Saturday, October 29, 2011

Christmas Craft Fairs - 'Tis the Season!

Well, almost!  The biggest craft fair in our area, Christmas at the Forum, is next weekend already!  This year has just flown by!!

I do sincerely hope one day to be able to sell my wares at one of these large fairs, but until that time, I eagerly read information about selling at craft fairs, so I can get a good idea in my mind of good display & selling tactics.

Here are some of the things I've noticed made a good booth display over the years:

Do not overstock in plain view: there was a booth I saw that sold small products (I won't mention what kind for anonymity) but they were in small packages that could be hung. Their display probably had 200 items all hung in neat rows and columns, but it was MASSIVELY overwhelming.  I thought about going to look at the booth but it was literally such overload I just didn't want too.

One booth had all the booth attendants wearing fun Christmas themed t-shirts. That immediately put you in the festive spirit!

Lighting is really, really important.  If you have anything that sparkles, be sure to bring extra lighting to show it off!  I saw an herbal vinegar seller whose wares were all sorts of different colours, and they had spot lighting behind the bottles that made them all shine like jewels!  Extremely appealing!!

If you have a URL, be sure to display it prominently! With the busy-ness of some of the fairs, some people may not even be able to get to your booth to grab a business card, etc. but still are interested in what you sell.  If you display your URL prominently, people will be able to check it out later even if they couldn't look at your products as closely as they'd like this time around.

If you do an unusual craft (or even if you don't) photos of the process is always a great way to generate interest.  Often people will become more enthusiastic about your product when they see details of how it is created.

The great people over at the Folksy Blog did a wonderful series on "Craft Fair Advice" - so head on over there to read some of their great ideas for selling at a craft fair:

If you're selling this year, best of luck! And if you're like me, have fun at all the fairs out there! :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Ancient Paint Factory

As an artist and a former student of anthropology, this story captures my interests on many levels! They've discovered a "factory" in this gorgeous looking cave in South Africa (check out the article for a picture - what a view!), where they believe ancient man created pigments using ochre, charcoal and oil from seal bones, mixed and ground together inside shell "containers'. Read more about this fascinating discovery, and why man doing this 100,000 years ago is so important for our understanding of when we became modern humans, here:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

I hope all my fellow Canadians had a nice Thanksgiving weekend! I didn't get my work schedule until Saturday, so unfortunately I was unable to set up plans to make Thanksgiving Dinner for my family this year (as it turned out, my folks went on Sunday to their favorite restaurant which had a set Thanksgiving turkey menu, and I was able to join them along with a dear family friend and a cousin - it was great turkey, and no dishes!)

But for Dave and I, dinner didn't happen until we were both off Monday afternoon. I had found a marinade online that I wanted to try, so we decided to have a Thanksgiving BBQ (Dave's not a huge fan of turkey, so no big loss for him).

There's a place locally that my family has gone to since I was little - it used to be right around the corner, but it moved several years ago, so we don't get there very often any more. It's called the Steak & Stein, and I have tons of fond memories of eating their delightful steak (and their great kids' birthday parties). Their signature steak is the Delmonico, Derby style. There's enough about my love for their steak and my wish for a replica of their amazing recipe to have at home to fill another blog post, but suffice it to say, I found a nice marinade online that is a great start towards that amazing flavour, and that's what I used for my Thanksgiving steak. I cut up a super-sale pot roast for this steak, and it turned out nice and tender after 48 hours (LOL) of marinating. (Here`s the original recipe I started with:

Aside from that, we had roasted potatoes I had grown from sprouted store-bought potatoes over the winter, and some tomatoes I had picked and saved from my blight-ravaged tomato plants. Its a celebration of the harvest, even if that harvest was lean. We also had some lovely fried fresh mushrooms and onions - no steak is complete without them!

I tried another recipe too, using my mother`s garden garlic and some adorable fresh little italian eggplants I found in the supermarket. However, it turns out that (at least this kind of) eggplant gets very...slimy....when roasted, and we didn`t enjoy the sensation of that at all. The garlic roasted up really nice in them though!

All in all, although not as elaborate as I like, it was a nice Thanksgiving dinner, and it was great to have some homegrown produce to share at the table, to welcome the end of the growing season, and be thankful for all our blessings.