And the winner Is...

I know you probably can't read the screen shot above but I hope you will take my word for it that it says #9. I couldn't get a decent save of the page but I wanted you to know that I had used Random.org to choose the winner this afternoon at 4:30, the end of my workday. And the winner is Rose Works Jewelry, a lovely blogger that I've gotten to know through Entrecard. Here is a sample of the amazing work she does with seed beads called Etsyholic. I hope she enjoys the scarf and headband set coming her way!


A little game

UPDATE: The itinerary has been guessed! See bottom of post for more details.

So I was writing up my posts for when I will be on vacation with my thoughts for each leg of our 2 week adventure when I had an idea. I thought it would be fun to see if anyone can guess the itinerary of our trip with some clues from Etsy. If anyone can guess all four stops on our 2 week trip than I'll send them a wristcuff made from sari silk very similar to the one seen above. The first person to get all four in order before Wednesday wins so that I can get it in the mail on Thursday before we leave. If you know me in real life and I've talked to you about our plans than obviously you aren't eligible. If no one feels like playing I won't get my feelings hurt. Here are your clues! Bonus points if you can guess what I'm most looking forward too.

And by the way there is still one more day to enter my giveaway. I'll pick the winner on Wednesday.


We'll be heading first to Rolla, MO for the 4th of July celebration with the family. Then we'll be going to Florence, AL to spend a few days with my sister. From there we'll be heading to New Orleans which is actually what I'm most looking forward too. Then we'll be taking a cruise which will stop at several areas in Mexico. Thanks for playing along!


Weekend Wrapup

So I had a perfectly delightful weekend in Lebanon, MO visiting my Uncle Jack seen above posing with the Log Cabin blanket that I spent 6 months of my life on a few years ago (made with alternating colors of Cascade 220, pattern adapted from the book Mason-Dixon Knitting). I gave it to Jack because I knew he was the only one that would truly appreciate all the work that went into it. Uncle Jack has always been like a second father to me and was the perfect yin to my father's yang. I talked here and here about how Jack's creative skills made my handmade wedding possible.

Lebanon is a very rural small town with a nice mix of total rednecks and eccentrics living comfortably together for the most part. Mike and Jack get along really well and Mike does things with Jack and I that he would never do with anyone else. Like watching an over 3 hour musical taped copy Jack had made of Into The Woods on PBS, from the original Broadway production, including the actress who played Cinderella whom Jack had been in a production with in college. We actually spent the better part of 2 days shopping, including 4 Antique Malls. Antiques and food are the best parts of our annual trip to visit Jack besides getting to spend some good quality time with my favorite Uncle. There are a surprising number of great antiques shops and local restaurants in Lebanon. As long as Mike has Uncle Jack to make catty remarks with and tease me than he's perfectly content. My favorite find was the 3 plastic hands I got for my craft show display. I took a shot with my glass head and plastic mannequins that I will be using in the display this year as well. We also hit the outlet mall and got some clothes for our vacation which was good.

On Friday we crossed paths with my sister and the girls as they were coming home from Branson. We ate lunch at a renovated library with a museum and cafe inside. I photographed the girls in the bathroom and I was admonished by my sister for letting them climb up on the sink and taking pictures with the paintings on the wall. Kate said "whoever thought you could have this much fun in a library, especially the bathroom!" High School students had painted murals all over the kids section and we had fun staging some scenes.

All in all it was both a relaxing and productive weekend of great company, good shopping, and yummy foods, my three favorite things.


Random Wednesday Business Thoughts

I'm really happy with how the giveaway is going. I mainly wanted to get myself over the 200 hump and it has accomplished that and then some. It has also gotten some lurkers out of the shadows which is always nice. I really like the above picture even though it doesn't show off the scarf or headband very well. I still haven't really gotten a handle on my camera or its functions. It's been either cloudy or too darn hot every day that I've felt like taking pictures for the past few months. Yes, I am full of excuses. I have literally hundreds of items in my inventory that are unphotographed. I'm okay with it for the most part since I am feeling ambivalent about my Etsy shop right now and I'm not ready to make a commitment with any of the other options yet. I've embraced craft shows as the way to make money from my knitting and am excited about doing as many as possible this Fall.

Of the other on-line options out there I really like the direction that Artfire is going but I am unsure of the $12 a month fee. I love the customization that they've made available to the shops and how much they are listening to their sellers, something so different from the Etsy experience right now. But I am very aware that there are about 6 months of the year that I will make very few sales even with all the promotion in the world. The other 6 months would have to be much more lucrative than Etsy was last winter to make it worth it. I haven't taken the time to investigate to see if I could go back and forth between the free shop and the upgraded shop but that is something to explore.

I went through my inventory a few weeks ago to see where I stand. No, I haven't been keeping up on my records as I intended to this year. But I got everything separated out so that I could see what I needed to be working on over the summer months. As I suspected I have plenty of scarflettes and actually had to buy a bigger bin to store them in. I do so love making scarflettes and hopefully they will still be popular at this years shows. I also have more than enough of the higher end scarves.

I think there will be less people willing to make a bigger investment this year than last so I really need to focus on the lower end line. This is my least favorite knitting but for the next 4 months it needs to be my priority. I have plenty of yarn in my supply and I just need to keep finding ways to keep it interesting. I've been using my big needles with several yarns held together which creates some fun scarves that knit up super fast. I've also been using some easy lace stitches that keep me interested with the lower end yarns. I need to get my headbands and wristcuff supply up as well. These are quick knits and I will spend a weekend just doing them which makes them go fast. I'm not real sure about my pouches but I think I will try some different ideas out for little bags. I don't know how well they will sell at the shows but I think it is always good to have variety.


Summer Fun With Lenox Knits Giveaway!

I've decided to celebrate my 200th post with a little giveaway. Yes this is my 200th post and I am also just 4 away from 200 followers. Coincidence, probably. But I still wanted to have a little fun with it. I've decided to giveaway this lacy and fun scarf in vibrant summer colors with a matching headband worth $25 combined. It is a silk and viscose blend and is lightweight and very drapey, perfect for summer days. You can tie the scarf around your waist and wear it is a belt or let it hang loose as a fashion scarf all year round.

I'm going to keep the rules simple. All you have to do to win is follow my blog and leave a comment letting me know. If you already follow my blog than just leave me a comment letting me know. Please include a way to contact you if your e-mail is not easily found on your blog.

If you would like to get one extra entry you can tweet the contest and follow me on twitter. Please leave a comment with the link for your tweet.

It is open to anyone with free worldwide shipping. I will choose the winner by using the random number generator on June 30, 2009.


Happy Anniversary to Me!

Thanks for bearing with me as I rambled this week on my beloved and our unique brand of marital harmony. There's lots more I could say about Mike and our comfortable and happy life together but I'll save it for next year. It took me a long time to get to this place and I spent many years longing for someone who would understand me and still want to be with me. So in conclusion of this week long anniversary celebration here is my message to Mike in handmade glory. Way better than Hallmark any day!

My True Love Part 3

The great thing about my Mike is that even though he is a science nerd he is also incredibly creative too. He plays guitar and has a band with his twin brother on drums and his best friend since he was 4 on vocals and bass. They really are quite good and I'm not just saying that since I'm his wife. You can hear some of their originals on the website he's working on here. He has no aspirations to be a rock star but he just really loves playing music with his buddies and sharing it with people.

When I first met him he was a closet guitar player and was apprehensive to play in public. When Chris moved back into town two years ago they started playing together regularly and with Chris as his partner he started playing at a coffee shop and then a wine bar as a regular duo. Mike started writing songs and he and Chris were able to convince his brother who is a very good drummer to join the team. I'm so proud of what they've accomplished and how far they've come together. They have a local booking agent now that will hopefully be able to get them into some new venues. And Mike has put together a CD with some of the originals. He spent last Friday at his Mom's house cutting out the inserts and getting them all together to sell at the Big Top Tent Sale. Betty called it his little craft project which I thought was hilarious. They sold a few to strangers and more to friends and family.

The great thing about Mike's music passion is that he totally understands my passion for knitting. He has never given me trouble for buying yarn or the time I devote to my hobby. The fact that we both have outside passions and interests keeps our relationship fresh and interesting. Financially our hobbies now pay for themselves with our different ventures which is also a good thing.

He is also a very good writer and has dabbled in writing science fiction. He has a book that he has started about 3 times and every summer he devotes time to it. I tease him that he will never finish it but even if he never does I still respect him for trying. He has ADD and can rarely spend more than 15 minutes at a time focused on anything other than his computer games. The fact that he is able to write and be as accomplished as a musician really is quite remarkable.


My True Love Part 2

Thanks so much for indulging me on my anniversary week. I told Mike not to read my blog this week until I told him to and he said not to worry that he lives my blog so he doesn't have to read it. I was once talking to Mike about how I couldn't believe that my sister married someone so much like my father (macho, traditional values and ideas about relationships, and highly impatient). Mike came back with the fact that I shouldn't be surprised since I had married my mother (catty, loves to tell stories and gossip, lazy, and passive). I couldn't believe that he was the one to point it out to me but it was totally true.

Mike and I have honestly had one total blowout in our entire relationship and it was about toilet paper, which is not as uncommon as you would think I have discovered. We have lots of little squabbles but they are almost immediately forgotten. When we first started dating I tried to instigate fights since that was what I knew but it just didn't work with him. His gentle and honest spirit is one of the things that I love most about him.

He absolutely adores his mother's poodle, Hershey, seen above. Mike sings songs to him and gushs over him every time we are at the house. My family thinks that I am depriving him of a pet but he insists the few weeks we watch him a year for Betty while she visits New York is all he needs.

He is also very good with kids and has legions of students and former students who adore him. He calls himself the King of the Nerds and his Physics classroom is often one of the few places that students feel like they can be themselves. My little niece Kate who is definitely a nerd in training has been in love with him since she was an infant. He was one of the few people she would let hold her when she was a baby and as a toddler would follow bald, heavy set men around that looked like Mike. They have a real bond and I told him it was because he was the only one she considers an intellectual equal. The kids moving has actually been almost as hard on him as me in fact.
The fact that he would make such a great father is one of the main reasons I'm so torn right now about our decision not to have kids. There is a real part of me that feels like I'm depriving him of that role but he insists it is not something he needs in his life and is perfectly content either way. I know this is true since he is so honest and would have no problem telling me otherwise and Mike really is a content soul. He is happy with our life together and finds joy in his job and hobbies. I have no doubt he would be happy as a father or as a beloved uncle whichever way it all works out.


My True Love

Since this is my anniversary week I thought I would share some of the reasons I love my nerdy and sweet husband. Let me start off by saying that before Mike I had rarely dated nerds. I had my bad boy phase and my cop phase and had a very distinct look that Mike most definitely did not fit. But when I was set up with him I had just turned 30 and had a much more open mind about men and what I wanted/needed in a mate. I wanted someone who "got" me and whose quirks were compatible with my own. I needed companionship and someone with an understanding spirit to put up with my varying moods. The picture above is from the first year of our relationship at my first Archon, a gaming convention that Mike and his twin brother have been attending every year since they turned 12.

One story that I think sums up a lot of the reasons I love Mike is from when we were planning our wedding. As I described here we had quite the wedding event that took a lot of time and money to organize and caused a lot of stress on my part. I grew up in a house with a lot of turmoil and fights which was not the best environment for someone with the anxiety I have. My parents are very passionate people and there was always a lot of high emotions in our house. Mike is a very low key and relaxed kind of guy which is exactly what I needed.

I was venting to my mother about Mike complaining to me about the money we were spending on the wedding. I had not learned the boundaries yet that all marriages have to come to between what you share with the in-laws and what you keep between the two of you. I told her how he was annoyed with how much I had spent on my Dad's father's day present. As the words were leaving my mouth it struck me that it was a bad idea since my parents were footing a large portion of the bills for the reception. I later told Mike that I had told my mother in a spiteful moment. There was a moment of silence when I really thought I had struck a nerve and he was going to finally let me have it. Then he said, "Well, I'm going to tell my Mom that you called her a whore."

If you knew my mother in law you would know how hilarious that comment is. She is a widow who doesn't have a whorish bone in her body. It totally broke the tension between us and brought my guard crashing down. This is one of the things I absolutely love about Mike. He knows how to put me in my place but never in a mean or spiteful way.

I'll share some more stories of our true love as the week goes in if you don't mind indulging me.


Anniversary Gifts

So this Friday is Mike and my 5 year anniversary. We are going to the Melting Pot for a romantic dinner that night complete with my mother-in-law. Could Mike be any more of a mama's boy I ask? It is our ritual to have Friday night dinner every week with his Mom and our anniversary is no exception. She is a total sweetheart so it's actually perfectly fine by me and watching her try to figure out the fondue will be entertainment I'm sure.

I have a tradition of getting him a fun handmade anniversary present. Some of them were bigger hits than others. His favorite has been the custom Mean bags by Maybe You Should Die with our "pet" names for each other. He was creeped out by the naked clay figures of us that I got the next year. Tip: if you do get naked clay figures of yourself made, don't leave them out when your niece comes over, (not fun explaining that one).

He liked the tits and ass soap I got him last year although I don't think he's used it much. He got a kick out of when I told Uncle Jack about it and he was able to whip out the CD from the musical and play the tune "Tits and Ass" in the car. Only Uncle Jack would have that CD in his car for that perfect moment.

This year I got him the cross stitched picture from Needles & Pins of this quote from the Anchorman movie. He is always saying that line at work and I thought it would be appropriate to hang in his classroom. I also got him the card at the top by the very clever NotMoir. The inside says "Oh wait, I think that's just gas." After 5 years we have to be able to keep each other amused.


Day of Treasuries!

So I just discovered today that I was in the lovely Curry inspired treasury seen above. It's about to expire and go to where ever treasures go when they disappear. I also happened upon the treasuries opening up by using Craftopolis's handy dandy new treasure clock. If you are unfamiliar with this site it does a search for you to see if you are in any current treasuries or gift guides on Etsy which saves a lot of time searching to see if you are featured anywhere.

I called my treasury A Summer Day with Friends and filled it with summery and colorful finds from some of my blog buddies.


Big Top Tent Sale!

If any of you are in the St. Louis/St. Charles area this weekend there is a fun event I'd love to invite you too. The Big Top Tent Sale is hosted each year by a good friend's Mom who owns the treasure shop Country Korner in O'Fallon, MO. There is a big rummage sale outside, sales in the shop, and my husband's band The Bloolights always play to keep the crowds coming in all day long.

I'm planning on bringing some junk out to sell and there's always lots of good stuff to bring home too. It's on Saturday 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is a good family friendly way to see the guys play, since normally they are in smokey bars late at night.

Mike has been working on a CD that they will be selling as well. It will have their originals that have been recorded in my basement. If you would like to get a taste of their music he has some songs on the new website, thebloolights.com. I'd love to see you there!


Feeling Rustic

As many of you have heard me talk about I grew up on a farm in the middle of nowhere. We had over 2,000 acres of land and open spaces. Sounds like the ideal running grounds for a kid right. Well, unfortunately this kid was allergic to just about everything outside and was far too focused inward to appreciate the great outdoors. I spent much of my childhood with my head in a book. I had my share of summer adventures with my siblings on the farm but I have developed into an adult who really doesn't like being outside.

Mike and I have a screened in porch that is primarily used to take my pictures for the shop and for Mike to grill. I talked about fixing it up this Spring and Mike said why bother it was being utilized as fully as it ever would for us. We don't like eating outside and are both very attached to our air conditioner.

But there is something really soothing to me about bringing pieces of nature indoors. I love the art of woodworking and often turn to it when I am overly stimulated by other distractions. I had another post planned for today but when I went to my favorites I noticed two things hearted on the same day that really spoke to me. One was the Handmade rustic picture frames above by

2 Dogs Wood Working. They have such a rugged and natural feel to them and would look perfect with some shots I need framed of the farm. The other was this gorgeous planter or candle holder by Erde Designs. They can sit on your office desk to bring a touch of nature to your day.

When I did a search for woodworking I found this amazing artist from right here in central Missouri, A Walk in the Woods with Steve Massman. He uses all found wood from Missouri and makes some of the most gorgeous handmade bowls, pens, and all kinds of other useful and decorative items. I particularly adore this Natural Edge Cherry bowl. This is a quote from his website Artist Statement that I love:

Woodturning is addictive to me largely because I can literally save a log from being turned into wood chips or firewood and give it new life as a unique piece of art. I love to take a raw piece of wood and make something functional or artistic out of it."

I love working with wood buttons and beads and try to incorporate organic and natural elements into my knitting as much as possible. I think this Bamboo lace scarf photographed with a rustic wood chair on m
y porch nicely captures that feel.


By The Numbers

I've seen this on two blogs today, Joyuna & biku designs, and and I thought it was interesting to see how other sellers compare. It will be good for me to go back and look again in 4 months when I get back into my season for sales. I haven't been listing or relisting much lately in the Etsy shop and my views are dramatically down, but it's not a knitter's time of year. I currently have hundreds of items in my inventory that aren't listed but I'll start photographing and listing them again in the Fall. If you would like to share your numbers feel free. It's certainly no competition but it is a useful tool to see where we stack up.

5,664 Blog Visits this month
463 Etsy shop views this month
46 items currently in shop
10826 Etsy item views
78 Etsy items sold
80 Etsy item hearts
556 Etsy shop hearts
3662 Twitter followers
180 blog followers
190 blog posts
Flickr photostream views

One other number that I'm excited about is my google page rank. I checked again the other day and found that I was up to a 3. Very exciting even though I have no real understanding of how it works or what it means. I just know that when I started watching it 4 months ago it was at a 1 so I guess I'm doing something right.


Adventurous Day with the Girls

My sister is feeling pretty overwhelmed with trying to find a house in a city she has never lived and has only visited for a few days. She asked if I could take the older girls off her hands yesterday and I was happy to oblige. First I gave Savannah her birthday present of 2 handmade dolls by Cuban creator Muapurses with a knitted sleeping bag to match their wild colors. She was a bit confused by them at first but eventually warmed up to them. We got her down for a nap and I left with Jess and Kate to watch UP. Mike had really wanted to come but he was suffering from a migraine in the morning so I had to leave without him.

We thoroughly enjoyed the adventurous movie and we stuffed ourselves with candy, soda, and popcorn like only an aunt can do. On the way out of the theatre I took a wrong turn and we ended up at the mall. Instead of turning around in the parking lot we decided to head in. We found our way to their favorite store and bought some Aunt Paige approved outfits that they picked out with the intent that their Mom would hate them. We got some cool earrings at Claire, including finding some clip ons for Jess who has been too nervous to get her ears pierced.

I got a call from Mike when we were headed back home and he was feeling better and was disappointed that he hadn't gotten to see the movie. So I told him to meet us at the house and we could all go see the movie again. We took the girls out for Indian where I actually had to ask the waiter for ketchup for their chicken. I was a bit mortified by that but the girls loved the chicken and bread, after swearing they would never try Indian food earlier in the day.

Jess kept saying it was weird to be going to the same movie twice in one day but they were totally enjoying the adventure. I agreed with her that there weren't as many surprises the second time but the movie was just as good. We got them home before 10:00 p.m. and Angie seemed much more relaxed and less manic. She and her husband had time to look at a lot of houses on-line and talk about their priorities in the new house. I'm glad to report that they are very happy with the public schools and are likely going to skip the private schools.

I enjoyed the day and know that the girls did too. I really hope that we will be able to have more adventures together even after they head to Dallas.


First Craft Show Anxiety

So a few of you asked how to deal with the first craft show anxiety. The short answer is to be prepared and just do it. I'll give you some of my long answer thoughts but B.B. Bellezza, a craft show veteran who has far more experience than myself addresses craft show jitters in this very comprehensive manual if you want some other good ideas.

The pictures above were borrowed from my sister in law, the sewing extraordinaire Gray Eyed Scorpio on the right, and is from our first adventure in craft shows. Our friend Leslie is to my left and she made some decoupaged creations for the day. It was an outdoor street festival in Troy, MO in October 2007 and Debi blogged about it back then here. You can't tell from the picture but we were all very nervous. The good thing was we had each other to joke with and bounce ideas off of. If you can do you first show with a friend or team I would highly recommend it. It takes some of the pressure off of you to make sure everything is perfect. Some shows won't let you share a table so be sure to ask, but other low key events won't make a fuss.

I can't say that I'm proud of our booth display but we were total newbies and trying to combine 3 different crafts into one display. We used to joke that we had the "Power of Three" and Debi made up a banner to try to tie things together. Luckily we had plenty of room to spread ourselves out.

The best way to elevate your anxiety is to be as prepared as possible. Set your booth display up at home and get everything just the way you like and then take a picture. Save it to your phone or make a copy of it so that you have something to work from on the big day. I'll talk in another post about how to find display items and ideas for how to set it up.

Have your checklist of things that you need for the day printed out. I found a very comprehensive list here that covers just about everything you could possibly need. You might not need everything mentioned but it is a great place to start.

Be sure to have everything priced and tagged clearly before hand. For last year I hand wrote on the back of my business cards, hole punched them and tied them to my items, but I'm hoping to come up with something more professional for this year. I usually take a day off of work the day before to make sure my inventory is in order. Have some sort of signage for your table to let people know who you are. You don't have to spend much money if you are just getting started. Get creative and make your own. Here is a step by step tutorial that my sister in law did for her banner.

For your first show start small. Find a low key event at a school or church near your house so you don't have to worry about getting lost or running late, always one of my big fears the night before. If you are traveling somewhere unfamiliar print out the mapquest directions and if possible check somehow to make sure that it is the most direct route.

Don't be disappointed if you don't sell a ton of stuff at this first show, just look at is as a dry run to get over those first show jitters. Keep telling yourself that this is your hobby and it's supposed to be fun. That helps me for some reason. I will also tell myself that this is not my job and my mortgage doesn't depend on it. If it did I can't imagine how nervous I would be. I'm usually a mess until I have my first sale and then I will calm down a bit. Once I make my booth fee I breathe a sigh of relief and am much calmer for the rest of the day.

At the very least load up your car the night before and go through your checklist to make sure you have everything so you don't have to worry about it the morning. If you are allowed to set up the night before take advantage of it. Even if you don't leave all of your inventory just having the display done will save you a major headache in the morning. That first hour of getting the car unloaded and getting things set up is always the most harried for me. I end up hot and sweaty and feeling disheveled, not how you want to feel right before facing the public. If you have a friend or agreeable hubby have them come along for at least the first part of the day if you can't set up the night before.

Definitely get a good night's sleep the night before. Don't, I repeat Don't, stay up all night making new items to sell. If it relaxes you to work on your craft do so but having a few extra things will not be worth the all nighter if you are tired and cranky the next day. I try to go to bed early and may take a Tylenol PM to help me calm down and slow my racing thoughts. Don't take it too late in the evening so you wake up with a cloudy head and definitely don't go out and party the night before.

Wear something comfortable but not too comfortable. I generally don't wear jeans but this is a personal preference. I wear comfortable knit slacks with something that I hope reflects my personality. It is important to remember that we aren't just selling things, we want people to buy into the whole package and hopefully come back for more. Definitely wear one of your items if applicable. You want them to see the inventory in action and how cool it looks on. Have a big mirror to whip out and allow people to try things on themselves.

Whenever we interact with the public there will be a few bad eggs. I've never had an aggressively rude customer but I've heard horror stories from other vendors. Try not to have a thin skin and don't take it personal if someone turns their nose up at your booth or doesn't get the inherent wonderfulness of you and your product. If someone says something hurtful smile and show them you are a bigger person, because you don't know who is behind them that could overhear you. Vent to your neighbor but don't complain about things too much or too loudly because that will make you a target. If it is a juried show or even if it isn't don't make too much of a fuss or you will be remembered as a troublemaker and you could lose out on future shows.

As creative types we tend to have a more sensitive disposition. Don't let this stop you from trying something new and putting yourself out there. Most people will be complimentary and you will get more feedback in one day about your work than in a year on line. I have had some wonderful interactions with customers that gave me warm and fuzzy feelings for weeks afterwards. When someone really gets you and wants to actually buy something you made with your own hands it's one of the best feeling in the world.


Craft show Ideas

Thanks everyone for all you sweet words in my last post. I'm doing what I need to do to get balanced again. I know it seems early but I am starting to plan for next Fall's show season which gives me something to not only work towards but look forward to. As I've said before I did 3 shows last year and I did a post with my thoughts right after the season was over. I would like to raise that to 5 shows this year. It is not easy deciding which shows are worth your time but let me tell you the thought process I go through when considering a show.

For me it is all about Fall. Spring and summer shows are not worth the time and energy for me. Knitting is inherently a Fall/Winter craft. On this note I really prefer indoor shows. I have one outdoor festival that is the exception but I choose to do it in the covered pavilion. I don't want to have to deal with setting up a tent and keeping my scarves dry and clean outdoors. There is a big advantage to setting up in a tent if you can find a cheap one like my sister in law, Gray Eyed Scorpio, did as you can spread out and can control the display more. She found a very reasonable tent on Craigslist that is supposed to be easy to open although she still needed her husband the first time. Here was her booth at last years Strange Folk Festival in all of its glory.

Weather can be much more of a factor with outdoor shows and if you are set up next to a food vendor you may come away with inventory stinking of BBQ, yes it happened to me once. I did a street show with a few friends just to get a feel for it 2 years ago and I decided that wasn't my scene pretty quickly. These outdoor street events often have entertainment that you are competing with not to mention the resellers peddling their Avon and non-handmade items. Many of the festival goers are there with their kids to enjoy the day and aren't thinking about shopping for handmade.

Another thing to consider when choosing a show is whether it is juried or not. Personally I prefer juried shows since it keeps the resellers out but there is the stress factor of waiting to see if you got in. I am not in the league to consider the high end art shows but if you are than you need to plan pretty far in advance and be willing to put out some bucks in fees. The most I've ever paid for a booth fee is $90 but I have heard of shows that cost in the hundreds of dollars that attract a high end clientele. Shows that have been around along time and have a built in clientele are worth the investment in most cases. You should consider how long they have been doing the event and if possible find out how many attended the year before. I've never done an event that charged attendees to enter but I've been told they bring out people really ready to shop.

The show that I did for $90 was the Lindbergh show which is the largest one in the St. Louis area. It is a more traditional show held in a sprawling High School and draws up to 10,000 a year. I did not make quite as much last year as I had hoped there but I am doing it again this year as it was a good way to connect with a different audience. I got at least one large sale after the fact from it on-line by passing out my cards. It was for 2 days which I really prefer since I feel that if I'm going to devote a weekend to a show I'd rather have it be the whole weekend. You may feel the opposite and there are any number of one day events at schools and churchs with booth fees under $50 that you can use to get your feet wet. I plan on doing one of these in my local area this year so that people at work and friends can come without having to travel too far.

I'm lucky that in my area there are several groups that promote very good indie shows. These events bring out a younger crowd with more dispensable income, always a plus. My scarves/scarflettes have been received well by this market and I consider them my target at this point. It can be harder to find these events if you haven't done them before but you can look into your local craft mafia as they are often behind many of these shows. Indie Craft Shows is a directory of national indie events. It doesn't have any of the ones listed here in MO that I know of, but it is a place to start.

Missouri has a site called MissouriArtsAndCrafts with a list of events and I'm sure your state probably has something similar. It is not complete and many event planners may not have started submitting their Fall shows for this year yet. I will sometimes go back to the year before and see what was offered and then do a google search to see if I can find any info on something if it sounds interesting.

I just discovered a new site called Craft Lister with over 50,000 events listed across the country. You can sign up for free but to access all the details and reviews of the shows it costs a fee. It is $20 for 2 months which should be all the time you would need. You can also get some time for free by giving reviews or referring people. If you are interested please let me know and I will send you an e-mail and if you sign up for the free account I get 14 days of full service for free!

Another comprehensive site is Festival Network Online. You can search events for free here but to get full details and other services it costs $49 a year. This is more than I can justify paying but I do use it to search and then I google events that sound interesting to see if I can find more details.

The Artsy Crafter is a favorite blog of mine that focuses on art and craft shows by an artist that has many years in the circuit to share. If you are just getting started it is good to attend some shows first to get a feel for it and talk to some vendors to get their ideas. Some people will be open to helping while others might be more reserved, especially if you are in the same category. I know there is at least one other knitter in the St. Louis area that I see around and consider my "competition" for shows. Would I share all of my secrets with her, probably not, but I'd be happy to answer any questions you guys might have about shows.

(c) Lenox Knits, 2009|Created by NSD