PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

Archive for April, 2008

show report!

Reporting back after day two of the show. Sunday was a lot quieter than Saturday, although I still had a lot of interest in my patterns. In the quiet periods, I managed to sneak away to wander around the show for a while, and pick up some new toys – some quilling paper, a bias tape maker, and a new light-up crochet hook, so now I have my three favourite sizes: E, G and H.

new crafty treats

Best of all, the owner of Bears and Bedtime gave me a quick demo in needlefelting, which I’ve been wanting to try for months, and I found that, despite my wool sensitivity, my hands seemed okay with it – yay! So I bought some felting needles and a bag of mixed colours of wool roving (and aren’t these colours perfect for my animals?). Now I just have to find some time to try out all my new craft purchases…

wool roving

To the eagle-eyed commenters on my last post, yes, you’ve spotted my hidden projects:

1) Looks like the cat is out of the bag with my ice cream bear! He is going to appear in the Summer issue of A Needle Pulling Thread magazine, together with an article about my crocheting. ANPT is a wonderful magazine featuring Canadian designers and artists and it covers the full spectrum of needle arts in every issue, with each artist contributing an article and a project. My ice cream bear is the reason I got to set up my display at their booth and work on my crochet throughout the show – thank you, Carla and John, for sharing your space with me!

2) I chose to finally make a start on my crocheted orang utan (I bought the yarn for it way back last August). As a break from pattern designing, I’m doing this one freeform. This gives me more freedom to experiment and figure out some new techniques, which may then find their way into future pattern designs!

So far, I’ve just made the arms. Each finger is individually wired, so the hands are completely poseable. A lot of people wanted to look at them, although one girl let out a little shriek when she saw the disembodied arm!

orang utan hand

Now on to the subject you’ll be most interested in if you are a crafter thinking about doing a show: the festival itself…

This was my first real offline experience of putting myself out there as a crochet designer, and it was amazing! Watching people’s reactions to my designs, hearing them call their friends over to come and see, and being able to interact face to face with the public are things you really miss out on as an online seller. I think people appreciated being able to actually pick up my work and take a closer look – no matter how good your photography is, it’s never quite the same as letting people actually touch your work. And getting to see small things, like the little girl who picked up and cuddled every animal I’d brought, and then refused to move on until she had kissed every single one goodbye… there’s no way you can get that kind of feedback through e-mail.

Another thing that was interesting was seeing the kind of people who were interested in my work – I never usually get to find out that kind of demographic information. I met people ranging from 8 year olds who were just learning to crochet and teenagers who wanted to know how to get started, right through to 80 year olds with decades of experience, and women of just about every age in between. I met lots of amazing creative people, made some new friends (hi Rose!), and even met a few people who already knew me from the online world or were previous customers, which was surreal but very cool!

I can’t tell you about how the financial side of it worked out, since I didn’t have my own booth, and I wasn’t actually selling anything at the show… I displayed some finished pieces, worked on my orang utan, and answered people’s questions, but I also brought a portfolio with the cover pages of all my patterns for people to flip through, and I gave out over 200 PlanetJune business cards and postcards, so I hope a lot of the people I met will be visiting my site once they get back home.

Oh, and my PlanetJune t-shirt was a hit – several people even asked where I got it printed! Maybe I should start up a side business 😉

Overall, the show experience was fantastic. It’s a bit daunting to jump in without the protection and anonymity of the internet, and by the end of the weekend I was totally exhausted, but I’m so pleased to have had this experience. I would definitely encourage other online-only crafty businesspeople to consider getting out there and introducing people to your craft in person once in a while!

Comments (7)

festival fun

I had an amazing day at the show today. So good, in fact, I’m going back for more tomorrow!

And to everyone who is visiting my site for the first time after picking up my card at the show: welcome!

Comments (5)

AquaAmi: Sea Turtle + SALE

Thank you for patiently waiting for the debut of the AquaAmi Sea Turtle pattern. It’s taken a while to produce because this pattern is a whopper! The pattern is 13 pages long and includes over 20 step-by-step photographs and explanations so you can crochet a perfect sea turtle of your own.

AquaAmi Sea Turtle pattern by planetjune

More info about the pattern: there are a lot of steps, but they aren’t difficult! I would classify this as an intermediate level pattern – although the assembly is more complicated than my usual patterns, the entire turtle is worked in standard amigurumi fashion (single crochet in the round), with just a few hdcs thrown in! And, if you still worry you may have difficulties, I am always happy to answer any questions by e-mail 🙂

Also, why not take advantage of your last chance to purchase your favourite PlanetJune patterns at 2007 prices? Save $.50 per pattern and $1.25 on the sets of 3 AmiDogs or AquaAmi (sale prices are automatically applied). You have until May 10 2008 to take advantage of this offer – don’t miss out! All patterns are available from the pattern store.

PS – I will be at the Creativ Festival all day today, but will process all orders tonight when I get back!

Comments

custom t-shirt & creativ festival

To any of my readers in or around Ontario, Canada, I’ll be at the Creativ Festival near Toronto (Mississauga to be precise) this Saturday (April 26th). I’ll be hanging out for the day at the booth for A Needle Pulling Thread magazine. I’ll have some of my creations on display, and I’ll bring my latest WIP to work on in any quiet moments!

So people will be able to recognise me there, I’ve made a custom PlanetJune t-shirt using iron-on printable transfer paper:

planetjune t-shirt!

I bought the transfer paper for dark t-shirts and printed my design onto the paper. I had to cut it out very carefully so I didn’t leave any white borders to spoil the design, then ironed it on to my prewashed T-shirt.

planetjune t-shirt

I even added a second mini design on the back of the shirt:

planetjune t-shirt

If you’re going to the Creativ Festival, please make sure you stop by the booth and say hello to me! And I have AquaAmi cards to give away if you mention you read my blog 🙂 Hope to see you there!

Comments (7)

5 minute* project: egg stand

Disclaimer: this is the easiest project ever, and I feel like a cheat even calling it a project! But I’m sure some people will find it useful, so here goes…

I bought a carved soapstone egg while in England, but I want to stand it up for display purposes, and of course it won’t stand without assistance. FIMO to the rescue…

polymer clay egg stand

Take a blob of polymer clay in a colour that coordinates with your egg. The size depends on the size of your egg – it has to be large enough to support the egg. Play with the clay until it is soft, then roll it into a ball. Place it on your baking surface (I use a ceramic tile, but you could use a cookie sheet with a piece of aluminium/aluminum foil on top).

Push the clay down onto your baking surface so it has a flat base and a flattish top (if you use a hard flat surface to push gently down on the clay, you’ll avoid fingerprints – I don’t bother and just smooth the prints away later with my finger). Now take your egg and centre it upright over the clay, then push it down into the clay to make a deep depression in the top of the clay that is the same size and shape as the base of the egg. Remove the egg from the clay. Gently smooth any uneven patches with your finger. Decorate if desired.

polymer clay egg stand

Do not lift the clay from the baking surface – you want the base of the stand to stay flat. Transfer the baking surface to the oven and bake according to manufacturer’s instructions. When it has cooled, you can pop the clay egg stand off the baking surface if it has stuck – it won’t be baked onto the surface.

Paint, finish, varnish etc, if desired – I left mine plain black so as not to detract from the egg. Place your egg in its stand and admire!

polymer clay egg stand

*5 minutes does not include the baking time, obviously!

Comments (4)

miniature schnauzer puppy

I found some interesting yarn while I was in the UK last week – it’s actually the same yarn that wibit uses for a lot of her lovely designs. I decided to try it out with one of my AmiDogs patterns and see what happened…

crocheted miniature schnauzer puppy by planetjune
Click for bigger pic

It’s like magic, really. Any guesses which AmiDog this originally was? You’ve got at least a 1/9 chance of getting it right 😉 I kept the pattern exactly the same (except for hook size and colour changes) and assembled it a bit differently, so this dog is sitting down instead of standing. The fluffy yarn makes a huge difference to the dog’s appearance:

crocheted miniature schnauzer puppy by planetjune

I thought I might end up with some sort of terrier, but once I’d trimmed the fluff around the beard area, my little dog was unquestionably a Miniature Schnauzer pup:

crocheted miniature schnauzer puppy by planetjune

This experiment has given me some ideas for some longer-haired AmiDogs. I just need to find a suitable yarn that’s readily available in North America.

Comments (21)

fimo medallions

MCoG DVD

I’m in the UK this week, visiting my family, but that doesn’t mean I’m not making anything…

Mysterious Cities of Gold was one of our favourite TV shows when my sister and I were young, and we still love it now (and it’s finally been released on DVD!)

From the DVD synopsis: In the year 1532, a Spanish orphan named Esteban joins a party of Spaniards in their search for one of The Seven Cities of Gold in the New World, hoping to find his father. They are joined on their quest by Zia, an Incan girl, and Tao, the last descendant of the sunken empire of Hiva.

My sister is going to a costume party as Zia, so she asked me to make her a sun medallion for her costume. I decided to make one for myself at the same time – making two is as easy as one. We went out for supplies (a package of FIMO, gold paint, spray varnish and a leather cord) so I could try to reproduce these medallions from the series:

MCoG medallions

To make them, I rolled out the polymer clay and cut it into a circle shape. With the help of a Google image search, I found a picture of the medallion’s pattern, and printed it at the same size as my circle for reference. I carved the pattern with deep, wide cuts so they would show up in the finished piece, made a hole at the top for the cord, and baked it. After baking. I sanded it lightly to knock off any sharp edges, then painted it with three coats of Venetian Gold paint (making sure the paint got into all the lines of the pattern). I sealed the paint on all sides with spray varnish, and then threaded the cord through when it was all dry. And here’s the finished result:

MCoG medallions

Comments (11)

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