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October 2010

Posts from September 2010

Rag Quilt Purse Update

Rag Quilt purses

It's Wednesday!  My plan for today is to tackle my rag quilt purse orders and prepare the tutorial.  If you ordered a kit at the beginning of the month, I have received your fabric and (keep your fingers crossed) hope to have your kit in the mail by the end of this week.  Woo! Hoo!

I will only be offering the kits until Wednesday, September 29th.  I'll place the final order for fabric next Thursday, so be sure to order soon if you want a kit.

Rag Quilt Purse Options

UPDATE:  The tutorial only option has been removed.  There are several online videos and tutorials by other demonstrators that you should be able to find by doing a google search.  My specific tutorial is only available in the class kits and can only be sold in the U.S.

My next task is to answer many of the craft fair related questions I've been receiving.  I'll have a CRAFT FAIR FAQ available on Friday (okay, maybe Saturday).  If you have a question you would like to have answered, you can email me at

Happy Stampin'


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Holiday Stamp-a-Stack

A downside to being a Doctor of Chiropractic is that you know when something is really wrong with your own body.  A few weeks ago, I started having trouble with my right elbow.  I've had minor problems with it in the past and have jokingly called it "stamper's elbow."  However, this time it was bad and I knew that I had an ulnar nerve entrapment.  I also had a Stamp-a-Stack coming up and was worried that I would not be able to cut card stock for my guests.

With some rest and therapy, I was able to help my elbow pain.  However, I didn't want to irritate it more by cutting tons of paper.  You'll see that the cards I designed for this class are super simple.  Almost all of my guests were finished within 1 hour.  We made 2 each of 4 designs.  The other card was featured in this previous post.


The picture above may give you some indication of why my elbow was, the first card was a simplified version of one of my recent swap cards.


Stamp Set:  Christmas Postcard

Ink:  Cherry Cobbler, Kraft (sponged around edges)

Paper:  Deck the Halls Designer Series Paper, Cherry Cobbler, Always Artichoke, Crumb Cake, Very Vanilla

Accessories:  Sticky Strip, Champagne Glass Glitter, Sponges


The finished size of this card is 3" x 6".  The main question everyone asked is if we have envelopes to fit this size of card.  The answer is "yes!".  Item # 107286  Small Open-End Envelopes. 

Stamp Set:  Word Play

Ink:  Cherry Cobbler and Old Olive markers

Paper:  Very Vanilla, Jolly Holiday Designer Series Paper

Accessories:  Big Shot, Ovals Originals die, Dimensionals


And I just had to throw one Halloween card in the mix.  My customers LOVED the Spider Web embossing folder, but are wanting ideas for using it at other times of the year.  We decided it would be good for an "Over the Hill" birthday.  If you've got a creative idea, share it by adding a comment at the end of this post.

Stamp Set:  Wicked Cool

Ink:  Basic Black

Paper:  Wicked Fun Specialty, Whisper White, Basic Gray, Basic Black

Accessories:  Big Shot, Spider Web Embossing Folder, Raven Lace Trim

Happy Stampin'


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And the winner is......

What a fabulous day!  Not only do I get to announce the winner of my craft fair project contest, but I also found out that I won a contest myself! 

First, the winner of the craft fair project contest is Erica Cerwin for her adorable antibacterial soap boxes.  When a project inspires me to stalk several Bath & Body works stores, spending way too much money.....then you've definitely got a winner.  She has almost convinced me that I need the Fang-tastic stamp set as well!

If you haven't done so already, be sure to check out her blog.  She even has a tutorial available!

Erica, contact me with your choice of bling and your address.  I'll be ordering for you this weekend.

And I really want to thank all of the other people that entered the contest.  In fact, if you send me your address, I would love to send you a hand-made thank you!

Now, for my exciting news.....I won on Mojo Monday!!!  I try to play every week, because the sketches really get me out of my comfort zone.  I won for this card and you can get all the details here.


Happy Stampin'


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Cute Christmas Swaps


I've been a very busy girl.  I just finished making 43 of these cards for a Mega Christmas Swap that I participate in each addition to preparing for a fast-approaching craft fair.

I always like to design a few cards for the holidays with non-traditional colors.  I loved the stripe in the Candy Cane Christmas Specialty Designer Paper, so I used Blushing Bride, Real Red, and Whisper White on this card.  The scallop squares were cut with the new scallop square duo Bigz die and the Big Shot.  The images were stamped and punched out with the 1-1/4" square punch, then popped up with dimensionals.  I did very simple coloring with markers....remember, I did 43!!!!

I'll be announcing the winner of the Craft Fair Project contest on Wednesday evening.  There were some great entries and I appreciate everyone taking the time to enter and sharing your wonderful projects with us.

Also, I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone that has left such kind comments on my blog in the past few weeks.  It's always nice to feel appreciated and you've definitely made me feel that way.  I certainly appreciate all of my loyal blog readers!

Happy Stampin'


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Cute Mojo 155

Well, I obviously like the sketch from Mojo Monday this week, because I used it again....this time on a holiday card for my first Holiday Stamp-a-Stack tonight.  (You can see my wicked Halloween card here)


The card features A Cute Christmas stamp set and the Candy Cane Specialty Designer Series Paper.....check out the red glitter stripes!

A Cute Christmas (Set of 9)

120825  Wood Mount    $25.95

121133  Clear Mount     $18.95

I also used the Big Shot to cut the circles:  Scallop Circle #2 for the large scallop and Circles #2 for the large white and small white circles.

One of the reasons this sketch is so great is that you can use up small scraps of coordinating papers to create a beautiful card.  Here are the measurements I used for the Candy Cane paper:

Blue Snowflakes:  1-1/4" x 3-1/4"

Dots:  1-1/2" x 3-1/4"

Green Mittens:  1" x 3-1/4"

Glitter Stripes:  2" x 4"

There is a contest on Mojo Monday this week, so if you use this sketch, be sure to enter before 8PM MT on Sunday.

As I stated earlier, this is one of the cards for tonight's Stamp-a-Stack.  We'll be making 8 cards, 2 each of 4 designs.  (I'll be sharing the other cards with you soon!)  If you live near Kokomo, Indiana, I'd love to have you join us at an upcoming class.  You can view all my events here.

Happy Stampin'


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Bling it on!


The Holiday Mini catalog is here and I have been having so much fun with my new goodies.  This card features the Christmas Postcard single stamp (only $9.95!) and the Deck the Halls designer series paper.  But the real show-stopper is the Champagne Glass Glitter.


How cool is that?

I just love the shimmer and texture that the glass glitter adds to this card.  After I stamped and colored the main image, I adhered everything to the front of the card.  I thought it need something extra, so I grabbed some sticky strip and placed it around the edges of the card stock.  I sprinkled the glitter onto the sticky strip, pressed it into place, and shook off the excess.

Be sure to add the glass glitter to your next order!  It comes in 2 colors--champagne and silver--and it's only $3.95 for a generous container of bling-y goodness.

Happy Stampin'


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Wicked Lace & Bling


This is my card for the Mojo Monday sketch this week.  I used the Wicked Cool stamp of my new, some of the fun accessories from the Holiday Mini catalog.

Stamp Set:  Wicked Cool

Ink:  Basic Black

Paper:  Nite & Day Designer Series Paper, Basic Black, Whisper White, Pumpkin Pie

Accessories:  Big Shot, Circles #2 die, Scallop Circles #2 die, 1/2" Raven Lace Trim, Black Flourish designer jewels, crystal effects, markers (Pumpkin Pie, Rich Razzleberry, Old Olive), Dimensionals


I added Crystal Effects to the black portions of the hat and shoes to make them shiny.

Happy Stampin'


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It's Your Turn!

Scroll down for craft fair tips & projects.  Newest posts are below.  This post will remain at the top until September 12, 2010.

I have added some additional photos & videos to the posts to answer some of the most frequently asked questions.  Be sure to check out the Holiday Planner video.

Over the last 2 weeks, I have shared tips & projects for craft shows. Now it's your turn.

Many of you have told me that you are preparing for upcoming shows, so share your craft fair project ideas using the Mr. Linky tool below between now and midnight on September 12th.  As a bonus, I will select up to 5 creative winners (1 winner for every 20 ideas submitted).  Each winner will receive her choice of Holiday Mini bling: black flourish designer jewels, glass glitter, or glimmer brads.


Winners will be announced on my blog on Wednesday, September 15th and the projects will be featured on my blog.  This is your opportunity to share with other demonstrators, just as I have with you. 


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Craft Fairs---Part 5

The show has what?  I find that shows start off one of two ways:  a slow & steady trickle of customers or a mad rush.  I prefer the mad rush because you are busy right out of the gate, but what if you experience the slow & steady trickle?

Keep in mind how you like to be treated when you are shopping.  Most of us don't enjoy being pounced upon by an overly-eager salesperson when we enter a store, right?  Now I know you are excited, but do try to contain yourself just a bit.  My strategy is always to give off the appearance of being busy, but accessible.  I'll often take Christmas cards to work on.  Many customers will stop to see what I am doing, and that is the perfect conversation starter.  One year, I took my Big Shot and cut out dies all day.  I actually had a couple of new people sign up for a Big Shot class because of it.

Now, don't get so busy that you fail to acknowledge your customers.  Greet EVERYONE that enters your booth area with eye contact and a smile, plus a simple "hello", "good morning", etc.  This probably sounds like common sense to you, and I haven't met too many Stampin' Up demonstrators that are unfriendly.  However, I have seen some pretty poor customer service at craft fairs.

At one show, I experienced a crazy mad rush of customers the first hour of the show.  I think I sold almost $300 in that one hour, and most items were priced around $15-$ was busy.  When it finally slowed down and I was able to catch my breath, I noticed that the three women working at the booth across from me were "shooting daggers" in my direction.  They were sitting at the back of their booth, arms folded, frowns on their faces, and not acknowledging anyone that went near their booth.  At the end of the show, they complained to the show's organizer that they did not make any money.  They chewed her out pretty good, and she came up to me after that to see if I had done alright.  I told her that I had done very well throughout the day and had no complaints whatsoever.  Your attitude is everything!  Be pleasant, no matter what.

At some point during the day, you are going to want to take a break.  If you didn't "hire" someone to work with you for the entire day, you might just want to have someone give you a break at lunchtime.  Potty breaks throughout the day can probably be covered by asking the vendor next to you to keep an eye on your booth for a few minutes.  They can let customers know that you are going to be right back.

I highly recommend that you get out of your booth for a short time during the day.....for lunch and marketing.  You are amongst fellow crafters, so don't let this opportunity pass you by.  I will take packets filled with a mini catalog, door prize entry form, business card, hand-stamped card, my class schedule, and any specials with me when I leave my booth.  As I visit other booths, I will introduce myself and give the vendor a packet.  The conversation goes something like this:

"I love your ________(sincerely compliment their craft/something specific in the booth).  My name is Melissa Stout and I am a Stampin' Up! demonstrator.  My booth is right over there.  You probably haven't had a chance to get out of your booth today, so I wanted to bring you some goodies. (hand them a packet) There is a door prize form inside, so just drop it by at the end of the day and I'll get you entered to win."

Now what usually happens is that they will look through your materials whenever the show slows down and many of them will visit you at the end of the day with questions, orders, and sometimes an interest in hosting a show or the business opportunity.  How great is that?

Hopefully, you have been collecting customer contact information throughout the day.  You must contact these people within a few days of the show to establish a good relationship with them.  Now, I hate making phone calls, but if you want to grow your business, it is a necessary task.  I schedule a free introduction to stamping class within 2 weeks of the show and invite them to attend.  Everyone likes to be extended an invitation, so this is a wonderful reason to contact them.  If they are not interested, okay.  You probably will get a few that are interested and that can really grow  your business.

One final note.....I always have some items leftover from my holiday craft fairs.  In early December, I will hold a Holiday Open House for my customers and make these items available for sale, sometimes at a discount.  You can also put your items on ebay or Etsy, give them as gifts, donate them to charity, or store them for the following year.



Jiffy Pop Snowman

I posted this project on my blog several years ago and I always get emails asking for the directions.  I'm a little embarrassed because he is so simple to make, you may lose all creative confidence in me.  LOL!

This is a great gift to give to a teacher.  You can add a gift card to her favorite store or restaurant. 

This would also be a nice gift to give a family or your neighbors....add some cans of soda, boxes of movie candy, a gift certificate for a DVD rental.....and you've got "A Night at the Movies".

Here are the card stock measurements and a quick video to help you make your own snowman:

  • Nose:  Pumpkin Pie card stock 1-1/2" x 3", cut diagonally
  • Brim:  Basic Black card stock   2" x 6"
  • Hat/Gift Card Holder:  Basic Black  4-1/4" x 8", scored at 2-1/2" and 5-1/4"
  • Eyes:  Basic Black  1" punched circles
  • Mouth:  Basic Black  1/2" punched circles


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Craft Fairs---Part 4

So you've made up a lot of great items to sell, and now it's time for the craft fair.  Before you go, you will want to make sure that you have everything priced and stamped with an Angel Policy stamp, if applicable.  It will be easy to stamp some of your items directly with an Angel Policy stamp.  I try to stamp it in an inconspicuous place and I will usually use Versamark ink.  For those items that you cannot or should not stamp directly, I use price tags that I can tie onto the item.  I'll stamp one side of the tag and place the price on the other side.  You can purchase a nice supply of price tags with strings from office supply stores.

I pack the majority of my items into rubbermaid-stye totes.  You will want to make sure that your items will be protected from the elements as you transport them from your home to the craft show.  The totes are easy to carry or transport on a dolly.  Speaking of a dolly.....if you don't have one, I would recommend that you try to borrow one or purchase an inexpensive one.  You can expect to be on your own for unloading and re-loading all of your stuff at the show.  I can only think of one show that someone offered me assistance of any kind......and I was 7 months pregnant.  

Most shows will have specific times that they will allow you to set up your booth....usually the night before and/or the morning of the show.  I prefer to set up the day before, if possible.  If there is anything that I feel is missing from my booth, I will then have time to take care of it before the show starts.  Make sure you are comfortable leaving your booth unattended overnight.  I will often set up the inexpensive items first, then set up the more expensive items last.  Your ultimate goal should be to have everything ready to go at least 30 minutes prior to the start of the show.

There are a few other items that you will want to take with you:

  • Cash box/bag with plenty of change
  • Receipt book
  • Order forms
  • Calculator
  • Pens
  • Shopping bags
  • Business cards
  • Catalogs
  • Upcoming class information
  • Hostess & recruit packets
  • More price tags
  • Table coverings
  • Signage (if allowed)

One more consideration for you is how you would like to collect contact information from the customers visiting your booth.  Offering a door prize is a great way to gather this information.  I will put together a simple gift basket with some stamping items, and have door prize entry forms available for people to fill out.  This helps me add a lot of people to my mailing list and I can follow up with them after the show to tell them more about the services I have to offer them.  Another method I have used is to have a simple newsletter sign-up sheet.  I always get good contacts from this because all of them are interested in Stampin' Up....they aren't just trying to win something for FREE.  You'll have to decide which method you prefer, but either should help you build your Stampin' Up! business.  As I mentioned in Part 1, you will  want to check with the show's organizers to make sure that they will allow you to promote your business.


Holiday Planner


Here is another super easy project that is a great seller at craft fairs.  It is a holiday organizer/planner made from a simple white school folder.  I was able to score a bunch of these at Back-to School time for just 10 cents each!!!


One of the great things about this project is that you can easily use up your scraps of designer series paper, even the retired papers, to create an eclectic look.


You can find several forms & lists to insert into your planner at Organized Christmas.  Print them out on Whisper White card stock and place in the pockets.


In the last pocket, I decorate envelopes for receipts and coupons.

I've had a lot of questions about how to put this planner together, so I created a short video to explain it a little better.  Hope this helps!

My final article on craft fairs will be posted on Friday.  I'll also be announcing a fun contest to challenge you to come up with more creative craft fair ideas. 

If you have any questions that I have not answered yet, leave a comment or use the chat box.  I am working on answering emails, so if you have sent one, you should hear from me in the next 24 hours.

Happy Stampin'


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