Felt Dr. Who Christmas Stocking

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The best kinds of custom orders are the ones that give you a topic you could run with. For this project, my friend asked if I could make something out of felt relating to Christmas and Dr. Who. So my first thought – a Tardis Christmas stocking!

The idea was solidified by a picture I saw on Pinterest. (It’s so hard to have an original idea these days.) But in the picture, it looked like everything was glued down, and I decided to sew everything in place instead. Plus, I added the touch of holly and a wreath to add to the Christmas theme.

It’s not a large stocking, but it’ll be perfect to hang at your desk, in a school locker or on a door handle. Send me a message via my contact page if you want to place a custom order for yourself!

Woodlawn Street Market

I find that life gives you opportunities to jump into the deep end of the pool, and when those opportunities come, you just have to plug your nose and go for it. About a month ago, I signed up to participate in the Woodlawn Street Market, and whether I was ready for it or not, it was time to see how well my felt goods could sell outside of Etsy.

The day turned out to be a success. Though the market was pretty small (it had about 25 vendors), I was happy to make a  handful of sales and walk away with a little over $100 in profits.

Somethings are best learned through experience, and when it comes to being a vendor, I think this statement holds true. But for those of you who are looking to try a craft fair or street market for the first time, here are the lessons I learned from my first experience.

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Lesson #1: How much inventory should I bring?

A week before the market, I felt completely unprepared. So I created a long to-do list for myself and spent every spare second (included lunch breaks and normal sleeping hours) cutting out and sewing together my felt creations. I decided to sell 12 different items. For the best sellers (lunch sets, breakfast sets and Pop Tarts), I create 10 to 15 of each. For others, quantities varied from 5 to 10 items each. By the time Saturday rolled around, I had a lot of stuff, but I still felt like it wasn’t enough.

It was only until I started to set up that I realized I had a ton of stuff! I couldn’t even fit everything on the table. I knew the market was going to be small, but I brought enough inventory that if I sold out, I could make $800. It was a little overkill. I would have done fine if I had brought half of what I actually did. But, on the flip side, it was nice to feel prepared, and I have plenty of inventory left for Etsy orders or possible another craft market before Christmas.

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Lesson #2: How should I  best display my items?

Next time, I’m going to use more tables. I was given a lot of space (a 12 x12 booth), and I should have taken advantage of it. (Plus, I should have centered my table cloth. Looking at the picture now, I realize how silly it looks.) A friend gave me the advice that a clustered look attracts customers, but I think I had too much stuff on top of each other.

I did use display pieces, which turned out to be a great sale technique. These items are meant to be touched and played with, so I wanted people to pick them up, examine them (and then fall in love with them, of course). The kids that came by totally got it. Before their parents could make it to the table, they were waving around the bag of chips like it was the coolest things they’ve ever seen. They dove their little hands into the bowls of felt salad and pasta before anyone could stop them. Kids know toys when they see them.

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Lesson #3: How much should each item cost?

This is an question I am still asking. Someone told me a story once. They had a friend who wanted to go into the photography business but didn’t know how much to charge for his services. He researched what other photographers were doing in the area and picked a middle of the road price point. He barely booked any sessions. Then he decided to find the highest price out there and top it, and his business took off from there. He said that because he had the highest price point, people assumed he was the best. He was the best that money could buy.

Though I do not think I could start selling my felt items for hundreds of dollars, the story proved to me that we cannot always guess what the consumer is thinking. I would think that at a middle-road, affordable price, my felt breakfast sets would sell like crazy! But alas, I only sold 3 sets this weekend.

The issue I find with pricing homemade items is how to you quantify the amount of time you send to create it. If I priced the felt lunch set to reflect the amount of time it took me to create it, I would need to sell it for at least $50. But why would you pay $50 for my homemade item when Target has shelves of more inexpensive, yet equally adorable items. So I’ve decided to use prices that do not account my time, but instead build in room for a small profit with the price of the materials.

Maybe over time, if items become more popular, I’ll increase prices. But for now, I like how my prices are affordable. I rather my felt food be in the hands of children that stored in the back my closet!

Wish I had thought of it: Felt Baby Costume

As more and more crafty people join Instagram, I find that the mobile social media site has now surpassed Pinterest as a major source of inspiration. Example A:

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This. is. ADORABLE! Plus, it looks so easy to create. I imagine you can sew or use fabric glue to attach strips and squares of white felt to a yellow onesie. And it would be easy to make the headband with elastic and green felt.

Unfortunately, I do not have a kid of my own, but luckily my sister-in-law is due the first of March. This will be prefect for my new niece this time next year!

Check out more of A Beautiful Mess on Instagram here!

[Felt] Leaves are in the Air

Do you find it strange that fall is so colorful? I mean, not to get too philosophical, but even in the midst of the dying leaves, natures bursts forth a new color spectrum. God is pretty spectacular.

And those my felt leaves in no way compare to the real thing, they are still fun to make!

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My friend Melissa asked me to make a bunch of felt leaves she could use to create a wreath. She wanted a variety of shapes and colors, so I happily obliged. After cutting out the leaves (I did use stencils for some of them), I used thread to stitch in the veins. But since I knew she wanted to make a wreath, I didn’t care to cover up the back side.

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With the leaves, Melissa wrapped a foam ring with raffia and used a hot glue fun to attach the leaves. The finished product came together wonderfully! I love it so much, I feel like I need to make another one for myself!

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Bread & Wine, A Supper Club

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My dear friend Rachel gave me Shauna Niequist’s book Bread and Wine for  my birthday last May. I read a handful of stories, but set it down for another day. Luckily, another friend came up with the idea of making it the focus of a book club early in September, and my Tuesday nights have never been the same.

Bread and Wine is a beautiful collection of stories about hospitality and community, so it is only fitting that we take turns each week opening up our homes and apartments to cook, eat and drink together. Each chapters ends with a recipe, so those recipes make up our weekly meals.

This week, we made the Mango Chicken Curry. I have never cooked curry before, and though it turned out to be delicious, it was a hilarious understanding. About halfway through, we all we sneezing and coughing because of the strong spices. It was like a scene out of a slapstick comedy.

Mango Chicken Curry

Ingredients:

1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicen breasts, cut into small pieces
2-4 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 red onion, copped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cups currants or raisins
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1 mango, pitted and diced
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
Cooked rice, if desired

Mix together flour, curry powder, salt and cayenne pepper. Toss chicken breast pieces into the flour mixture.

Add 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil to a pan, and cook chicken on medium-high heat until browned, about 5 minutes on each side. Set aside.

Add additional 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil and cook garlic, red onion, ginger, and red pepper until onion is golden, about 4 minutes. Add chicken back to the pan, lower heat.

Add chicken broth. Cook at a simmer until chicken is tender and broth is reduced by one-fourth. Add currants, tomatoes, and mango, and simmer until heated through.

Off heat, add lime juice, cilantro, basil. Serve over rice. (Serves 6)

This book also has an amazing recipe for Goat Cheese Biscuits, but I’m going to let you buy the book to try it for yourself.