Father’s Day the Offbeat Way – DIYs & Crafts on HousePunkery (Guest Post)

Come on over to HousePunkery and see my new guest post, full of Father’s Day links for the quirky people.

Crafts, activities, recipes, and DIY projects for the offbeat father. From gentleman to geek to steampunk, we’ll delight the old man. We have collected 27 links of fun schtuff for you to do for Dad. These are all affordable projects with easily accessible supplies.

27 Offbeat Father's Day DIYs & Crafts

Holidays Father's Day

HousePunkery

We hope you enjoyed our Father’s Day the Offbeat Way – DIYs & Crafts on HousePunkery (Guest Post) post

Let’s Get Real Friday Party #42

Welcome to our Let’s Get Real Blog Hop!


Woot! Woot! Let’s get this Friday started. Let’s Get Real is all about Healthy Living. That’s right! It’s all about Real Food, fitness, health and wellness, and home life tips and tricks from Real people. That’s you! Grab a cup of coffee (or other preferred beverage ). Relax into a comfy spot and take some time to get to know the great folks that link up here.

*This is my 100th post on The More With Less Mom! Celebrate good times, c’mon!*

**This week you can enter to win next week’s special co-host spot. If you are interested in co-hosting next week, please enter the rafflecopter give-away. We would love to have you join us for the week.**

Let's Get Real
 
A Big Welcome to our very Special Co-Host Melissa from The More With Less Mom! Make sure you give her a big Let’s Get Real welcome. 
 

The More With Less Mom
 
 
I’m not big on rules (since this is what I do for fun), but I do have a couple of guidelines.


1) Follow all your co-hosts. We follow back! Leave a comment for us on the post and we will know you are a new follower.

Christina: Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google +
Nicole: Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google +/Instagram
Nicky: Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google+
Gaye: Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google+
Melissa (me!): Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google +

2) Please don’t link and run! Follow and comment on at least 3 other blogs. The more effort you put into getting to know everyone, the more you will get in return. Everyone is here to get more readers and traffic to their blogs so let’s show them some love!

3) Let people know where you party! Add our party badge or link back to the party on your blog or post.

http://www.jugglingrealfoodandreallife.com
 
 
We will be pinning our favorites!!

My Let’s Get Real Featured blogger this week is:
(Drum Roll Please!)
Emily from The Unextreme and her Healthy Loaded Banana Split.
It’s real food! It’s healthy! It’s dessert!
Healthy Loaded Banana Split from The Unextreme
Emily from The Unextreme: Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google +

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Participated in T.G.I.F. Linky Party and Weekends Are Fun

We hope you enjoyed our Let’s Get Real Friday Party #42 post

June 2014 Real Food Monthly Meal Plan

June brings a few holidays, including Father’s Day, Hug Your Cat Day, International Fairy Day, and the summer solstice. For us it brings the end of the school year.

June Real Food Monthly Meal Plan from The More With Less Mom

Ideas and resources for menu planning in June, many seasonal spring and summer and real food recipes. Very simple ingredients, from scratch. As always, these are all frugal recipes intended for a tight budget. Real food/from scratch/traditional diet/nutrient dense/whole food/blah blah blah. My monthly meal plans use an alternative meal planning method, recipes organized into tiers based on how perishable the ingredients are, not sorted into particular days.

*Attention real food purists/whole foodies – the recipes I link/pin are all from scratch, but some of them you may have to make substitutions or modifications. For example, I link recipes that have sugar, but you can substitute whatever your favorite sweetener is.

*Don’t forget to read about how I meal plan at Frugal, Flexible Monthly Menu Planning!*

In this post: Seasonal Produce ~ Recipes ~ Download PDF ~ Pinterest Boards ~ Other Plans


Seasonal produce for June includes:

Vegetables

Beets
Corn
Green beans
Peas
Yellow squash

Fruits

Apricots
Blueberries
Cherries
Kiwi
Peaches
Nectarines
Strawberries
Watermelon

Epicurious Seasonal produce maps by state
CUESA Seasonal vegetables by month


Recipes from the June Meal Plan (organized by how perishable ingredients are)

Tier 1/Most Perishable (ie avocado, lettuce, snap peas, spinach, tomatoes)

Asian Chicken-Noodle Salad with Snap Peas from Bon Appétit
Chicken, Tomato and Spinach Mac and Cheese from Midwest Living
Fried Avocado Tacos from Bon Appétit
Healthy Whole Wheat Navajo Tacos from Thank Your Body
Orecchiette with Caramelized Onions, Sugar Snap Peas, and Ricotta Cheese from Bon Appétit
Orzo, Feta, and Tomato Salad with Marjoram Vinaigrette from Bon Appétit
Pasta Primavera with Creamy Cauliflower Sauce from Don’t Waste the Crumbs
Ricotta, Smashed Pea, and Hard Boiled Egg Toast from Naturally Ella
Sloppy “Rose” Lettuce Wraps from Recipes to Nourish
Spinach, Pesto, and Fontina Lasagna from Bon Appétit
Spring Quinoa Salad from GNOWFGLINS
Sweet Summer Corn Soup from Epicurious
Sweet Summer Quinoa and Black Bean Power Wraps from Erica’s Recipes

Tier 2/Less Perishable (ie cabbage, cauliflower, corn, mushrooms, peppers, pineapple, zucchini)

Corn Fritters with Spicy Zucchini Salsa from Epicurious
Easy Crock-pot Zucchini Lasagna from Thank Your Body
Hearty Sprouted Lentil Vegetable Stew from Healy Eats Real
Panko Pork Cutlets with Pineapple and Ginger Salsa from Bon Appétit
Pineapple-Chicken Stir-Fry from Midwest Living
Savory Vegetable Loaf Cake from Gourmande in the Kitchen
Thai Chicken Quesadillas from How Sweet Eats
Vegetarian Fajitas with Portabella Mushroom from Good Life Eats
Zucchini, Black Bean, and Corn Tacos from Erica’s Recipes

Tier 3/Pantry or Make It Whenever (ie carrot, celery, onion)

Cheesey-Mexi Lentil Macaroni from Don’t Waste the Crumbs
Country Potato Salad from EatingWell
Curried Chicken and Rice Soup from Food Network
Hippie Loaf from Happy Herbivore
Vegetable Tamale Pies from A Couple Cooks

Download Free Printable PDF June Real Food Monthly Meal Plan from The More With Less Mom
Download PDF. This has the links in the order listed above. Keep in mind I don’t limit myself to particular days, so this is not in order by date. Save it to your desktop and you will always have a quick reference when you’re hunting dinner, you probably have the ingredients for Tier 3 recipes at this very moment!


Other June Real Food/Whole Food Meal Plans

Bi-Weekly Meal Plan from The Better Mom and Nourishing Home
Frugal Real Food meal Plan June 2014 from Don’t Waste the Crumbs
June Meal Plan from Letters from Sunnybrook
Liz’s Weekly Real Food Meal Plan #8 from Real Food Liz
Real Food Meal Plan Week 19 from Real Food Real Deals


June Meal Plan Pinterest Boards:

Meal Plan June (just look at all that tastiness!)

Recipes to Try Spring

Recipes to Try Summer


In this post: Seasonal Produce ~ Recipes ~ Download PDF ~ Pinterest Boards ~ Other Plans

Oh My Heartsie Girl’s Wordless Wednesday
Featured on Oh My Heartsie Girl’s Wordless Wednesday

TGIF Fabulous Finds Linky Party
Featured on TGIF Fabulous Finds Linky Party

Unprocessed Fridays
Featured on Unprocessed Fridays

Participated in The Backyard Farming Connection Hop, Busy Monday, The Clever Chicks Blog Hop, Fabulous Finds & TGIF Linky, Fat Tuesday Forager Festival, Healthy Happy Green & Natural, The Hearth and Soul Hop, The HomeAcre Hop, Homemaking Link-Up, Homestead Barn Hop, Let’s Get Real Linky Party, Lou Lou Girls Fabulous Party, Menu Plan Monday, Natural Living Monday, Mostly Homemade Mondays, Motivation Monday, Nifty Thrifty Sunday, No Rules Weekend Linky Party, Penny Pinching Party, Real Food Fridays, Real Food Wednesday, Simple Saturdays Blog Hop, Thank Goodness It’s Monday, Thrifty Thursday, Turn It Up Tuesday, Unprocessed Fridays, Weekends Are Fun, Oh My Heartsie Girl’s Wordless Wednesday, You’re Gonna Love It Tuesday and The Yuck Stops Here

*Also see our
Frugal, Flexible Monthly Menu Planning OR Free Weekly Meal Plan Printable Template from The More With Less Mom
Frugal, Flexible Monthly Menu Planning OR Weekly Meal Plan Printable Template
We hope you enjoyed our June Real Food Monthly Menu Plan post

Photo credits:
Old stove photo from Evan Kirkland on Flickr

We hope you enjoyed our June Real Food Monthly Meal Plan post

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My First Craft Fair – At the Event

I jumped right into my first craft fair. I did not even have my Etsy shop up before it happened. I didn’t even have my product lines all designed (and I was only aiming for 3-4 solid lines). I am a foolish mortal. But there are lots of articles out there to help you be prepared for your first craft fair, and I thought I would add some helpful observations for the frugal mompreneur, as well.

At the Event of My First Craft Fair from The More With Less Mom

This article is a 3-part series, join my mailing list to get the next installment the minute it is posted!

Cross-posted on my shop site, HousePunkery

In this series: Planning for Your First Craft Fair ~ Preparing for Your First Craft Fair ~ At the Event of Your First Craft Fair

Show up whenever doors open for set up. There’s a reason they set that time. If it’s an indoor one-table thing it might only be an hour. If it’s outdoors and you have to set up a tent and such it might be four hours. You don’t want to get things set up and find that your banner has jumped ship and you don’t have time for someone to go fetch it. Or some such malarkey. If you are confident that is too early, bring a book to read or mess around on your phone.

Use photo easels from the dollar store to prop things up like plaques and prints. And LOOK AT THE GLITTER.Before the event actually starts make sure you locate (and hopefully use) the powder room, find the ATM if there is one (especially if you don’t take cards), and set yourself up with a snack and drink.
I brought a ton of tools, including stuff I didn’t think I would need, so I would have stuff to try if something came up. Like binder clips to attach the banner that refused to tape up. And masking tape to hold up the tablecloth over my magazine rack. And scissors to savage a piece of floral foam that was too long. And a photo easel to prop up the lid on my display box. And bandaids to cover the craft-war-wound blister.

Do not eat at your booth. At least, do not eat and expect to be able to expound the wondrous qualities of your wares to a customer. And who wants to ask a question while you chomp away at something. I brought nuts to nibble on. I made a turkey sandwich and we took turns chowing down while the other person helped customers. I brought bananas and took little bites. I wanted to make breakfast cookies/energy bars but I didn’t have time. I brought too many beverages, I had water and coffee, and my sister brought coffee. (Did I mention how late I was up the night before? Actually, I was up until that day.)

Make sure your items are all priced. I saw one article where they have a chalkboard with a price list, so they can change prices depending on the venue and items available, and she does not have to change out tags if her prices change. Most articles said to put a tag on each and every item. One blogger used mini cards (from Moo $20+, but I think I’ll make my own for next time) for tags, which is what I would like to use in the future. Everyone said to have all of your tags in place before you head out to the craft fair. I had a price tag on each item, a 5×7 sign that had the item name, description, price, and care details, and a photo, preferably of the item in use (like for my fairy house kit, I used the photo of the assembled kit). I also had a price list taped to the front of my table, and one behind so whoever was manning my booth would have a list to consult. I got tiny tags off of eBay, since I didn’t want them to distract from my items, but found that they were too small and hard to read. I think looking back that I had an overabundance of signage. I think I might just tape my signs to the front of my table, or make a banner like my bunting. The signs are important to me but seem to take over my table.

Keep in mind what is in season and appealing to your shoppers for that event. I made some buntings and doodads with summery themes, like seashells and fish. If it is a children’s festival make sure you have something that crowd will like. Also offer something that is not available online, so people who are familiar with your work will still feel like it’s worth it to stop by your booth and check it out.
Most people say to bring three times the inventory you want to sell. This way you can fill in whatever is selling, and you won’t miss a sale. I didn’t have anywhere near this amount of inventory, there just wasn’t time to make it. I did have a bunch of a few things, and I had a couple boxes under the table of things to add in as my display depleted. Keep filling your display back in as people buy so it doesn’t look sparse. If your table looks empty people will assume you don’t have anything worth looking at. Conversely, if your table is drowning in items people won’t have time to absorb any of your items in the two seconds they take to glance, and they will pass on. When doing my mock-up I found that I had way, way too much stuff for one table. Luckily, the venue had a couple tables left and I bought another last minute.

Meal plan board with the little index card recipes/gift, you can see my little sign. I remembered to actually fill it out with dry erase marker later.At the fair you will quickly pick up on visitor’s body language. If people are motoring through the middle of the aisle and just skimming the tables, they don’t want you to jump on them and tell them your life story. If they are slowly browsing they might like to chat or stop and look, and a “hi” would be appropriate. Almost no one made initial eye contact, since they were looking, so it’s important to evaluate body language and then be ready to make eye contact once you welcome them. My sister came and helped and showed me a lot about working with people (Did I mention how awesome my sister is?). Keeping it low-key is good, pouncing on people is bad. I do not have to struggle with this particular aspect, the pouncing is not a problem for me. Greet anyone who comes into your booth (hi, good morning, etc). We just had a line of tables so I had to decide who was actually paying attention to me, and some people weren’t, but it’s never a bad idea to say hi to someone. I also noticed that if you say hi to someone who is browsing it will almost always make them stop moving, which will buy you a couple more seconds of browsing. My sister would follow that up with, “Let me know if you have any questions.” I like this much better than, “Do you have any questions?” Which puts them on the spot, and every single time I forgot and said this I got a no. Also she was good at volunteering more information about the item people were browsing, like, “The bunting comes with an 8 foot cord to hang it.” Or, “The meal plan board comes with a week of recipes already planned, and a shopping list.” Somehow I knew I should do this, but I forgot when someone was standing in front of me.

Keep your own body language in mind at all times. Be friendly and welcoming at all times. I struggle with this, I pretty much turn into a little ball in the corner in crowded places. If someone comes to browse you should stand up (casually, not shooting up like a rocket) to announce your availability to chat or answer questions. DO NOT sit with your arms crossed, or a grumpy face. You don’t have to Vaseline your teeth so you can smile the whole time, but you can hold your face just until the laugh lines crinkle, think jolly-old-elf at rest. Chocolate helps with this. If you must sit try to get a director’s chair (expensive), or WalMart has a stool that is higher than the chairs (and cheap, Amazon? has one that I think is the exact same for three times as much).

My teen daughter came to help. Unfortunately, we zing each other with sarcasm constantly. I had to rein my sarcasm in for the customers, as well as control myself with her. Maybe I should make a sign –sarcasm served for free. You should never, ever bicker with someone, helping you or a customer (or use sarcasm someone could take wrong). One person said if a customer was belligerent she would never argue, she would just smile at them until they went away. I must practice this art. Practice, I will.

Demo of my fairy house kit, all assembled and loverly

People said to bring something to do if it is slow. But not read a book, since this will make you look unavailable. DO NOT mess with your phone (this makes me nuts). If you can make people curious about what you are making and how you do it that will help bring people in. Knitting or crocheting would be ideal, but not for me. Most of my items require wet things like paint or glue, which would not do. I brought some paper dolls to cut out, but found that I focus too hard and can’t do that and pay attention to customers. I will continue to ponder what I can bring to demo so people can see what the process is like. When there is a lull go around and check your display. Fill in any holes from items that need to be replenished, move stuff to cover something you sold out of, straighten anything that is askew, and evaluate your placement to see if you can move things to make better sales.

Demo of unplastic wrap, on a bowl and made into a box. You can also see my magnetic doodads on my metal box.Show off your product if you can. We wore our flower crowns. We wore clothes that fit with our items, although I would not say we were “in costume.” Display as many of your items as you can as they would be used. For my unplastic wrap I wrapped a bowl, and I made a little box for the chocolate with one of my wraps. I made a little demo fairy house for my fairy house kits. I made a display in a big frame to hang my bunting on (and will make a bunting with my name soon). I put my paper dolls in (glittered) floral foam so they would stand up, and framed them with the little theatre I sell.

Try not to get discouraged if you don’t sell well. It was rainy for the town-wide yard sale and craft fair. Of course. And it was the first year for the craft fair, which usually dents attendance. So sales were down, we weren’t the only ones who didn’t sell much. I really wanted to make enough to buy my table and chairs, and maybe even make the fee for the next fair I want to do. But I didn’t make the money and this does not mean my stuff is poop. (I tell myself again.) It just means that I had a nice, low-key craft fair to dabble my toes in. I learned a lot about what goes into it and how to sell, and how people will react to my items. And I did sell some, so it’s not all poop. Now I can take that knowledge and apply it to my next craft fair, where I will be a super star and make zillions.

Floral foam to display paper dolls upright

Here are a few of the articles I found most helpful for my first craft fair:

10 Tips on Surviving Your First Craft Show from Catshy Crafts
Craft Fair Tips From a First-Timer from Stumbles & Stitches
Craft Show Checklist from Funky Finds
Selling Your Art at Art Shows (much still applies to craft fairs)
What to Bring to a Craft Fair from The Etsy Blog

Also see my Pinterest boards:

Follow Melissa French: More With Less Mom’s board Craft fair display on Pinterest.
Follow Melissa French: More With Less Mom’s board Mompreneur DIY on Pinterest.

Linda is ready to man the craft fair booth

Sisterly awesomeness deserves some Facebook Likes and Etsy shop Favorites, don’t you think?!

In this series: Planning for Your First Craft Fair ~ Preparing for Your First Craft Fair ~ At the Event of Your First Craft Fair


We hope you enjoyed our At the Event of My First Craft Fair post

Photo credits:
All photos by me, Melissa French

HousePunkery

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My First Craft Fair – Preparing

I jumped right into my first craft fair. I did not even have my Etsy shop up before it happened. I didn’t even have my product lines all designed (and I was only aiming for 3-4 solid lines). I am a foolish mortal. But there are lots of articles out there to help you be prepared for your first craft fair, and I thought I would add some helpful observations for the frugal mompreneur, as well.

Preparing for My First Craft Fair from The More With Less Mom

This article is a 3-part series, join my mailing list to get the next installment the minute it is posted!

Cross-posted on my shop site, HousePunkery

In this series: Planning for Your First Craft Fair ~ Preparing for Your First Craft Fair ~ At the Event of Your First Craft Fair

Think about what your goals are for this event. Do you have a certain dollar amount you need to hit (I just wanted to pay myself back my booth fees)? Are you just looking for an educational experience? Do you want to network with the other crafters and keep an eye out for a mentor? Are you trying to get people to Like your Facebook page? Do you need to gauge people’s reactions to your items and see what sells best? Are your trying to get custom orders while you have like items out on display? Knowing what your goals are will help you to prepare for them.

For your display you want to present a micro-retail space. All of the information your customers might want should be accessible, like whether you take credit cards, what your url is, or your Facebook page name. Think about lighting. Think about where you will stand. Think about what will draw the eye of the customer. Also try to maintain your branding. Set on a feel for your look and colors, and use that look throughout. It will give you a professional feel. You should have a good idea of what your favorite aesthetic is, and odds are good most of your items reflect that, so focus on what you love and carry that through all of your display.

I really wanted to display my banner behind my booth, above eye level so it was highly visible. However, I did not have time to make stands and there were thingies in the way on the wall behind me. I settled for binder-clipping it to the tablecloth on the front of the table. If I get a tent later I can just tie it up there. Actually, the banner was my “one thing.” One thing will go wrong. You know it will. If you’re lucky, just one. Apparently, my banner jumped out of the tub with my display frames at some point. So I got to the craft fair, and no banner. Luckily I had plastered my name and logo all over my signs, and put a little sticker with my url on any item that would allow it, so this wasn’t a disaster. But my helpful sister ran back home, and after some searching in my craftpocalypse of a house, brought it to me. My banner has my business name, tagline, url, town, and qr code. I put my town because I wanted people to know they were buying local, but I did not put my address since it is a home business. FYI I got a business phone number through Skype and forwarded it to my regular phone.

Guestbook

The “free” business cards from VistaPrint were cheap, but of course I already have my own designed at this point. I just needed to get that order in to allow for shipping time. So I chose the design closest to my aesthetic and used that. It looks fine, since I have a good mental picture of my look. I had cards on either end of my booth, as well as some in my checkout stand to include with purchases and hand out with people I chatted with. I also had a sign right next to my cards indicating that I had an Etsy shop, so people knew they could go look later. One of my signs had my logo, url, and the logos for all of my social media including Etsy. The most interaction I had was people taking cards, to give me a Facebook like, to shop later, to network, I dunno. But they had my info with minimal effort on my part. You can print your own cards if you want to keep costs down, but frankly between the paper and ink it isn’t actually cheaper. I need to get better about handing out business cards in real life. In the future I would rather have postcards available so I can put some item photos and stuff on there.

One of the best things I did was to bring an old magazine rack (like this one without the lamp) I got for $1 at a yard sale. I kept my checkout binder in the little rack underneath, which has my sales receipt book (two part with address labels on each page), calculator, pens, custom order forms, business cards, cards with instructions for the items that need special care, clipboard, etc. Plus tissue paper and tape for wrapping, and coloring pages to include with the children’s items I sell. Right next to it was a little bag (like this craft tote, only free form the town swap shop) with plastic bags for sending items off in, and a little toolbox with needful things in it like masking tape, extra tags, thingamabobs for fixing things that break, and a red pen for marking down prices. The tabletop just fits under the tables and was a good spot to put our drinks, so they weren’t on our table or on the floor, and I could adjust how much of the table sticks out depending on the booth setup. One article said to bring one of those drawer rolling carts so you don’t even have to unpack your checkout stuff.

I bought a pack of banker’s boxes from WalMart, it was a 10 pack for $17 (Amazon has them but they cost more). This is way cheaper than $8 a plastic tub, and I think I like the size better. They are a little smaller and more square. I can’t carry heavy stuff, so this helps me to not overpack. Of course, they aren’t as sturdy or as waterproof as tubs. If I was going to buy the tubs I would spend a little more for the clear ones. But they boxes are cheap, and really easy to load in the car. I have a wee station wagon and will have troubles if I end up getting a tent. Packing is not my strong suit.

I had a guestbook out for people to sign and hopefully join the mailing list. Nobody signed it. I had it at the end of the table and I think people walked right past. Next time I will put it in the center of the table so it is visible, and invite people to sign as they chat. Possibly I will offer a giveaway to try to get people to join the mailing list.

Bunting on my homemade displayYou need to build your display up to eye level, so people can see things from the next row over, and people who are powering through the middle might see something they like. You have about two seconds to grab the attention of people going by. I think for some people it was even less than that, they were chatting or looking at the booth across the way and I needed something to grab their attention and pull them to me. Get as much of your schtuff as possible up at eye level so people don’t have to work to notice it. I made a display with an old frame. I painted it, glued pretty paper right on the glass, strung wire on it with pretty brads, and made an easel back with foamboard (all supplies but the frame from my little WalMart). Now I can hang bunting, paper dolls, or whatever. I also used some old books to elevate things a little. If I do a big 10×10 space I know this will be one of my challenges.

Envelopes for little items, hang on homemade display, or fold out for tiny folder

I had a lot of stuff in my house that I could use to display, but it took some creative thinking to find things that would fit my items. I did do a tour of a couple thrift stores and bought a few pieces. Just be careful about your display pieces, some people will think anything on the table is for sale, even if it totally doesn’t look handmade. You don’t want to distract from your items. And you don’t want people looking at your pretty boxes and then not seeing the item for sale on top of it. This is why so many people just use crates to build up their display.

For my tablecloth I knew I did not want plain white, since my items are supposed to be offbeat and unconventional. I knew I needed to cover the front and sides of my table, so I could stash stuff under there. I may make a fitted cover later in my crafting life. I was thinking I wanted browns, and I got a bag full of tablecloths and curtains at a rummage sale for $1. Once we got to the craft fair and I bought another table spur of the moment, we decided to use my big green/sage sheet. I found that this offered a better contrast, since more of my items have browns, as well as blending in the floral foam (from the Dollar Tree) I was using to display some pieces. So be prepared with a plan, and be prepared to change that plan. I’m glad I brought that “extra” sheet. (You can see the brown in the mock-up photos, and green in the craft fair photos.)

Speaking of mock-ups, do a display dry-run, preferably like a week before. Even if your items aren’t done and you don’t have the right size table, do a dry-run. Originally I used masking tape to mark off the 6×2 space on my dining room table. I left spaces for the items I didn’t have done. This helped me to see what my potential display pieces looked like together, and what I could fit in the space. You may find that one of your items “pops”, and you should make more of those since they will most likely sell better. Or that one of your planned displays just won’t work, and you need to find an alternative. This will also help you have a visual in your head for when you go to the thrift store and yard sales, to help you evaluate new pieces. Also keep in mind a plan “B” for each item. If the wind blows over that frame and breaks it, how will I display those items (yes, even indoors, they had the door open to allow people easy access and one display got blown over, twice). Once you have a good mock-up take photos you can refer to the day of. Also someone can use them if something happens to you (like the flu), and someone else has to set up and man your booth for you. You can also use this photo when applying for other craft fairs, juried fairs will require a photo of your booth set-up.

Pricing is a difficult challenge. The conventional wisdom is to add up your supplies, your time, and your business expenses divided by the number of hours you work in a year. Multiply this by two for wholesale prices and four for retail. I found that this did not work for me, even paying myself only $8 an hour my prices were more than anyone else on Etsy. So I figured out my supply costs and multiplied it by four. Then rounded up, usually to the nearest $5 or even dollar (like my $17.28 item was $18). I made sure if I divided that price in half (in case someone wanted to buy wholesale), I still was paid for my time plus a little bit. This formula came out to a much more reasonable price, in-line with what I was seeing online. Also items at craft fairs or otherwise in-person seem to be priced a little lower than Etsy.

Practice craft fair dry run/mock-up

How will you accept payment? Really, the only place people bring change now is to craft fairs and festivals, and that isn’t even true for the big ones. I accepted cash or personal checks. Since it was a town fair most people were local, and I would require an id with an address that matched the checks, and a phone number (no starter checks). I was also prepared to absorb a bad check if I had to, and not allow checks for amounts I could not absorb. If I had a smartphone I would get a Square in a heartbeat. But I don’t have one of those new-fangled (read: expensive) things. Whatever you accept, make sure you have a sign out clearly stating your payment methods. Especially if you accept credit cards. This makes it so easy to buy, the money practically falls at your feet. Also, how will you keep track of your cash? I bought a cashbox and an apron (both cheap), but my hubby had the cash box at the yard sale at home. However, I think the apron is the better way to go. You move around so much it’s better to be mobile, especially if you are in a 10×10 tent. I don’t want to be tethered to a table with a box that someone might mess with if I wander over to help a customer. I might bring the cashbox to transfer “extra” money to, but then I’ll have to worry about someone getting into that. So maybe not.

I created an Event on Facebook, and a listing on my site. This had all the pertinent details, as well as a link for more info. A week before I reminded people of where I would be on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. A few days before I reminded again. I considered offering an incentive, like mention you saw us on Facebook and get a free blah, but I didn’t get that far. If I had a smartphone I would have taken a pic of my setup the day of and told people to get their butts down there. Alas and alack. I posted a photo the next day, when it did not help anyone show up. But I have it for posterity.

Pack up your stuff and load it into the car the day before. So tag all your items Tuesday, do your final mock up Wednesday (and take photos to refer to the day of), start packing boxes Thursday, make snacks, pack the car, and withdraw cash Friday, and do your event Saturday. This means if you have a life as well you need to have all your items done by Monday, and if they require time to dry or cure they need to be done even earlier. Why didn’t I do that little time break-down in my head beforehand? Maybe I like to make my life complicated?

I am shy, and an introvert. I love people, I’m just afraid of new things. This was not my worst nightmare, but I knew it was outside my comfort zone. In normal life I’m not good at making eye contact or conversation, so I knew I had would have some difficulties. I did read a couple articles on the art of selling to people, to get some tips. The prospect of sharing my love of all things sparkly is exciting, so that is a plus. I think crafting is like cooking, if you put the love in there people can tell.

Sisterly awesomeness deserves some Facebook Likes and Etsy shop Favorites, don’t you think?!

In this series: Planning for Your First Craft Fair ~ Preparing for Your First Craft Fair ~ At the Event of Your First Craft Fair


We hope you enjoyed our Preparing My First Craft Fair post

Photo credits:
All photos by me, The More With Less Mom

HousePunkery

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My First Craft Fair – Planning

I jumped right into my first craft fair. I did not even have my Etsy shop up before it happened. I didn’t even have my product lines all designed (and I was only aiming for 3-4 solid lines). I am a foolish mortal. But there are lots of articles out there to help you be prepared for your first craft fair, and I thought I would add some helpful observations for the frugal mompreneur, as well.

Planning My First Craft Fair from The More With Less Mom

This article is a 3-part series, join my mailing list to get the next installment the minute it is posted!

Cross-posted on my shop site, HousePunkery

In this series: Planning for Your First Craft Fair ~ Preparing for Your First Craft Fair ~ At the Event of Your First Craft Fair

Planning for Your First Craft Fair

Process photo - Dragon plaque colored but not glittered, flourish not yet done

To find a craft fair check your state’s main pages. I found a great listing on NH.com

For your first craft fair look for one that is indoors, and possibly even provides table and chairs. You don’t want to put a ton of money into a tent and set up, and then find that you absolutely detest sitting there and smiling and chatting for 6 hours. Start small and try to find the things you need used, like folding tables off of Craigslist (beware the old tables that weigh a ton).

Lucky for me, there was a small craft fair in my hometown, and I thought it would be a good way to get my feet wet. I had four weeks to prepare, and absolutely nothing started. I had considered opening a shop for years, I had made the decision to do it, I had considered several product ideas, I had even opened an Etsy shop and slapped some almost-free printables up there. But the only item I had made was one demo of one item, which of course did not come out to my satisfaction. I was a little daunted.

Process photo - photo shoot setup for doodadsI had thought of a good name a while ago and bought the domain, and threw up a WordPress site so it would be easy for me to post once I was ready. Luckily, I have been helping my sister a little with her shop, so I had some knowledge of the Etsy side of things. I knew what I wanted my item photos to look like, I knew what I wanted my listings to look like. I knew that I should take photos of the process so I would have something to post on my site and social media. I knew I needed a cohesive look for my branding. I knew that I needed business cards STAT, and preferably a banner. I had the advantage of having been considering this for years, so I had a lot of ideas and a picture in my head of my look/brand.

I did not have the advantage of having a lot of disposable income to put into it. Like, the $52 for one table, one chair, and one stool (never mind the stupid tent), seems like an insurmountable goal. I started buying supplies off of eBay, most items 1 or 2 dollars, and proceeded to wait weeks for them to arrive from the nether regions of some far-off exotic country. I bought “free” business cards and a small banner from VistaPrint ($12 total), with a discount code. I babysat and used that money for my craft fair table fee (this one is indoors and provides tables and chairs). I may have tricked my sister into buying me ink at one point (have you looked at how much ink costs you per ounce, that stuff is like liquid gold). I already had a lot of supplies, like cardstock and TONS of glitter. BUCKETS of glitter.

Process photo - octopus unplastic wrap in oven

They say do what you love, and I know if I get stuck doing 100 of something for someone I better like doing it, so most of my items have lovely glitter. Sparkly things make me happy. Making things for people makes me happy too, so that works out.

As I made the items I took photos so I could get my items listed on Etsy and my site. I did an article on making your own lightbox for photography. The best thing is to take your item outside for natural light, but April is not photography-friendly in these here parts. I have found that just having two desk lamps with tracing paper taped over them helps a lot with lighting for indoor photography. Also, take two so if you shake the camera taking the picture you still have the other one that isn’t blurry. Even still, I already want to do the photos over. But chasing my toddler and preschooler off to get it done is hard, man.

I am detail-oriented, so I knew I needed to read up on being a vendor at a craft fair, or I would get myself stuck on little details and mess up the big picture. Through the wonders of the hyperwebs, there is a vast amount of e-knowledge that you can tap into on just about any subject. See the end of this article for a few helpful links, and don’t forget to check Pinterest.

Melissa is ready to man the craft fair booth

Sisterly awesomeness deserves some Facebook Likes and Etsy shop Favorites, don’t you think?!

In this series: Planning for Your First Craft Fair ~ Preparing for Your First Craft Fair ~ At the Event of Your First Craft Fair


We hope you enjoyed our Planning My First Craft Fair post

Photo credits:
All photos by me, The More With Less Mom

HousePunkery

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May 2014 Real Food Monthly Meal Plan

May brings a few holidays, including May Day, Star Wars Day, Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, National Twilight Zone Day, and Memorial Day, and the second birthday of my littlest kidlet. For us it brings a yard sale and my first craft fair ever (as a crafter). Also guitar lessons once a week shorten my prep time. Apparently when I was pinning I wanted Mexican and Greek. And I’m ready for zucchini and spinach this month. I didn’t actually plan 30 days of meals this month, with the farmer’s markets opening I’m excited to cook what looks good.

May Real Food Monthly Meal Plan from The More With Less Mom

Ideas and resources for menu planning in May, many seasonal spring and real food recipes. Very simple ingredients, from scratch. As always, these are all frugal recipes intended for a tight budget. Real food/from scratch/traditional diet/nutrient dense/whole food/blah blah blah. My monthly meal plans use an alternative meal planning method, recipes organized into tiers based on how perishable the ingredients are, not sorted into particular days.

*Attention real food purists/whole foodies – the recipes I link/pin are all from scratch, but some of them you may have to make substitutions or modifications. For example, I link recipes that have sugar, but you can substitute whatever your favorite sweetener is.

*Don’t forget to read about how I meal plan at Frugal, Flexible Monthly Menu Planning!*

In this post: Seasonal Produce ~ Recipes ~ Download PDF ~ Pinterest Boards ~ Other Plans


Seasonal produce for May includes:

Vegetables

Artichokes
Asparagus
Broccoli
Collards
Leeks
Lettuce
Okra
Rhubarb
Spinach
Spring Onions
Spring Peas
Zucchini

Fruit

Apricots
Cherries
Pineapples
Strawberries

Epicurious Seasonal produce maps by state
CUESA Seasonal vegetables by month


Recipes from the May Meal Plan

Tier 1/Most Perishable (ie avocado, mushroom, spinach)

Black Bean Flautas with Avocado Dipping Sauce from Oh My Veggies
Brunch Tart With Spinach, Olives and Leeks from Ted Allen on Food Network
Chicken & Spinach Stromboli with Alfredo Dipping Sauce from Real Fit, Real Food Mom
Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas from In Sock Monkey Slippers
Green Enchiladas from Life Currents
Green Pizza with a Cauliflower Base from Green Kitchen Stories
Grilled Cheese Crepes with Chard and Dill from A Couple Cooks
Italian Wedding Soup from Rachel Schultz
Rosemary Chicken Chowder with White Beans from Good Life Eats
Spinach, Feta, and Tarragon Frittata from Food & Wine
Spinach-and-Green-Pea Empanadas from Food & Wine
Tortilla Flat Stacks with Avocado & Lime Black Beans from Clean Eating
Tuna Veggie Melt from Clean Eating
Ultimate Grilled Cheese and Ham Panini with Parsnip Fries from Midwest Living
Vegetarian Salisbury Steak from Oh My Veggies

Tier 2/Less Perishable (ie cauliflower, peppers, zucchini)

Crustless Italian Quiche from Clean Eating
Curried Chicken, Chickpea, and Rice Soup from Good Life Eats
Pasta with Zucchini, Tomatoes and Creamy Lemon-Yogurt Sauce from Ezra Pound Cake
Veggie Tacos with Queso Fresco from In Sock Monkey Slippers
White Velvet Soup à la My New Roots from Green Kitchen Stories
Zucchini Carrot Soup from Family Fresh Cooking

Tier 3/Pantry or Make It Whenever (ie carrot, onion)

Chickpea and Potato Mulligatawny Soup from In Praise of Leftovers
Clean Eating Slow Cooker Tortilla Chicken Stew from The Gracious Pantry
Knoephla (Potato Dumpling Soup) from Midwest Living
Lentil, Barley, and Coconut Soup from In Praise of Leftovers

Download Free Printable PDF May Real Food Monthly Meal Plan from The More With Less Mom
Download PDF. This has the links in the order listed above. Keep in mind I don’t limit myself to particular days, so this is not in order by date. Save it to your desktop and you will always have a quick reference when you’re hunting dinner, you probably have the ingredients for Tier 3 recipes at this very moment!


May Meal Plan Pinterest Boards:

Meal Plan May (just look at all that tastiness!)

Recipes to Try Spring


Other May Real Food/Whole Food Meal Plans

Bi-Weekly Meal Plan for April 27–May 10 from The Better Mom & Nourishing Home
Frugal Real Food Meal Plan: May 2014 from Don’t Waste the Crumbs
Liz’s Weekly Real Food Meal Plan #5 from Real Food Liz
May Real Food Frugal Meal Plan
Real Food Meal Plan Kit: April 21-May 4 from Live Simply
Real Food Weekly Meal Plan
Whole Foods May 2014 Menu from Once a Month Meals


In this post: Seasonal Produce ~ Recipes ~ Download PDF ~ Pinterest Boards ~ Other Plans

Participated in Clever Chicks Blog Hop, Fat Tuesday Forager Festival, Fabulously Frugal Thursday, Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural Party Blog Hop, HomeAcre Hop, Homestead Barn Hop, Let’s Get Real Friday Party, Meal Planning Monday, Menu Plan Monday, Mostly Homemade Monday, Real Food Fridays, Simple Lives Thursday, Thank Goodness It’s Monday, Thrifty Thursday and Unprocessed Fridays.

*Also see our
Frugal, Flexible Monthly Menu Planning OR Free Weekly Meal Plan Printable Template from The More With Less Mom
Frugal, Flexible Monthly Menu Planning OR Weekly Meal Plan Printable Template
We hope you enjoyed our May Real Food Monthly Menu Plan post

Photo credits:
Old stove photo from Evan Kirkland on Flickr

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Sweet French Toast Flexible Recipe for a Crowd, Plus Two Awesome Tips

Sweet French Toast Flexible Recipe for a Crowd, Plus Two Awesome Tips from The More With Less Mom

French toast is one of our indulgences, it is inexpensive to make and very tasty. We love french toast. We plan to enjoy some for Easter brunch this year.

It’s nice to have Texas Toast on hand to make giant, thick slices of french toast, but not necessary. All I have on hand most of the time is wheat bread, which I’m trying to convince my family they like better than white bread. The flavor difference in french toast with wheat bread is one of the places where this challenge comes to a head. In an effort to blend in the wheat flavor, I added some honey to my batter recipe. What resulted was a very sweet, almost dessert french toast.

There are 2 Totally-Not-Top-Secret Tips to awesome french toast, no matter what the recipe:

  1. Flour: You must add flour to your batter. This will give you a fluffy, custardy french toast that is divine.
  2. Soaking: You must soak your bread properly. This will allow the batter to penetrate all of the crannies in even cheap bread and give it more flavor and structure.

Sweet French Toast Recipe

Makes approx. 30 slices

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup wheat flour (you need 1 c flour total and can use whatever combination works for your family)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup oat flour (grind oats, quick or old fashioned, in blender or food processor to make)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (1 c of sugar if you are not using honey or brown sugar, you can substitute your favorite powdered sweetener)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 12 eggs
  • 2 cups milk (you can substitute your favorite milk)
  • 1/4 cup honey (you can substitute maple syrup or your favorite liquid sweetener)
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 – 2 loaves bread (I used 1 1/2 loaves but this will depend on the density of your bread and the thickness of your slices)

Directions:

  1. Preheat your skillet or griddle on medium-high heat. I used to use a deep electric skillet (like this one on Amazon) which is a good multi-purpose tool, especially if you run out of burners a lot. I now have a griddle (like this one on Amazon, that I got online from a Black Friday sale for way less than that price) that does six slices at a time that I like.
  2. Grease with whatever you like, I used coconut oil this time, but I really like coconut.
  3. In a large bowl mix your dry ingredients with a whisk or fork: flours, sugars, salt and cinnamon.
  4. In a small bowl mix your wet ingredients: eggs, milk, honey, vanilla, making sure you incorporate the egg yolk.
  5. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients.
  6. SOAK your bread in your batter. Soak, soakie, soak. Dunk it in, flip it and hold it down with a fork for a count of 10. Flip it again and soak it for a count of 30. You have to let it soak in as much batter as it can.
  7. Just do a tester, make one piece and try it so you can add salt, sugar/honey, or cinnamon to your batter if you prefer. Also this feeds the chef so mom doesn’t starve to death before making two loaves of french toast.
  8. Once your have your batter prettied up, start assembly lining your toast. Cook until browned, flip and brown the other side (the second side goes much more quickly).
  9. Serve with your favorite topping, like maple syrup, honey, powdered sugar, fruit, or berries.
  10. These were so sweet for me that I just added enough butter to mine to add a little moisture. I make my own butter spread with real butter, olive oil, and coconut oil, and this added a new layer of flavor to my french toast.
  11. Next time I will most likely make a simple syrup and top with bananas or apples like this Absurdly Easy Homemade Pancake Syrup
  12. If you have leftovers or are making a batch ahead these can be frozen. Place two in a sandwich bag or wrap (very) well with syran wrap. You can thaw them and then pop them in the toaster for a snack. These will be good in the fridge for 4 days or in the freezer for 3 months.

Recipes to try breakfast Pinterest Board



Easter Pinterest Board


Participated in Anything Goes Linky, Clever Chicks Blog Hop, Made by You Monday, Moonlight and Mason Jars, Mostly Homemade Mondays, Thank Goodness It’s Monday, and Treasure Box Tuesday linky parties

* Also see our Green Oat Pancakes Recipe
Green Oat Pancakes Recipe

We hope you enjoyed our Sweet French Toast Flexible Recipe for a Crowd post

Title image from me, The More With Less Mom

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April 2014 Real Food Monthly Meal Plan

April includes both April Fools Day and Easter for holidays. There will be some malarkey happening for April Fools. There will also be ham for Easter. We always have it with candy gravy. Am I the only one who knows what candy gravy is? It involves drippings, orange juice, and brown sugar. I am dealing with guitar lessons for kid #2 one day a week, so that will usually be leftovers or crock pot day. Also we have a week of vacation in there, so I may plan a couple breakfast and lunch meals (gasp!). Our main protein for this month is chicken, with some ham. I went hog wild with the peas and asparagus.

April Real Food Monthly Meal Plan from The More With Less Mom

Ideas and resources for menu planning in April, many seasonal spring and real food recipes. Very simple ingredients, from scratch. As always, these are all frugal recipes intended for a tight budget. Real food/from scratch/traditional diet/nutrient dense/whole food/blah blah blah. My monthly meal plans are organized into tiers based on how perishable the ingredients are, not sorted into particular days.

*Attention real food purists/whole foodies – the recipes I link/pin are all from scratch, but some of them you may have to make substitutions or modifications. For example, I link recipes that have sugar, but you can substitute whatever your favorite sweetener is.

*Don’t forget to read about how I meal plan at Frugal, Flexible Monthly Menu Planning!*

In this post: Seasonal Produce ~ Recipes ~ Download PDF ~ Pinterest Boards ~ Other Plans


Seasonal produce for April includes:

Vegetables

Artichokes
Asparagus
Chives
Greens
Horseradish
Leeks
Lettuce (leaf and head)
Parsnips
Peas
Rhubarb
Shallots

Fruit

Grapefruit
Oranges

Epicurious Seasonal produce maps by state
CUESA Seasonal vegetables by month


Recipes from the April Meal Plan:

*What’s with these tier thingies?

Tier 1/Most Perishable (ie shrooms, asparagus, peas, spinach, tomato)

Chicken and Asparagus Crepes from Food Network
Chopped Greek Salad with Chicken from Eating Well
Creamy Greek Scrambled Eggs from Family Fresh Cooking
Fajita Omelet from Good Cheap Eats
Fusilli with Creamed Leek and Spinach from Food & Wine
Garlic Parmesan Chicken and Noodles from Better Homes & Gardens
Italian Egg Drop Soup Stracciatella from Simply Recipes
Pappardelle with Baby Spinach, Herbs, and Ricotta from Cooking Light
Spring Brunch Bake from Taste of Home
Spring Chicken & Barley Soup from Eating Well
Spring Lentil Soup from Real Simple
Spring Pea Soup from Taste of Home
Spring Peas Risotto from Better Homes & Gardens
Spring Spinach Salad from Taste of Home
Spring-Ahead Brunch Bake from Taste of Home

Tier 2/Less Perishable (ie peppers, sweet potato)

Corn and Bell Pepper Chowder from Bon Appetit
Gingered Carrot-Sweet Potato Soup with Chive Cream from Better Homes & Gardens
Spring Vegetable Soup from Good Cheap Eats
Sweet Potato and Feta Dinner Skillet from A Couple Cooks
Thai Carrot Soup with Rice from In Praise of Leftovers

Tier 3/Pantry or Make It Whenever (ie carrot, onion)

Chili Stacks from Good Cheap Eats
Dirt Cups from Kraft
Meat Loaf Cake from Taste of Home
Mexican Lasagna from Rachael Ray
Spiced Split Pea Soup from Taste of Home
Spinach Artichoke Lasagna from Budget Bytes
Spring-Thyme Chicken Stew from Taste of Home

From Scratch Ingredients and Other Doodads

Crepes from Alton Brown
Hawaiian Sweet Rolls from Yammie’s Noshery

Download Free Printable PDF April Real Food Monthly Meal Plan from The More With Less Mom
Download PDF. This has the links in the order listed above. Keep in mind I don’t limit myself to particular days, so this is not in order by date. Save it to your desktop and you will always have a quick reference when you’re hunting dinner, you probably have the ingredients for Tier 3 recipes at this very moment!


April Meal Plan Pinterest Boards:

Meal Plan April (just look at all that tastiness!)

Recipes to Try Spring


Other April Real Food/Whole Food Meal Plans

Bi-Weekly Whole Food Meal Plan from The Better Mom subscribe for shopping list
Real Food Meal Plan Kit from Live Simply includes shopping list


In this post: Seasonal Produce ~ Recipes ~ Download PDF ~ Pinterest Boards ~ Other Plans

Participated in Clever Chicks Blog Hop, Down Home Blog Hop, Fabulously Frugal Thursdays Fat Tuesday Forager Festival, Happy Healthy Green & Natural, HomeAcre Hop, Homestead Barn Hop, Let’s Get Real, Meal Planning Monday, Menu Plan Monday, Mostly Homemade Mondays, Natural Living Mondays, Real Food Fridays, Simple Lives Thursday, Sunday Social Blog Hop, Thank Goodness It’s Monday, Thrifty Thursday, and Unprocessed Fridays linky parties

*Also see our
Frugal, Flexible Monthly Menu Planning OR Free Weekly Meal Plan Printable Template from The More With Less Mom
Frugal, Flexible Monthly Menu Planning OR Weekly Meal Plan Printable Template
We hope you enjoyed our April Real Food Monthly Menu Plan post

Photo credits:
Kitchen corner photo from Ian Sommerville on Flickr

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