That’s my bag baby!!

My latest go-to gift item has been bags – I find a fun and unique pattern, or come up with my own, and then put a bunch of awesome stuff inside! For a few bridal showers I made bags and then purchased small items from the registry to put in it. Saves on wrapping, looks really pretty and makes a great keepsake gift!

Here are some of the bags I’ve made recently…

Nautical themed bridal tote bag ~ designed by Tara White Studio

Bag handmade by Tara White Studio using pattern from the Purl Bee. Apple tree designed by Tara White Studio.

 

Green duck shoulder bag ~ designed by Tara White Studio. Available for purchase on Etsy!

Chipmunk shoulder bag ~ designed by Tara White Studio. Available for purchase on Etsy!

Custom penguin and duck shoulder bags ~ designed by Tara White Studio.

And here are some of the many, many bags that I have accumulated over the years…

Tara's bags ;)

Uh oh, I think I might be hoarding bags, maybe I should donate a few of these, hehe. Thankfully, for my wallet’s sake, most were gifts!

That being said, I definitely enjoy finding unique and interesting bags when I shop. Modcloth actually has an amazing collection of super cute bags. Here are some of my faves…

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

ModCloth may be your go-to for cute dresses and clothing, but did you know they have a flourishing decor department? Think fun and unique adornments for your home, kitchen, bedroom, office space, and more. If that’s not incentive enough to check it out, they just so happen to be having a 20% Off Decor Sale that’ll give your place a pop of personality. No code needed, so just shop ’till your heart is content and there really will be no place like your home! Hurry while it lasts!

If you like bags as much as I do, I hope you found something you like here! See you next post!

~Tara

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Spring Air and Craft Fairs

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Before I started on Etsy, I participated in a holiday fair at my work where I sold my handmade clay ornaments. I had a great time and made many sales. Sadly, the organizers got busy, people lost interest and the fair did not happen for the next few years. I then took it upon myself to start it back up again. In 2012, I organized the first official Employee Holiday Craft Fair at my work. I reached out to my coworkers who were also crafters and artists as well as their friends and family. We had a variety of items ranging from jewelry to crocheted octopi! This past year was the second annual Holiday Fair, where we had about 10 different vendors, half employees and half friends and family. Everyone did very well considering there was no cost to us and we held it for only 3 hours.

Before the 2013 holiday fair, I participated in several public craft fairs in my area. These were my first experiences at more professional, open-to-the-public, vendor shows, although many were the first ever. I learned a lot and would like to share what I leaned from each experience.

Destash Bash (first one)

How I found it: Etsy team

What it was all about: selling crafts and “destashing” excess materials and supplies

Duration: 6 hours

Cost: $25 for 10 x 10 space

The good and the bad: For my first public fair, this was pretty successful. I sold a lot of my jewelry but not much of my supplies. I found it helpful to have someone there for part of it so that I could take breaks, use the bathroom, etc. This fair was indoors and possibly not as advertised as it could have been so there were a lot of lulls where there were no shoppers.

My personal seller rating: B+

 

Todd Farm Flea Market (has been around for many, many years)

How I found it: Been going for years!

What it was all about: mostly antiques, some handmade

Duration: ~8 hours (first come first serve for spaces, so have to get there early)

Cost: $35 for 20 x 30 space

The good and the bad: I took a chance trying to sell my small, handmade items at a place known for its furniture and antique decor. I brought my Dad along who was selling some of his antiques and other items, so we split the cost and shared the space. The hardest part was getting there as early as we had to just to barely get a spot. The market is outside, so you’re exposed to all the elements and it was a hot day! In the end, my Dad sold more items than I did and I even put many things out for free near the end to get rid of stuff. I still love Todd Farm, but will probably just go as a shopper from now on!

My personal seller rating: D

 

Essex Shop and Stroll Event (first one)

How I found it: Invited through Etsy

What it was all about: Bringing together Artisans and shop owners in Essex, MA

Duration: 6 hours

Cost: FREE!

The good and the bad: This event was spread along the main street in downtown Essex, MA. Each participating shop was paired with two local artisans who were set up along the road out front. Myself and a local sculptor were paired with an antique shop very far from any other vendors. We were near the end of the route, so shoppers who were walking had to go quite a distance to find us. My Dad and Grandmother came down and almost didn’t find me! Since we were so spread out our potential customers came very sporadically throughout this long day. I would love to participate in this event again and hope that it will be planned a bit differently so that we can get more visitors.

My personal seller rating: C

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Tara White Studio, closeup of vendor table

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall Fest 2013 (first one)

How I found it: Friend

What it was all about: Local vendors from Cape Ann area ~ food, drinks, music, fun for the family

Duration: 7 hours

Cost: FREE!

The good and the bad: This was one of the longer events I did, but it did not feel that way because of all the festivities happening around me. I also did very well, selling many of my items and making more than any other fair. I met a lot of great people too! I guess I don’t have anything bad to report here!  Thanks to The Bridge for having me! If there is another next year, I hope to be part of it and encourage you to come!

My personal seller rating: A

Tara White Studio, Fall Fest Gloucester, MA

Holiday Craft Market (4th annual)

How I found it: Last year’s advertisement

What it was all about: Craft fair at local elementary school

Duration: 6 hours

Cost: $60 for 8 ft space, plus donation item for raffle (all proceeds went to the school)

The good and the bad: This was the most expensive fair that I was part of, but the money went to the school that I went to as a child, so the cost was easily rationalized and I didn’t mind donating a raffle item because I had an overflow of merchandise. While the fair was only 5 hours, with setup and breakdown it was more like 6 or 7 hours for the vendors. The organizers were definitely not noobs though, and had the whole process under control, everything from unloading and parking vehicles, getting vendors to their spaces, having adorable kids bring around lunch orders and surveys. I was impressed. But, the turnout was not as impressive. I didn’t even make back what I had paid, which was very disappointing. I did have a chance to walk around and there were so many amazing vendors there. This was the largest fair I had been part of, so that may have been why I didn’t make as much, too much competition! I would probably not sell there again, but would definitely like to do my Holiday shopping there!

My personal seller rating: B+

2013 Holiday Craft Market

Tara White Studio, 2013 Holiday Craft Market

After the last one, I did a fair at our sister company in Ipswich, MA. This one was free as well, I sold several items and met some more awesome people. There was another vendor who we had at the fair that I organized and I was proud to say that both of us did better at my show! All of these experiences have taught me a lot about what people like, how to display my items, how to network and so much more. If you have any questions about other aspects of selling at craft fairs, I am certainly not a pro, but I’d love to share more of my perspective with you!

 

Tara White Studio, last craft fair of the season : (

 

Jackson says, “Hello and happy Spring!”

Yearning for summer

I came across this draft for a nature photography post this past summer. Since I am over this cold, snowy winter weather, I thought this would be appropriate to share now!

I love nature and really enjoy photographing it, even though it sometimes takes a lot of patience! Here are my favorite nature photos I’ve taken this summer:

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Eat your veggies!!

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One of the cool things about the cottage we rent is that it has some amazing gardens in the yard. There are many different types of wildflowers as well as raspberry bushes, chives and mint galore. There is also a strawberry patch, but the berries never turn red… perhaps they are not edible strawberries? I’m not sure. We went to our local farm stand and bought a few strawberry plants, which were doing very well, but have slowed down over the last few weeks. A few months back, my husband purchased some seed pods online, containing various vegetables and herbs. We now have cilantro, lettuce, spinach that we have been cutting down and using. There are several tomato plants, peppers, and a crazy giant cucumber plant from which we are awaiting flowers and subsequently veggies.

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I just think its super cool to be able to just pick food in your yard and cook with it. My favorite thing is the cilantro because every time I have tried to grow it indoors it does not do well and I use it all the time!

In the theme of veggies, I’d like to share a series of ornaments that I recently made. My good friend’s daughter is named Anna, so of course everyone calls her Anna Banana! For her 1st birthday a few months ago I made a little clay banana baby ornament as part of the gift that Mommy could enjoy. I decided it was too cute not to expand and make other types of fruit babies! Along with the banana are a strawberry, a carrot, a bunch of grapes, a pineapple and a green onion.

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The fruit and veggie babies are available for purchase in my Etsy shop, here: Tara White Studio

And to round out this refreshing garden-themed post, here’s a lovely Etsy Treasury, “How does your garden grow”.

‘How does your garden grow’ by Claytastic77

Lovely new and vintage items for the garden or garden enthusiast.

Vintage Metal Wheel Barrow Gardening Cart in Aqua Blue and Yellow - sugarSCOUT colorful garden- original watercolor - zuhalkanar Group of 4 Hand-painted Garden Signs - RusticSignworks Vintage Bright Green Garden Tool Bonny Prod. Co. NY Metal and With Plastic Handle House Plants Gardening, Great Gift - DebscountryVintage
Victorian Garden Bridesmaid Necklaces - Rustic Chic Wedding -  Set of 6 - Palomaria Indoor Outdoor Herb Garden with Chalkboard Placards - MeriwetherOfMontana Vintage galvanized metal watering can, gardening - ThatRetroGirl bird garden decor- garden art - garden decoration - plant stake - lawn ornament - plant marker - gardener gift -plant pot decoration - GVEGA
Garden Sign In Hunter Green & Walnut - UtopiaHomeAndGarden Personalized Prayer Flags Made custom for you      xo - Cazmira Garden Plant Markers Veggies - Three Stakes per Set - Great Father's Day, Teacher Appreciation, Gardener Gift : ) - playfularts Gardener's Gift Box - Gardener's Soap, Body Butter, Lip Balm in Eco Tube, Solid Perfume and Nail Brush - naturesmuse
Insect Repellent All Natural with Pure Essential Oils, Vegan, DEET free, Smells  Fresh - PureNaturalis Vintage Garden Tools, Vintage Gardening, Garden Art, Garden Display - BlueMoonCollectibles Blown Glass Hummingbird Feeder Red and Orange Free Shipping - Oberini Hummingbirds and lavender, original watercolor, bird art, garden painting - TivoliGardens

Treasury tool by StylishHome.

Hello Summer!

I can’t believe this is my first post in nearly two months! Since the weather is so beautiful here in New England right now, the theme of this post is nature. I’ll be sharing some woodland animal-inspired jewelry, photos of my first kayaking trip of the season and some random photos taken on walks with my dog.

I’ve mentioned my Etsy shop and team participation a few times. I recently joined some new teams, one called Animal Totems (check us out here: Animal Totems Team). Inspired by the other amazing shops run by members of this team, I created a series of animal spirit jewelry. A while back I had made some bear paw prints out of clay and wasn’t sure what to do with them at the time. So I made some more paw/claw prints as well as some clay claws, teeth, antlers and a feather:

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Initially I planned to use an animal track and a claw or tooth together as part of a more eclectic necklace, like this one for the cat:

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While I do love how this one turned out, it seemed it may be too much for some people to handle, plus if I separated them out, I could make way more necklaces!

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Each of the necklaces shown above and more are available for purchase in my Etsy shop: Animal Spirit Jewelry

Since today was too hot to not be near the water, I took old Nemo (yeah, that’s my kayak) out for the first paddle this summer. Our street is on a river, Little River, which feeds into the Annisquam River in Gloucester, MA. Here’s a map showing my route with the red line:

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I paddled down Little River and passed under the Andrew Piatt Bridge…

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I paddled further and in the middle of where marshes are at low tide I saw a tiny little island, with rocks and small trees on it…

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I had to pull up here and check it out. This was a pretty cool spot that I came across and definitely beat the beach since I was the only person there!

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This certainly was a great weekend and I am looking forward to many more kayaking adventures. Here are some cool pics I’ve taken around the yard and neighborhood to keep with the nature theme!

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A dog day at the beach

A dog day at the beach

While I didn’t do much crafting this weekend, I did make a few trips to the beach with Jackson. Our favorite beach to visit before the summer is Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester.  Here are some photos of our trip.

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I certainly found a lot of new inspiration in this trip and can’t wait to go back. Although I bet Jackson is even more anxious to go! I hope everyone had a great weekend! Talk you you soon!

Tara

My Dad’s antiques and a beach-inspired project!

My Dad’s antiques and a beach-inspired project!

What a beautiful weekend we are having here in New England! And thank goodness because I was pretty sick last week and the warmer weather was just what the doctor ordered!

Since I was feeling better Saturday, I stopped over at my Dad’s house for a bit. He had a bunch of old jewelry, coins and other items he wanted me to check out, thinking I could possibly use them in my work. Well, was he right! In case I have not already mentioned, my Dad, sister and I love antiques, especially hunting for them! Once the warm weather returns for good, we will definitely be going on some antiquing and flea market excursions, so I am sure I will have plenty more to share!

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This weekend, I was very lucky to acquire a giant lot of items from my Dad and Grandmother, everything from primitive glass and stone arrowheads, to antique jewelry.

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This piece, a vintage brass locket or pill case, is one of my favorites. It has amazing detailed flowers and scroll work on both sides but there are no markings indicating when and where it was made, unfortunately.

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These two pieces are also very interesting. The top one is inscribed on the back with “W * F 1/40 10 KT R.G.P.”, which I just learned means 10 Carat rolled gold palladium, but am unsure about the “W F”. The emblem on the front reads, “Syracuse University Founded…”. There is some deposit that would have to be carefully chipped off so I cannot make out any date that might be there. The bottom one is a sterling silver ID bracelet belonging to a Donna Faye Norwood. My father actually found that in a stone wall in front of a place he used to live, so it is possible we may be able to locate someone who may have known her.

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Then there was the tiniest ring I have ever seen! Shown above inside of my own size 4 engagement ring. It looks and feels like silver but there are no engravings that I can see. Maybe it is just a charm, but it is adorable!

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My father is a coin collector and while he has many unique and valuable coins, he comes across some not-so-valuable yet very cool looking coins in from time to time (top left). I liked the ones with holes in them because I do not currently have drilling capabilities and these can easily be incorporated into jewelry. Some are just old toll tokens that were punched after use, they may be worthless but they have a lot of character! He also gave me a horn (top right), an abalone shell (bottom left) and several quartz crystals (bottom right). I think these will be very cool as props in some of my jewelry photography.

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The last item, and biggest item, is this cast iron stand, that I have not been able to identify, but think must have held a bell at some point. Felt was glued to the bottom a long time ago on which someone wrote, “Deacon Home”. My Dad is fairly certain it came from a church. That adds to the probability of the bell holder theory in my mind. While I really should not be bringing more items into my already cluttered and tiny home, this was way too cool to pass up and could be used as a unique jewelry display. And if you’re thinking, “I can’t believe this girl is taking all of her dad’s great vintage finds”, well, rest assured that there is enough stuff in his one bedroom apartment to fill a museum. We actually had that conversation while I was there, I suggested that he charge people admission when they come over!

Also this weekend, I finished a project I have been thinking about for a few weeks now. On one of many walks to the boat landing down the street from us, I came across a cool, weathered piece of wood with awesome chipped blue paint and a couple nails sticking out of it. I also found a horseshoe crab carapace, the animal’s hard outer covering. I knew I wanted to make some type of sign incorporating the two as well as other objects, to give the look of a pile of stuff washed up on the beach.

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I was super excited about the finished product and it looks awesome on the front of our house. And yes, it is that way to the beach!

Do you love to find things? What’s the best thing you’ve come across – whether at a yard sale, flea market, thrift shop, walk on the beach or even in the trash?