The 100 Day Project

When my friend, Carolyn from over at SweetCarolyns asked me to do the 100 Day Project with her, I said, “What the heck is that?”

Turns out, it’s a project where you commit to doing something creative every day for ONE HUNDRED days. Whoa. Yikes. That’s quite a commitment. So I said yes and here we are!

I decided that my project would revolve around fabric design. I design mostly in paper, I can probably make a paper design every day. BUT WAIT! I know that if I miss a day, I’ll be so bummed out that I might just give up. I know me, and I know how much I like to give up. So I committed to 100 new designs IN 100 days, not necessarily one every day. This lets me stack up on days when I’m feeling extra-creative, and then post along with the project.

It started April 2nd, so it should end sometime in July. Here’s some of my creations so far:

I made this moon, the winner out of the 8 different moons.

A kiwi bird that looks kind of like a kiwi fruit.

Bananas! I don’t like them but I think they’re funny.

Orange and purple carrots, because I’m trying to grow multi-colored carrots in my garden this year.

You can learn more about The 100 Day Project on their official website: https://www.the100dayproject.org/

You can follow along on Instagram with the hashtags #The100DayProject and #The100DayProject2019

And you can check out my progress HERE and Carolyn’s progress HERE. She’s been doing some sweet cross stitching!

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2019 Garden

Last year, I had a little 4×4 raised bed in the back yard. I tried my hand at carrots, beets, cucumbers, sweet peppers, and green beans. I didn’t thin my carrots so they ended up in jumbled clumps, I only had 3 bean plants so we never had enough to go with a meal, the pepper plants didn’t grow above 3 inches, one of the two beets died, and the cucumbers were amazing!

(oops)

I’m excited to step up my game this year. The front yard has the best light, and we hate the grass, so the plan is to fill the space with raised beds and flower pots, eventually. It’s something that I want to build up to, adding a little every year JUST IN CASE I lose total interest in this hobby. I don’t want to invest in a full-yard garden and then next year be like, “Oh, I’m actually onto swim aerobics now and don’t have time for plants.” We decided to start with three 6×3 raided beds and put them on the flattest part of the yard, and then get some half-barrels to start perennial flowers. We have a terraced area next to the fro

 

nt steps currently full of weird bushes that I’m going to replace with a few Lily of the Valley (snagged from my parents’ yard, which my mom snagged from her parents’ yard). Eventually, they’ll spread out and fill the whole area with beautiful white flowers in the spring, and then lush green leaves for the rest of the summer. Plus, they’re very low maintenance!

I ordered a grow light and started my seeds in the basement this year.

Last year, I started them on the kitchen table in late spring as as soon as they started to sprout, Fluff started to snack on them! They’re much safer in the basement, albeit colder, and when it starts to warm up I’ll move them to the deck. We already have a few little sprouts: broccoli, malva, lupine, and some beans are starting to poke through.

As for the small bed in the back yard, I don’t know if I want to try asparagus, which seems like a fun challenge, or do some kind of terraced strawberry area. Luckily, I have some time to figure it out before I start digging in the dirt.

 

How to Find Craft Fairs

NOW IS THE TIME! The time to start looking and booking your craft events for the year! But how do you find craft fairs and vending events to sign up for? A great question, and one I’ve been asked more than once! Here is where I find them:

1) Word of mouth.
Not always ideal when you first start out, but I’ve found some great events this way. Ask your crafty/ artsy friends and family about events they like to sign up for. If you’re already part of a regular market, ask the other vendors what shows they have coming up, if they’ve done them, and what they like or don’t like about them.

2) Check town websites and community Facebook pages.
My town started a Farmers Market last year, and I found that information on the town Website. I was the only craft-vendor to sign up! I also check the community Facebook pages of the surrounding towns just to see upcoming events and if I want to be a part of them.

3) Look for Facebook events.
Even easier than it sounds, and this is the number one way I’ve found events so far for this year. A friend will mark that they are “Interested” in an event, and it pops up in my news feed. I check out every single one, because you never know what you’ll find! If it looks like a fun event AND they are looking for vendors, I message the event asking how to sign up to be a vendor. You can also search through the Upcoming Events section on Facebook too, narrowing the search by area, month, and the type of event you’re looking for.

4) Sometimes, people ask you!
I signed up for a food truck festival in Worcester, and they asked me to sign up for their other festival in Spencer. I inquired about a town fair in Hubbardston, and they sent me the application for their Spring and Fall events. A blueberry farm down the street asked if I wanted to be a part of their Opening Weekend this year. Yes, yes, and yes!

 

Other things to remember:

Some events seem amazing and then you get there, spend 8 full hours in an under-heated room, and don’t even make back your table money (aka the money you paid for your table space). What a lousy day. And then next year, you’re invited to apply again. Ugh, no thanks. Whether you’re doing this as a hobby or as your full-time job, a wasted day is still a wasted day. You do not have to sign up for any event that isn’t a good fit for you.

The more you search for events, the better you get at finding them and at being able to identify a good fit for you and your craft. Some events will still be a miss, but you can make a notes about why it seemed great but wasn’t, and you know to avoid similar events in the future. I tend to avoid events where the contact person isn’t forthcoming with event information. So if I have to email someone and ask for more information and they send back just an attached application with no email content, I probably won’t sign up. I usually ask questions that are not always included on the application, and I don’t want to spend more time sending a second email with the same content as the first.

Similarly, if I show up to an event, that I paid to be a part of, and it’s hard to find the organizer and / or the organizer seems annoyed when I ask about my table location, the unloading area, or about anything that I do not know, then I won’t apply again. If your interest in me stopped after you cashed my check then why would I want to go back?

 

Anything I missed? Ask in the comments!

Moving to Monday Updates

For years, I’ve made bags throughout the week and then put everything on pause when I had a sunny day (love that natural light) to take pictures, edit, create listings, and then decide when I would add what into the shop. The process is good in that adding new items multiple times a week boosts your search analytics, but in all honesty it’s time consuming. On top of that, I share my work space with my husband and there are a couple of times a week where I will pause sewing so he can make phone calls.

I’ll be the first to say that I don’t always manage my time well and it’s something I’m working on. So it would make sense for me to save the photo uploading, editing, and creating listings for those times when I’m respectfully not sewing. Making them live takes about the same amount of time for 5 listings as it does for 30, so I can save a little bit of time throughout the week if I do it all on one day. Enter in: Monday Updates.

I’ll take pictures when I have good light, work on the boring part during quiet time, and spend some time on Monday mornings renewing expired listings and sharing all the new ones. I’m not concerned with where my shop falls into search analytics right now because the “new and improved” system seems to only benefit shops offering free shipping. I tried it last week and actually was able to turn out more bags than usual!

Running your own business is a constant learning process. I know I make quality products, and now is the time to focus on quality time management.

Makeup Bag Re-branding

I’m calling them Flat Bottom Bags now!

I ran into some makeup bag related confusion last market season, such as:

Boy- “Dad! Can I get this bag! It has dinosaurs on it!”
Adult- “No, makeup bags are for women.”

Woman- “Oh I just love this bag! But I really don’t need anymore makeup bags…”
Me- “You can use it for other things, like-”
Woman-“Its says makeup bag.”

Woman- “This is a pretty big pencil case.”
Me- “Oh, that’s a makeup bag.”
Woman-“Never mind.”

This was totally new for me, and I changed them to “Toiletry Bags” about halfway through the season. It opened them up but still left them in a niche category that most people couldn’t see past.

So I’ve changed them across the board- in my Etsy shop and will make new in-person signs. In each Etsy listing, I started by listing 5ish things that the bags can be used for, and went on to update every bag listing in the shop to start with the same information. It will probably be beneficial to make larger price signs for markets, and include the “can be used for” list on them as well.

I’m hoping this will convert more sales and allow people to see the bags for what they are: bags with almost endless uses.

Weekend Away

We spent my birthday weekend in North Conway, New Hampshire and stayed at the Adventure Suites Hotel!

Last time we stayed here, we were in The Club room because we booked it like a week in advance and it was either that or the Wolf room. It was a cool room with a full sound system, light up dance floor, 8 person hot tub, two bathrooms, and a dance cage.

This time, we had a few more options and chose the smaller and cozier Wine Cellar. The bathroom looks like the inside of a wine barrel, the tub looks like one of those barrels for grape-squishing, and even the kitchen had barrels and wine-related decorations in it.

 

We had a cool view of the mountains out the back room, but it was freezing with a biting wind so we didn’t spend a lot of time outside.

Had a yummy birthday breakfast at Glen Junction! Lemme tell you, their train fries can’t be beat.

And then I stopped taking pictures! We hit up Mystery NH and did the Donner Diner escape room, caught the Lego Movie 2, and had dinner at the Muddy Moose. Our waitress gave us free cookies! Presumably because we were nice to her and the table next to us were basically monsters.

Birthday Planning, Part 4

The party was a blast! We had pizza, sushi, fruit kebabs, vegan cupcakes (wanted to make sure our vegan family members could enjoy them, too), pasta salad, and of course Mountain Dew.


Hello, I’m Kerry! Maker. Sewist. Fan of all things bright.

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It's Fluff! Curious, master napper, likes to try new veggies.

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