Archive for August, 2012

August 31, 2012

Back to School Crafts

It has been many years since I’ve had a back-to-school spending spree, indulging new pens and accessories for the new term, but towards the end of every August I still have an urge to purchase beautiful stationary sets and fresh notepads to jot down thoughts and ideas. I’ve spent much of last week making more Hedgehogs Ate My Homework tote bags and pencil cases, which have been very popular recently with September approaching, and it has only emphasised my want of lovely new paper goods and lunch boxes! So I am sharing a few of my favourite back to school crafts and products which were are never too old to ogle at!

Back to School Einstein Journal by Happy Dappy Bits

Me & You Pencils by knot & bow

Sunshine Cuffs by Inner Wild

Dragon Scales Jotter by wit and whistle

2013 Letterpress Calender from 1canoe2

Ball of Yarn Stamp by hoffee and anuffin

August 18, 2012

Craft Fairs

This past week has flown by in a flurry of new products and exciting orders, so that my update on my first craft stall seems to have taken a back seat. As I blogged last week about the preparations for my stall at the Made Market on Saturday, I have had many messages asking me how it went and asking for photographs of my stall. I have already posted a few on the Mystic Moose facebook page, but I felt a blog post was needed as well!

All the planning and foraging for display parts paid off, and I was delighted with the way the stall looked. By painting some of the wooden display boxes, which were all different kinds of wood, it gave a more cohesive look and made the products the focal point. Using upturned wine crates added height and depth to the display, and the mixture of large and smaller items drew customers in for a closer look. My one improvement for next time will be the find a better way of hanging the tote bags – I used hooks attached to the edge of the table, which worked really well, but because there were so many designs I felt it looked a little messy!

 I arrived with much more stock than I needed, and two boxes of totes sat under the stall waiting to replenish displays. Even through one never get used, I felt reassured by its presence, and would definitely bring more than needed again. As long as it can fit under the table, the worse that can happen is you turn up looking like you’re moving in!

 

I used the stall as an opportunity to launch a few new product lines; lavender bags, shrink plastic badges and new padded make-up bags. All three were very well received and have been launched in my etsy shop this week!

Selling fabric and paper crafts, and having an outdoor stall means the slightest breeze can cause chaos, which is where gaffa tape comes in. Honestly, my stall was held together with gaffa tape. I picked a spot that was relatively sheltered, but to be on the safe side I used it to tape tablecloths down, the hooks to the side of the stall, bags to their stands, price signs in their places, and to tape string around display boxes to keep cards from fluttering away. I used nearly a whole role, and gave some to my neighbouring crafters. I would recommend taking an emergency role of gaffa tape to anyone doing a stall.

Some things to bring next time:

More change – especially £5 notes!

Table clamps to save some of the gaffa tape.

A calculator – I had one perching on top of my bag before I left, but it must have fallen out!

Another calculator – in case the one you planned to bring goes missing.

A bottle of water, or a flask to tea.

Paper bags for customer’s purchases.

A card machine.

 

The wonderful thing about craft fairs is getting to meet your customers face-to-face. Selling predominantly online means you have some lovely email exchanges, but you never get the casual light heartedness of a conversation. You also have the opportunity to mingle with crafty peers, and meet some truly talented folk!

August 17, 2012

Vintage Spoon Business Card Holder

The night before I was due to do my first craft stall for my etsy shop, I had the sudden realisation that I had nothing to hold my business cards. I spent many hours working on the cards, and I am thrilled with how they turned out, so naturally, I wanted something lovely to display them in.

I remember walking around a craft show and seeing an ornate vintage display for a company’s business cards. It set them off beautifully, and I had an impulse to take one of the cards home as a token to remember both the products they sold and the carefully considered display. But with mere hours to go before my stall, I knew I had to whip something up quickly.

I’ve been collecting old spoons for a while, with the hopes of making something beautiful from them, but never finding the perfect project. I never wanted to waste them or ruin them of a craft that wasn’t right, so they just sat in my art cupboard looking lovely.

But this was an emergency. I rummaged for a hammer from the tool box, and failing to find a large rubber coated one which would have been more suited to the job, used an ordinary metal one to hammer the spoon flat. A combination of pliers and hammering was used to make an ‘n’ shape from the spoon handle and form a basic stand. I was lucky enough to get some metal alphabet stamps for my birthday last year, and tried to stamp ‘business cards’ into the edge of the underside of the spoon, which was then bent upwards at 90 degrees to hold the cards in place.

The whole thing was surprisingly quick to do, barely taking 25 minutes. I was rather pleased with the last minute project, although I doubt the neighbours were thrilled to hear me hammering metal at 9 pm at night!

August 7, 2012

Craft Fair Preparations

It is with great excitement that I inform the lovely readers of this blog, and the wonderful fans of Mystic Moose, that the time has come for our first craft fair! If you are in the Cotswolds on Saturday 11th August, then pop along to Gloucester Folk Museum for the MADEmarket, an exciting new series of craft fairs in the local area!

I am a great advocator of buying beautiful handcrafted delights and vintage trinkets whilst browsing stalls at craft fairs, but I have never been a seller at one of these events. The thought had always seemed a little daunting, mainly because of the amount of stock I would need to make in preparation. I usually keep about ten of each item and design in my stock cupboard and make more when they sell, but for a craft stall, particularly with the smaller and less expensive items, I would need much more than this or the stall would look rather empty. Having read many articles on the matter, it seemed it was far better to overestimate and arrive laden with too much stuff, and hide it under the table ready to replenish the displays, than to bring the right amount of stock and have a stall that is half empty!

Having thoroughly raided my belongings for all interesting boxes, containers and knickknacks, I have begun to sort the ones that may be of some use. A small set of shelves lying flat on its back can hold a variety of pencil cases, a wine box tipped on its side becomes both a shelf for a cotton tote bag and a display box, an empty tea chest given to me last Christmas becomes a handy container for pocket mirrors and badges.

My only problem is all of these items are made from different coloured wood and materials, and when placed together, despite making an interesting, efficient and varied display, they look inconsistent. I’ve resigned to painting them all matt white (bar a few lovely old items made from wood), with the hopes of bringing attention to the products they hold. I know from experience that having different materials to create levels or backdrops can be distracting if they lack a consistent style or colour scheme. I remember stalls I have seen that unitised wicker boxes, antique wooden wine crates, painted white benches, plywood card stands and chequered fabric covered blocks, which all looked lovely individually, but they lacked cohesion when arranged together on a stall. I guess such details are not really noticeable to the average craft-browser, who may not think twice about the design and would hopefully be gazing longingly at a beautifully handmade craft item, it is something I have noticed whilst scrutinising fairs for ideas and inspiration for my stall.

Ultimately, I guess much of the display is dependent on personal taste, alongside the style of your brand. The best stalls I have seen have used backdrops made of one or two materials, such as the aged wooden crates and some white washed furniture items. Such stalls lured me in, especially if they had smaller items that enticed me to peer closer. Whilst rummaging for display boxes, I found an old fold-up table which, with the legs removed, became a lovely screen backdrop for part of the stall, which can also be used to hang some smaller items from.

For the last month or so I have had several product lines that I wanted to make but never found the time. The craft fair is a perfect opportunity to make some of these smaller items and get a feel for how popular they are and whether it is worth making more. If all goes to plan, the below items should be available to sale online by the end of next week!

On the top of my new products list is our lovely new badges. There are two kinds – large button badges, made using my badge and mirror making machine, and the shaped ones made from exciting shrink plastic! I am very happy with these shrink wrap badges, although they can be time consuming to cut out, bake and varnish.

I also have been making lavender bags, which have filled my studio with a delicious scent. They are filled with French lavender, with a heat pressed image on the front and a twine tag for hanging in wardrobes. I have been hesitant to make them because I was uncertain about whether I could export lavender to the USA and Canada, so when I start selling them online, I will only be shipping these within the UK and Europe for the time being.

And not forgetting Make-up bags, filled with wadding to protect their contents! I planned to launch these when I started to making pencil cases, but they spent longer in the development stage than I initially thought, whilst I found the right material to use as padding. (No photos for these as yet, but expect many more to come after the stall!)

This craft fair, alongside spending many hours developing exciting new crafty products for my shop, is part of my excuse for my lack in internet presence over the last month. Blog posts I have intended to write haven’t had the time to manifest, or are waiting to evolve from hastily scribbled blurbs in sketchbooks whilst travelling on public transport. With less than a week to go, I still have many more pencil cases to sew, mirrors and badges to press, and a little bit of painting to do, but all is going exceptionally well!

The MADE market is at Gloucester Folk Museum on Saturday 11th August 2012.

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