Monday, April 28, 2014

Give Mom Flowers to Last All Year

It's Shameless Commerce Tuesday, and with Mother's Day just around the corner, I decided to feature my azalea oven mitts -- a way to give mom some bright, cheery flowers that will last all year -- and brighten up her kitchen, too!!  A pretty yet practical gift!

Or if you're looking for something a little more subtle, or a little less flowery,  browse through the Oven Mitts section of Pasque Flower Creations -- I currently have 41 oven mitts in my shop, with more on the cutting table waiting to be sewn, photographed, and listed.


BBA May 2014 Challenge - Graduation

Each month, the Blogging Business Artisans Team hosts a team challenge.  This month, Paige of Oh, Nostalgia offered this GRADUATION challenge:

This is the time of year for graduations and starting a new professional track. Create something related to working and/or graduating--whether it's a congratulations card, a new organizational item for your studio, or maybe just reflect on all the ways you want to kick your business into high gear for the second half of 2014. Resolutions don't just have to start in January!

Graduation comes early at the University of Nebraska – May 10!  The law students are in finals week right now.

Speaking of law school finals -- my son Tim, who just turned 38 on Saturday, Aoril 26, was born on the first day of finals week my second year of law school.  He was due on Mother's Day, but he had other plans!! This photo was taken a year later, shortly after I graduated and moved to Pierre -- the centrally isolated capital of South Dakota --to begin working at my first "real" job.  I graduated from starving student status to highly-educated-but-still-feeling-broke-young-professional status.

But I digress....

So - - - I decided to hop right on this month's BBA Team challenge to share an inexpensive graduation gift idea.

Now, in an unscientific poll of myself, my kids and their classmates, teenage grandkids, and Jerry’s nephews who have graduated, I’ve concluded that what graduates REALLY, REALLY want is cold, hard cash –and we’re not talking ones and fives!

But sometimes I’d like to give something a bit more personal – a little keepsake or reminder of the special day and the good wishes I’m sending along with that cash.  The grandkids will eventually get graduation quilts --- but for others whose graduation announcements arrive in my mailbox, I’d like to give just a little gift.

And SO---I decided that handmade key fobs would fit that bill.  I had quite a few left over from my last craft fair--and I got a whole box full of new webbing, clasps, and ribbon this week to make some new designs!!

AFTER the craft fair (why didn't I think if this before??) I added over-sized key-shaped tags saying:

2014 Congratulations Grad
The key to your future is now in your hands.

You could also attach an envelope with some money or a gift card to the key ring. 

I made some in school colors – purple and gold -- and green, black and white;

and some masculine ones using Parson Gray designer ribbon;

and some feminine ones using Jane Sassaman designer ribbon;

and some for horse lovers (not new, but suitable for grads, too)!

What graduate is not going to have some new keys to keep track of?  Maybe a car--or more likely a bike lock-- or a locker at a new job, or a dorm room or apartment key.  So it’s a useful little keepsake – and under $10.  

The key fobs shown above are all listed in the Key Fobs and Accessories section of my Etsy shop, Pasque Flower Creations.  And more key fobs will be added over the next few days, so stay tuned.

I'm adding some golfing ones for Father's Day -- perfect for old duffers who tend to lose their keys.  (Ask me how I know this --- uh -- from personal experience!)   And some patriotic ones for the 4th of July.  And, if I end up with extras, I guess I'll have "stocking stuffers" for the holiday season!


Happy Mother's Day --- To Me!

I rarely go shopping anymore.  But when Schweser’s  (neighborhood clothing store) advertised a 134th Anniversary 75% Off Sale – who could resist?  And hubby decided to give me an early Mother’s Day/Birthday  present -- $100 cold cash to buy some new duds.   That pretty much sealed the deal.
I could definitely use some summery business casual clothes—not to mention some cool and comfortable duds for an upcoming cousins’ reunion (June 27-29) in South Dakota, and my trip to DC/NH in mid-August.  It’s bound to be HOT in DC that time of year!!

So—Sunday after church I decided to see what I could find.  I ended up with 7 versatile pieces for under $90.  SCORE!!  I still have change in my pocket that I think will go toward a pair of comfortable summer flats in a light, neutral color.

Excuse the poor photo.  I’m taking my long-awaited photography class on Wednesday night.  Bbut here’s what I found (left to right):

The cute pinkish coral top with white trim will be great with white capris or my new white slacks.   I can’t wear it to work, but it will perfect to pack for my trip to DC/NH.

Dark purple 3/4 – sleeve top.  I just love purple, and ¾ is my FAVORITE sleeve length – a very forgiving length for my old arms.  I can pair it with black and a statement necklace for work or with my new white pants and white accessories --or maybe a floral scarf -- for summer.  The back hem is longer than the front to help camouflage my pear-shaped hips – at least from behind.

The funky print top may not look like “Me”, but I need something to wear on casual Fridays – and this will pair nicely with my khaki and olive green crop pants.  AND the ¾ sleeves cinched that deal—80% off.

My FAVORITE purchase is the aqua and white twin sweater set.  The sleeveless top with matching ¾ sleeve sweater will be perfect for work and travel. 

Creamy white pants:  I have a feeling these will be my “go-to” pants for work this Summer.  AND, they’ll be great for the reunion and for my trip. 

The colorful sundress was a bit of a splurge.  My hubby says it reminds him of 60s tie dye --- so maybe my Inner Flower Child was attracted to this one for that reason.  It’s brighter than anything in my wardrobe, but I loved the colors and the funky hemline ---and it will be cool and comfy for my trip to DC.

Do you have any trips planned for the Summer?  Any tips for traveling light, wardrobe-wise?



Sunday, April 27, 2014

Treasury Thanks

Each week I like to thank the curators of Etsy treasuries who featured items from my Etsy shops, Pasque Flower Creations and Aunt Pheba's Vintage, in treasuries over the past week.  So, to all you curators:


This week's treasuries trended toward Mother's Day, which is only two weeks away.

This week, I'd also like to thank the Baby Boomer Team for featuring items from my shop in their Mother's Day Gift Guide 2014.

Judy Nolan of MisterPenQuin featured my glamping oven mitt in her treasury, A Touch of Pink,  This pretty sweet posies lined journal from Judy's shop would add a touch of pink to your jottings.

Edi Royer of memoriesforlifesb featured my multicolored chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Spring Pastels. Kudos to Edi, who was one of the artists featured on this week's Etsy blog post, The Power of the Handwritten Word.  This personalized cutting board is just one of Edi's unique personalized gift items.

Yvette Yolanda of 2morrowsEve featured both my green chevron oven mitt and my navy chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Under 20.  If you're looking for a unique Mother's Day gift, or just a fun new pair of earrings to sport this Summer, check out these wonderful Izzy dangle earrings!

Yvette also featured my navy chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Stuff I Like.  This striking eclipse pendant from Yvette's shop definitely falls into the category of stuff I like.

Wanda of SaffronFields featured my aqua and tan oven mitts in her treasury, She Sells Sea Shells.  Wanda used the colors of a sandy ocean beach to create this beautiful treasury. Wanda carries a series of botanical prints in her shop.  This jasmine print is one of my favorites.

Marie Archer of MariesMaineIdeas featured my poppies on teal oven mitts in her treasury, A Treasury of Treasured Gifts for Mother's Day.  This peaches and cream wreath from Marie's shop would be a lovely Mother's Day day brightener.

Sassy Divas of SassyDivasDressShop featured my aqua chevron oven mitt in the treasury simply titled Aqua.  CAUTION:  Visitors to SassyDivas may be overwhelmed by the cuteness!  Aren't these baby bloomers adorable!!

Heather of farmhousepretty featured my floral on light blue oven mitt in her treasury, Mother's Day Under 20.   Wouldn't this vanity dish made from vintage plates be a lovely addition to a shabby chic boudoir?

Xena of XenaStyle featured my blue and yellow striped baby bib with tiny cars in her treasury, Blue and Yellow Mix of Freshness.   This beautiful butterly collar necklace would add a fresh new look to your Spring and Summer wardrobe.

And there you have it!  Another wonderful week of treasuries!  Thanks, again, curators!


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Crestwood Craft Fair Redux

Today I participated in the Crestwood Christian Craft Fair here in Lincoln, Nebraska.  I had moderately high hopes going into the event.  Their Fall 2012 Craft Fair was my all-time best in terms of sales. The hosts go above and beyond to cater to vendors (help unloading, booth-sitting services, and free lunch).  AND, with graduations and Mother's Day just around the corner, I had hoped people might be looking for little gifts for those occasions.

High Hopes = Unreasonable Expectations?

It was the best of times.  It was the worst of times.  (With apologies to a famous author.)


Beautiful weather!  It was a perfect Spring day.  Perhaps a bit TOO perfect (as in, I'd rather be walking the dog, planting the garden, biking on the MoPac Trail....).

The hosts are terrific!

My table was on the main floor, with big sunny OPEN windows allowing the fresh Spring air to gently soothe the people inside.

Several shoppers admired my oven mitts  --- "too pretty to use" was my favorite comment.  And my key fobs had some admirers, too.

The hours were shortened to 9:00 am - 2:00 pm, and GREAT change IMHO.

And, best of all, I had a fantastic neighbor in the booth to my left:  Nicole Shulde of Artology.  I love Nicole's mixed media art pieces, featuring her own designs superimposed on mostly upcycled backgrounds, with a generous sprinkling of tiles.  I think her tasteful and unique pieces would do well on Etsy, and I encouraged her to think about that venue.

She told me about her new PayPal smart phone payment app, with it's cute blue triangle reader (competition for The Square).  She also encouraged me to think of teaching an Intro to Etsy class--and said she'd sign up!  Maybe if I could team teach the class with some of my super successful Etsy pals, like Edi Royer of Memoriesforlifesb, or Susie Gainor of SmiLeStyles, who have launched hugely successful Etsy businesses. Edi's work was recently featured on the Etsy blog, and Susie's zip pouches were swag gifts for the Golden Globes and MTV awards.   I feel a more than a little underqualified.


There was relatively little foot traffic, especially compared to Fall shows.

There were way more lookers than buyers.

I needed $1.50 more in sales to recoup my registration / table fees.  This is the only time I've attended a craft fair and did not at least have enough sales to cover table rent.  Whats's worse -- some of those sales came from my Bargain Box -- an attempt to move old inventory at cost or less.    I only sold 1 of my 60+ key fobs, and none of my garden aprons sold.

Ah, well.  Live and learn.  I'll have lower expectations going into the next craft fair on May 31, 2014, at Aldersgate United Methodist Church.  And I have plenty of inventory on hand for that show, so I won't be burning the midnight oil trying to get ready.  Although I'll want to add some Father's Day and patriotic / 4th of July items to the mix.

Hope you are enjoying a nice Spring weekend.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Craft Fair Countdown - 2 More Days!

Only two more days until my first Spring craft fair!  My packing list is ready.  I have small bills for change. I still need to finalize the price list, and I hope to finish a few more items, but I'm ALMOST ready. I think.

One thing I've learned from past craft fairs --- it's not Etsy.  My "ideal customer" on Etsy doesn't come to craft fairs in Lincoln, NE.  SO--I'll only take a few oven mitts--and I need to have some inexpensive impulse buy items.

This year I made a big batch of ribbon and cotton webbing key fobs.  I thought they'd be unique and useful graduation or Mother's Day gifts -- or an extra little birthday gift for a newly-licensed teen driver.

Here are a few of my favorites:

I have a nifty display rack with hooks which I'll photograph at the craft fair and share with you in a post next week.

Do any of you do Spring craft fairs?  If you could give someone one craft fair tip, what would it be?


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Craft Fair Countdown

It's Shameless Commerce Tuesday, and today I'm sharing one of the gardening aprons I made for the Crestwood Christian Craft Fair this Saturday.  T minus 4  more days and counting.  Yikes!!!

It's a basic little half apron I made using some gardening fabrics I've had in my stash for quite a long time.  I added an outer pocket just the right size for a phone.

And all the pockets are fully lined:

I haven't participated in a Spring craft fair before -- many fall during tax season -- so this will be an adventure.  I don't expect to do as well as I did at the Crestwood Christian pre-holiday craft fair two years ago, but I  am hoping that by adding some items geared toward Spring activities, Mother's Day, May baskets and graduations, I'll get some sales.  We'll see how it goes!


Monday, April 21, 2014

BBA April Challenge - Color Challenge

Each month, the Blogging Business Artisans Team has a challenge.  This month's challenge came from Duni of PeriDotByDuni:

Create something, anything using a color you would rarely incorporate into your creations, i.e. I rarely use black :) It does not have to be seasonal or for your Etsy shop. Surprise yourself!

This was a difficult challenge for me, because I use LOTS of different colors in making items for my shop.  But most of my color choices are bright, saturated colors, or bold chevron patterns.  And the few pastels I have are contemporary prints.

So for this challenge, I decided to make something using a pretty Liberty of London small-scale floral print and a scrap of lilac-colored fabric.  Even though I have lilac and aqua chevron items in my shop, this look is dainty and shabby chic, and the colors are soft pastels.

I made this little fabric gift pouch based on a tutorial by Lisa and Sarah, a mother-daughter team.  Their blog is Spoonful of Sugar Designs.  It only took two 8.5" squares of fabric and 40"of perle cotton.

I was pleased with how it turned out, so I filled it with mini Cadbury Eggs and gave it to granddaughter  Erin (who attends the University of Nebraska-Lincoln) for a little Easter treat.  I thought she might use the little pouch to hold jewelry or other small items (ear buds?) when the candy is gone.

It was a scrap happy little project.  I hope to make several more before the craft fair this Saturday. These little gift pouches would be cute May baskets or Mother's Day gift holders.  And I always need some cute, inexpensive items for craft fairs.  And quick and easy is an added bonus!

Yikes!!  The craft fair is only 5 days away!

Erin helped me add snaps to a BIG batch of baby bibs on Saturday, and I hope to make several key fobs before the April 26 craft fair, too -- and some sunbonnets.  So much to do, so little time!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Treasury Thanks

Each week I like to take the opportunity to extend a THANK YOU to the curators of Etsy treasuries who have featured items from my Etsy shops, Pasque Flower Creations and Aunt Pheba's Vintage, during the past week.

This week's treasuries tended to focus on Spring and Mother's Day.

Natashalh of StalkingTheWildSnark featured my Peeps Easter Bib in her treasury, The Critters of Spring.
Natasha has a cute little critter named Tiki, and I’m guessing Tiki was her inspiration for this cute guinea pig cuddle sack.  Natasha also makes incredible jewelry when she’s not cuddling critters or planning a wedding.

Etsy Shop-Secrets from Crafty Shop Secrets featured my BBQ oven mitt in a treasury entitled Barn Star Nourish.  This Etsy shop marketing e-book would be a great guide for someone opening an Etsy shop -- or perhaps a good back-to-basics refresher course for some of us who have been on Etsy for awhile.

Chloe B. from LaMauvaiseGraine  of Amiens,  Picardie, France, featured my aqua chevron oven mitt in her treasury, C'est l'heure du gouter!   I just love Chloe's French knitted bracelets.  Although this purple linen one is a personal fave, I ended up ordering three to give as birthday gifts for my daughter and oldest granddaughters.

Michelle of RhysandRaesCreations featured a vintage handkerchief with red roses from my vintage shop, Aunt Pheba's Vintage, in her treasury featuring pretty vintage hankies, Handkerchief.  I think this beautiful eggplant, champagne and ivory bridal sash from Michelle's shop is just stunning!

Abigail Jayne of AbigailJayneArt featured carnation china plates (which belonged to the real Aunt Pheba) from my vintage shop, Aunt Pheba's Vintage,  in her treasury, Floral Comfort.   This vine redwork hoop art by Abigail Jayne is a lovely little floral comfort, too.

Lynn of LynnsDichroicGlass (Virgin Islands) featured my pink roses oven mitts in her treasury, Bloom Where You Are Planted.  This unique dichroic glass cabochon with butterflies and flowers could be the focal point of a piece of statement jewelry -- or perhaps a classy magnet or paperweight.

In contrast to the vibrant color in many of this week's treasuries, 13ideas created a stunningly beautiful treasury in neutral shades.  I was flattered to have my black and tan chevron oven mitt included in the mix.
But if you visit 13ideas, you'll find some wonderfully whimsical and colorful sculptures, like this cute pig sculpture.  Miss Piggy isn't the only little piggy with amazing eyelashes!  And I love that cute little purple snout. And on that note, I'll sign off and "pig out" on Easter dinner. Oink!

Happy Easter!


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Givin' Myself a Raise

It’s Shameless Commerce Tuesday (and the LAST day of Tax Season!!).  Today I’m officially announcing two price increases for my Etsy shop, Pasque Flower Creations:

1.       I have revised my Etsy shop policies to include a 25% SURCHARGE for custom orders.
2.       I will be raising prices on oven mitt listings in my shop between now and May 1, 2014.

Custom Orders

Custom orders are both a blessing and a curse – and they are always a challenge!  I had considered eliminating custom orders altogether, but some of my best sellers were initially inspired by custom orders, so-o-o-o I devised a Plan B

I have found that custom orders require WAY more time and energy to complete than “regular” orders.  They often require shopping for special fabrics and supplies (rarely on sale), photographing fabric options, and then special ordering fabrics.  Some also require new design elements or construction techniques, and drafting new patterns which may only be used once.

I am hoping the 25% surcharge will reduce my number of custom orders, while not discouraging customers who realize that one of a kind (OOAK) or special designs are worth more than something off the cyber shelf.  The surcharge will provide at least SOME additional compensation for the extra time, energy, and out-of-pocket costs required to complete custom orders.

Product Price Increases

The increase in oven mitt prices is mostly due to an increase in the cost of high quality cotton fabrics coupled with an increase in postal rates.  It’s been a double whammy!  High postage rates mean I need to spend even more to get those higher cost fabrics shipped to me.    Also, some of my best sellers use fabrics that are now out of print or in very limited supply – again increasing my costs to keep them in stock. 

AND my boss (that would be ME) decided that her employee (that would also be ME), a hard worker who has honed her skills making 800+ oven mitts over the past three years, and who consistently receives positive customer feedback, deserves to be paid more than a sweatshop worker.

Bottom Line:  I’m givin’ myself a raise!


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Treasury Thanks

This week I want to extend a big 


to the curators of Etsy treasuries who featured items from my Etsy shops, Pasque Flower Creations and Aunt Pheba's Vintage, in treasuries during the past week.  Mother's Day is less than a month away, and many of this week's treasuries centered around a Mother's Day theme.  Sit back and enjoy some eye candy!

Alisa Design featured my poppies on teal oven mitts in her treasury, Home Is Where Your Mom Is . . ..   I just love this Monaco blue hand knit sweater from Alisa's shop!  Pair that with some white capris and fun sandals or flats, and you'll be ready for a fun Spring outing.

Ece from QueensAccessories featured my roses on light blue floral oven mitts in her treasury, Pink Roses for Your Mother.  I love the little pink roses on this hand knit baby sweater from Ece's shop. 

Bob Mathieson, Jane Rothmund, Robert Belz, Janis Uvanile of Stoneworks Jewellery featured my poppies on teal oven mitts in their treasury, Little Luxuries for Mother's Day!   This gorgeous wire wrapped sea jasper pendant would be a wonderful little luxury for a special mom.

Kathy from Tapestry316 featured my purple and gold fleur de lis baby bib (Geaux LSU Tigers!) in her treasury, Spring Lavender.   I always loved Springtime on the farm, with all the baby animals --- lambs, calves, piglets, and baby chicks.  This wonderful art print featuring a mustang quarterhorse hiding her baby reminds me of those happy Spring days of my childhood.

Hamutal Benjo of hamutalbenjoceramics featured my green chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Not All Who Wander Are Lost.  Hamutal makes unique ceramic home accessories.  I love this spaghetti bowl -- perfect as a stand alone art piece, centerpiece, or perhaps a yarn bowl for knitters.

Alessandra of AlexandraFamer from Milan, Italy, also featured my green chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Dear Mom!  Our neighborhood Farmer's Market just opened for the season.  This beautiful handmade tote bag would be perfect for Farmer's Market or craft fair shopping.

Natashalh of StalkingTheWildSnark featured my multicolored chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Spring Frolic.   This wonderful come away with me bangle bracelet would be a fun accessory for a Spring frolic.

Ramune of RPlinen featured my poppies on teal oven mitts in her treasury, Mother's Day Gift.  These beautiful handmade white linen napkins would be perfect for a family Easter feast or a formal dinner, and they are available in a variety of sizes.

Abigail Jayne of AbigailJayneArt featured my pink chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Easter Pink.  I'm thinking this pretty cuff in satin and purple would make a lovely fashion statement at a prom.

Jennifer Ingala of BeautyByIngala also featured my poppies on teal oven mitts in her treasury, Mother's Day Treasures.  I love this hauntingly beautiful original oil painting, Her Solo Journey.  It's one of the wonderful fine art pieces in Jennifer's shop.

Mimiyu86 of HoneyRing featured my green chevron oven mitt in her treasury, White.    This 925 silver ring is one of my favorite jewelry items from HoneyRing.

Hamutal Benjo of hamutalbenjoceramics featured my green and white chevron oven mitt in her treasury, It's Springtime!  The treasury is beautifully curated in a monochromatic color scheme in lovely shades of green.
This unique ceramic silverware holder would be perfect for a breakfast nook -- and it would be heavy enough to anchor windblown table coverings at a picnic.

Georgia Renne of FunkyKnitsByGeorgia featured my green chevron oven mitt in her wish list treasury, I loves them.  This bright and cheery hand knit baby bib in orange, pink and green is a refreshingly modern baby bib in nontraditional colors.

And last, but certainly not least, Sarah Leonard from ACatLikeCuriosity featured my hearts baby bib in her treasury, Heart-ful,  I heard it was Siblings Day earlier this week, so this Sisters Warm the Heart Downloadable Art Print  caught my eye while browsing through Sarah's shop.

Wishing all my Etsy "sisters" a great week and a Happy Easter / Passover.