Thursday, October 31, 2013

diy halloween costume

Happy Halloween from our little bandit.

This was the easiest diy halloween costume every!  A friend passed down this adorable onesie when their little gal outgrew it.  Unfortunately, Caleb got very little wear out of it because he was so big {it's size 0-3mo}.  Thankfully the fabric stretched enough for us to squeeze him in it one last time.  Added some black leggings {also girls, but don't tell Daddy!  I think they're super cute and way easier than lose fitting pants for baby!}

His mask is just an old black t-shirt cut into about a 2 inch strip with circles cut for the eyes...this was my second attempt as the first the holes were too small and close together.  The bigger the eye holes the easier for baby to see, no eyelashes getting caught on fabric.  The money bag is an old cotton bag that I got with a yarn purchase.  I turned it inside out, one to hide the printing on it and also to expose the seams which I thought made it look a little more "authentic".  I drew the $ with a sharpie and pulled the drawstring out of the bag to make a tie.

To fill the bag, I stuffed it with a some paper from our recycling bin.   Caleb has been enjoying grabbing onto things lately and was able to grab onto the top of the bag easily enough and keep a grasp as it was so light.  I was surprised that the mask didn't bother him at all either, he left it on much of the evening!

Instead of trick-or-treating, we decided to head out to the farm to visit Nana and Papaw and Uncle Josh and Aunt Ris.  It was fun to show off his costume and enjoy an evening with family sans the craziness of Halloween!  I'm sure we won't be able to get off so easily next year!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

dear caleb // four months

16lbs. 14 ozs. // 27 inches
Dear Caleb,

Today you're four months old!  That's 122 days of your smiles, snuggles, and giggles.  These past 17 weeks have gone so fast, we want to remember every detail!

You're our healthy, strong and very BIG boy.  You're growing so fast that you're often only able to wear an outfit once because you outgrow it by the time I get it washed!  You're long and wiggly.

A few weeks you found your feet and take every opportunity you can to try and shove them in your mouth!  It's adorable to watch you reach for and grab onto those little toes of yours, but sure does make changing your diaper much more difficult!

You're able to track Mama and Daddy and are aware when we leave the don't like being alone much at all!  You so love your puppy Maggie, and she wants to be right by your side all day.  Mama often finds her laying under your bassinet when you're napping!

It seems that at just under 3 months you started teething.  We have yet to see any teeth, just lots of drool, which means that bibs are now required attire for you!  When your fingers aren't in your mouth, you love to touch and feel anything within reach.  You really like snuggling with your giraffe {thanks Avery!} and sometimes you reach for and check out our faces, it's like you're committing them to memory!  It's the best!

You sure do love to move!  This month you've fallen in love with the jumperoo and your new swing!  Your little legs get tired quickly in the jumperoo, but you enjoy bouncing up and down and hearing the springs!  Mama though we needed a swing so that we have something to do outside as the weather gets cooler.  You're not sure yet about sitting in there for very long, but seem to enjoy the fresh air when we get outside.  I think you'll come to love it!

Thankfully, as long as you're fed and changed, you enjoy being in the car. Mama will take you for a trip to the store if you're fussy and can't seem to find sleep.  You also enjoy being in the ergo, Daddy likes this best as he can take you for long walks in the woods with you snuggled up on his chest!

You've almost got the hang of sitting up!  I think you especially like that you're able to see everything going on when you're sitting up.  With a little more practice, I think you'll be doing it all on your own soon!

We love you so much buddy, look forward to watching you grow and learn for years to come!

love you forever,
mama & daddy

Caleb at one month, two months, and three months. Read more letters to Caleb here.

Monday, October 28, 2013

craft show 101

This weekend, I participated in my first ever craft show!  I've always enjoyed attending craft shows as a customer, but this was the first time I've ever been on the other side of the table!  In preparation for the show I tried to do some research online on what others have learned from their years of experience, but was unable to find much advice!  So, I decided I'd offer up what I learned this weekend to hopefully help another first-timer out there!  Enjoy!

Truly love your product. One of my biggest fears going into this show was that I'm not at all "salesy". I've never been good at selling things, but I can talk anyone into using something that I truly love to use!  I've used everything that I sell and because of that can offer first hand recommendations, suggestions, and advice.  When people ask questions about products, I'm not scrambling to think of something to say or making it up!

Variety is key. Craft shows can be a little overwhelming as you have no idea who is going to walk through the door and be a potential customer.  When I opened my etsy shop a few months back, I knew I would be participating in shows, but wanted a way to get my product out there and hopefully get some feedback from buyers to help guide my show.  Unfortunately, being a new shop with little exposure, I only made 2 sales.  However, with etsy's "favorite" option, I've been able to track more popular items vs. those with little interest.  I based my inventory off of these "favorited" items and tried to offer as wide a variety of products as possible so as to lure in the most variety of customer.  If you can get someone to just stop and look at your table, chances are they'll at least take a card.  My products are mostly geared towards babies, however it seems everyone knows a baby or someone expecting one!  Knowing that this might not appeal to everyone, I added some homemade vanilla I've sold in the past as well as some seasonal hedge apples {read more about why here} to my table.  Both of these seemingly "random" products helped to lure in customers who may not have stopped otherwise.  Also being the weekend before Halloween I had a jack-o-lantern bucket of candy that I offered to passersby, which slowed people down enough to look more closely at my table.

Make small talk.  Everyone who stops to look at your table is a potential customer.  Be friendly and strike up a conversation.  If they pick up an item to check it out, offer up an antidote of why you love that product.  "Isn't that fabric so fun!?"  "My son loves that crinkly sound."  "We love using cloth diapers, they've really saved us a lot of money."  By talking to customers you may learn that they are looking for something more specific and you could offer to make a custom order just for them.

Listen and take notes.  When creating product for my sale, I tried to be as varied as possible in my color/style choices.  I knew this would be a learning experience and wanted to see what people gravitated towards.  My top selling product was my tag blankets.  In creating these blankets I stuck with a gender neutral theme so as to appeal to the most customers.  However, after 3 different customers commented that they were looking for more "boyish" fabrics, I realized that my gender neutral choices may have backfired!  I wrote this down along with a few other comments specific to different products and plan to address these for the next show!

Network.  Being in close proximity with other crafters is the perfect opportunity network and learn from them.  I was lucky enough to be on a rounded corner of the show so I had a table to each side and behind me.  We already having crafting in common so it was easy to strike up a conversation with these lovely ladies.  It's easy enough to ask about their products, where they're from, craft show experiences, what they have coming up, etc.  Again, take notes, and share contact info/business cards, once home you can continue relationships through support of facebook pages, websites, and shops.

Set realistic expectations.  You never truly know what to expect the first time you do something, so don't set yourself up for failure with a lofty goal.  I knew going into this show that my only real expectation was to make back the fee that I paid to be a part of the show.  If I accomplished that, I wanted to make back the gas money it took to get to the show (my first show was an hour and a half from my house). Once these two goals were met, I figured everything else was icing on the cake!  Now that I have one show under my belt, my expectations for the next will be a bit higher, but still focused on the learning experience and how to make future shows more successful!

I'm still very much a novice in the world of craft shows, but after this experience, I can say I've learned a lot and am looking forward to my next few shows!!

Any crafters out there have other advice or suggestions for us newbies?  I'd love to hear from you!