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!”

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Update: Romantic Jacket Makeover

Hola!

Yesterday I posted about a jacket makeover that I began. I finished it this morning and thought I’d update you.

As I mentioned yesterday, I followed a tutorial for adding pockets to a garment without them. The elbow patches were hand-stitched.

I also added the same floral fabric to the lapel for some color. This fabric was from some old curtains, so there were some finished edges which came in handy. I just lined the fabric up to the existing lapels, pinned it and trimmed accordingly. I then used a zig-zag stitch to attach them.

I scrapped the large white doily I had in yesterday’s image and decided instead to go with two square pink ones, lined up vertically on the back. Since these are crocheted and pretty loose, I decided to treat them more as appliques. Using the overcasting foot, I sewed an overcasting stitch carefully around much of the doily, leaving spaces for the belt to loop under.

Of course I never know when enough is enough, so I added some bling to the front in the form of some vintage jewelry. I also added an antique metal eagle to the back to contrast the slightly girly pink doilies!

I most likely won’t be wearing this until the Spring, but I think it will be great to wear antiquing!

~*`Tara`*~

Upcycled vintage doilies, curtains and jewelry as embellishments on a plain jacket.

Upcycled vintage doilies, curtains and jewelry as embellishments on a plain jacket.

 

Paper bowls and a box of natural goodies!

Paper bowls and a box of natural goodies!

Hello,

I thought I’d check in and give you a little update on some of the things I’ve been up to this month.

One event that I’ve been planning for this month is the Employee craft fair I organized at my work. We held one in December that was pretty successful so we wanted to see how a summer one would go. The items ranged from sea glass jewelry to crocheted octopi. This time around, we will have baked goods and gourmet salsa too! I will be selling some of the clay jewelry and figurines that I’ve mentioned here as well as some new items that are not on Etsy yet. Here’s the story behind one of my projects for the fair…

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A while back I purchased a paper making kit from Wooden Deckle. I had made some paper a long time ago and still had a container of pulp that I made myself from recycled paper, in the fridge that I was afraid might go bad soon (I guess that just means get moldy). I broke out the kit again to make some grass paper – yup, paper with grass clippings in it! It came out looking very natural and rustic, I love the look.

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It made eight 3 x 4 pieces and had a ton of pulp leftover. Instead of throwing it away, I decided to make some bowls out of it. I just molded the pulp into various bowls that I had in the kitchen and let them sit, for a very, very long time. Of course I got impatient after a few days and tried to speed up the process in a low temp oven, unsuccessfully. So I worked on other projects while waiting for them to dry almost completely before I could remove them from their molds. I neglected to take photos at that point. I decided to paint them instead of leaving them natural, because it would make them more durable and perhaps slightly functional, definitely not meant for food though! And I was quite pleased by how lovely they turned out…

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Hopefully there is some interest in these at the fair, otherwise I will definitely be listing them on Etsy soon!

Last year I mentioned my love of flea markets and how my father, sister and I frequented the local ones. This year we had yet to go so my Dad and I went a few weeks back and I hit the jackpot! And bonus, it only cost me $10!! My score is pictured below and includes a bag of multicolored threads, a bag of black buttons, a giant spool of gold thread, a seashell stamp, a bag of ivory ribbon, a bunch of leather laces, several pieces of moon and stars costume jewelry and a vintage gingham scarf.

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I am a huge fan of having things delivered to my door, anything that means I don’t have to shop in public is amazing to me! So when I saw an ad for healthy, all natural snacks that are automatically shipped to you every month, I had to try it out! A few weeks ago I registered with Nature Box, for only $5 for the first month and $19.95 each month after. Not a bad price for all natural foods that are the most expensive type at the supermarket. Plus, a “no questions asked” cancellation policy if unsatisfied. Basically, nothing to lose. Another major bonus with this company is that for every person that you refer (who joins through your referral link) you get a $10 credit and could, in theory, end up with free natural snacks!!! Well, I got the introductory box today and I was majorly impressed! It came with six decent-sized bags of various healthy, many vegan, snacks, including plantain chips, cherry granola and mango almond bites. I tried the latter already and they are delicious, seriously! I highly, highly recommend trying them out, and not only because I want credits (but if you sign up through my link, I will be forever grateful!!)  Share the NatureBox Love!!

 

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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?