Saturday, September 27, 2014

Lessons From My First Craft Fair

Recently, my friend Maria and I ventured onto a new adventure - a craft show! Neither one of us had ever done this before, but we had received many compliments on our tie dyes at the company picnic this year. Many suggested we sell them. So when the opportunity to do just that at a charity craft fair, we jumped at it!

We started right away with building an inventory, but it wasn't until we signed up for a second craft fair next week that we decided maybe we should do some research. Um, can you say overwhelmed! Between a crash course in  pricing, booth design, business cards, packaging, and phew even starting the bare bones of an Etsy shop, we felt like our head's were spinning!

I think we did an amazing job with the time we had! The picture above shows our set-up today. Looks pretty good, except our measurements were a bit off and we should have brought two tables. Less clutter on the table and better use of space! 

Here are some lessons we learned:

A craft fair is not always busy. Actually this one was very slow. Not that many people came. It was not the fault of the coordinator. It was well advertised. It's just that we had a gorgeous day and there were more outdoor events going on in the area.

Bring something to do! Even better if it is in your power to work on some of what you sell to replace what might sell. Now we sure can't tie dye at a craft show, but a book would have been nice.

Do not take it personally if your items do not sell as well as another crafter's. For THIS fair, your items may not be what the majority are looking for, bu next time might be your opportunity! Kinda goes along with you can't please all of the people all of the time.

Do not wait until the last minute to prepare! This is pretty self explanatory. We were pretty exhausted today.

Get a brand. Make what you do stand out. OK, so tie dye pretty much stands out all on it's own, but everything else should go with what you are hoping to represent. Notice the table cover, sign, etc.

Socialize with the other crafters! We got so much encouragement from others there today. And we learned about their crafts, processes, and of upcoming fairs! We met some lovely folks and it made the event a bit more fun.

Did we do well today? Not really. We only made $36. We sold a baby onsie, 2 towels, a candle holder, and 2 child's shirts.  Traffic was slow, what can you do? The fact that items DID sell in a low traffic environment, when others around us did not make any sales was pretty encouraging.

Friday, September 19, 2014

I Thought Pressure Canning Was Faster

As I sit here at 11:00 PM, I am still waiting for the chili I started preparing from scratch at 7 O'Cock to be done in my brand spanking new Pressure Canner! It took me a about an hour and a half to chop, dice, simmer, and all that other jazz. And then the canner.....

You have to heat it up, vent it for 10 minutes, put on the weight, wait for it to rock, regulate the temperature and THEN you get to start timing! In this instance AN HOUR AND A HALF! What? Yeah, you read that right.

I still have 35 minutes left! I am tired. I want to go to bed. Yeah, so I am not a wild and crazy thing up until all hours on a Friday, so what? You probably already figured that out by the fact that I am canning homemade chili on my Friday evening anyway.

My day started at 5:30AM. I walked the track before work and put in my full 8 hours. I went to Target after work.... and then THE CHILI....

I thought this thing worked faster than this! Should have done some major homework. I mean pressure "Cooking" is known for it's time saving qualities, right?

All I can say is this better be some damn fine chili! (OK I know it will be as I always make it this way, but you know what I mean).

I did manage to get some crafting in, so the whole night has not been devoted to the chili!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Most Intimidating and Exciting Gift Ever! I Have A Pressure Canner!

Last week was my Birthday and hubby surprised me with a pressure canner! I have wanted one for years, but would never spend the money. In my eyes, there was always something we, as a family needed more. Yes, I know, in the long run a pressure canner will save us a bunch, but it was always that initial investment that held me back.  Our income is about half what it was 5 years ago and we do feel the pinch!

I tried a small batch of pears I got free, as hubby's friend has a pear tree. I figured if something went wrong, no big loss.  I will tell you, my heart raced throughout the entire process.  It was not the smashing success, as 2 jars did not set. But, that was my error. I did not leave enough head space and the liquid got on the jar rims. But, nothing blew up either!

I am already planning a huge batch of chili this weekend. I cannot wait.  This is going to be fun! And what  better, more hearty meal in the winter? Plus all we will need to do is grab a jar and heat it. Perfect for when it is my son's night to cook.

Anyone have any hints or fantastic tips for me?

I have read the instruction manual at least 3 times and am scouring Pinterest right now.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

My Second Botox Treatment For Chronic Migraine

Two weeks ago I received my second Botox treatment for my chronic migraine. Again, I received 31 injections in my head, neck, and shoulders. This time I had a major migraine when I walked in the office.

I already knew from my first round of injections that the treatment, ironically enough, will cause a migraine. I did not know just how bad it would be this time, already having one.  I could barely function that day.

Now, I am sure the big question is "How's it working?". As it has only been two weeks, this is difficult to say with certainty. That said, I have had a couple of days where I have needed less of my pain meds. More surprisingly, to me, is there have been several days where I did not need a pain pill upon waking!!! I have needed to take a pain pill within an hour (more often than not a half hour) upon waking, every single day for over ten years!!!!

I am hopeful, but afraid to have too much hope.  Those who live with chronic pan will totally understand where this fear of hope comes from.

For now, I am keeping my fingers crossed!

For more information on my Botox treatments, check out my first post.

Monday, September 1, 2014

I Need To Do Better With Meal Planning!

Do you plan your meals for the week? Or are you the super human that can actually pan for the month? I want to be you! I am tired of coming home from work and looking at my son and both of us wondering what the heck is for dinner!

Here is our scenario:

I cook Monday and Wednesday
Jayce cooks Tuesday and Thursday

No one ever thinks ahead as to what we will have that evening. No one thinks to take anything out of the freezer. So we just waste time trying to figure out what sounds good at 5PM every day. Not a good way to eat well rounded meals!

So, how do we start? Well, we are going to need to get together really soon and hash things out. Jayce starts a new semester tomorrow, so having a meal plan will certainly make both of our lives easier!

If anyone has ideas, I am grateful! Keep in mind, I work full time and he goes to school full time. He, nor I are fantastic cooks, but we do not like to eat a bunch of processed foods either.