Right Tools For The Job

The majority of the crafts I make involves cutting. Lots and lots of cutting. It’s really time consuming and it makes large projects very tedious.

A couple of weeks ago I discovered rotary cutters and decided to invest in one. I bought a 29mm Jakar Rotary Cutter for about €6 on ebay but most art shops will have them too.

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A rotary cutter looks like a pizza cutter but the blade is extremely sharp. Trust me on that one! The blades can also be easily replaced. It can be used to cut paper, felt, fabric or leather and it saves so much time.

For instance, last night I wanted to build up my stock of felt flowers. Each flower consists of 5 individual petals which are cut individually. I needed nearly 70 flowers (eek!) and it normally takes me about 4 hours to get all the petals cut.

Last night it took an hour! One hour! I could probably have been quicker if I hadn’t been watching TV at the same. When cutting paper I can get through over 10 sheets of standard GSM paper in one go.

This rotary cutter is a lifesaver and I just wish I’d found it sooner!

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Taking stock

Since I officially started selling on Etsy I haven’t really had a ‘system’. My mood and what supplies I had to hand were the main deciders when it comes to making stock for the shop. I never made something because I was running low on that particular thing.

Last Thursday I did a formal stock take and got a bit of a shock! I had over 100 of one type of paper flower and only 1 of another kind. I had completely run out of other things. With three craft fairs coming up before the end of the month I had to get my ass in gear!

To figure out how much stock I needed I worked out the minimum amount I would need for one craft fair. Then I doubled that number. This gave me the absolute minimum amount of stock I needed at one time, but I aim to have more than that ready. I figure that will always give me a cushion in case I have two fairs in quick succession and don’t get a chance to replenish stock.

I’ve also implemented a new rule. In addition to my last post where I said I wouldn’t put anything on Etsy until it was perfect, I’m also not going to list anything on Etsy until I have the minimum stock created! 

Patience

When I come up with a new craft idea I can’t wait to share it with everyone on Etsy. I rush to get it done, photographed and stocked in the shop.

About two days later I start to realise that I could have made the item a lot better if I’d spent more time on it. I then redo the item, take new photos, write a better description and finally I am happy with the piece. By rushing I’ve wasted my own time and my stock.

This is something I promised myself I would stop doing. From now on, I only stock items in my shop if I’m completely happy with it and one item spurred me on to do this.

My boyfriend and his friends are really in to vintage Volkswagen. I recently overheard them giving out about how hard it was to buy leis or garlands for their vans or cars. I figured I could make a lei easily enough so away I went.

I cut three circles of felt and sliced a small hole in the middle.  I threaded twine through the hole and put a blob of hot glue near the thread. I then pinched the circles together over the glue to create a ‘petal’ affect. All in all it took about 20 minutes to make. The finished product is below.

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I thought it looked great but when I showed it to my boyfriend he didn’t share my enthusiasm. I was still adamant that it was good but his lack of interest stopped me putting it on Etsy.

I left it where I could see it for a couple of weeks and slowly realised that it was, well, crap. If I just spent a bit more time and effort on it I could make something much better.

I went at it again. This time I used brighter colours for the flowers. Each flower is made up of 5 individual petals which are sewn together. Again, I threaded twine through the centre of the flower and put a small bit of glue under the flower to stop it slipping. This technique takes about an hour per lei but I am 100% happy with how it looks. I’ve put this one on Etsy and have already sold a couple to my friends!

You can see the side by side comparison in this picture.

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http://www.etsy.com/listing/127239799/hand-made-hawaiian-felt-lei-flower

 

Sometimes you might have a great idea that you can’t wait to show everyone but a poorly made item will do more damage than taking a few days to get it right.