Friday, April 18, 2014

On Fire for Handmade Great Finds Challenge

Please Vote for NOLA Crafts by Design
One of my wreaths is being featured in this weeks
Great Finds Challenge on On Fire for Handmade.

Please take a minute to vote by following the link
to On Fire For Handmade

And cast your vote for NOLA Crafts by Design!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Orange and Yellow Deco Mesh Flower Wreath

Orange and Yellow Deco Mesh Flower Wreath

(Available in my Etsy Shop)

I love the bright and vibrant colors of summer.

For this wreath I started with a 14" wire wreath form. I used bright orange deco mesh in the center of the wreath and yellow deco mesh around the outside. The deco mesh is attached to the wreath form with complimentary chenille stems.

I added a orange floral patterned wire ribbon around the entire wreath.

The center of the wreath is an 11" wide metal daisy in colors that match the wreath perfectly.

The completed wreath measures 22" wide and about 8" deep.

Brighten up your home this summer with this gorgeous deco mesh flower wreath.

USMC Yarn Wreath

USMC Yarn Wreath

(Available in my Etsy Shop)

My nephew is in the USMC and I made this particular wreath for my mom. I can customize the "Nana" part and can fit probably up to 5 Letters Across. Any more than that would get a little small but I could also change the font to fit longer words if necessary.

I started with a 14" styrofoam wreath form. I used the USMC colors and wrapped the wreath with red, gold and blue yarn.

I used my handy dandy Silhouette and created the pattern for the letters I used. For the "Proud and "Nana" portion I used a red, white and blue flag print fabric that I found. I used yellow fabric for the ribbon. The "USMC" is cut out of a desert camo fabric that I had purchased for a previous project.

I used heat n bond on the back of the fabric to be able to easily iron it all onto the large piece of white felt that I attached to the back of the wreath.

Overall, I really do like the look of this wreath.

I plan on adding other branches of the military in the coming weeks.....once I find the right fabric to use.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

On Fire for Handmade Featured Artisan

Featured Artisan icancu2 Share the Love…Blogger’s Unite

This weeks Featured Artisan is icancu2.  You will find comfortable, unique and perfectly wonderful to wear. . hand stitched clothes by icancu. There is something for everyone in this shop!
You can find icancu2 on:
Etsy     Blog     Facebook     Twitter

Are you On Fire for Handmade?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

St Martin's Episcopal School Yarn Wreath

St Martin's Episcopal School Yarn Wreath

I recently participated in a Craft Fair the St Martin's Episcopal School in Metairie, LA.  I made this Red, White and Blue 14" Yarn Wreath as a donation to the Parade of Prizes for the event.  
I hand traced and cut out the lettering from felt and then attached it to a large piece of felt that I added to the back of the wreath. 

Turquoise and Gold Deco Mesh Peacock Wreath

Turquoise and Gold Deco Mesh Peacock Wreath

I was recently contacted by a wonderful lady named Laurie that runs a Bed and Breakfast in the Uptown New Orleans area.  She was looking for a wreath to hang on her front door that expressed what the inside of her home looked like. 
I meet with Laurie one afternoon and was able to take a look around her large, beautiful home.  We spent a little time talking about what she wanted.  After the meeting I knew that she wanted a nice statement piece for her Home/Bed and Breakfast to welcome her guests.  This is my creation for Laurie.

If you are planning a trip to New Orleans and want to stay at a warm and welcoming Bed and Breakfast, consider The Treehouse Uptown. 

Now about the wreath.  I started with a 20" wire wreath form.  I found a deco mesh that was a mixture of turquoise and gold.  I used nearly 2 complete rolls of mesh to make this wreath as full as possible.  I added yellow faux burlap ribbon around the entire wreath.  I found a gorgeous turquoise peacock ribbon that I used to make the bow.  I also added 20" tall peacock feather floral sprays.  The completed wreath measures 27" wide.  Definitely the largest wreath I have made to date and it is lovely.

And here is a shot I took after I delivered the wreath.  I looks great on her door!!
The Treehouse Uptown

Sunday, April 6, 2014

My Craft Fair Experience

My Recent Craft Fair Experience

I am predominately an online seller.  I find it very difficult and quite time consuming to participate in craft fairs/shows.  However, every now and then I feel the need to get out there and network and socialize with others in the crafting community. 
I find it very interesting when first arriving at an event.  Everyone is looking to see what you are selling and if your item is better than theirs.  Generally speaking, most of the other vendors I have encountered at various events were very friendly.  That being said, there are others, usually those that have similar items that you are selling, that are a bit standoffish.  As a wreath maker, I want to see others with wreaths (not too many of course) and welcome a visit and not just a quick walk past my booth and a half mouthed smile.

  I am sure that some people do more shows than I do so they pretty much know each other and immediately begin to socialize.  As the relative newbie and usually only guy, other than the woodworker types, I immediately feel quite out of place.  Thankfully, I have been positioned next to some really nice people and quickly strike up a friendship, at least for the day.

The events that I have been able to attend, usually smaller school and church craft fairs and shows, seem to be very cliquish.  I can't speak for the larger juried craft shows but maybe if I were to attend one then my opinion would change and I would love participating.  But for now....not so much.

My most recent event was for a local school.  I happened to come across a Facebook post and decided to give it shot. I had plenty of time to prepare and was available on the date of the event.   The price of the booth rental was very reasonable.  They also offered table rental, which is necessary for me since I only have a small car and am not able to transport my displays, wreaths and a table.  

The day of the event was overcast and there was a chance of rain predicated for the entire day.   I requested an outside booth under a covered walkway which I figured would be prime real estate because there would be lots of foot traffic.  However, with the chance of rain I was offered an inside spot, which I gladly took.  I did not want to have to worry about my wreaths getting wet.   I did not take into account the fact that since I was a last minute inside booth that I would be relegated to the far back corner of the smaller of two of the schools gymnasiums.  

I was pretty much the last booth that people would encounter, if they even made it that far into the event.  I was set up right next to some guy selling solar energy panels for homes.  How this was even a booth in a craft fair that advertised and specifically stated on the application that all items were to be handmade is a huge issue for me.  I soon realized that the typical "used car" type salesman next to me was a parent as well as a school volunteer. I completely understand.  It is all about who you know.  I soon realized that it really didn't matter where my booth was located, it was not and never would have been in a prime location.  Those spots were for people in the know and had some prior relation to the school.  Point taken!!!  

Throughout the event he was pleasant for the most part, but definitely a salesman.  He kept telling me how much he liked my wreaths but had no use for them.  Ok, third time I hear it fella.  At one point I needed to take a quick break and he politely offered to watch my booth while I stepped away.   On my return he advised me that there were a few people to stop and ask questions but was pretty certain that everyone thought that my items were over priced.  No one had mentioned it to him but he could just tell by the look when they passed. (Just a note: I tend to price my items near or even a bit lower than similar items that are currently available on Etsy.)  He also told me that I didn't have enough price points.  I had two types of wreaths to offer and nothing else.  I needed some kind of $5 through away item.  Sure, but that is not what I make.   I make wreaths.  Why would I spend time making some crap when I make wreaths???  

Later in the day, after he went for a walk, he told me that the wreath booth in the main gym was selling tons of wreaths but did preface it by saying that he didn't think it would help matters for me.  Really, you think so.  I have been here since 6:00 a.m. and spent weeks preparing not to mention packing and setting up to get maybe 2 people pass my booth every 30 minutes or so, if that many.  Did you really think that was something that I needed to hear? 

Anyway, enough about the solar energy panel salesman.  I did learn a few things from this experience where I sold one wreath in an 8 hour day.  

1.  Yes, my booth set up may need a little work, but this is still relatively new for me and I am learning.   It was not cluttered and it was set up with enough browsing room.  I stood most of the day and welcomed anyone that came by my booth. (See Photo)
2.  Yes, I can definitely make larger, lower quality wreaths in bulk so there are wreaths everywhere.  However, I tend to take pride in my work and focus on high quality wreaths that are made to last.  That is just who I am and that will not change.

3.  I will do a little research about the event I am planning to attend.  If I do a Google Search a few weeks prior to the event and come up with nothing, then more than likely there will be a poor turn out because there is virtually no advertising other than word of mouth.  So for this particular event it was mostly friends and families of the school that even knew there was a craft fair that day.

4.  I will definitely make another large sign stating that "Yes, I did make all of these wreaths myself."  I may even change the name of my business to "I Made These Myself" just so I don't have to answer that question 20 times in a day.

5.  I need to also take into account the number of vendors present in relation to Number 3 mentioned above.  No advertising for an event that featured over 70 vendors meant that at any one point in time there were always more vendors present than visitors.  Even when I walked to the main staging area there were never more than maybe 20 people actually shopping at one time.  Not good odds for the people located in the back corner of the second area.

I always have high expectations going into these events but leave feeling a bit underwhelmed.  I am not angry or mad but a bit disappointed in the day in general.  

On the positive side, I did meet some really wonderful and friendly vendors near me in the far corners of the school gymnasium that helped make the day go by a little faster.  

So that is my little rant for the day.  I will take this as a learning experience and continue to do what I do.  I will not stray from who I am in terms of my crafts and will not lower my quality or my expectations.  Who knows, maybe I will sell out at my next event, if  I choose to do another.


Turquoise Yarn Butterfly Wreath

Turquoise Yarn Butterfly Wreath

I often sit around in my craft room and just look at all of the stuff I have when trying to come up with an idea for a wreath.  I very rarely go out and buy something specific unless I am creating a custom order for a customer. 
It has gotten to the point that even my mom tends to pick things up for me when she is out shopping.  She recently bought me these large blue and yellow glitter butterfly garlands.  I wasn't sure what I would do with them but I love butterflies and I love glitter.
After they sat there for a few weeks I decided to try to incorporate them into a wreath.  
I started with a 14" styrofoam wreath form.
 I had a turquoise yarn on hand that I figured would look really good with the color of the butterflies.  I pulled a few of each color butterfly from the garland and attached them to small skewers and then attached the skewers to the wreath.
The finished product was much better than I had envisioned it to be.  Very colorful and "springy."
This wreath is currently listed in my Etsy Shop as of 04/05/2014.


Nautical Yarn Wreath Green and White

Nautical Yarn Wreath Green and White
 I have been making this particular wreath for almost a year now.  I originally came up with the idea while browsing a local store and came across an actual Life Preserver Wall Hanging.  It was quite pricey but I really liked the look.  
I figured that I could probably come up with something similar for a wreath made with yarn that would be more cost friendly.  (Think that's a better way of saying cheaper.)
Out of all of the wreaths that I have made and sold, it has become my most popular product.  I have even changed up the wording for some custom requests for nurseries, weddings, and birthdays. 
The original I made, which is probably somewhere on this blog, was made with navy blue and white yarn.  I also did a few with red and white yarn.  This customer requested green and white and I was more than happy to make it for him.
If you are interested in this particular wreath you can find ordering information in my Etsy Shop.  This wreath comes in 14", 16" and 18" and this one is the 18" wreath.
The styrofoam wreath is tightly wrapped to completion with green and white yarn.  I use hemp cord as the accents on the life preserver.  I paint the 1.5" wooden letters that are attached to the wreath. 


Yarn Wrapped Letter "M"

Yarn Wrapped Letter "M"

My mom asked me to make this particular item for a family friend.  She had seen this type of wall hanging and figured I could make one.  So this was my first attempt at it and in my opinion it is not an easy task.  My hat is off to anyone that makes these on a regular basis.
Now, I have seen some that are just kind of wrapped willy nilly and some that are really good.  
 I tend to take pride in my work and don't want anything going out that I would be embarrassed for people to know that I made it.  
It took me several frustrating hours to make this one yarn wrapped letter and unless someone would request it again, I am pretty sure I will not be doing these on a regular basis.
That being said, I am quite pleased with the way that it eventually turned out and of course, my mom loved it, but she is my mom.