To fill my shop, or not to fill my shop

I’ve had an Etsy shop (spoiler alert, it’s empty) for a while now that has changed as my interests have morphed. When I was in college, I was into making jewelry, so I started an online store to sell my jewelry and take custom orders (it wasn’t through Etsy, but the site no longer exists anyway). Now that I have a house and am far more interested in home improvement projects and other sorts of crafts, I rarely make jewelry. So when my jewelry listing expired, I didn’t renew them.

Nowadays, my interests fall under design: interior design/decorating and graphic design. It’s actually a little surprising to me that I was ever super into making jewelry since I wear almost none myself… but I digress. I do a good deal of graphic design at work and just got a drawing tablet from my hubby for Christmas that I’m pretty excited to learn how to use. So now I am toying the idea of filling my Etsy shop with some of the prints I’ve designed. I even went so far as to create a bunch of prints last year that I planned on listing. BUT, I’m super indecisive — or am I? … I can’t decide — and I can’t decide if it would be better to sell my prints as a PDF that a buyer could download and print on their own, or have them printed out and mail them to customers.

That’s my dilemma. There are pros and cons to each, but I welcome any thoughts! Do you own a shop where you sell prints? Do you sell them electronically or physical copies? If you are interested in buying a print (not necessarily from me — from anyone!), would you prefer they mail you one and you pay more, or to get the file and print it yourself?

OK, enough of me thinking out loud/in writing. Here’s are a few of the prints I created last year. I think they’d be adorable in a nursery. I can customize the background colors and swap out the animal name with a baby’s name.

The fox is my favorite.

Fox_asmithofalltrades

Bear_asmithofalltrades

Trex_asmithofalltrades

I really love this little whale, too!

Whale_asmithofalltrades

I’m excited to start using my drawing tablet to create even more fun prints. I hear it takes a long time to get used to it, but I’m up for the challenge.

 

Family Cookbook

I forgot to share the best gift that I made for my family this Christmas! I made my mom, stepmom, sisters and grandma a family cookbook of all of our dessert recipes. It took me hours and hours and hours. I also had to bake more than I care to so I could take photos — but it was all worth it.

Cookbook

I designed the book from cover to cover using Adobe InDesign. I designed the cover using a lot of the last names in our family as an interesting graphic element.

Once all of the pages were complete, I uploaded them to Shutterfly as images and put them into their blank photo book template — they call it Digiscrap. It shows a step by step guide on how to upload your own custom template onto a blank photo book.

The only downside to the blank template was a lack of measurements. For example, I made a jpg for the spine to fit into their template, but that spine wrapped around the whole book, so the words are partially on the cover (if you look at the first photo you can see what I mean). It would be great if they suggested art bounds and text bounds for the covers and pages. Not a big deal, but something to keep in mind if you ever design your own and use Shutterfly to print it.

Cookbook pages

Other than the spine mishap, the book is gorgeous. I’ve used Shutterfly before for photo books and they don’t disappoint. I love how the photos printed, which I was a bit nervous about because I am in no way close to being a professional photographer.

snowball

The recipes in the book go way back — we have one from my great-great-great grandma — and I even included pro tips from family members who are known for each recipe.

Cookies Page

Ever make a cookbook of your own? Did you use a template or design your own?

I am really glad I designed mine myself. I learned a lot through the process. I would definitely do things a bit differently next time, which will be next Christmas when I tackle the family entrée and side recipes! We make such yummy food in our family, I didn’t have time to fit it all in one book.

I can’t believe I forgot to share it — I’m so proud of it.

“Love” pallet signs

My girlfriends and I had a craft night last weekend and made small pallet signs.

Love sign_Jess

Here’s the gist of how I made the signs (I had to make 3 in half an hour, so no pictures):

  1. Cut the wood off of the pallet using a reciprocating saw
  2. Line up the wood you want to use as the front of the sign face down, then place two pieces of wood perpendicular as the back supports
  3. Screw or nail in the supports
  4. Using a circular saw, trim the edges of the signs so they are straight
  5. Sand down the sign
  6. Add picture hanging hardware to the back

I’ve made pallet signs before, so if you’d like more detailed steps on how I constructed the actual sign, check out this post.

{A Smith of All Trades} Pallet Bar Sign

The only difference was my nail gun wasn’t working, so I screwed in the back supports instead of nailing them in.

Carrie found an adorable “Love” sign on Pinterest that we decided to do our own take on. We painted the signs using mint and metallic gold paint. The gold paint didn’t show up well on the pallet, so we covered the whole sign in stain to help the paint pop.

Here’s what we came up with:

Carrie’s Sign:

Love Sign_Carrie

Amy’s sign (she wrote “my heart” in Gaelic):

Love Sign_Amy

And my sign:

Love Sign_Jess1

They are so stinkin’ cute! I’m not sure where I’ll put mine yet — I was thinking in our bedroom, but it isn’t that big so I don’t know if it will look right on any of our walls. I’m also toying with adding it to a gallery wall I’ve been working on for months. I suck at putting gallery walls together and never seem to get them quite right. Plus, I always seem to hang the same photos over and over. So I want to rework the gallery with art in it, so this might fit in nicely.

Since I know I want to hang it up, I added picture wire to the back. I also added soft gel pads so it doesn’t muff up my walls.

Love sign_back

Another successful craft night! Do you ever craft with friends? What sorts of things do you make? We are always looking for fun ideas.