Archive of ‘craft fair’ category

Not about Money. Other Reasons to Sell at a Craft Fair

Other Reasons to Sell at a Craft Market! Connections and Creative Fire __a happy stitch

{peg fairies by Sophi Karkeek}

Ack! It has been over a month since I wrote here! I always find it a little embarrassing when I neglect the blog. I do this funny thing where I talk in my head to you guys but don’t match it all up with pretty pictures and non-imaginary words and then lose track of just how long it has been. Silly brain parts.  I just finished up a holiday art fair and had a great time mixed with the usual bit of stress and mental wrestling.  I thought a lot about the financial benefits of a craft fair versus the other reasons I think you should sell at a craft fair and I thought I’d write it all out in case anyone else is pondering these same questions.

The past month has been so busy.  I know everyone can relate to that.  This time of year is intense, man.  For makers it’s even more intense because it’s often the most lucrative time of the year.  Imagine adding to the steep increase in holiday parties, family obligations, school events and gift shopping by having to create ten times as much as normal then promote and attend a craft fair.  It’s kind of insane. I’ve been having heart  palpitations for the last month and I only do one holiday sale! I’m sure other artisans have it much worse.

In the midst of my crazy, stressed-out, not-stopping-to-shower efforts I asked myself, “Is this really worth it?” (more…)

DIY :: Make your own Product Tags for Handmade Items

Hello December! It is getting busy around here.  I’m gearing up for a wonderful artisan market coming up this weekend (it’s here if you are local) and I’m so excited.  People inevitably ask me, at these markets, where I get my product tags and are always surprised when I tell them I make them.  But, it so darn easy!  And, super cheap!

A super cheap and easy way to make your own product tags! Label your lovely stuff!!

Today, I’m sharing how I make them so you can add them to your handmade items.  (Quick public service announcement: Whether you sell things or not, you should label your handmade goods.  They are so special! You made them.)

This is my super cheap, easy and spectacular method for making product tags.  (more…)

thanksgiving and artisan markets!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends in the U.S.!  I’m full of gratitude for so much today and can’t wait to start some frantic cooking and eating…have lots of gluten-free yummy eats planned.  I’m also really grateful for all of my awesome friends and blog buddies (like you!).  Thanks so much for being part of a great year for me.  I appreciate you so much!  I really do.

craft fair collage

I’m also grateful to be a part of the growing movement to support and purchase from artisans and buy local, handmade wares. If you are starting to plan your holiday shopping I hope you have lots of local makers in mind!  It makes the world such a happy place! I’m excited to have been asked to participate in two wonderful craft markets this holiday season!  I really feel so honored.

Local friends I hope you can come see me at the market!  I will be selling sreen-printed aprons, pincushions, tooth fairy pillows, artist rolls, baby bibs, and so much more here:

1. Holiday Boutique at my favorite shop Rock, Paper, Scissors in Montclair, NJ during the weekend of December 6-8th.  I will be there, in person, on friday evening Dec. 6th (from 6-9pm). I would love to see you!  The whole shop is transformed into a festive market with jewelry vendors, sewn items, artwork, snacks and their always incredible selection of amazing fabric. If you have been thinking about visiting this magical place, this market is the perfect time…pick up scrumptious fabric to jumpstart your hand-making and nab amazing handmade gifts for everyone else on your list.

2. The Holiday Market hosted by the New Brunswick Community Arts Council in New Brunswick, NJ on Friday, December 13th from 5-9:30pm inside the George Street Playhouse. This cozy, evening event includes hot cider and horse carriage rides through Downtown New Brunswick.  Last year I was surrounded by amazing artists and happy to be in such good company.  I’m excited to see what is in store this year and so happy to be asked back!

fabric-covered buttons

fabric covered buttons from a happy stitch

Ever find yourself digging through your notions, looking for one thing and coming across something else altogether?  A project you were so excited about at one time and then completely forgot about?  That was me last week.  Looking for whatnot and came across the components for making fabric covered buttons.  Suddenly, I was making buttons like it was my job.

the fabric covered buttons

Considering making things IS my job, I decided to package them all pretty and sell them at an upcoming craft fair.  With all of the sewing preparation I have been doing lately; making these buttons was the equivalent of a smoke break….I just needed to chill and make something different already.

I was inspired by vintage buttons I’ve been collecting from my mom and grandma.  While I love the buttons themselves, I am far and away most in love with the packaging!

Check out these fonts and designs! I love how hard-hitting the advertising is! Not only are the buttons ‘fashionable’ but also ‘le chic”!  It’s very subtle.

fashionable buttons 1

green bauble buttons

catalin buttonsI went with a quieter design for my buttons but let there be no doubt, I am inspired by the lovely retro button look.

My Booth at the Arts Fair

Ooh.  It is crazy how fast a week can go!  I really meant to post this days and days ago. Between teaching two nights a week and gearing up for participation in the town-wide yard sale, we are all a little pooped and a little behind over here.  Truthfully, my husband was the one in charge of our yard sale this Saturday and he was, in fact, “very proud of me for mostly letting him do it”.  Thanks honey.  I rarely score points for butting out but I did it… mostly.  It’s only because I was still reeling from the craft fair last weekend!

Speaking of, here’s a little picture of my booth.

booth for Arts in the Park 2013

I was situated on a great little corner of our main street, right next to the beer garden.  I was aiming for a bright and cheery booth that would look inviting, friendly and homespun.  On the right hand side, I had my aprons, bags and skirts.  It’s hard to see but behind the dress form is a hanging white wooden rod where I was selling aprons.

front view of a happy stitch booth

My penguins, owls and ninjas were the first to greet anyone.  The booth looks a little more bare than I would have liked, I wish I had more time to make things if only to flesh out the booth and make it look a little more abundant.  But, it drew a great crowd and I was a fantastic time.  This was my view from behind the booth at one point.

a happy stitch crowd at the arts fair

It was so nice to be surrounded nearly all day long by my amazing, supportive friends and their children.  Can you tell I was next to the Kettle Corn stand?  I think every kid in town ate their weight in Kettle Corn that day, including my own kids.

I labelled everything with both a price tag and a pretty moo card, that way everyone that bought something went home with my business card making it easier for them to get in touch with me later.  I really like the feel and quality of moo cards, I used some of the designs they have on hand for these mini cards because I wanted them done quickly but you can also make your own design, which is probably what I will do when I run out of my current supply.

craft fair tagging from a happy stitch

For all my reservations about craft fairs, this was a great one. I loved being out on a beautiful day, showing folks what I make.  I was surprised and delighted that my boys were excited for me.  In the past, I don’t think it was all that interesting to them but this year they were into it.  C said to me, “Mama.  I want to buy all of your things!” and my husband had to gently explain I would be able to just make it for him, at home. Of course, some of that sweet little boy excitement made me nervous as they ran like bulls in a china shop ready to knock over my tent.

me at my booth-a happy stitch

The highlight of the arts fair, by far, was when a group of half a dozen tweens and teens were hanging out talking to me about how they love to sew (yes, my heart was melting).  We were discussing their sewing machines and how they love to make pouches and pillows.  Their parents were lingering outside my booth waiting for the long sewing conversation to end and these girls were taking the conversation so seriously.  They just wanted to talk about their making so badly.  I could have tucked each one of those girls under my arm and taken them home.  I didn’t but I could have.  They were super awesomely adorable and amazing.  Sometimes adults don’t know how to respond when I tell them I teach sewing and make things; I can watch their eyes gloss over with uncertainty and the silent question “Do grown-ups do that?” but these girls had pure adoration in their eyes.  I might be hanging with the tweens more regularly if this keeps happening.

my screen-printed apron

eat apronoh goodness.  this is a little apron.  specifically, a half apron in white.  nothing about it is all that practical except I’m dancing in the kitchen wearing this one, it’s the ultimate in selfish sewing.  doesn’t it look so pretty next to our abundant cherry tomatoes from the garden?

so pretty-the apron meets tomatoesthe reason this apron gives me excited bubbles in my stomach is because I did the screen printing on it!  yup.  designed those little spoons and wrote the word and transferred it to the most amazing photo emulsion sheet, PhotoEZ.  I read about this screen printing technique a while back in the amazing book Bend the Rules with Fabric by Amy Karol but I kind of forgot about it.  I’m so glad I started re-reading it after my resurgent interest in hand-printing.  PhotoEZ is an amazing thing. so much easier to use than regular screen printing photo emulsion process, which is trickier and easier to mess up.  Not that any screen printing is easy but PhotoEZ really simplifies the process.  I tried it the conventional way and it was a disaster (there were tears when none of my photo emulsion stayed on the screen).

screen printing-process design by a happy stitch

as you can see, there is a danger of making a complete mess with PhotoEZ, you gotta be pretty careful.  it’s not perfect but I’m still mad crazy about it. (by the way, we will be doing this in my hand-printing series class and there are still 3 spots available!)

this little apron is for me.  the fabric is a sturdy white canvas, I feel like a professional cook wearing it.  I made one for me and then I made more.

eat apron from a happy stitch
I’ll be bringing half a dozen or so of these with me tomorrow to my town’s Arts in the Park craft fair.  I think paired with a bottle of wine, one of these aprons would be the perfect, indulgent gift for a cook.  as I went along, the printing got more and more fun so  I made another screen print with a friendly cupcake.
hello lovely apron with cupcake

I also screenprinted a few tea towels and wrapped them up nice and pretty.  they will be out with everything tomorrow as well.

screen printed tea towels

wish me luck tomorrow.  and, if you are local please do come and say hi.  it’s always difficult for me to decide whether or not to participate in craft fairs.  so much time and care goes into making things and often it’s hard to sell them at a price that really reflects all that work.  at the same time, it’s a great privilege to be out and a part of a great community event.  I think art fairs are good for artists and the visibility of artists and for building a community supportive of that.  it just that this isn’t always reflected in the ledger, you know what I mean? thing is all of that support and community building might be more important than what is in the ledger, at the end of the day.  this is basically the conversation I have with myself every time I consider entering a craft fair. welcome to my brain functioning.  you are very welcome.

p.s. I’m so pleased with all the attention this apron is getting! I’m so glad you like it as much as I do, internet.  I really hope it inspires you to make your own designs and screen print gifts for others or yourself!  That said, these images are my own design and belong to me, please don’t steal them.  Thanks.

hand stamped tote bags

stamped tote bags


I’ve been making some tote bags.  it started just for fun and then it got really fun and so I made a bunch.  now, I’m in love with them.  the best thing about these tote bags is they are all made from organic canvas scraps left over from a local futon maker in town.  the store owner very generously let me dig through big bags of fabric scrap to rescue these  from the landfill.  it’s beautiful, thick, wonderful canvas! I’m so lucky to have it.

I hand-carved a handful of stamps for the hand-printing swap way back when and I have just kept going.  I got into the idea of various, unusual forms of transportation starting with the hot air balloon and then bees who transport pollen.  transportation is a natural, I guess, considering I parent two boys.  the bikes are not that unusual but I just love a good bike on a tote bag.

brush strokes on the bike tote

to make the ocean-colored lines I simply used a paintbrush, which was so much fun and also pretty scary.  seemed too easy to mess things up but I love how it looks.

beautiful bee tote

every single bag is a little different and the process of making them is such a creative process.  it felt really good to leap out of my ordinary making process and attempt something new.

hot air balloon tote

I’m excited to be selling these at the craft fair in our town on Sunday.  I made the stamps, the fabric comes from a local shop, and all of it sold at a local craft fair.  these are awfully home-grown tote bags!

p.s. there are still spots in my upcoming hand-printing series where we will be carving and stamping fabric.   local friends, you do not want to miss out.  we will be making things in a frenzy, covering ourselves in ink and mess.  if you can doodle, you can make your own prints.  join me!




market report

the weekend’s holiday market was a great time, made even better with all the friends that stopped by.  thank you if you stopped in! I was *thrilled* to have a happy stitch featured in a brief local news article about the event.

I thought I would share this behind-the-scenes moment with my market neighbor in the background.  what it is like before the crowds come in…when a market is all ladders and nervous prep (at least I always manage to be nervous).

if you live locally and you are bummed you missed the market, I have a handful of items included in the Winter Art Bazaar taking place in town at the Main Street building, check it out (they are open 1-9 during the week and 10-6pm this weekend).  I am in good company with lots of other wonderful artists.

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