Thanks!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

This has been a crazy year, going from an inkling of an idea in the spring to November with a full line of products with multiple craft shows under my belt. Thank you for your support, whether that’s simply visiting this website and reading these words, or visiting me at a show and letting me see your joy at interacting with these paper things I’ve made, or helping me at midnight the night before a show when I’m frantically sorting and sticking and cutting, covered in bits of colored paper and string.

You’re amazing, wherever you fall along that spectrum. Thank you!

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Doing the craft fair thing, so far

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In the interest of collecting high-level observations and notes, without being tempted to wax poetical, here’s a list of the 10 things I’ve learned from my first two craft fairs:

1. Every fair/show/event is different. Location, time of year, time of day, weather, general mood of the populace, and who organized the event, along with innumerable other variables, will determine how much stuff gets bought.

2. The weather forecast for amount and type of wind is possibly more important than temperature when you sell things made out of paper.

3. The type of substrate an outdoor event is held on makes a big difference for cleanup. A dusty parking lot is way messier than your average city block (especially on a windy day).

4. Have a succinct pitch. Be able to explain what, why, and how you do what you do in just a few words.

5. Be able to elaborate without being awkward! If someone is interested in more details, be able to expand on your pitch. My first show was awkward and I told some probably self-deprecating stories to strangers who then looked at me funny and walked away instead of buying stuff.

6. Stay engaged. Be on your feet or otherwise active so that you’re on the same level as people walking by.

7. Have something to work on. Don’t plan on getting any actual work done. This is something I wish I’d done for my first show, but then the second show was so different in terms of passer-by engagement levels that it didn’t seem to do anything positive. And things kept blowing away. This point requires more study.

8. Yes, this paper box costs as much as a (cheap) latte. I spent a significant amount of time designing it out of thin air, prototyping the design until it worked to my satisfaction, cutting out your box with my cutting machine, peeling it off of the cutting mat, trimming and correcting any imperfections by hand, cutting and applying adhesive stickers by hand so that you don’t have to get your bottle of glue out, and paying to have a booth at this craft fair so that you can pay me $4. Sounds like a deal to me!

9. My best-seller today will not be my best-seller tomorrow. (See item #1)

10. People seem to need concrete ideas for how to use my products. “Awesome gift box!” doesn’t seem to have broad enough appeal, at least to those two audiences. “Teacher gift” or “Wedding favor” or something along those lines got more people interested…though I’m still missing something, because interest doesn’t usually connect to a sale.

Not an exhaustive list, and really only the surface level of things I’ve been pondering and reflecting on, but it feels good to get these things recorded before too much more time passes.

According to item #1, I should be able to make a list like this after each show!

Watercolor & Lace Wedding Invitations

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Watercolor & Lace Wedding Invitation

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For this wedding, the bride wanted to bring in a lot of textural, textile elements: lace, burlap, linen, wood grain, flowers, and the colors yellow and blue. She was especially interested in incorporating paper doilies, to mimic lace.

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I pulled together a paper palette with the doily, brown “paper bag” paper, a beautifully textured cream-colored paper, and after a lot of searching, the perfect blue color. I also scoured stock illustration databases to find an illustration that incorporated the same flowers that would be featured in the bride’s bouquet, come wedding time.

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I am a big fan of pocket enclosures for wedding invitations, since they keep all of the pieces and parts together and organized, hopefully preventing last-minute guest confusion. For these invitations we adhered the paper doilies to the pre-made enclosure (and went through an astounding number of glue sticks in the process). I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut out the custom shape for the invitation and the invitation backing. The invitation actually tucks into the loops on the blue backing paper.

 

Frank Lloyd Wright-Inspired Wedding Invitations

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Elegant Autumn Wedding Invitations

Elegant wedding invitations Full wedding invitation suite

I designed these invitations for some good friends several years ago. They lived in the Chicago area at the time, and wanted invitations that reflected Frank Lloyd Wright’s influence on the area. We went with a fall-themed green and brown color scheme and pulled in some delicate illustrated elements to add interest and reference wrought iron decorations.

The brown enclosure contains all of the pieces, and keeps everything organized so guests know what’s planned.