Friday, May 29, 2009

May Craft Challenge Sponsors

This month our team sponsored Christy's Craft Challenge and some of our members even participated! 


The voting ends today and then we'll send a prize bag o' Lincoln Handmade goodies to the winner!

Why not cast your vote

If you want to join in next month, you can sign up at the etsy shop

Monday, May 25, 2009

What to take, what to take . . .

I see so many forum threads where people ask the same question when they first decide to enter the “craft fair” ring, “What should I take?” Here’s the thing – you can take everything including the kitchen sink (thinking that you might actually need the kitchen sink), or you can mentally go through your set up and imagine what you would need for each step of the way.

In the end you will decide for yourself exactly what you need and believe me, you will refine your personal list every time you pack up your things and leave the show. But here goes.

Tent or canopy of some sort – the quick set up kind. I can’t emphasize enough how quickly you will recoup your investment here.

Tables to suit your needs. The fold up kind are great, relatively inexpensive and worth it. Be sure to take simple table covers. Uncovered tables look just awful without them and Bed Bath and Beyond has piles of them on sale always. Take your 20% Off coupon.

Any display pieces you need to make your work look well displayed, interesting, professional and/or cute, and that includes and signage for your work. Maybe you are having a sale on last year’s things – you’ll need a little sign. Print it on your computer and put it in a frame. For display ideas, search through Flickr’s craft show groups where you’ll find some incredibly creative ways to display your similar work.

Business name sign - if you have a business name, make a sign. One printed on your computer and in a frame will do nicely until you make bigger bucks and can invest in a big printed one. My advice is to be sure it looks tasteful, readable and professional if you want people to take your business seriously. If you are accepting credit cards (don’t get ahead of me here), print a sign with the cards listed that you accept. Cash only? Say so.

A little folding stool or an artist’s chair from Pier One or World Market. You’ll look professional and still have a little place to rest your tired feet.

“Never Leave Home Without It Kit” - For my kit I use a canvas garden tote. They are inexpensive, big and roomy, come in a great array of colors, and are readily available at places like True Value Hardware and Home Depot. Garden centers get pretty pricey so I’d look at the hardware store first. This bag has pockets on the outside, pockets on the inside, huge sturdy handles and a big flat bottom. (No comment.). Here’s what I carry in mine and this stuff never leaves my tote so it’s always ready for the next event:

- My zippered bank bag with $100 in change
- A calculator set to the local tax rate
- A duplicate sheet sales order pad (the kind with built-in carbon paper)
- Two or three good pens
- A mini stapler and scotch tape
- Scissors
- A trash bag
- Tissue paper and bags
- Four short bungee cords (you’d be surprised how often these are handy)
- My KnuckleBuster and credit card slips (I use Propay)
- Diet Coke (I don’t leave home without it) and a snack or two
- A few tools for simple repairs – needle nose pliers, flat pliers, screwdriver
- Extra reading glasses
- Business cards
- Sales tax certificate
- Polishing cloths
- Mirrors if your product is worn

- Garden gloves so you don't wreck your hands as you carry your tent and tables

Last but not least – YOUR PRODUCT! This isn’t funny – I’ve actually left home and had to go back for it.

Ideally, as you think through the show from set up to an actual sale, there isn’t much else you need. You definitely want to appear as the professional you are so do not skimp on what you need to make your work look good! Again, as you get a show or two under your belt, you will see what other craftspeople use, some items you needed and didn’t have and what you can do without next time. It’s a refining process every time and making it simpler makes it more efficient for you and more fun in the long run.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Teacher Appreciation Gift Ideas

I wrote this article for Type-A-Mom a couple of weeks ago and thought I could share some of those ideas here at our Lincoln Handmade blog. 

Some schools have guidelines regarding gifts.  A good rule of thumb is to keep it under $20, useful, and heartfelt.  Here is a list of some of my craft friendly ideas.

1.  Gift Cards

I did an informal survey and this was definitely the preferred gift of all the teachers I spoke with.  Starbucks, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Office Max, Applebees, and Michael's were all mentioned.  Because I can't give anything without a little crafting, there is a great tutorial for a gift card holder.  This makes it personal and allows for your child to write a little note to go along with the gift.

2. Lunch Sacks

There are so many great patterns out there for how to make reusable lunch sacks.  This pattern from Skip to My Lou is for an oilcloth lunch sack.  Why not pair that with a reusable sandwich bag.

3.  Lanyard

Do your teachers need to wear a name badge each day?  Why not spice up a lanyard for them?  Here is a pattern for a fabric lanyard. Think they might prefer something beaded?

4. Notebook Covers

This pattern (not free) is for those small 8" x 5" paper pads and includes a pocket for a pencil.  This is the kind of notebook I like to keep in my purse for random notes or lists.  This one uses scraps of scrapbook paper to cover a notebook.  It might even be fun to use class pictures to cover a notebook.

5.  Cookies or Other Treats

I hoard containers.  I can't help myself.  I know I'll find a good use for them someday. How about homemade cookies in a repurposed tin?

Do you have a go-to teacher gift?  Share them in the comments!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

easy handmade zipper bag gifts

When I first started sewing, I was a little intimidated by zippers. They aren't really that hard, though. The key, just like with all crafts, is practice.

I've created a super easy tutorial for making a zipper pouch with only four seams using a fabric placemat. These make great gifts by themselves or you can fill them with goodies. They're also nice for knitting and crochet projects because there are no raw edges to get into your yarn.

They don't take very long to make, so you'll be a zipper expert in hardly no time at all!

Friday, May 15, 2009


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Woodworking As A Hobby

Merely because you love woodwork, it does not mean your workmanship is not a spare-time activity
A spare-time activity must be vested on. You would not have a difficult time doing so, as the affair is there in the first place. Hence, motivation and drive are apparently inherent as well.

Newcomers to woodworking often wonder what the necessary tools in starting up a workshop are. The solution varies from one woodworker to the next, because there's a tenacious list of required tools in the beginning. Plus, it depends upon the project.

For a good example, you travel to your nearest tool store to purchase a power tool. At present there's a diversity of manufacturers and naturally, prices differ as well. Like in any merchandise, the more expensive, and so the better the quality. Finer quality tools in woodwork have better design features and functions, in addition to a high tolerance in manufacturing, they in addition perform better.

Purchase the finest tool that you are able to afford. Start a budget on how much you're willing to spend on a specific tool. This is significant since you'll be using your tools on a frequent basis.

And if you're just starting out and you are able to only spend limited cash to establish your woodworking workshop, do not try for the absolute best then. You will be able to fall back on the ones that are relied on by most woodworkers that come in a reasonable price.

There are exclusions to the universal principle noted above. If woodworking is simply a spare-time activity you enjoy during the weekend, then you don't have to get the top-of-the-notch tools.

The key is acquiring a tool that's within your budget. But as often as possible, veer away from the cheapest tools and materials. They being cheap already tells something - these aren’t worth purchasing.

Here are the most common tools a woodworking newbie must have in his shop.

1. Electric Drill and Drill Bits - Electric drills are by far the first power tool purchased, they have so many uses besides drilling holes, there are attachments to turn them into paint mixers, sanders, screwdrivers, saws, grinders, lathes, the list goes on.

2. Electric Circular Saw - These can be very handy when cutting your wood pieces. No need to break the bank on this, however. Find one that’s easy for you to use and reliable.

3. Finishing Sander
These are used for sanding and finishing your projects. It can also be employed to smooth wood to clear out the edges.

4. Jig Saw - While not completely necessary, a good jig saw can help make your woodworking projects easier. They can add some eye-catching detail to a piece and make cutting wood easier as well.

5. Table Saw
Comparable to the drill, this is an additional tool that you must own and invest in. Though there are a few cheap table saws simply they're not as powerful as the high-ticket ones. They do not work equally well as you desire too. Acquire a table saw with a strong motor, one that's powerful enough that it can be used time and time again. If not, the blade will drag during the course of you ripping wood. It may even burn a few of your precious designs and no woodworker would desire that. Again there are loads of plans for jigs for this work horse.

6. Router - Routers have become one of the most used tools in a workshop, possibly even more popular than a table saw. A well equipped shop will have both a plunge base and a fixed base router; it is now possible to get a combination kit where one machine has both bases.

7. Compound Miter Saw
These are portable and used to cut miters, long wood stock and moldings. A great deal easier to handle than the table saw. You will be able to find plans on the internet for a neat table for this tool.

8. Drill Press
This tool is a workhorse in the shop it can be use for drilling holes, sanding with a sanding drum attachment.

9. Biscuit Joiner
Nifty tool for joining pieces of wood together. The tool cuts pocket-sized slots in every side of the join. The biscuit is inserted and glued in between, binding the parts altogether.

10. Basic Hand Tools
Claw hammers are the most common types of hammers used for woodworking and general repairs around the home.

Screwdrivers are needed for almost every woodworking project. Make sure you have various sizes of both Phillips head and flat head.

Wood chisels range in size from 1/4" to 2" wide in 1/8" graduations. They are available with wooden or plastic handles.

Tape measures come in a variety of widths and lengths. I would not recommend anything less than 3/4" wide for a tape over 6 feet long as they can not be extended out and remain rigid.
Clamps - Any project that is glued requires clamping to insure that the parts are bonded firmly in exactly the right position.

Finally, keep a wet / dry shop vacuum nearby so that you can quickly clean up wood shavings and dust. Keeping dust and wood particles to a minimum will reduce the risk of wood shop fires and help you breathe easier, too.

As a woodworking newcomer, you must have the best tools you are able to afford. However that also depends upon the projects that you plan on making. Prior to traveling to your closest home building provider to purchase your tools, think over what precisely you'll be constructing.
Check out for more info!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Hats For Tats