Welcome to my Blog!

I hope to share with others some knowledge, some of my passion when it comes to crafting, and get to know other crafters in the web community.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Craft Show Display- A Few Tricks

Okay, I don't really know that much about craft show displays. I will never claim to be all knowing on the subject, or at least not yet. But I have done a few different crafts shows selling a few different products (everything from jewelry to purses to handmade soap), and I am learning a thing or two about the rules of display. One thing that I have learned is that it is imperative to have a cohesive look to your display items. They should all kind of flow together with some kind of theme or color scheme. This can be hard to do, especially if you are on a budget. There is a store fixture place here in Raleigh that sells all kinds of great new display items, and you could easily spend your entire paycheck buying a fantastic matching set of velvet lined, authentic cherry wood greatness. And then you could spend the next five craft shows paying that off.

Me, I prefer the poor man's way of making craft show display wonderment. I probably wouldn't recommend my route of doing things if you have lots of fine jewels and precious metals, because your display should probably look a little more high class. But my method in this last display that I created was to hunt down and find fixtures that worked for me on a practical level, and then force them to be unified by coating them in similar colored spray paint, and the same print of decoupage paper. I think it turned out pretty well! My next step is to adorn these fixtures with the same color Dupioni silk ribbon.

So my key ingredients are:

-Decoupage paper ( I get mine at Ornamentea)
-Rust-oleum Hammered look spray paint (in silver)

The rustoleum is great because it covered up a really rusty wire rack that I found. I also used it on an earring rack that was black that I wanted to match with the wire rack.

Decoupage paper is awesome! You just tear some paper off, brush some decoupage glue on the back, slap it on your object, and brush the glue on top after you smooth the paper down with your fingers. Really easy and kind of fun (but a little messy).

Here is the paper I chose:

I decoupaged three things- an earring display made of metal, and a necklace swivel rack and ring holder that were both made of wood.

I tied the rest of the look in with black and silver items. I got some cheap neck displays in black that fold down for easy storage. But the black table cloth set me back a little. I couldn't find a good one at Goodwill, and had to buy it at a non discount store. I accented my table with little fun silver bowls and whatnot that I was able to find at Goodwill. I think the key is to just not be in a hurry when you are looking for items, and the right piece will kind of come to you. (But unfortunately we don't always have the luxury of time.)

Thanks for reading! I hope some of these tips were helpful to those craft show adventurers out there. Happy selling!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Make Your Own Cool Earring Cards

I have a couple of big craft shows coming up, but am still working on my display. I am trying to do it as inexpensively as possible without cheaping out so much that everything looks sub par. I have been going to Goodwill, vintage shops, discount places like Tuesday Morning, and my favorite local used and new store fixture shop. And my main motto throughout this has been, "it can always be decoupaged!" (which is what I have done once so far, but plan on doing more of). I think I will have an entry on the beauty and wonders of decoupaging soon.

But today I am going to focus on earring cards. I found a way to do it yourself that is inexpensive, easy, and customizable to suit your needs.

All you need is:

*Paper (something stiff preferably)
*a printer (preferably ink jet)
*20 gauge craft wire
*DG3 art gel (by Judykins)
*round nose pliers


*a hammer and bench block

Getting Started

You will need to print out your company name/logo on some thick, cardstock-like paper. You can include your email or store web address, or whatever you please. Cut these out with scissors or a cutting board. I just did it with a scissors, cause I kind of like the handmade, less than perfect look. My dimensions ended up being about 1 1/2" square (a little bit longer on the length).

Now for the wire. The nice thing about using wire for the top portion of your card is that you can bend it into whatever shape you need. I have a display rack that requires a straight and wide shape at the top, so that is what I made, but you can bend your wire into whatever configuration works best for you. I cut 4.5" of 20 gauge silver craft wire. Using a round nose pliers, I made a swirl shape at one end, formed the middle area, then finished with a swirl shape at the other end.

At this point you can flatten your wire a little bit with a hammer. This will strengthen the wire, and give it a kind of neat look, but it is totally optional. If you do this step, make sure you don't over hammer and thin the wire out too much, and always do it on a steel surface, like a bench block.

A Word About DG3 Art Gel by Judykins

We are going to attach the wire to the paper using DG3 Art Gel, which is a resin. It works better than glue because it dries clearer (and is clear to begin with), and has a great surface tension that keeps it from flowing and glopping everywhere. Yet is works like glue and creates a really strong bond.

Once you have your wire positioned correctly on your earring card, go ahead and squirt a little bit of Art Gel into the swirl area. Don't put too much in at once- it will slowly spread out over the course of about thirty seconds. Even if your swirl isn't completely closed up, the amazing surface tension should keep the Art Gel from spreading beyond.

It's so clear, you can barely see it in there!

Let your project dry for at least a few hours, poke some holes in, and you are ready to go!

Here is a different card that I made when I was practicing everything.

Thanks for reading and have fun!

-Andrea, creator of all things shiny, good, and happy

Friday, March 26, 2010

Amazing Website

I have stumbled upon one of the coolest and most useful websites of all time. It's called This to That, and it's all about what kind of glue to use to bond Thing A to Thing B. It has about ten different categories ranging from wood to metal to glass to rubber, etc, and lets you plug in your two different materials to bond together. It then presents you with the best product for your needs. Who hasn't wondered what the best kind of glue is for some project at hand at some point in their lives? It's a common bond that threads mankind together (pun intended there).

Not only does This to That have glue advice, but it also has glue trivia and glue news. Not as useful, but certainly quite entertaining.

Here's the link:

Check it out!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

This n That Beaded Earrings

Here is a great way to use up some of your extra beads and make some really cool looking earrings
You'll need
-some craftwire (I used 22 gauge silver colored wire)
- a small rod of some sort, about 1 mm in diameter
-a bunch of beads of varying sizes

-two headpins
-pliers- chain nose and round nose
-small wire cutter

I used a brass rod for this project, but anything that you can find with a small diameter will do. The first step is to wrap your wire a few times around the rod.

After that, you string a bead on the wire, and then wrap a full loop of wire around just the rod in order to secure the bead.

Keep wrapping beads onto the rod in this manner- wrap once with a bead, wrap again without.

I wrapped about an inch of beads before I started to go back down the opposite direction to wrap more.

I looped it around a few times at the end, and proceeded to go back the other direction. I kept my loops as tight as possible around the first row, and tried to place them so as to fill in the gaps so I would have a nice full looking piece.

Now you just cut the tail off with a wire cutter, and tuck in the end with a chain or flat nose plier. After you have finished that, slide your creation off the rod.

Add a headpin with an accent bead on the bottom of it. Do a simple loop at the top, or a wire wrap, and hook into your earwires. Now you have a sweet pair of wire 'n bead sculpture earrings that is guaranteed to get you some high fives and double thumbs up as you sport them around town. Or at least some nice verbal compliments.

All done!

For a quick tutorial on wrapped and simple loops, please check out: http://www.ornamentea.com/learn.html

Thanks for joining along!



Saturday, February 27, 2010

Where the Magic Happens

I have seen footage of people from far off lands who make pottery, weave baskets, and create jewelry all while sitting down indian-style on the ground. And they make really beautiful things. Which makes me feel better about my situation- the fact that I have no actual work table to work on. I do pretty much everything from the floor. The few things that need a table-like surface to function like my bench pin, bench vise, and pickel pot are situated on the small, short stand that houses my stereo system. I do all of my sawing, riveting, and soldering while my backside or knees are resting on the carpet. There is a small pullout couch for guests that I sit on from time to time, but with no room for a table in my craft room, I am pretty one with the ground most of the time.

This unconventional situation isn't new to me, really. In middle and highschool, I never liked to sit at a desk to do my homework. I usually did it on my carpeted floor where I could spread everything out and sit comfortably. Or my other favorite homework spot was my bed. But that could lead to some really trouble, the second I decided to rest my head on my pillow while reading a long chapter. Zzzzzzzzz, a few minutes later. I had a beautiful desk with a hutch that my parents bought for me that made a wonderful organizer for my stuff, but rarely saw me beyond the occasional visit to retrieve or put back an item.

So even if a table did fit in my craft room, I probably wouldn't use it in the proper way. But I am getting older, and am getting a little bit tired of the soreness that occurs in my legs as I sit on the ground for long periods of time. And there isn't much back support either. OK, there is none. So maybe some day I will reform and find a way to fit a real craft table into my life. Until then, I shall remain a comfortable crafting carpet dweller. Right now it works for me.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

One of my favorite things....

I thought I would make my very first post about one of my favorite things. It is a sentimental treasure that can never be replaced. If there was a house fire, it would be grabbed by my last free finger as I struggled with a pile of photo albums, precious jewelry, and important paperwork. It's my now deceased Grandma's old painted bottle of Mrs. Butterworth's syrup. My Grandma had a knack for loving stuff. But not just any old stuff- she liked things that were once something else and had been transformed into something new, exciting, and totally displayable. She loved her strawberry Christmas ornaments that were actually painted walnut shells with seedbeads glued to them and her hanging wall art that was a board of nails whose heads had been painted to make a floral scene. She loved her seashells turned cute little mice magnets. When I moved into my first house, there she was with a cheese platter that was an old wine bottle that had been melted flat.

She also liked things that had an interesting design concept- the trivet carved out of a continuous piece of spiraled wood that also could stand up like a basket with the turn of a screwed in handle. And she couldn't get enough of 3-D puzzles and games. Like the old fashioned handcuffs that had a ring in the middle that seemed impossible to dislodge, but was completely possible when done right. In general she was a very curious, inquisitive, wonder-filled person who taught me a lot about how to view life. She loved to travel, wanted to see every little part of an exhibit, every little scenic detour, and get the most out of everything. She had an eye for special, out of the ordinary things that other people might think of as cheesy or frivolous. When she passed away, my grandpa wanted us to each take something that we treasured of my Grandma's, and I took the Mrs. Butterworth's bottle, remembering all those years it looked down over us from the kitchen hutch as we ate our meals. Now it looks out over my craft room, a little statue of inspiration and a reminder of how treasured little crafty things can be.