How to set up a Simple Craft Show Table that looks great!

How to set up a Simple Craft Show Table that looks great!

Last week I participated in a pop up craft show in downtown Pittsburgh.  Although the show was not well attended and I felt silly for not having researched it properly (the location and glamour of who was running it fooled me!) I did create a nice, simple table that I thought would be great to share.  This table would be really easy for anyone to recreate on a budget but still look professional.  For more detailed info on starting a sewing business from scratch, you can purchase my book, Sewing to Sell! 1.  Vertical shelving:  It is important that you make use of vertical space.  It catches shoppers eyes from farther away and gets your products up to their eye level.  This shelf is made using PVC pipes and joints.  PVC is cheap, easy to cut to size, sturdy and EASY TO CARRY!   To top off the shelf, I used a wooden shelf with a cute trim I found at a construction recycle place.  But you could easily use some other kind of trim to make that shelf topper look nice.  This is a 5ft long shelf and PVC set up.  This means it will fit on both an 8ft or a 6ft table. 2.  Simple table cloths:   You are going to need that space under your table to hide boxes and extra supples.  Make sure your table coverings fall all the way to the floor.  My cloth is yardage of 54” decor fabric.  It does not go all the way to the floor on the back side of the table and that grants me easy access to what I need under the table- bags (I bought these from U-line), extra business cards, snacks, etc.  I also covered the top of my table with some burlap for texture.  I like how it kinda of tones down the bright colors of all my fabrics and add an earthy base to my products. 3.  Brand Signage:  Although you can easily have signs printed by Kinkos or with some planning, Vistaprint, this banner is also an easy option.  You can either print or trace the letters of your business on paper, cut it into triangles and sew it all together with some fun trim.  This banner was supposed to be a temporary solution for me but I like how it adds some fun decor to my table.  It is important to have a name for your business!  It adds professionalism and interest.  People always come and ask “Why Gingercake?” 4.  Merchandise:  What I planned and sewed for this show had several things in mind- price, size, shape, and customer. For the price, I wanted a variety of prices- from a $15 jewelry pouch to a $65 quilted 24”...

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Gingercake’s Gifty Frames and Free Printables!

Gingercake’s Gifty Frames and Free Printables!

This is my stop on my own Gingercake Holiday Gifts Sewing Series!  I knew immediately that I wanted to share the Quilted Fabric Frame pattern!  It is my new favorite gift to give 🙂 When I created the new frame pattern this past summer, my oldest was immediately smitten.  She is into decorating her room and accessorizing (like many 12 year olds I know!).  Giving a frame can be a little tricky since you either need to have a photo already in it or it feels kinda half finished if you give it empty.  Instead of gathering photos (since you know, at this age, she is going to want to put her friends in there), I decided to make some cute quote printables instead.  Problem solved and I get to pass on my not so subtle Mom messages too 🙂 I used Art Gallery Fabric that I purchased from one of my favorite etsy fabric shops- Llama fabrics.  They have a fantastic selection, Chio always refunds shipping overages, AND it is shipped so fast!   I love how these fabrics from different collections still coordinate.  Another amazing thing about Art Gallery! I also think these will be great to sell at a craft show with the quotes.  That way, people can give them away as a finished gift and the person receiving the frame can either use it with the quote or replace it with a photo.  YAY! I decided to use the binding option for these frames so that they have a gallery type look.  But this pattern also has options of tabs and not binding as a finish.  It is very versatile! I made the quotes into PDFs that you can be downloaded and printed by YOU!  I created these on the canva website. Have you tried Canva yet?  It is an amazing and easy resource for creating graphics.  I highly recommend trying it out! create-sunshine desire-to-create-card grateful-heart stayhumble throw-kindness These quotes are sized to be 5” x 7” since that is the basic size of the frame.  But you can easily adjust their size on your printer to be larger or smaller.  You are welcome to use these but please to do claim them as your own. I can’t wait to give these to my daughter!  One more thing- the pattern calls for using plexiglass which is really nice if you have some handy.  I previously had a sheet of it cut at the home improvement store into 5” x 7” pieces and it worked great.  But for this project, I bought $1 frames from the dollar store and used their glass!  An easy solution for sure except that the glass is fragile. PLUS, if you use a nice card stock to print your quote,...

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Day out Purses for Craft Shows 2015

Day out Purses for Craft Shows 2015

Do you remember that cute Day Out Purse I made for Sew Mama Sew last year?  They were an extra project from Sewing to Sell that I was able to share.  I made some for the holiday craft shows I did back in November and Decmeber 2015. They were fun and quick to make.  Since they are 6” x 7”, you can use some of those bright and colorful FQs you have laying around.  Also- it’s a great chance to use up some of those trims you have been saving for who knows what.  Here they are in action in my booth~ My girls were really hoping they would get one of these after the show- even though I already made them their own back when I wrote the pattern!  But, too bad for them!  These all sold.  I prices them at $22.  Since I used odds and ends to make them, and they are small, I felt like it was a fair price. You can get the COPY RIGHT FREE pattern here on Sew Mama Sew and make your own!  If you plan on selling online, I do appreciate credit for the pattern.  In the versions above, I used a magnetic snap and a zipper as alternate closing.  I also omitted the interior pocket to make them faster for the show.  ...

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2 shows! GULP… But 2 shows is not as hard as you think!

2 shows!  GULP… But 2 shows is not as hard as you think!

I applied to 2 fabulous shows in Pittsburgh this holiday season and got into both of them!  My first reaction was YAY!!!  My next reaction was OH MY GOODNESS- I have a lot of work to do.  But it’s fun work- good creative work! I found out this news several weeks ago and have already been sewing up some things- crayon holders, modern folksy kitties, market bags, etc.  I haven’t done a big show in awhile (actually, since before my book, Sewing to Sell, was released) and I am really excited to get back into all the sewing and planning involved in creating a craft booth. I thought I would share this journey with you here on the blog and give some tips and strategies along the way.  Here is the the first thing you might not know about sewing for craft shows… The shows that I am participating in are the I made it Holiday market (first time ever doing this show!!) and the Handmade Arcade.  I have participated in the handmade arcade for years and absolutely love it!  Both shows are labeled as “indie craft shows”.  This means that although traditional crafts are represented, they are presented in a more modern and edgy way.  I have never thought of myself as edgy, but I do have a modern aesthetic and the shoppers at these shows are more interested in what I sell than at a traditional craft show. The truth is, although I love meeting the other artists and spending a day talking with customers (i really do like that part!),  I don’t do these show just to socialize.  I do it to make money!  Of course, right?   What many craft show veterans know, and that you may not know, is that getting ready for ONE show is a lot of work.  But getting ready for 2 shows is only about 1/4 more work than getting ready for one. How can this be?  First, at a good show, you sell about 1/2 of your inventory.  So, if I count on selling 1/2 of my stuff, I don’t have to sew twice as much for 2 shows- I have to sew only about 1.5X as much.  For example, to prepare for one show, I might sew 6 kitty pillows.  To prepare for 2 shows, I would sew 9, not 12!  Or, to prepare for one show, I might sew 3 large duffle bags.  But to prepare for 2 shows, I will sew 5.   Make sense? But preperation for a craft show is not just about sewing (or knitting, or embroidering, etc).  Planning you booth, pricing everything, and getting your promotional material together takes quite a bit of time and...

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Hello Hoops

Hello Hoops

For my Handmade Arcade back in December, I made these fun Hello Hoops.  I have been buying hoops from the thrift store for years.  They are irresistable, no?  I am on a thrift store diet currently, but I still have my stock pile of hoops just waiting for something cute.   I printed out "hello" in a nice font (i think it was little days) and then taped it to the window and put my fabric on top of it to trace it.   For some reason I always just thought of embroidery on white fabric so I liked the freedom on using bright solids instead.  I used my favroite chain stitch to outline the word except on this one below I tried out a rope stitch which was fun too.   I wrapped the outside hoop in 1'' strips of colorful fabric.  I ripped the strips and then just applied paste to the hoop before I wrapped them.  This way of finishing the hoops came from here.  I think the fabirc wrapping really finishes the look and brings the colors together. The "hi" signs were obviously done the same way!  These were a fun addition to my regular bags and pillows in my booth AND I could make them while watching movies and a marathon of The Good Wife with the hubs in the weeks before the show.  After working out the kinks on the first couple, I was able to make them really fast.  I sold them for $15 to $20.  What have you found to do with your stash of hoops?  I know you have some tucked away in your craft...

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Thank You and Handmade Arcade 2013

Thank You and Handmade Arcade 2013

Novemeber was a fantastic month for Gingercake (aka moi).  I can't tell you how much I loved seeing all the beautiful things my sewing friends made with Gingercake patterns.  It was wonderful.  I realized that here on the blog I never shared our last (but certainly not least!) Gift series sewer.  Jessica from A Little Gray made an On the Go Organizer! Her fabric combinations are the coolest, huh?   Thank you so much to all the sewers in the holiday gift series!   I did sew all the month of November for my show I do here in Pittsburgh called the Handmade Arcade.  I love doing this show so much!  It is edgy and hip and not your mama's typical craft show.  You can guess that all my pink stuff is pretty tame in comparison to lots of the other vendors!  I am honored they keep letting me participate every year.  Here are some photos of my 2013 booth~ Some new characters!  Did you notice?  More to come about the fox, owls, backpacks, patchwork bibs, and house pillows in the near future.   This last photo of the bargain bin was the biggest surprise for me at for this show.  People LOVED the bargain bin.  I explained that these were gently used, trial sewing and things with spots.  People bought all but 1 thing in there!  I couldn't believe they wanted that old stuff!  I was happy to see it go (and maybe you will recognize things from old posts in there!) since I didn't want it anymore but didn't want to give it goodwill.  It cracked me up to see all those bargain shoppers!  I loved watching them all go to good homes where they would be appreciated...

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Bunnies and Price Tags

Bunnies and Price Tags

Another new thing I made for the handmade arcade was some small bunnies.  Perfect for a little extra gift for a baby shower or (of course) in the easter basket next spring.  To me bunnies are equally baby as much as they are easter so I figured a few for this December show wouldn't hurt!  Plus, they are super cute and I couldn't resist making a few of them. If you already own this quick and easy pattern, just print out your pattern pieces at 65% percent.  Also, you will need to adjust the "toe" to make it poke out about an inch less- without this change, it looks really sharp.  I did a simple tie instead of the bow like on the big version and I left the embroidered eye off. Also, these are the price tags I am using now.  They are nothing fancy but I figured if you are looking for tag ideas, this may work for you as well as it does for me.  I just used a paper punch from Michaels and with some trial and error, made a word (actually I used Pages on my mac) document on a standard sheet of paper.  You can fit about 24 logos per sheet of paper.  I just punched out the logo and then punched a small hole for the safety pin.  I put my prices on the back.  Simple, cute and cheap! Come and see me tomorrow if you are in Pittsburgh!  I would love to meet you!   Related articles Handmade Gifts from Friends Newborn Baby Gowns Sewing Tutorial More About the Pom Pom Owl...

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More About the Pom Pom Owl Purses

More About the Pom Pom Owl Purses

This weekend I am doing the Handmade Arcade again.  This will be my 4th time doing the show!  Before you think I am total nut doing a craft show only a few weeks after having a baby, I made all my stuff back in Septmeber and I am happily resisting the urge to sew a single other item before the show.  It feels so wierd to have a show in only 2 days and not doing any last minute stressy sewing.  When I say wierd, I mean it feels really great! This time I made all my owl bags with pom poms for the show.  Remember this cute bag?  I worked out how to make it easier by tacking the pom poms on with steam a seam light.  This was great and made the process much faster.  You have to cut the steam a seam into sections to get around the curve.  Once the poms poms are attached, then you sew the 2 sides together and DO NOT trim your seams down.  The last time I trimmed my seams and ended up with several poms poms falling off and it's pretty tedious sewing those little suckers back on by hand.   Also,  Vanessa let me preview her brilliant new photography ebook a couple of weeks ago.  I really recommend it to help you take photos of your sewn creations.  She talks quite a bit about staging and photo editing.  These tips are simple and useful!  To show some of the "behind the scenes" I took a picture of my staging to share with you… I use the hooks for the towels in the bathroom.  The backdrop is the coat closet by my front door.  I open my front door to get better light (even though it was 27 degrees outside!).  This is my best location to get a wider shot of my creations even though the natural light is only mediocre. The first photo I lightened up in PSE and second I just did in my iphoto.  I had to really work on all those shadows! Vanessa is giving away a copy of her ebook for sew mama sew giveaway day so head over to her blog and leave a comment for a chance to win!     Related articles Boppy Cover Newborn Baby Gowns Sewing Tutorial Tiny Fork Pom Pom's Winter...

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Another show under my belt

Another show under my belt

While I am sewing up items for a show I often wonder why I am making the effort.  Creating patterns is much more my thing buisness wise and sewing for fun is more my thing creative wise.  But doing a show once or maybe twice a year does improve your sewing skills and sometimes opens doors to new ideas and opportunities. My wonderful friend Amy Frank and I did this show together.  It was in Eaglesmere PA which is a historical resort town in Eastern Pennsylvania.  It sits on a lovely lake and the visitors all seem to love the old timey vacation feel.  Amy provided the tent and together we had a wonderful time talking away (without children!) about family, friends, business & lots of sewing! My half had the usual suspects of crayon holders, owls, lunch boxes, birds, elephants, etc. Amy used to make handbags and do lots of shows.  She has taken a few years off (FOUR KIDS!) and now is making her way back to sewing.  I love her work and especially her charming and meaningful Shema cuffs. She gave me a "JOY" cuff which I am wearing everyday.  The idea is to stay present to your beliefs and priorities by wearing them on your wrist.  Very cool. She also made bags which open up to words and quotes.  I got a bag that says "Let your Light Shine" and "Hello Beautiful" on the inside.  So fun! Wouldn't you like to have a throw pillow on your couch with a Ghandi saying on it??   Amy's work makes me want to add a bit more depth to my sewing and creating.  I have to figure out to use this inspiration in my own way that works for my style! I have learned that my ability to put together one of these shows is now much more refined.  I know how much to make (for the most part!) and I am prepared with my display and pricing.  There was no real last minute stress except the weather which turned out fine.  A show every once in awhile is a great way to connect with real people looking at your sewn items- it's great to see their reactions and hear their comments.   Now I am looking forward to spending these last 2 weeks with the kids before school starts!  I am hoping to sew with Elsie and garden with Anne.  And vice versa!  I am sure we will be heading down to the creek and over to the pool too.  This summer has gone by so fast!  What else are you trying to squeeze into summer time?   I know for lots of you school has...

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Show Hangover but it was worth the Party!

Show Hangover but it was worth the Party!

I have pictures to show you of my shows!  They were so fun and exhausting.  I loved talking to all the people and meeting the vendors.  It really takes months to prepare for these and now that it is over I feel like I have a bit of a hangover!  I am sorta dazed.  I had a great day yesterday doing almost nothing and today was not much different.   (warning!  these pictures are mostly from my phone and not the best but they are better than nothing!) Here is me at my first show in Atlanta, Marist Holiday Traditions… I went to Marist for high school and it was so funny to set up my booth in the old gym.  It still smells the same!  This show was big- 240 vendors in 4 different areas around the Marist campus.  My Mom, Linda (on the left) and my Aunt Mary Ann (on the right) were so helpful and patient!   My mom helped me sew on buttons and finish up carolers.  She took me shopping for something cute to wear and took me Micheals for last minute price tag making.  She also helped me at the booth almost the whole day along with my sister Katie and my niece Sarah Kate.  Thanks Mom!!  Aunt Mary Ann also took me to Micheals (a second trip!), helped price everything and helped set up the booth.  It was so fun to do this with my family and have them be a part of the event since I do the Handmade Arcade without them up here in Pittsburgh and besides my sister, they have never seen my sewing items all together in a booth. We searched through Mom's basement and found baskets, a trellis for my owl purses, and all sorts of useful props.  My sister (thank you Katie!) arrived with more baskets and cute props and in the end, we put together a really cute booth.  Inspite of the yellow cinder block gym walls! The usual suspects were the best sellers at the Marist show- crayon folios & owls!   Thank you so much to my family and friends down in ATL for all their help and support.  We had a great time together and the show was fun and successful.   After that wonderful weekend with family and friends, I came home and sewed liked crazy.  My poor children.  Cal would ask for a snack and I would say " you're a big boy now!  You can look in the pantry for some crackers!"  He watched more TV last week than I have ever allowed any of my children to watch.  I had some major guilt happening.  Of course, the weather...

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Kitty Cat Princess Hat and Show Details

Kitty Cat Princess Hat and Show Details

Anne chose to be a kitty Cat princess for Halloween.  Suuuu weeet!  Dress up bin accesories, thrifted pink taffeta gown (which was so pretty and well made!!) and I made a cute fleece kitty hat. This hat was so simple.  I am planning to make a couple more for my baby nieces as christmas presents.  It is basically a rectangle of fleece with the sides sewn together and then the ears are made by sewing the curve of the head.  I also put a dart in the middle to make it more head shaped. I am hoping to get a quick tutorial made for this after I am finished with my shows!  Who is intersted in making more kitty hats with me??? This coming weekend I will be in Atlanta for Marist Holiday Traditions.  Marist was my High School and they do a really lovely show every november.  I get to visit my parents and sister while doing my show!!  Please come and see me if you live in the Atlanta area!   Next weekend, Novemeber 12th, I will back in Pittsburgh and doing the handmade arcade again.  LOVE the Handmade arcade.  It is so cool and I feel so fortunate to be involved again.  It will be their biggest and best show yet so be sure to come if you live close by! Whoo Hoo!!  Novemeber here we come.  Everybody ready to sew up some cute stuff for the...

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Hooped Bird Ornaments

Hooped Bird Ornaments

Sheesh!  I know it's been a while.  I haven't felt too inspired to write about my work the past week.  But this morning I made these mini embroidery hoop ornaments and I am in love with how fun they were to make and FINALLY I was interested in doing a blog post! I have been thinking and thinking about these hoops that I found at a thrift store.  I love all thes cute creations people are making with embroidery hoops (examples are this, this, this, and this!)   I used scraps and I tried not to think too much about coordinating fabrics.  I have discovered that I like my fabric combinations better when i just go with my gut quickly.  It is interesting what you come up with when you trust your instincts (of course I like some better than others!).  I played around a little with some different bird shapes and then finally decided on this one. I added wonder under to the bird shapes.  That was the first thing I did and then composed the branch and background next.  I used all cotton fusible interfacing to make the background fabric more sturdy.  The branch fabric is just a simple brown, without interfacing, that I free motion sewed on.  I wanted to get that sketched look and I knew the edges to fray a little for extra texture.  I backed the hoop with thick brown craft paper that I glue gunned on. I am anxious to try this with my bigger hoops.  Maybe a triangular tree that is kinda reminiscent of Christmas but also wintery?  It's really a fun little canvas to work on if you are looking for something different to do with your sewing machine! Email me if you have more questions about how to make one yourself.  The cool thing about this project though is that there is no right or wrong way to do it!  These will go in my booth at the Handmade arcade in a few weeks!...

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Sewing a Stack

Sewing a Stack

I wish my mystery project was a pieced quilt (I wish I knew how to do a pieced quilt like that!) but it was just a big batch of crayon folios and mini folios. I have decided to do a couple more shows this fall.  I feel conflicted about this since I much prefer creating patterns and sewing new things but a good craft show experience is pretty helpful also. First of all- it is a nice bit of cash before the holidays!  Also, it is wonderful to meet people and see their reaction to my sewing.  I get a really good feel for what people like and through talking to them I get some great new ideas.  My sewing skills get an excellent work out and I find all sorts of ways to improve my patterns and how to simplify instructions.  Those things are more valuable than any $$ I might make! Plus, my sister(yeah!  she is going to help ma again) and I get to hang out for a whole day together without our children 🙂 All that said, I am not really set up for heavy duty sewing over here.  But I have learned to get pretty well prepared with what I do have and I thought I might share a little about my process.  To start, here is my sewing machine… My mom bought it for me when I was 15.  My friend Jennifer and I decided we wanted to sew a dress for ourselves and my mother took me to the local Hancocks fabric Store and we bought this together.  It was not the most expensive but it was pretty nice.  I can remember feeling excited and happy that she would get me such a nice gift on just an ordinary day.  Jennifer and I never completed our dresses and I felt like I had let my mom down by not using the machine enough.  I didn't use it again until I was 28 and we bought our first home.  I'm sure she is happy with the investment now though! Back to the sewing machine… It only has a few stitches and I really only use the straight stitch (mostly 6 unless I am doing a ruffle and then I do a 7), and the zig zag.  I have made enough in pattern sales to justify purchasing a new, fancy sewing machine.  But I like this old gal – she is simple and reliable.  I feel like I can explain sewing in a simple way on my machine and that is important to me- If I can sew and create on this machine with just my few stitches than anyone can do it! Before...

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