Where does the time go?
Actually, I have an Etsy shop now. I always wanted one, but I was always like, “What am I going to sell?” So no shop. But I make and bake all sorts of things, and people are always saying, “You should sell this!” So I finally took their advice, and now – dream come true – I have my own shop. Also, those same people thought I should rent a booth at the local craft bazaar. A live booth requires quite a bit more inventory than an online store, where you can just kind of roll it out as you get it done, so I’ve been very busy, making, making, making, in order to not embarrass myself on Saturday. Here’s hoping.
If you follow me on instagram, you’ve already seen my wares, but this is what I’ve been creating:
I’m making these baskets (or bowls) out of cotton clothesline. I saw a tutorial for a rope bowl quite a few years ago, during the holiday season, when SewMamaSew has a handmade Christmas countdown. It was one of the featured crafts. In typical fashion, I just kind of shelved the idea in the back of my mind for that magical day when I would have both clothesline and motivation to tackle the project. And when that day finally arrived, I was smitten. I love the clean, simple lines and the practical beauty of these baskets, and baskets and me, we have quite a little love affair going on as it is.
Even though I really loved the white, I thought I’d like to dye them, too, and I bought some dye appropriate for cotton things. My first experiments in dying the finished bowls did not go as hoped, and so I dye the rope yarn before I even start now. I like the dying part best of all. Except that I never remember to put gloves on, and so I walk around with bright, splotchy hands for several days afterwards. But the baskets look fabulous.
After dying, I tried wrapping the rope with fabric strips as I sewed, and I love the look of that, too. And also wrapping the already dyed rope: my favorite of all! I’m working on making a lid now, because my friend Mary asked.
So basically, I haven’t been doing anything except for sewing the past few weeks. It’s been fun, but I’m looking forward to a more relaxed and normal approach to life next week. And also to seeing if I can make a rope rug.
I also want to tell you that each basket purchased represents a donation to the Little Sisters of the Poor. They care for the elderly poor in nursing homes throughout the world, but their New Mexico house is their very poorest. The people of Gallup live in such poverty, that even Mother Teresa’s Sisters of Charity have a branch there. I would like for those elderly poor to have fresh milk and produce from time to time, and this is a way for me to increase our family donation a bit.
Update: I started writing this on Wednesday, and now it is Sunday, which means I’ve survived my first craft fair! It might also be my last craft fair. Online stores are an incredible boon for a mama at home trying to raise her kids. There’s never any need to leave them, all work can be done around their needs, and you can stop whenever you want to read a story or change a diaper or go for a walk. In person sales is like actually going to work. It makes babies and mamas sad.
Something you may not know about me: I’m a naturally critical person, and when I say that, I don’t mean it in a bad way. I mean that I’m always evaluating things. Is there a better way to do this job? A more efficient and streamlined way? Can I improve upon the results? How much does that improvement cost in efficiency? I’m always tweaking, right up until I get to Good Enough. Good Enough is that magical point at which I’m delivering a quality product at maximum efficiency, and at which any increased quality would result in a decrease in efficiency. It’s odd, maybe, but that’s how I think. 😉 By the time I’m ready to pass on my knowledge or skill to another person, I’ve already worked out the kinks in the process and reached the maximum possible efficiency to quality ratio.
When it comes to a craft fair, the product would be money, the quality would be the amount of it earned, and the efficiency side would consider how much time was expended to earn them. This particular fair had an abysmally low ratio. Part of that was probably the clientele. What we mostly saw was older women, and they were either bargain hunters who think handmade = cheap, or they were very careful with their cash, stopping to say that my wares were beautiful, but then moving on. The people who purchased were younger women, but not too young, well established in family life. Maybe we’d do better at a fair in a different place with a different demographic. I’m willing to explore that. Eventually.
The good news, though, is that I think I’m out of the red. I still have to double check the numbers, but I’m pretty sure I’ve paid myself back for my up-front costs. And I got a great idea for shelving from my neighbor, who stole the idea from another fellow he saw at another show. Bonus: He told me what he’d change about it, so I have the advantage of his critical/tweaking nature, too. 😉