All of my life I have had animals as parts of my family. They really make the best companions. They are always happy to see you, they don’t judge and never stay mad at you. This is why I have enjoyed drawing portraits of companion animals. I feel that it is just as important that our memories of our quadrupedal friends last forever. As a former veterinary technician, I have seen many people lose their loyal friends and it can be just as painful as losing a human friend. Although you can go out and adopt another pet, no one forgets their lost companions. They are all unique with their own personalities, just as we are.

Most portraits were made for friends and co-workers, but a few were for some lucky raffle winners.

Dogs…..

(click on the images for slideshow and info)

I use high quality, archival drawing paper for graphite drawings, textured paper for charcoal and pastels.

Cats…..

😉

 

New Business Cards!

A few weeks back I shared a Wanelo collection I entered into Zazzle’s New Year New You Contest. And guess what? I won the Bronze prize, which was a $25 Zazzle gift certificate!

Initially I thought I would use it to purchase one of the products from my collection. I really liked the Blue mist snowfall desk lamp and Fresh mint flavor wall clock.

But I decided to use it for something that I actually needed, which were new business cards. I have not had professional cards since I started referring to my business as Tara White Studio, apart from my free Etsy mini cards, which I ran out of.

I started from scratch and designed my own, full color, double-sided cards on a linen textured card. With the gift certificate and an online promo, I got 100 cards for just $8.10! They came in this adorable little kraft paper box with a little white Zazzle seal.

Processed with Moldiv

 

I am very impressed with how they turned out. The colors are exactly what I expected and the images and text printed perfectly. Even the reverse side, which I used to promote my pet portrait service looks amazing!

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So thank you Zazzle for choosing my collection as a winner so that I can promote my business with these amazing new cards!

And now, Zazzle is running a 30 Days of Maker Giveaways campaign where each day they’ll be giving away a product from one of their Makers ! I’ll be entering for a chance to win and so should you!
30 Days of Maker Giveaways on Zazzle

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!

Valentine's Decor
Wooden Spool Photo Holder

 

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.

Valentine's Day Card
Valentine’s Day Card Victorian Romance
Valentine's Day Card
Valentine’s Day Card Bohemian Lace
Valentine's Day Card
Valentine’s Day Card Carnival Love

      

 

 

 

 

 

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!

Valentine's Day Card
Valentine’s Day Card Victorian Romance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

**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.

artist dress
About the Artist dress – Modcloth

I’d pair it with these adorable little pink ballet flats because they add just a touch more girly without being sickeningly sweet.

pink ballet
Tasteful Touch flat in blush – Modcloth

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!

forget me not bag
Forget me not bag – Modcloth

See what cute things you might want for 2/14/15 at www.modcloth.com/shop/valentine-clothing-decor!

Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

TWS 2015: Reorganization and Realignment

While others were partying and ringing in the new year, I spent a quiet evening on the couch with my dog, Jackson. We reflected on the past year and realized that Tara White Studio, as a craft business, needed some reorganization and realignment. The first step in addressing these would be to draft a business plan.

This is something I have never actually done before, so I was a bit nervous to get started. After a quick Google search I came across a post from Etsy’s blog (of course, why didn’t I think to check there?). The post, How to Write a Creative Business Plan In Under an Hour, was exactly what I was looking for. In her post, the author included an example business plan for her fantasy business. This was not the text-heavy word document that I had initially envisioned. It was very visual and fun but included all of the pertinent information for a successful business plan.

Since this was my first attempt at this document, I decided to base mine off of her example, but added my own flair. In an effort in keeping it all on one page it may be a bit busy, but since it is a plan for myself, I am happy with it.

Tara White Studio 2015 Business Plan

The most difficult parts for me were coming up with a value proposition, assessing the market need and proposing the solution to that need that my business fulfills. These parts are definitely going to be works in progress and one of my goals for the year is to reevaluate them and make them a bit more specific.

The fun parts were adding up my expenses, revenue and calculating my profit. Since 2014 was not as successful as 2013, I set my revenue goal for 2015 in between the two other values. However I also plan to spend less on expenses. One of my goals for this aspect of the plan is to start utilizing my expense planner again or look into a Quickbooks account.

Back in 2013, I made an active effort to post on social media and this blog. At the time I did not think it was impacting my business, however after looking back at the past two years I’ve realized that this was the biggest difference between 2013 and 2014. This year, I plan to boost my social media presence through increased Instagram posts and more personal stories here. I will also be taking more advantage of some of the useful tools provided through Facebook Page Insights. Here I was able to find a graph summarizing all the people who have liked my page, including gender and age. Interestingly, the percentage of women versus men is comparable to that of my Etsy customers. I hope to use this information to reach out to and provide better products to my potential customers.

Last but not least, were my milestones. I admit these are modest but every small thing means something and can provide inspiration and drive for moving forward. In the past year my notable moments were surpassing 200 likes on the Tara White Studio FB page, 2 sales resulting from custom requests through FB and of course, completing my business plan!

I am very excited for the year to come and all the work I plan to do. I wish you success in your own ventures.

~Tara W.

Oh and I almost forgot, I also reorganized my small and humble work space. Enjoy some pictures below!

Craft Corner
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Upcycled hanging storage boxes
Craft Corner with re-upholstered and distressed bench from my sister

 

 

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

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.

Welcome Sign ~ Handmade by me out of a worn shallow basket, driftwood, shells, buttons and paint.

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.

Vintage doily flower bag ~ handmade by me following pattern from Sew Mama Sew.

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.

Multi-fabric tote ~ handmade by me following tutorial from Oliver + S blog.
Family wall hanging ~ collaged book pages, acrylic paint and metal leaves on canvas.

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.

Office door sign ~ collaged book pages, printed text, acrylic paint on canvas ~ a Tara White Studio original.

The wall hangings / signs were relatively easy and fun to make, so you may see some in my Etsy shop in the near future!

Pattern Making

Hello and Happy Thursday!

Back in January I wrote about the sewing machine that my husband gave me for Christmas, and how I was teaching myself the basic techniques.

Since then, I have made a ton of things, mostly from free patterns I’ve found online…

photo by Tara White Studio
Kitchenaid Bowl Cover (Pattern from Keeping it Simple blog)
photo by Tara White Studio
Lunch bag (pattern from Pink Penguin blog)
photo by Tara White Studio
Child’s Apron (pattern adapted from unknown source)
photos by Tara White Studio
Baby boy shower gifts (patterns from multiple sources)

The baby shower gifts in the last photo were made from patterns from the following blogs: clockwise from bottom left – Make it and Love itNalle’s House, The Crafted Sparrow (pattern no longer available).

I’ve also made some things from my own patterns…

Photo by Tara White Studio
Fingerless zippered gloves from upcycled pants
Photo by Tara White Studio
Drawstring whale bag (pattern by Tara White Studio)
Photo by Tara White Studio
Owl bag (Pattern by Tara White Studio)

 

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.)

CraftsyPatterns

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.

For more information on how to sell a pattern through Craftsy, or to get started, visit Craftsy today!


Thanks for reading, check back soon!

~Tara W.

 

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!”

Official Marketing Affiliate!

Happy Friday!

While perusing one of my favorite food blogs, Minimalist Baker, I came across a page about joining their affiliate program. I had not been aware of this up until then and was very intrigued. Basically, I could advertise their site on my blog and if any clicks from my site turn into sales, I will get a percentage of the revenue.

I  decided to venture into the world of affiliate marketing by applying to be an affiliate of Minimalist Baker and several other sites. I’ll have to wait to see if I’ve been accepted into some programs, but I was immediately accepted into the program for NatureBox, of which I am a huge fan. Click their banner on the right side of the page to check it out!

I promise that I will only advertise for sites that I feel offer high quality products that I would recommend to my own friends and family, so no gimmicks here!

Here’s a bird for you to enjoy and to welcome Spring finally!

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Talk to you later when I discuss my pet portrait work, including a painting of my own dog, Jackson!

Tara W.

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