Kitschdesigns

A Few Words on Handmade and Pricing

January 19, 2020 10:16 by ehouston

One of the biggest issues facing Makers out there is how to price your items.  I am constantly tweaking my formulas and trying to rework the numbers to get to a price I think a buyer will consider and honestly....it never seems to matter.  I have sold the same type of items for $30.00 and $130.00.  It all seems to depend on the place I am selling and the type of customer that is looking through my stuff.  In the past I have been that person that walks through the craft fair thinking to myself, "I can make that" and thinking I can do so for so much less.  If there is one bit of knowledge that I can pass along to those that frequent handmade fairs and boutiques it's that YOU CAN'T!  In most instances the Maker is selling their wares for pennies and only keep going because they have a love of, and internal need to keep creating.  For some of us it's the only way to stay sane and unfortunately even if we spend hours perfecting our passion and creating a piece of art or useful item to sell we will never see it go for a price that comes any where near covering the cost of time and energy (and materials!) that go in to it.

  Vintage Upholstery Embroidered Bird Adjustable Crossbody Bag image 1

I am putting this out there because I wish I could find that magical place to put my items up for sale that is frequented by people who understand what it takes to create.  I wish I knew where all those lovely souls go to shop and understand that, "I could make that for myself, but why invest in all the materials, labor and trial and error it takes to get it right when a perfectly created piece is right here for the buying?  And, I will pay that higher price because the Maker has invested so much time and energy and love into this one item.  AND, I GET TO HAVE IT/USE IT/WEAR IT right away!".  I'm looking for those people and no matter how many articles I read about how to price my wares that question is never answered.  

 

In fact, I find myself hearing over and over again about how easy that is to make and how the store owner is trying to rob people blind.  I saw that sentiment in a comment on a post by a local store recently.  The person making the comment was so insensitive to make the remark in the first place, but to not even know what the item was made from and then take the time to say something negative and demeaning about something that took time to curate and then create.  The shop owner was very gracious to explain the materials and pricing, but I still left that post with a sick feeling of "this is how so many people feel and they have the loudest voice in this industry".  

 

My hope is that people continue to consider shopping local rather than Big Box and really think about where things come from.  I wish people would take some time and really think through how the world is effected by their purchases and how they can change a mindset about what it costs to keep stuff out of the landfill and in circulation.  Buy handmade, upcycled, recycled and made from scratch items from materials that already exist.  Back off the thinking that says all my furniture needs to be new and from Ikea, Target, Haverty's, Greenfront, (insert chain store here).  Remember our mindset of only wanting cheaper and cheaper prices sent manufacturers out of this country.  Cheaper means lost jobs, and more than anything crummy craftsmanship.  It means items that don't stand the test of time and don't make it as hand-me-downs or the family heirloom.

 

If we could all just change our mindset about how we buy and remember what it takes to actually come up with a product or idea, pull together materials, create a pattern through trial and error and then make that item, then things could really take a turn for the better.  Craftspeople and Makers could stop pulling down their prices in hopes of a sale.  We could stop losing money just so we don't die in an avalanche of our unsold items.  Makers, how many times have you off-loaded things for nearly nothing just because you had to get them out of your space?  We have all been there and the sad thing is, that in doing so, we just hurt our own cause.  If we could all come together and price our creations right, we could all find ourselves "quitting our day job" and really making a living from what we love to do.

And, frankly, I think the world would be a better place for it.

Sincerely,

Erika 


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Making And Crafts–Crafty Cheats and Scribble Art

February 14, 2011 08:41 by ehouston

I don’t know exactly where I first saw this idea, but I just remember glimpsing  this image while browsing all different blogs one day….

…and then cataloging it away in my brain for another time.  It turns out that it was a post by none other than Vickie Howell of Lark Craft.  She’s so crafty!  Anywho….I decided, after much browsing and consideration, that this was the route I would be taking for my mom’s Valentine’s Day gift.

For years I have been crafting some sort of heart shaped Valentine to give to my mom.  She has a huge basket filled with stuffed cloth hearts of all shapes and sizes.  Along with that collection she has heart shaped rocks, a crocheted anatomical heart, wire wrapped hearts…you name it, I have made it or hunted it down for her annual gift of love.  This year, as I did for 2009 (see here), I wanted to create something special from me and my Little Guy.  So, I used the idea above to transform some plain cotton canvas into a sweet heart felt (no pun intended) Valentine.  Here is how it all went down:

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It started with a crafting cheat that I found while searching through the embroidery aisle at Joann’s Etc.  “Stitches as quickly as if you were drawing a picture” got my attention right away.  And, while I knew it was against my nature to go about a project this way, I also understood time was not on my side since I was making this purchase on the 10th for a gift due on the 14th.  Shew!  I know, I always cut things way to close and they just end up being late.  Better that, than never, right?  Okay, so back to the rest of this project.

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I pulled together the materials I would need.  I had to purchase a small to medium hoop for this project, but the fabrics were from my stash.  I started with a soft creamy flannel, but ended up having to use a heavier cotton canvas.  I also started by placing a sheet of scribbled art over the fabric and I attempted to clamp it in the hoop too.  I figured this would make following the pattern REALLY easy.

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All it did was end up in the way, ripped to shreds and when I tried to remove the bits that stuck under the stitches the stitching just came out with the paper.  So, I ended up letting him use a pencil to scribble directly on the cotton canvas.  The punch embroidery tool was pretty easy to use and get the hang of, but it put a lot of wear and tear on the fabric.  Also, the stitches seemed to come out easily with the softer fabric, hence the switch to the cotton canvas.  I was so glad I used the multicolored embroidery floss, since it mimicked the way the Little Guy had scribbled, with dark and light areas where he changed pressure.

Once the embroidery portion was completed I cut around it in a heart shape and used the embroidered piece as a template to cut out the backing fabric.  At the last minute I also decided to add some vintage black and white crocheted trim to the edge.  First I sewed it around the cotton canvas piece and then I put the right sides together with the backing fabric and used the stitch line as a guide to sew the front and back together.  After a little snipping of the curved edges I turned the whole thing right side out, stuffed it with polyfil, then stitched up the edge by hand.

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I don’t know, I may be a tad bit biased, but I think it came out rather nice.

Kitsch Krafts


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Scrap Crafts : Barkcloth Bookmarks

March 15, 2010 01:57 by ehouston

I don’t know about you guys, but I not only have a ton of textiles I also have a ton of scraps.  You may think, well why don’t you just toss them away?  For some reason when it comes to vintage fabrics (especially) I just cannot get rid of even the little bitty bits.  I have been known to save scraps so small they cannot hardly be considered for sewing.  However, a while back I gathered some of those little pieces together and created these…

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…little bookmarks.  There is something about vintage barkcloth.  I just love the texture and the fun patterns.

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Don’t you think the selvedge makes for a neat border?  (Maybe that’s just the textile junky in me)  As you can see I also had some fun with my sewing machine’s different stitches.

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This last version is my favorite because I am total fan of the really mod, atomic type patterns of barkcloth from the 1950’s. 

This craft project was almost a total “Green” project.  I say ‘almost’ because the backing fabric used was newer cotton canvas, however it was just the scraps left over from another project.  I used cardstock I had gathered from the recycling bin at work to create an inner piece to add some stiffness and stability.  The ribbons and rickrack were all vintage bits purchased from estate sales and thrift shops.  Basically all the pieces were to be discarded, but I was able to bring them together into something useful…and pretty cute, I might add!

So, do you have any projects created from what you swept up off your craft room floor after another project?  Do you have TONS of bits and bobs laying around and waiting for a way to be used?  Are you really just a Hoarder?   Come on, you can tell us…  Do we need to call TLC for an intervention?  ;o)

Kitsch Krafts

PS- I have sold all but one of these bookmarks.  Here is the lone survivor in case you are interested.  I hope to create some new ones soon!


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The New Year is Still A Baby, But I Feel Like an Old Lady....Slow and Way Behind!

January 6, 2009 07:14 by ehouston

 

As this new year began I had such high aspirations to be on top of this blog with new and exciting (well, at least to me) topics.  It seems that so far I have spent all of my time trying to think up how I want to approach posting here going forward, as well as, how to handle all of my other responsibilities.  If only I did not have a regular 9 to 5.  It just really gets in the way of my fun time.  ;0)

So, I decided to stop over analyzing everything and just get moving (I keep saying that about the diet and exercise program I plan to begin.  Let's hope this action rubs off on other areas of my life too!).  I plan to start some regular features, but I am not ready to designate specific days of the week to each.  Just like in grade school, I don't want to be caught on Friday wearing my Monday undies.

I am cooking up lot's of new things, so please check back soon!

Mmm....Yummy!

;0)

Kitsch Krafts


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Crafty Finds for Christmas

November 24, 2008 04:44 by ehouston

As mentioned earlier, I did some shopping this past Saturday and one of the places I visited was the Centennial Holiday Craft Show at Centennial high school in Franklin, TN.  I did this for two reasons.  First, because Franklin, TN is home to the rock and country stars Nashville is famous for attracting, so this fair tends to be really big and over the top.  Second, because I was anxious to get my hands on one of the Owl Shadow boxes from White Cottage Designs.  I also wanted another opportunity to take a closer look at The Creative Jar's art pieces for some gift ideas.  I scored a lovely Owl box pictured below and cannot wait to find the perfect spot for it. 

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT!!!

I also grabbed a quirky little Shemic from Jodi at The Creative Jar, which I cannot show or I will ruin the surprise for the receiver.  Just click here to view her wonderful Etsy shop and a link to her blog is listed in my BlogRoll.

I also scored another great gift from a couple of ladies that weave scarves, shawls and knit the most wonderful sweaters.  There company is called Toll House Weavers and they are located in Unionville, TN.  Unfortunately they do not have a web presence, but they do run the craft fair circuit and can be seen at many different events throughout the year.

All in all the Centennial event seemed worth my time and the trip.  I came home with three Christmas gifts, a cool new piece for my own wall, some yummy kettle corn, and did not break the $100 mark!  I just wish I could have knocked out ALL of my holiday shopping.  I fear I will be out there on Black Friday this year, milling around with the almost unbearable crowds, just so I can keep my pocketbook in tact while pleasing everyone on my list.  Oh how I wish everyone I have to buy for was open to handmade!


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News Headline: Possible Death By Craft Fair

October 30, 2008 01:56 by ehouston

At least that is how I am feeling this week.  One down and one to go.  I really do enjoy attending these events, especially when I meet great people and see other cool crafts.  I met several other Etsy sellers at the small church craft fair I attended last Friday and I hope to meet more at the event this Saturday.  These two were a hoot!- Lori Long and Megan Wilkes, owners of Happy Monkey Art.  They create clay sculptures of hysterical little scenes.  You just have to check out their shop to see what I mean.  Megan also paints and has another shop for her art called, Thru Aries Eyes.  Sarah Paddon, a jewelry artist, was there too, showing off really nice pendants necklaces.  Check out her Etsy shop Cottage Island Creations.

I have decided that prepping for a craft fair is a bit like getting ready for your wedding.  My husband and I planned and paid for our entire event, so maybe this is not a shared feeling with those that could afford a coordinator or had a mother that took over.  But, either way, I would guess that no matter how much planning you do it never seems like you have it all finished.  I keep running around and thinking of new things to make and then I have to remind myself that there is no more time.  Or, I realize there is another task I have to complete to ready what is done for the event and again I realize I am out of time.  Just like the night before my wedding, I reminded myself last night that no matter what, every little detail will not be exactly as I planned it.  And, that's all part of the fun, right?  Luckily I thought of that a couple of nights before this event...;0)

Here is my mini-booth set up for the church fair last week.  It was a family festival, so I just concentrated on my baby and kids items and advertised for the other fair I am attending this weekend.  I will have my full booth at the Saturday event with lots of holiday products, and I will add those pictures later. 

 

 
Stroller Blankets in Vintage Fabrics, Tooth Fairy Pillows from a Vintage Quilt, Changing Pads, Play Mats and Baby Quilts in Reproduction Vintage Fabrics, and Onesies, T-Shirt & Bloomer Sets, and Cap and Onesie Sets with Vintage Baby Images.  

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Neat-O Contest for Crafty Types!

July 31, 2008 03:12 by ehouston

Just wanted to share info about a cool contest that I saw listed on Etsy.com.  I look forward to seeing the results and I may just enter a profile of my own....

http://vickiehowell.blogspot.com/2008/07/join-craft-corps.html

-E


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