Monday, December 14, 2009

Yearning for simpler times...

All I really want to do, I've discovered, is be free to live my life in ways that make me happy. For me, that's making crafts, baking, making art, going on discovery trips with my camera and sketchbook, parking somewhere in my car and listening to music while making to-do lists, making dinner for my hubby, playing with my dog, making gifts for my family... generally, making whatever I want to whenever I want to is the core of what brings me the most joy.

The cold weather especially makes me want to sit at home with a warm cup of cocoa and make adorable stuff like this:

(Little ornament made by MelissaSue on Etsy:

I honestly think I would be happiest as an old-school homemaker. Making aprons, decorating my house, putting together whatever little crafty items my heart desires.

But Sears won't quit calling and I can't put off my student loans forever. Here's hoping the universe answers my prayers for a lottery win. :)

Happy Holidays everyone!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Radio... Live Transmission...

In honor of my return to blogging (as I'm sure all 1 of my readers were quite upset about) I decided to try to embed a Youtube video of Joy Division's "Transmission". Let's see if it worked.. ooh it did! Yay technology.

SOOOOOOOOOO, while I've been away, I got an advance warning of getting fired as of February 1st. This has begun my investigation of how I can return to school. Sadly, the state budget cuts drastically reduced enrollment options for me at affordable state colleges. So I called up my "alma mater" (can you say that if you didn't graduate? I don't even know what it means. Wiki, help me out here), and it's only $16,500/semester for me to finish up my degree. Awesome. It might as well be a million dollars. So now the decision is- go FURTHER into inescapable debt to pursue the dream of finishing my BFA and being an art teacher, or chuck the whole thing and just go back to another soul-killing day job? Ah, the wonderful decisions of adulthood....

Friday, October 16, 2009

How to make a stand-up display "booth" on the cheap!

If you want to participate in some craft faires this holiday season, you may be thinking, "Darn, if only I had a display booth that was cheap to make and quick to set up and tear down. Plus small enough to fit in my car."

So, I'd like to describe how I put mine together in hopes that this will help you out if you want to do it too.

Cost: About $40-$45 for the basics

Tools you will need:
-Small drill bit/drill to pre-drill screw/nail holes
-Screwdriver/hammer (I suggest a power drill instead of a manual screwdriver)

Materials you will need:
-2 or more panels of pegboard [Home Depot sells these in four foot tall pre cut panels, plain, white and silver]
-(2) 1 inch square by 4 foot tall wooden "dowels" per pegboard panel
-At least 2 small hinges per set of 2 pegboards
-1/4" bolts and nuts

Home Depot sells pegboard and these square dowels in four foot lengths (I think the pegboard is 2 feet wide) in the wood section, so no cutting is necessary, and four feet will fit in the back of most sedans. Pegboard can be flimsy, so the majority of the work here is taking these "dowels" and screwing/nailing them onto the back edge of each tall side of the pegboard for stability.

I bought a small drillbit and pre-drilled the holes because I didn't want to crack the dowel. I actually ended up using these ribbed nails that hold better than regular ones because I already had them. You can use screws or nails (as long as they are not too long and won't go through the one inch dowel) and even glue the dowel in place first if you have some c- clamps. I nailed it in every few pegholes or so, nail head on the presentation side.

Make sure the dowels are as close to the edge of the board as possible and straight, because when you put your hinges on, you will be affixing them to the dowel wood. Put the dowels on what you want the "back" of your display to be. (For example, I bought the silver painted pegboard, so I put the dowels on the non-silver side)

Once your panels are fortified with the dowels, you can connect them with the hinges. I suggest buying thin hinges and they are cheaper in packs, plus they come with the screws. You can use two or three (I used two) to connect two fortified pegboard panels.

Check the way the hinge moves before attaching them. The hinge will close flat in one direction and then open to an angle in the other direction. You want the faces of your pegboard panel "sandwich" to meet flat so that it's easier to store and set up/take down, so make sure you are putting the hinges on so that they close the right way. You can connect 2, 3, 4 or more panels this way.

I used four panels, then connected them in pairs so that I could take them apart and make them easier to carry. (You may get crappy parking and need to walk a long way.) When affixing the hinges, trace them onto the wooden dowels first, including where the holes are, and preferably pre-drill the holes with your small bit again to avoid cracking the dowels. The round pin part of the hinge should rest in a small space between the panels as you put them together. Your "booth" should stand on its own when at least two panels are hinged. It will be sturdy when open as long as it's on semi- level ground.

Now, I don't suggest buying tons of the pegboard hooks specifically made for that because they are expensive. I bought 1/4" by 1 1/2" inch bolts. The 1/4 inch bolt should fit through the pegholes perfectly (either by twisting in or just pushing it through with a bit of force). The bolts will droop, however, so you can either use a washer/ nut system or just two nuts (putting one on the bolt first, all the way down, then pushing it through the pegboard hole, then putting another nut on and tightening to keep it straight), depending on what you are displaying. These are quick and easy to use, and cheap if you get them by the box/bag. And since bolts have a head, you can also display items on the rear of your display.

Coincidentally, the 1/4" measurement is also what a standard hole punch uses, so those of you with tags or jewelry, this is an easy way to make your items fit nicely and orderly onto the bolts.

Bear in mind that most people do not want to bend way down to look at stuff. A small table (like a tv tray- $9.99 for a nice wood one at Walmart) can be placed in your 90 degree angle of pegboard display, and you can place items that need to lay flat on it. You can also get a table runner or tablecloth or make one and put that over the table for added display panache. This will also allow you to potentially put boxes under the table while hidden by the cloth.

THIS IS IMPORTANT IF IT’S YOUR FIRST SHOW: Set it up at home with your items before you head out into the world to make sure you can fit what you want. Make sure you can put your

most eye-catching goods at eye-level so people will want to walk closer. Make sure you have places to display pricing or other signs. Walk back and forth as you look at your display- people will be coming from both directions and you don't want to miss any opportunities. You can even leave the bolts in if you want to save yourself some setup time, just be aware that they could scratch painted pegboard if you handle them roughly.

That’s it! If people need pictures (I originally posted this in a google group that doesn’t use photos), I’ll take some and update with the images, just comment to let me know. Good luck!

Marianne of and

Thursday, October 15, 2009

30 items in 30 days

In conjunction with the holidays, I've decided to try out what I'm calling "Project 30". I'm going to list one new item in my Etsy shop every day for 30 days. I'm going to keep an eye on my analytics and compare it to the previous months afterwards to see if it improves traffic in general, but of course the most telling part will be whether or not I get any additional sales.

So my weekends have been full of crafts. Nothing like huddling up to the sewing machine on a rainy day with some hot chocolate! ;)

Photos soon!

Monday, October 5, 2009


So lately I've found myself daydreaming a lot about getting laid off. One one hand, I'm totally appalled by such an action, but on the other hand, I find the realm of possibilities to be so alluring. It started with rumors about our office getting closed, so it may happen in reality. But that was just fuel for the fire.

I started to think- what if I went back to school? What if I really got things together with the craft business? What if I were able to bang out hundreds of art pieces all of a sudden? What if I launched that ecommerce site I've been thinking of for months?

I'm finding myself living in dreamworld like 80% of the day. Which can't be healthy, really. Although I suppose that as long as it doesn't interfere with my reality duties too heavily, it's not that bad, right? Yikes!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What are you doing for the holidays?

Back from vacation! Missed everyone! As I'm planning to gear up for the holidays, I'm curious- what special things do you have planned for the holiday season?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

New Items & New Shop!

So I've been crafting like mad these past couple of weeks, and I've opened a new Etsy shop to focus specifically on upcycled items- UpandUpcycled. I also finally made a lightbox, and I have to say the pictures are WAYYYY BETTER. If you have a shop and you haven't done this yet, you must. I just used printer paper, white posterboard, tape and a box I had laying around. Here's an example of photos with the box:
This was my first item added to UpandUpcycled, a sweet little armadillo pincushion, which sold instantaneously. If only all listings worked that way! :)
I have also been making linoleum cuts and printing. Here's a nifty Star Trek tie I adore.
I also made this rad Paris clutch out of an old pillow cover. I may unlist it and keep it. Haven't decided yet. :)
Just in case you didn't know, I have the world's cutest dog. (In my opinion, of course) I also whipped up this Robin Hood costume, and will be posting the pattern for it soon. Yay!