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Posts from August 2010

Craft Fairs ---Part 3

To prepare plenty of handmade items for a craft fair, you need to be ready to make a commitment of time, as well as money.  Keeping your designs simple will enable you to mass produce your items in a relatively short amount of time.  As I stated in my covered legal pad video, even the non-embellished legal pads have sold very well for me at craft fairs. 

All the items you make should be high-quality, unique gift items.  I find that most of my craft fair customers are searching for gifts for teachers, co-workers, kids, the postman, etc.  They want something inexpensive, but impressive.  When you are thinking of projects to make, consider what you would like to give and receive at the holidays. 

Some items to consider:

  • Greeting Cards
  • Coasters
  • Candles
  • Magnets
  • Candy gifts
  • Altered Office Supplies
  • Home Decor Pieces
  • "Soups" and "Poops" (see below)
  • Bookmarks
  • Mini Scrapbooks
  • Games for kids
  • Paper Dolls

As far as how many of each to make, that will depend on the size of the show that you are doing.  If it is a show that I am not familiar with, I try to make 6-12 of each item....not too many and not too much.  If you sell out of an item, you can display a sample and take orders to make more.  I always love it when that happens!

You'll also want to take into consideration the type of show that you will be participating in, and what price points those craft fair customers tend to expect.  I have one show that I always sell out of items that are priced at $5 or less.  At another show, I can't give those same items away.  Those customers want items priced at $20 or more.

It can be challenging to determine a price on your handmade items.  Many times, we as crafters tend to undervalue our work.  However, if you price your items too high, it will be difficult, if not impossible to move your items.

A common pricing strategy that I often hear is to double the cost of your supplies.  You might also want to consider giving yourself an hourly wage.  I'm going to use the example of the covered legal pads again. 

  • I purchased 12 junior legal pads and 12 RSVP pens for $8.89.....that means that each set costs me approximately 75 cents.  Add on the paper and adhesive costs, and the total cost to make each covered legal pad comes to $1.75 without embellishments.
  • Using the double supply cost strategy, I would charge $3.50 for a simple covered legal pad, and up to $5 for a heavily embellished legal pad.
  • It takes me approximately 7 minutes to make one of the simple covered legal pads.  I give myself an hourly wage of $20 an hour (33 cents/minute).  Using this strategy I would add the $2.33 wage to the supply cost of $1.75 to come up with a total cost of $4.08.

I will generally use a combination of both strategies to set my prices.  I will sell the simple legal pads this year for $4 each and the embellished legal pads will sell for $5.

A tool that I use to keep track of the cost of my consumable supplies is the cost analysis spreadsheet available on SUDSOL.  It is definitely worth the price of membership to have access to this resource.  SUDSOL is a website for Stampin' UP! demonstrators that are business-minded and you can sign up for a free trial by clicking below.

SUDSOL - Your 24/7 Upline

Buy items such as legal pads & pens while they are on sale.  Always be on the lookout for a bargain!  You may also want to check out sites such as Freecycle to see if you can find items to alter.  Today's project is a great example of how to use your recycled items to create a great gift that people will want to buy.


Soups & Poops



For this project, I filled an empty Starbucks frapuccino bottle with cocoa mix and topped it with mini marshmallows.  I cut a square of the Candy Cane Designer Fabric with the Big Shot and Scallop Square die.  The fabric covers the lid and was tied with a 1" x 12" strip of fabric.  The cute tag was made using the Candy Cane designer series paper and A Cute Christmas stamp set.

You can do an online search for snowman soup recipes and you'll find lots of good cocoa recipes and poems that will work for this project.

An item that sells good for me during the months of September and October is pumpkin poop.  You can also find poems online for snowman poop, reindeer poop, and more.  All of these are quick,easy, and make great gifts.

Pumpkin poop group

I am attaching two files here, so that you can easily make your own poop.  The first is the template to make the box, and the second is a sheet of the pumpkin poop poems that will fit perfectly inside your box.

Download mini_pizza_box_template.pdf

Download pumpkin_poop_poem.pdf

Pumpkin poop close-up 

This is a close-up of the inside of the box.  I bought the small packages of candy corn at Wal-Mart.

The box is made from Basic Black cardstock and measures about 2-1/2" square.  I layered 2-1/4" squares of Ghostly Greetings DSP on the lid.

The pumpkins and the pumpkin faces were created with Sizzix dies and the Big Shot.  I added the wiggly eyes for fun.

On Wednesday, I'll have another great project for you and more craft fair tips.  Be sure to subscribe to receive email updates, so you don't miss anything.

Happy Stampin'


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More Legal Pads

Third time was a charm.  Here is the video on the covered legal pads. 

Jr. Legal Pad Cover Paper Measurements

  • Cover:  8" x 11.5", scored at 5.5", 6", and 6.5"
  • Front Cardstock Layer:  4-3/4" x 7-3/4"
  • Front Designer Series Paper Layer:  4-1/2" x 7-1/2"
  • Top of Legal Pad Designer Series Paper:  1" x 5"
  • Designer Series Paper for RSVP pen:  1" x 3-3/8"


Christmaspostcardlegal Christmaspostcardcloseup

Here is another legal pad cover for the Holidays.  I used the Deck the Halls Designer Series Paper and the Christmas Postcard single stamp.  Both of these items will be available to order September 1st.  The corners of the front panel are accented with the new antique brads.

GCKlegalpad GCKcloseup

This legal pad cover features a few of my favorite new items from the 2010-2011 Idea Book & Catalog.  I used the Playdate Designer Series Paper, the Greeting Card Kids stamp set, and Brights Designer Buttons.  I like to have a few items for sale that would be nice for teachers and I think this fits the bill.

Wickedcoollegalpad Wickedcoolcloseup

If I do any shows before Halloween, I like to throw in a few spooky items and they usually sell like hotcakes.  For this legal pad, I used a combination of products from the big catalog and the upcoming 2010 Holiday mini.  The Wicked Cool stamp set, Bat punch and large scallop circle punch are from the big catty.  You'll be able to purchase the Nite Owl designer series paper on September 1st when the Holiday Mini goes live.

I'll be back on Monday with another great craft fair idea and I'll be discussing what to make and how to price your items. 

Happy Stampin'


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Craft Fairs---Part 2

We've all heard the saying, "You've got to spend money, to make money."  Unfortunately, that holds true for craft fairs.  You will need to budget your money for craft shows throughout the year and watch your expenses carefully, in order to turn a profit on your events.

The most obvious expense is the booth fee, which I discussed in part 1.  However, there are many not-so-obvious expenses that you'll want to keep track of. 

In addition to the booth fee, some show organizers will also charge for extras such as tables, chairs, electricity, and a premium location.  The charges are usually minimal, but if you are doing a lot of shows that charge for those extras, then they can add up quickly.  Also some shows will require that you donate a door prize or a percentage of your profits.  Always read the fine print and know exactly what is expected of you financially.

If you are participating in a large show, or a show that will be held over a couple of days, then you will probably want to have another person assist you in the booth.  You can share the booth with another demonstrator, but make sure both of you are clear about how you will handle potential business leads, sales, and expenses.  If you ask someone to help, you will want to compensate them.  I have often "hired" my 12-year old son to assist me.  He has been great cheap labor in the past......I'm afraid he'll be asking for a raise this year.  A stamping friend may want to work for a product order or an upcoming class fee.  Be creative in your compensation, but keep in mind that it does add to the overall expense of the fair.

Your booth needs to be interesting and inviting if you want to attract a steady stream of customers.  For most fairs, you will be responsible for providing a covering for your table.  Stampin' Up! sells a high quality, 8-foot long black tablecloth for demonstrators to use in craft fairs.  It sells for $41.95 and demonstrators must order it on a supply order.  I have 2 of these tablecloths and my downline has another 2.  I've never needed more than 3, even for a large booth.  Be sure to check with other demonstrators in your area to see about borrowing table cloths.  You could even split the cost among several demonstrators to save money.

Once you've got your table covered, you don't want to just set all of your handmade goodies on a flat table.  You need to add height and depth to the overall display.  This can be accomplished by stacking wooden crates, using small bookshelves, placing items in baskets, etc.  Many of these items you may be able to find around your home.  However, for those that enjoy garage sales and flea markets, be on the lookout at all times for display items.  Also visit any stores that are going out of business and ask about fixtures for sale.  I was able to purchase a standing greeting card holder from a scrapbook store that was closing.  A new one would have cost $200+, but I got it for only $45.  It is perfect for displaying all my cards for sale.

To see one of my previous craft fair displays, click here.

And finally, you will need supplies to make your handmade items.  Even if you own every stamp set in the catalog, every punch, every Big Shot'll probably need more stuff.  The trick is to buy throughout the year when you find items on sale and only buy what you really need.  Back-to-school is a great time to pick up folders, composition books, legal pads, pens, crayons, etc.  Today's project is a great example of how to use these supplies.

Covered Legal Pad with Matching RSVP Pen

I love this project and it has always sold very well for me.  The fact that it is easy to make is just icing on the cake.  Here is a close-up of the images on the front cover:


And one more picture of the legal pad cover open:

Want to know how to make one?  Well, I'm putting the finishing touches on a video tutorial, so tune in on Saturday and I'll have step-by-step instructions for you, as well as several more design ideas.

Part 3 will be posted on Monday and I'll be covering what to make for your craft fairs and how much to charge for handmade items.  You don't want to miss it, so be sure to subscribe to my blog by clicking on the email updates box in the left column.

Happy Stampin'


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Craft Fairs---Part 1

Today, I am kicking off a 5-part series on craft fairs.  This information is geared toward Stampin' Up! demonstrators that are looking to supplement their income by selling various papercrafts;  however, anyone interested in participating in craft fairs should find some useful information.

I'm going to start by reviewing the different types of craft shows that you may encounter and what you can expect to pay to have a booth at one of these shows.

The biggest and best shows are almost always "juried".  This means that before you can participate, you will need to send samples of your work and pictures of your booth set up along with an application fee.  A selection committee will review all of the applicants and will then select participants based on the quality of the work and the "best fit" for the fair.  These fairs are usually well-attended, so you can expect to pay about $100 and up for the booth fee.

Most of the craft fairs that you will encounter will be non-juried shows.  Booth fees will usually be in the range of $20--$60.  Some of these shows will limit the number of vendors with a specific craft.  If they allow you to promote your Stampin' Up business, they will probably only allow one demonstrator.  I say "probably" because you will want to ask the organizer about this.  If they do limit, you need to be first to send in your application.  If all goes well, this spot in the craft fair could be yours, year after year.

In either type of show, you may find that the organizers have a strict "handmade-only" policy.  At these shows, you will not be able to promote your Stampin' UP! business.  You may be able to give out your business card, but be sure to ask the organizer before doing anything that might be construed as promoting Stampin' Up! 

There is one more type of show that you might encounter, and I will refer to it as a vendor fair.  Vendor fair participants will include other direct sales businesses and local small businesses.  Vendor fairs are a great opportunity for you to promote your business first, while selling handmade items on the side.  The booth fee is usually pretty small. 

So, how do you find craft shows?  Start by asking any creative people you know about the craft fairs that they participate in or attend.  You'll get a lot of good information and will have an idea about which shows you might want to check out.

In some areas, an internet search may provide you with some leads.  I find that one of the best ways to track down craft shows is to start making phone calls to organizations that typically host shows:

  • schools & universities
  • churches
  • country clubs
  • VFW, Elks Lodge, American Legion, etc.

When you call, keep it simple:  "Hello, my name is Melissa.  I'm calling today to find out if your organization hosts a craft fair?".  If no, you're done.  If yes, find out the name and phone number of the show organizer.  Then make the call and you are on your way!

Mini Cupcake Pan Advent Calendar



Here is a super easy project that is perfect to sell at holiday craft fairs.  I took a mini cupcake pan, and tied a pretty ribbon on top.  To cover the openings, I punched cardstock 2-3/8" scallop circles and 1-3/4" circles from Designer paper, layered the circles, and added strips of magnet to the back to hold the circles in place.  The numbers were printed on my computer, then punched out with the 3/4" circle punch.



A close-up view.


Edited to add:  The magnet strips are not generally strong enough to hold circles in place securely.  They will slide around if moved and the muffin tin cannot be hung on the wall.  You will have to use stronger magnets in order to keep the circles in place


Just fill the tin with little pieces of candy and trinkets, then remove the circles to let the countdown begin.  After the holidays, you can use the numbered circles as refrigerator magnets for kids to learn their numbers.  Plus the recipient of this gift will have a new cupcake/muffin pan to use throughout the rest of the year.

The next installment on craft fairs will be posted on Friday, so be sure to check back.  In the meantime, if you have any questions for me, leave a comment at the end of this post or use the chat box.

Happy Stampin'


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Making it User-Friendly

I've spent the better part of the weekend working behind the scenes on my blog.  There are a few new features that I want to make you aware of:

  • Easier to subscribe to blog updates--sign up in left column under my picture
  • Previous posts have been sorted into categories in right column
  • Still can't find what you are looking for?  Try the lijit search button under the categories list
  • Have a question?  You can always email me, but you can also use the chat box at the bottom of the right column

Now I know that none of these features are jaw-dropping, mouth-watering, or exciting.  However, I think you'll find them useful at some point.

Every year around this time, I start receiving emails asking about craft fairs--pricing, projects, displays, etc.  I spend a good amount of time answering each of the emails in detail, trying to help as much as I can.  I don't mind doing this at all, but I think I could save myself and you some time by putting all of this information in one place.

So, starting on Wednesday of this week, I'll be starting a series of posts about craft fairs.  Some of the topics I'll cover include:

  • Types of craft fairs
  • Where to find craft fairs
  • What to make
  • How to market your business
  • How to budget 
  • Setting up an attractive display
  • Determining prices of handmade items
  • And more!

At the end of each post, I'll be sharing with you a Craft Fair project....something that I will be making for this year's craft fairs. 

This information will be geared toward Stampin' Up! demonstrators, but anyone wanting to participate in craft fairs should find the posts useful.

Remember those improvements to my blog I told you about earlier?  Well, here is where they come into play.......

If you don't already receive my blog updates, be sure to subscribe to the blog feed so that you don't miss any of the craft fair info.

I've already got some craft fair projects and ideas sorted into categories.  If you are anxious to see some of my previous ideas, be sure to check these out.

And finally, if you have a burning question for me, add it to the chat box and I'll certainly cover it in one of my posts.

P.S.--Don't you just love my new signature?  It was made using My Digital Studio!  Check out the newest downloads on my new blog devoted to My Digital Studio.

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Got More Treats

Last Friday was the Got Treats Stamp-a-Stack.  I've already shared the cupcake card, so it's time for you to see the other 3 cards.


This card would be great for an anniversary or a fun wedding/engagement card.  It uses the Vintage Wallpaper embossing folder, and a little bit of the Play Date designer series paper.


I am soooooo holding back on sharing all of my Halloween projects with you, but I was able to sneak this card in.  Wouldn't this stamp image be perfect on the Pumpkin Poop boxes?  I've got your wheels turning, don't I?  The designer paper is called Wicked Fun Specialty and it features black flocking.  Some of the black circles are it!


And last but not least, GINGERBREAD MEN!!!  Something about these little guys just makes me smile.  The large stamp image is from the Got Treats stamp set, but the smaller gingerbread man image is from a Holiday Mini stamp set called Jolly Bingo Bits.   The designer paper is called Jolly Holiday.

On all of the cards, I used the 1-3/4" circle punch and the 2-3/8" Scallop Circle punch.  I just changed the layouts and the designer paper choice to fit the occasion.  Most of the stamp images were inked with markers. I just love it when you can create many different cards with one stamp set and a limited number of supplies.

To order any Stampin' Up! products, be sure to visit my Stampin' Up website.

Got treats

Got Treats Stamp Set (Set of 10)

119114     $24.95 Wood Mount

120627     $17.95 Clear Mount



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Hooray for Fabric!

In just 2 short weeks, you'll be able to see all of the exciting new products being offered in the 2010 Holiday Mini catalog.  I think my jaw dropped when I saw all of the gorgeous stamp sets & accessories, but then there was....


Oh my goodness, I just about fell out of my chair!  It is absolutely stunning and I know you will love it, too!

My customers have been wanting to have a class on the rag quilt purses, so obviously that had to be my first project.  I've been a bit nervous to teach a sewing class--it has been 20+ years since I have touched a sewing machine.  Apparently, it's like riding a bike...just comes back to you. 

One of the things I love about stamping is that it can be very forgiving and you can always cover up mistakes.  This purse is like that.  Even if your lines aren't perfect, it still turns out cute! 

The first purse I made was with the Deck the Halls fabric.  The colors in the fabric are Cherry Cobbler, Very Vanilla, Soft Suede, Always Artichoke, and Crumb Cake.  It has a vintage, shabby-chic look.  LOVE IT!!!


The next purse was made with the Candy Cane fabric.  The colors in this fabric are Garden Green, Baja Breeze, Blushing Bride, and Real Red.  It has a very playful look--lots of dots & stripes.  I think it would also make a cute mini-diaper bag, don't you?

Each set of designer fabric comes in an assortment of 3 fat quarters that measure 28" x 18" each. 

Check out the buttons!  There are coordinating Big Designer Buttons for each of the fabric collections.  And they are really BIG.

To make the purse, you need to have a Big Shot and the Scallop Square Clear Bigz Die.  The die can easily cut through about 8 layers of fabric, so you'll have your purse panels cut out in no time at all.

Scallop square 

Scallop Square Clear Bigz Die

Item # 115950

$21.95 (US)

Available on my SU website

After you've cut all your panels, you build a sandwich with 2 panels and batting in between.  Sew an "x' pattern on each square, lay out your purse plan, and sew it all together.  It's a little more complicated than that, but not much.  The first purse took me about 3 hours from start to finish, but the second one took me less than 2 hours.

The "rag" look is achieved by clipping the seams, then washing & drying the purse.  Here is a before and after shot so you can see the change.  I like it both ways.

Candycanebefore Candycaneafter

If you are ready to try your hand at making one of these fun purses, check out the RAG QUILT PURSE CLASS page.  I will also have class kits by mail available to those unable to attend the local class.

Happy Stampin'


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If you are a follower of my blog, you could probably tell that I have taken a bit of a break from stamping.  The summer months have been so busy & chaotic, so I've had to put a a few things on the back burner. 

However, my new stamps and accessories from the new catalog have been begging for me to play with them.  One of my first purchases was the Got Treats stamp set.  I love that it can be used for so many different occasions and the Mojo Monday sketch this week was great inspiration.



Stamp Set:  Got Treats?

Ink:  Early Espresso, Blushing Bride

Paper:  Whisper White, Pear Pizzazz, Blushing Bride, Early Espresso

Accessories:  Big Shot, Embossing Folders (Square Lattice, Perfect Polka Dots, Vintage Wallpaper), Markers (Pear Pizzazz, Melon Mambo, Early Espresso), Punches (2-3/8" Scallop Circle, 1-3/4" Circle, Corner Rounder), Dimensionals, Crystal Effects, Blushing Bride 1/2" Stitched-Poly Ribbon, Early Espresso 1/8" Taffeta Ribbon


After I finished this card, I need to simplify the design so that I could use it at my monthly Stamp-a-Stack.  This is just one of the cards we'll be making at Friday's class:


There is still time to RSVP for the Stamp-a-Stack if you would like to attend.  Here are the details:

Got Treats? Stamp-a-Stack

Friday, August 13th at 7pm

118 S. Buckeye Street, Kokomo, IN

We'll be making 8 cards, 2 each of 4 designs, using the new Got Treats stamp set.  Cost is $20 per person and  includes all supplies except adhesive.  RSVP by Wednesday if you would like to attend.

Got treats

Got Treats Stamp Set (Set of 10)

119114     $24.95 Wood Mount

120627     $17.95 Clear Mount

To order supplies, visit my website at

Happy Stampin'


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