Friday, December 5, 2008


The idea of "change" has been big this year, especially with the election. In my own personal life, I have experienced a lot of changes over the past 27 years, living in seven different countries on four different continents, and inhabiting fifteen different houses in the course of those moves. My latest move happened last August, when our landlords -- who themselves have morphed into friends of ours -- needed to reclaim their wonderful house.

This move didn't involve many big changes: I didn't have to learn a new language; adapt to a new climate; get acquainted with exotic fruits and vegetables. In fact, we moved only a half mile or so away from our last house. The biggest change is that this is the smallest house we've lived in for years. Surprisingly, and thankfully, I am happy with this aspect of the change. Although many of our beautiful memories are still packed away in boxes and stored in our little attic or our little bomb shelter (yes indeedy, we have a bomb shelter: this house was built during the Cuban missile crisis, which shows how paranoid average Americans were back then...and how clueless about what kind of shelter would protect them from Soviet missiles!), I find a small house both cozy and comforting. And certainly a lot less work to clean!

The subject of "change" comes up a lot in conversation with my friends. We talk a lot about the importance of being open -- not resistant -- to change. Many of us can't help it: change happens around us and we have to adapt. And many of us take these changes and find in them all sorts of opportunities for learning and growing. One friend in particular has been hugely responsible for a lot of my changes, in a good sense. She was the first to convince me to sell my paintings; she followed by convincing me to open an online shop on etsy for my jewelry. Recently, she did the impossible: talked me into hauling my jewelry to her home for a sale she was hosting with numerous vendors.

It is not as if she hasn't tried in the past to get me out of my studio and my computer and into the real world. She has long experience in attending craft fairs with her magnificent purses, and has built up a large, very loyal, clientele. My one attempt to sell things we no longer needed or wanted in my household at a community garage sale ended in lots of money, but wiped me out so much that I felt like I'd come down with the flu. She had an uphill battle convincing me to get out and sell at craft fairs after that experience.

This friend, however, is not the kind to give up. She decided to host the sale in her house and sent me an invitation to participate as one of the vendors. As I was panicking internally and wondering how I was going to get out of it without offending my very dear friend, I noticed her clever "escape clause": I could deliver my jewelry to her home, set it up, then scamper off. For a percentage of the proceeds, she would take care of the credit cards, taxes, shmoozing, and all the rest: ahhhhh, perfect.

So, I agreed. But, as everyone knows who has sold at craft fairs or home sales, one has to come up with a display. I've been keeping a keen eye on display ideas, both on the internet and in craft fairs where others boldly sold their wares. I wanted something that stood out, that offered my goods to the public while also protecting them from potential thievery, that represented me and my shop. While I am a living breathing human being, I wouldn't be there to represent myself, so the idea of representing my shop became more important. But how do I represent in reality what is basically only a virtual shop, existing in boxes in my studio and photos on my online shop? Plus, I had to do it as inexpensively and flexibly as possible.

Inspired by a picture I saw on the web, I focused on some old Ikea toy crates that no longer served their original purpose. I painted them, framed them with some stock molding from Home Depot, attached under cabinet lighting, then made necklace displays, earring cards, and tags for all necklaces, sets, and bracelets. It was a lengthy and involved project, but I am very happy with the outcome. How would I describe it? Practical and versatile, with an elegant and organic feeling....just as I'd like to project my online shop! Here are pictures of my "real" shop...

You can check out the website of my fabulous friend and her marvelous purses and totes:


Aimee said...

Love this idea. It looks great and incorporating the lights is wonderful.

Little Pods Clothing said...

your setup is gorgeous!! That would totally catch my eye at a craftfair.

Sara said...

Those are such great ideas! I love seeing people re-purpose old items in unique ways. Not because I'm a recycling advocate, just because it's cool to see what people come up with!

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


craftyGAgal "Meredith" said...

Your displayed turned out beautifully and I hope it was a success. Something you said at the beginning of the post really struck me for I am going through some things in life right now and it seems like certain changes are going to be inevitable, thank you for keeping it all in perspective for me......I loved the crates but your post touched me in a way beyond what I think you had in mind- THANKS ....I always find it funny how I stumble upon blogs like this that are almost like meant from GOD because they have some part that is meant for me to read and well, hope that makes sense! THANKS again

craftyGAgal "Meredith" said...

I am looking into displays, thanks for sharing.

Dana Evans said...

FABULOUS displays!!!!!!!