Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. I know, this is one of those love it or hate it holidays. Personally, I don’t care for the mushiness, stuffed teddybears, Hallmark cards, and heart-shaped everything. I do celebrate the February 14th because it’s my husband and my original anniversary of when we started dating 16 years ago!!
I think it’s a good day to celebrate someone you care about, and I don’t think that someone has to be a significant other per say. Why not a sister, brother, friend, co-worker, Mom or Dad? Remember back in grade school when you gave a Valentine to all your classmates? Let’s bring that back!!
This is one of those holidays when handmade or just really thoughtful gifts go a long way too. This year I decided to make a bunch of cute, valentine’s-inspired items for my Etsy shop. I came up with some really fun wooden spool photo holders. While the concept is not new, I gave them my own special flair by adding extra “bling” to the tops!
And of course I had to make my own Valentine’s. As a creative and lover of the environment, I always try to make my own cards from recycled materials. I had so much fun making these first three cards. They are made from the tops of those small, square Kleenex boxes, recycled greeting cards, Starbucks corrugated cup sleeves, scrap fabric, trim and assorted embellishments.
One thing that drives me crazy about cards is that they typically aren’t something you want to keep out for very long. So, the best part about these Valentine’s is they can be hung as a keepsake!
**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through my links.
For our special day, my husband and I will likely go to dinner somewhere close to home. Not too fancy, but more upscale than usual. I’d most likely be able to wear a cute dress with leggings and boots, which are more my style than a little black dress with heels (I don’t do heels). Perhaps I’ll splurge on a new outfit!
Modcloth has so many cute dresses and more and they’ve made shopping for Valentine’s Day super easy by creating their Sweetheart Shop. I checked it out and here’s three items I’d like to buy for V-Day:
This is the “About the Artist” dress, which I have been obsessed with for quite some time, but have not allowed myself to purchase yet. It is so simple, but still pretty and romantic.
I’d pair it with these adorable little pink ballet flats because they add just a touch more girly without being sickeningly sweet.
Finally, this bag, omg, this bag is the icing on the cake. How amazing is this? It looks like it came right out of an antique store and the colors go with the gray dress perfectly! If I end up buying these I’ll be sure to share a pic of me in the outfit!
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…
And here are some of the many, many bags that I have accumulated over the years…
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!
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!
The gloves were made from a pair of old pants, the ankles of which had awesome zippers on them.
The two animal bags were inspired by a pattern for a fish bag from Make it Love it blog. I had made that bag for my friend’s daughter’s 2nd birthday and it was so adorable, sadly I forgot to take a photo of it : (
Having designed my own patterns, I was very excited to hear that I could actually sell my patterns on Craftsy! Keep reading for more information!
How to Add & Sell a Pattern on Craftsy
(This post contains affiliate links which means I will be compensated if you purchase after clicking these links.)
In addition to wonderful online courses and craft supplies, Craftsy also has an independent online pattern store that lets anyone upload and sell downloadable e-patterns with no fee!
How do you add a pattern to Craftsy and start your pattern store? It’s easy!
1. Make sure you have a Paypal account. All pattern transactions happen through Paypal, and Craftsy requires that you have a Student, Premier, or Business account in order to sell patterns. 2. Put your pattern in .pdf format. You can’t upload any patterns to the online pattern store unless they’re a .pdf file format, so if they’re currently saved as a Word doc, .jpg, or other file format, you must convert it to a .pdf before you upload it to Craftsy. 3. Include a photo. All patterns must have at least one photo to accompany them, but you can add up to five photos. Colorful, interesting photos tend to work the best for catching our members’ eyes! 4. Fill out the pattern description. We will ask you some basic questions around your pattern making it easier for Craftsy folk to find your pattern and know what your pattern is for. Make sure you have info about your pattern handy for this step.
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!
The phrase, Spring is Coming, evokes much different feelings than that which is commonly uttered by those of the House Stark. (If you don’t get the reference, you’re missing out!)
For me it evokes fresh smells like cut grass and salt air ~ feelings of cool breezes coming through newly re-opened windows ~ sights of people walking their dogs, brightly colored flowers and beautiful sunsets.
This truly has been a cold and harsh winter, so I am very eager for Spring to arrive.
In the meantime, we can rely on lovely images to remind us what it is like since we can’t experience it just yet!
I came across this wonderfully vibrant image of garments from the last New York Fashion Week, with one designer’s vision of Spring 2014 fashion:
I love these outfits, not only for the amazingly in-your-face colors, but also because they each have a very handmade feel to them – the first with its tie-dye, the second with the woven shorts and the third with all of the little cut out triangles. I would love to see these accessorized with some of my jewelry!
Now that I’ve done my self-promotion, it’s time to share the love! Here is a Spring-inspired treasury of items from my Etsy team from Cape Ann:
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!
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…
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.
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…
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.
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!!