Monday, November 8, 2010

Crunch Time!

Sunday is my second craft boutique this fall, so this week is crunch week. I have plenty of inventory left from last month, so mainly I just need to re-group, re-organize, and try to make a few new things by Saturday. Now, I've had a full month to get ready, but one of the things I do best is procrastinate, so here I am, with only 5 days left, wondering how I will get it all done. Somehow I always do, and if I don't accomplish everything I wanted to, then so be it. I am learning to let go of thinking that I have to be super-woman and crank out a massive inventory each year. Now I think I will get done whatever I can and not stress over it if I don't.

How did I get myself into this? About nine years ago (honestly, I've lost track of the time, but I think it was about nine years.) a friend of mine was holding a craft show in her barn. She had this really cool old rustic barn that she had allowed some friends to clean up and use as a place to sell their crafts. I stopped by to check it out, and happened to be wearing an old denim shirt that I had taken some black craft paint mixed with fabric medium and stamped big moose all over it. My friend's crafter friends loved my shirt so much they invited me to make more of them and join them in their next show. Long story short, this blossomed into some great friendships and a group of five women who spent the next 5 years or so renting a U-haul truck and hauling our stuff all over the area to every craft show we could get in to. After awhile I felt like I hadn't really found my niche yet. I was making wreaths, stamping shirts, but I needed something that was just mine. Two of the girls sewed, one did woodcrafts, and the other specialized in apples. She made huge caramel apples the size of a small third grader - seriously, you could cut it up into chunks and feed a room full of people they were so big! I got to thinking that it would be nice if we had some candles, and I also found an instruction book on how to paint canning jars and turn them into cool candle holders. I searched around online and bought little bits and pieces of candles supplies and asked a lot of questions, and started making votive candles in my kitchen. I only ever intended to do votive candles, but I loved it so much I kept branching out. I watched and learned, and now I am making all kinds of really cute things. Painting jars became another passion, and in the process I became a jar junkie. I now have a modest collection of old canning jars, but a gazillion boxes of jars that I just know I will get around to painting someday. At least if I don't, I can always fill them with yummy scented wax, right?!

I painted these jars last year. Unfortunately, we had a rough summer at work and I didn't get any painting done this year, but I'm anxious to start again for next year.

After awhile, we all agreed that the physical labor of doing all the shows was taking it's toll and we didn't want to do it anymore. Besides all the work that went into making the merchandise, there was loading up all the tubs and boxes along with our display pieces. Then we drove to the venue, unloaded the truck, set everything up, and then stood on our feet for 6-7 hours hoping people would buy our stuff. At the end of the day we had to pack up, load the truck, drive home, and unload it again. It was beastly hard work! The downside was that there is no guarantee your lovingly made crafts will sell. One show I might sell $600 and the next time not even break $100. You have to really love it because you aren't necessarily going to make any money. Now I just do a few shows on my own, and sell to anyone who asks. I have considered a website, but I never seem to have the time to set something like that up. I'm happy with what I do now though.

Here are some candles I made last year using the cheese-shakers jars I got from a restaurant supply website. This one is made in Citrus Blackberry scent, I made the berries using a silicone embed mold. The "crust" is make with Grandma's Pie Crust scent. I poured the wax into a small cake pan, and when it was almost hard but still warm I scraped it up with a fork so it would look like crumbs.

This one was a little simpler, the yellow is made with Lemon Meringue Pie scent.

Apple Pie here. I didn't make these apple slices, but I now have a mold so I will be able to do it myself. I painted the outside with the same red wax to make it look like apple peel.

Another view with the lids on:

I don't have the jars to make them this year, but I would like to do them again because they were very popular and I sold out of them last year.

These are the petite cinnamon buns I made for this year. I used to make them bigger, but I like these better. They are a little bigger than a votive candle, and the pan saves you from having to find something to burn them on.. when it's done just toss the whole thing. Of course, you always have to use common sense when burning candles, and watch so the pan doesn't get too hot when the candle burns down.

Aren't these cute?

I made them by pouring the pillar wax into a jelly roll pan lined with heavy duty aluminum foil. The pan really needs close watching, because you have to catch it before the wax becomes hardened or it won't roll up. When it's set all the way through but still warm and soft, cut the wax into strips and carefully roll it up in the shape of a cinnamon roll. I set the roll on a flat surface and mold the whole thing in my hands until I get the shape I want. I will then poke a hole in the center using a bamboo skewer, and put in the wick. When it's fully hardened I drip white wax over the top to look like icing. I use a blend of two different Cinnamon Bun scents to get the perfect cinnamon roll scent. This is another one of those occasions where the kids would think I was baking, they smell that good.

The turkey roasters are on as we speak, melting my wax so I can start cranking out new, yummy candles. Time to get busy!

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