Tag: painting

11Aug

A little bit of craft shows…

I don’t know about you guys, but I feel like summer is flying by. Just this past weekend, I noticed it starting to get dark earlier. I mean I had to leave the pool before 9 p.m. THE HORROR.

Summer is always such a busy time of year. It seems every time I turn around there is something else going on and I really have a hard time saying no. This leaves very little time for myself and, as you might have noticed, my blog.

A few weeks back, I was part of a craft show in Meadville. Why Meadville? Eh, it’s kinda close to my hometown and they reached out to me (remember the saying no thing?). Everything about the weekend was hot. Well, most everything. Unfortunately my sales at Pink Days in Bloom were not.

Last year was my first craft show and, let me tell you, it was a lot of work. I spent the entire summer painting, sanding, glueing, etc. I was terrified I wouldn’t have enough merchandise to fill an entire booth. I completely underestimated myself. I filled the booth and then some. Applefest took place in my hometown of Franklin. It is a three-day event that brings in more than 30,000 people each year.

Pink Days in Bloom was a bit different. The venue was smaller, so Dave and I decided to cram everything into two cars. When the alarm went off at 6 a.m. on Saturday morning, neither of us were too pumped. We made the nearly two-hour trek up north and arrived at different times. Not knowing where to go, I just started driving through the crowd until someone pointed me in the right direction and told me to unpack immediately. Around the same time Dave called me to tell me he was lost in a field of horses. WHAT.

After 17 angry text messages from me, we managed to pull ourselves together and set up a somewhat respectable booth (considering this was only our second craft show and we didn’t bring half of our supplies). The day, which was full of music, food and entertainment, raised money for the Yolanda G. Barco Oncology Center and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

It was for a good cause and I got to spend the day laughing with my mom, but I left a little defeated. I know I’m not alone in feeling this way. But after putting so much effort into something, it’s hard walking away with very little sales. With the limited time I’ve had this summer, I started looking into picking the “perfect” craft show. Because, who knows? Maybe 2017 will be my year.

Here is what I found:

  • Start visiting craft shows now.
    Unfortunately, this is where time comes into play, but the best way to discover if your products will be a good fit is to visit the craft show before you apply. You’ll be able to see for yourself the attendance, type of customer, type of vendors, table setups, etc. And the best part about vendors is we are all in it together. Talk to them. Everyone has a story to tell and usually some tips.
  • Consider the audience of the craft show.
    This has been a big problem of mine. A lot of my products are geared toward a younger audience who have better things to do than browse a craft show on a Saturday. So, ask yourself, does the demographic of the craft show attendees fit well with your product? Are the other vendors selling outdated crafts or would your product fit in nicely with the selection offered?  Also consider the neighborhood in which the craft show is located.
  • Cost. Cost. Cost.
    Many of you might not know this, but craft fairs can be expensive. Some typically have a fee involved and then there is the cost of the booth, supplies, travel, etc. It can be a bit overwhelming. It may help you to think in terms of what you will need to sell to break even.  If a show costs $100 per table, and your product costs $10 each, you will need to sell 10 items to break even.
  • Handmade or vendor?
    I learned this at my recent show. All of my products are handmade, so it was disconcerting to be surrounded with vendors. If you’re not sure of the difference, vendors sell things like body wraps, Shakeology, Origami Owl, etc. And that’s great, but if your products are like mine, you will have the most success at a show that only features handcrafted items.
  • Is it online?
    Clearly I am a big supporter of using social media, blogs, etc. to promote your crafts. Where is the first place you go to research an event you want to attend? If your answer isn’t the Internet, please share your secret way of life. Again, you must consider your audience when thinking about online presence. For my products, I think a craft show with an online presence would be important. (As I type this, my Etsy shop is down for some reason. It will be back up soon! You can check out some of Bows and Branches products on Facebook and Instagram.)

I think that’s a good start. My next craft show is in October and I would love it if you stopped by and bought a lot of stuff. If you don’t plan on buying anything, bring me some snacks or something.

15Jun

A little bit of my mind…

I have been staring at my computer screen for awhile now. I can talk. A lot. But putting into words what I feel after this weekend’s tragedy isn’t going too well. Like all of you, my heart is sad and scared for the world we live in. This weekend was a bit of a whirlwind, so I spent the other morning cramming in a lot of information. The outpouring of love and support is amazing. The stories of the heroes are incredible.  

It’s been a struggle coming up with something to write about this week. My mind is kind of all over the place today and I feel like I need to type something, so here you go.

Welcome to my mind…

I sold some wine glasses last week. I haven’t been pushing my crafts too much recently, so when a sale comes my way, I am pretty happy. I did a redo of the ones I made for PERSAD CENTER’s Art for Change event. Can I just say that most of the time I feel like I am a complete shit show? So, when I finally finish making something and it is safely tucked away in its packaging and on its way to a customer, I feel pretty freaking amazing.

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This time was a different story. I hand delivered the glasses because I was headed to a friend’s pool that day, which is right down the road. Upon delivery, I get out of my car and start up their walkway. My swimsuit bottoms fall down. I am covered with a sundress, but at this moment, I panic. I can’t tie them without exposing my lady bits, so I pull them completely off and tuck them in my pocket. I am in a residential neighborhood, and I see the neighbor staring at me. Like what kind of goods is this girl delivering? I am friends with the daughter of the woman who purchased the glasses, and her adorable husband decided to show me some of their artwork. It’s like he knew (Sorry, Marsha! hahaha). Anyway, they loved the glasses and I will be shopping for a new swimsuit.

In other big news, I switched from an iPhone to an Android. This was a BIG deal for me. I do all my work on a Mac. Have for years. I use my iPad daily and still remember getting my first iPhone. The short and sweet of it? I am a closet nerd. I spent an entire morning researching this switch and walked into the Verizon store with sweaty palms. I explained myself to the guy who said, with such sincerity, I get it. Somehow I walked out of there with a Galaxy S7 Edge, an Ellipsis 8 tablet and a new found love for Aaron the Verizon guy.

I also spent a lot of last weekend in a swimming pool. Jealous? The weather was gorgeous. There was plenty of booze. But the weird part? I can’t swim. Go ahead, get the look of shock over with and erase the thought of “fixing” me from your mind. I can move around just fine in water, but I can’t go under. And can I just say? None of you (Well besides you, Alex.) are doing laps in the pool during a party. I believe you were all standing right next to me drinking your beers. Regardless of that, I took lessons two years ago. I made it through three of the four and gave up. First of all, I hate deep water. Second of all, swimming is a lot of work. You learned when you were five and had all the energy. I was 33 and it was not easy. And third of all, it was me and a bunch of little kids. No thank you.

And just one more thing before I shut up. F*ck yeah, Pens! Also, main image is available for purchase here.

7Apr

A little bit of two cats, two eyes…

If you were to cut my heart open, you would find that a large chunk of it is purely devoted to my love for animals. When I was asked to paint wine glasses featuring not only one, but TWO one-eyed cats, my heart swelled. I have never painted animals before, so I was extremely nervous. I mean it’s basically like painting someone’s child. Pet owners are crazy! I know. I am one.

IMG_8150Frankie Jean (the darker one) and Jovie Jade are one-year-old cats, who coincidentally, are both missing an eye. Frankie and Jovie were adopted from C.A.R.E Rescue in Columbia, SC. When Frankie was found, she was a sick little kitten with a terrible eye infection. In order for her to make a full recovery, her eye had to be removed. Jovie was hit by a car as a small kitten and had many injuries, including a broken mandable. As a result of the trauma to her face, her eye also had to be removed.

Frankie and Jovie, currently living in South Carolina with their loving owners, are happy and have no idea they are different from any other cat. They spend their days running around as fast as they can, climbing on their cat tree and taking naps in their favorite sunny spots.

In addition, like me, they love social media. Frankie and Jovie are the co-owners of their Instagram and Facebook accounts. Their goal is to raise awareness for special needs animals and prove that they deserve happy fur-ever homes as well. Also, they’re kinda famous.
19Jan

A little bit of sparkle…

FullSizeRenderToday was a bit sparkly…literally. My niece, Liz, requested a canvas painting that was a bit different from my normal style, and it turned out really pretty. My family loves hunting. They wear camo. Their walls are adorned with deer heads, among other stuffed animals. I am basically “the princess that moved to the city,” but I can respect a different style. 

Liz wanted a black and white striped canvas board with a glittery buck. The concept was easy enough, but I struggled a lot with the white and black stripes. After one failed attempt, I went to Google and searched how to paint straight stripes. The results were upsetting, but also humorous, i.e. draw two dots and connect them, don’t take your eyes off them, don’t look away. Ridiculous.

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I ended up just trying my best. This is always my go to motto with crafts. I put painters tape on the canvas board and I think it turned out pretty straight. The next step was to paint the black stripes. I use acrylic paints because I have them for painting wine glasses. Painting on canvas is kind of awesome. It dries super fast, which allows for multiple coats in one sitting. The black stripes were painted on and now my painting resembled a famous dress from 2015 (well, to some of you). 

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While the paint was drying, I used my Silhouette CAMEO to create a stencil. I use adhesive vinyl that I found on Amazon. I typically use the Silhouette adhesive vinyl, but I was trying to save some money, and honestly this stuff worked really well.

I purchased a design I found in the Silhouette store. If you’re not familiar with the machine, it cuts out any stencil pattern you put into the program. It does a bunch of other stuff too, but I haven’t played around with it enough to know it all. I struggled at first with the adhesive vinyl sticking to everything, but trust me, you slowly get better.

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Once the vinyl was attached to the canvas, it was time to make this thing sparkle. I used Elmer’s glue and just kind of spread it around in the inside of the stencil.

IMG_6598I worked fast so it wouldn’t dry and then I piled on the glitter. This took me back to my childhood. I used to love adding glitter to crafts. I went a little overboard with the glitter because I wanted to give it a thicker look. I wasn’t sure what I was going to uncover when I dumped off the excess glitter, but the end product was gorgeous and exactly what Liz ordered.

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16Jan

A little bit of art therapy…

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I assume when people picture someone painting, they picture someone sitting at an easel, staring out at the sea. Their brush is painting a blueish gray sky. They are cool, calm and collected. They are in the moment. Not a care in the world.

Let me first say that I enjoy painting. I love adding color to things that were previously dull. I love the feeling of finishing a piece of work whether its a wineglass or a sign or a painted picture. I love that after struggling with anxiety most of my life, I have found a way to release that energy. What I don’t love is when I have off days. Today was one of those days.

I know every job, skill, whatever you want to call it, has its ups and downs. I definitely went through that in the corporate world. In the end, it was more downs than ups. But this is a different feeling. Every morning my mind tends to race with ideas of what I will accomplish that day and when the end of the day comes and I have nothing to show but a full trash can, I stress out. I started to do some “research” on this and found out I’m not alone. In fact, it gets worse. In a TODAY Moms survey of 7,000 U.S. mothers, 42 percent said that they sometimes suffer from Pinterest stress – the worry that they’re not crafty or creative enough. Wow. I am not a mother, but seriously is this what we are doing to each other?

I really think that we can suck the fun out of anything these days, so I am reminding myself now why I got into crafting in the first place. Art is supposed to be fun and a way to express yourself. There is a reason why six of the current top 20 bestselling books on Amazon are adult coloring books.  Through the repetitive motions of creating something, you shut off your mind like in meditation. And it doesn’t stop there, the reward of seeing what you created gives you more warm and fuzzies AND you get the satisfaction of knowing that you have the ability to finish something on your own.

Moving forward, I am going to try to not be as hard on myself when it comes to these off days. And I encourage all of you to pick up a coloring book or paintbrush or knitting needles. Give your mind a break.

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