Monday, October 25, 2010

Leander High Craft Fair

Selah: The dust has just settled from doing our very first market booth show. We both had to devote most of our babies' sleeping hours to gearing up for this, and it basically went off without a hitch, so that was pretty gratifying.

It ended up as somewhat of a coming out party for our joint business of meandher. Prior to this, we each had our separate etsy shops; selahestelle and celenajustine. Celena had even done a booth for the Cherrywood Art Fair (with much success) under her old name. Once we both become stay at home mothers, it began to make much more sense to combine our efforts. Everyone seemed to be drawn in by the idea that we were just starting out and were very complimentary of our efforts.

We didn't make nearly as many sales as we would have liked, but we met so many kind people, have made a few sales since because of the exposure and were invited to some other shows in December, so it was very successful in the connections/networking sense.

I do want to send out a special thank you to all of our friends and family that took the time to come out and see our booth set up (which we worked very hard on). It really meant alot to see familiar faces and feel that support from everyone. We also received many compliments from the public that day which made us feel really great. It was wonderful to have everyone that commented seem to understand the time and love that goes into the things we make and not question their worth in the least.

We have been watching our dear friend, KatinkaPinka, be a success at various booth shows for years now and were really aiming high at creating an atmosphere within our 10 X 10 that was as inviting and pleasant as what she achieves. She is a wonderful role model and advisor on this venture and we can't thank her enough for her example and many tips.

Celena and I have different aesthetics, so setting up a booth atmosphere that made both of us happy was an interesting challenge. We grew up with a wonderful collection of children's books with amazing illustrations. Drawing from our childhood love of these images, we decided that our merchandise and both of our styles could be effectively presented using the amazing artist Trina Schart Hyman's work as inspiration. We also wanted a color scheme that would allow our ornaments to be the focus. The pictures don't really show it, but I think we were successful, mostly thanks to Celena's oddly extensive collection of furniture and decor that was the perfect fit. The only real investment we had to make was buying custom made letters for our shop sign from Mr. Woody (right here in Texas!), which was graciously put together by Celena's handy husband. Celena even had the perfect colors of paint in leftover samples from painting rooms in her home! Kismet!

I did contribute the two lace tablecloths, a vintage quilt and my grandfather's old trunk (which garnered some attention - though not as much as Celena's gorgeous carved wood dressing screen). We had to get creative in hanging our sign on the bleachers behind us, but that was the only adjustment to the space we had to make.

The helpers were so sweet even when the loading process got tough. Arranging everything into Celena's Honda Element was a bit of a puzzle, but it did all fit.
We've applied for another show on December 11th that seems like it might be a better demographic/atmosphere for our particular brand of craftiness, so hopefully we'll be able to report back with more good experiences!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fun Feet Halloween Activity!

Selah and I are always eager to find ways to get creative with the kiddos and a friend or three. We came up with a series of hand/footprint t-shirt ideas for the upcoming holidays and had so much fun with our first one!

Just in time for Halloween!
You should totally try it with your little ones- it would also make an awesome handmade card to send to extended family.

Here is our friend's completed shirt! Her daughter is a ball of energy and she didn't believe that we would get good footprints, but with good timing and speedy optimism, you can do this with pretty much any kid. As with all good crafts, the variation on a common theme is my favorite part. I just love seeing what different things everyone will come up with. ♥ I adore how these yellow toes almost glow. ♥

Have all your supplies ready to go:
white, yellow and orange paints on a tray (we used acrylic because it's what we had and it won't wash out, but fabric paint would be great too)
a few brushes
dish of water
paper towels
dark colored t-shirt(s) with something sturdy and flat inside- we used little plastic trays, but cardboard would be good too
letter stamps or stencils (or if you feel up to hand painting letters, go for it!)
*we also had silver and gold paint for embellishing, as well as some star stamps- you can use rubber stamps if you wash them well, you could carve some potato stamps if you're so inclined*

We set up a playdate with some chums and got to work!

When painting the wee ones feeties it helps to have a positive can-do attitude. If YOU believe that it will go well, they will be much more likely to go along with it. More than one person and possibly some food and/or toys for distraction are also quite helpful. Paint all the colors at once- with calmer more cooperative kids, you can do both feet at one time, but with less patient ones, one at time is best. We were pretty spontaneous with it all, but smocks or old clothes (or no clothes) are probably a good idea for the children and you. Acrylic paint, as I stated, will NOT wash out :)
Your shirts (or whatever fabric you're printing onto) should be pre-washed and dry. Stand the kid up to print their feet- we did this on the tabletop. Wash their feet immediately (especially if using acrylic). We just whisked them over to the nearby sink and sat them on the edge to wash their feet. While it's wet, acrylic washes easily with water from skin and smooth surfaces.

Once you have the feet placed on your shirt you'll need to decide how to lay out your words. We're using rubber letter stamps, here's our good friend getting hers just right:
We all touched up our foot prints a little to make sure each color was bright and opaque enough. Just go slowly and don't get too much paint on your brush at one time and you'll do great. With older or more craftsy children (like the little girl in the last photo) you can let them help out with stamp placement and other decorations on the shirt. Do whatever feels right/looks right to you- bust out some glitter- play with stamping one color over another- just relax and have fun, no matter what- you will be being creative with your child(ren) and that's priceless!
Here are our two little ones (plus a neighbor friend who stopped by) in their completed shirts. Another reason to use acrylic is that it dries quite quickly- this was less than an hour after we painted them. As you can see we have two very different kids and two very different shirts, but they're both adorable and we all had a fantastic time!