{thrifting finds and apple butter day}

I have said this before but it goes to the heart of what I love...I love junk.

I love trash picking.  Garage sales.  Thrifting.  Love.  Love like a good cup of coffee.  Love.

Last Sunday after church, my friend Lydia and I went thrifting.  We were on the hunt for supplies for a show we decided we would do together. Thinking about Christmas and earning some extra dollars for the kids... we signed up to have a booth at the Apple Butter Day in Groveport, OH.

So we packed up the kids and spent a nice afternoon combing every square inch searching for treasures. We found all kinds of things we needed for some of the crafts we have in mind.

But these peep toes shoes.  They were calling my name.  They were like new, all shiny and under $3.  I couldn't resist. And clearly, neither can Sprout.  Because she promptly "borrowed" them and played "Momma" the rest of the day.  It's pretty cute.  She grabs her play computer, phone and a pad of paper and a pen..."I'm working, like Momma!" because when I work from home, that's what we do.  We sit down together at the table with our "computers" and our paper and she takes orders and I fill them.  She should be ready to take over as CEO by the time she's 10 I'm certain of it.

Miss Lydia and I have lots of fun plans in store and many sewing dates ahead as we prep for next week Saturday.  Pretty scarves and fun reclaimed items, wristlets and pretties for your hair and more!   If you're so inclined, come and see us!  We will be in the big tent right smack in the middle of it all, next to the log cabin.  Come and say hi!

When I feel afraid or think I've lost my way...

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path"  Psalm 119: 105

You may remember me mentioning a little boy nearby that is the same age as my twins who was recently diagnosed with cancer.  His Mom is friends with a friend of mine from church and I follow their updates on their CaringBridge site.

His Mom posted this today on their site:

Part of me wishes I can get a glimpse into 2010....that I could see the future and what God has planned for Sam this year. I was reading in a devotional today called Everyday Blessings by Max Lucado. This was the devotional for today- December 31st "God isn't going to let you see  the distant scene. So you might as well quit looking for it. He promises a lamp unto our feet, not a crystal ball into the future. We do not need to know what will happen tomorrow. We only need to know He leads us and we will find grace to help us when we need it." Psalm 119:105- Your word is like a lamp for my feet and a light for my path.

What resonated with me and in particular, on this New Year's Eve is that 2010 is a year full of possibilities.  I have no idea where it will take me but I do know that this Psalm is something that I frequently say as I prepare for communion.  I always ask for God to light my path and lead me to where He needs me to be.  For all of us - that we have eyes wide open to see what is before us and follow the path.

And as I think about this for 2010 - I have no idea where on earth that path will lead.  I wish I did.  As she mentioned, I wish I too had a crystal ball.

We have had a particularly rough year financially - as have many people.  I don't want to go into personal finance details but the decision for me to work part time so I can be home with our kids all those years ago - well, we felt it more this year than we ever have before.  And it's a real bummer at times.  That decision simply means that we can't do a whole lot of extra things and trying to explain that to our kids can be heartbreaking.  And there are times I feel afraid or think I'm totally lost at where I'm supposed to be going.  Did we make the right decisions?  Faith shines and I know that we have...

This Christmas, I paid for all of it out of my craft money.  Every single gift, which wasn't a lot but it was special to them, paid cash from my craft shows and local sales.  And sales - were dismal.  Everyone is hurting right now.  And all those days I told them to quit bugging me for just a few hours in the afternoon after spending all morning with them so I could sew because I was prepping for holiday shows...well, they finally got it.  They understood how hard I worked and why.  Christmas day, they were almost in tears when they realized that the gifts they were so excited about came from us  - from all that hard work.  It clicked.

But being broke sometimes can be a blessing.  And really, we aren't "broke".  We just don't have the "extras" and what is that anyway?

I think we all learn valuable lessons about what we value.  And stuff isn't it.  It just isn't.  We craft more.  Garden more.  Window shop.  Splurge on dollar shakes at Arbys.  Go to kids eat free nights at Skyline.  We go to the park where they Dad is a Ranger.  We visit with friends.  We bake.  We go to the thrift store to look for treasures.  I'm a major bargain shopper when it comes to clothing and shoes.  We find ways to spoil them but in meaningful ways and ways to do it that make it special - and we love them a whole bunch and they know it, feel it and return it to us and everyone around them.  They make me a better person every day.  Them.  Not because of me as a parent to them.  Because they are amazing little people with a faith of their own and they inspire me to love and live better each day.

I guess, my point is - this Psalm, asking God to guide us, to trust that we will be provided for and to trust the journey we are on is not one that we know where it's going but one that we are meant to be on and will be exactly what we need.  I shouldn't need to know what will happen tomorrow but live for today.

It makes me feel very hopeful for 2010.

I hope you feel that hope and excitement that  a New Year brings and may you be blessed more than you ever could imagine.

Happy New Year!

xoxo, Trish

...and the winner is...wait, more free stuff? Oh yeah baby!

How can I ever thank you all enough for joining in with us for all the fun at the Sew, Mama, Sew Giveaway.

What a blast to meet all of you - and I NOW don't feel like a total geek.  You all are just as crazy and weird as me based on what you are carrying around in your purses.  I feel right at home with you guys!  Ok, most of you.  A kidney stone?  underwear?  a hammer?  There are a few of you - I'm just sayin, you might want to clean out your bags a bit more frequently.

Wonderful Mr. Random Number Generator came up with #288.  Ms. "M" - on December 2nd at 10:43am - an email has been sent to you requesting your mailing address.  You my dear, are the lucky winner.

But wait...we're on a roll here.

Remember I shared that this weekend was C.R.A.Z.Y because my friend Suann and I were doing the marathon of craft shows for the holidays?  We are totally pooped.  And...we are celebrating that our busy season is done with more fun things just for you.

FIRST - Suann, from Bows and Blossoms is introducing a new line of the most adorable bucket hats that are fleece lined.  Perfect to wear on a cold day AND stylish to the hilt!  Love them!  Suann has agreed to give this one away to all of you just for being, well, YOU!  It's made out of sweet little brown cordoroy with pink dots and this wonderful pink blossom adorns it.  Here's what you have to do to win this cute little thing.

Visit Suann at Bows and Blossoms.  Come back here and leave us a comment and tell us your favorite item you found over there and why you like it.  Suann would love to know what you think about her products as she works on trying her hand at some new things - like these hats. (and for serious - you will not find this kind of quality at this price anywhere - and she's offering FREE SHIPPING right now if you happen to find some other goodies you can't live without!)

We will leave the Bows and Blossoms giveaway open until Sunday, December 13th at 8pm EST and then use the random number generator to pick a winner for this adorable hat.

SECOND - to also celebrate the end of year and all our crazy crafting we've done this year - I'm having a sale over on my etsy site.  Keep checking because I will be adding more and more and more stuff at great sale prices - perfect for Christmas giving.  Or just for yourself because gosh darn it - you deserve it, don't ya?!

I'll be posting my schedule for my sewing classes for January and February here soon.

And my husband, the gardener, has requested that for two whole weeks, I schedule nothing.  No deadlines, no projects, no orders - no nothing.  He said he wants me to actually relax for two whole weeks.  I'm not sure how I'll do it.  I'll probably sneak downstairs during babys naptime and while he's at work and start plotting my next projects...I find it almost impossible to do "nothing" for more than a few days.  But, I'll try :>)

I wanted to again, tell you how blessed I feel to have "met" so many new "friends" in this crafty online community - and I'm so very thankful you visit with us here.  I learn from you, am inspired by you, encouraged by you and appreciate you more than I can express.  Thank you.

Don't forget, you have until December 14th to enter the Where Women Create Giveaway (I'm the Day 4 feature!) and there are so many fantastic prizes you can win over there.  You must stop by!

I think I will go take a hot bath and ponder my "nothing" schedule for the week...wish me luck on actually doing "nothing" :>)  Yeah, right!?!

xoxo,

Trish

Sewin' with my hands tied...

...well, not exactly tied, but let's say very full.  Here's where being a twins Mom comes in handy.  I have a plethora of experience of doing things one handed or no handed and gettin' stuff done.

I'm often asked, "How on earth do you do all that you do?!".  And my answer is...I do not know.  For serious.  For one, I have a super helpful husband who cooks dinner without being asked, cleans my kitchen, um, quite frequently, and spends a whole heck of a lot of time with our kids.  The rest of my house...yeah, that...not so much organized, or clean.  As my Mother said last week when she was here helping, "your house is clean...underneath all the stuff that's laying around".  You know, the 7...oh yes ladies, SEVEN tubs of clean laundry in my bedroom that are folded but not put away.  Yeah, that's "how on earth I do all that I do" (wink! wink!).  It's called, just shut the door when company comes and hide the messes.

SOOOOO....I was prepping for this "craft show" on Sunday...one of my first.  And prepping lots of product and conferring with SuAnn, a fellow crafter who teams up with me frequently on events, and giving myself a serious ulcer in trying to get EVERYTHING done.  Let me backtrack...

Thursday before this event, I had the GREAT idea that we should go to the Zoo for the Wildlights preview night for zoo members.  (I HEART our Columbus Zoo!)  It was a school night, sort of raining and I thought, nobody will be there.  This will be great!  Um, apparently, EVERYONE else had this exact same thought because it was wall to wall people.  Kind of a bummer.  We got our photo taken with Santa.  Well, little pea is barely in the frame as she has this terrified look on her face and is trying to escape.  You can see my hands in the picture holding her back trying to get her to stay next to her sister for a quick photo.  I love it!  It's so funny!  Traumatic for her?  Oh, maybe slightly :>)  No!!  I'm just kidding!  She was fine so long as Santa was a good 10' away or so...close up, not so much.

Many people that night left their manners at home.  That was a bummer too.  Case in point.  We went in to sit with our little ones and eat some packed dinner as well as a couple of things we bought there.  No tables.  Packed.  One table was getting up to leave and we went over and asked to have their table.  They were very nice, said yes, and we sat our two older kids down and then some grown adult, his wife, and their 3 teenage children came over and LITERALLY took the seat out from under me and my husband and said they were sitting there.  I was dumbfounded.  What do you say?  This guy was clearly a jerk.  He's teenage daughter said, Ma'am, would you like this seat?  She saw what her Dad had done but I was too ticked.  I said no thank you and we stood behind our kids and just took care of them.  I can only imagine what must be going on in this guys life for him to think that he would bully some woman with a baby in stroller and two small children for a table.  Really?  But you know what?  Coming home in the car, for as much as my husband and I were "not happy" about our experience, our kids were talking about how they got to touch a sea star, see a shark, and they loved the "real" toy soldier that was marching around and posing for photos.  They didn't even notice it was crowded or the bad manners from others.

They just knew they got to go to the zoo on a school night and see the lights.  That made all my anger go away...they are such good kids.  With no prompting they both said, "thank you for taking us to the zoo".

Spending time with family comes first but that also meant my window for prepping was smaller.  But get it done, we did!  And here it is...

Well...that's pretty much it for this post.  I'm mush brain with thoughts of turkey and family all coming here for four days and...did I mention my house is a mess?  Oh, I must go start loading up bins and hiding my mess!  Happy Turkey week...

ps Up for a giveaway?  Kaye over at Miss Print is giving away a Hazel Hipster pattern...and her blog is fabulous.  Go check her out and follow her adventures.  You'll be glad you did!

xoxo,

Trish

Don't sneeze when you're hiding

1) Spy on people who are acting weird and looking suspishise.  (I love the spelling here!)

2) Don't sneeze when you're hiding.

3) If criminals are being nice to you, stop walking and run away.

4) If you're moving, pick a house with a mystery.

5) If you want to know about someone, go on the internet.

I found of all of those things written on a piece of paper lying in a heap of toys and other junk.  Written in colored pencil by one of the Two Peas.  I'm sure it was copied from a book - I think.  But it totally made me giggle when I found it.

Don't sneeze when you're hiding.

You know, because, then you'll be found out.  This really struck me because one of the things I've been wanting to do with this blog is to get some of YOU out of hiding.  I have found so many new and fun blogs through my readers and I'd love to highlight some of the fun and wonderful things you are creating.  Would you like to be included here on my blog roll?  Start sneezing!

I have a new link section called "Crafty Friends".  I'd love to include your blog there.  Leave me a comment with a link to your blog and a short description about your blog.  Once in awhile, I'm going to highlight some of you right here!  That way, we can all find new blogs to visit and enjoy.  Sound good?

 

Alrighty then...would you like to come and visit with me in person?  I have some craft shows coming up and I'd love for you to visit.  Print off a page from the blog or pull it up on your phone and bring it to any of the shows.  I'll extend to you 10% off any one item!

 

Go here to see where I'll be in November and December.  I'll have some kids shirts and skirts.  Upcycled jeans too.  Key fobs, pocket tissue covers, wallets, accessory bags, scarves, lanyards and of course, purses.

What are you making for Christmas gifts?  Do share your ideas...we could all use a little inspiration.

xoxo,

Trish

Craft Addict Rehab...

Ok...so here it is.  I wrote an article for a magazine and submitted it.  It was rejected.  And.  After rereading this later - I can see why it was rejected.  Let's just say, I had been spending a lot of time out in the sun.  BUT.  I hope you might find something useful in it if you currently or are planning on selling your crafts...here it is.

You hoard fabric.  Your drawers are overflowing with notions.  You keep buying more fabric when you have no inkling what on earth you will do with it.  It’s so pretty, how could you possibly say no?!   Come on, just one more yard.  What could it hurt?

You start to make excuses for why you must have yet another yard to add to your mountainous stash and then, it starts.  The dreams.  Colorful, crazy dreams of you being surrounded by fabric and buttons and cute little spools of ribbon and the house – an eerie silence falls upon it and your find yourself, free of distractions.

You dream about sewing the most delicious little quilts and skirts and handbags, gulp, dare I say, uninterrupted.  You wake up only to find the imprint of your seam ripper on your face where you fell asleep with your head on your cutting table because you were sewing late into the evening after everyone had gone to bed.  It was just a dream.

Unusual?  Strange?  Not for a craft addict.  And the first step is to admit you have a problem.  Admit, you can’t let a week go by without stopping into your favorite quilt shop.  You can’t let a week go by without sewing a few stitches.  If you go more than a few days, the shakes and ticks start and you find yourself sneaking back over to sit at your sewing machine.  Just a few stitches…I just need…to…sew…a few…more stitches…and then I’ll be…ok.  Really.  Just let me sew…a few more stitches!!

The next step is to believe that there is a higher power that you can turn over your addiction to, restore your sanity.  Yeah, right!?  Who are we kidding?  Once a craft addict, always a craft addict and there is no shame in that!  Higher power?  I’m thinking, like Etsy, Ebay or a local craft show!   There comes a time when you might want to undo a little of that guilty fabric hoarding habit.  There are lots of ways to make your habit into a guilt free obsession thriving business.

Seriously now, you love to craft and love to create for friends and family but there really are some very simple ways to get your addiction hobby to pay for itself.

Local shops

When I first started creating handbags and accessories, I found that our local coffeehouse would allow me to set up a little space inside to display my wares.  For a nominal cut of the proceeds, I was able to make a fair amount of spending money for the month.  I was able to go out with my girlfriends for lunch, maybe buy a new outfit, guilt free, using the money I made from selling my crafts.

Here are a few things to consider when considering selling at a local shop:  Will they purchase your crafts from you at a wholesale price or carry it on consignment?  A wholesale price is generally 50% of the retail price.  For instance, if you make a handbag that would retail at $50.00 then typically, you would sell it to the shopkeeper for $25.00.  Does that allow you as the crafter, enough payment for your materials and labor that went into creating the item?

Some shopkeepers may be wary of new products or simply don’t have enough funds to carry a large amount of inventory.  One way to offer your product to them, almost risk free, is through consignment.  A contract is agreed upon between you and the shopkeeper that states the inventory being offered, a start and end date if necessary of displaying your wares, and a statement of responsibility about what should happen if your products are damaged while in their possession.  The shopkeeper gets to offer your product for sale without purchasing it.  You decide on your consignment price while the shopkeeper is welcome to mark up your item to whatever retail price they wish.  Since they do not own the inventory, often they are willing to mark up only 25% or so and this allows you to get a few more dollars for your product over offering them at wholesale.

Etsy and eBay

Etsy.com and eBay.com are a few of the better-known websites that allow you to set up an online store.  Etsy is a wonderful option because it offers only handmade items.  Their fees for listing are very affordable and the site is very easy to use.  This is a storefront site meaning that customers can visit your site and make a direct purchase, no bidding involved.

Ebay.com conversely is an auction site where you can list an item and people may place bids on it.  The drawback is that the fees are a bit higher.  However, I don’t think there is anyone who has not heard of eBay.  Your chances of getting a higher volume of visitors viewing your wares may be slightly higher on eBay but there is an increased cost to you for that as well.  Ebay also has the option of setting up a storefront and you can offer items at a “Buy it Now” price where no bidding is necessary.

A little hint to drive traffic to your online store; list your items frequently.  For instance, say you have a potholder you’ve made and you have 12 of them to sell.  List them separately, on different days.  Here’s why.  One of the ways both etsy and ebay are searchable for customers is by “recently listed items”.  By frequently listing your items, customers will see your items come up first and then, hopefully, find themselves in your store.

You’ll need to have a PayPal account to accept payment and you’ll have to stock up on shipping supplies.  An excellent way to get repeat customers and word of mouth business is that “first impression”.  You can purchase inexpensive tissue papers and ribbons or use fabric scraps to wrap your customer’s purchases like a gift.  Include a little note and thank them for their business.  Who doesn’t love to receive a sweetly packaged little item in the mail?  Those personal touches go a long way for sustaining your craft addiction sales.

Arts and Crafts Shows

Sometimes, if you have created enough inventory, you might want to consider entering an Arts and Crafts show.  Typically, there is an entrance fee and that gives you a spot at the show to display your wares.  I personally have found these to be either great or a huge flop.  It depends on the weather, the customers of that one day, and who else you are competing with at that event.  They can be long hours but it can be a great way to introduce yourself to new customers in person.  People love to meet the person who crafted the item and so you may find wonderful success selling in this venue.  I have found that if you create a nice variety of items with a wide range of price points, you’ll have a little something for everyone.

Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  Selling your wares really can be quite simple and allow you to continue on with a guilt free addiction to crafting.  Rehab doesn’t have to be painful – it’s really rather exciting and satisfying to self support your hobby and maybe a bit more.  Who knows?  You could be a budding superstar like Martha Stewart or Amy Butler.  You’ll never know until you try!

Happy Crafting!

(ps I found another interesting article that you might enjoy if you want more info - check out indiefixx here.  Do you have a good experience or advice you'd like to share?  Please leave a comment to share with all of us...I'd love to hear what you are doing or trying in sales)

(pps  blog reader Denise who owns Feather Your Nest had some retailer insight...she left this in the comments but I didn't want anyone to miss this so here it is again.

Good article Trish. As a retail store owner, I’d like to comment on the consignment percentage, few retail store owners will put items in their shoppes and take only a 25% fee. There are many “hidden” costs in operating a brick and mortar store – credit card processing fees alone can be as much as 5% plus a per transaction fee so if the purchase is made with plastic (and 90% are these days) that’s 5%+ right off the top. then there is the tissue and bags to put it in, insurance, electric, heat and the cost of employees to sell it… it all adds up. Any product that is put out on the sales floor has to earn it’s keep for the square footage that it’s occupying. Generally, store owners that take on consignment do it because they don’t have the cash flow to purchase the product out right from the artist. Net profit on few products is 25% so any shop owner that takes a 25% consignor fee is not doing good business for themselves. That said, some places like a coffee shop, that is not in the retail business, might take a smaller percentage like 25% because it’s not space that would be allocated to retail sales anyway, they might use it as a draw to bring customers in, or as shop-ertainment for their customers.

If I were a crafter wanting to sell my product without selling at wholesale prices I’d look more at renting booth space at a craft mall. Those places are in business to make their money off booth rentals and a smaller percentage of the sale to cover processing costs.