Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Craftin'

Well I don't know if it's happened to you yet but the Christmas rush has taken over and I've virtually had no time to work in the studio or create blog posts. This is a very busy time for me because we make so many gifts for our family and friends and I enjoy all of it.

Today I thought I'd post a bunch of the projects we worked on to give as gifts. Each project gives us ideas to try out the following year. So much fun!
First up is Snowflake Crayons which we made with recycled crayons. Martha Stewart has the how-to on this one. I did mine in a silicone cake pan and an electric fry pan which worked out fine. No one really like the fumes that the melting crayons made though. Keep a window open.
I think they turned out pretty neat. : )

Next are a couple seed gifts that we made. Both were very easy to do and I really like the idea of encouraging people to garden, especially kids.
Seed Bombs are an idea I saw on the internet and I think the concept is fantastic. If you search it on YouTube there are great videos about making and using them. 

Bunny Tails are such a fun decorative grass and the kids love them. They've even done some crafts with them dried.

Marbled Glass ornaments have been on my Christmas "try" list for a while now and I've really enjoyed trying to figure out the best way to create them. Note* when it says to use craft paints know that it can't be tempra paints. I will be working on these some more.

 It's been such fun posting my projects but I think I'm going to take an online break and enjoy some relaxing time with my family and stuff myself silly with treats. I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and I hope the New Year brings you nothing but joy. See you all again in January : )

Friday, December 10, 2010

Why giving is the best gift

I really love this time of year for several reasons and not all of them involve eating way too many treats. I love this time of year because it gives me the perfect excuse to indulge in my favorite things. I love to bake, so everyone gets cookies and candies that are too rich for the rest of the year. I love to create with my hands, so everyone gets some sort of craft I've been dying to try out. I love to take pictures of my kids, so everyone (family mostly)get calendars or photo ornaments of my girls. But what I think makes this holiday so appealing for people is the permission to spend money on gifts and show our affection to our loved ones. Unfortunately  I do think the "obligation gifts" that have no real meaning to the recipient or the giver has left many people with the sense that Christmas is just about keeping the economy going by buying next year's garbage. "It looked good on T.V." "Mommy, I want that!". "Maybe my aunt could use a SlapChop".

Last year I did a post about different ways in gift giving and I still think those are great ways to create some meaning for the season. This year I'm putting my money where my mouth is and giving to a couple of organizations that can help make a difference in someone  else's life. I truly believe that there's no better way to feel a sense of abundance than giving to others. I've chosen to buy a Literacy Package through World Vision and provide a small loan through Kiva which does micro-financing. Although I've given a small amount to each, I know that the amounts will have a greater impact within those countries in need.
And for any of you who are a bit skeptical about your money being used up mostly by administration costs of the charity, Will and Jada Smith claim 100% of your donation will be used to fund clean drinking water through Charity:Water. The gift of clean drinking water would always be appreciated.

Are there any charities that you give to regularly during Christmas? Do you believe giving should be part of your entire year? Would love to hear your thoughts.

Friday, December 3, 2010

How the show went

As we are now fully into the craft show season, I thought I'd tell you about my first craft show experience in more than twelve years. Last Saturday, Nov. 27, I participated in the Steveston Christmas Craft Show.  This juried show is a popular event in the community and I would attend whenever I could. This year I thought I'd try and make my art presence a little more known locally and snag a table. I'm an avid reader of the Etsy Storque, Handmadeology, and HandmadeSpark articles and I've gleaned a lot of tips from them about doing craft shows. I REALLY wanted this show to go well and I prepared for it as much as I could. I looked at other peoples set-ups like on Flickr's ShowMe Your Booth, I watched videos like this one by Linty Fresh, and I tried to mentally prepare myself for any slumps in the sale day. My attitude during the show was my biggest concern because I knew that the more upbeat I was the more sales I would attract. Because the work I do is important to me and is an expression of who I am, I tend to get upset when my work is passed over. I realize that everyone has their own taste but when someone says they don't really like my art it's like they're saying they don't like ME. Silly, I know, and something I'm getting better at dealing with, but it's still true.

So my tactic for staying positive was to bring a funny book and my sketchbook. My husband had bought me "Sh*t my Dad says" and I have to say that it made me laugh out loud so many times that I was looking a little crazy. Put a smile on my face though. For the other times I took a pencil to paper and did some drawing. I'm currently working on some rabbit images and I felt like I created a couple that I can work with. There's nothing better than creating to make me feel good.

All in all, this show was a fantastic learning experience for me and because it was such a success to me, I'm thinking about how else I can branch out locally. Have you got any tips about shows? Would love to hear them.