>> Sunday, December 7, 2008
(i bought this for my brother-in-law for his christmas present - oh i can't WAIT to give it to him!)
The Road Warrior
It's a Wonderful Life
Jean Michel Jarre
All I Wanted to Know I Learned at the Craft Fair... or The Newbie's Newbie Guide to Doing your First Craft Sale!!!!!!
>> Sunday, November 9, 2008
the MACFair is FINALLY over!!! and for a first craft fair, i have to admit that i was pleasantly surprised and did much better than i thought i would have! three days of selling my wares and talking up my craft... and i'm still alive! someone asked me to write about what i learned, so here it is!!!
1. juried shows ROCK! - the MACFair was a juried show, which meant that they chose the vendors who were at the show. you know how at some shows there are tons of resellers and the handmade goodness gets overlooked? well, that DIDN'T happen here. and it was amazing to see all the talent - not to mention the full time artisans - on display. even though there was an entry fee, it was worth it! (more on that in a bit)
2. prepare, prepare, prepare! - i have to admit that i was at a little bit of a disadvantage here, with all my "prep time" being swallowed up by my first trimester all day morning sickness. i was a little freaked that i didn't have enough energy to make all the things that i wanted to make, but i tried to get some work done in the precious moments that i didn't feel sick. thank goodness that the week before the show, my energy levels lifted... but i still didn't feel like i had adequate stock.
3. displays don't have to be expensive... but it does help to have a plan! - see the rant above about my morning sickness. however, i had talked my display ideas out with the husband and my cousin, and had a general idea about what i wanted to do, and the feeling i wanted to create with my display. i basically used twigs, river stones, floral foam and little metal pails to create "trees" for my necklaces; a fabric shower curtain in a neutral tone to cover the table, wooden and velvet trays for rings, pine cones and seashells for bracelets, and a small moses basket for my sock monkeys. the picture here probably gives you a better idea of what i did:
it was very simple, very inexpensive, and i got countless compliments! however, i do admit that some of the more experienced vendors DID have fantastic displays - self-contained with lights and shelving... i have to admit that i felt like i was out of my league at the beginning and it was a little disheartening. however, this display was perfect for the space i had (a 3" x 6" table) and it was easy for me to assemble and dismantle. because the show was in the Museum of Art, the lighting was already almost perfect.
4. you will need things that you didn't think that you would! - ETSY has some threads in its forums outlining lists of essential items that you will need at a show. i took the advice in those threads, and am adding some of my items here too.
- scotch & duct tape (we taped the shower curtain to the table to reduce the risk of slippage - something i didn't think of until we were set up)
- paper towels (we didn't use any until the very last day, as we were pulling things apart but it sure helped with an accidental spill!!)
- lots and lots of business cards! i actually will look into printing bookmarks or MOO cards because it would have been worth it. i gave out about 75 - 100 cards over the three days and would have liked something a little more "professional" looking
- a little bowl of candy. a nice touch, draws people in and keeps their kids occupied as they browse!
- good signs and tags - i used dollar store plastic frames to hold up my signs, and perfect little tags (thank you, Paula!!!!!!!) to put the prices on my items. (people STILL asked though, so be prepared!) i also kept some extra tags on hand for items that i made while i was at the show
- little snacks and plenty of liquids! 'nuff said!
- several pens (for people who write cheques as well as for your receipts and doodling) and a permanent marker (for signs etc.)
- for you jewelry makers - little clear bags to put the items in, along with some sort of bag or envelope to put that little bag in
- a mirror - you'd be amazed how many people want to try on your stuff and see what it looks like! i put in a small mirror as an afterthought... and i am so glad that i did!
- change! - i took $100 in loonies and toonies and miscellaneous coinage... and while i barely dipped into it, i was happy knowing it was there!
- a craft apron! - i got mine from Yoopers (http://yoopers.etsy.com/) and it was indispensible! she made mine with a little zippered pocket in the front for money, and other little pockets, in which i put my price tags, pens, receipt book and lip gloss. although i had ordered it earlier in the summer once i found out i was accepted into the show, it still fit perfectly around my pregnant belly!!!!!!! one of the other vendors laughed and asked if i was putting on my "money belt"... well, i was never without a pen or paper, i can tell ya! (and yes, there did end up being money in there - so THERE!)
- lip balm/gloss - it was dry in the venue i was in - plus i was getting a little chapped from all the talking! i was definitely thankful!
- plastic bag(s) - for garbage and in case someone buys a lot of stuff
- layers, as in a sweater - the locale we were in was kind of cool (for non-pregnant people!) and the sweater and scarf i brought was quite useful at times!
5. someone dependable to help you - i had brought the husband to help set up (and then he went to sit in the car - craft shows aren't too great for guys unless they themselves are the crafter). but he did come and sit with me so i could have a little bit of a break and some company during the slower times. we also had a wonderful organizer (thank you, Jude!) who would watch your booth while you dashed off to the bathroom or to grab something quick to eat/drink.
6. a strong backbone, your courage, and confidence in your craft! - 'Nuff said. People will have positive things to say about you and your work... and will also have snide comments to make as well. just be confident and have pride in what you do!!!
>> Tuesday, October 28, 2008
so, i'm thinking that this baby (pardon the pun, LOL) counts as my 10th new crafting project for the year... our first baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! the ultimate in handmade!
i'm about 14 weeks or so, and this is our first ultrasound. i've been feeling quite under the weather and have been sleeping so much that i've been neglecting my shop, my jewelry, and the blog! i am hoping that some of my energy will be back soon, because we will be in our first craft fair early in November!
McMaster University, my alma mater, had a call for submissions to their juried craft show... and muffintopdesigns was one they picked! this is my first show, so i've been worrying about what it's going to be like... but like everything else, i'm jumping in with two feet and hoping for the best! let's hope that i sell at least ONE item!!!!!
>> Thursday, September 4, 2008
i've wanted to read this book since it came out. and finally, more than a year later, i bought myself a copy. Rob Sheffield, now an editor for Rolling Stone, recounts falling in love, marrying, and subsequently mourning the loss of his wife, Renee - all punctuated by the songs that marked these events.
call me hormonal (which i am) - but i read this book cover to cover in less than 24 hours (and would have been faster if it weren't for the need to sleep) and was sobbing by the end. i already loved many of the songs that were part of Rob and Renee's "life soundtrack" , and now have more reason to do so.
romance? check. dry, wry humour and wit? check. real life drama (without the overzealousness of today's reality tv shows)? check.
thank you, rob, for sharing your love, heartache, pain and joy with us mere mortals.
>> Sunday, August 31, 2008
>> Tuesday, August 26, 2008
okay. so i was psyched about getting my business license for muffintop. huge step for me, right? well, in the process, i found out that i owe some back taxes. seriously. long story short, it turns out that i had forgotten to claim retail sales tax on some wedding videos we had made back in the day. so, the nest egg that i'd been saving up is pretty much kaput. oh well. just more incentive to start saving again, right? i should have expected that something like this would have happened to me, LOL!!!!!!
what do they say? there are only two things for certain in life, DEATH and TAXES.
>> Tuesday, August 19, 2008
so this week has been relatively momenteous (did i spell that right?) for me... i had promised myself that if the muffin top shop was somewhat successful in a year, i would formally register my business in the province of ontario! well, after some discussion with the husband, i did it!!!! i am now officially a small business!!!!!!!! the ontario government has a fantastic website that clearly outlines how to do it - AND you can do most of the registration online too! (http://www.sbe.gov.on.ca/ontcan/sbe/en/home_en.jsp) i immediately took the paperwork to my favorite bead store so that i could open a business account with them. YIPPEEEEEEE!!!!
the icing on the cake happened today with my 600th sale on etsy! YAY me!!!! and thank you to everyone who's supported me since i started here! i had set a goal in january to reach 600 sales by the end of the year and i did! i am totally thrilled.
>> Thursday, August 14, 2008
having a "classic" film camera, i am totally coveting one of tanybug's (http://tanybug.etsy.com) fabulous camera straps! she's also a fellow Torontoian!!!!!!!! YAY for straps!!!!!
>> Wednesday, August 13, 2008
so we go outside yesterday morning to put out the stuff for garbage collection. the husband goes out first... and finds our one zucchini plant toppled over, and the one zucchini - the pride and joy of my little garden - partially mauled by raccoons!!!!!!!!! i immediately burst into tears. silly, i know, crying over a lost zucchini, but it was so much work just to get that one to grow!!!!
the husband quickly picked the biggest green pepper that we have growing to try to save it from the predators. (that's me posing with it above!) who knew raccoons were such fans of fresh produce?
i consoled myself by visiting two farmers' markets here in downtown toronto yesterday... and i got blissfully lost in the joy of browsing the little booths and choosing items for dinner! i also learned a valuable lesson in the world of small business... i was wearing one of my swarovski wire wrapped rings, and one of the ladies from the bakery booth asked for my card! and of course i didn't have any. not a one. at least i had paper and pen... but i think i've learned to carry them with me everywhere! you never know when you might stumble on a prospective buyer! and no never know... maybe one day i'll be peddling my wares at the market too!
i also found a pretty fabulous link to the toronto farmers' market network here at http://tfmn.ca/ - the photos are great and the information is pretty valuable. i know it's a little silly, but i felt a little bit connected to these food artisans! of course, my little garden isn't anywhere near being a farm, but just growing my own organic, pesticide-free vegetables and being able to eat them is a real joy.
the husband and i talked about the possibility of one day owning a little piece of land somewhere a little bit out of the city, growing our own food, milking our own cow, showing our future kids how to make soap... sigh! in the meantime, we settled for sharing some fresh ontario peach cobbler (homemade by me!) made with organic brown sugar and wildflower honey. nothing better.
>> Sunday, August 10, 2008
>> Friday, August 8, 2008
>> Tuesday, August 5, 2008
I finally conquered the art of the wire wrapped briolette!! another new year's resolution down! (i really should keep count, LOL!) for some reason, the whole technique has eluded me for about a year and i finally gave up, despite having made a hundred wire wrapped rings. but then, i guess i had an epiphany!!! i got up early yesterday morning and sat down with a pink crystal briolette and twisted and wrapped it... and the rest is history!
i love the way they've turned out, kind of like little whimsical wire wrapped hats for beautiful briolettes!
yay for wire! yay for briolettes! and yay for me finally figuring it out!
>> Saturday, August 2, 2008
i'm now obsessed... i've been dying to take the Jewelry 101 course that they were offering at my local bead store, but of course, once i had saved up for it, they haven't run it since! *insert lots of swear words here* so, like i usually do, i totally just took stock of what i had, scoured the internet, got some books off ebay and jumped into the world of cold forging!!!!
after slamming my fingers with my chasing hammer quite a few times, and actually smashing my knee once with it, i'm in love with metal and the wondrous things you can do with it! the earrings i made above were hand formed and cold forged by little old me! can you believe it? i almost cried when i finished them because i was so proud of myself! and now, i have tons of ideas in my head and not enough time to do it all... i'm going to try sawing and piecing and soldering next... so wish me luck!!!!
i've also been experimenting in the bath and body realm... my dream is to make my own lip balm! i don't know if you're like me, but i have hundreds of lip balms. seriously. i have a big mouth and am constantly applying and reapplying... it's driving me crazy and making me broke!
so i did a little research, and tried making lip balm for the first time. i was actually scared that i'd end up burning my eyebrows off, but i didn't! and i am totally thrilled with the results! oh, the miracle of beeswax... this lip balm is super fantastic, not too sticky, totally minty fresh and really moisturizing! it's really similar to burt's bees (sorry to them, i don't have to buy anymore, LOL) but less "grainy" and the minty feeling lasts longer!!!! YIPPEEEEE! i've given "tester" tubes to the gals at work and i've gotten the thumbs up. so hopefully, once i work out the packaging details, i'll be able to sell some in my etsy shop. seriously. i'm thrilled.
i think i'm going to tackle soap next. maybe even this weekend. hee hee! then i'll really burn my eyebrows off!
oh yes, and about the car...
when i had leased my little sporty Honda Civic three years ago, i thought that i couldn't and wouldn't ever fall in love again with a vehicle. however, my sister gave my mom her sweet Audi when her husband came home and told her that he'd just bought a new Volvo SUV (yeah, my sister married for money, i married for love, go figure), so my mom, in turn, offered the husband her old Mazda. well, he was all over that like white on rice.
long story short, we traded in both of our cars. but it was really hard on me because i loved loved loved loved my little Civic! that car can go FASSSSSSTTTTTTTTTT - i felt like Danica Patrick or at least Ricky Bobby everytime i drove that sweet little car. and yes, i had gotten quite a few speeding tickets in it.
because we were into TWO leases - yeah, don't even get me started - we had to trade up a little in order to get out of them both! so... the husband got my mom's Mazda, and i got this!!!!!
i totally feel like a traitor saying this, but i LOVE this car and barely even miss the little Civic at all. it's lovely to drive and since i don't work far from home, it's not too bad in regards to filling it up with gas! (yes, the mileage isn't as great, but oh well.) and we're saving on having TWO car payments, which totally, totally rocks. i do feel guilty about driving an SUV in this era of high fuel prices, but it certainly evens out when i have to move furniture for work!
hopefully soon we'll have tons of babies to fill up the backseat!! (hopefully REALLY soon!)
>> Thursday, July 10, 2008
>> Tuesday, July 8, 2008
>> Monday, June 23, 2008
i LOVE mixed tapes. i LOVE romantic, sappy songs. i LOVE alternative/indie music. even though i've been married more than ten years, i'm in the middle of compiling the best alternative/indie romantic compilation ever!!!! however, there is only so much that i can find on my own, so i'm hoping to have a little help from my friends!
here is my playlist so far -
The Luckiest – Ben Folds - seriously, i get teary-eyed everytime i hear this song
The Book of Love – Peter Gabriel - the husband even loves this one too
When I’m With You – Faber Drive
Closer - Travis
We Are Man and Wife – Michelle Featherstone - one of the most perfect wedding songs EVER
Dusting Down the Stars – Mobile
Like I Love You – BellX1 - a stripped down version of mr. timberlake's classic
Stuttering – Ben’s Brother - yes, i know it's a dentyne commercial, so shoot me
Forever – Ben Harper
You and Me Song – Wannadies
I Love How You Love Me – Beth Orton
Question – Old 97’s - you HAVE to listen to these lyrics!
Everlong (acoustic) – Foo Fighters - of course, Dave Grohl has the soul of a romantic poet
Goreki – Lamb
You and Me – Lighthouse
I Love You Anyways – Travis
Only You – Joshua Radin - a Yaz cover, almost done better!
Come Away With Me – Norah Jones
Just Like Heaven – Katie Melua - so sweet, so dreamy!
Lazy Eye – Silversun Pickups
It's Only Time - Magnetic Fields
i'm also loving the string quartet arrangements of Coldplay and The Smiths - especially "please please please let me get what i want" and "in my place"
in the spirit of romance, i'm offering up this contest: post your favorite(s) romantic songs here on my blog, and the story behind it! the most romantic storyteller will win a pair of my Bridal Bling earrings (shown here)! (and they don't have to be indie or alternative... i just love a good story!)
the deadline is July 5th - my birthday! i WANT to hear your sappy stories! i can't wait to make the best alt-rom mixed tape!
>> Saturday, June 21, 2008
i'm still on my quest to learn ten new crafting techniques this year! Here is the latest (and lucky number seven!) - SCRABBLE TILE PENDANTS! i purchased a little kit from SunAndMoonCrafts (http://sunandmooncraftkits.etsy.com/) and these are my first three! i think i'm hooked! i will have them for sale soon in MuffinTopsyTurvy once i perfect my technique!
of course, it's hard to be crafting when our backyard beckons... we spent this morning in the garden weeding and coaxing the plants to grow. i have two tomato plants, a zucchini plant and a little red pepper plant. the rose bush didn't bloom last year, but this year, we have blossoms in SPADES! i'm so psyched! thanks to the husband for getting rid of all those nasty weeds choking our flowers!
>> Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Thanks so much to TrueMirage (http://TrueMirage.etsy.com) for including my Hey DJ moleskine notebook in her fabulous treasury!
Seriously, these little notebooks are the BEST!!! I love the original moleskine books, but these are so useful and perfectly sized!!!!! And with the gocco print being the perfect size, what better way to show them off!
Thanks again, TrueMirage!!!!!
>> Sunday, June 1, 2008
>> Monday, May 26, 2008
>> Wednesday, May 21, 2008
i also can't stop making these amazing cluster cocktail rings! they are so fabulous and surprisingly comfortable to wear!!!!! hmmmm... maybe this is another new design technique i can add to my New Year's resolution list????
>> Saturday, May 10, 2008
>> Sunday, April 13, 2008
Presenting... Little Papercuts!
1. Tell us a little bit about who you are and your life up to this point in time.
I’m 33 years old and I’m a stay at home mom to 2 great kids. I’ve been married for 7 years, but my husband and I have been together for 17 years. My family is kinda my life…as cliché as it may sound, but my whole world really does revolve around them. Since my daughter was born, 6 years ago, my life has been filled with lots of laughter, lots of tears, and everything in between. And when my son came along, he turned our lives upside down. He’s a bundle of energy, and I have to admit…a bit of a mama’s boy . Yup, pretty much kids, family and all the craziness that goes hand in hand with both, not to mention trying to run a small business on the side…that’s my life!
I kinda summed that up in the last question I think. I think my creative life is very much a part of my everyday life. I love looking for papers and embellishments at scrapbooking stores and craft stores, but I know nothing about scrapbooking itself.
I think it was the first time I saw my grandmother redraw the album cover for The Sound of Music. I was only 6 or 7 at the time and I think in my head I thought she was actually the one who had drawn ALL the album covers all over the world, and I thought that’s what I want to do!
I specialize in children’s customized name art and artwork. Every piece is one of a kind and tailored to each child. On occasion I have created artwork for adults as well though.
Cut and paste, kind of. I usually sketch out the name in the chosen style first and then transfer that image to colored paper. All the cut paper pieces are then layered onto each other and glued down. I’m trying not to give away too much info, but it really is cut and paste…what can I say I’m a mom. I work in the same medium as my kidsJ
Don’t laugh, but I do all of my work on my living room floor, using our old fish tank as a light box/desk with my paper spread all around me. Space is limited at our house!
Whatever the kids are listening to…lately it’s been Hannah Montana or preschool tunes.
Hmm, that’s tough but my #1 would have to be to get a desk, and not to procrastinate as much as I do. I’m in the process of setting up my website, so that’s definitely a huge thing for me. My goal is really to have my website, blog and hopefully at some point my Etsy Shop all up and running.
I haven’t officially opened up my shop yet, so probably through blogs or forums. So far word of mouth has been my best friend. My family and friends are the best advertising I could ever ask for.
Wow, I’d have to say it’s a toss up between Seasons Artwork I just finished for my daughter Alison (all the little girls look like her!) and a duvet cover I had made for her that was inspired by paper dolls.
That’s easy, sock monkeys for my kids from Muffin Top!!!
It had to be the reaction of the parents who received the first Little Papercuts name art. They were amazed at my work, and it was really the first time that I’ve thought that I could pursue this as a business. That was over 2 years ago!!
That’s a hard one…lately all I read watch or listen to is kids’ stuff. OK…top 5 movies would be Rent, The King and I, Man on Fire (soooo amazing), The Last Unicorn (gotta love 80’s animation) and anything from the Young and Dangerous series (Chinese subtitled). The only books that really stand out in my mind are ‘Are you there God, it’s me Margaret’ and ‘Blubber’ by Judy Bloom. I think it’s because my daughter is starting to read novels and stuff now. No fave bands, I’ll listen to pretty much anything. Foods, hmm let’s see…oatmeal cookies from Longo’s, zesty cheese Doritos, beef brisket that my mother in law cooks, rice and peas (a Jamaican thing) and ox tail.
Find inspiration from everything around you. Don’t give up! Like I said before, word of mouth is very powerful…it can make your business without you even trying if you enlist the help of family and friends!
Let’s see, in 10 years I see myself with one more kid, still married to hubby #1, still making hip art for kids and parents and in a house with room enough for me to have a desk preferably with a glass insert to use as a light box.
creative, reliable, perfectionist, fun, indecisive…wow that sounds kinda boring! Love ya Muffin!!
>> Thursday, April 10, 2008
>> Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Regular transfusions; androgens (male hormones) with or without steroids; blood growth factors (such as G-CSF)
Among the more common birth defects are the following:
Thumb, hand and arm anomalies
Skeletal abnormalities of the hip and spine
Small head or eyes
Low birth weight and failure to thrive
Digestive tract abnormalities
>> Saturday, April 5, 2008
>> Thursday, April 3, 2008
823 Niedringhaus, Granite City, IL 62040 618-876-3325 Tuesday-Saturday 11AM-5:00PM Sunday 11-2 or by appt.
You can now get my artisan wire wrapped rings from Paula at the Cat's Meow in Granite City, Illinois! It's my first consignment "relationship" (*blush*) and Paula is WONDERFUL to work with! We've already sold one "nest egg" ring!
>> Saturday, March 29, 2008
>> Tuesday, March 25, 2008
i wish i was...
- independently wealthy
- able to craft full time
- a little skinnier
- self-employed (full time)
- could stop eating those darned mini-eggs leftover from Easter... yikes!
- not so tired!
you ever just have one of those days where you just want to crawl back into bed and stay there? it was one of those for me today... disappointed the boss, it's snowing (again), dropped my wallet into a puddle...
at least i was able to list this beautiful piece today... a fine silver pendant with a sweet little heart on it!
at least there is always tomorrow!