Why Price Your Hand Made Craft Items As You Do

I know that my pricing model looks a little off, well that is because I am a little off.  I want to make money from my craft, but I feel that it is more important that someone who wants to purchase something be able to afford that item.  I live on a fixed income and a lot of these items have been made because I could not leave my home due to my disability and I needed something to keep busy with.

I recently ran into a financial issue due to the lack of mail delivery because of a misunderstanding between me and the United States Post office just down the street from where I live, and am not able to provide my grandchildren with Christmas gifts that I have either bought or made because I will not have enough money to get through the month.  This made me think about all those out there who may have a financial issue of their own going on and won’t be able to provide a small gift or two to their families because of a lack of funds.

I decided that I needed to lower some of my prices so that others who have financial issues, a lot of gifts to purchase over the year could possibly afford to purchase from my site.  I would like to be able to just give the items away, and would if I knew the person truly needed that kind of service.  I am willing to work with anyone who may want to purchase something from me but does not have the full price.  I know this sounds crazy but the thought of a smile on someone’s face because they received a trinket made by me is far more valuable than the few coppers I may be able to put in my pocket.

The cost of everything has gotten out of control and I would rather bargain, lower the price or give it to my customer than have it sitting around collecting dust and taking up room in my very small apartment.  With Christmas just around the corner, this is my gift to anyone who would like to purchase something.  So if you see something on my site you would like to purchase, but think the price may be unreasonable or wish you could purchase shoot me an email at craftingmontana@gmail.com, with the subject line reading Lets Negotiate and I will be more than happy to work with you.

Keep watching as I will be adding more items to the library.  I realize some of the pictures are not very good but I am still learning how to take those pictures, edit them, and post them to my store.  I am open to any and all suggestions on how to make this site better and what it is you would like to see here.  So remember, practice, practice, practice and you too will become a master of whatever it is you are trying to achieve.

 

Keep on Crafting Montana!

It’s A Free Pattern, What Do You Mean I Can’t Sell The Item?

That cool little shrug pattern you downloaded three months ago sure sold hot at the Farmer’s Market this winter.  You got the pattern from some where of the world wide web for free.  You slaved long and hard over those 32 knitted shrugs in 32 different colors and 16 different patterns.  But did you read the whole pattern before you printed it off that neat little web site or from your favorite yarn brand’s website’s Privacy Policy, Terms and Conditional Use of Site?

Well, if you haven’t read one in a long time, I suggest you do.  I was under the impression that most of the free patterns off Name Brand product sites could be made and the item sold.  Wrong!  I can print the pattern out, make the item and use it for “personal use” only.  That means that I may make as many of them as I want and give them away.  I was reading the comments on a blog today when I was searching for a pattern for dishcloths and potholders.  Some how I got off on a side search for elephant patterns, sewn, knitted, etc.  Any way, I wish I had kept that blog up, because one of the commentators said they thought you could make the patterns and sell the items you get off the Red Heart website.

This is not true, I went to the Red Heart website to make sure that I could use their patterns for projects and then be able to sell those projects.  Under their Policy, Terms and Conditional Use of the Site in section 1.1 it clearly states (and I copied and pasted the exact words) “1.1 Copyright.

You may not use the Site, or the materials available on the Site, in a manner that constitutes infringement of our rights or that has not been authorized by us. Unless explicitly authorized in these Terms and Conditions of Site Use or otherwise in writing by the owner of these materials, YOU MAY NOT MODIFY, COPY, REPRODUCE, REPUBLISH, UPLOAD, POST, TRANSMIT, SELL, CREATE DERIVATIVE WORKS OF, EXPLOIT OR DISTRIBUTE, IN ANY MANNER, THE MATERIAL ON THE SITE, INCLUDING TEXT, GRAPHICS, CODE AND/OR SOFTWARE WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION OF COATS & CLARK. However, you may print and/or download individual pages of the Site solely for your personal, non-commercial use, provided that (a) you do not modify any page or change or delete any copyright or proprietary notices from the materials on any such page within the Site, and (b) these Terms and Conditions of Site Use and any notices in such pages regarding use or ownership are included with reproduced or stored pages.”

Oops, I have made very common mistake for several years apparently.  Well there is no way I can go back over the years and remember all the patterns, projects, and those that sold and what they sold for so I guess the next best thing to do is, stop using there patterns, and start reading through the entire pattern/blog post and site to see if I have permission to use that awesome legwarmer knit pattern I just printed out thinking I can use it.

I mostly will run a search for pattern’s in the public domain once I find out what is popular, do I have an interest in making popular items, or is there a project that is kind of forgotten about that fits in with today’s idea of what is cool, trendy, bitch’n, dandy or whatever the buzz words are for I just got to have it.  Before you make your umpteenth thing-a-ma-whooie for the Spring Farmer’s Market or that Easter Craft Show, do yourself a favor and read the fine print.  I doubt if you would get caught, but into days world with everyone on the internet and all of us go under pen-names, it just might be your neighbors pattern that you are trying to sell in a booth just three or four away from them.

Keep On Crafting Montana!

Tis The Night Before Christmas Eve Day, Oh Boy

I last posted in October that it was a tough year for me in 2015. It is my hope that 2016, is fresh, new, exciting, and full of great positive surprises for all who are reading this posting and for those I know personally. As I have looked back over the year (actually years) since this blog, e-commerce site has been up; I have noticed several things. One I have not been consistent about posting to the blog, or products page. No one has visited or tried to order anything from the site. This makes me think that I am wasting my time and efforts and should try to do something else that is more suited to me. But what is that? Well I guess that is how I will be spending the last few days of 2015, trying to decide what I am willing to change in my life and about myself so that I am moving forward and not beating a dead horse so to speak.

Tell me, do you think this site is just a waste of space and should be deleted? Do you have any suggestions to make this site better? Or is it just one more piece of cyber trash that needs to be cleaned up? It is your internet, what would be best?

Its Been Different This Year

2015, has been a very trying year for me. So much has happened. I moved from North Central Montana to Southwest Montana, my Mom died, and so did a friend of mine. This was the first time that I can remember that I have lost two people in one year. Work has not been the most pleasant adventure for me. I took on a janitorial contract early in January and have been having some issues with the client. I don’t know why people demand a contract, when they aren’t even going to read it before they sign it. I had to take on a job as the place I moved to is rather expensive to live. Unfortunately by doing so, Craftingmontana.com has suffered and for that I appologize. I hate not being able to work on Craftingmontana.com by bringing new pictures of handmade products I have on hand to the store, and to write articles, or maybe for once a story or a poem highlighting one of the various products that I have for purchase on the site.

My sister and I had decided some time back, that an ecommerce website for all the handycraft things I made to pass the time of day for the first five years of being disabled, could be a way for me to supplement my SSDI. Since then my disability has improved some, I no longer require a service dog to be out in public (my adventures really don’t go past grocery shopping or going to work in an empty building now). The level of other issues involved do limit my ability to perform traditional jobs and to tolerate certain environments and personalities long term, still leave a lot to be desired. The janitorial contract that I am currently working through has proven to me that the limitations are real.

It is my plan for the future of this site to turn the shop section into a flipbook catalog, I am also going to get rid of the Guest crafter, apparently I don’t generate enough traffic for that as of yet. The articles will become consistent at least, and if I can I am hoping to find a couple of people who would be willing to film some tutorials. Earlier this week I went out to another sister’s house and she taught me how to can deer meat, one of my childhood favorite foods. Canning your own food is another craft that is slowly going by the wayside. That would have been an interesting tutorial don’t you agree? If you have any suggestions, those of you who are human and land here for whatever reason, if you would leave suggestions for me I would really appreciate it.

I am hoping to supplement my income and I know that I need your help to do so. After all if I have no customers then I have no store. I have finally found a way to model the hats, and scarves better and have been working on my lighting so that the pictures will be easier to see what it is you are getting for your money. Yes my prices are low, but that is because the items are pretty simple right now, and I have been living in poverty for so long that I know it is hard to afford all those birthday presents for relatives, and children’s birthday parties, as well as for Christmas. I enjoy making these items and many more, I like variety and after making 10 or so Arm knitted cowls, I might do some simple seed bead necklaces or earrings, or crochet a cowboy hat or two. To make the beeswax and parifin candles is an all day process that is difficult to do in the small apartment I live in now. I want to start cutting glass and offering candle holders, juice glasses and more candles in containers as well. I have all this wonder pure beeswax I want to use up. The repetition to continue making some items over and over is far to taxing on my hands so I need to change the actions I am taking.

I know nothing about marketing on the internet and certainly don’t understand traffic either. I have seen others prey upon others in ways that are far from honest on the internet, and I have seen others provide top notch service and products as well. Me, I am providing simple, unique, handmade items that make great gifts without having to spend a fortune for. I am a simple person, just trying to boost my income so that I can meet my bills, and maybe put a little away for something whenever it shows up. Any suggestions for Craftingmontana.com, help, or purchases you may make are all greatly appreciated and warmly welcomed.

Remember, Keep On Crafting Montana!

Sewing Bee Needle Sharpener
DON’T FORGET TO WAX YOUR SKIS!

Montana’s Florence Crittenton Home Calls for Handmade Items

Florence Crittenton Home
Florence Crittenton Home

The Florence Crittenton Home & Services  in Helena, Montana, has been providing its clients for the past 114 years with intervention and prevention services to pregnant and parenting young women and their children.  Brittney Shirley states, ” We believe the most effective way to improve life outcomes is to provide very early intervention for young children and support, educate, and encourage their parents.  Florence Crittenton uses intervention strategies for those young parents struggling with barriers to provide care to their children-barriers such as trauma, substance abuse or histories of inter-generational abuse, neglect and poverty.  Providing services to pregnant teens and their children does not just affect the lives of these two individuals, but the lives of their entire families for generations to come and the communities in which they live and work.”

Florence Crittenton does accept hand crafted items as donations.  Ms. Shirley says they receive a great number of crochet and knitted items but would love to have some sewn items as a fresh change.  Below is a list of items they are currently seeking:

Cloth burp rags

Terry washcloths

Muslin swaddling blankets (not crib blankets)

Hats

Pre-made scrapbook pages for our young moms

Picture frames

 Swaddling blankets should be around 42X42, made mostly of muslin but the boarder can be cotton.  The children they help are of newborn to toddler ages and hat sizes should be geared for those age groups. I have taken the liberty to enclose a couple of links to other crafting websites so that you may find a pattern for the cloth burp rags: http://www.sewingsupport.com/sewing-how-to/free-patterns-and-projects/baby/burp-cloths.html, and patterns for sewn hats: http://smalldreamfactory.blogspot.com/2011/09/free-pattern-toddler-hat.html.  

If you would rather make a monetary donation please go to their site at, http://www.florencecrittenton.org.

Remember to Keep on Crafting Montana.

 

Have A Spooktacular Halloween

 

The air is crisp, the leaves are falling from the trees and in Montana we usually have snow on the ground by the time Halloween rolls around.  Unfortunately, not all children will have the opportunity to go trick or treating around the neighborhood or in a neighboring  town like my sisters and I got to do.  We lived in a small town named Ledger.  The population at the time was twelve people, there were six people in our family so that tells you there were only three houses we got to go trick or treating at, after we hit every house there, our folks would drive us twenty-five miles down the road to Conrad.  Our Grandparents Egan lived there and of course we had to show Grandma our costumes and run the streets in Conrad filling up our pillow cases with all the candy we could score.

Our favorite place to go trick or treating in Ledger was Freda Hall’s store.  Her store was one small room with shelves of can goods, bread and cigarettes.  She also had milk and soda pop which she kept in the refrigerator in the back where her living quarters were.  There was also a large long glass case with three shelves where all the candy was housed.  The top self held candy that was priced a penny to five cents, the second shelf was a dime and the bottom shelf held the prized candy bars that sold for a whopping twenty-five cents.

Today most children attend Halloween parties put on by churches, schools or a group of people that are trusted.  There has been an unfortunate turn in the tradition of trick or treating by a handful of people who put foreign objects into candy bars, or home made baked goods that could cause serious harm to those who consume those items.  I remember when my girls were still of trick or treating age the hospitals would allow you to bring your bootee in and have it x-rayed to make sure that it was still eatable.  I’m not sure that they still do that as things have changed vastly since my girls were little.  One thing that hasn’t changed is too keep our children safe during this holiday that was designed as a way for the little beggars to get their sugar fix for the next few weeks or until Mom has had her fill of the sugar rushing and tosses it out. Here are a few suggestions from the Consumer Product and Safety Commission:

Halloween Safety In 3 Steps

Prevent Fires & Burns
~Select flame-retardant materials when buying or making costumes and accessories.
~Choose battery operated candles and lights in-stead of open flame candles.

See & Be Seen
~Trim costumes and outerwear in reflective tape.
~Carry flashlights or glow sticks when trick-or-treating after dusk.

Fit for Safety
~Adjust costumes to ensure a good fit. Long skirts or capes can drag on the ground and cause falls.
~Secure hats, scarves and masks to ensure adequate visibility and ventilation

 If you go to their website, http://www.cpsc.gov, you can download and print out a cool Halloween poster with these great tips to handout to all the parents you know.And remember, Keep On Crafting Montana.