Sunday, October 30, 2011

All things Halloween...

Here's a quick Sunday post:

It was dress up weekend,


plus a pumpkin carving contest at the museum.


All guests are invited to vote for their favorite pumpkin. I'm in team #3!!! We made a house for our hermit crab (based on Eric Carle's book) out of the pumpkin. Isn't it whimsical? And there actually is a LIVE hermit crab living in the pumpkin. Don't worry, it's getting food and water and a warm living environment. And so far we are getting all the girl votes...


while pumpkin #2 is getting all the boy votes with their Monster Pumpkin Strikes Again!


Pumpkin #4 is getting all the Toy Story fan votes


while Pumpin #1 the Dr Seuss fan votes.

I don't know about you, but I think the Woody pumpkin is some serious competition no?

Tallying the results at the end of today. I hope we win!!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Crafting: Halloween goodies and the Wonders of the Dollar Store!

I wanted to give out some Halloween goodies this year for my friends at work. But i am useless in the kitchen and at baking. So the simple candy crafts will have to do to! And I found these simple ideas on Pinterest! Too cute!

So i went to the Dollar Store and got some:

1) Lollipops and mints
2) White and black plastic table coverings
3) Fuzzy pipecleaners
4) Googly eyes
5) Glue gun

A $5 dollar craft? Hell, yeah!

Cut out squares of plastic table covering. For the spiders i cut out 3"x3" squares, and for the ghosts i cut out 6"x6" squares, and cut all my pipecleaners half in length.


Wrap the plastic squares around the lollipops like so.


I don't even tape them up, I just wrap them tight with the pipecleaners. I use white for the ghosts, and 3 black half-lengths for the spider legs. I made a spider with 8 legs, but it looked too cluttered. The spider looked better with 6 legs, so maybe I'm just going to call them ants.


Use a sharpie to draw on features for the ghosts.

Voila, spiders and ghosts all done!

But waitaminute! There's more! I'd seen these mints at the dollar store and thought if i added some googly eyes on them, maybe i can turn them into bloodshot eyeball candies? So i whipped out my glue gun and stuck eyes on the mints. I'm going to add a sign that says "Have a ball!" *sniggers*


You guys have a ball this weekend! Happy Halloween!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Post Mortem: FIVE Craft Fair Afterthoughts


So this is the following post after the booth display. Just wanted to share my two cents' worth on my first craft fair experience...


Booth placement is vital.

If you can, request for a booth space that is in the HEART of all the activity, i.e. in the middle. Chances are, most visitors have already seen the first few booths on their way in and by the time they get to the middle of the fair, they are all psyched and pumped up to BUY! I know that's how I would be, if I were visiting a fair!

I was placed at the beginning (or you could look at it as the end) of the fair. In short, i was on the peripherals. A lot of people who stopped by my store were either new arrivals, or were about to leave. If they were new arrivals, and if they saw something they liked, they almost ALWAYS said they'll return after browsing some more. Out of the 5 who said that, only 1 came back... As a buyer, I would have the same mentality. I like to rein myself in in the beginning, and when I feel like I've seen enough, that's when I'm ready to make some purchases... which of course happens about halfway into the fair. At the same time, people who are leaving the fair are either all SHOPPED OUT, mentally exhausted or visually overstimulated. Some families had hungry (screaming) kids trailing behind, so they were not very likely to stop at any of the booths at the end.


Real-time real-life interactions.

This may sound very obvious, but I realised i wasn't very prepared to meet buyers face-to-face. I've only been selling on Etsy, where interactions happen via email and Etsy convos. At the fair, it's real-time interaction. You don't get to edit and delete what you say. I'm glad I work at the museum where person-to-person interactions happen daily, so I'm not fazed by the thought of having to talk to so many people. If you have anxieties meeting people, you should think about preparing yourself mentally. Experience is the best teacher. Just sign up for as many fairs as you can manage (ONE AT A TIME), but the more you get out there, the easier it becomes. I find it easier to start if i just greeted people. I said my "How d'you do"s to everyone that walked past the store. It helps present yourself as an approachable seller, not to mention it is also basic courtesy.


Be ready to persuade and counter their decisions.

How to turn indecision into sales?? That was one of my major obstacles. A lady said, "Oh I already have too many bags" after she ooh-ed and aah-ed over my tote bags. In response, I said, "If you see something you really like, you can come back! I'll be here till the very end!" In retrospect, I should have said something along the lines of "OH! A girl can never have too MANY bags! If you like this one I can give you a good discount!"

Role play with a family member or friend, to help you get used to persuading people to buy. Come up with marketing ploys to entice people to buy and to buy more, pairing complementary items together, giving discounts etc.



Take a walk around.

Make sure you have the opportunity to walk around the fair, when it is not busy, to meet other sellers, or even just to take a look at the wares. It is a good warm-up, especially if you do it at the start of the fair. It helps you get started talking to people, get yourself focused and excited about the event. It can also be good for taking a breather, taking a break from the monotony, or from the hectic selling. (*hopefully it's the latter*)


Administrative odds and ends.

Print out a list of the items for sale, the selling price and the lowest prices you're willing to let them go. Be prepared for customized orders, as people have the strangest requests! I had a man buy my quartz crystals that were on display. And I would have made more money selling my elephant collection than my crafts!
Think about your packaging. How are you going to present your sold items to your buyers? I bought some brown paper bags, twine and made some stamped labels. Put some thought into the final packaging because it adds the final touch to the whole selling process. Most importantly, prepare some change!! I completely forgot about that. It was the J-man who reminded me (also because he wanted some change to buy tacos for breakfast!) Bring lots of loose change, depending on how your items are priced.


:: END ::

I do still have some doubts about putting up price tags. I didn't do it this time, so interested buyers had to come up to me to ask for prices. And I think that is better than pricing your items visually. I think that if people are not prepared to pay the price they see, that immediately extinguishes any interest they might have for that item. I also feel like people are less likely to ask for discounts seeing that the items are handmade, therefore works of art. To me, asking for a discount is kinda like demeaning the artist. That is just my POV, and I might be biased :p

But what do you think? Price-tag your items or no?

Hope this helps!! Do you have any craft fair experiences to share?

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Versatile Blogger Award

Thank you kindly Glo from Glo Sews for the award! I feel like i'm lagging behind on my blog posts these days!

The rules for acceptance are:

By accepting this award I agree to do the following:

1. Thank the blogger who awarded me with a link back to him/her.
2. Share seven things about myself.
3. Pass the award on to fifteen other newly discovered blogs.
4. Right click on the award picture above to save it into your computer so you can add it to your post.

As I have recently done a similar award thing and shared 7 things about myself, I shall hardly want to bore you with another SEVEN!

Instead, I shall pass this on to some more blogger friends! Please show some love and visit their blogs. I think it's amazing when i chance upon a blog and happen to see 4 or 5 other followers that i know who read the same pages too! There's a reason we keep bumping into each other, because we share some pretty darn similar interests! So go ahead and check them out!

1. Angela of Angelarae Knits
2. Ashley of The Feisty Redhead
3. Cindy at Bug Safari (I love looking at her close up shots of bugs!)
4. Beth of Deer Little Fawn
5. Mousevox Vintage
6. Nikki of The Ginger Diaries
7. Lindsey of Thrift and Shout
8. Annie of wattlebird
9. Leonora of Yellow Heart Art
10. Ashley of Under Those Neon Lights
11. Lauren of Tastes Like Love
12. Hannah of A Cup of Subtle Tea
13. Cheri of I Am Momma - Hear Me Roar
14. Sara of The Art Type
15. Nette at Nette

Have fun reading this weekend!


Russell Residences Part I

Hello friends!!!

Finally got the internet hooked up in our new place! We found out from our neighbor that our house is at least 75 years old!!! He invited us to pick his veggies from his garden any time we want! So sweet! We offered him some long beans from ours but he politely declined because he said he had more than enough vegetables to go around. I hope it's not because he thinks our beans are inferior... :(

So anyway, here are the latest pictorial updates of our home:


I think the color red goes so lovely with dark wood. And I adore the bedroom set that was given to us. Don't you think it's just total old-fashioned cuteness?!!



I found this picture stowed away in one of the closets in the house. So I decided to set it out!



My favorite part of the house, the cosiest by far! The couch, loveseat and coffee table were given to us! It's so vintage!!! J'adore!!!


Check out the size of our fridge minibar. We need to get a fridge this weekend. Halp! We've been getting groceries one day at a time because there's just no room for weekly meals. But we've been doing lots of cooking in the kitchen so that's awesome! The J-man has made fried rice, chicken curry, oyaku-don and baked chicken wings so far and mm-mm home-cooked food is the BOMB!


The craft room is non-existent, this is the only part that is "set-up". My crafting supplies are in this dresser, which J thinks is hideous. I do see the potential in dressing it up. Think lace doilies, a picture frame above it, kitschy knick knacks atop. Alright alright!! I do need the storage space so it's staying! The rest of the room is piled with boxes half unpacked, so i'm not going to show you the mess. Hehe, or maybe I will:



No crafting so far because we don't have a decent table for that. I have crafting withdrawals... *spasms*


Here's Don Vito chilling like a villain in his corner.


The J-man's ONE contribution to dressing up this house. His childhood prized collection -- this glass chess set.

It's almost a home!

Friday, October 14, 2011

5 Tunes I'm Addicted to right now...

Pumped Up Kicks - Foster the People

Someone Like You - Adele

Lake of Fire - Nirvana

You and I - Lady Gaga

If I Die Young - The Band Perry

Enjoy your weekend! I'll be without my faithful internet for awhile because we are officially MOVING IN tomorrow!! We got all our bags/boxes packed up, and i spent all my time after work today on my hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen closets and floors. Now my hands smell like bleach *bleagh* but we have a pretty decent looking house! Did i mention that we were given a bedroom outfit complete with TWO roomy dressers, and a vintagey looking couch and loveseat and coffee table???? I have to take photos of them to share with you. I'm so glad how everything came together. It's like the electrical issues happened for a reason. Because of the delay, we managed to score the free furniture from my in-laws' friends! Gotta think of a nice way to say thank you to those lovely people! Anyone has any ideas what we can do for them? Since we're pretty broke now, something DIY will be great! I was thinking of baking for them, so if anyone has a yummilicious but relatively simple recipe, please toss it my way! :)

Good bye blogosphere. See you in a week maybe?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Post-mortem: Craft Fair Booth Display Tips

Hi y'all!

Now that the craft fair is truly over, I'd like to do a series of posts on craft fairs. I'll kick things off with FIVE booth display starter tips to help newbies like me get started with your very first craft fair! (I hope you're excited as I am!)

So here is my set up for the craft fair!


1. Plan your layout.

Is your craft fair organizer providing anything? Some organizers provide tables or display cases, but for this one, I was not provided with anything. I decided to use 2 tables and arranged them in an L-shape. Check to see the amount of items you are selling to decide on how much space you need. I didn't have very many items to sell, so I used only one long table and one shorter table. You might want to think about a backdrop if you sell items that need to be hung. If you have a tent, you can string up lines across the four pillars for additional display options.

2. Decide on your color scheme.

You'll want to choose a background that best shows off your items for sale. Plain, neutral backgrounds would show off colorful items well, but brightly colored backdrops (whether it be the table cover or a backdrop) would be eye-catching and capture the attention of passers-by too.

My items were of a variety of colors so I had decided from the get-go that I would choose a neutral base color. I was deciding between unbleached muslin and a creamy upholstery fabric I had thrifted from a while back. I picked the latter because it made more sense cost-wise to use the cheaper fabric. Also the creamy fabric is much thicker than the muslin. It hangs well over the table and upholstery fabric is, in general, made to withstand wear and tear. I could reuse the same fabric for future fairs.

3. Play around with different heights and depths

Take away the monotony of a flat level display by making use of stands or placing boxes on top of each other to create different heights. Stack crates together or stand them on their sides, use fabric to create folds to give an illusion of depth. Rearrange your items or group them differently to see the variety of effects you can achieve.

I already had in mind to use a cake stand to display my sets of coasters. Except that I didn't have a cake stand, and I didn't have time to go thrifting for one. So I picked a pretty bronze plate from the kitchen and taped an ornate candle holder to the bottom. I piled my coaster sets on top of the bronze plate-turned-stand to give that additional height. That did the trick. (See picture below)


4. Have fun with props!

Use unconventional items to showcase your items. Besides catching the attention of otherwise uninterested patrons, they also double up great conversational starters.

I googled craft fair display ideas and seen that somebody had made use of a vintage trunk for an alternative display case and I was thrilled!! I had thrifted a cute mustard yellow suitcase a while ago so I decided to include that! Besides, it makes an easy pack-up-and-go option. When my fair was done, it was a breeze to just load up my suitcase and go!

I chanced upon another vintage dish in the kitchen. I love the pretty flowers and just had to find a way to include it into my display. My business cards came into mind. I placed the cards in the middle, threw in a few quartz crystals i picked when I went gem mining, and voila! Pretty dish - check! Quartz crystals - check!

And as the name of my shop is Elephant Is Love, I just had to include my eclectic elephant collection. I picked out my set of 5 ceramic elephants and my wooden elephant. These babies were the focus of my display! I think they garnered more attention than my items. I wasn't disappointed though, they helped draw the attention of passers-by and I was proud of my collection. People were appreciative of the effort I put into my display and I even got to talk to a few fellow elephant lovers!!

Finally, I threw in the huge acorn I picked from the Asheboro Zoo a year ago. I was so glad to see how they all came together so nicely!

5. Have at least one of each of your different items fully displayed.

Make sure every type your product is well represented and clearly displayed so shoppers know exactly what to expect.
I had different types and sizes of bags and pouches for sale, so I made sure for every type of bag/pouch, I displayed at least one standing upright.

I'm still not 100% happy with this display, and plan to rework this. Any suggestions??

My only real anxiety were my bigger tote bags. In my opinion, these bags would look better if they were hung up instead of laid flat on the table. I had grand plans of cutting up a peg board to build a triangular stand, but it involved too much time, cost and logistics. Then I thought if I could borrow a coat rack that would solve the problem. But nope, no such luck. At that very moment, my lovely neighbor came to my rescue and gave me a decorative fabric wrapped hanger. I hooked it on the open suitcase and hung three bags on that.

Booth display complete and I was very relieved pleased!!

Trunk display close up!

And here's a better view of the hanging bags just below the trunk.

Hope this will help some of you out with your booth display too! Feel free to throw some ideas my way. I completely enjoyed myself and thank the heavens we had beautiful perfect weather. Tents weren't provided and I was crossing my fingers (and toes) that it wouldn't rain. In fact, I got a pretty nice tan sitting out in the sun! Win-ning!!!! :)

In my next post I will talk about my experience and lessons learnt after the craft fair. But be patient as I am still recovering from all that hullabaloo!

Have a great week!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Welcome to the Russell Residences!

So here's the little house we will be renting


So the bad thing is that the house is unfurnished. I know it usually is, but then the good news is we get to pick out our own stuff! though they will mostly be given or thrifted, but hey! more excuses to go thrifting!

I love the color of the walls in the living area!

This is linked to the kitchen so i'm guessing it's a dining area, but guess what? IT'S GOING TO BE MY CRAFT ROOM (i call first dibs!) even though the J-man doesn't know that yet. We can totally sit on the couch for our meals. D-uh.

What i love about our house (other than the fact that it is OURS) is the amount of sunlight that filters in through the windows. We've been there several times in the day now and the living and dining areas get so much light!!! That just makes me happy.

Did i mention that we have a lil 80 yr old neighbor who has the biggest garden patch?? well, technically that patch is in OUR yard, but he has them all planted out in nice little neat rows, we figured we'll let him take charge. He's also got sacks of sweet potatoes in his back porch. Now, this is ONE guy we need to get to know better. Think of all that wealth of gardening knowledge!!! And we don't want to start off our neighborly relations on the wrong foot by insisting on getting our yard back, do we?

My brain is going crazy with decorating ideas, but before we do any of that, we've got to get some electrical issues sorted out. We tried to start the stove the other day and the kitchen lights came on instead. Err.. hello? So utility glitches aside, we are mighty pleased and way over excited. Here's a little secretary desk i found on Craigslist that I'm hoping to get as a table for my sewing machine (if budget allows).


So what do you think? Will keep y'all posted! Send decor ideas this way please!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Hear hear! Winner of September giveaway!


Yes we do, we do have a winner!

I apologize for taking forever!!! But here it is.....

the winner of the September giveaway is Amanda of MilkandHoney who by the way, owns a pretty cute little Etsy store of her own!

Picture 2

Congratulations Amanda!!! Wear it proud!

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