Sunday, September 30, 2012

31 Days - Day 1: Decide to Do a Craft Show

The first step to having a craft show is to decide to have one.  I've done a few over the years, but for very different reasons.  Some of the reasons to do a craft show are:

  • Make extra money for a season
  • Start a new business
  • It's always been a dream to sell your handmade items
  • Your crafting has gotten out of hand, and you've made too many things
  • You want to promote your Etsy or internet craft selling business
  • You love to go to craft shows, but never buy, because you can make that too.
Whatever the reason or reasons for wanting to a craft show, I think that it's a good idea to find a reason behind wanting to do a craft show and keep that in focus as you get ready.  You can easily loose sight of your vision while getting ready for a craft show.  If you are not fully committed to your reason for doing a craft show, you really shouldn't do one. (Trust me, I've done craft shows with people that aren't fully committed to why we were doing a craft booth together and found them in the end to be a detriment to our booth.)

My reason for doing a craft show this year is to help my daughter raise funds to go on her own 4-H awarded trip to Japan in a couple of years.  In addition to helping her raise funds, this will hopefully promote and give our Etsy Shop more exposure locally.

What are your reasons for doing craft shows?  I'd love to hear why you decide to do craft shows.  Please stay tuned for my posts every day in October as I get ready for a craft show during my 31 Days to a Craft Show series.

For a complete list of the 31 Day Until A Craft Show series and links to each post go Here to Day 31.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Beach Ball Get-To-Know-You Activity

With a theme of the beach for our new MOPS year, I wanted to kick off our year with a beach themed Get-To-Know-You Ice Breaker Activity.  It's a nice non-threatening way to get to know each other in a group setting. I've done this activity before with teenagers in 4-H, so this can be fun for any age or group. This activity is simple to easy to put together.Place simple questions about themselves, on labels and put them in each section of a beach ball.  The idea is for everyone to stand in a circle.  Toss the ball around the room to someone new and where they catch the ball, that's the question that person answers.  I usually clarify that they answer the question in the section under their right pointer finger.  

Different topics and questions that I included are:
  • Favorite Animal
  • Best School Subject
  • Favorite Game
  • Talent 
  • Favorite food
  • Best movie
  • Favorite Song
  • Last Book I read
  • If I had a spare 30 minutes I would______
  • Ideal Vacation
These are just a few that you could use.  I have also used this in a therapy session, too.  You could have deeper questions to answer to stimulate conversation.  You could also use this for scout groups, youth groups, marriage retreats, etc.

I hope that this helps plan your next meeting or group setting.  Please share if you find this helpful!

Paint Chip Bookmark - MOPS Craft

Today is the day - we kick off the beginning of a new MOPS group in Grangeville, ID!  I am so excited, and of course nervous and busy!  One of the things that you don't realize about starting up a group is how much work goes into that first meeting!

I love the craft projects, so it just wouldn't be the same without a craft project to kick the year off.  This first time, I wanted to do a somewhat practical, but easy and fun.  Oh, yeah, and did I mention that we have a $0 budget to work with? I decided to make bookmarks out of paint chip samples.  Sadly, I was willing to go get a whole stack of blue paint chips from the hardware store, for free, just to make a craft!

I think it turned out really cute.  I will describe here what I did - I didn't think that I needed to take pictures of all the steps, since this one is pretty easy.
  1. Trim the Paint Chip Sample to the length that you like.  In this case, I cut off two sections with the 7-inch Trimmer.
  2. Use the Corner Rounder to trim the top two corners to look like the original paint chip corners.  
  3. Hole punch a hole in the top of the paint chip.
  4. Use Shell Stamps and black ink to stamp randomly and over the edges of the paint chip.  Be sure to put a scrap piece of paper under during this step.  My good friend DeAnn Rauzi over at Stampin' On The Camas Prairie allowed us to use her Stampin' Up stamps and stamp pads.
  5. Cut a piece of twine or jute to put through the hole.   Again, no measuring here, just whatever length you want.
  6. Stick a 2"x4" label on the back with the dates of MOPS printed on it.

I used blue paint chips, shell stamps and jute to go with the beach theme for the MOPS 2012 Plunge theme. This gives all the ladies a handy schedule for the year, too!  This craft was almost free - I only had to purchase the 2"x4" labels.  Please let me know what you think!  I love to hear all your great love!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Be Still My Soul - Book Review

I rarely have books that I can't put down until I finish it, but "Be Still My Soul" by Joanne Bischof was one of those books.  I got hooked into this book so much that I stayed up late nights and early mornings to finish it.

Set in the Appalachian Mountains, Lonnie Sawyer clings to her faith as her abusive father dictates her life.  Lonnie counts the days that she will be able to move in with her loving and faithful aunt.  All her plans and dreams come to a halt one night, when the local, lady's man, Gideon O'Reilly steals a kiss from her, which her father witnesses.

Lonnie's father forces a marriage between Lonnie and Gideon, which in turn begins another difficult path for Lonnie.  Gideon struggles with his own bitterness and anger at being forced to marry Lonnie.  Gideon takes Lonnie away from the only home she's ever known to pursue a new beginning, but struggles to give up his resentments.

Will Lonnie's quiet faith in God be enough to keep their marriage together and give Gideon the hope and faith he needs to be the husband God is calling him to be?

Cover to cover, this book will not disappoint.  I had my doubts about how good this book would be for a first time author, but I can't wait for the next in this series to be released!  This series, "The Cadence of Grace", will be hard to put down, and even more difficult to wait for the next book!  I truly can't say enough about how great this book was!

I did receive this book in exchange for my review from Multnomah Books, but would not hesitate to purchase the next in the series myself! Please consider helping me out by ranking my review HERE

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Beach Table Decorations

I have been busy planning and starting a new MOPS (Mothers Of Preschoolers) group here in my new area.  I really didn't want to be the one to start one, but sometimes God works in mysterious ways!  So, a lot of things need to be put in order to get our first meeting started.  I've been coming up with a schedule for the year, along with coordinating crafts, so I'll be sharing those soon!

We are on a very low budget since we are just starting.  In fact, I don't even know how many will be coming, as we are kicking off our first meeting at the end of this month.  Our theme is "Plunge: Love as if your life depends on it."  I took the water theme and was going to keep things simple by using canning jars (which would also be very cute and doable), but one of the ladies in our church does table decorations for our local senior center, and already had beach type table decorations made up that we could borrow for the year.

 In the center is a brandy sniffer (I think that's what they are called) with sand in the bottom and a whole bunch of shells.  Then of course shells around that on a light blue napkin, which this lady also happened to have and allowed us to use.  Then underneath, I made a square under the napkin out of burlap.
 I didn't measure this at all, just went a little larger than the napkins.  I then used light blue thread and did a different kind of decorative stitch on my machine about an inch away from the edge, and then frayed the burlap off around the edges.
This larger jar of shells is going to go on our refreshment table for a little more beachy theme.  If I had used the canning jars, I would have tied a piece of jute around the top of the jar, but these sniffers, don't lend themselves to that.   Really, this whole project only cost me 3 burlap bags that I had on hand!

Let me know what you think.  Oh, I'm sorry for the lighting, if you can believe, this is daytime lighting with all the smoke.  I actually had to use my headlights to drive during the day yesterday, as the smoke is so bad from the fires.)  Also, I made one of the burlap table toppers for my shop, so be sure to check that out, too! If you need these made for a MOPS group, please contact me for a discount.  I would be happy to make a group of them up for your MOPS group decorations!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Any Berry Jam

Since I have been showing you so much of what we've been canning, lately (sorry, my crafting is on hold for the canning!)  I thought I would share the recipe I've been using for the berries we've been finding out in the mountains.  The one thing I've learned about canning, is that it's not a good idea to vary the recipes, as there is a lot of science put into canning.  I prefer to do water bath canning (ok, I'll admit that I am afraid to do the pressure cooker), so the food I can needs to have a high enough acidity to not need the pressure.

People often ask me if I make low or no sugar jams or jellies, but hey, I love the taste with the sugar, so why change a good thing?  There are recipes for no sugar, but it's not what I'm sharing today.  Besides that, I love to give a jar of jam for a house warming or Christmas gift here and there, and who wants to get something sugar free for a gift, besides a diabetic?  Sometimes it's just nice to have the real thing.

Our most recent mountain find are blackberries.  I have definitely in the past not given blackberries the credit they are due!  Well, maybe the blackberry pickers the credit, anyway!  These things are pickery (not a word, but should be!)!   Those bushes not only pick at you, but they seem to reach out and grab you too!  We've been picking out pickers for days afterwards.
Yummy - Goodness!
 I had to share with you what happens to our Yummy-goodness when you turn your back for just a moment!
 And of course, the final result of an evening of Jam making.  It actually isn't as bad as it may seem, but it does take some time for all the cooking and boiling to happen.
I am going to share with you the recipe that I use for the blackberries and also for the huckleberries that we got awhile ago. You can go HERE to see that post.  The book I use is:

Berry or Black Currant Jam

Makes about seven 8-ounce jars
  • 5 cups crushed blackberries, boysenberries, dewberries, loganberries, raspberries, young berries or cooked black currants (see the book for more hints to make the currants)
  • 1 package regular powdered fruit pectin
  • 7 cups sugar
  1. Prepare canner, jars and lids.
  2. In a large, deep stainless steel saucepan place berries.  Whisk in pectin until dissolved. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently.  Add sugar all at once and return to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly.  Boil hard, stirring constantly.  Boil hard, stirring constantly for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and skim off foam. (Spread it on the fresh bread you just pulled out of the oven. Did I mention that to start bread baking before starting this project?  Sorry!)
  3. Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space.  Remove air bubbles and adjust head space, if necessary, by adding hot jam.  Wipe rim.  Center lid on jar.  Screw band down until resistance is met , then increase to fingertip-tight.
  4. Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water.  Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes.  Remove canner lid.  Wait 4 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.
Check out the blogs I love to link up to in the right column.  Also, I love to hear what you think and if you find this helpful.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Western Fires

Three Weeks Ago
Labor Day Weekend

We have been enjoying the beaches in our area.  Our first experience in the beach was with our 4-H club for an end of the year party.  It really is an experience that is different that any beach in the Midwest.

The water is ice cold!  Take your breath away Ice Cold! Also, it is often rushing.  We just go to the beach and sort of take it in and can't believe this is where we live.

Of course, the other thing that we can't get used to is the smoke.  I don't know, most here don't really complain about it or even say it worries them.  I don't know if that's because they are used to to the smoke, or if really there is nothing to be done about it, so life goes on.  Maybe, it's because by saying something about it, it makes it come true closer.

For those of us from the Midwest, I'm not even sure what to say, other than life does go on, and we continue to enjoy our new surroundings.  Of course, the same view from the same beach, changes with the smoke.  Everyone says it's what has blown over from Montana, but really, with so many fires surrounding us, I'm not sure how to tell what smoke comes from what fire.
Here's another view we have all day long - the firefighters!  This causes me to pray each time an airplane or helicopter goes out.  I pray that all are safe that are involved. It guess that's all we can do, but pray.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

31 Days Announcement

Participating in the "31 Days" last year was both challenging and fun!  It stretched me in so many ways not only as a blogger, but as a person.  To write a post every day for 31 days straight on the same subject, really was hard for me.  With five kids at home, homeschooling, and all the chaos that comes with that, to take time out each day to not only blog about something, but to actually make a new craft each day for a Christmas gift, and photograph it - was a huge challenge for me.  But in the end, I felt like I really had accomplished something (and not just all my Christmas gifts, either!).

When I saw that the Nesting Place was again having the "31 Day" Challenge, my wheels started to churn.  Selfishly, I really wanted to do 31 Days of Simplifying or 31 Days of Getting Rid of all my Junk series.  But of course, after perusing the over 700 links from last year, I realized that I was not alone in my thoughts of getting my closets and garage cleaned out (did I mention that I haven't unpacked everything yet?)

My gut was telling me to do a very different series of posts!  Of course, in my eyes (and thoughts) this topic was the most risky!  It was the one that will drive me (and Mr. Right) closest to insanity in doing it.  But, in truth, it's the one that I most recently, couldn't find all the information in the same place for.  So, drum roll please.......I am going to do 31 Days Until a Craft Show!  Here's the logo for it:
Cute, huh?  For this series, I am going to try to present all the information that I find and know about getting ready for a Craft Show in one month, the month of October.  I've found a ton of information out there, pieces of it anyway, but nothing really is a guide on how to get ready from start to finish.  Along the way, I am going to share what I am doing to get myself ready.  I want to share all the frustrations and the joys of getting my act together and to a craft show.

So there it is, I've committed.  Please consider joining me in October for this exciting trek that I am going to make.  I think this is going to be an exciting and informative journey!

If you'd like to check out my 31 Days posts from last year, you can still see it on my old blog here: 31 Days of Handmade Christmas Gifts.