then it may just make the day a win. I think the biggest thing I learned is to ask what the marketing plan is before committing to my next market. That, as I found out, makes a huge difference!

On the downside I am a bit disappointed after putting in so much work to prepare for this market. And, I have lots of stock! Anybody want to buy some Christmas ornaments?

 

I Have Become Too Attached To One of My Signs (and My Signs Are in a Local Shop Now)

I talked in my last post about our move and how I felt like everything was falling into place. I feel like this is where we are supposed to be right now.

On the day we first came to look at the house we had to wait another 40 minutes before we could get in to see it so we went for a walk to the beach while we waited. On the way back I spotted a little shop that had lovely painted furniture in the window. My kind of shabby chic refurbished furniture. The shop was closed but I really wanted to go back and visit when it was open. It is called Cottage Living and it is lovely (have I said that already?).

So, of course, we ended up getting the house but all the events of the move put it out of my head while I concentrated on controlling the chaos. And then after we were settled a bit the girly and I headed out on a gorgeous Fall day (my very favourite kind) for a walk to the beach. And on the way back, lo and behold, the shop was open! Well I just had to go in. So we did and I didn’t really want to leave but the girly had other ideas. So I had a quick chat with the shop owner, Linda, who seemed a little excited when I told her I painted signs. She asked about my process and then told me she had a way quicker method and invited me to come back when I had some time. She also asked if I wanted to sell my signs in her shop which, of course, I did. I took her card and emailed her my Facebook page when I got home.

Almost a week later I was able to get Grandma to come hang out with the girly and back I went. I enjoyed every minute I was there and had the time to find out more about their clay based paint and milk paint (yes, they sell paint, too and other lovely household goodies). I was also able to see her working with the milk paint as she paints right in the back of the shop. I had just recently read about milk paint and am eager to try it out. It gives a bit of a different texture than chalk or clay paint …more of a chipping effect to give it a really old vintage feel. Linda also showed me a recent piece she did which was originally old, ugly bifold doors. She added molds to it, painted it and now it’s a beautiful room screen. It looks amazing. Anyway, I am starting to babble here. Can you tell I am excited?

I really enjoyed being in that shop, inspired by Linda, and all the creations around me. I found myself putting off leaving but eventually it was time to head home to the girly. Linda and I talked about me bringing some signs and arranged for me to bring some down in a couple of days. That night I started to look at all my signs trying to decided which ones I would bring. I ended up picking out 18 of them and typed up a price list for Linda.

But when it came down to it there was one sign I found I just couldn’t part with. I talked to my hubby about it and also to my sister (because sometimes talking out loud just lets you know how you really feel but I also value their opinions, too) and in the end I have decided to keep it. I just love it, too much. Can you guess which one? Yes, it’s the “oh, to be by the sea” I painted on driftwood. So I will have to delist it in my Etsy shop, too before I have to explain to someone why I can’t sell it to them.

IMG_5696

The sign I just couldn’t part with.

A Fellow Etsy Shop

photo

Signs I made for my sister-in-law’s Etsy shop. She will be at the Nanaimo Etsy Made in Canada pop-up market this weekend.

I have mentioned my sister-in-law before. She has kindly donated her old fence boards to us when my husband replaced her fence. I use them for my signs. She has also kindly donated that fabulous piece of driftwood I made into my current favourite piece, oh, to be by the sea.

Well, my sister-in-law also started an Etsy shop called Sea Salt Company and she is going to be at the Nanaimo Etsy Made in Canada pop-up shop market on Saturday, September 27, 2014 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. It will be her first market so she is madly getting everything together and trying to come up with her display. I feel her pain because I have been contemplating setting up shop at a market for some time. The complexity of getting it all together is dizzying: a new display (including tables and whatever else you might need depending if it is indoors or outdoors), enough product (how do you know if you even have enough?), ways to accept payment, and is there anything else? Oh, yes, a sign with your shop name on it.

She had two new pieces of driftwood for me and I couldn’t help but think they would be perfect to make a sign with her shop name on it. With a little discussion and a look at her banner on her Etsy shop I set to work to make her a sign for her display. After all isn’t driftwood the perfect sign for a beach themed shop? With two pieces I was able to use the first one for her shop name and the second one for her byline.

And now I will have somebody who has market experience to go to for guidance when it is my turn to set up shop at a market. (Hopefully soon). I can’t wait to hear how it goes for her.

Busy days

We have been busy, busy, busy. We are moving at the end of the month which is BUSY all in itself. It was also the girly’s birthday this week. She turned 4 and we took her on a super adventure. It was great fun! Four is such a great age (although I have been saying this about each age she has been, ha ha).

Last week I was working on a big custom order but I haven’t had time to write about it yet due to the busy-ness. The order was for two pieces …one was 25″ by 25″ and the second one was for 22″ by 28″. These are the biggest signs I have done to date.

First, after having the hubby cut the wood to the right size, I glued the wood together. I also put cross posts on the back and hubby stapled them in with his (super scary …have I told you about my fear of power tools?) staple gun.

IMG_5747

The boards glued together are finally dry and ready to paint.

 

Then I painted them with CeCe Caldwell’s Dover White to give it a white wash effect. I love it for the background to my rustic signs.

IMG_5748

CeCe Caldwell’s Dover White paint drying on the signs.

Then it’s time to paint the words on. Here is the first sign finished before I hand sand it for the warm, well-loved rustic finish.

IMG_5749

The words are painted. Time to let them dry before sanding.

Both signs are done! They took way longer than I originally estimated. Estimating is hard to do the first time round. (In this case, I hadn’t yet done a sign this big and with this many words). That is all part of the learning curve in doing business though.

IMG_5751

IMG_5755

 

And, the lady who ordered them loved them so much she sent me pictures of them in her home (and she nicely agreed to let me use them in this post)! She is the first person to do that for me and I absolutely loved seeing them. It kinda made my day. It really makes me love what I do when I can make someone so happy with what I have made custom for them!

10705000_10154520962845408_544368670_n

10711300_10154521151445408_1533950782_n

Oh, and I almost forgot. Fall is nearly here which means I have broken out the hook and yarn and have been crocheting up some cowls. Look for those coming soon …as soon as I can rope hubby into taking some pictures for me. (I think it looks better if cowls are displayed being worn by somebody).