I Want This



I found this adorable shop, Joyfullness, via her blog and I am so in love with this chalkboard! I see a little bit of Amy Butler's lime full moon dot fabric and her pink wallflower fabric peeking out. I just love everything about this!

A crafty mom of two boys, she creates these fabulous fabric cirlce flowers she calls "Joxlettes". Is this a new invention? I have never seen these before and I am so in love with them!

She even has shoe clippie "Joxlettes" too - you simply must stop by her shop today.

If you buy this chalkboard, I'll forgive you. Just ask her to please relist another one for me!

More crafty mom products coming soon - where do the summer days go?

Craft Show Tips from Crafty Texas Girls



I was so happy to hear from Samantha and Jennifer this week to share their business: Crafty Texas Girls. I visited their website/blog and wondered if these crafty moms could share some tips from their recent craft shows. Lucky for me, Samantha is a GREAT writer and quickly replied with this fantastic article for Polka Dot Mom (I hope you enjoy!):

Adventures on the Craft Fair Circuit
by Samantha Conner of Crafty Texas Girls

After talking for months about how we could make this and that, and that people would actually buy it, we decided it was time to take action. Jennifer and I were the kind of girls who walked in a high-end boutique and examined the stitching on the dresses or the trim on the wall-art. We always muttered under our breath, "Oh we could so make that!". So we got to work. As soon as our daughters went down for nap, we began sewing and hot-gluing. With a small closet full of inventory, we signed up for our first official Craft Fair. Our city hosts a small open air market each Saturday. And for $10, we rented a 8x10 space under a big oak tree. That day, we spent 6 hours learning the ropes.


Since then, we have gone on to sell direct to boutiques as well as participate in festivals with more than 30,000 people in attendance.


But no matter the size of the crowd or the cost of the booth rental, these rules apply. Live and learn!


Rule 1: It's A Craft Show


You are selling items off a card table, so be realistic. There are going to be a lot of people who are just out looking. Some people may just stop by the see what's out there. Some people may be there to buy.


You can never tell. So be kind to everyone, but don't take it personally if they don't buy. The main objective is to have fun and see what sells. Showing off what you have made and getting to meet new people is what it is all about!


Rule 2: Grab their Attention and Give 'Em A Freebie


Display your most eye-catching items up front or on the outside of your tent. You want people to notice you immediately, and to make a bee-line for your table. We always hang our brightest, girlie items on the front of our tent. It attracts moms, kids and grandmas! Then once your customers have arrived, make them feel at home by having a bowl of candy, popcorn or homemade fans available next to your stack of business cards. That way everybody leaves your tent with something in hand.


Rule 3: Come Prepared


Make sure to have lots of change in small bills, pens, a receipt book, and lots of business cards. Make sure you are well supplied with food and drinks too, you may not have a chance for more than a bathroom break. Have all of your items clearly priced, some people are hesitant to ask about pricing. Hang signs that explain what you are selling and what it costs. We have had many people look at our tutus and say "What are these?" Even if it seems obvious to you, it may not to them!


Display your items in the way that they will be used. If it is a bowholder, put bows on it. Be available to answer questions and be prepared to play 'salesman'. Don't be pushy, but know that you are going to have to talk to your customer. A bright smile and an outgoing personality can equal some good sales!




Rule 4: Don't Get Discouraged


One show you may sell out of all your items and the next week you may only sell two things. Don't give up. It's like the weather, it can change unexpectedly and sometimes without any rhyme or reason. The best way to make money is to keep at it. Reflect on shows that were unsuccessful and those that were a hit. What was the difference? It could be the customer was older or younger, had more money or less money to spend. Find who is buying your items and be at those shows.


Other Random Bits of Helpful Information:


  • Have friends and family come visit you. Even if they don't buy, it creates a 'buzz' at your table. Other people will come over to see what everyone is looking at.

  • Get a partner. Sometimes it's easier to talk up someone else's products than your own. Brag about each other's items. Plus you can split the costs that way.

  • Look for shows in advance. Many fair have deadlines months ahead of time, plan accordingly. The holiday season is a great time to sell.

  • The Ten Dollar Limit: Some people are only willing to part with a few bucks. Have items at a variety of price points.

  • Create a Store: Even if you only have a little table, make it warm and inviting. Cute displays, like table cloths and baskets, go a long way.

  • Remember you are an artist. Your craft may be fashioned out of glue and pom-poms. But this is your art, be proud of it. Maybe others could make it, but they didn't and they don't have a table at this show!

About Crafty Texas Girls:
Both Samantha and Jennifer reside in Texas. Since the birth of their daughters prompted them to take become stay-at-home moms, they have been looking for ways to put their crafty skills to use. With the support of their husbands, lots of hot glue, and many hours at the sewing machine, they began creating gifts to family and friends. As word spread about their little hobby, they began hatching a plan.


Combine their crafts into a little business and promote it through an online blog. Once the business cards were ordered, they hit the street-selling their products at local craft fairs and high-end children's boutiques. With a fair amount of success so far, they are optimistic about the future of their homemade creations. "Family will always come first, but as long as our girls are taking naps, we will be making our crafts!"


See Samantha and Jennifer's handmade tutus, tutu bow holders, hair bows, home decor, watercolor paintings and more at http://www.craftytexasgirls.blogspot.com/.

Designer Chick Contest Open!



You can now head on over to the Designer Chick Contest and place ONE vote in EACH of the following categories:

So many Polka Dot Mom featured crafty gals are in this contest and I think that is super.

There are so many fabulous photos and entries...it is inspiring!

Speaking of photos, I must tell you that Julie of Lot 116 Photography took that amazing photo of the four HAPPY little girls wearing my Initial Tees. She is super to work with and I highly recommend her!

My two little girls are screaming, begging and whining for me to come upstairs to their playroom. Apparently they have planned and decorated the room for a birthday party for me. It's not my birthday...and the last thing I saw my 4-year-old holding was a Ziploc bag of my scrap ribbons. Here I go!

See all the Designer Chick categories here:

http://themommydesigner.blogspot.com/2008/07/well-it-is-about-that-time.html


Caution! Luxurious Minky Chenille Ahead



CAUTION! You are going to want to buy every single thing in this post.

Do not proceed if you have any weakness at all toward luxuriously soft minky chenille.

I warned you!

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This week's Polka Dot Mom is Antoinette, owner of Antoinette's, but I shall crown her the Chenille Queen.

She writes, "If I ever have free time again, I would love to write poetry, go hiking and rock climbing, play tennis, volunteer on farm, sing in a choir again and read the Bible more." Her business on Etsy keeps her very busy, but I hope she can do some of those things for herself very soon. I totally understand that feeling though!

Antoinette is one of those really great people too, not to mention her amazing talent with chenille! She is an honest, hard-working and Lord-abiding woman and she stands proudly next to everything she does. She believes in positive thinking and looking at the bright side of things. Antoinette is doing her party to make the world a better (and MUCH softer) place!

Okay, ladies. Here's the big one. The photo that will make you so sad that you do not have this super-soft minky dot chenille pillow and blanket set to curl up with tonight. I'm sorry to have to show you this, but it must be done:



Can you say, "Calgon, Take Me Away"?

Visit Antoinette this week and buy something soothing and soft for yourself. She even has minky dot chenille facial cloths for removing make-up on sale this week! I am so headed for her sale section. It is filled with pillows, changing pads, burp cloths, blankets and more. Who can miss a SALE on chenille gifts anyway?

See you there!

http://antoinettes.etsy.com/

Anna Maria Horner's Garden Party Polkas


Anna Maria Horner's long-awaited Garden Party new fabric collection is now available online! You can read all about her inspirations and see completed projects on Anna Maria's blog.

I was reading JCaroline Creative's blog and read the announcement...then how tickled I was to see the gorgeous "Polka Line" now in stock on JCaroline Creative's Garden Party fabrics page. I plan to get mine today before it is sold out!

The "Polka Line" includes fabrics in these shades:
  • Brown with mustard yellow dots
  • Bright green with light blue dots
  • Olive with deep orange dots
  • Magenta with pink dots
  • Tan with pink dots

I have been looking for some new fabrics for my fall collection and I think we have a winner!

I received notice of a great sale going on today and tomorrow at Fashionable Fabrics too. Receive 10% off your order through July 10th when you enter code "garden10". She has the bright green with light blue dots fabric in the "Polka Line". View all of her in-stock Garden Party fabrics here.

What will you be creating with these beautiful fabrics? They are so perfect for fall dresses, handbags, artwork and more.

Here is a beautiful dress Anna Maria Horner created to inspire you:

Free Summer Handbag - Enter to Win



A favorite Polka Dot Mom and talented handbag designer, Pam of Sew Gracious Boutique Bags is hosting a free giveaway for this beautiful tote!

Read the easy ways to enter on her blog, just be sure to enter before July 10th.

In her Sew Gracious Etsy shop, find coordinating wallets, key fobs and tissue holders too. You will love reading her blog posts too.

Have a great holiday weekend and I hope you find time for yourself to make something that has been on your "crafty to-do list"!

MomAgenda for Moms in Business


The popular MomAgenda begins its 2008-2009 calendar in one month on August 1st to help busy moms prepare for back-to-school events, business meetings, even holiday merchandising.

You can use the momAgenda to organize your kids and your business and this is one well-researched calendar. Everything you need to have a better-planned year for your crafty business is inside. See for yourself as the creator of the momAgenda, Nina Restieri, lets you try her format FREE by signing up for her newsletter or by printing her "week-at-view" day planner free sample pages.

About the momAgenda:

"This is the planner that started it all: Featured on The Today Show and in Real Simple Magazine! It's an agenda planner made for moms by a mom.

The momAgenda Desktop features a unique week-at-a-view format with space for mom and up to four children (or a mom with two kids, a husband and a growing craft business!) , allowing moms to manage multiple schedules with ease!

The 7” x 9” Desktop features a 17-month calendar which runs from August 2008 through December 2009, including both monthly and weekly views. Also includes the momEssentials address book, which can be removed and reused from year to year.

The momAgenda Desktop includes space for notes on books, movies, fashion, and music, vacation and party planning pages, and more. The momEssentials pamphlet comes with space not just for addresses, but also for adults' and kids' medical information, birthdays, websites and passwords, and more.

This classic momAgenda day planner comes in 5 stylish, stain-resistant colors: Chocolate, Fuchsia, Leopard, Lime and Marine."

We've found the best deal on the web for the 2008-2009 MomAgenda calendar and it's at Tiny Truffles. MomAgendas are 10% off nearly every day OR receive 10% off when you join their newsletter. Shipping is $5 on every order OR receive free shipping on orders over $65.00.

I purchased my new calendar from http://www.tinytruffles.com/ and it arrived quickly and well-packaged with lots of great customer service and e-mail communications. I added the Kitchen Portfolio to my order to receive the free shipping deal. I am using this to organize my important business and family documents.

I wanted to share this deal with you, in case you are searching for ways to improve your craft business starting with the new school year. A well-organized calendar that is used every day can make a world of difference. Did I mention they come in great colors that are stain-resistant?


Let me know which color you pick for your new 2008-2009 MomAgenda. I hope you will feel empowered every time you open your new calendar because you bought something great for yourself that will help improve your family life and your home business. To the new year (starting in August)!