Lesson Learned

We have really learned a hard lesson today when it comes to being vendors at the various festivals in Florida. Our biggest vending opportunity we were counting on was this year’s Florida Folk Festival. We applied the day after we received the email last September and submitted it electronically per instructions. We waited a week for the confirmation email but didn’t get it so I emailed again and asked for an updated. I received a response from the assistant stating that she would check on it. And I promptly forgot about it assuming that that person would get back to me if there was a problem. Since, our company name showed up on the website as craft vendors after Christmas I again assumed everything was okay. I even ran into the assistant last month to remind her we were planning on coming and she stated that as far as she knew everything was fine.

Today, when we went to check in and were told that our application was never received. Lord have mercy I really wanted to lose it right then and there. I mean I had respected the coordinator and did not bug her with emails or phone messages and assumed that the assistant would do her job. Well, lesson learned people I will always bug the mess out of any future festival coordinators until I receive a confirmation email or letter for all of our craft vendor applications. Now, we are just really sad and disappointed as well as angry at all the money, time and effort we have put into getting ready for the Florida Folk Festival these last 5 months. We were really looking forward to meeting some of the Florida State Park volunteers and park rangers we have worked with over the last couple of years as this events brings them in from all over the state. Of course, we were really looking forward to selling lots of handcrafted items as well. The Florida Folk Festival is now off our list of potentially great craft vendor opportunities for the next couple of years or until they get another coordinator at least.

To sum it up please save yourself future high-blood pressure episodes and make sure you follow up weekly with the coordinators of any major events you want to participate in. In the mean time we will be looking for fall festivals in our area we can participate in and have better luck. Sadly, this is the only event we know of that doesn’t charge a fee upfront to participate in. They charge a percentage of gross sales. That way if you don’t make money they don’t make money. So, if you are a fellow craft vendor in the North Florida area and know of any fall and winter events that charge a percentage of gross sales let us know!

Till next time, keep working on your special crafts and we wish you much luck in your future sales.

Crafting Aint For Sissies

Crafting ain’t for sissies. You have to have patience, perseverance and persistence. You will also need to keep an open mind and have a willingness to learn new things. Yes, most crafts are steeped in tradition. As in, a traditional way of creating some things. These are great but sometimes there may be other techniques that can be used to create something new and exciting. As with any artistic endeavors most of the crafts we create reflect our inner visions. That is when you can truly be called an artist. Once, you learn a technique there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to use these and expand on them.

So, if you started out being a traditional crafter and learned how to do things from one of your older family members but then tweaked those techniques to create new and different items we hope you will share them with us. My mom is always willing to learn new things and likes to figure out how to create items that us kids and grandchildren like and hope she will create. Once she sees a picture of something she has me look for a pattern and/or video on how to make it. Then she puts her own twist on it once she figures out how to create them by using her own style in colors and adding tweaks to the pattern. Below are some pictures that my youngest son sent over for his grandma to try out. We haven’t started on these yet as we are still getting ready for the big Florida Fall Festival at the end of May in White Springs, Florida.

He was also the one who sent us the picture of the dragon scale gloves that we now offer for sale. We made them before Christmas and sold out. Of course, my son got his pair first and we gave away some for Christmas presents last year. The pattern we purchased and the video we watched had the scales going all the way around the fingers. We had a custom request to make the inside palm side smooth to make it easier to grab hold of steering wheels and typing. So mom worked at it and after a couple of tries figured out how to do that. They turned out really well and this coming Christmas season we will only be making the ones with the smooth inside palms.

Keep on crafting and get in touch if you want to share your own versions of traditional patterns with our readers.

Stabilizing Crocheted Totes

Stabilizing crocheted tote bags of any size can be a challenge. After researching online we found a couple of solutions including creating and sewing in a liner into the bag, crocheting actual crochet thread with the yarn when creating the strap and crocheting around a double length of cotton clothes line. Granted, creating a square pocket out of cotton fabric and sewing it into the inside of the bag will stabilize the inside of the bag and keep things from falling out but the crocheted handle will still stretch as you use it. Our inventory has over 100 different sized totes already so we had to come up with a way to improve the bags that we had without having to take them apart again.
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No White Tent Events

If you haven’t had a chance to join the No White Tent website/forum you might want to give it a try. They list mostly south and central Florida events on a regular basis but they allow their members to post events in Florida for craft vendors ourselves. I really could use some help adding events in the North Florida area. They do specialize in events that don’t cost an arm-and-a-leg for the craft vendors and usually ask for only those events for under $50. Of course, you can include events that are not strict about the type of vendor tent you have as well.

To post an event is pretty easy once you have joined the site. It doesn’t cost anything to join or add events either. They even encourage event coordinators to post their events on the site as well. Once you post the event it stays on your event listing so you can keep track of the ones you are most interested in attending. All you need is the name of event, copy of the event poster picture, the dates and times, who is sponsoring or coordinating that particular event, phone number, website address (or Facebook page), where being held, city and state and finally a brief description of the event. I try to remember to include the vendor fee amount and whether the application is available for download. I have already posted a couple events scheduled for the next couple of months.
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Making Beaded Dragonflies

Several months ago my grand-daughter was watching some movies on my computer and came across a beaded dragonfly tutorial I had downloaded from You-Tube. She created a couple and insisted that I do it with her. Well, ever since I have been making them into earrings, put them inside bottlecaps, broach/pins, barrettes and I even may make them into key chain charms. Once, you get the basics down you can experiment with different size and types of beads. I think the basic thing to remember is that the top wings are longer than the bottom wings so keep count as you go. In real life dragonflies do not have curling antenna but it looks pretty cool when you have them.

I prefer 26-gauge wire and seed beads for those that I am making into earrings and larger beads and 24-gauge wire for things like broaches and barrettes. I also like to mix up the colors for the top and bottom wings. Sometimes the same colors for everything but the middle tips. The lighter colors on the bottom and darker colors on the top makes for a dramatic effect and using bicone crystals for the bottom of the tail and head beads are nice as well.
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