Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Getting Ready For the Holiday Sales

Happy Thanksgiving!  By the time this is posted, it will be Turkey Day, so a happy one to all!  I have spent the day prior to the annual Day of Gluttony looking forward to my holiday craft bazaars.  I try to have a variety of items for sale, and last year we did rather well with the paper ornaments that my daughter Meredith and I made.  This year, I harkened back to a project that I did with my son when he was in kindergarten,and being that he is a senior in high school now, that was quite awhile ago!  That year, we decorated clear glass ornaments with different colored acrylic paint by swirling it on the inside.  It was great, and we made several ornaments for relatives and teachers.  My daughter and I thought we would try it again this year, and prepared by waiting for sales at Michael's to purchase the clear ornaments and paint.  To our dismay, it did not work out...the paint was not good enough quality, so left empty bare spots in the ornaments. So disappointing!

So I was left with a bunch of clear glass ornaments, purchased on sale, and needing a concept.  The other day, browsing a bulletin board that I frequent, I stumbled across a post describing ornaments made with glitter and alcohol ink.  Researching it, I found that the alcohol ink is rather involved and more complicated that I want to get into.  However, the basic idea was to use hair spray on the inside of the ornaments to serve as the adhesive for the glitter. I gave it a try, and it worked!

My initial experiments were successful, though I had concerns about the long-term stability of the hair spray.  So instead, I purchased a spray adhesive and used that to adhere the glitter to the inside of the ornaments.  The result looks the same, but I feel better about the quality of the ornaments.

It is a simple matter of spraying the adhesive inside the ornament, then pour 2 different colored extra-fine glitter into it, swirling it around to get even coverage.  The result is a bright, beautiful, deep mix of glittery color.

We have been busy today creating many ornaments, and hopefully the craft bazaar shoppers will like them!  Our first is on December 7, which is the church bazaar, and the following weekend is our Salem Etsy Team sale.  I am looking forward to both!

*Edited to add, here are a few more pictures!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Well, this post will not actually have anything to do with Halloween, but it IS Halloween, so a happy one to all!  Yes, it has been awhile...I have only recently begun to get motivated to craft again after taking the summer off.  Life is busy, yadda yadda, you've heard it all before.  My Etsy shop has not seen a lot of action for quite awhile, but lately for some reason has picked up a bit- I actually had a few sales in the last month!  This is somewhat surprising, given that I have not listed anything new in quite a long time.  Recently, I sold this washi card:
Love this washi paper, in a nice cherry blossom pattern, in shades of peach.  Anyway, I was pleased to sell this card, and when I messaged the buyer with the information about when I would ship, etc. and thanked her for supporting handmade, she responded with a very nice note thanking me for my prompt response and wishing me continued success.  When she received the order in the mail, I got the NICEST message from her!  It really made my day: "I received your package. The card is lovely, and I appreciate the beautiful brown paper wrapping job you did. I also appreciate the 15% off coupon for the next order! I like the way you run your business, and I will certainly order from you again. Continued success!"  How awesome is that?!

Not long after that, I received a message from a repeat buyer, who was interested in a custom exploding box.  Very nice guy- I think this is the 4th order I've had from him now.  I love that!  The fact that someone would come back to my shop even twice means so much to me- that they like my work enough to buy again is such an honor.  Anyway, this customer liked one of the exploding boxes in my shop:
but he wanted it in different colors.  It was for his girlfriend's birthday, and she likes red and pink.  He asked if I could do something with that.  Well...I love a challenge!

My first thought about red and pink was...Roses!  I had some lovely rose-patterned paper to start with, and that was my jumping-off point. I had in mind to do a rose bouquet in the center, similar to the daisy one I did awhile back.  Remember this?
I loved the compact daisy bouquet in this box, and had a mind to do something similar with roses.  Well, here it is:
The roses are a bit harder to do, because they are smaller and more compact, therefore they don't form a nice cohesive bouquet like the daisies.  I did a mixture of red and pink roses here, courtesy of my Sizzix rose die, which I love!  I lost count of how many I put in this centerpiece.  I didn't really care- I just wanted it to look full enough.  Here are some more shots:

The rose on the lid was made with a Spellbinder die, and I really love how the petals are irregular, more like a real rose.  It is easy to make a large rose by cutting out two from the die, rolling one, and then cutting sections of the other one and gluing on the outside to make it more full.  The leaves are punched from the MS rose leaf punch, which has to be the most used punch I own.

I loved this project, because it challenged me. The colors I was asked to use are not colors that I would usually choose to use on my own, but I really love the result, so I feel like I was pushed to do something beyond my usual box, pardon the pun.  I am really hoping that my customer will love this, as well as his lucky girlfriend who will be the recipient for her birthday

I am doing two holiday sales this year- the one at the church that I did last year, and our local Salem Etsy Team sale, both in December.  I am helping to organize our SET sale, and am hoping it will be the best one yet!  It is on December 14th, and although we have lots of time, it will be here before we know it, so I'm trying to get lots of things done early so we are prepared.  I'll be working on some new holiday items in the very near future, which means that hopefully I will have new things to share soon!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Back From Break With a New Product

Hello!  It's been awhile, but after the spring sales I did, I needed a bit of a hiatus to rest, regroup, and pay attention to other parts of my life!  The end of the kids' school year is always hectic, and then there is settling into the new summer routine.  I've done a few custom orders in the last couple of months, but haven't worked on any new products, mostly because I have so much left from what I made for the spring sales.  Right now, my online shop does not have much stock in it, however I have a TON of items that I haven't had a chance to photograph and list, and that is my goal for the summer before I work on anything new.

The new items I want to share today are things I made for the spring sales, and they are something have not done before- gift card holders!  I came up with the design myself, with a triangular pocket on the inside to hold a gift card.  I have only made a few so far, until I can see how they do in the shop.  Here are a couple of the designs:

I really like this pretty floral paper in fresh blue and white!

The cheetah print is sassy and fun!

I made the pockets larger than a standard gift card, because some gift cards come attached to an information card, so if you don't want to remove the card from it, it can fit in the oversized pocket.  I included a blank white space on the pocket for a personal message.  The cards are standard A2 size, although they open the long way rather than the short way like a regular greeting card, so they fit into an A2 envelope.

It will be a slow process getting everything photographed and listed in my shop, so this is only the beginning!  To add to the process, I have decided that I would like to add sentiments to most of my cards, instead of leaving them blank on the fronts.  I have always left them without sentiments and offered the addition of a custom sentiment, but I have rarely had a request for that, and I think it is harder to have the cards found in searches.  For example, if someone is searching for "birthday card" they may not see mine, since they do not have a birthday sentiment.  I'll still have some blank cards, but will start the process of adding sentiments to the back stock I currently have. I'll do some Happy Birthday, perhaps some "Thinking of You", "Congratulations", "Get Well", "With Sympathy".....what else?  Have an idea for a sentiment?  Leave a comment!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Spring Craft Sales Ahead, and a New Graduation Box

Well, you know I have been preparing for my spring craft sales.  The first one is tomorrow, 5/4/13, and I am READY!  Ok, I am going to cop to being totally stressed out and underprepared for all of the sales I've done before now.  But this time?  I have it COVERED!  Maybe because I started really early, maybe because I was really productive, but at some point I finally felt like yes, I have enough inventory, and stopped feeling the pressure.  What a great feeling!  This week has been good- I've had a few tasks to do, printing out pricing signs and coupons and whatnot, packaging up my contribution to the raffle basket, but really, it hasn't been a big deal. I've had my craft fair bins packed from the last few winter sales, so my display stuff is OK, and since I have a few of these sales under my belt now, I know what to expect and what is required/necessary, so I've been taking care of a few little things here and there, and what do you know, I'm ready!

I have to admit that I am just a *bit* intimidated by the theme of this sale.  I really do like Jane Austen.  I have read Pride and Prejudice several times, tried to read some others (but didn't finish), and I love the movies. Particularly the BBC version (6 HOURS and totally worth it) of P&P starring Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy...ohhh, yeah, what a hero in a love story!  I also really like the P&P version starring Kiera Knightly.  If I could have a P&P with Kiera Knightly as Elizabeth, and Colin Firth (20 years ago) as Mr. Darcy, that would be the perfect P&P for me.  Clearly that is not going to happen though...except in my (warped?) mind.  Anyway.  I do love Austen.  Admittedly, the movie versions, more so that the books.  Like I said, I tried to read some of the others, but the only one I really got through was P&P.  BUT- I Looovveed the movie version of Emma, starring Gwyneth Paltrow, and Sense and Sensibilities with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet.  Those are on my "watch repeatedly" list.

So, this sale tomorrow, it's centered around the Austen theme, Austen's novels and the Regency theme.  Um....I am not totally sure how I fit in there.   I have some pressed flower bookmarks, some floral cards, hopefully that will be sufficient.  I did my own thing, made my bookmarks and my cards and some gift cards and other stuff, and hopefully that will be OK.  I am a little concerned about the actual Regency-related vendors I will be with tomorrow, and just hope I will not be totally out of place.  I am pretty happy with what I have to offer...but will it be Jane Austen appropriate?  I don't know- I can only hope!

Also.  I have mentioned wanting to do a 4-sided graduation box before, since the 8-sided ones are so cumbersome to make.  Welll...I finally have one! Woohoo!

These are MUCH easier to produce than the 8-sided octagonal graduation boxes, and are still very dramatic, so hopefully people will like them. I have a custom listing in my Etsy shop as of today for these.

 Next Saturday, May 11, is our Salem Etsy Team Sale, and hopefully that will be as successful as this Austen Faire.  And hopefully I will have enough inventory for that one after the Austen Faire!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

More New Cards for Spring

I've been busy creating new stuff for the two sales I have coming up- the first is now in just under 3 weeks, yikes!  Here are some samples of what will be available there.

These are some new embossed cards I've been experimenting with:

This one is similar to a design that I posted last time, with a different floral paper.  I *LOVE* this one- purple is my favorite color, and I just love the pansies!  I made the paper pansy out of a punch, and while it's a little larger than I would have liked, I still like it.

This is some more new washi paper.  So pretty, with the soft pink and bright red, with a hint of gold.

This is a different spin on cards I have made with this paper before.  I love this paper as it has some of my favorite colors!  I got a large sheet of it awhile back and it's time to use some of it!

I am making progress on my stock for the first spring sale, which is May 4th, but still have a ways to go.  I'll be back next week with more previews!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

New Floral Cards for Mother's Day and More!

I have two spring bazaars coming up next month, and am starting to panic just a little because I don't have my inventory stocked as well I as would like to yet!  I have been hard at work on some new cards, and though it's only a fraction of what I want to accomplish before the first sale on May 4, at least it's a start!  I wanted to share some of these new designs today.  I am not sure if any will be listed in my Etsy shop- I may list a few, but at the moment, I am missing the battery charger for my camera so can't take good-quality pictures of them until that is located.  These pictures were taken with my iPhone, so they are not as clear as mu usual pictures.  Anyway, these are not done yet- I have not done the inside lining yet, and will be adding sentiments to some of them, probably Happy Mother's Day. 

For these first two, I had a similar floral-patterned paper in pink and blue, and I made two different card designs with each.  I'm only showing one of each here, but I also made the other designs in the opposite colors.  This first one, the blue, is a new design- I used a sketch that I found on a blog called Freshly Made Sketches.  I really like the sketches on this site, because they have very clean lines and a general "uncluttered" look about them.  I am enjoying experimenting with some of the sketches I have found there.

The pink one is a design I have used before, pretty simple with just a layering of the patterned paper.  This floral pattern has what look like larkspur flowers, which I use a great deal in my pressed flower bookmarks, and I challenged myself to make some paper flowers that resemble them to embellish the card.  I used a Sizzix die to make these- I tell you, I have gotten a lot of use out of those!  You may remember them from way back when I did these poinsettia cards and used them.  They are only three petals each, but when layered, give a very similar look to the larkspur.  For the flower centers, I punched a small daisy in green and cut each petal in half lengthwise and cut away one half of each.  Then I curled each remaining petal half toward the center using a little quilling tool that came with an art set that my daughter got for Christmas.  It has come in pretty handy for me lately!  I then added some leaves punched from a MS rose leaf punch and embossed some veining on them with an embossing tool.  I think they came out pretty well!

This next one us kind of different- I used the same layout as on the blue card above, but used a very interesting butterfly pattern washi paper.  Love the colors in this one- silver, blue, teal and black, with a little splash of yellow.  I used a metallic silver as the backdrop for an embossed strip with butterflies and dragonflies (a new Sizzix embossing folder), the washi paper, and a layered punched butterfly.  I'm not totally in love with this one...I think I may experiment with adding something in the upper right, it just seems a little too empty to me.  Maybe a small sentiment there.

This next one is similar to one I did before, but I added a flower instead of just a bow.  I like the combination of soft green and pink on this washi paper.
 This one has my favorite washi paper ever, I think- I got this from a fellow Etsy seller who has a lovely shop full of pretty Japanese papers.  I now wish I had bought more of it- I only got one sheet, and now there is no more in her shop. :(  So I am making the most of what I do have!  This is my traditional design with a ribbon and flower.  I did the flower in a two-toned purple and red, and I like it on this card.
You've seen this design before- the only thing different is that I put two flowers on this time, just to mix things up a bit!
And finally, this one is another new washi paper.  I mentioned a couple of months ago that I had ordered some from two different Etsy sellers.  This is another one of those- I like the dark, dusky purple combined with the green.  The sentiment box is currently empty,but will have a "Happy Mother's Day" in it eventually.  I was testing out a new Spellbinder die that I got for the frame- I like it!  The flower, in hindsight, is a bit too big for this card, but it's from a punch that I got at Ross Dress For Less, of all places.  It is a 3-petal punch that embosses also, and I really wanted to try it out.
Like I said, I have a LOT more work to do before the first sale- I know what my weekends are going to be spent doing for the next couple of weeks!  I have so much that I *want* to do, but probably will not have time to do it all, so will have to prioritize.  I do plan to make a 4-sided graduation exploding box that I can display alongside the 8-sided one as a less expensive option- that is something I have been meaning to do for my Etsy shop anyway.  Probably need a few more bookmarks too, and will have to recruit my daughter to make some more little glass flower magnets that seemed so popular at the other sales.  So, when I have more to show, I'll be back!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

New Floral Bookmarks

 Made a few pressed flower bookmarks today!  They should look familiar- they are color schemes that have sold in the past, so why mess with a good thing?

This red rose and rosebud design hasn't been in my shop for over a year, so I thought I would bring it back.

This tie-dye design is one I had in my shop a few months ago, and sold at one of the holiday craft bazaars that I did.

This blue and yellow design is one of my personal favorites!  Love these colors together.

These purples are so pretty together!

This one is an oldie but a goodie!  This mixed verbena design was one of my very first wayyy back when I first started making bookmarks.  I haven't made it in a long time, so thought it was time  to give it another try.

And this dark and light pink design sold recently for the second or third time, and it always gets good views in my shop.  So here's the most recent!

Well, I have a pretty good start on my inventory for the Jane Austen Faire and Spring Salem Etsy Team sale in May!  I will be doing lots more bookmarks, more cards, and maybe a couple more exploding boxes.  Next weekend is the start of spring break, so I'll be back with more stuff after that!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

It's Finished! The Daisy Garden Exploding Box

Whew!  I'm so glad to have this one done!  It seemed like I had a lot of obstacles in completing this one, but it was totally worth it- I love how it came out!

I would like to note that all of the daisies in the pot are handmade, by me.  There are 13 daisies, to make a nice full bouquet.  I think it was worth all the work!

I'm really happy with how this one turned out.  Love the colors, and the combination of the daisies and butterflies is really sweet.

This one was really fun to make.  I have SOOOO many ideas for more exploding boxes!  I just found a great tutorial for paper tulips...I'm definitely mulling over what I can do with that!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Work in Progress- A New Exploding Box

Just wanted to do a quick sneak peek of my new exploding box- this one is daisy themed!

I have to note that the daisies in the little pot in the center are all handmade by me- yes, it is a lot of work, and I could probably buy some already made to use...but that would not be in line with the handmade mission.  I just can't bring myself to "cheat" that way!  I had fun with this one- check out the floating butterfly in the background!  I like how that part of it turned out in comparison to the last exploding box.  I haven't done the lid yet- need to get more paper to finish up, but I will do that this weekend.  Can't wait to get this one listed in my shop!

Other news- I have signed on to do a Jane Austen Faire on May 4th, so that should be fun!  I will need to have lots of floral-themed items for that, so I will be working on some new pressed flower bookmarks and more cards.  Also, our local Salem Etsy Team has scheduled our Spring sale for the following Saturday, May 11, so that is 2 sales in a week- I better get going on my inventory!  We have a new location for our sale so I hope it works out well- it's a beautiful space, we just have to get people in there to appreciate it!

More later when I finish this box, and have some new bookmarks to share!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

My Experimental Exploding Flower Garen Box

As I mentioned in my last post, I've had this idea floating around in my head for an exploding box that has flowers as the centerpiece.  When I first conceived the idea, my thought was to use a cardboard tube that has been cut down to size as the container for the flowers.  I figured I'd cover the outside with some pretty paper or something to make it more attractive and less, well, like a toilet paper tube.  Then I was browsing at Michaels the other week, and I stumbled upon some tiny clay plant pots that are the PERFECT size for this!  With a coupon, they weren't too expensive, so even though I'm just experimenting at this point, I sprang for them.

Anyway, let me back up.  Last year, for the Spring Etsy Team sale, I made an exploding box with a paper rose as the centerpiece.  I never got a picture of it because I made it at the last minute, and ended up selling it at the sale.  I always wanted to do more, but my method of making those paper roses was a bit of a pain.  I used a large flower punch that I had to cut sections out of and use several layers to create a 3-D flower.  I had seen that Sizzix and Spellbinders both had 3-D rose dies, and I finally decided to break down and get the Sizzix one.  Unfortunately, when I got it home, I found that the roses that it makes are tiny- much smaller than I had originally thought.  The largest size is maybe the size of a quarter in diameter, the smaller size is more like a nickel.  So I ended up getting the Spellbinder die, because that one is a bit larger.  But once I made some of those smaller roses, I started thinking of ways I could use them, and that's when I came up with the flower garden idea. I have lots of other flower punches and dies, so figured I have a variety of flower types I could use.  And then there was this idea: floating butterflies.  I cannot take credit for this idea at all, because I shamelessly stole it from my BFF Kendra.  Last year, she made an exploding box and used some thin strips of clear acetate to have "floating" objects in it.  I was thinking it was the graduation box for her nephew, but when I went back to look at the pictures she sent me, that wasn't it, so now I'm not sure which one it was.  In any case, I thought that was a very cool idea, and when I started thinking about a flower garden exploding box, the thought came to me to use that same floating object idea with butterflies.  I was able to find a roll of acetate at work, and "borrowed" some for my experiment.

So, here is the lid:

 The flower on top is the Spellbinder 3-D rose die.  I cut it out in an off-white card stock and inked it with 2 shades of purple ink and a sponge.  The leaves are cut with a Martha Stewart rose leaf punch.  The lacy squares are a new Spellbinder die, and they are perfect for exploding boxes- the largest one is 4 inches square, which is exactly what the boxes are.  I got it with the intention of using it for the sides of exploding boxes in the future, though on this box, I only used them on the lid.

I got a DCW paper pad a few weeks ago that I really like- it has lots of purples, greens and yellows, with some blues as well.  I really liked the paper I used on the sides, like you are looking head-on at a flower garden.

Above is a view of the box when it has been opened.  The outer layer is embellished with a layer of floral paper under some purple panels that have been dry embossed. This embossing folder is really cool- the craft store where I bought it had some sample cards that had been made with it, and I liked that you can emboss it with either side.  I actually used both here- in this picture the top and bottom panels have just the edges of the flowers raised, while the left and right panels have the petals themselves raised, and the edges depressed.  The middle layer is embellished with some flowers that I cut out with punches and used jewels for the centers.  The inside layer has the same paper that is on the outside.  Then, there is the center.
There's that adorable little clay pot I was talking about- isn't it cute?!  So, let me talk about the flowers for a minute.  There are two roses- the purple one in the front, which you can see the top of, and the yellow one behind it, which you can see from the side. These are the two Sizzix 3-D roses.  In the middle is a daisy that I made using a daisy punch. I used 3 layers and glued a tiny pompon in the center, which I colored yellow with some yellow stamp ink.  The purple daisy was cut out with a larger daisy punch, and I used a yellow button for its center.  The flowers are attached to pieces of green floral wire with the use of a hot glue gun.  Leaves were punched using two different MS punches and adhered to the flower stems.  The stems (wire) are stuck into a piece of Styrofoam that is in the pot, and covered with some crumpled green tissue paper.  I also put some tissue on the bottom of the box, surrounding the pot.  Then there is the butterfly, as well as a dragonfly, that seem to float above the flowers, on thin strips of clear acetate.  This part was challenging- I added these pieces last, and I really should have figured out where to put them before gluing down the plant pot.  Next time, I will make the flowers a bit shorter, so that the butterflies will be more prominent- as it is, they kind of blend in and aren't that noticeable.  My daughter, Meredith, thinks I should only have put one, but I kind of like having both of them there!

So, there it is- my vision finally brought to life!  There are things I will do differently in the future, and that's why it's good to make a few test products before finalizing the design and process.  I still need to work on my 3-D flowers- I don't entirely have the hang of making those roses yet, and need to come up with some different things to use for flower centers.  I am not all that fond of the button on that purple daisy, but was at a loss for something else to use.  The pompons I have are too small for that size, but perhaps the next size up will work.

Anyway, I like it, and I hope to do more with this concept!  I have more ideas for color schemes and designs, so it will be fun to see if they look as good outside of my head as they do inside it!