On having my doubts

It’s been a whirlwind lately as I try to figure out my process for buying supplies and making my recycled candles. I also wanted to make fabric-covered button thumbtacks, using the scraps of my grandmother’s vintage fabric I have laying around.

But every once in a while, as excited as I am about the whole process, I look at something and go, yeah, that totally didn’t turn out how I thought it would. Which is only natural — I’ve never done a lot of this stuff before. But it kind of puts a wrench in my plans, and sometimes I’m really not sure what to do. There’s no manual for deciding what your personal aesthetic is or what will absolutely sell when it comes to handmade stuff. Believe me, I’m sucking every bit of wisdom I can out of my Craft, Inc. book but it’s still limited.

Take my thumbtacks, for example. I thought they were so cute (and I still do). But when I looked at what others were selling on Etsy they just didn’t quite compare. I wanted to order 10 sets from other people, and that’s not a good sign. So I went back to the drawing board a little bit.

A random tack had picked up a clock pattern from my fabric. I thought it was cute, so I made 10 more.

But I think the most surprising thing was when I glued on some buttons. I might like these best of all. (Hear that mom? I need more buttons!)

Anyway, when that doubt creeps in I think you have to listen to it. Because going with my gut is what got me here in the first place. But then you just have to quickly move on. Give it the hand, before you start questioning the whole operation. Keep your mind open, and that’s when you get the next great idea. Like yesterday, when I realized the perfect material for my tags was the Grape Nuts box sitting in the recycling bin.

The monster candle

I just had to show you this. It’s the whopper candle I found at a garage sale the other day. It was so heavy I could barely hold it up with one hand.

The cranberry scent is divine. I felt a little bad about smashing it up with a hammer, but now that it’s become four cute jar candles (with more to come) I’m feeling better about it.

Bad blogger, good crafter

I admit, I have been a pretty poor blogger lately. But I’ve been busy.

My yoga studio expressed interest in selling my recycled candles and knit yoga bags, so I got to work coming up with a sellable selection, a much more time-consuming process than I realized. I went through many a crooked wick and sunken well of wax before mastering my candlemaking skills. But I’m pretty happy with what I ended up toting to the studio last night. Here’s a peek.

I think the biggest hit has been the little juice glasses with etched patterns going around – popular with grandmas across the nation from what I hear.

This morning I went garage saleing, as that’s where all of my supplies for these re-melted candles come from, and I think I finally know that thrill of the hunt that avid garage salers like my mom experience on a regular basis. I hauled off one sale with the biggest candle I’d ever seen, just imagining how many little candles I could make from it. The cost? $1.

Like any business owner the real cost is in your time, but hopefully that time is spent doing what you love and I LOVE THIS.

The bags were another story. Being stubborn I’m determined to find a way to make them super quick, but with knits that’s really tough. Does anyone out there sell knitware? Is it even possible to make it profitable?

So thanks for hanging in there, whatever readers I have left. I’m exausted but happy to be through phase one of my project, which is turning out the first batch and praying someone likes it. Many more phases to come (let’s hope) and many more lessons to share, I’m sure.

Thanks also to Mike for picking up the slack while I was boiling away in my little lab – I know I left plenty of it.