When a Show is Going Poorly, Keep Smiling: A Business How-To

Most handmade business owners make their bread & butter doing craft shows, fairs, and festivals–or at the very least do shows for the exposure or to connect with other makers. Whatever your reasons, shows are overall an excellent experience, but what do you do when they’re not? Or rather, what should you do when a show is going poorly?

Here are some first-hand accounts of crafty business owners’ experiences (and to keep it classy, all names & shows have been changed).

“Smile, That’s the time you must keep on trying…”

My first bit of advice is the most important and is the simplest to follow: remain positive–even if you are being hailed on, you’ve experienced a theft, haven’t sold a single thing, or have overhead a million people say “I could make that,” take a picture, and move on. Keep a smile on your face, say hello in a cheery voice, and be friendly (and maybe next time, post a sign that says “No Photos Please”).

mt image 1What to Do if your Booth Placement is not Ideal Or, the Story of Cordelia & Wallace:

Up first, in our first-hand accounts, is Cordelia & Wallace. Cordelia & Wallace were both doing the same show, even though they sold a very similar product–hand painted fans. Cordelia & Wallace have very different styles and were set up far away from each other at the show. The show itself was good, and both Cordelia & Wallace sold a number of their beautiful fans; however, Wallace was disappointed in his booth placement. Cordelia was on the first floor of the show, and he was on the second. Wallace felt that this was unfair. Cordelia knew the show organizers and he felt that his booth was tucked away in a forgotten corner of the show on purpose.

We’ve all felt this way–you’re at a show and there’s a great crowd, but for some reason they are just not heading your way. Here’s my second piece of advice, make the most of your space & the experience. If you’re in a forgotten corner–do something to change that: play some lively music, create signs/arrows that lead people to you, use social media like Twitter, FB, and Instagram for a show specific contest, or you can always talk to the show organizer (or the MC if your show has one) & have them remind people that there are more booths in your area. You can also hand out coupons for your booth in the heavy traffic spots of the show.

What you shouldn’t do is take a page from Wallace’s book. Wallace complained to anyone who would listen to him–other vendors, the volunteers, and worst of all, the shoppers. Wallace seemed to have a permanent frown on his face. His complaints and demeanor drove potential customers away from his booth. No one wants to listen to someone complain, especially not if they’re trying to unwind, shop, and have a little fun with their family & friends. Most people attend these events to indulge themselves–let them have a good time. Don’t ruin it even if you’re wondering if you’ll ever get out of the red.

Another problem with Wallace’s complaining is that he complained to the wrong person–Cordelia. He blamed her, and he let her know it. Wallace told her blatantly that he believed that she had used her connections with the show organizers to put him in a bad booth and drive up her own sales in the process. Another important function of shows is to network with other creative, handmade business owners. Don’t burn bridges, especially if it’s your first show.  What Wallace did not know was that Cordelia vouched for him as a vendor at the show (which was heavily juried, and as a result, he almost didn’t get in). This conflict got back to the show organizers, who were not happy with Wallace at all for raising such a ruckus. Wallace was swiftly banned from all of their future shows; he effectively razed all of his bridges to the ground.

Shows are competitive places, but the amazing part about handmade craft & art shows is that the competition is friendly. Everyone genuinely wants other makers to do well. We’ve all been in this situation before–there may be another artist making a product similar to yours. Instead of getting upset or jealous, take a step back and reassess what you make and how you make it. Ask yourself what sets your product apart from the rest? (This is especially true of jewelry makers). There’s a lot Wallace could have done differently:

–Instead of complaining, he could have asked other booth vendors for advice or ideas. The handmade community is very friendly, and generally helpful despite the undercurrent of competition.

–Wallace could have studied Cordelia’s booth & asked himself questions so that he could be more successful at future shows. Questions like: Why are her fans selling better than mine? or, Do we share the same target-market?

–Wallace could’ve asked to cross-promote at the show with other vendors–getting more shoppers to come his way. This is also an excellent way to forge new relationships.

–Wallace could’ve completed the show’s survey (which has the benefit of anonymity). His comments may spark a change in how the show is set up & organized. Constructive criticism, not complaints, are what help show organizers improve upon a show.

–Lastly, keep a show journal. Write everything down. Total sales; total expenses including booth fee; show organizer’s contact information; attendees (were the majority of shoppers young teens or was it a mix of people?); what went wrong; what you needed (this is particularly important for outdoor shows)…etc. Use this information when you’re planning, making product for that show, and also to decide whether or not that show is good to do again.

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What Should You Do if a Show is Disorganized? Or, the Story of Zoe and the 2 Terrible Shows

As a seasoned handmade business owner, Zoe has done a number of shows. Like most crafty business owners, Zoe decided to branch out. She choose 2 new shows for 2014. They both seemed promising. One show was brand new–in its inaugural year. First-time shows can be tricky, because on one hand if the show picks up momentum and does well you’re on the bottom floor. You’re shooed in & most likely will be remembered for later years. However, if the show experiences a lot of hiccups or problems as it’s starting out, those problems can be passed on to the overall success of each vendor. So approach new shows with caution.

My first piece of advice in this situation is to wait it out. Pay close attention to their social media–are a lot of people rspving for the event?, does it seem like they’re getting a ton of web traffic (based on comments)?, and do you see/hear any advertisements for the show itself? Also pay close attention to how organized they are. Unsuccessful shows are often the most disorganized. If you receive updates regularly, or an extensive well-thought out list of set-up instructions and FAQs then you’re in the clear. However, if you do not receive anything or the show organizer is incommunicado, you may want to rethink your plans.

In Zoe’s case, she did not see any ads for the event, there were few people rsvping on FB and few people mentioning it on social media, and finally, a week before the show she received the set-up instructions. The set-up instructions had Zoe upset. This is how it read:

Dear Zoe, of Zoe Designs,

The show is only a week away and I need everyone’s help to make the show a success. I didn’t have money for advertising this year (sorry!), so spread the word as much as you can. Your booth fee went to a number of expenses: the space, the insurance for the event, permit, as well as snacks for everyone. While I purchased snacks for the event, there are not enough to go around. So bring some snacks with you. Please also make sure that your snacks are gluten free as I have a gluten intolerance. All snacks will be set out on a table for everyone to share!

Also, I do not have a car at the moment so I will need a ride to the show at around 9ish. Who wants to pick me up? (Remember that no one can get in unless I’m there! After all, I am the only one with the key to the building! lol). I also couldn’t find any volunteers to help out with set up so when you get to the show, I’ll need some of you to help tape out the spaces, set up tables & chairs, and put up the event sign. But that should be easy, there’s a lot of us! Let me know asap if you are willing to help out. Show set up will be after 9ish. I’m so excited! Yay! See you all soon.

xoxo

Margery, Organizer of the Super-Cool Awesome Craft Show

p.s. Does anyone know the tax code for Made-up-ville County, Kansas?

If you get set-up instructions like these, you should do whatever your gut tells you–and in Zoe’s case that was to cut her losses and take a hit on the booth fee & forgo the show entirely. Sometimes, the best thing is to bow out as gracefully as possible (and as early as possible) and not do a show. Zoe replied to Margery’s email and told a little white lie: “Sorry I can’t do the show after all. [Insert white lie here: We’ve had a family emergency/I’ve come down with the stomach flu/etc.] I hope the show goes well. All the best, Zoe.” This white lie allows you to do that show in the future if it does pan out; it also doesn’t burn any bridges.

Keep in mind, that shows are not just a financial expense, but that your time & energy are also spent in the process. Some shows will suck the energy right out of you. This show would’ve been exhausting–setting up not only your booth, but also the show itself. When you’re thinking of bowing out of a show ask yourself if your time could be better spent? If it can, then bow out gracefully.

And while sometimes things can go awry and show organizers may need your help, keep in mind too that your booth fee entitles you to certain things: your space clearly marked, your space clean & clear of any obstructions or debris, volunteers to help out at the show, clear-cut instructions or a schedule for set-up, tear down, etc., a vendor packet with important information that you need to know, and that the event will be advertized by them to an extent.

mt image 3The second new show that Zoe decided to do this year was a well-established show (in its tenth year). This story is a bit more unique in how lots of things can go awry. Sometimes this can happen, it is important not to get discouraged. When Zoe applied to the 10th Annual Craft-a-pa-looza Show in Maguset, NH at first she was told that she didn’t get in. Then, a month before the show she received an invoice from the show organizers. Zoe contacted them and asked if maybe a mistake had been made. Indeed one had (about 3 phone calls later). The show was rather large and well established, and so Zoe’s spidey-sense didn’t tingle all that much (as it had with her other new show) when she hit a significant bump like this one. And so, she did exactly what any handmade business owner should: despite the lack of time, she got organized and planned every detail. Your organization, while it may not make up for a show’s incredible disorganization, it will help you remain calm & collected. Unfortunately for Zoe, her problems did not stop there.

Set-up instructions were sent a day before her flight to NH. On the plane, Zoe created a schedule for herself that included many variables (checking into her hotel, driving to the event space, eating dinner, and then finally checking in to the show and setting up). She created a schedule for the entire weekend-long show. The certainty that came from her own personal schedule allowed her to feel more at ease in the face of disorganization to come.

When Zoe arrived at the show to set up, the organizer, Kate, was not ready. Kate had drawn out the booth spaces on small slips of hotel paper. Things did not look promising for Zoe. They did not have a vendor packet, and hadn’t even gotten around to printing out vendor badges. She would have to wait on line in the morning to pick hers up. (So Zoe scheduled an hour to pick up her badge and printed out a schedule of the weekend’s events herself.)

The show was being held in a large hotel. Zoe arrived to the ballroom where she was told to set up; however, there were chairs still piled high throughout the room, and clearly the hotel staff was still clearing out the room from a previous event. Booth spaces weren’t even marked. After bringing up the issue with Kate (who told her that they were a little behind), Zoe thanked her and waited patiently. (It is important to never set up on an empty stomach for this reason. You may end up waiting around for a while.) While she waiting, Zoe unpacked the car and brought in all of her booth displays, tables, & chairs. (She was smart in keeping everything on the cart, just in case she needed  to move). After an hour, Zoe was approached by one of the music coordinators who noticed she was waiting around with a cart full of stuff. He calmly told her that this space was allocated to the music venue.

Zoe then returned to Kate, who cleared the matter up (after 30 more minutes), and moved Zoe to a different space. Luckily, it was already marked and Zoe was able to start setting up. It is important to arrive at the earliest check-in time if you suspect the show you’re doing to be disorganized. It allows for you to keep your cool, not feel rushed in unloading & setting up, and also allows you some down time in between set-up and the start of the show.

All throughout the next morning, vendors were setting up. Zoe was putting on the finishing touches to her booth when she was approached by one of the volunteers, a young man named Peter. Peter asked Zoe if it would be okay if the booth next to hers encroached a little into her space (about 5 inches). Zoe had left herself room to move in & out of her booth. The space was there, but the space was hers. She politely declined. While you want to be a good neighbor, remember that you’ve paid for your whole space. Don’t let anyone guilt you/force you to give up what you’ve rightfully paid for. Your booth fee covers a certain amount of space. Remain within it and remain polite.

The last major problem that Zoe encountered was that all of the new vendors at the show were put together in the same room. This is not ideal for new vendors at an established show because they don’t have a fan-base for that particular show. Many people are loyal to makers they’ve purchased from previously. (Show organizers if you’re reading–don’t do this! Mix together your old & new vendors. It benefits everyone.) Unlike Wallace, you should take a page from Zoe’s book. To combat this issue, Zoe did the following:

–She played up their newness as an asset. Zoe created a sign & put it at the entryway of their room & down the hallway. It read: “Brand New Vendors! Unlike Anything You’ve Seen Here Before” Transform what may seem like a disadvantage into something positive.

–Prepare beforehand. If you’re new to show, create extra advertisements for your handmade business. Zoe created promotional postcards that offered everyone 10% off of their total purchase at her booth. The coupon-postcard was good for the whole weekend & up to a year online in her Etsy shop. She also encouraged people to mail postcards to friends & family. Before the show began, she placed her promotional postcards in key areas throughout the hotel: at entryways, check-in stations, the bar, and the restaurant. Zoe also gave a stack of postcards to volunteers (who she gifted with free product) and asked them to hand them out personally to people in the hallways.

–Zoe used social media frequently throughout the weekend-long show. Although her usual target market exists primarily in another state, you want to keep that market invested in your success. She blogged about the experience, posted pictures to Facebook, and created a fun story for her market to follow along with.

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When Other Things Go Awry…

These stories of course are not the norm. Most shows are well organized and established and those that are new, generally have a couple hiccups but no major problems. Typical issues and solutions are:

Issue: When another vendor’s booth encroaches into your space Solutions: 1) You can politely ask them to move out of your space. Remember to be as friendly as possible in your request. After all, they are your neighbor for that show and are often your only bathroom/break salvation. 2) If you’re not comfortable confronting the other vendor, or they ignore your request, tell your show organizer. They will settle the issue for you. They have the ultimate authority in this situation. Don’t be afraid to ask them–they want everyone to be happy & get along.

Issue: When shoppers take pictures of your work & say that they’re going to make it themselves instead of purchasing it Solutions: 1) Post signs that say “No Photos Please.” People will not re-make something without a guide, and photos are often that guide. 2) This is much sneakier. Put out photos of you making your work in your cute studio space; pictures of your family getting into your craft; or other photos that humanize what you do or help to tell your story. People will feel guilty when they see these photos & will not be as quick to make it themselves. 3) Consider selling the pattern  (or even kits) for what you make in addition to your product. If people often say they’d like to make it themselves, involve your business in their creative process. 4) This is also a little sneaky & a bit risky. Intimidate them with your skill. If they say they want to make it themselves, make the process seem daunting, elaborate, or incredibly time consuming. Most people will change their minds and instead, purchase your product. 5) And lastly, approach it from a customer service perspective. Offer to make them a custom product instead. Maybe they want to make it themselves because they’d like your product in a different color/shape/size etc.

Issue: When there is an overabundance of vendors selling similar products, like for instance jewelry which we’ll use as our primary example Solutions: 1) Research the other jewelry vendors that will be selling at the show beforehand. Know about their product & process. Set yourself apart. Either develop or make new & different styles or products for that show. 2) Cross-promote each other. If someone in your booth says that they like gemstones more than chain mail jewelry, send them to the vendor who makes gemstone jewelry who is at the show. This creates an environment of goodwill and sends a powerful message about respect and craft within handmade communities–which ultimately drives people to shop handmade & local over commercial businesses. 3) Offer coupons, deals, or promotional contests for that show in order to help you compete with other vendor’s prices. Be careful though not to undervalue your work. 4) Visually set yourself apart. Create a booth space that is exciting & inviting for shoppers and offers them an experience, rather than a product.

I hope these first-hand accounts and issues & solutions will help you navigate the often frustrating and fantastic world of craft shows, fairs, & festivals. Remember my first bit of advice, to remain positive no matter what. Keep smiling and keep on trying.

Celebrate World Book Night!

Come craft with us for World Book Night tomorrow!  Make a quick, easy origami bookmark and grab a free copy of Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower while they last.  We’ll be in the lobby of Made: The Indie Emporium Shop on 5th and Boston from noon to 3 pm.  We hope to spread some crafty, literary love in Tulsa!

World Book Night!

In an effort to spread the love beyond Tulsa, here are the steps to create an origami bookmark like the ones we’ll be making tomorrow.  You can view the full tutorial here.

Easy Origami Bookmark

So even if you can’t come celebrate World Book Night with us in person, you can still craft yourself a new bookmark and read along with hopefully many other people enjoying the same sacred activity this time tomorrow.  Happy reading!

We Craft Because We Care

Greetings, sweet crafty folks of Tulsa!  Earlier this month, members of Make:Tulsa partnered with Warm Wishes of Tulsa, local businesses, and DVIS to brighten the spirits of those in need through our creative talents.  The turnout was so fabulous I just have to share!

Yarn For Your Neighbors

Friendly faces working together. What a beautiful thing!

The Yarn For Your Neighbors event was held at the Schusterman-Benson Library on a Saturday afternoon a few weeks ago.  The idea was to collect handmade winter items such as hats, gloves, scarves, and blankets to donate to families fleeing domestic violence and starting a new life.  Every item donated earned an entry for a prize basket containing all kinds of goodies from local artists and businesses (Loops, Bohemian Romance, Bifftastica, Made: The Indie Emporium Shop, Angora Jane, Tulsa Teethers, and Hollyrocks).  On top of the generosity of those who added to the fabulous prize, Jason Ashley Wright wrote an article in the Tulsa World to help promote this event.  The result was a great turnout and a HUGE pile of gorgeous, handmade items to be distributed to families experiencing tough times.  Here are a few photos that captured the spirit of this successful event.

Yarn For Your Neighbors

Within moments of opening the doors to our gathering place, the donation table was already starting to fill up.

Yarn For Your Neighbors

People of all ages worked together while sipping tea, listening to music, and having friendly conversations.

Yarn For Your Neighbors

At the end of the event, we had collected 127 beautiful handmade items to donate.

Yarn For Your Neighbors

Amanda Sloan (left) from Warm Wishes of Tulsa and Holly Embry (right) from Make:Tulsa posing in front of the donation pile before packing everything up.

Attendees were so enthusiastic about using their skills for a good cause that they were already asking about more opportunities to help out in the community.  This is where you come in!  Members of Make:Tulsa have been discussing various options for our next charitable event, but the bottom line is that we want to use our crafty little hands to fill any needs we might find in our city.  What project or cause would you like to see us take on next?  Leave a comment letting us know what’s important to you, and maybe you’ll see a future gathering inspired by your idea!  We’ve already got a fun Valentine’s Day party coming up in February.  If you’d like to meet up for an evening of making cards for Tulsa Veterans, come see us at Made: The Indie Emporium Shop (501 S Boston in Downtown Tulsa) on Saturday, February 12th from 6 to 8 pm for some crafty good times!  Make sure to like our group on Facebook to see what kind of exciting things we’ll be planning for the creative people of Tulsa.

Make An Infinity Scarf!

Briana from Bifftastica here for some scarf fun! Infinity scarves are such a great gift to give AND they are super easy to make! Even if you are a novice seamstress, you can do this!DSC00573

First, choose your fabric.  To me, this can make or break a quality scarf.  Think about how it will hang; weight is important.  For a cold weather scarf, you’ll want a bit heavier fabric to keep you warm and for a warm weather scarf, you’ll want something lightweight so you don’t overheat.  Don’t be shy, hold the fabric up to your face and make sure it’s not too itchy or wrap it around your neck to see how it will drape!  The fabric I used for this project I found at an estate sale for $2.  It was a perfect weight for a winter scarf and draped beautifully.  Another bonus is that there was enough fabric to make two of them!  One for me and one for a gift.  You could always mix and match fabrics, too; be creative!

Not only are infinity scarves easy to make, you can make them according to your own specifications.  To reduce cutting, I just made this scarf the length of the fabric which was approximately 64″ long x 23″ wide.  Remember, when you figure out your measurements, you’ll be folding the width over to form a tube and you’ll be wrapping the length around your neck so you’ll want it a little longer!infinity scarf tutorial numbered Here’s how I made mine:

1. Fold your scarf in half, right sides together and sew along the outer edge to create a long tube.  I used a serger to sew up this seam but you can easily use a zig zag right along the edge followed by a straight stitch along your zig zag stitch to secure things a little bit more.

2. This is where I would imagine steps may vary depending on who you talk to.  I turned my tube right side out (like how you would wear it) and pinned the right sides together along the tube openings.  Make sense?  I started pinning at the stitched seams to keep things lined up and worked from there.  One thing to make sure of is that your scarf is not twisted when you pin and sew it! Holding it out at arms length before you pin is mighty helpful.

3. Now, sew where you pinned but make sure to leave an opening about an inch or two wide as you won’t be able to sew it completely shut.  Again I used a serger but you can use the zig zag/straight stitch combo here too.   I would advise to move slowly while sewing this up!

4. After this, you’ll have a small opening that just needs to be closed!  I just lightly pulled the fabric straight along the opening and it folded under on its on.  Depending on your fabric, you may want to pin this so you know where to sew.

5. Slowly sew up your hole!  This is thread that you will see so use a color that works with your fabric.  I used a regular machine with a straight stitch and black thread.  Start about a quarter of an inch before your hole (make sure to back stitch after you start and finish!) and after your hole to insure a strong closure.

6. That’s it!  Your scarf should be fully closed and infinite!  The closure will be a little bit different where you sewed up your hole but that’s ok!  I always put that part at the back of my neck and nobody ever sees it!

DSC00568Have fun making infinite memories!  Get it?  Infinite?  Infinity Scarf?  I know, I’m hilarious 😉

Making Christmas

With my holiday shopping, I’ve hit the point where I’ve bought all that I’m going to buy.  I’m now figuring out what else I’m lacking and how I can make it myself!  Luckily for me (and those like me!), there is a plethora of great DIY gift ideas courtesy of my talented maker friends.  Here’s a little roundup of some that I may be trying within the next few days!

Hollyrocks teaches us how to make Origami book marks for the readers in your life!

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Who doesn’t love a candle for a gift?  What about a candle holder to go with that gift?!  Bohemian Romance has three different ideas for you!

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Hollyrocks is full of great DIYs as you can see!  Here she shows us how to make catnip filled mushrooms for our furry felines!

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Favoring Brave is here to help me get rid of these unused foam core I have sitting around with fun Polaroid magnets!

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Another goodie and a great stashbuster from Favoring Brave are these darling tassel earrings! 17912566290

Like I said before, Hollyrocks is the DIY queen!  This time it’s all about a clay leaf dish! leaftut19

And if you’re looking for a fun activity to share with the kiddos, make your own snow globe! snowglobecollage

None of these tickle your fancy?   Don’t fret!  There are TONS more DIYs on our Make Tulsa Pinterest page!  Happy Crafting!

It’s the Holiday Season!

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Here we are on Thanksgiving afternoon, and all I can think about is Christmas!  I am thankful for many things and I adore autumn, but this year, the Christmas season just can’t get here fast enough.  We’ve already started decorating both shops and have been listening to our holiday playlists for weeks.  I tried to restrain myself until Thanksgiving, but now that it’s finally here, I am ready to be a little elf for the next month and do everything in holiday style. smp3 I recently discovered this Holiday Season e-guide that was posted on Style Me Pretty last holiday and felt super inspired after reading through it.  How can you not feel inspired by the beautifully styled photos and projects? smp4

From recipes – think classic mulled wine, kransekake, and gingerbread, to DIY projects, kid’s DIY gifts, and handmade hostess gifts, this guide has great inspiration and project ideas.

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Read through the entire guide for great holiday entertaining ideas and lots of Christmas eye candy!

Alliday Gift Guide

If you plan to use your shopping superpowers to support Small Business Saturday this year, I’ve got news of an awesome stop you’ll want to make.  The Alliday Show is taking place on Saturday, November 30th from 9-5, and I have noticed during previous years that this event offers something for pretty much every single person on your holiday shopping list.  Trust me on this, I did almost ALL my shopping there last year and managed to score a ton of great gifts in one stop, which was quite awesome.  So this year, I’m putting together a little gift guide featuring vendors who will be in attendance at this year’s event to help lure you to this wonderful show.  You can thank me later, when you’re cozily tucked into a blanket on your couch, sipping cocoa and enjoying the season while everyone else is out fighting their way through the crowds.

For the Fellas

Wild West Leather Scented Soap For Men by Indian Moon Soap Company

For the Jewelry Addict

Steampunk Locket Necklace by Bohemian Romance

For the Avid Reader

Recycled Book Journal by The Bookerie: A Favoring Brave Shop

For the Music Lover

Working Yellow Swan Harmonica Necklace by The Wanderlust

For the Kids

Gentleman Owl Stuffed Animal by Jo and June

For the Proud Okie

I Heart Tulsa OK Dictionary Print by Cameo Lace

For the Fashionista

Fall Infinity Scarf by Owl + Mouse

For the New Baby

Duck Hooded Bath Towel by Mommygirl Designs

For the Home Decorator

“Broken” Glass Dish by Figments of Imagination

For the Gardener

Beaded Rose Wire Sculpture by Aksa Beading

For the Beauty Queen

All Natural Body and Beauty Products by Cedar and Cincinnati

These are just a few favorites I came across while browsing the vendors at this years show, but there will be many, many more unique items to choose from.  And if you need to take a break from all that shopping, there will be a vintage-style lounge provided by Retro Den as well as lots of fun demonstrations and performances.  You can also stop by and see me set up at the Make:Tulsa booth with a free make & take craft project for you to try!  If you’re sick of the crazy crowds and the same old stuff stocking the shelves of big-box stores, change up your holiday shopping routine this year by supporting small businesses at this celebrated craft show!

Thankful for Pinterest this Thanksgiving!

I am thankful for Pinterest! It has so many great ideas for the upcoming holidays–one in particular that gets overlooked in between Halloween & Christmas–Thanksgiving! Here are a few fun, easy DIYs that I thought I’d share with you all!

Mommy FootPrint’s Beeswax Leaf Garland

What I love about this DIY is that it is both beautiful and inexpensive to make!

Small Home, Big Start’s blog on how to dry acorns for fall crafts is a must! I love how she incorporates acorns into candleholders. Another simple craft that’s also inexpensive.

Here are some decorative table setting ideas that you can do yourself! I love how many of these settings involve nature or things that you can source from your garden, pumpkin patch, or local farmer’s market!

Aren’t these all stunning? Also, very simple!

Another table setting is to transform a pumpkin into a flower vase!

This little addition to your table is nice & also relatively inexpensive. All you need is craft paper, a ruler, and a pen.

No home would be complete without a festive wreath! I like this modern crafty twist on a traditional Thanksgiving Wreath!

Tip Junkie’s Pumpkin & Poesy Wreath is a perfect for fall! I love the rick-rack spiraling around the wreath!

Last, but not least, the food. We all have our staples–dishes we prepare our special way. So whether you deep fry your turkey or bake it in the oven stuffed with cranberries & dressing, you’ll love these simple twists to 2 classic desserts!

Oh Bite It’s Apple Pie Cookies are a sweet indulgence that won’t leave you overstuffed! It’s just enough! Her blog also has other great twists on all of your faves!

What’s a day of cooking if you can’t imbibe a little something festive? This apple cider sangria will warm you all the way down to your toes!

Falling in love with Fall all over again? Yeah, me too!

DIY Chalkboard List Organizer

I was inspired by going back to school for the Fall and created this cute little DIY out of vintage children’s chalkboards. It’s really great–I use one for my grocery list, one to keep track of my day’s To-Do List, and one for an inspirational quotation or saying to keep me going that day! You can make one too. It’s super easy.

291 Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 chalkboards (of similar shape & size)
  • Picture hangers (2)
  • Hammer
  • An Awl (or poking holes in the wood) *Most chalkboards are made with sturdy woods, like Oak so you’ll want to make a starter hole for your hooks
  • Eyepin hooks (8 total, all the same size & metal. Mine are 1/2″)
  • Marker/Pencil
  • Chain links (or heavy jump rings) (4 total)
  • Flat nosed pliers

DIY Chalkboard List Collage Steps:

  1. Begin by lining up your chalkboards and marking with pencil or marker where you’ll be making starter holes with your awl (and where you’ll be placing your eyepin hooks).
  2. Next, with your awl make starter holes over your marks.
  3. Once you’ve made your starter holes begin screwing in your eyepin hooks. You can screw them in by hand, but towards the end I like to use my pliers to turn them.
  4. After all of your eyepin hooks are in place. Detach your chain links from one another with your pliers. Then use one chain link/jump ring to connect one eyepin hook to another (and thus, one chalkboard to another). Continue for all eyepin hooks. Be sure to close your chain link/jump ring fully.
  5. Once you’ve attached all of your chain links/jump rings, jiggle them a bit to test them. If none come loose, move on to the next step.
  6. You want to be sure your picture hangers are parallel and level with one another. Use a ruler or measure them up against the top of your chalkboard. Secure your picture hangers to the back of your top chalkboard with your hammer. Be sure to place a towel underneath your chalkboard so the slate won’t crack when you’re hammering.
  7. Hang from the wall with pride! Chalk it up!

Hope this helps keep you a bit more organized this season! xo Sam

Put A Magnet On It…

Hi! I’m Amby from Byrd Handmade. I’ve got a quick and easy DIY project for you.

My refrigerator is constantly being cluttered with various things; pictures, calendars, coupons, etc. I’ve been short on magnets for awhile and decided it was time for a little fridge makeover. I managed to mostly use items I had on hand, including some crazy strong magnets I bought on eBay. I could probably glue a few onto my cat and stick him to the fridge. (I don’t recommend this, but for real they’re strong!) Here’s a link to something similar: Neodymium Magnets 

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First thing I wanted to replace was the marker board. I had a wooden plaque (from Michaels) that I’d already painted with chalkboard paint, but never used it for anything. I hot glued some magnets onto the back and boom a new memo board!

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I also had a roll of cork and experimented with cutting it into various shapes and then painted it. I glued, this time with E-6000, some magnets onto it and done.

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I got my 3 year old to help make some magnets out of polymer clay. The possibilities are endless with polymer clay, but we just did some simple pieces. After they were baked, I added a coat of Mod Podge and of course, a magnet. (Puppy costume not required.)

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The last thing I tried was something I saw on Pinterest. Buy a package of ABC magnets, spray them with a couple coats of gold paint and suddenly those ugly neon letters are fancy! Here’s the original project.

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These were all quick projects and now I want to put a magnet on everything I see around the house!

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