My First Craft Fair As A Vendor

Yesterday I attended my first event as a vendor! It was the annual Christmas Arts & Crafts Fair in my community. I’ve attended as a buyer many times since moving here as a child. Vending this year was a spur of the moment decision made just last month. I wasn’t sure how successful it would be or if I would sell enough to be a profitable endeavour.

I haven’t completed an inventory of my remaining stock yet but I believe it was profitable both financially and from a marketing standpoint. My business was brought to the attention of many new people. I received an email this morning from the coordinator. 2017 may have broken records for attendees!

I didn’t make everything I wanted in time for the fair and third-party products were not allowed so I couldn’t sell dōTERRA products or promote that side of my business. But I learned a lot regarding the local audience; the products they look for; made contacts and gave out business cards to more than my buyers but other attendees as well.

For this first vendor event, I had a mix of crochet and knit products and some products made with dōTERRA essential oils. I inventoried all products brought; had bags ready with a business card in each; had more business cards out on the table; brought a few props; and made notes of requested items and things to do differently next time.

My niece, Mackenzie, helped me with the booth. We worked well together. She expressed interest not only in helping me make new products but also in helping me vend at future events. We brainstormed a little on new products we could make using essential oils. Having both of us at the table brought an overlapping group of acquaintances, family and friends resulting in reaching new customers.

Some of the things I learned were:

– iron or wash my tablecloth (a twin bed flat sheet) prior to use, it was visibly wrinkled!
– have multiples of the same items in the same colours and sizes, I had a few parents and grandparents wanting matching items including one wanting matching hats for her twin granddaughters (she bought two in similar colours instead)
– people want larger bottles of Epson Salt
-sparkly ornaments draw in children which then draws in their parents!
– sitting and standing while wearing winter boots causes foot pain!
– locals will purchase my products!!!
– giving out lots of business cards results in new viewers to the website and sign-ups to the newsletter!
– money earned is not the only indicator of a successful event!

2017 Christmas Craft Fair Booth Right Side
2017 Christmas Craft Fair Booth Right Side
2017 Christmas Craft Fair Booth Right Side Close-Up
2017 Christmas Craft Fair Booth Right Side Close-Up
2017 Christmas Craft Fair Booth Left Side
2017 Christmas Craft Fair Booth Left Side
Craft Fair Booth
2017 Christmas Craft Fair Booth
2017 Christmas Craft Fair Booth Centre Close-Up
2017 Christmas Craft Fair Booth Centre Close-Up

A Tisket, A Tasket, I Have A Basket

Yes, I know that’s not how the nursery rhyme goes but it seemed to fit as I’ve been filling baskets lately. I’ve been absent from the blog the last few months and the baskets are part of the reasons. I’ll go backwards as that gives the most news first.

I’m opening up a shop for crochet and knit items! Crocheting and knitting are two of my main ways of filling my time. That’s why I started designing. But you only need so many things and I have a lot of yarn and time to crochet and knit. I could also use another income stream in the business. Working outside the home is next to impossible due to my chronic illnesses but this is something I can do almost entirely from home. Other than going to the post office to send out packages to customers I can do it all from home. So come October 31, baring technical difficulties, my shop will be open.

I’ve been busily making products for the last month or so and will continue to do so. I have people in the Starship-the business group I belong  to-who will be critiquing the shop this week. I’ve already started working on the behind the scenes part of the shop. I need to verify shipping costs, finish pricing my finished products and upload the products to the shop. At that point the critique can begin. I’ll make any necessary changes based on their critiques and the shop will be opening to the public on October 31. Yes, next Monday! The shop products so far include washcloths and hats. I’m working on some cowls or snoods as they are sometimes called. That will likely be my open products but I plan on frequently adding new products like scarves, shawls, shawlettes, mittens, hairbands, baby blankets in the near future. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll add things to the shop as I complete them or have a set weekly or biweekly update to add new products.

That’s part of the basket theme as I’ve been sorting through my yarn for shop items. I have baskets for washcloths yarn and hat yarn, a big one of yarn for all kinds of things and baskets of things I’m in the middle of working on. Here’s my washcloths basket:

This one is beside my chair in the living room. I read on my iPad or watch tv while making them. I also have a pile of products to weave in the ends nearby and a few finished products bins.

Another piece of news is my sister and five year old nephew are moving in with Mum and I. So I need to move my yarn out of the spare/yarn room as that will become my sister’s room next month. That’s where a lot of the baskets of shop yarn came from. As I sort through the yarn to move it some are going into a shop pile/baskets/boxes.

I’ve also started my usual seasonal fibromyalgia flare. I flare up whenever the seasons change. It usually lasts a few weeks to months depending on the transition period. And that depends on Mother Nature and the weather.

My flare started a little early due to a road trip to visit family in August. We had a great visit and I don’t regret it at all but the change from our weather to their weather and the two days road trip each way precipitated an earlier flare. It didn’t help that I received some bad news the day before we left.

And my diabetes program social worker believes I have depression and anxiety. I see my family doctor tomorrow. The social worker thinks things I’ve just assumed are part of my chronic illnesses are actually symptoms of anxiety and depression. So I’ve been adjusting to that and doing my best to stay positive.

All that lead to an absence of blog posts and major decrease in social media posts. I’m almost back on track and hope to increase all of those. Watch for updates on the shop!

Design Friday

I have finally managed to get a few things accomplished! Going to bed early most nights cuts into productivity. But if I overdo it, I pay for it in pain.

The book cover has been revised. There were valid concerns of legibility in thumbnail size on websites. The same photo and colours are used but the title font and placement of a few things have been changed for the better, I think.

Chapter One: January of C’est Ma Vie! 2015 is currently being proofread.This chapter is accompanied by two knit patterns; the Damia Cowl and the Damia Hat. The Damia Cowl pattern is off with the tech editor. The Hat, I am still working on. I’ve never designed a sized pattern without knitting or crocheting each size. I’m not sure how to size the hat. I’m going to finish it tomorrow so I can email it to my tech editor. If I wait any longer it may not be ready for next Sunday’s release! I can’t believe how quickly the release is arriving! It seemed so far away when I chose the date.

I’ve been wearing the Damia Cowl when I go out. It is so warm and snuggly when it’s frigid outside.

Chapter Two: February is being written on almost daily. I think I missed one day. This chapter is accompanied by a crochet and a knit pattern. Samples one are completed for both patterns. Sample two of the crochet pattern is almost done. I should have it finished tomorrow. I will then begin the search for a crochet tech editor. Here’s a peek at sample two of the crochet design from this morning:

Elodie, sample two
Elodie, sample two

Another task for tomorrow is to figure out which yarns will be in the next few months’ designs and write some emails. I would like to include a dyer bio and yarn base info for each yarn I use. Some may decline, but I’m hoping most will see it as an opportunity for free advertising.

They’re Here! They’re Here!

A few weeks ago the possibility of purchasing HiyaHiya needles was brought up on a Ravelry group I frequent.  Someone was interested in ordering a size of Interchangeables that weren’t current in stock in this online store I’ve very fond of. She was told if she were to go to the HiyaHiya website and find some she liked our lovely shop owner was about to put in an order. Not long after came the query “can you order me the Limited Edition Interchangeable Set of 5″ Sharps?”

I’ve been wanting to get a new set of interchangeables since I started using the HiyaHiya fixed circulars and dpns last year. There is just no comparison between my KnitPicks Interchangeables and the HiyaHiyas fixed regular or sharp set. But I kept putting it off. And putting it off.

But curiousity got the better of me and I went to the site. Just to look. And to see what was so limited edition about these needles. I found a lot of extras came with this set. It came in a gorgeous case. It had 13 sets of tips, 4 cables in four lengths, cable connectors, stoppers, puppy snips, darn it needles, and French stitch markers/Knitters Safety Pins. All for a very reasonable price.

So, in the spur of the moment, I posted in the forum asking for a set too. Audrey of course said yes! So, the order went in, PayPal invoices were emailed and paid. In a few days as PayPal in the meantime had frozen my account for suspicious use. Although the second email implied it was a random draw! That was cleared up within a few days! Meanwhile the needles were shipped to Audrey, who email me asking if I wanted blue or purple-she had a set of each left.

The original enabler had received her blue set and posted photographs in the forum. The case reminded me of peacock tail feathers. Being that blue-green is one of my top three favourite colours, I asked for the blue. Audrey shipped them the next day. I’ve been anxiously tracking them. They went from Michigan to NYC, NY, to Chicago back to NYC then finally to customs then were released from customs to Canada Post. Where the trail stopped as it so often does!

They didn’t arrive on Friday although some yarn did. My August Yarn vs Zombies Year of the Geek Club yarn arrived. The theme I chose was Tolkienverse. Kiki dyed up “Gollum” on her Artefact base. It’s gorgeous as all Kiki’s yarn is and took the usual time getting to me from Australia.

Gollum on Artefact
Gollum on Artefact
Gollum on Artefact Photo 2
Gollum on Artefact
Photo 2

I didn’t check the mail yesterday. I didn’t have the energy to walk the three blocks. Today I checked and they were here! I immediately unwrapped them and took lots of photos!

They're Here!
They’re Here!

Now I’m trying to be very very good and finish what I’m already working on before trying these out. But it’s so very difficult!

And they look so great!

All the extras!
All the extras!
Isn't the case a great colour?
Isn’t the case a great colour?

Yarnie Goodness!

It’s been a great day!

This morning I emailed a tech editor to query availability to work on Ayla. She emailed me back an acceptance this afternoon! I’m emailing her the file(s) after testing is complete.

I finished knitting my first sample of Ayla, cast off and wove in the ends. I finished the first draft of the pattern and converted it from a Pages file to a pdf. I caught an error before emailing the pattern to my first tester! Corrected the error, reconverted and emailed.

I started my second sample of Ayla. I’m using a different yarn this time and a different colour. I think I like this one better, so far at least.

Yarnie goodness arrived in the mail! A wonderful shipment I purchased from Audrey at Smitten Yarns during her June birthday month specials! In the package was a skein of Becoming Art Theia Sport in the Sanguine Sky colourway, three skeins of Yarn Love Marie Antoinette in the Be As One, The One and Only and It Takes One To Know One colourways, a 4.5mm HiyaHiya Sharp 24″ circular and a sample of Soak Heel in the Cucumber scent. This is my first Becoming Art yarn and my first Marie Antoinette (it’s a new base). They are all gorgeous and sparkly and sooo soft. Both bases have cashmere!

Smitten Birthday

I think I will have to design a three colour shawl for these! And yes the green really is that bright!

I started Design 4! I’ve written out the beginning and middle of the pattern. I need to decide on the end still. I started knitting sample one AKA Design 4a if you’re watching my project page. It’s not a three colour shawl but it is a shawl.

I already know what Design 5 will be but Design 6 may be that three colour shawl! Although the order I start the design may have nothing to do with the publication order. That will depend on how long the entire process runs. If Design 7 is something small it could easily overtake 4, 5 and 6!

But I will end with a hint – my next three are shawls…