Posts tagged Free Trade

Homemade Christmas Gifts

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With the economy as bad as it is, everyone is looking for ways to save on cash. While you will probably still have to do some Christmas shopping (and we encourage you to shop handmade when you do!), not all your presents have to put in a dent in your wallet. Below you’ll find a short list of easy and fun holiday gift projects you can create without leaving the comfort of your own home.

* Cook Something up in the Kitchen!

If you feel most comfortable in the kitchen, you might ponder baking a festive holiday dish for your friends and family. Christmas candies and treats are always well received, whether they’re tasty stocking stuffers or just a little something sweet to munch on while gathered around the tree. Try cooking up peppermint bark or cookies and giving them to family members, friends, or co-workers. You’ll be surprised how far one batch of cookies will go! Or if baking isn’t your area of expertise, you might try packaging ingredients in colorful jars and distributing them as gifts!

* Dazzle with Photos and Experiences!

For the more visually inspired crafters, consider putting together a family photo album or cook book. These make for a special kind of present, since they contain shared experiences and memories. You can also try putting together a scrapbook, highlighting a recent trip or occasion you shared with loved ones.

*Get Your Holiday Craftiness Going!

Tree decorations make for a great Christmas gift, plus they can be a lot of fun to make! You can put together ornaments out of old craft supplies or items you have laying around the house like beads, buttons, fabric, salt dough, even old light bulbs! Have some fun and make different decorations for everyone, maybe even matching them to that person’s personality. Or if you’re feeling especially artistic, craft ornaments that look like the gift receiver!

*Light Their Fire with a traditional Handmade Gift!

If you enjoy working with your hands, you might want to try making festive candles as gifts this season. If you haven’t made candles by hand before, purchase an inexpensive kit from your neighborhood craft store. Kits usually render a bunch of candles, so just a coupe kits can easily make enough candle gifts for everyone! Add embellishments to your presents to make them festive and unique. Mold your candle into a fun shape, paint on holiday patterns, or mix crushed flowers into your wax before letting it cool.

I hope this list helps, have a safe and merry holiday and remember to always shop handmade to support local artisans!

-Sara

www.artfire.com

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Buy Handmade this Black Friday!

online-shopping1For some individuals, going out Christmas shopping on Black Friday is a tradition. On the day after Turkey Day, they wake at first light, cruise to the nearest shopping mall, and do their best to complete as much Christmas shopping as possible! But for some people, Black Friday is an irritating nonsense, a hurried distasteful occasion for holiday shopping, if one can survive the mob of demanding and angry customers.

But there is a solution for these shoppers this Black Friday. There’s no need to rush to the shopping mall and fight off fellow customers—you can stay at home. This year, make the decision to do your holiday shopping in your PJs and bathrobe by shopping online.

With online shopping, you as a customer receive access to a wider variety of mechanize than you would find at any shopping mall. You also get the prospect of buying handmade gifts this holiday from online crafters.

With the global financial situation getting more and more bleak all the time, most shoppers are just not interested in supporting artists as much as they are in saving a few bucks. But in this bad economy, it is more important than ever before to shop handmade.

Shopping handmade is especially important for fellow craft sellers. When you sell your handmade goods online, your business is supported by buyers choosing to shop based on quality and uniqueness rather than cost alone. So why not help out fellow craft artisans this holiday season by buying handmade yourself Avoid the mess of Black Friday and buy handmade this weekend!

-Sara

www.artfire.com

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Five Tips to Going Green this November

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1. Do your food shopping at your local farmers market, rather than a chain store. These grown holiday fixings are generally better for you, and you support local farmers with your purchase. Also consider getting a free-range turkey this holiday, as these birds haven’t been raised in cages.

2. When it may be customary on Thanksgiving for everyone to stuff their faces and feast in celebration, most families make too much food. While some holiday leftovers are still tasty weeks after the event, many side dishes and fixings wind up stuffed at the back of the frig collecting mold. This year, don’t make so much food. Prepare plenty for your family and guests, but hold back from the standard 3 serving per guest .

3. Why spend time and money buying new fall decorations when you can easily craft your own at home? There are countless fall art projects on the internet, many of which can be done with the help of your friends and family. Instead of shopping for fall wraths and center pieces, spend some time at home with loved ones making new decorations.

4. Take means to downsize the garbage your household generates this holiday. It’s as easy as choosing washable plates rather than paper ones, tuber-ware rather than plastic wrap, or cloth napkins rather than paper napkins. Purchase fixings that contain the least amount of wrapping or plastic coating available (and remember to carry your own grocery bags to the store with you!). When the feasting is over, don’t just toss your scraps and leftover bits into the garbage, use them start a compost pile for your backyard.

5. There’s no need to stop with Thanksgiving, why not try to green Christmas, Hanukah, Easter, and all other holidays as well? In fact, why not use the tips offered here in your everyday life! Living a green existence is painless with the right perspective and attitude.

Keep crafting, and buy handmade this holiday season!

-Sara

www.artfire.com

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Paper Beads Tutorial

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What You’ll Need:

* Toothpicks

*Glaze

* Acrylic paints

* Petroleum jelly

*Floral Foam

* Decorative paper

*Wire or necklace string

*Damp rag

*Crafting Glue


1) Begin by cutting the decorative paper into triangular strips no more than two inches wide and 11 inches long. Each strip will become a bead, so cut as many as you want. Carefully nip off the pointy end of each piece.

2) This is the part when things start to get messy (or as I like to think of it, when the fun begins!) Using your hands and fingers, generously coat each piece of paper in crafting glue. Lay them out on a cleared surface lightly. Then use the wet rag to wipe your hands quickly clean.

3) Get out a toothpick and dip one end in the petroleum jelly. This will keep the glue from sticking to the toothpick. Beginning at the wide end of your triangular strip, tightly twist the strip around the toothpick. When finished, stick the unused tip of the toothpick in your floral foam so it can dry. Repeat for all remaining beads.

4) After all of your beads have dried, it’s time to add the finishing touches. Get out your paints and paintbrushes. Paint some fun designs to make each bead unique and special. Coat each bead with glaze so it’s shinny and professional.

5) Once the glaze and paints are dry, add your new handmade beads to a necklace or bracelet for a fun accessory!

Thanks for reading, and remember to always buy handmade!

-Sara

www.artfire.com

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Three Tips to Running a Green Business

Managing a green crafts business can be good for both the planet and for your wallet. Listed below are 3 easy moves that will help turn your artisan business into an eco-friendly one without forcing you to change your working style.

Shut off your electric equipment when you’re not using it. Countless fax machines, copiers, and personal computers remain powered on overnight around the world. Turning off your electrics when you’re finished working can help cut your energy use by 50%.

Recycle your paper. Most businesses throw out old printer paper by the masses on a daily basis—don’t make the same mistake! While some papers hold sensitive material, most of the waste generated is just ordinary paper. Try tossing old documents into the recycling can rather than the trash can whenever you can. If recycling isn’t possible for your home business, try double siding documents to save what paper you can.

Buy paper made from recycled materials. It is just as good as ordinary copy paper, and it is more environmentally friendly. Sure, it may look a little different, but since most documents you print will be used for business filing, who cares what color that paper is?

I hope these tips have helped you to run your artisan business the green way! For more information on going green, be sure to check out Art Daily’s Green Wise section for updates on green living.

Happy crafting, and remember to buy handmade!

-Sara

www.artfire.com

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Remember Safety First This Halloween

So you’ve added the finishing touches on your children’s handmade Halloween outfits, you’ve put out the healthy Halloween treats for visitors, so what else do you need to do to make sure your family has a happy Halloween this year? Most parents know better than to let their children treat-or-trick alone or eat unusual candy, but in the rush of the holiday, people usually overlook a few significant safety precautions. Listed below is some helpful advice for a fun and safe Halloween with your family this year.

1. You and the kids should eat a complete dinner before going out trick-or-treating. This way you and your children will be less likely to pig out on candy. You’ll also need your stamina for showing off your cute artistic costumes to the neighborhood, and a full meal can provide you with the energy you need.

2. Make sure you and your kids wear particular shoes. Trick-or-treating generally allows for a lot of as you parade from home to home. And while sneakers might not go with your specially made costume, you’ll thank yourself for choosing comfortable footwear as the night progresses. Save the six inch witches’ boots for the costume party, wear something reasonable on your feet.

3. If your pet is going out with you (perhaps even wearing his or her own handmade Halloween outfit), make sure that they are on their lease at all times. While your pet may be used to running freely about, on Halloween night there’s probably going to be lots of other animals and people out trick-or-treating that your pet is doesn’t know. This can result in your pet getting frightened and responding in uncontrollable ways (running away, getting aggressive with another pet). So please keep in mind that even if your animal is the nicest, kindest soul to ever grace the earth, for your pet’s own well-being and the well-being of others, use a lease!

4. Always walk with your kids from house to house—don’t let them run. Children can get overly excited on this sugar-filled holiday, causing them to run around carelessly. This can result in them bumping into objects, falling down, or getting involved in other accidents (especially when it’s dark out). Make sure they remain near you and always on the sidewalk. Don’t cut across lawns or driveways, which are often poorly lit at night.

I hope you found these tips to be useful! Thanks for reading, and remember to buy handmade this season to support local artists!

Click here to see the fun holiday crafts ArtFire members have made.

-Sara


www.artfire.com

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Some Helpful Advice for Starting Your Own Internet Arts and Crafts Business

When you run your own internet crafts business, you get all the benefits of being your own boss while profiting from a hobby you enjoy. But naturally, this isn’t as easy as it sounds. Many artisans struggle for success in their home businesses, and listed below are a few helpful tips to aid you in running a profitable internet crafts business.

Where to List Your Handmade Crafts

There are several ways you can go about selling your crafts online. The most obvious is to purchase a URL and start your own website. However, there are some not so obvious drawbacks to this plan. For one, if you have no knowledge of graphic design or website design, setting up your own site can be extremely challenging. In addition, when you start your own website, your page rank on Google is at zero, meaning it’s rather difficult for internet shoppers to find your page. Lastly, you are completely unknown to shoppers, so they have no reason to trust the quality of your products and services. Why would they buy from you, when they could just as easily buy from a major internet corporation they trust and have experience with?

An alternative to making your own site is to register as a seller on an internet trading site, such as eBay or Esty. These sites have a high page rank and offer security to buyers. However, both of these sites charge a listing fee and take a percentage of your profits, so there’s some risk involved. Many crafters who are just getting started in internet sales have a hard time selling initially, and still have to pay site fees to both of these sites regardless of if their products sell. However, there are free listing sites which allow artisans to list their handmade goods completely free of charge. With ArtFire.com, basic members are charged no fees to list their handmade goods, and receive 100% of the profits they make selling. This is probably the most risk free option to sell your craft items online.

Pricing Your Handmade Goods

Since you’re listing your own handcrafted work, the pricing of your items is completely up to you. As one would imagine, cheaper items sell faster, but you don’t want to price your items too low—they’re your handmade crafts, after all. Think about the time you spent on that item, the cost of the materials, and how the item would look to an average internet shopper. If you’re having difficulty deciding what would be a good price, try looking at similar items listed in the marketplace by browsing other listing sites, such as ones offered above. If you’re having trouble selling your crafts, lowering the price or putting your items on sale could help.

Promoting your Craft Shop

One of the most important elements to selling online is getting your handmade goods noticed by the internet community. There’s a lot of competition in the craft marketplace, and you want your products to stand out from the rest. Get the message out there; let people know you’re selling your handmade goods. Try listing your shop URL on any other sites or blogs you might manage as well in your email signature. There are dozens of places where you can add a link to your artisan shop, all you have to do is look!

Good luck artisans, and thank you for being a part of the Buy Handmade Movement!

-Sara

Check out the ArtFire Artisan Marketplace and Support local Artisans!

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