Thursday, January 31, 2008

Past Crafty Endeavors

I didn't start doing any of these things thinking I was gonna make make money. They started as hobbies and creative outlets and selling came later.

My mother and I started selling at craft shows together in 1987. She made dolls, wreaths, candy, florals and a variety of other things, I painted sweatshirts mostly. I painted them and painted them and painted them. Branched out into tshirts, pant/shirt combos and denim button downs before it was all over. Did this for a little over ten years.

I really enjoyed it and could literally sit up all night and paint. The shows would make me a nervous wreck, but I enjoyed the painting and even though I was using a lot of patterns, I still felt like I was being creative. I sold nearly every shirt I ever painted and made good money at it. We would often sell out (or be down to 5 or less) day 1 of a show and I'd go home and stay up all night painting more! I stayed so busy painting for shows and taking orders for people that it became a second job.

Then it took this weird turn where I was mostly taking orders, which was fine 'cause I made more $ that way, but instead of me deciding what designs I wanted to use and how I wanted the finished product to look, people began telling me how they wanted it done. "I want the puppy to be wearing a blue shirt with orange polka dots, his eybrows should be slightly tilted inward, and I want three brown spots on his face, also, paint a fence with some flowers behind him...but make them pale pink with lavender centers" OK, maybe it wasn't THAT specific, but you get the idea. I wanted the money and I have a hard time saying no, so I did it. But I absolutely hated someone telling me how to "do my thing", so I just stopped. I don't care if I ever paint another shirt as long as I live. And I've been asked as recently as this school year, but I cringe at the thought. And that's too bad.

At one point I had a ton of pictures of shirts...this photo of Mom at a booth and Jackie was all I could find today. Alf? Huh.A few years later, while I was selling vintage clothing on ebay, I tried my hand at painting purses. THIS was fun. I loved it! I bought vintage purses at thrift shops and either painted them or embellished them w/felt in long neck cats, cherry and poodle motifs.

I sold them(and many many vintage clothing items) on ebay. This was in the days before Etsy... They did really well and I again I made good money w/the combination of the purses and vintage clothes. I quit doing that when it became harder and harder to find decent things at the local thift shops. Somehow I've managed to save some pics of a few of those purses. Looking at them now, I see that there is some major room for improvement, but still, it was fun.My next go round was with jewelry, about four years ago. I really got into this one. I made a lot of bottle cap necklaces w/vintage images in them, beaded and button jewelry and I did some vintage images on cardstock w/beaded chains. I gave a lot as gifts, took it to one dismal craft show in Indiana, but I sold a lot of it at work. Again, I really had fun with the jewelry and it felt really creative. I'm not sure why I gave it up. I still have lots of supplies, hmmm....maybe I'll break out the beads one of these days. A few pics of stuff I had left and things I still wear.And now, I guess I'm itching to try again with the Etsy shop. I'm seriously thinking I want to try and sell aprons in the Etsy shop. I haven't been sewing long, I have much to learn and I know there are a bajillion aprons on Etsy. But they're SO much fun to make! I really do enjoy and use aprons...maybe that will come through in the shop. I don't know...I second guess myself a lot...but that 's my thought for now.

I still want to show off my supercute, completely awesome Etsy banner and share ideas for two more possible things to sell, so ya'll check back later!


Scott and Jackie Newman said...

My ALF shirt!!! That was one of my favorite shirts ever. That and a giraffe shirt that you painted for me...aawww, brings back memories. I loved going to those craft shows with you & mom. You should start doing it again. ;) I LOVE the jewelry. I'm so jealous. Actually, I'm just ready to come home and spend some much needed time with my amazing & creative siblings!! :)

Anonymous said...

If you enjoy making the things, go for it!If they dont sell (but i'm sure they will), you dont have much to lose espically with etsy so cheap to list your crafts. give it a try!! good luck!

Crystal said...

Those purses are SO cute!

I make and sell jewelry and sort of understand what you mean by filling custom orders. We do a lot of them, and while I enjoy them most of the time, I really thrive on sitting down and creating pieces that exist only in my mind! :o)

Kellie C. said...

Holy cowpatty Girl!!! You are sooo talented. I think you should give a hand at painted jeans or overalls for kids on Etsy and Ebay.

Anonymous said...

Hey, that is some COOL jewelry! You really are multi-talented, Lady!