Thursday, October 21, 2010

New Addition

I have just added a new version of my popular and historic Pirate's Box Game to my shop. This is a portable, pocket version of the game. And just as historically correct!

The pocket version is played the same way and is just as much fun - perhaps even more so when you can stash it in your pocket and take it anywhere that you go!

This was a gambling game that was played by pirates and adventurers in seaports and aboard ships around the world for 250+ years.

Now, it is fun for all. It is a challenging game of strategy. Wager on the outcome and it is back to the days of the pirates when treasure's were won and lost at this game.

The game is played with dice and number tokens. The game can be learned in a minute or two and will be played for hours at a time. The best part of this game is that it can be played alone when no one else is around to play and still be fun. It may be played by any number of players.


You get 9 rustic number game tokens that measure over 1.25" in diameter of solid wood, two "faux bone" dice, and a cloth bag to keep it in and carry it in. The game instructions are laminated and fit in the bag with the playing pieces. The pocket version of the game sells for $12 plus shipping.

This makes a great gift for holidays, birthday, or just for you!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I Don't Think I Want to Do Craft Shows Anymore

We have been doing craft shows for more than twenty five years. In the past five years or so, craft shows have become overwhelmed with vendors selling imported, commercial merchandise. So much so that you can hardly find the handmade among the garbage that is being sold. There was a time when these "buy and sell" vendors would try to hide that what they were selling was commercial - they would take the stickers off that say "Made in China", they would remove the commercial packaging, and hide the shipping cartons that it all was delivered to them in from the factory. Not anymore. Now the imports are just put out on display with the packaging and the stickers of origin - and the cartons stacked behind the tables.

We recently did a craft show that we have been doing for twenty years. This is actually the only show that we have done for several years now since the commercial vendors overtook the other shows that we do. As we are sitting in on booth we are seeing people walking by with commercial holiday decorations and kids with plastic toys. One woman and daughter came up to look at my wife's collector teddy bears (which sell for all of $5) and the daughter was deciding which one she liked. There was a discussion and then the mother said, "Ok, if you would rather have the Webkin, we will go back to that booth and buy it now." And then they walked away. Webkin? Craft? Of course not. Webkins are commercial dolls. And they were being sold at this so-called "craft show". I then decided to walk around the show and see for myself. I walked up and down the first two aisles of this large show. On those first two aisles alone there were 28 booths selling commercial items (exclusively). This was the majority of booths in those aisles. Moving along to the rest of the show, the same was found. It was hard to find the crafts and easy to see who was getting business - the guys selling jewelery for $3 / 2 for $5. All of which was commercial. With this there is just no way to compete.

In the past at this particular show we would come away with a profit for the day of several hundred dollars. This year we barely sold over the entrance fee for the show - which means that we gave away all that we sold and then lost money.

We have been told - complain to the show promoter. We have done this several times - and each time we were not invited to come back to do the show while the buy and sell vendors returned. All of the shows that we have done, including this one, are juried to get in. Obviously, whoever is jurying the show does not know what they are looking at OR just does not care. And no one ever comes around to see that what you are actually selling at the show is what was juried. The people next to us were selling commercial candy - in the wrappers. Did someone jury Hershey bars?

This is not just a local problem. The professional craft trade magazines have noted this as well - and not just with local shows but with the large "exclusive" shows as well.

It is a disgrace when someone shopping at a craft show comes up and looks at your craft and says "Oh, is this handmade?" A polite, of course, is the answer, but they look astonished that anyone would actually make things to sell. And in essence, they really don't care. And they certainly do not appreciate the time and talent that goes into the items that need to sell for more than the imports.

No, I don't think I want to do craft shows anymore.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Here is an artist who works in various media. I would like to introduce you to

Here is our interview with the artist, Kelli -

Briefly describe what you make?

I make a lot of things, but my true love is painting. I paint on canvas, wood, furniture, walls, floors, you name it. I also love making hair clips and bows and handcrafted jewelry. I love things that make people go, "Where did you get that???? It is so fun and unique!" I have a new line of up cycled barn wood paintings that are getting noticed quickly locally and on etsy too...that excites me.

What mediums do you enjoy working in most?

I love acrylic paint the most and the more I mix it the more I like it...I am a color lover and mixing interesting colors and hues is fun for me. I love to layer paintings to bring out a bright, vivid mix of colors.

How long have you been creating craft?

I don't' remember not my entire life I suppose. I consider my first real paintings to be the set I did when I was nine months pregnant with my son. He is 8 now. They are of an elephant, an alligator and a monkey. I couldn't find what I wanted and whipped them out while my parents and my husband painted Greer's nursery. I finished in much less time than they did and couldn't wait for the walls to dry to get them up. I got so many compliments on them I started doing paintings for other people and it just kept growing from there. I sell at a lot of local craft shows now, but am new to selling on etsy. I am hoping to build a fan base there like the one I have locally. I began making jewelry a few years ago and started selling it almost immediately. I began making hair bows when I had my little girl and wanted to make some for her. I used my extra stock to make more to sell and they took off fast.

How did you get started?

I just went for it. It was word of mouth at first and still many customers come from the word spreading of satisfied customers. I am still working on my etsy store and am a newbie there. I am frugal with my shop and only put money into it from sales. This supports my habit of creating and allows me to continue doing it even when the economy is down.

Where does the name of your shop come from?

I used my name a long time ago on my very first business cards and have just kept it ever since. I have thought about changing it over the years, but it is working for me. I include my middle initial as a nod to my Dad who I adore.

What would you most want people to know about your work?

That a lot of obsessive compulsiveness goes into each piece...into each stroke really. I try my best to have the best possible craftsmanship and I don't make anything unless I am enjoying making it. I always want this to be fun...never something I dread or that feels like work.

What words of advice do you have for other artists?

Go for it! And do everything you can to get it out there. I keep a list of strategies and ideas and haven't implemented them all yet, but I am always planning my next move and prioritizing what that move should be. Do what you love and love what you do!!! That's what life is all about, right??? If not it should be.


Wonderful interview. Wonderful shop - come see!