United in Orange…and blue

I was waiting until after the Super Bowl, to release my two latest wind chimes. Really, I was waiting to see if the Broncos would win. If they didn’t, I was going to wait until the preseason starts. But, they pulled it off and won, so here they are. Each consists of silverware and melted bead sun catchers. I made the discs at the end of 2014, and they sat in my work shop waiting for me to figure out what to do with them. I decided to try something new, and I am really pleased with how cute they are. They are available in my Etsy shop for $24 each. Broncos Silverware Wind Chimes

 

The Moon and Stars

A phrase that has always been very meaningful and comforting to me is “No matter how far apart we are, we are always under the same moon and same stars.”  I remember first thinking about it when I saw An American Tale. Fievel was lost, searching for his family, and he and his sister each sang Somewhere Out There while they looked at the night sky, longing to find each other again. That scene really stuck with me throughout my life. It was the inspiration this sun catcher; a little reminder that no matter how far apart you are from someone you love, you are always under the same moon and same stars.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/266838376/moon-and-starts-sun-catcher-blue-moon?ref=related-0

 

Processing Wind Chimes

I’ve spent most of the last couple of weeks working on new products. Once I kicked the flu, and felt like a human being again, I got back to work, capitalizing on a huge creative spark. I am very excited about the new ideas I have for this year. There will be many new products, along with new processes. While you will mostly see bits of my creative process in photos, there are many new things going on “behind the scenes.” I’m learning about which tools I need, alternate ways to make things, and how to make completely new products I’ve never attempted. Right now, though, I’m focused on wind chimes.

New Wind Chimes

I started making wind chimes about 13 years ago. I am known Continue reading “Processing Wind Chimes”

Links for Craft Show Businesses

I put together a list of websites that I am sharing with several crafter friends. You may or may not find any of this information useful. If this isn’t your interest, don’t feel obligated to read further. 

 

Getting your business started/business management Continue reading “Links for Craft Show Businesses”

New Year, Take II

I had big plans for this year, from finally writing up a detailed business plan, to maximizing online marketing, production and listing goals, defining my market, and creating new product lines. I have been researching and reading through tons of material on how to effectively use a blog to drive business, using Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram, for business, time management, and several other things. I wanted this year to be the year I really broke out and had great sales. I wanted this year to surpass the previous five years combined. I still do.

I’ve been doing this research for several weeks, and was ready for everything to take off on the first, when all three kids and the Hubs got sick. The man child and the girl got sick on the 31st, him with the Flu and her with a respiratory infection. Then the man and the boy got sick. Pops with the respiratory infection, and the boy with the Flu. Everyone is finally on the upswing, and now I have the flu. So, everything I have wanted to have done for the last eight or nine days has been on hold and will remain on hold until I stop feeling like I might die.

That being said, I had a choice. I could leave my plan in place and bust my butt to get caught up once I feel better, or I could rearrange my time line so that everything starts on the 14th (roughly). While there are benefits to both options, I have chosen to push everything back to when I feel better, and when I have the opportunity to get a little extra done, I will.

And now that I’ve used this little burst of energy on this update, I’m going back to bed. See you soon!

Easy Craft Show Display

I have had trouble displaying the ornaments I sell. I wanted something versatile, appealing, with height to maximize my space, and that I could use to display other things later on.  What ever I was to use had to be easy to set up and take apart quickly. It’s embarrassing to be the last one at a show because you are still taking apart your display 30 minutes after everyone else left. It also had to be light weight and easy to transport.

I searched the interwebz for quite a while before I saw an idea that would work. I had to adapt it to completely fit my needs, but a few minutes with paper and pencil, and the idea came to life.

These PVC pipe table top risers are perfect for what I needed. They fit every Continue reading “Easy Craft Show Display”

Random Business Thoughts

This may end up being a long, boring one, so bear with me. I’m mainly getting thoughts into writing so I can sort through them and make sense of things.

I’ve been watching quite a few webinars on how to have a successful handmade business/Etsy business, lately. I’ve gotten quite a bit of good material from them and it’s really made me think about what I do and more specifically, how I go about it. From the process of making products, to marketing, to packaging, I’ve been pondering the whole picture, dissecting into small pieced that are easier to perfect.

Something that really struck me last night is that I lack focus. I make a variety of things that I do enjoy making, but I don’t know where my real passion is. What thing is it that brings me the most joy? What does my soul NEED to make? What process fills the void? I don’t have an answer. I can think of several things I don’t like making (anything involving a sewing machine).

We moved last September. While I have my work space set up and fairly organized, I’ve starting thinking about what I’m not making. What supplies have I not looked at or unpacked/touched since the move? I think that’s a great starting point. If I haven’t thought about making it in a year, it’s probably not what I’m passionate about. It’s likely not my driving force. The obvious answer is lamps. I haven’t touched any of my lamp making supplies, except to move them to get to something else. *With the exception of the pair of lamps I made for my sister.* I do truly enjoy making lamps. I love the designs I come up with, when I finally come up with something. Having several totes of lamp parts to look at, that do not ignite my creative spark, seems like wasted space.

I like making ornaments, too. I have more completed ornaments ready to sell than most people even put on their Christmas tree. Occasionally, I’ll sell a few. Not often. Fortunately, they are compact and easily stored. That will probably go on the short list.

That brings me to the mattress springs. I adore making things from mattress springs. I did manage to gut a mattress over the summer, and I have the springs and coils in the work shop, waiting to be made into candle holders and wreaths. I’ve thought of a few other ideas that I just haven’t implemented yet. So, springs will stay on the To Do list. Hell, I just love making wreathes, anyway, regardless what type of frame I use. Picture frames. I may be able to use the few remaining unfinished picture frames for wreathes. Possibly even put some of those ornaments on them.

The picture frame and chicken wire memo boards idea seems to have taken off commercially, and even though I’ve made some really cute ones, they only sell at craft shows, and they are odd sizes to ship. I know I wont miss making them. I’ll likely put them all on clearance at ridiculously low prices, just to get rid of them.

I haven’t made wind chimes since the move, but I’ve probably sorted and prepped the supplies for those more than anything else. There is just too much stuff and too many unfinished products on the work table to bring out the propane torch just yet. I love playing with fire, not setting house fires. I have managed to drill holes in the silverware, sort them into sets, purchase and sort marbles, and sort them into sets with silverware. All this attention, all this process and busy work for something I haven’t even made in over a year. I may have answered my question right there. I love my wind chimes. I love figuring out different ways to manipulate the silverware. I love working with wire, too.

Maybe that’s it. The things I enjoy the most are the things that involve using wire and metal: mattress springs and silverware. Maybe that’s where my real spark lies. It’s a good place to start.

All this being said, I think I just figured out what I will be taking to the two craft shows I have coming up, and what I will be discounting and discontinuing.  Getting things in writing really can help the thought process move.

 

After rereading this, I realized I never even mentioned jewelry. That’s an obvious sign.