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 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.



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Oh How I Miss This Place

September 23, 2013 14:35 by ehouston

It may be surprising to know that I come to my site almost daily.  Not to finally get off my butt and share something.  Instead I just click on my blogroll links and read about everyone else's interesting life.  It's not just a busy schedule that keeps me away these days.  It's also the feeling that everyone has a blog.  And I mean EVERYONE!  I don't fault anyone for that, no matter their reasons for joining this huge club.  That's just a fact.  I often feel like, "what could I possibly have to add?"  And, then I let another day slip by without sharing.

I will admit to loving this forum for keeping my far away friends and family up to date on what is going on in our world.  I am under no illusion that I will become famous for what I write about here, or that droves of readers from around the globe will click over to find out what riveting plans we have for our next family trip, DIY project or craft session with the kids.  Like so many other bloggers out there, this is my way of letting folks into my world and life without using up all of our phone time on why I chose the paint finish used in the bathroom remodel, or all the tweaks that were necessary to get a recipe just right.  It's also the best way I have found of preserving some of our little family memories since I almost never remember to write anything down any where else.  (Both baby books look like what I imagine forth and fifth siblings get from their poor bedraggled moms when all is said and done.)

I miss being here and recording what is going on in our lives.  But, there is something I refuse to miss even more.

My kid's at this age.

There are days when I spy my lonely desktop from across the room and pine for the time to steal away and write about the past year or so that is just slipping through my fingers faster than I can see, let alone grab.  Then I look at those little smiles, the tiny feet, itty bitty fingers and realize I need to enjoy this time now.  Rather than look at my life in pictures later, I need to be present today without the camera in front of my face.  I had a dream that my kids were asked to make drawings of their family at school.  Both came home with sweet little crayon scribbled portraits and both had replaced my head with a camera view from the lens end.  I don't need a dream dictionary or psychologist to figure the meaning of that one out.  Although, with that being said I do actually hope to take more pictures going forward.  There are some expressions my little girl has already started to lose just because her baby fat is melting away and if I cut the curls of my son's hair short he instantly becomes a mini-man before my eyes.

I want to capture more moments, both here at the blog and through my famously CSI style photos, but mostly by experience. 

All of this to say, that I may be out of commission right now, but I have not forgotten this love of mine and I will make a better effort to share more going forward.

Hope everyone is having a great life out there!

Kitsch Krafts

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Well Hello Der!

June 26, 2012 08:50 by ehouston

I have been missing you guys lately.  That is, if anyone is out there any longer. ??  ;o)  I have been working hard lately to end my 50+ day blogging hiatus, but it seems as though there is always something else that I NEED to do before I let loose this human inside of me.  We are officially at the 4 week countdown and something keeps bugging me about an early arrival.  At this point I have said that to enough people that she is sure to be late and I have doomed myself to more hippo time in the summer heat, as well as, two birthdays to celebrate during the month of August from here until eternity.  Although as I type that last sentence I can feel a leg (or some other appendage) kicking clear around my side to the back of my rib cage while simultaneously something is butting up against my bladder.  It definitely feels like the great escape is under way.  Pray for me, please!

We have been way too busy for me to even attempt to capture the essence of the crazy that has been spiraling around our home over the last couple of months.  Alas, the light at the end of the tunnel has become increasingly brighter as the “big boy” room and nursery are coming together nicely, and just in time.  The Little Guy has been happily sleeping away without much issue in his new, bigger and better (that’s how we’re selling it anyways!) room since May and as of last week the nursery furniture is in place and the bed is made and ready, should she arrive prior to her due date.  I am slowly pulling the décor together, although it has been a lot of trial and error and use of what we already have in order to keep to my usual non-existent budget.  The Little Guy’s room seemed set in stone until furniture arranging got the better of us and now all hanging of artwork has been placed on hold until we can decide the best configuration.  But, again, we will get there because living with the chaos has nearly taken it’s toll.

It may sound pretty tame.  Two rooms to fix up and rearrange.  Oh, the most famous of last words!  I don’t know if it’s the pregnancy-brain or simply that I am just not that good, but I have had the hardest time pulling the ideas in my head out and realizing them in my home.  As we round the corner and come to the end I have begun to find that I am okay with where we are, despite it not all looking as perfect as my mind was able to dream it up.  I keep reminding myself that in the first half of 2012 I have managed to complete a pretty decent guest bath mini-remodel, which I hope to have an artwork update to share with you all very soon.  I have also successfully repainted, rearranged and furnished our spare bedroom to create a decent space for a toddler-to-little-boy transition, and all on a very tight budget.  Along with that change-up, I made some modest switcheroo's in the nursery to accommodate a little girl without sending myself to a state of bed rest for the remainder of this pregnancy.

The toughest part during the last couple of months has been getting adjusted to having my office and craft space relocated to the playroom.  While I loved the solace of our shared space over the garage and just down from our bedroom, my husband longed for an office of his own.  So, with one enlightened conversation we managed a quick compromise (a miracle for even the best of marriages!) to place all the exercise equipment into my half of the office while bringing my crafting and workspace together in the playroom where all that equipment used to gather dust.  Now, if one of those psychologists from Hoarders could come by and help my husband with his pack-ratting issues we may get to a point where all that exercise equipment can be set up for use.  I certainly will be in need of some treadmill time in a couple of months.  Maybe the promise of a heightened derriere will help get his in gear.  I can only hope!

So now we come to the slow down and the time when I try to get my life back on a regular schedule.  No, the house is not as clean and tidy as I would like it to be before baby and family begin infiltrating our space.  And, yes, I would like to get a lot more food made and stowed away in the freezer before I have too many hungry mouths to feed and literally no energy to dial Chinese take-out.  But, in between putting away the painting supplies and the occasional craft project for one space or another, I am working to give my Little Man some undivided attention.  His monopoly on my time is about to abruptly end and in many ways that makes me terribly sad for him.  I will freely admit, I LOVE every waking moment that I get to spend with him. 


Even those that have me walking away, teary-eyed, cussing and wanting to smother him.  Yes!  The one thing I have learned in my almost three years of being a mom is that no matter how much you love them or how cute you think they are, there are moments you want to lock them in a closet and drown your sorrows in the whir (because that’s all you can do when you are preggers) of the margarita machine. 


However, as the birth of our little girl approaches and I slow down to take a breath I can see some hesitation and anxiety in his eyes.  I know he is over the moon at the idea of having a baby sister and getting the opportunity to teach her things, but as I have increasingly had to stop doing the more physical fun stuff with him I can see him starting to understand that his mom-time won’t be the same pretty soon.  So, before I regret this lost time I am setting aside all the excessive DIY, Crafting, Sewing, Blogging, Web Surfing, Facebooking (God, when did that become a verb?) and just putting my fatty pants on the ground to drive trains around endless wooden tracks, through Mega block castles with tunnels and read to George and Martha anthologies cover to cover for the millionth time. 


I’m sure it’s the hormones right now, but I have had a couple of tearful moments realizing myself that my special times with my sweet little man are about to be bombarded with crying, nursing, diapering and sleepless nights.  It’s a bit of a mourning process I suppose.  After each good old-fashioned, self-absorbed and woe-is-me moment I then remind myself that it will be different, never the same as it has been, but it will be better. 


My family is growing in a wonderful way.  My son will always have a playmate, confidant and someone with which he can share old age.  A true friend to experience the “firsts” of life with, good or bad, a partner in crime against the ‘rents and an eye-rolling buddy when the hubs and I can no longer hide our dorkiness.  So, for all the mixed emotions coming my way, and that of the rest of my family, I think happiness is what is standing out the most.  And, even though I feel I have let so many commitments slide and fall to the wayside, I am at peace with this place where I stand and can’t wait for our next chapter.

Kitsch Krafts

PS-I promise to get my narcissism under control before the next posting.  Sometimes it’s good just to let some things out once in a while, right?

PSS-As time permits I will share pics of all the changes happening around here.

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Balloon Art Has Come Long Way Baby!

February 22, 2012 07:09 by ehouston

These are hilarious, and amazing.

girl with a pearl earring wm Master Works

Check out a preview of the new book called Artist Eyes, by Larry Moss and Kelly Cheatle.  It’s pretty unbelievable.

Kitsch Krafts

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Snow Day–2012!

February 20, 2012 08:35 by ehouston

We awoke to quiet serenity after the first snow fall for the season here in Richmond.  Lucky for us, and a lot of other people, it is a holiday and no one really had to be any where at any certain time, which is something I find to either make or break a good snow day.  Since it was the first time for our Little Guy to get out and actually enjoy the fluffy stuff we decided to make the most of it before the sun took it all away.


First, I tried making snowballs for him to throw.  All he did was knock them to the ground and stomp on them.  okay…


Then we tried to get him to do his best “Baby Gap”, but…


..he couldn’t keep the poker face.


So we made an impromptu sled and I gave him a pull around the yard.



One set of freezing fingers and…

IMG_1350 (2)

…three pairs of freezing feet!

Hope you are enjoying a day off and a winter wonderland of your own!

Kitsch Krafts

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Valentine’s Day Fun

February 15, 2012 08:53 by ehouston

We have managed through another week and a half of head colds all around and today I was able to pull myself away from my own nap time to post about our card making day.  Last week I wrote about how we planned to make the wild animal cards featured in magazine and online.  It ended up being a lot of fun and I was surprised at how much of the process my almost 2.5 year old could handle.

Recently we moved one of the twin beds out of the spare room and into the play/media/exercise room – this was The Mister’s attempt at satisfying my strong urge to chuck the crummy futon and buy a small sectional sofa.  So far I like the extra seating, but my sofa longing has not ceased.  Anyway, that left me with one twin bed (we had them pushed together into a king) and a large open floor area in the middle of my craft space.  I have been loving the openness, but will admit I almost immediately filled it up with sewing projects, scattering piles of fabric from one side of the room to another.  I admit it, I’m a totally messy crafter.  So, I went in and made a space among the piles, patterns, ironing board and fusible webbing for our Valentine’s Day Card Extravaganza!  WOOT!

I found that one of my under bed storage boxes was the perfect height for me and the Little Guy to finish the assembly of his classmate cards. 


While he slept I sliced the cardstock and animal print scrapbook paper to the size indicated in the magazine.  To make it easy (at least for me) I printed two sheets of word balloons, like you see in the comics, from Microsoft Word.  They are under Insert, Shapes, in case you are wondering what the heck I am talking about.  They made for a quick write up as we came up with the greetings for each animal.  I used the ones offered up in the magazine, along with a few extras for animals they did not feature.

My biggest surprise about all of this was how well he did in putting the cards together.  I figured the most I would get out of him was some sloppy glue stick action, but he was an old pro! 


Not only did he spread on just the right amount, but at one point when I wasn’t paying close attention he stacked the pieces and moved on to the next one.  Of course, I had to straighten it out a bit, but it shocked me at how quickly he picked up the process and kept it going.  He also glued and placed most of the word balloons, but about half way through that part he grew tired of smearing and said, “Mama Do”.  So, I did.



He loved picking out which animal went with each card, but I think his favorite part was gathering them up the next day, and putting them in a little heart bag I found in my gift wrapping stash. 



He thought he was a regular old cupid!

I hope all your Valentine’s Day crafts were made and filled with, LOVE!  Now excuse me while I go eat my 4th iced heart cut-out sugar cookie of the day.  I mean, they aren’t going to gobble themselves up are they?

Kitsch Krafts

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Pinterest Challenge : Must You Mock Me?

January 27, 2012 06:56 by ehouston

Don’t laugh too hard.  I am still working on this project.  Really, I am!  It’s all just in stages.  Yep, that’s the story I’m going with.

Pinned Image

(from Milly Bee)

Pinned Image

(Heart Shaped Photo Collage, I believe from the blog, Click It Up a Notch.)

I finally pulled together enough frames to get the size and basic shape I was looking for.  Since I did not go with all the same sized frames, as in the inspiration photo, this presented a whole new challenge I had not even considered.  Big DUH, over here.


And then I changed it all…


…several times.

I’m still not settled on the middle frame, but the size of this one seems about right.  What I am not settled on is whether I will go through the pain of painting this one or just shell out the cash for a new frame.  I will definitely need to purchase a custom mat for the handprint picture, so I am leaning toward being cheap and just painting what I have.  The time needed to paint everything for this project is what really slowed me down with this whole challenge.  I started this project just as the weather began to get cold, so I felt I did not have a choice in painting by hand versus spray painting (I have to do all spray painting outside in the elements).  If I had known then how many warmer days we would still have left in the year, I never would have pulled the can and brushes out in the first place.  Lesson learned.  Now back to whether I can stomach painting that middle frame, or just throwing in the towel to buy a new one???  I’m thinkin’, I’m thinkin’.


In the end I nixed the idea of all black and white shots and here is why.  First, there are a LOT of frames to fill here!  Second, I have a ton of cute shots and artwork to put some where!  Since this arrangement is going in our master bedroom, and is all about family, I figured it’s the best place for all those sentimental things.


With an impending visit from the grandparents this coming weekend I had to make a decision on the layout which was on the guest room floor.  Or, risk another several weeks of frames stacked in the closet.  I think I am good with this and there is still a little space for adding smaller frames to round out the heart shape even more.  Although, I do kind of like that it’s not going to be a perfect heart.  So, they got post-its with numbers to aid in getting them back into this arrangement and I will pray I can get them on the wall in a somewhat smooth process.

Now, I will spend another whole bunch of time hemming and hawing over what to put where, just as I did about which frame looks best in which spot?  Once more of those decisions are made I will bore you guys with one final post so you can ooh and aaahhh!

Oye, remind me to pick a much easier challenge next time, okay?

Kitsch Krafts

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