Monday, June 30, 2014

DIY: patriotic pinwheels for a sparkly Fourth of July

We've got something festive and sparkly just in time for your Fourth of July. Katrina of Ma Joie Press put together this great DIY. These make great party favors and decorations. Katrina added some to a bouquet of flowers for a holiday centerpiece, and it's adorable. Have a fun, safe and crafty Fourth!

1. What you need: 4.25" cardstock or scrapbook patterned paper squares, flat tacks, chopsticks, scissors, hot glue gun, hole punch, paint brush, glitter, and Elmer's glue.

If you love the paper design in the photos, Katrina was kind enough to share! Here is a letter-size PDF for easy printing. Print one side, then turn it over and print the back.

2. Cut from each corner to about two-thirds to the center of the square.

3. Put a dot of hot glue in the center of the square, and fold a point to the center. Continue dotting the glue and folding until you have a pinwheel.

4. Use your hole punch to make a hole in the center of the pinwheel, right through the dried hot glue.

5. Paint the edges of the pinwheel with Elmer's glue. Add glitter.

6. After the glue is dry, use a tack to secure the pinwheel to a chopstick. Careful not to push it in too tightly or the pinwheel won't spin.


Monday, June 23, 2014

Studio Snapshots: Liz Wiley

It’s time for another behind-the-scenes look at an Etsy Dallas studio. This time we have a special Q&A with Liz Wiley as well as a look at her workspace. 

What mediums do you work with?
I make paintings on canvas using oil and acrylic. I used to work only with oils, then I started experimenting with acrylic paints for my “1 painting a day series” paintings, because I needed them to dry fast. Now that’s about all I use unless a customer requests I use oil paints.  
How is your workspace set up now?
My studio is located in a large commercial space. The front wall is ceiling to floor windows. I love all the light. Sometimes I don’t even turn on the lights. 

I have a 4' x 10' steel table in the middle of my room that I had made to work on. There is a shelf for baskets with tools and a rod to hang rolled canvas. In the corner I have a shelving system to hold all my paints. I keep brushes and tools on the top. 

I have a small office space in the back. There is a desk for my computer, book case and three idea boards. Plants everywhere. I don’t usually have the best luck with plants, but they are doing OK so far.

How is it different from when you started?
I started working in the garage at our house. It was hot, cramped and not very inspiring. The biggest difference is the amount of work that I am able to accomplish in my studio v. the garage (where there were too many distractions). I am also able to create larger paintings. It’s so inspiring to have a dedicated space to work.  

What is your favorite thing about your workspace?
I just love having my own space to work. I love that I can leave my works in progress out and not worry about it being in the way or getting touched by my little kids.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

How to set up a craft show booth like a pro (part two)

Do you ever wonder what goes into prepping for those craft shows you visit? Have you been thinking about selling your work? We asked Jenny and Sabrina of The Pig and The Peacock for their expert advice on being a vendor. And they delivered! Check out their earlier post if you haven't already …

Prep for Doing Business
One or two weeks before the show, gather everything you need to do business and ring up transactions. Pens, calculators, invoice/receipt books, shopping bags, are must-haves.

Make a bank run to get change – think about your price points and plan your change based on that. If you take credit card payments via Square or any other device or app, make sure they are in working order and that you remember passwords for apps. Another thing we do is create a cheat sheet of all of our items pricing with tax. At the bottom we have every price point from $1-$100 with tax added for quick reference.

Prepare for the Day
Bring bottled water or soda and snacks even if there will be food/drinks on site. You may be too busy to take a break! Be sure to snack when you can so you don't run out of energy toward the end of the day. It's also great if you can recruit friends to help, whether it is to drop off lunch, give you a break or support.

Prepare for the Unexpected
Know that no matter how much planning you do, you can't plan for everything, but you can try your best to be prepared so if the unexpected does happen, you have it covered. We always bring a disaster kit. In this kit, along with our pens and invoice books, we keep the following:
  • Stapler
  • Scotch tape
  • Duct tape 
  • Packing tape (no joke we bring 3 kinds of tape with us and have used them all!)
  • Kleenex and napkins
  • Safety pins
  • Advil (you will be glad you had it)
  • Calculator
  • A multi-use tool
  • Lighter
  • Power strip
  • Extension cords
  • Bungee cords
  • Band-Aids
  • Purell
  • Sharpies
  • Blank index cards (for ad-hoc signage)
  • Business cards
  • Notebook – we like to take notes of things we forgot or wish we had and items customers asked for that we currently don't make
  • We also bring a hand truck and a thick floor mat to stand on

Have Fun Selling
The best part of being at a craft show is being able to talk with your shoppers, and tell them about your process and your passion for your craft. Have fun selling and they will have fun shopping.

If you are on the shy side, think about an opening line to break the ice – perhaps something that makes your items special or what inspired you to make it. Instead of answering questions with a yes or no, take advantage of the opportunity to tell people more about the item too. Even a simple hi and a smile will go a long way to make people feel welcome. We like to chat with people and ask them how they are enjoying the event as a whole, and find out what cool things they have seen at other booths. 

How to set up a craft show booth like a pro (part one)

Do you ever wonder what goes into prepping for those craft shows you visit? Have you been thinking about selling your work? We asked Jenny and Sabrina of The Pig and The Peacock for their expert advice on being a vendor. And they delivered! Check back soon for part two …

Craft shows are a great opportunity to boost sales and meet your customers face to face so you can show them what you are all about. In order for you and your shoppers to have the best experience possible, you need to plan ahead and prepare.

Make Enough Product
First and foremost you need product – and plenty of it. You should aim to still have a relatively full display toward the end of the show. If your booth looks empty, you might get passed by. Depending on your price points, you should expect to sell 1/4 to 1/3 of the inventory you bring. The best way to be prepared is to make a production schedule and try to stick to it. Then bring everything to the show, even if you aren't sure you will sell it.

Lay Out Your Booth Space and Displays
About three weeks before the show, plan your booth space. Decide what your table layout will be, how your displays will be set up and where chairs and product storage will go but still be easily accessible. Tape off the booth space on the floor or driveway and be sure everything fits. Once you have a "floor plan," decide how your goods will be displayed.

You want to be sure your displays hold enough product, are easily shop-able, and add height and interest to your booth. Anything can be used as a display, from old crates and quirky vintage suitcases to simple metal hanging racks or risers. Bring tablecloths for your tables to create a visually appealing display that allows you to hide stuff under the table. Remember to consider lighting needs. Check out this Flickr Craft Show Group for ideas.

Create Signage
On average, a customer will ask the price of items only twice before they feel uncomfortable asking again. Put them at ease by creating signage or putting price tags on all of your items. Make sure the sign is easy for them to spot and big enough to read from a distance. Also be sure you have business cards handy and in a place that is easy for shoppers to find. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Pretty up your pics at the Etsy Craft Party

It’s time for the annual Etsy Craft Party and you’re invited! Etsy Dallas and City Craft are hosting a local gathering. Come join us for snacks, drinks and photo crafts. This free event includes three craft projects.

Choose your own project:
1) embroidering directly onto photographs or photocopies of photos;
2) embroidering on photos that have been printed onto fabric (we have two photos, courtesy of our amazing and talented Yony of YLK Photography, on fabric for you to choose from: blue bonnets and Big Tex);
3) and especially for kids: making photo collages with cropped photos, scrapbook paper, etc.

Guests are encouraged to bring their own photos to use for the projects. We will have some supplies for those who don't bring photos. And be sure to get your photo taken in the photo booth too.

In addition to the photo crafts, City Craft is opening their sewing machines to those who may want to try sewing. How amazing is that?!? It's going to be a great night. We can't wait to see what you create. Save the date!

Time: 7 - 9 p.m.
Date: Friday, June 6, 2014
Place: City Craft
2104 Irving Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75207
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