Monday, November 28, 2022

Page 4 is done!

 So, I haven't posted the past couple weeks because I was trying to finish Luminaro. I really wanted the page finish to be my next post. However, as I'm sure everyone has experienced, I ran into a couple snags. 

One reason that I haven't been working on it as much is because I have been loving and spoiling my stitching buddy like crazy. He's 16 years old, my family has had him since he was a kitten, and he hadn't been eating lately. He had lost so much weight that I had to take him to the vet. He was so frail and weak that I felt there was a good chance I wouldn't get to bring him home.
The doctor kept him a couple days and when she called me and said he probably has lymphoma, I broke down. We've had him on meds, which has seriously perked up his appetite, luckily. He seems to have gained a bit of weight back, too. I have a call with the doctor later today to go over his progress. Previously he wasn't even well enough to be able to handle surgery.
So, of course, I have been giving him all the love and snuggle he could possibly want. He's my snuggle bug, and snuggling is his favorite thing to do of all time. I've been giving him wet food, rather than dry, and just enjoying every bit of time I have left with him.  

Here is my latest picture (ignore the wild and wacky pants):

 The second snag is, I had 2 stitches that I had missed previously, and of course they were each different colors than each other. I went to complete them, and both colors were not in my floss box. Ugh.
Now, I never actually fully kitted up Luminaro, for some silly reason. I have a core set of threads set aside for it that weren't specifically for another project, and I have been borrowing thread from other projects, as needed. As you can tell from my posts, though, Luminaro is my main project. So now, anything I have been borrowing from others, gets reassigned to Luminaro permanently. I looked through several projects for these 2 colors. I did manage to find one, but the other was missing. With everything going on, I got a bit sad since I didn't have a chance to run to the store to get more until yesterday. 

I put Luminaro aside for a bit, since I was just waiting for that color. Then, suddenly it hit me. Duh! Just go ahead and start page 5 until you can get to the store for that color. So, that's what I did. I got some progress in on page 5, and then yesterday I finally got page 4 complete! 

Here is where I left off last. 

Here is my page finish! This is page 3, 4, and the start of page 5. 

I peeked ahead on the pattern, and thank god page 5 is the last bit of the carousel. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love this project and the carousel. But after 5 straight pages of practically the same thing, I want a bit of a break. I can't wait! Maybe this will motivate me to work on it more. 


(OK, I have a little confession. Another reason I didn't finish earlier is because I bought myself a new video game on black friday week. )

Monday, October 31, 2022

It happened!

 It finally happened! I got my stitchy bug back! 

It has been soooo long since I have stitched anything. Lately I have been working on chainmail to stock my booth, and that has been taking all my time. I like that the chainmail is quick and I get a finish right away with each piece I make. And yet, taking time to finish a complex project also feels great.
But, looking through some of my patterns that I have, it sparked the urge in me to start stitch again. So, this week, I dug out Luminaro, and got stitching on it! 

I had a few days during the week that I was able to get off work a couple hours early, which gave me some stitching time. Plus, this past weekend, my husband was off playing paintball, so I had lots of time just for me!

When I first pulled out the project, it took me a little bit just to figure out where I was. I thought I was on page 3, but nothing was lining up right. I had to consult this blog to confirm that I am actually on page 4!
I was hoping I could somehow finish up the page before today, but it just didn't happen. I am very close, though! Most of what is left is just one color. 

Here is where Luminaro left off last, many many moons ago: 

 Here is where I am now!

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Shop update for my website.

 So, my latest blog post on my website was just announcing some new items that I have listed and that I love. This isn't really pertinent to my craft blog, though, as these were just bought items rather than made. 

I don't really want to copy/paste it over, since it isn't crafty, but if anyone is interested, my website is

I have had to supplement my convention booth with some bought items, as having to hand make everything would take as much time as a full time job. Since I don't have that kind of time available, as I already have a full time job (that I would love to move away from in favor of my conventions/website), I have filled in things with manufactured items.
This doesn't really affect much, as the items are geared toward the conventions I attend, so it is just more variety. The profit margin on some of these helps boost my income, as well, so I can continually improve and find more items to offer.I think I am starting to reach a point where I can fill 2 booths. I may actually get a second booth at one of my smaller conventions to try it out. 

Well, since I want to try to keep this blog crafty, here is a picture of a couple bracelets that I have made recently.

Red is my favorite color, so I have a tendency to use a lot of it, as you can see!

Thursday, October 13, 2022

I'm coming back!

 Hello to all who might still be interested in reading my blog! 

I have not posted anything in a year, but there is a reason. I have been posting blog posts on my own website, rather than here. I figured, since I am paying for my website, I might as well use all the options. 
I just recently started thinking about this, though, since people here won't necessarily want to have to go to my website to read any blog posts there. So, I came up with a solution. 

I am going to start posting on both! 
This shouldn't be too hard for me, I can just copy/paste my posts from my website over here as well. Plus, the things I like to post about for my crafts that I don't want to have on my website, I can put here and not have over there. Win-Win! 

So, for a quick update on what has been going on for me lately:

I have been super busy with conventions this past year. Things are starting to open back up from lockdown, and all the events are starting to come back! This has made me very excited. I have had more events this year so far than I have had in the last 2 or 3 years combined. I actually have an event coming up this weekend. 

I have expanded! In addition to my crafts in my booth, I have also added items to supplement what I am selling. I have managed to get some wholesale accounts, as well, with some suppliers, too. I love crafting and making all my items, but lets face it: sometimes just having some items to sell that you don't have to slave over and make yourself can give you a bit of a much-needed break. 
I'm not saying that I am slowing down on my crafts, though! I have been actually tweaking my displays (always), and have increased sales of my craft items, so I am definitely keeping busy. I have increased my number of bookmarks, and just recently ordered more supplies for even more. My bracelets have been popular lately, as well, even after I had to increase my prices. 

I keep doing better and better at these conventions. All of my tweaks and adjustments have been allowing me to inch closer to turning this into my full-time job, which is my goal at this point. I want to be able to do this full time, rather than as my part-time 2nd job. 
I have been posting about some of my conventions on my website blog, and I can start posting them here, as well. In the last few months, I have had my best show ever, as well as my worst show ever. In fact, my last show that I had was definitely my worst, and I'm looking forward to this weekend to reset myself. 

From now on, I will cross post between the two, but for now I will copy/paste my last post about my biggest failure, from about 6 weeks ago. 

My biggest bomb, ever!

I had, most definitely, the worst weekend I have ever experienced since starting up doing craft fairs, many years ago. Some of it was on me, some of it was on the show runners, too.

For those who don't know me or don't know this about me, I got my start doing craft fairs. For many years I had been wanting to try them out, until one day I decided to jump in and just do it. I was still very apprehensive, and ended up sharing a table with a friend.
That first show was... OK. I wasn't making crazy amounts of money, but I enjoyed it all enough that I kept going. I did an occasional one, here and there, and slowly built up my event calendar, along with my inventory. I was always working to improve my display, as well.

I have come a looong way since that first craft fair. I did fairly well at the shows (in that I never lost any money), but I wasn't doing as well as I had hoped. Then, at one event, I got to talking with a nearby vendor, and she actually recommended I try going to comic cons around the area. She thought I would do better, there, and she had just had an amazing weekend at one.
After looking some up in the area, I decided to give it a try. It just so happened that my first con was at the public library, and there was no table fee. I had absolutely nothing to lose! It was a one day convention, and at the end of that one day library con, I had done better than I ever had at the craft fairs. I was in love, and I just knew that I had found my place. Since then, I have been expanding my booth, expanding the number of events, and constantly tweaking my display.

It has been over 3 years since I dropped the craft fairs, but I started to look back. I figured, with as much as I have improved and how well I have been doing at conventions, I might be able to sneak back into the craft fairs and give myself so many more opportunities for events, to keep the calendar as full as possible. I picked one that would be pretty close, and the fee, whilst a little high, seemed reasonable. The main thing I kept an eye out for is that the event is indoors. I had a bad experience at an outdoor event, and didn't want to mess with it anymore. I even went for a double sized booth, this time, too.
I have spent the weeks increasing my inventory, and I even had some larger items to take with me, that a friend had made and wanted to put out there. I get there, check in, and am shown to my spot. That's when I discovered strike #1.

Strike #1: There were no tables.
When selling at conventions, you are automatically provided a table and 2 chairs. If it will be any different, it is specifically stated so. I usually take a fold-able 4' table of my own, to have, as well. I get to my 2 spots, and find nothing there. That's when it hits me.
It has been so long since my last craft fair, that I didn't even think of the fact that tables and chairs are not automatically provided at craft fairs like they are at conventions. I even thought of taking one of my tables so I would have an extra one, but with how I had packed the car, I didn't want to rearrange everything to get it in there. I had to make do with my 4' table, plus my freestanding display boards. I made a tiny display stand with a grid-wire cube zip tied to a collapsible crate on wheels. I covered it with a cloth and put a shelf display on it.
This strike is on me. It is entirely my fault, as I just wasn't thinking about tables, since I haven't had to the past 3+ years. I was able to make it work, but there were some wide open spaces that I just couldn't do anything with, unfortunately. It wasn't until I was in the middle of setup, that I realized strike #2.
Strike #2: There was no air conditioning.
This event was in an old livestock building as part of the county fairgrounds. There were some very large fans circulating the air. For the first half of the day, it wasn't bad at all. The temperature was manageable.
I was in the middle of setup, realizing that there were large scrolling doors to the outside open. That's when it hit me that there wasn't any air conditioning. It had rained a lot the night before, too, so it was humid, as well.
When I was looking for an indoor event, I mistakenly assumed that indoor = air conditioned. I went back through the advertising, the emails, and through all info I had about this event, and there was no mention of it not being air conditioned. I spoke with some of my fellow vendors, as well, and apparently nobody knew there wasn't any air. This strike is definitely on the show runners.

Strike #2.5: There were no bathrooms in this building, either.
This location, in addition to having no air conditioning, also had no bathrooms. We were told if we needed to use the bathroom, we would need to go to the other building to use it there.
I have no idea why this building was chosen for a craft fair, especially this time of year, but I would not go to an event held here again.

Strike #3: There were no shoppers.
The morning went by suuuuper slow. The first 2 hours, I don't think there were any shoppers there, at all. The only people walking around were other vendors. Later in the day, a few people came sporadically, but nothing near what I was hoping/expecting to see.
This event was unusual, in that it was a 2 day event on Friday and Saturday. All the 2-day events I usually see are Saturday and Sunday, and Friday is added as a 3rd day, if needed. I kept hearing from everyone that it should be better tomorrow! Even if there were 10x the shoppers, that still isn't enough to be worth it.
I know that there were efforts to advertise and get the word out. There were fliers and radio ads. Having this event on a Friday when most people are working, though, may not have been the best idea.

By the afternoon, I was hot, tired, and bored to tears. I only had 2 sales the entire day, and those were to other vendors. The event on Facebook showed it would go to 6pm. When I got there, we were told it would go to 5pm. By the time it got to 3, we were told due to the heat, they were closing the doors at 4pm. At that point, I started packing up. I did NOT want to spend another full day wasting my time in the heat with no sales. I was the last one there, since I was doing a full teardown, but I didn't care.
I definitely got overheated while taking everything down. I kept going simply because there were people waiting on me so they could lock up, even though I was starting to get a little light-headed. I finally got it all into the car, and immediately went to the first place I could find with a bathroom. Luckily, there was a McDonald's on the corner, so I got some blessed air conditioning, a decent bathroom, and an ice cold drink. It was heaven.

Normally I am the person who will stay all the way to closing time. I will stick it out, because I signed a contract to be there, and there is always the potential for sales. It actually annoys me when people close up before time. Let me tell you, though, I do not regret bailing after one day even a little bit. I couldn't have handled another day in that building without losing my sanity. I have learned my lesson, here. Craft fairs are no longer for me. I will stick with my favorite: conventions.
All of it wouldn't have been an issue, except for the air conditioning. If there had been air, I probably would have stayed for the extra day. Instead, I went out for lunch with my husband, and had a relaxing day at home.

Friday, November 12, 2021

Haven't posted in so long!

 It has been a whole year!

I have been making chainmail so much that my stitchy bug has disappeared. I haven't been stitching anything lately, so I don't think about writing posts here anymore. 

I do have my own website, that does have a blog section that I have posted a few things on, but I still don't post there very often, either. I need to get back in the habit. 

I recently had an artist alley booth at the Dallas Fan Expo. This is the biggest event I have ever had a booth in, and it was a lot of fun. Whilst I didn't make as much money as I was hoping, I did learn a lot and I hope to attend again in the future! 

The artist booths there were so cramped! They had 3 tables in a row with 0 space between, and you can only get out on one end. Of course, I was all the way on the inside, so I had to crawl over my neighbors whenever I needed to go to the bathroom, etc.
I did get lucky, though. One of the artists in the row-of-three had Large items, so they were able to get moved to a more appropriate location. Since we had an empty spot, my neighbor and I both took half of their space and were able to spread out. It was so great! We weren't quite as squished, and we were able to put out more items for sale. 

I did sell a lot of chainmail! Since that event, I have been making a ton more things to greatly increase my inventory. I made about 70 stretchy bracelets and a few dice bags so far. I have plans for quite a few more items in different color combinations! 

Here is my cramped booth before we were able to spread out (and I was able to rearrange some things, too). I was able to put up a LOT more necklaces, and removed the straws. My payment banner was fully visible once we spread out.