Craft fair season burn out

Well here I am again, almost to the end of the craft show season and I am sitting and wondering and questioning myself as to why I put myself through this every year!. Every year I get exhausted and honestly for what? The expenses I have for my ideas and items far outweigh the revenue I take in at these shows. I suppose if I did a show every weekend I would recoup my costs but honestly and I say this very meekly (I am getting too old for this crud). My passion is knitting but we all know that unless you under price your knit wear you will never sell it in this area. Now the item I have for this year was a test item. I needed to find out if it was going to be a seller at the shows. Well it sorta was but people still looked at me like ‘What????  you want how much?” Now by the time I work out the cost of the bottle, lights, vinyl, paints (including the frosted spray paint which is freaking expensive). I am barely breaking even when I charge $20 for them. Here is an example of the bottles

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Now that is only one example.  I have christmas ones as well as the Lighted Glass Blocks which I charge $25 for. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely loved designing and working on this project, but unless you hit the bigger shows and do more shows during the season, or find a place to purchase the supplies at a cheaper price. (Michaels here is insanely pricey)  it certainly is not worth the effort. I have one more show the first week in December and then I will be done for this season.  And YES I mean done.

I have had a lot of time to reflect and think this through and I am done with doing shows. My health is getting in the way of being super productive and until that issue is addressed  I just want to knit and crochet, design some more dog sweater patterns, do up a pair of Sock Monkey mittens and actually write up the pattern so I can sell it. (I have had a number of requests for this pattern but haven’t had time to actually put it in a pattern format. I love to design and I found I have had more enjoyment out of designing the bottles than I actually had making them up. So there is another thought.. I can design some print and cut files for the cricut and list those as well.

So that is my life decision. No more trying to outwit and come up with new and spectacular ideas for craft shows. No more killing myself trying to get ready for shows. It honestly is not worth it at my age. If I was 20 years younger even I would still be trying new crafts but I am done.  I am going to take a little well deserved time for ME.. This winter, it will be purge and clean my studio of all the supplies I have and will NOT be using. Great way to wile away the snowy winter here.  I am sure there will be someone somewhere that will get use of my stuff. I will be listing and purging as I go along. OR>>>>  I just might have a sale here at home and advertise.  Lay the stuff out that I want to sell and have an in home sale.  There is a thought. Or.. just box it according to each type of craft and sell the boxes individually. I would love to see the back of my closet again.. LOL. I will not become totally craft free. I have some knitting projects I want to try , I still have my knitting machines and I cannot wait for the chance to get back to my passion.  As I finish a project I will be listing it on my site.. or Etsy, (that is if I don’t decided to gift it or keep it for myself)

Now that I have made that decision and actually see it in text format I think,, no.. I know! that I am doing the right thing for me at this time. I feel pretty good about it.. yup I do.

And on that note have a happy and peaceful Holiday Season!!!!

 

 

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Recycle Reuse is my motto

Well I have been working my fingers to the nubs getting ready for the upcoming craft show season. I am only doing 3 maybe 4 shows this year, 2 of them being smaller shows (Which is fine with me) For the past many years I have been knitting and crocheting. I had followed the trends, actually sometimes I was ahead of the trends which didn’t bode well for my sales. I have discovered what is trending in the states usually doesn’t hit here for at least a year sometimes 2. But that is neither here nor there today. I have pretty well backed off the knitting as the yarns have become so expensive that it is not worth my while making hats/scarves/mittens and scarves. People in my area are not into spending for anything quality hand made. I still take orders for items if anyone wishes something in particular but knitting and crocheting for shows is just not what I feel like doing any more.

I have changed up what I am doing and looking forward to my first show in sept. I will be taking pictures of my items over the next few weeks and will surely post them here. In the meantime I wanted to change up my banner for the shows. I had one that I could attach to the front of the tables but I realized that a lot of people were not seeing the actual banner if I had customers shopping at my table. So I decided to go with a smaller 30″x48″  vertical instead of the large horizontal one. Also changed up the colours and design a bit. I am really happy with the look of the banner now and I have my business cards that match. So my delimma was, **how was I going to display this vertical banner**? It is fine if I have a wall behind me but you can never be guaranteed to have a wall. So I got my thinking cap on.. hmmm ahhhh… I have a projector screen from when I used to have picture slides. I know I know, I am dating myself. but I still have that projector screen downstairs. I kept trying to figure out how to revamp it for the banner.. In the end it would be a heck of a lot of work to remove the screen and work up somthing for the banner (since the banner is vinyl)

Well this afternoon I had a lightbulb moment!!!!  Omgosh  I had the perfect solution. A couple of years ago I got a double clothes rack from Walmart to display my scarves.

This is what I had purchased and paid $19 at the time.

clothesrack

Well it has been sitting in pieces in my closet in my studio.. So this is what I did.. The top rack is removable so I took my banner and taped it with black gorilla tape making sure the banner was completely around the pole and the black could only be seen from the back. That’s it!!! that is all you have to do. I did however put the plastic grommets on the bottom of the banner if I want to secure it so it doesn’t flutter around.. Easy peasy!!!!!  when the show is over, I will remove the top bar, wind the banner up on the bar, secure it with masking tape and put it back into the box the banner came in. Actually all the bars should fit into this box for easy access. Here are some pictures of the end result.

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So there you have it. I love it when I can recycle and reuse items from my closet.

 

 

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Cape Breton Oatcakes perfected!

Well I am happy to announce that I made it through the first half of the summer. We have had an unusually hot and dry summer here. Being from Cape Breton Island I am not accustomed to the extreme heat and this month just about did me in. I am hoping that August gives us some much needed cooler weather and rains as everything here is drying up pretty fast. And on that note I have had a craving for good old fashioned Cape Breton oatcakes. I have been searching online,,,pinterest,,, google  you name it and the recipes I have found just don’t match what I remembered eating. Now mind you I would assume our taste buds change with age and the ingredients available didn’t  quite cut it so I was looking for something that mimicked the oatcakes I loved. I found and tried three different ones but omgosh they just didn’t hit the mark, so I decided to play around the last little while changing things up  Today I made another experimental batch and VOILA!!!!!  these turned out great

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so I have decided to post my results and recipe for all to share

RECIPE  (these are great slathered in butter or strawberry jam)

2 C Flour

2 C oats (not the instant or quick kind)

1 C Brown (light) sugar

2 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp salt

1 C Golden Crisco ( or use 1/2 golden and 1/2 regular Crisco)

1/4 cup Warm water (add more if you need it)

I start by cutting the Crisco into smaller pieces and putting it in my mixer.. add the warm water and start slowly mixing, stopping often to scrape the mixing blade. I then added the salt..baking powder and brown sugar and mix and scrape often. I then added the flour, mix slightly and then the oats. At this point you may want to just mix it with your hands or a wooden spoon. You don’t want to mush up the oats.

Take half the mixture and put on a floured area mix it gently into a ball and then either press into 1/2 depth or take a floured rolling  and roll out to desired thickness. I then cut it with a large cookie cutter and place on a baking sheet.

Bake 375 degrees for about 10- 13 minutes. Baking depends on your oven. When they start turning brown on the edges they are done!.. do not over cook unless you like them crunchy.

Now I have tried the ones with the baking soda.. nah.. didn’t like those

tried the ones with the butter…nah.. not up to par

tried the ones with the regular shortening ..(close but missing something)

tried mixing butter with the regular shortening.. (ah.. there you go.. almost)

Most of the recipes called for 1/2 tsp salt but opps.. today I grabbed the wrong spoon and put a full tsp of salt in the mix.. Happy accident!!!!!!.. I really liked the taste of these. They seemed to have what I was missing in the taste.. and face it.. 1 tsp for a batch of 18 good sized oatcakes is really not that devastating in the dietary world.

So in the end the above recipe is by far my favorite.. but that could be just my old taste buds kicking into action. Doesn’t matter.. I like them.. So give them a try and tell me what you think.. yay or nay?

FYI   one other way of cooking these oatcakes without the big mess of rolling them out.

place parchment paper in a cookie sheet.. add your mixture to the sheet.. (glop it on the paper and then press it to sort of fill in) and then take your floured rolling pin and gently  roll it out to the 4 edges.. the handles fit quite nicely on the edge of the cookie sheet and roll your mixture out to about 1/2 inch on your sheet..(You will see how the handles roll nicely on your cookie sheet giving you a uniform thickness)  you might have to add some mixture or take it away as you are rolling it out.. Now here is the fun part.. score it into either squares or rectangles. After it has cooked your oatcakes will break apart quite nicely.  NO FUSS NO MESSY COUNTERTOP!.. the only problem with this is that they don’t brown up on the edges.  Play around with some cooking ideas and post your thoughts.

I am thinking next of doing this on a smaller cookie sheet.. lifting the parchment out after it is rolled,, then score and separate the oatcakes and put  the parchment into a bigger cookie sheet..or just lift and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet.  I like the way they crisp on the edges when they are separated.

Thanks for reading and any opinions are appreciated

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Trying out the new tarp idea

Well the other day I went out to put the windshield cover on my car and low and behold the elastic was not very stretchy any more. I was really not impressed by it anyway as it never covered my wipers and the ice and snow would build up on them. So in essence it was not doing everything I wanted it to do. SO! I decided to figure out an alternative method for keeping the snow and frost/ice build up off my windshield. I got to searching on Pinterest and Youtube and came across a video of an older gentleman explaining how he covered his windshield for only a few dollars. I watched it and said.. hey what could I lose.

here is his video

 

Now the tarp here at Walmart was $5.00 and it was 6×8 not 5×7 like he explained in the video. I guess things are bigger here in Canada eh..hahahaha

So we tried it. It was put on Maggie’s truck and my car. Now all week I had been letting it come down about 1/2 way on my hood on my car, but for some reason yesterday (lazy and in a hurry)  I folded it in half to put it on. It fit great, covered the wipers and I was happy with that. I walked away pretty proud of myself. Well. if you watch the tarp come off the truck this morning we were amazed it worked so well!.. YAY

So next is my car.. Like I said I decided to fold it in half, mostly for speed and convenience on my part. This didn’t go as well as the truck..hahahaha Note to self, cover the hood a little more than I did yesterday. The video fail is hilarious. but it taught me a lesson for the next snow storm.

 

So that has been our test. All in all it was a good test with good results.

 

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Addi Express help

True North Knitting

I know it has been a while but I have been super busy getting ready for the fall craft shows in my area. I did however do some searching online for help with my addi machine. I came across a video that tells us to grease your addi machine. Now I have put another post earlier about the silicone spray (jigaloo) for it but I was not happy with the performance of it so I took my machine apart again and washed every needle and casing. That was a royal pain in the butt but I figured.. hey why not try this next fix. She had a video saying what she used but not how to do it so as I was greasing my machine this morning I decided to take some pictures as I was going along. 

I went to the local hardware store and bouth some white lithium…

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Getting my MOJO back

As usual the winter knitting  the studio renovation and then the spring craft show has left me drained emotionally and mentally. I couldn’t even think of picking up the needles or hooks to do any kind of yarn work. I had totally turned myself off. Yesterday I came across a knitting bag full of green white and gold yarn and I said.. hmmm.. what is this?.. It turned out that I had started a pair of mittens to match  a hat I had made in the fall. Well true to form I took the back to the tv room and started working away. I couldn’t find the pattern that I had been using for the first mitten so I ended up counting stitches and rows and finished the first one last night and then today I made the matching mitten…..and.. I got the pattern written down now. I like the fit of these mittens so I hope I don’t lose this pattern so I can make some mittens to match the mommy and me hats I made a couple of months ago. I really want to use up the yarn I have in my cupboard so I can look at getting some new colours this summer. so.. here is the picture of the finished set

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of course,,, different cameras took the pictures of the hat and then mittens so we have a bit of colour difference in the collage. The colours are closer to the hat the way the picture looks.

So I am slowly getting my MOJO back and I plan on working on small projects such as Mittens and fingerless gloves until I am fully back.

So on that note.. I am off to empty out a shed to get ready for demolition and rebuilding a new shed.. ugh..would rather go to disney world…LOL

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Rainbow Pasta Salad

Well I finally realized that if I don’t write this recipe down  that I might never find it again.

My cousin Jody is famous for her pasta salad. I made it today with a bit of a variation because I didn’t have everything on hand to make it identical. So here goes.

Rainbow Pasta Salad

Firstly it called for tri coloured pasta (didn’t have any so I just used the spiral type regular pasta)  cooked, drained and cooled. I then just put it back in the pot that I cooked it in while I chop the veggies and mix up the dressing.

Now I have seen many of these recipes but most call for italian dressing. I am not that particular for the italian dressing so here is the homemade version our family likes.

RECIPE:

a box of tri coloured pasta

cucumber, tomato and onion (chopped) and your choice of pepper (green or whatever)

sauce:

1 tsp pepper.

1/4 tsp paprika.

1/3 cup white sugar.

1/2 cup oil.

1tsp salt.

1/2 cup ketchup.

1/4 cup vinegar.

I mix this sauce in a bowl and put it aside while I cut up the veggies.

I put yellow/red/orange peppers….chopped (only about 1/2 of each of the peppers)

1/2 cucumber …chopped ( Now you can leave the skin on if you like but I prefer this time of year to peel and cut the cucumber. The skins in the spring are thick and tough so I just remove them).

1/2 cup of red onion ….chopped

pictures below are the as you make it pictures

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I also add Salt and lots of pepper.. about 1 tsp of pepper and 1 tsp of salt. It calls for paprika but I didn’t have it so I put a few shakes of the Lawry’s seasoned salt in it. Let’s see if anyone notices.. hehehehehe

rainbow pasta salad in bowl

all the veggies are chopped and waiting patiently for the sauce to join them in the bowl.

rainbow pasta sauce

Now here it sits with everything all dumped on top of the pasta. Now you just stir it all together

Rainbow Pasta Salad

AND THERE YOU HAVE IT. ALL MIXED. This should be made at least 4 hours before your meal or even make it the night before. The longer it sits the better it is.

So go forth and make the salad and nom nom it down!

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