November/December 2012

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I haven't given up on my blog, just taking a rest - meanwhile enjoy these pictures of my Xmas tree and a bonus.

My Tannenbaum  

Although quilling is my salient creative endeavor these days, I do many more artsy-craftsy things. My Etsy shop is filled with holiday decorations and my Xmas tree is covered with them, all hand made (by me, except for the tree topper, a clear-Lego design made by my son) using a variety of techniques: lusciously-decorated satin balls, crochet, needlepoint and cross-stitch, plastic canvas, beading - some from kits or printed directions, some originals (all my quilling ornaments are original designs).

I have been crafting ornaments for the last 4 decades. Sadly, the early ones are lost, but I still have enough to more than decorate a tree. Take a look and enjoy!

To the left and and above it, decorated satin balls from TheCrackerBox dominate my tree - I have close to 100 of them, all made since the late 1990s. In the upper left picture, next to the blue one with the draped beads (Chandelier), is one of the quilled showflakes I sell in my Etsy shop. In the center of the picture on the left is a round needlepoint ornament (drum) and to the right of that, a beaded candy cane - my kids and I made quite a few of them in the early 80s.

Above - Santa made of seed beads on perforated paper; ornament made of yarn needlepoint on silver perforated paper, both made in the late 80s.
Above, left to right: Counted cross-stitch mini-bag with candy canes (which are the same ones I put in there when I made it in the early 80s!). Crocheted cover on satin ball with pearls, ribbons and flowers. Embroidered lace around a satin oblong ball. Raffia needlepoint on plastic canvas - made in November 1987 when I was in Alaska on a work assignment.

Our stockings are counted cross-stitch (satin lining) made in the mid 80s. They're hung with silver stocking holders on a window sill by the tree because we do not have a fireplace. >


< A very ambitious project!
Gifts wrapped to form the parts of a snowman, perhaps a little tipsy?!

The wrapping paper has silver snowflakes on a white background. The base is a square box; 2 round boxes make up the torso and head (I got the idea from a picture I found on Pinterest using 3 square boxes). Wrapping round boxes is difficult and balancing them even more so.

Maybe square boxes would have been okay...

There were gifts in the flocked-paper hat (another round box with an added brim) and in all the tiny compartments (eyes and buttons) which held little things like < the ornament I made for my Lego-lovin' Steelers fan. There were even a couple geocaching pens in the nose and the crocheted (broomstick lace) scarf was made from - of course - Lego colors! (See his Etsy shop here.)

Craft Fair

Christmasville, a 4-day early-December event in my town (actually a city, but town sounds more seasonally appropriate!), includes a vast array of activities: parade, Santa's arrival (via helicopter!), "village" lighting ceremony, carolers, performances by community members and groups young through old, food events, races and contests, and so much more (here's a link to an article listing them all).

There was also the Candy Cane Market, which was a craft fair/sale (more than that, but that's what it was to me) overseen by the Professional Business Women's Association. They did a great job organizing it, advertising it, and getting sponsors, vendors, and (most important!) shoppers. Ambiance was the best I've seen in a long time (years) - no music blaring away, no "entertainment", no extra activities - I could actually carry on conversations with shoppers without having to yell or ask them to repeat their questions, or have them distracted by too much going on. Calm, pleasant, stress-free for the participants. It was a market, plain and simple, no distractions from what is, after all, the primary purpose: to provde a venue for people to show and sell their wares. Tons of kudos for the PBWA!

There were more than 70 vendor tables, one of which my son and I shared. It was a lot of fun and we sold a couple dozen items between us. Here are some photos of our booth along with descriptive comments.

We sold ornaments and jewelry at our booth - my son's made from Lego bricks (Christopher's
Creations - see the shirt I got him as an early Christmas gift?) and mine made from Quilling paper (Barbara's Beautys - no shirt for me becuase I didn't think it was a good idea to have
"Barbara's Beautys" emblazoned across my chest!). These are our Etsy shop names.
(Feel free to visit us at BarbarasBeautys and ChristopherCreation)

I read (and noticed it about 2/3 of the time) that people see what is at eye level first, so we created vertical displays made from 3 foam boards - gray because the photos in our Etsy Shops have a gray background - propped up on table easels with glass-head pins to mount the pieces.
The Christmas tree cutouts are from glittery wrapping paper, the sparkle intended to draw attention.
Of course, I used my computer skills for signage. We pinned the ornaments on the display boards at home, very carefully slid thiem into the same big bag the boards were bagged in at the store, and took them to the venue where we simply set them on table top easels.

I put a couple packs of quilling paper up in the corner so people could see what I use to make
my Beautys - later I opened a pack and let people "feel" it. Most people had either never heard of
quilling before or told me their mothers or grandmothers used to do it (I'm so old ).
A couple people asked if I teach quilling, so I might set up some classes in January - share the fun!

Many items were duplicated on the boards, stands and table - some people "discovered" things on the boards, some on the ornament stands, and some browsed through the pre-packaged items on the table - and often "discoverd" more when they looked at another place in our booth. I.e., people saw more because of the multiple placement.

We shared the jewelry board, using it to "divide" the table. Because there are so many possible variations, we both customize our jewelry - metal-tone, earring style, necklace length and
colors of bricks or paper. Some customization is done on the spot but some (especially colors)
has to be done at home and shipped to the customer.

(My sign looked a little plain with just a name so I added a few quilled elements. It was SOOOO nice to create something more "frou-frou" than the earrings and ornaments I've been working on the past few months - after the end of this year, I'm going to spend a few weeks in "frou-frou" land!)

Above: Dale (his middle name is Christopher) and his Creations. His Lego ornaments are 3" in diameter (not flat) and so could not be hung on the tree-cutout on his board. We wanted the symmetry, vertical display and sparkle, so he used some of my crystal-glitter-on-plastic snowflakes, glued colored glitter in the middle and added little store-bought snowmen to them. Nice result but the tree looked sparsely decorated, so he used more of the same snowmen to create earrings to match each snowflake - turned out quite cute, a nice set!

First there were red-and-green ornaments.
Then there were red-and-white and green-and-white ornaments.
Next there were red-green-and-white tri-color ornaments.
Finally, my ever-conscientious son decided to make blue-and-white ornaments for Hannakah, and red-green-and-black ornaments for Kwaanza.
Never mind that there are no Hannakah or Kwaanza trees, he would tell you,
there are many things that can be decorated!

The stand to the right of center in the picture in the above picture revolves. Unfortunately, these Lego spheres are too heavy for the stand, making it top-heavy - it fell over 10 seconds after it was turned on. Sigh...

Clear Lego "windows" make a tree topper. An artist's palette (and then some) of posts/studs.

We thought these stocking stuffers were so cute and clever they would be gobbled up (punny!) - not one person bought one! Even at only $1, they got zero interest!

Sparkly Jingle Bells

I have been preparing for a local craft fair on December 1, 2012. My son and I will be sharing a table to display our jewelry and Christmas ornaments, his made from Legos, mine from quilling paper. Busy, busy, busy building up our inventories, but still time to create something new.

On a recent visit to the craft store (a regular outing these days!) I found some small jingle bells in the same colors as my favorite metellic-edged paper. That just screamed "new design" so here it is:

These are available in my Etsy shop under this listing. Etsy has a new element called "Variations" - it allows me to have one listing for the different colors. This is done via a drop-down box. I'm still deciding about whether I like this - you'd still have to order each item separately if you wanted different colors. Also, I am concerned that people will think the listing is for all 3. Well, I'll wait for awhile to see if it works or if I should just go back to separate listings.



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