Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Dog Days of Summer

Good morning, friends and fellow crafters!

I know, there is no excuse for my long hiatuses from blogging.  This time I blame it on this beautiful summer weather - we've had a few hot and sticky days in Chicago but generally we've been lucky, with days in the 80s and nights in the 60s and 70s.  I've been getting back into running (something I haven't done seriously since high school cross country!) and trying to enjoy this weather before the Chicago winter returns.  Still, no excuse - so here's what I've been up to craft-wise!

The last show I did was in late June, the Green Music Fest in the Bucktown/Wicker Park neighborhood, in affiliation with Urban Folk Circuit.  it was my first outdoor festival and mostly a success!  The day was a little slow going and while I had a lot of interest didn't sell much, but then I had a lot of customers in the last hour or so which made the day worth it.  Not sure if I will do that particular festival again next year, but my worries about selling crochet/knit goods in the summer were alleviated, you CAN do it!

I have been taking a small, planned break from craft shows over the past two months.  I added 2 more models to my Etsy site: we now have my sister Dani, and friends CoryMegan and Liz.  I am in the process of updating photos on my existing items and weeding out a lot of the items I had posted to my site (for example, I am re-vamping my design on the coffee cozies so those have come off for the time being).  Right now I only have about 30 items in the shop, but they are the stronger items I think.  Once I get those listings in shape I will be adding more items - I have a lot of accessories yet to photograph (hair clips, headbands, etc).  Still struggling with the baby items though - I'm not crazy about my hat-on-a-bench photos and I have a few baby headbands that I am at a loss on how to photograph.  Anyone have an adorable baby girl I could borrow for a couple of hours? :)

I have also been working on several holiday orders for friends and family.  I am so lucky to have people that support my business, and it's been fun going on "make what you think this person will like" instructions for most of the orders, because custom projects are always my favorite.  I need to kick these in to gear and hopefully get all of them done by the end of August so I can spend more time getting my fall/winter stuff made for my Etsy shop and shows - planning to try and get in to at least 2-3 shows between mid Sept and December, which will bring me to about half a dozen for my first year selling.  A little slow moving but not too bad, I guess!

Oh wait, is it that time already?!  Yes, it that I've been selling through the spring I have a nice inventory of headbands and accessories ready to rock and roll, but my hat/scarf/earwarmer/winter wear inventory is looking quite pathetic.  Not to mention I would like to add some new products before the holiday shopping season (ideas: leg warmers, fingerless gloves, mens hats - I'm open to other suggestions!).  So yeah, I should probably get working on that.

So it's back to the grindstone this weekend - some photos to edit and crocheting to do (I also have a baby blanket that needs to be finished by next weekend).  Also, my friend and renaissance man Eamonn (check out his freelance art websiteblog and band website for which he is the bassist) is helping me redesign my logo and business cards, so hopefully in a couple of weeks MasiDesigns will be all glammed up!

Enjoy this beautiful weather everyone!  More to come soon, hopefully accompanied by some lovely new product photos!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Green Music Fest

This is where I will be this weekend!  MasiDesigns along with several other Urban Folk Circuit artists will be sharing some tents at the Green Music Fest in West Town this weekend.  You can find me on Saturday, but the festival runs both Saturday and Sunday.  There will be music, food, beer, and vendors with a green-living focus.  Hope to see you there if you're free!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Treasury Time

Want a little sun and warmth?  I created a treasury earlier this week with some very summery Etsy items:

You can find the full treasury here: Summer Splash treasury by MasiDesigns on Etsy

This cold weather we've been having in Chicago is a downer, I needed a little spring/summer inspiration!  Enjoy these lovely artists and items.

Hoping for a warmer weekend, we will be doing a photo shoot on Saturday if it's nice outside, so look for some new items in the shop next week!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

All About Features

I am thrilled to have been featured on the Urban Folk Circuit blog this week!  Take a look to see a little bit about me and my crafting process.  Urban Folk Circuit is the Chicago group that hosts monthly craft shows in new and interesting spaces around the city - I did my first show in March with them, and will be joining them again in May at Quencher's Saloon.  Urban Folk Circuit was founded by Jess and Kelli, two very talented Chicago artists.

To pay it forward, I'd like to feature one of my favorite Etsy shops: TickledPinkKnits.  When I was first setting up my own shop, I came across Elena's site and fell in love.  She sells a variety of hand-knit goods, including everything from fiber jewelry and lariats to shrugs and shawls.  Her lovely designs and detail truly make her pieces works of art.

Here's a small sampling, but definitely check out her shop when you get a chance:

Sunday, April 17, 2011


After a long hiatus (I am not so hot at this blogging thing!) I am back.  I'll do a small sum up of the past few weeks:

As of my last post, I was hard at work preparing for the Urban Folk Circuit craft show at the Abbey Pub in mid-March.  After a few weeks of prep and a little work on my logo/displays, I did the show, and I think it was a success!  These picture is kind of dark, but an idea of what my booth looked like:

Urban Folk Circuit at Abbey Pub, 03/19/2011

I brought my headband/earwarmers, scarves, strawberry baby hats, coffee cozies, and a small selection of fiber jewelry/spring headbands.  I was pretty happy with the day overall - made several sales and had a good deal of interest, which is all I could have asked for!  Definitely had too much fall/winter merchandise which I thought would happen - which brings me to my latest projects!

I have been working on more spring/summer floral headbands and accessories, as they seemed to get the most interest at the show.  Here are a few examples:

I have a lot more still in process - I've been fooling around with different designs, and have been working mostly assembly line style, so I have a lot of loose pieces still to be assembled.  My hope is to have a lot ready for a photo shoot next weekend to updated my Etsy, which brings me to my next thing...

If you take a look at my Etsy site, you'll notice 2 lovely models gracing the page.  Two of my girlfriends offered to model for me, and the photos came out great!  I will slowly be replacing all the photos on my site, as the items I've already updated with fresh photos have gotten a lot more traffic.

My favorite tools to keep an eye on traffic and trends on my site are Google Analytics, which you can link to any site to get very detailed specs on site usage, and Craft Cult, which is specifically designed to track Etsy.  I would definitely recommend both for all Etsy shop owners!

I have two more shows coming up in the next couple of months: Urban Folk Circuit at Quenchers Saloon on May 21st, and Green Music Fest, where I'll be sharing a tent with 2 other crafters on June 25th.  Until then, I'll be hard at work on my new spring/summer items.  I can't wait!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Week 1: Knit Headbands

Now that I'm gearing up for the Urban Folk Circuit March 19th show, I've set a schedule for myself in the hopes of reaching 100 items to have at my table.  I already have several scarves and a couple of items in my other products made, but only about 30 items total.  So week 1 of 4 before the show was dedicated to my knit headbands/earwarmers.

They are still unfinished in this shot - I took this on Saturday and finished with the embellishments on Sunday.  I basically took over the living room working on them though - good thing Ryan was in rehearsals almost all weekend!

Although, our living room almost always looks like this these days.  A one-bedroom apartment is not quite enough room sometimes for two people living and often working at home!  Do you have an extra room, studio or designated space for your hobby or business?

I haven't had a chance to photograph the finished headbands yet (I'll be listing them in my Etsy shop as made-to-order items) but hopefully this coming weekend if not before.

This week is baby hats - it's been a little slow of a start as I continue to run into sizing issues (it's a little difficult without having a baby to test on, numbers on paper just doesn't always work out somehow) but I've narrowed the styles I will have at the show from 5 to 2, and am just making a variety of sizes and colors.  I kind of figured that would happen, anyway.

Stay tuned for strawberry and heart baby hats - suggestions welcome on color combos for my heart hats!  I'm only at pink/red and aqua/blue so far.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Urban Folk Circuit in Chicago, March 19th!

Well it's less than one month I will be doing my first craft show!  This is excluding when I would sell friendship bracelets at my mom's shows when I was 10.  I figure making less than $5 doesn't count :)
 Two female artists in the local craft community here in Chicago created the Urban Folk Circuit a few months ago, and once I stumbled upon it I couldn't wait to apply.  They have consistently held shows each month at a different local venue with local artists and local bands. 

I attended their February show to see what kind of artists where their and the types of products - everything from jewelry to stationary, knitted goods to handbags, photos to soaps.  This upcoming March show it their biggest yet - about 60 artists.  Very exciting stuff!

I've been working like crazy the past 2 weeks in the hopes I would get accepted to the show - now that I have the okay I have a packed schedule for the next 3 1/2 weeks.  I'm 'hoping' to have an inventory of 100 items at the show (which sounds loftier than it is - about 30-40 will be my coffee cozies which are pretty small) and I'm at about 40 total so far.  I also have to plan my displays and all the little details - It's going to be a busy month!

I have been putting up new items in my Etsy shop fairly consistently as I complete them (and get a chance to photograph them).  Here are a couple samples from my new line of Spring Fling Crochet Headbands:

 I'll have a couple more up this week, and many more to come in the next few weeks.

Lunch break is over, back to work and then home to knit and crochet.  The next month will look pretty much like that!