21 December 2014

Mini-Inuit


I’ve made tiny peg dolls like these before, but I made these ones a little more special with their furry hoods! Whether you call them Mini Inuit, Tiny Eskimos, or, as one of my customers called them, little Santas, they are a really cute addition to your Christmas tree!

1. Saw off the peg near the point that the legs attach.

2. Drill a small hole at the top and screw a small hook in.


3. Stick some washi tape to paper. Punch out or cut out circles from the tape about 1cm diameter. Stick the tape to the face of the doll.

4. Paint the doll all over in one colour.

5. Wind a white pipe-cleaner around a peg. Cut it into circles.


6. Paint faces on the dolls using black, red and pink paint. I used a cocktail stick to paint the eyes and mouths.


7. Put a thin line of hot glue around the edge of a doll's face, leave for ten or twenty seconds so it's not super-hot, and press a pipe-cleaner circle to it.


8. Cut lengths of pretty twine, and tie these to the hooks.

These were a real hit at my little craft fair at work, and I came home that evening and immediately started making more! I think they would also look cute painted in a white glitter finish.

I love how each one seems to have its own particular personality, because of the hand-painted faces.
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20 December 2014

Nativity tin


I'm a little bit addicted to collecting nativity scenes! So it's fun to be able to make some of my own. These are really easy to make, and can be decorated in all sorts of different ways.

You'll need:
A small tin, for example a mint tin
Two clothes pegs
One or two small wooden beads
Two small magnets (either tiny round ones, or magnet strip that you can cut to shape)
A star-shaped button (or you could cut a star from card)
Any other paper, paint etc you'd like to decorate with
1. Cut the pegs to length. Make sure they will fit in the tin when they are lying down.
2. Paint the pegs if you like, and glue the magnets to the bottom.
3. Decorate the tin if you want to - I like to use washi paper and Mod Podge.
4. Cut a small piece of white card and wrap it around one of the beads. Glue the other bead in place as the head, and glue them in place in the bottom of the tin.
5. Glue the star in place in the top of the tin.
6. If you like, attach a ribbon to the tin, so it can be hung in its closed position as a Christmas tree ornament.

Your peg dolls can stand up in the tin, as the magnets in the bottom will secure them. Then, when it is time to clear away the Christmas decorations, they can be laid down flat and the tin can be closed.


You can go as simple or as complex as you like with this project - keeping the pegs and tin completely plain, or decorating them elaborately as I did with the Japanese themed one I made some years ago.



19 December 2014

New Moo cards!

I recently got some new Moo cards printed, and luckily they arrived in time for the craft fair I did at work last month!

This time I went for a single design on all my cards, with the banner image from my blog header. I also put a photo on the back, the same one that I use on most of my social media, and I used a teal colour for the text to match the colour scheme on the blog.

I'm really pleased with them, I think they look really professional!



The original collage they are based on is getting a bit faded now, because I have it on display in my craft room which is very sunny!

Here's how I displayed them at the craft fair, in a little basket.

18 December 2014

Craft fair poster design

I thought you might like to see the poster that I designed for the little craft fair I organised at work last month.

I'd originally intended just to print a simple page from Word, with black text, then I realised I could do something much more creative! I looked at various posters online, which gave me some inspiration for the colour scheme. I then used Photoshop to create the poster in layers. I made the illustrations in Illustrator, then imported them in.

The fonts that I used were Fredericka the Great (this is the one at the top that looks hand drawn, and it's my new favourite), IM Fell DW Pica SC, Stint Ultra Condensed, and Rye, which were all downloaded from Google Fonts.

I was really pleased with how my poster turned out, and I got a lot of compliments on it.

17 December 2014

Star stamp

Here's a quick and easy carved stamp project, which is great for creating price tags or stickers for a craft fair! 

All I did was to draw two concentric circles on the eraser, then carve the area between these lines into the points of a star. I deliberately made it slightly imperfect.

This star is great for using on money-off stickers, and I also used it on the backing cards for my Tunnock's Teacake brooches!

16 December 2014

Craft fair branding ideas

Today I’d like to continue from yesterday’s post about planning for a craft fair, and go into a bit more depth about how I created a consistent brand identity across all the items on my craft stall.

So, the name of my “brand” is emuse, and I have tried to make sure that this name is attached to as many items on the stall as possible, and I’ve also tried to have a consistent look across everything on the stall. I thought this would be difficult, as my inspirations are as varied as Japanese kawaii and Scandinavian simplicity, but it somehow all came together!

Bunting
The emuse bunting for the front of the stall was one of my first ideas, before I had any real idea about what items I would be selling or what the stall would look like! All I knew was that it seemed like a good idea to have a name on the front of my stall! And, in fact, this bunting served as the inspiration when I redesigned the blog, so it’s really become my brand identity online as well!
 
Price tags
I started out with the idea of using plain white price tags on my wares, and I’m not sure at what point I realised it would be a better idea to use my brand name on them. I made a lino-cut for this (I’d probably have done a carved eraser, but didn’t have one large enough!) and the rustic printing of the lino-cut works well with the style of the stall, I think.


Price labels
For the little standing price labels I again used a lino-cut, and it works well alongside the price tags as they have a similar look. I also try to keep the style of the emuse lettering quite similar wherever I use it.

Backing cards
The backing cards that I use for my brooches are made with the same lino-cut as the price tags. I usually make all the price tags and backing cards in cream, but for my Tunnock’s Teacake brooches I did veer from this and made them yellow to mimic the teacake packaging box.
Handwriting
I always use the same type of pen when writing the price tags and labels, for consistency.

Blackboard
The little blackboard was another way that I brought the emuse brand name onto the stall.
Fabric
The red gingham fabric that I use as a tablecloth is actually a couple of old duvet covers that I found at a charity shop! The colour of it works well with the colours of the other items on the stall.

Staging items
I have tried to use items that are all quite similar in colour on my stall, so they are mainly pine items or baskets. The wooden box that I use is also what I pack many of the items into for transport, so it is multipurpose!


Business cards
I recently redesigned my business cards to have the emuse bunting design on them, and I display them in a little basket with the same red gingham material I use as a tablecloth. When I did my second fair I included a business card in each bag – if you’re doing this I’d recommend putting them in the bags beforehand, as it was a bit fiddly doing it while people were buying items!


Bags
The bags that I used were in colours that matched my stall quite well. But this was actually pure coincidence, as I’ve had these bags since I made my first ever attempt at having a craft stall back when I was about thirteen! But now I’m down to my last few bags, and am looking forward to getting some more to match the stall!

Stickers
I designed some new Moo stickers recently, with various photos including the emuse name, and I used these to seal the bags.

Clothing

Yes, I even choose what I wear at my craft stall to fit in with my brand identity! This time I wore this Scandinavian dress.

15 December 2014

Planning for a craft fair

Today I'm starting a week of posts all related to craft fairs!

I’m not really an expert, having only done a couple of craft fairs, but here are some things that worked for me and may be useful to others!
Theme or style
Choose a consistent theme or style for your stall so that everything goes together (but doesn’t necessarily “match”). From the items you choose to go on your stall, to the table covering, business cards, staging items, etc, it looks so much more professional if it all looks consistent. For example, I went with a sort of country/shabby chic style for my stall with some folklore influences, and a colour scheme of red gingham, duck-egg blue and pine.

Table
If you can, find out what size the table will be, so that you have a trial run of setting your stall up at home, and can bring a table cover of the appropriate size. This could be a tablecloth, old duvet cover, or any other fabric. Choose a fabric that fits the style of the items on your stall, and isn’t so busy that your items will be lost on it. You can also ask whether you can bring lighting, and whether you can set up things around or in front of your stall or on the wall behind.
Sign
Have some sort of sign so that the customers will know the name of your brand. Even if you don’t have a business as such, having a brand name is useful. The sign could be a banner (of fabric or paper), a picture frame, blackboard, etc. I put a clothes peg at each end of my banner so I could clip it to the fabric.
Staging
To stage the items on your stall, it’s a good idea to have things at different levels, so I used boxes, a small stool, a plant stand, and a few other items to achieve this. It also looks good to have the items well organised, with smaller items in boxes or baskets that the customers can dig through (with maybe one or two items in front to show them what’s in the basket). Trays and chopping boards are other things you can use to corral items together, and mug trees are good for hanging things from. Try to come up with some unique ways to display your items, to make your stall stand out from the crowd.


Price tags/labels
Here’s a good way to have a consistent brand across all your products – make price tags or labels. I made lino cuts so I can print all my labels, but you could print them from a computer if you like. I have three types that I use:
1. Hang tags that I tie to items (price can be stuck to or written on back)
2. Cards for brooches or earrings (again can be priced on back)
3. Standing labels with the item name and price written on the front – I have these for all my items but they are particularly useful for delicate items you don’t want customers to handle too much, or items that don’t have a suitable place to stick a price label.


Things to bring
Some of the things I bring include water, a float (the amount depends on many factors, like how expensive your items are, whether they are priced at round numbers, and how much you expect to sell), money belt, bags, gift boxes, string, sellotape, price list, pen/pencil, notepad (my brain turned to mush trying to add simple numbers together!), and lip balm! If you’ve got business cards, bring lots and put them in a pretty container. If the fair is longer than a few hours, bring food and maybe a friend!

Be friendly and cheery
This is probably the most difficult bit for an introvert like me, which is probably why I found it easier to start with a fair at my workplace, where I would know a lot of the customers. I tend to say a cheery hello, smile and make eye contact with anyone who approaches the stall, to let them know that I’m ready to attend to them, then give them a chance to have a look undisturbed. If they seem to be paying attention to any particular item I’ll tell them a bit about it. If a lot of customers arrive at once, I'll try to keep an eye on what order they decide on a purchase, so that I can serve them in order, and smile and make eye contact with those who are waiting so they know I'm aware they are waiting. Consider wearing your favourite outfit to help give you confidence!