Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Decorating for Christmas!

I'm always the worst at decorating for Christmas! As a mother of two small children and a small business owner I find that I don't decorate or bake (if at all) until the week before Christmas! This year I'm trying to do things a little at a time and I'm trying to do more handcrafted ornaments and such! Here's some ideas I've come across on pinterest my new favorite website!
Photo from PapernStitich
It took me awhile to actually find the tutorial on this, but here it is from The Purl Bee.  I don't know that I'll actually have time to make this one but I LOVE it! Maybe next year!
 I love this idea for wrapping gifts from AlloraHandmade! A great way to re-purpose newspaper and save money! The tags are super cute too!

Robbie and Erin
 Speaking of inexpensive wrapping and gift tags! I think it might even be cute to combine these two!

I never know what to do with Christmas Cards! I just think this is so great!

Well I hope everyone has a  great week and gets a head start on the holidays!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Craft of a Craft Fair

A couple weekends ago I had the opportunity to participate in a local craft fair in Avondale, Arizona. Hosted by a wonderful lady, Akeara Kitts, owner of ReVamped Designs, it turned out to be such a wonderful opportunity to meet a myriad of different crafters with a wide range of craft.
ReVamped Designs 
Although the craft fair was not as lucrative as might have been hoped for (this in no way reflects the efforts of Akeara she did a GREAT job!) it proved to be an amazing experience for me as I am still new in the area and still getting used to the craft fair experience.
The Natural Way
Since this was my second craft fair in the six months that I have developed Victorian Swag I've compiled a list of tips to help those who might be endeavoring on their first (or second....)
1. Do some real research as to where the venue is and how likely it is to be successful before you put any money towards it. Don't hesitate to email the Host/Hostess about the event and who is expected to be there. This way you can make an educated decision on whether or not the event is worth your time and money.
2. Get a number as to how much you'll have to make before you break even. Realize the amount of money invested in gas, food while there and or traveling, any extra materials you may require for setup (I had to buy a folding chair this time because I realized last minute I didn't own one), and any materials needed for decorating displays. This will help you to gauge the price range of your products.
Victorian Swag
3. Display! Display! Display! Your Display is what brings your customers in! Go to a craft fair yourself and see which displays attract you the most. Even if the merchandise does not particularly interest you you can't see it until you get up close and people will want to get up close to check out the merchandise if the display is appealing right?! Make sure your display reflects the style of your merchandise as well as any online domain you may have. This is, again, all a part of branding.
 4. Don't forget your business cards! The biggest mistake I ever made at my first craft fair back in Idaho was that I didn't have any business cards. HUGE mistake! I ended up printing my etsy shop on an old receipt for one customer. Even if you print out something on your computer at home (which many fellow vendors did this time around Kudos to them!) even if it's not that professional looking it's better than not having anything at all and having to rummage for a piece of scrap paper at the bottom of your purse.
3 Crafty Chicks
5. Cha-Ching! Don't forget your change! I had about seventy dollars or so in cash for change. About 30 ones, two tens and four fives. I kept all of this in a coupon divider since I did not have one of those locked change drawers, which I highly recommend especially if the event is going to be heavily trafficked.
 6. Just Have fun while you're there! Even if as a vendor you're not doing as well as you had hoped financially keep a positive attitude! Your customers and your fellow vendors will take notice. Have fun with the people around you. Strike up conversations any way you can. This reflects on you and on your craft! You never know who you might meet there. Those business cards you pass out with a smile may result in a purchase months down the road because your customer remembered YOU!

Good Luck to all of you and let me know if you have anything to add to this post!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New Holiday Pin!

I love these Pins! So much fun! I had the design in mind for the longest time but it took me a few months to get all the pieces together. I'm so glad they're completed for the holiday season! Available for sale here!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Introducing WesternSkiesHandmade by Sarah

Today I'm so excited to introduce a fellow etsian and member of TeamMom, Sarah from WesternSkiesHandmade. I am in love with her shop and since I now live in the city, am in awe of her way of life, and was so excited when she agreed to let me feature her here! Without further ado Here's Sarah!
"I live under the big skies of west Texas with my cowboy husband and year-old son. Wisconsin-born, I moved to Arizona for college where I received a degree in music playing the flute. Summers were dedicated to creating hiking trails across the nation, which is how I eventually met my husband. He too loves to make things and, as a saddle maker, the things he can do with leather still amaze me. A few years ago a friend suggested Etsy I now have a small shop set up where I sell a handful of my finished pieces. Currently, it features winter wool hats and headbands for women and children, floral fabric hairpieces, leather and wool purses and stuffed kids’ toys.
I am constantly inspired by the changing seasons and styles, my family and the thousands of other creative souls on the internet to try new things. And, because we live so far from town, it is sometimes easier, cheaper, and much more satisfying to make things myself than to drive hours to buy it. Many hours have been spent with the three of us happily working and playing together in the craft room. Creating things has also been a blessed reprieve from the stresses of life, especially since the birth of my son, and gives me time to be me and not just a mom or a wife.
My husband and I have dreams of someday supporting ourselves with our talents, but for now we are happy being new parents and creating for sheer pleasure. Most of the things we sell are custom orders from local cowboys and their families, but the internet now makes it possible for anyone in the world to visit my Etsy shop, and do the same thing. Creations can also be found on Facebook (just search westernskieshandmade) with pictures of Etsy listings and non-Etsy sales. I also started a blog recently with free project ideas, patterns, and recipes that can be found at Don’t forget to tell your friends about me and stop by any one of those sites to share ideas, pictures, or just say hi!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Personal Progression and Goal Keeping in a Life filled with Chaos!

Recently I've been thinking a lot about happiness, what makes a person happy and what makes me happy. As I've thought about this I've reminisced a lot about my first semester at college. This was one of the happiest time periods in my life. Why? Well I'm pretty sure part of it was that I was finally on my own, having left home and gone cross country to a school where I knew no one, I was left to face new challenges head on and completely on my own. I remember one class in particular that semester.

It was actually a health and wellness class and the professor took somewhat of a unique approach to teaching this class. Each morning before we crawled out of bed, and before doing anything else he required us to write and complete a list of five these categories, one for each category.

1. Spiritual- Examples: Reading Scriptures, Prayer, Meditation
2. Mental- Examples: Learning a new word, starting a new book, watching a documentary
3. Physical- Run a mile, Do 30 lunges, run the stadium steps, eat a healthy breakfast
4. Service- Call an old friend, find a way to get involved with community, volunteer
5. Other- Come up with something on your own, something you've been putting off

I remember the groans of that first class when he announced what we were required to do that semester. Five goals everyday as college students with piles of homework to complete every night just seemed insurmountable! I remember thinking about dropping that class. I am so glad I didn't! That semester because of those daily goals I made so many new friends, found balance, and instead of gaining the freshman fifteen I dropped fifteen pounds!

Now I am no longer a college student with mountains of homework. I am no longer 18 with the body that accompanies that age. Instead I have two extremely energetic small children and a husband who demand my constant care and attention. I have bills to pay, a house to clean and a small business to run. With all this I think now more than ever I need to reinstate those five goals everyday to help me find some balance! Now who's with me?!

 Here's some links I've come across to maybe inspire/motivate us! (really excellent website if you love to read but get stumped as to what to read next!)
SparkPeople  (really great fitness goals tracker plus it's free!)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sneak Peek! New Designs!

A few new designs. Just need a few more pictures of each and they should be ready to put in my etsy shop.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

This weeks Feature Nadine of MidnitePineCreations

Today I am interviewing Nadine of Midnite Pine Creations, a fellow etsian and member of Team Mom.
Tell us a little about yourself Nadine
I am the kind of person who starts anything and everything saying “Yes, I can do that...” rather than “No, I don’t think I can...” Hence....
I have been a firefighter, paramedic, critical care nurse, salesman, pizza pie maker, delivery girl, valet, and bartender, in my pre-mom life.... Now...
I am a stay at home mom with a startup company, and these creations are sewn while my children (2 & 4) are asleep at night. The rest of the house is quiet and I sew in front of a bay window with a midnight -and often a moonlight -view of the pine trees that surround our property. Starting my own business is challenging, but I have finally found something that fills me with such excitement that I can’t go to sleep some nights and such passion that I don’t mind the exhaustion and sore muscles that pulling my all nighters bring me.
All the products that I sew have been made to provide beauty, warmth and a sense of comfort for the children that will be using them. As always, their opinion means the most...even if they can’t quite express themselves yet. Colors are bold and bright to excite and stimulate them and patterns are vivid to launch them into glorious dreams.
What inspires you the most?

My children were my inspiration...I wanted to give them something better than what was available in the stores...and since I couldn’t find it... I made it. Then, I wanted to share them with my friends and family. They loved them...and from there it snowballed...
My favorite thing is hearing back from my buyers that their baby had their first full nights sleep on my sheets....or that a mom can’t get her toddler to let go of the sheet so that it can be put on the bed- that they are carrying it and snuggling it like a blanket...or the mom of teenage boys who has told me that her boys now refuse to sleep on cotton bedsheets anymore because they love their Pirate bed sets so much....or that the purchase of my fitted end blankets have made “Making the Bunk Beds” in the morning unbelievably easy compared to the neck breaking chore it used to be....It even thrills me when my own 4 yr old son drags me into his room almost every morning to proudly show me that he “made his bed like a big boy”...which is a cinch for him now that his bed has a fitted end blanket on it.
How do you manage being a mom while running a business?
It’s a juggling act- no doubt about it! I make tons of ‘to do’ lists because I always seem to have 8 million things to do and only 24 hrs to do them in. I do some computer work or sewing while the kids are actively eating meals or (if I’m lucky) while they nap. But 99% of my business work gets done after they are in bed at night. I love what I’m doing, but I love my kids more. I take great care to show my kids that they are loved, that their thought and opinions are heard and matter to me, and that they come first no matter what. My sleep time has been slashed mercilessly and I have become a 2 cup a day coffee drinker. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the lofty goals I’ve set for myself and the piles of work surrounding me (usually piles of laundry, dishes, or toys).....but then my boy will point to a picture of one of my creations and say, “pretty sheet mommy,” or as I sit sewing at night, my husband will kiss the top of my head on his way up to bed, and tell me that he’s proud of me......and all is well once again.

You can find Nadines shop MidnitePineCreations here!
You can find MidnitePineCreations facebook page here!

New Earrings!

Here's a few pics of my latest creations! You can find them all here at Victorian Swag!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tips for Selling at Boutiques

  Picture Courtesy of The Velvet Boutique
 I have only been designing jewelery for about four months now and everything has been new to me! I kinda got a bee in my bonnet after making a big move to another state and losing all my clientelle (sp?) I had gotten in the first three months so I bravely started just looking online at local boutiques and calling around to see if they would be interested in selling handmade jewelery. After making several phone calls I found one boutique that featured handmade jewelery.
My advice if you're going to sell in boutiques:

1. Before you meet with them make sure you look at their website or go into their shop to make sure that your items will mesh with their style.
2. When you call them make sure you talk about their commission, i.e. how much you're going to make with each sale and make sure you talk about possible sales promotions etc in their store and how much that will cut into your profit.
3. What I did when I went into the boutique was I had all my jewelery individually bagged so I could easily show my individual designs. I carried all those bags in an antique sewing box. It just added a little touch of my style I thought.
4. Be prepared to talk about your techniques, the materials you use, your process etc. basically everything you would talk about if you were selling to a customer.
5. I showed the boutique a huge number of my designs and they probably took about half of what I had. I took a picture with my cell phone of everything they took and then when I got home I made a list with descriptions.
6. The relationship I have with the boutique I work with is sort of trust based so I don't have any contracts etc. I just have a list and those pics I took. I'm not sure if this is the best for everyone but so far its worked for me with this particular boutique.

 Picture courtesy of FireSpice
The nice thing about boutiques is that they're usually small and the owner is generally just like you a small business owner so don't be intimidated. They're usually very friendly and just as interested in you as a business relation as you are in them.

Here's a link to the website of the boutique where I sell my jewelery, located in Chandler AZ.
The Velvet Boutique

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Drawing for A Pair of Free Earrings!

Listen up jewelery lovers! I'm having a drawing for a free pair of earrings! Like my page Victorian Swag
Here:!/pages/VictorianSwag/213882912001241 and be entered to win a free pair of earrings like these! The first 111 people to like my page will be entered!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I love these Jewelery Displays!

I love this shop BlueBirdHeaven by Jessica Farmer in Kentucky! She has the most amazing jewelry displays! I want, I want, I want!
I especially love the middle one b/c it can be folded up! I think it would be perfect for craft fairs! LOVE!

Being a Mom while Trying to Start a Business- Organization!

Trying to be a Mom of two small kids under the age of four while starting a business in a 900 square foot apartment definitely has its challenges to say the least! I'm finding that organization is absolutely key! I'm in serious need of some child proof organization for all my supplies but I just don't like the plastic stuff I see in all the stores. I would love to get my hands on some old letter press drawers to slip under my glass covered ikea desk. Does anyone have any idea where I could get some for a decent price? Or would anyone be able to make something similar for me for a decent price?

Victorian Swag - An Etsy Shop!

Visit for beautiful shabby chic inspired jewelery.