Monday, July 13, 2015

So Proud of my Brother!

Three years ago my brother Dannie broke his back at his T12 Vertebrae in a paragliding accident, effectively rendering him Paraplegic. His doctors said he would be in a wheel chair and most likely never walk again.

Dannie was later invited by the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, to participate in a new ground breaking study using electro stimulus to try and re-awaken his nerves. Through this study Dannie, and ever since, he has been getting steadily stronger and has regained much of his movement in his legs. (He also participated in a study with the University of Saskatchewan in a study of balance in paraplegics). However there are still many muscles and nerves not functioning correctly, but Dannie is not giving up!

Today, in this video, he goes above and beyond what anyone has ever expected him to achieve in his road to recovery by taking his mountain bike out for a ride for the first time in three years! Before his injury, Dannie would often ride over 40kms per day, to work and back, as he loved being active in many areas. Needless to say, he was pretty excited to accomplish this tremendous feat!

There is much that Dannie is working to yet achieve in his road to recovery and walking again and if you would like to contribute to helping him in his journey, you may do so by visiting Help Dannie Walk Again

First on his list of things to help him out are new A.F.O.'s, (ankle-foot orthosis braces), in the video it is apparent that his current ones tend to get in the way. He is also in the process of establishing a new career in the new field of drone aerial photography and needs help funding this new endeavor as well. 

Let's all help him out at Help Dannie Walk Again

Video was taken by one of my other brothers, Perry Wolf, check out his YouTube Channel here

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Getting Ready For a Craft Sale....Displays

One of the most important part of getting noticed at a craft sale is how you display your items and no matter what your budget, you can always make your table look good, even if you can't purchase anything.

Keeping Things Simple

- If display items aren't in your budget and all you have is a table and tablecloth, go OCD. Perfectly lined up items speak volumes. Organize by size, type and color.

- Find things around the house. Decorative bowls and trays can help spruce things up. Use empty picture frames with string running across the opening and use clothes pins to hang jewelry or cards.

-Create your own displays 

There are many other great ideas for making your own displays. Pinterest is a great resource for getting some good ideas. You can follow my craft sale display board here.

DIY Greeting Card Stand

For the sale I have coming up I decided I needed a better display for my cards. Using a hot glue gun, foam core board from the dollar store and some spray paint I set to work. I think the total cost was around $15.

I used a grid ruler, craft knife, hot glue and 3 pieces of foam core board

Measure up 1 1/2" up from one edge of the board and cut through the first layer of paper only. Do Not cut all the way through. From this cut measure up 3 1/2", cut and measure again 3 1/2" from that line. Continue with this measurement along the whole length of the board. Turn the board over and then from the same side you started on the other side, measure 3 1/2" up and cut just the layer of paper on top, Do Not cut all the way through. Measure up again 3 1/2" and cut. Continue for the rest of this side of the board.

Now snap the board along the cut. It should break apart but still hold together from the backing paper. The cut lines act as a scoring tool. Snap all the cut lines on both sides of the board.

It should look like this when you are done, an accordion folded board.

Next you are going to hot glue this folded board to another sheet of foam core board creating steps. It helps to have something that has a 90 degree angle like a wood block or angle ruler to make sure your steps are glued correctly. You can also draw the steps on your board first and line them up as you are gluing.

This is how it should look after gluing one side of your steps to the foam core board.
now do the same on the other side.

Trim off the excess board at an angle as shown in the picture above.

Cut as many 3/4" strips of foam core board as you have steps. Include the bottom step as well. I had 8 steps so I cut 8 strips. Make sure they are the length of your steps.

Hot glue the strips to the front of each step.

Your card stand should look similar to the one shown. Trim any uneven edges with a craft knife.

Paint your desired color. I used spray paint that is good for paper products.

Here is the finished stand.

If you want to upscale your display you can purchase display racks from companies that specialize in this very thing. Here are some listed below,

Armstrong Products

Kungs Trading

Displays 2 Go

Store Supply

Keep in mind the size of your booth and the size of your vehicle when choosing display items. The sale I will be going to has an eight foot table with a little room on the sides. My vehicle however has 4' x 5' of space to haul stuff in so nothing longer than that for my displays unless it's made to fold.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Getting Ready For The Next Craft Sale......

I thought I'd post over the next few weeks about what I do to get ready for a sale and maybe share some helpful ideas I've found over the internet that have helped me prepare. I am a procrastinator, I admit it! I don't know why, maybe it's the rush of getting stuff done just before a deadline. I really hate the stress of it, which does make me want to change the way I do things and it IS slowly getting better. 

The first thing that I do is figure out what I want to sell. I make a list. For example:

Mini Albums
Table Runners 
Cup Cozies

Then I check my inventory to see how many of the items I have already and prioritize what needs to get done first. I look at the list and then determine how many of each category and how many different types of each item I need to make . A lot of times I'm over ambitious with my numbers but it does help me stay focused. As a crafty person one craft usually fuels ideas for the next and it can easily turn into a ridiculously huge amount of stuff to try and get done. Try to be realistic in how much time you have to accomplish everything and how long it takes you to do something. I have a bad habit of thinking I can do more in a day than I actually can. I then write down a lower number than I think I'll get done. If there is time you can always do more.

This is what it looks like when I don't stick to the plan. CHAOS! Now I have to clean up.

Next is gathering supplies. It's very easy to jump right in and start creating only to find out you don't have what you need to finish and unless you live really close to a craft supply store this is going to take time out of your crafting to run around and find what you need. The best way I've found is to make a recipe of the item you wish to make and then a shopping list. You can file the recipe away in case sales are good and you get a request to do more or just for your own files. It also helps you keep track of costs so you know what to charge for your finished item. I like to use craftybase for keeping track of the supplies, recipes and it also has a great format for calculating what you should charge for handmade items. The initial entering of items can be tedious but in the end it saves a lot of book work and keeping track. They have a 30 day trial period and then if you like it you can subscribe monthly. You can determine if your overall sales in a month can justify the extra cost of the program. I have an Etsy shop where I sell all year round so for me I think it's a good investment.

Getting things done 

If you are like me there are other things that need my attention (laundry, meals, groceries, or just plain life) so keeping things organized is key. I am not the best at this step but when I do get it right things go so much more smoothly and I get a lot accomplished. Breaking up your projects into steps can help you get more than one item done at a time. For instance when I make my cards, I've started making up kits with all the supplies each card needs in one kit. So one day I'll spend brainstorming ideas for cards and then gathering the supplies I need for each kit. I make 6 cards of each design so I make sure I have enough in the kit for 6 cards. When I have time to make a set I'll take out the kit and put the cards together in the steps below.

1.Cut all card bases
2.Cut the background pattern paper for all cards
3.Stamp or print images and greetings for cards
4.Punch or die cut shapes
5.Ink all edges
6.Adhere background paper to base
7.Arrange and adhere images and embellishments to cards
8.Add greeting or inscription to the inside

I do the same for quilted items, I make kits by spending one day cutting and packaging and then sew in steps. I don't work on more than one at a time so that I don't get confused but I may work on it until a step is finished and then pack it away for the next available time. One thing I have found to help me the most is to put everything away at the end of the day. I've tried to leave stuff out to continue the next day but I find it very overwhelming and there is just something appealing about walking into a clean space the next day. If you've stopped a project at a certain step it's very easy to pick up where you left off. Just don't leave it so long you forget what the project was.

These are just the things that I find help me stay organized and focused, everyone is different in how they do things but if you do struggle like me, give these things a try it might help :)