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This Mother’s Day, of course, I’d like to wish a happy day to all of the mothers I know – my Mom, my Mother-in-law, our Grandmothers, and all the women I know with children. I’d also like to suggest wishing a happy day to those women who do have small ones in their lives that they care for, provide shelter for, and spend their time thinking about, that may be a bit furrier than those other little ones.
So to all the other fur-baby moms out there, I’d like to wish you a happy Mother’s Day because your love for your animals is just as significant as other people’s love for their children. And a special shout-out goes to those who’ve adopted shelter animals. Many of these animals have had very difficult and scary lives as little puppies and kittens. Most were born on the street and had to fight for food or starve. They definitely require a lot of patience in the beginning but it is worth it to be able to give them their forever home.
My husband and I adopted our dog in 2009 the day we cam home from our honeymoon. We went to our local shelter, Cape Ann Animal Aid, and immediately fell in love with a quiet, 6-month-old hound mix named Josh. We decided to name him Jackson after one of our favorite places, Jackson, NH. He curled up on my lap in the back seat on the ride home. Fast-forward seven years and he is my best friend. I am as excited to see him as he is to see me when I come home after work. He is a special, loving dog whom we hope has at least another seven years to go.
As fur-baby moms we may not get any gifts this Mother’s Day, but that doesn’t mean we don’t deserve a little something for ourselves. I love shopping on Modcloth and came across some adorable and fun pet-themed items that I think you’ll love. Check it out:
Here’s a peek at some of the things I’ve made this Spring…
I wanted a beachy but rustic welcome sign for our front door so I painted the word on a piece of old driftwood, attached it to an old, weathered basket and embellished it with scallop shells and vintage mother-of-pearl buttons.
For Mother’s Day, I knew I wanted to make gifts for my mom and my mother-in-law. I had acquired a huge bag of vintage fabrics, including tablecloths, dish towels and doilies, many, many doilies! So, when a doily bag post from Sew Mama Sew came up in my blog feed, I was beyond excited. I came up with this bag for my mom. I altered the pattern a little by using the trimmed outer edge of my green doily as an accent for the top edge of the bag.
I was able to use a combination of some fun fat quarters that I had in this adorable little tote, pattern courtesy Oliver + S blog. I gave this to my husband’s Mom along with the Family wall hanging inside.
I decided to make something for my Mom to hang as well. She now works from home, using my sister’s old bedroom as an office, so I thought an office sign would be neat. I attempted to make it look old-fashioned, and even painted a vintage rotary telephone on it.
The wall hangings / signs were relatively easy and fun to make, so you may see some in my Etsy shop in the near future!
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 goodand 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
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
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
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
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+
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!
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:
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:
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!
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:
I paddled down Little River and passed under the Andrew Piatt Bridge…
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…
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!
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!
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.
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!