Tuesday, October 28, 2014

How to Remove Mildew Smell from Clothes

Confession time.  I hate, loathe, despise, and abominate (to quote Judy Garland) doing laundry.  I would rather clean the toilets every day than do the laundry.  So, it's no surprise I sometimes put off going to get the laundry out of the washer.  Recently, I left a load of laundry in the washer for far too long.  It was disgusting.  (Hopefully I'm not the only one who has done this!) I tried washing the clothes again, but it just seemed to make the smell worse.  I was honestly afraid I had ruined those items.

I finally resorted to a nice Google search and figured out that you can use vinegar in your wash.  I bought a cheap bottle of white vinegar from the Dollar Tree.  I was skeptical because I  think the smell of vinegar is nasty on its own, but it worked out wonderfully.

I just filled my washer with the hottest water possible for those clothes, poured a cup of vinegar in the water, and loaded my clothes in.  I let it go through the entire wash cycle and then dried them.  You couldn't even tell I'm the worst laundress ever!


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Tips for a Successful Craft Show

This is my second fall doing craft shows, and I would like to think I have learned a few things.  Here are some of my suggestions for a successful craft show:

1. Make items for your show you would be fine keeping if they didn't sell.  I always make jewelry that I like to wear in case I get stuck with it.  I also make things that I would be proud to give as gifts.  Make something different; have a product that stands out.  For me, there are tons of crafters who sell jewelry, so I always have to ask myself, "What can I do to stand out?" "What would entice someone to stop at my booth?"

2. Display. Display. Display.  I am a firm believer that if your display is nice, people will stop to look.  I know when I'm shopping, I am always enticed by displays that look really put together.  So, think of a color scheme and stick with it.  Have varying heights within your display; put some things on tables and others at eye level.

3. Go ahead and invest in a tent and tables if you haven't already.  Some craft shows are indoor, but many of them are outside.  I have never gone to one that required a white tent, but I have heard that some festivals are particular and require one, so you should consider that.  We borrowed a canopy for our first one and then realized we should go ahead and purchase our own.  We were so thankful we did because during this last festival it got hit with torrential rain and we didn't have to worry about taking a wet and muddy tent back to someone who was gracious enough to loan us one.  Keep in mind tents are water-resistant, not waterproof.  We found that out the hard way.  We are going to treat ours before the next show and cross our fingers it helps.

4.  On that same note, buy walls for your canopy.  This is especially true if you have a two-day event.  We closed up our walls and left our tables there to make setting up the second day easy.  It also kept our stuff dry while the torrential downpour was happening.

5.  Bring a receipt book and business cards.  You might get a customer that asks for a receipt (I think it's really rare), but you will want to write down each item you sell.  I do this in order to see how much I sell to help decide if I want to do the same show the following year, or if it wasn't worth it.  I like seeing what types of items are popular at particular shows.  I also use it to keep track of how much tax or percentage I owe to the organizer at the end of the event.  Even if people don't buy anything, they like to take business cards, which is beneficial because my Etsy traffic increases after shows.

6.  Get plenty of change.  Bring 20s, 10s, 5s, and 1s.  You can always deposit it back after the show.  If you are selling larger items, the change you need will be different than mine because I have a lot of lower priced items.  You also need to decide your policy on checks.  I normally have a couple of people who ask to pay with a check.  On the same note, you might want to buy a machine to let people pay with credit card. We haven't but some of the bigger vendors do.  Do your research to see what method/machine/company is best for you.

7. Consider a giveaway You can host a giveaway.  I have seen lots of people take this approach.  It lets you get some contact information and everyone loves winning free stuff! If you don't have a giveaway, have a clipboard with a form shoppers can fill out where you get their information to offer sales, upcoming shows, emails about new products, etc.

8. Bring a toolbox/emergency kit. I have a box where I keep everything I could possibly need.  Glue sticks, glue gun, screwdriver, knife, scissors, Duct tape, masking tape, Scotch tape, paper towels, Tylenol, Pepto Bismol, Band-aids, hole punch.  Even if you don't use any of these things, your neighbor might be thankful you have them.

9.  Pack a cooler.  Bring water and plenty of snacks.  Take care of yourself while you're there.  We eat our meals from food vendors there, but you could also pack sandwiches if you don't want to spend your hard earned money you just made.  For me, it's one of the best parts of any festivals haha!

10.  Be kind! I think customer service is extremely important.  Greet your customers, but do not smother them.  Just smile if people are rude.  The majority of people who visit shows are really nice, but there's always a few people who have not-so-nice comments.  I've had people critique my products, the name of my shop, my display, etc.  I just laugh it off because there are so many more people who are appreciative of my work than ones who are cruel.

Feel free to leave any tips of your own!

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Relaxing Weekend

I have been going to Tennessee multiple times a year since I was little.  I have kind of gotten burnt out on going there because we did the same things every time: shop, arcade, Dollywood, eat out.   We went to Gatlinburg this weekend with my aunt and uncle, and it was such a different experience than we're used to!

We left after work on Friday and headed down there right away.  My first priority was getting a snack, so we walked down the street and got an Ogledog from Fannie Farkle's.  If you've never been, it's a hole-in-the-wall arcade that also has some food.  I loveeeeee Ogledogs, but no one else was brave enough to eat one.

We walked around a little bit and I was so sad Jer wouldn't buy these matching shirts.  Every party has a pooper.  

The next morning, we all enjoyed a breakfast and coffee at Dunkin Donuts and headed to Cade's Cove.  Jer and my uncle rode bikes while we drove the car around the park.  I never would have made it eleven miles, so I am thankful we chose to drive instead.  I went to Cade's Cove when I was little, but I didn't remember any details.  

We saw this van and I'm thinking this will be us in a few years.

 I enjoyed taking pictures of all of the cabins and churches.  It was a perfect day; it was cool enough for the bikers, but not cold.

About halfway through the elven-mile loop, we stopped to have a picnic, watch a blacksmith demonstration, and look at the mill.  

I was hoping to see a bear, but all we saw were two measly turkeys. 

It was such a great day and completely different than what we're used to doing in Tennessee! After our all-day adventure, we went to Jer's favorite place to eat-Mellow Mushroom.  

Then, I had the most delicious caramel apple to end a wonderful day.  

The next morning, we woke up and ate (do you see a pattern here?) before we left town.  These were the best crepes I have ever had! 

I had the best of times! I am so thankful for opportunities to have weekends like this.  I love spending time with my family and enjoying little weekend getaways.  I was sad to come back, but so thankful we got to see Muffin again! 


Monday, October 13, 2014

How to Clean your Straightener like a Boss

I completely believe in the motto: "the bigger the hair the closer to God."  Unfortunately, I have really thin hair and have to use a ridiculous amount of product to get my hair to do anything.  Because of this, my straightener and sink get coated with hairspray daily.  Whenever this happens, I mix up a batch of this cleaner and it makes my straightener like new again! 

All you need is baking soda and hydrogen peroxide.  

Mix the two together and form a paste.   I am not exact about this and do not measure anything. I just put some baking soda in a little bowl and pour a little bit of hydrogen peroxide in it.  If it is still chalky, add more peroxide.  If it is too runny, add more baking soda. Place the ingredients on your straightener and let it set.  Sometimes I let this set for a few minutes, other times I have to let it set for about 30 minutes; it just depends on how bad my straightener is.  Then, wipe off the paste and the "gunk" should wipe off with it.  If it does not, you can add more paste and let it set again. It does get a little messy when you are working with this, so make sure you put a paper towel or newspaper down to catch all of the remnants.  

This is much better than my old method of scrape it with a sharp object until it is clean.  Voila!