Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Pinecone Craft

Fall brings us cooler temperatures and nature provides many things we can harvest. One thing that is plentiful and has so many uses is the pinecone. They come in various shapes and sizes. Skinny, fat, tall, short! Here are just a few ways you can use pinecones in fall craft activities and decorations. 

Miniature Christmas Trees
These are best made with rounder, smaller pine-cones. You will need the following:
·  small pinecone
·  green paint
·  glue (we used a glue gun) 
·  small beads
·  base (a small pot or condiment container filled with plaster of paris) 
Paint the small pine cone green, let dry. 
Glue the painted pine-cone to selected base. 
Glue on small beads for ornaments. 
Let dry. 

Depending on whether you want a short or tall elf will depend on the type of pinecone you will want to use. 
·  pinecones
·  small wooden ball (for head) 
·  glue
·  felt or foam pieces
·  googly eyes

Create a face with eyes, ears, nose, and mouth on small wooden ball. Glue on top of pine-cone. 

Cut out scarf, mittens feet,and hat (one hat was made by hand the other we found in a store!) Glue on felt pieces. 

If you would like to be able to hang it as an ornament, you can tie on a ribbon or fish line before you start gluing on the pieces. 

During the cold winter months, birds can seem more active as they are searching out sources of food. What would look cuter than an owl inviting guests in?

·  Pinecone
·  cotton balls
·  felt
·  googly eyes
·  glue (optional)
Pull cotton balls apart and stuff into spaces of the pine cones (you can put a small spot of glue on them to ensure they stay.) If you want a fluffy white owl, use lots of cotton balls. If you would like more of the pinecone to show through use less. 

I did this with 5-7 year olds and we used googly eyes, yarn for wings, or cut out pieces of paper for the beak, wings, and ears. 

A little color
If you're not into the arts and crafts type of decorating, how about just adding a little color to a centerpiece or a bowl of seasonal decor?

·  pinecones
·  fingernail polish

This one is easy and great for using up old fingernail polish (and even occupying the minds and hands of little ones.) 

You can just paint the tips (many pinecones have a natural coloring on the tip or a bulge that is on the tip.) Depending on the time of year, you can use various colors to spice up a pot of potpourri or a center piece of natural items.  

Here are just a few ideas of things you can do with pinecones, I am sure you have a million more! If nothing else, it is a great way to spend time crafting with family and creating a little something for others. 

Thank you Kjrsten from Demeter's Charisma for this fun post!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Comparing Backdrops

Thank you Melanie of Violet's Buds for another installment in a series of Improving Photography.

Not all products are created the same, and neither are backdrops for photographing your items. It is important to experiment with various backgrounds to find what works for you.

GipsonWands photographed this series of his hoop art on a variety of backgrounds as an example of what works, and what doesn't. Some of the backgrounds distract from the product, while others make the piece stand out.
Plain white felt gives a seamless look. It doesn't distract from the subject, but does not add any personality either.
Two white boards, which creates a seam that may be distracting, especially if it is uneven.
Distressed wood is an interesting background and unique.
Depending on your subject matter this backdrop may or may not be flattering.
Like the distressed wood, a hardwood floor backdrop may look nice
depending on your subject, as long as it is evenly lit and the product is
balanced above the floor.
White board with striped tablecloth creates a seam, and is distracting
from the subject. If you use a cloth, its better to make a seamless look.
The plaid fabric is too busy, but more importantly it doesn't make sense with the subject.
Additionally, the fabric is wrinkled which makes the photo look amateur.
Yellow chevron fabric is bright and eye-catching, but doesn't necessarily
fit with this particular piece. The main issues with this background is the fabric
is wrinkled, crooked, and not evenly lit.

The standard seamless white background is a good place to start with product photography, but it is not always the best way to catch your customer's attention. Here are a few examples of successful product photos that are unique and flatter the subject.

HangUps in KC

A Single Dream

Remember that no matter the background you decide to go with, certain things like wrinkles, dirt, and stains will generally distract from the subject. Keep experimenting until you find what works with your products. Its a great idea to regularly experiment with changes in your backdrop. It will keep your customers interested, and you may find something that works even better.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Handmade in Kansas City Gift and Craft Show Guide

There are going to be several Handmade in Kansas City members out and about this December for your gift needs.  Remember that these are local handmade items; you’re shopping small, and supporting a family instead of a large corporation when you buy from us.  You can feel good about how you spend your money this year!  I have featured just a few of our many sellers here today but I encourage you to check out all of their shops on our “Kansas City Handmade Sellers” page as there are links to all of their items and you may just find something you or a loved one will cherish for the holidays!

Here are a few gift ideas, along with the craft shows they will be at during December!

Do you have someone in your life that loves bags and lasting, handmade, original designs?  Ni-Chern Designs is your go-to, then!  Nicole’s beautiful bags, key fobs, dog collars, pouches, luggage tags and other beautiful fabric pieces are so well made that they will last for years, and they are unique and carefully thought out.  Just check out this great floral bag for an example of her great work!

Ni-Chern Designs, will be at the
Gingerbread Festival featuring Craft Collective
on December 3rd & 4th at
Abe and Jake's Landing, 8 E 6th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044
Hours:  Saturday 9:00 am - 4:00 pm; Sunday 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Other Sellers Attending: Aunt Christy's Country Kitchen, Remnants by RJ

Love to eat jams and jellies but don’t like the high-fructose corn syrup or chemical preservatives?  Aunt Christy’s is the place to go!  She serves up lovely tasting, unique jams and jellies in cute glass jars, perfect for presents or presentation this holiday season! Featured below is her Cherry Vanilla Cardamom Jam!

Aunt Christy’s Country Kitchen will be at the
Heritage Holiday Mart 2016 on December 10th at
Heritage Middle School, 600 W Kansas Street, Liberty, MO 64068
Hours:  Saturday, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Other Sellers Attending: Seasons of Love Gifts

Carolyn and Kristy make some lovely jewelry out of everything from recycled instruments to vintage pieces.  Their diversity, keen eye for style and detail, and commitment to both charitable partnerships with Literary KC and Band of Angels can’t be beat.
Check out this “dream” recycled spoon and belt cuff bracelet below!

Hang Ups Jewelry Designs will be at
Pop Up Shop at Meyer Music on December 17th at
6312-14 NW Barry Rd., Kansas City, MO 64154

Hours:  Saturday, 10:00 am - 3:00 pm

Thank you Tania from Ivory Isis for the post!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Giving Back

Did you know many of our members give back? 
We are so blessed to have such wonderful, loving, and giving members. Check out the members and the foundations/organizations that they donate to.

Carolyn and Kristi of Hang Up Jewelry Designs gives back to two Kansas City local organizations.

 Band of Angels - The jewelry is made from retired instruments. Click here to see the Band of Angels jewelry collection!

Literacy KC - Collection of products that celebrates the joy of reading. Click here to see the Literacy KC collection!

Jennifer of Creations by M & J sews for Teeny Tears a few times a year, diapers and blankets. She hopes it will help them to know they are not alone and she sews in the memory of her 3 angels.
Here are the recent donated blankets sewn by Jennifer:

Mission statement and diaper sewn by Jennifer:

Jennifer of the little wing gives $4 from each friend purchased goes to pediatric cancer research.
Jennifer has given to various foundations, such as Alex's Lemonade Stand and St. Baldrick's Foundation.

Melanie of Violet's Buds have been making lots of things for various organizations! 
 Here she made handwarmers to send to the Water Protectors at Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

One of the hairbows donated to  A Little Thunder's annual auction fundraiser.

Rebecca of Remnants by RJ donates to Lawrence Habitat for Humanity's annual Women Build fundraiser.
Here is a robot that Rebecca donated!

Nicole of Ni-Chern Designs donates new dog collars to all newly adopted dogs from Lucky 13 Rescue.

Christy of Aunt Christy's Country Kitchen donates various products to Camp Encourage and Animals Best Friends.

Thank you to our wonderful members who take the time to give back to the community. Thank you to our friends for their support! Please check out our members and their foundations/organizations that they donate to!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


 Hi! Welcome to Handmade in Kansas City blog! We are a wonderful group of artisans, who love creating amazing things for you. First, let me introduce myself. I am Kelly, the maker and owner (wearing every kind of hat) of Kiser Krafts Handmade. I love creating cute and colorful products. You are welcome to visit anytime, but there are so many others in this group that will help you cross off that LONG gift wish list.


Let me share the items from a few of my favorite (okay -  so they are ALLmy favorites 😉) shops that I think you should add to your "Wish Gift List". ☺

Ni-chern Designs 
Nicole, of Ni-chern Design, is the founder of this fabulous Handmade in Kansas City group. She designs amazing dog collars, bags, business/money aprons, and so much more. She is a wonderful Mom of three energetic boys and always seems to have joy in her heart. 😄 She has created this Amazing reversible tote that is wish list worthy! ☺
Ni-Chern Designs - Reversible Tote via Handmade In KC

 Let me introduce a newer member, Scott, of Gipson Wands. He is super talented and creates locally sourced wooden wands and crochet hooks. ☺ I am personally an owner of 2 of his hand-crafted crochet hooks, and I LOVE them! And this year I have another hook on my Wish Gift List and I know a family member who would love a Harry Potter inspired wand. ☺ This shop has the right gift for the wizard or small witch in your home.

Rebecca, of Remnants by RJ, is a ROBOT genius! While Norman did not WIN the Presidency, he is one of my favorite robot creations. ☺ She creates so many wonderful robots, small and large, fitting to your "Wish List" needs. Bot on a Shelf is a clever ROBOT version of "Elf on a Shelf" - so much cooler in my opinion.


Seasons of Love Gifts
 Christmas can be busy and stressful. Linn, of Seasons of Love Gifts, creates amazing pampering items! I love her soaps and soaks. Each one is made with love and care. Anything within her shop would make a perfect gift. I added the Pumpkin spice bath balls and the Breathe Easy Shower Steamers to my "Wish List". (Here is hoping my husband listened 😉.) Visit her shop...which product is your favorite?
Aunt Christy's Country Kitchen
What is the holidays without good food? Aunt Christy's Country Kitchen is run by the fabulous Christy. She creates the most enjoyable jams and jellies! And each jar is hand-crafted by her. Her culinary tastes are amazing and deserve to be added to your "Wish Gift List".
Cindy of FabTabulous, creates amazing jewelry from upcycled goods. Every single thing in her shop would make a wonderful, beautiful gift. Worth adding to your "Wish Gift List". I added several items to my "Wish Gift List" for my husband, but her Guitar String Earrings are at the top of my list. They are so elegant and pretty.
It is not near every shop in this amazing group, but it shows the top products on my "Wish Gift List". Which one is your favorite? Is there something from another shop you like? Make sure to add it to your "Wish Gift List" and order it for the holiday season. Thank you in advance for shopping at the small businesses of Kansas City  and Handmade In KC group. ☺

Bye-bye from me, Kelly!

Thank you Kelly for this week's post!!!!  Be sure to visit her page Kiser Krafts Handmade.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Why is it beginning to look a lot like Christmas?

The other week I walked into one of my favorite stores, Alter'd State, hoping to fish through their sale corner for some sweet summer deals. But I could barely stand to be in there for more than 10 minutes (not nearly long enough to hunt for sale steals). The whole store was decorated for Christmas (and at the time we still had a few weeks till Halloween) I'm talkin' full on Christmas mode, trees were up, fake snow and tinsel were all over and Christmas songs were playing.

Now don't get me wrong, this grown kid  loves her some Christmas. And I have been known to listen to Christmas music at random points in the year. When fall rolls around I make sure to hold off on Christmas things till after Thanksgiving. I love Halloween and Thanksgiving and by holding off on Christmas, the holidays that come before it are given room to be celebrated.  So for me Alter'd States decor/music was too much, I mean it had just officially become fall! It's not only this store that has jumped the gun, so to speak, on the holiday decor. Our favorite craft stores have pushed aside the fall holidays in order to promote their winter crafts, decor and everything else Christmas. Lex was in Michaels the other day and they had one small section for thanksgiving, and half the store was Christmas and winter-themed products.

The two of us complained to the other and vented  about our frustration with the commercialization and domineering effect Christmas has on stores and the craft market, but then we tried to turn it positive. We both began thinking about how we can counteract this avalanche of Christmas. we started by agreeing that we would not roll out any Christmas themed products until we got closer to Thanksgiving if not until the day after. That if we did any vlogs or blog posts we would make them about Thanksgiving or fall activities. While doing this we began to see the commercialized side of Christmas as an opportunity for hand made makers to push into the fall themed things. Clearly, the big name stores don't emphasize it enough, not think it's worth their time, so maybe this is a place were hand made makers can shine. We can be the one who can fill the need for fall decor and goods  because I know I'm not the only one who wants the Christmas train to stay put for another month.

If you are looking for ideas of things you can make then check out this post on fall crafts, from Handmade in KC October blogs, and learn how to make some great fall decor like this Book Leaf Garland. I mean how great  is that? I know I m adding this to the list of things I am making for thanksgiving.

While you are there be sure to check out the other blog posts and the Creators  on the seller's page to see what they have for sale AND like the HIKC facebook page and bookmark the Handmade in  KC site for easy access to updates!!

Be sure to comment with what you are going to be making for Thanksgiving and when you start decorating for Christmas!

Happy Fall Y'All, From the A-Team @x37adventures!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Let’s Talk Marketing

As a maker in the Kansas City and in the Midwest in general, it’s hard to get the same level of attention as some of our coastal maker friends and family.
That being said, as with most things, the internet can come to the rescue. I’m going to cover a few of the basics first that I’ve learned through the years of trial and error.

First up–your website. The website is more than your online business card. It’s a window into your brand and should be treated and taken seriously. With the advent of WordPress and Squarespace it’s easy to throw something together but it takes a certain eye and level of care to make sure your content is on point and shows the best sides of who you are as a maker.

A few from our own lovely group that I am digging on is the beautiful and brand new Hang Ups site. It’s gorgeous! Beautiful images, clean look and feel, great logo and easy access to their products.

Another great way to represent yourself as a maker is by having a dual or coexisting Etsy shop. Using their new features like cover photos and other branding tricks makes Unravelled LLC’s Etsy site really stand out!

Finally, another tactic that all makers should know a love is their social media presence.  Our own Ivory Isis has an on point Facebook business page with a good call to action and a lot of style.

Now that we’ve seen some examples of maker that are doing it right, the question remains: how do you go about handling the upkeep that each of these tools requires? We all know it’s not enough to just build a great site, you have to keep it updated, active and constantly changing and developing. Here’s a quick list of the Top Three Things You Can Do To Help Your Marketing:

  1. Create an Editorial Calendar and put a schedule together of all of the posts you know you need and want to make. Every morning, check that calendar and queue your content up for the day or week.
  2. Photograph everything, even if it’s not done. This is one that I struggle with a lot–just as you’re making, however, stop and take a few pics. You can use them as collateral later on down the road; even if you’ve already finished or sold the project. It makes it easy to have that go to “swipe file of images and content ready to go when you’re feeling stuck or crunched for time.
  3. Join a group! The Handmade in KC community is awesome and helps keep content circulating and fresh. Being able to rely on a team of people you know are pulling for you makes a HUGE difference in the life of a small business owner/maker/artist/wearer of every hat.

Hopefully as we gear up for the Holidays and start thinking about the Winter regrouping time ahead these tips and examples will act as great reminders for those of you out there who are wondering what your next steps should or where to focus your energy.

Happy making!

Thank you Larissa of Unravelled for writing this week's post!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Quick Ways to Improve Your Photos

Here is another installment of Melanie from Violet's Buds series on Photography!

Use these tips to easily make improvements to your product photography!

Turn off your flash!
This is one of the biggest mistakes in product photography. The camera-mounted flash will make your product look washed-out and contrasty.
flash vs natural light

Use natural light + a reflector
Natural light is the best way to take excellent product photos. Make the most of the natural light by usingreflectors, or making your own light box.
Light box with natural light
Clean your space
Nothing detracts from your product faster than clutter in the photo. Before taking pictures, clean your space-- move that can of soda, stray sock, or push the dog out of the way. You may not notice at first, but fans will be distracted by random pieces of candy lurking on the side of your table.

Choose the right backdrop
Consider experimenting with different backgrounds until you find what flatters your product. Use only backgrounds that fit with your product's theme or your brand. Start with a plain background then, try different combinations of colors, patterns, and textures, including staged shots.

Watch placement & cropping
Read about the Rule of Thirds and Negative Space to make your photos more dynamic, and grab your customer's attention.

watch negative space and cropping

Practice, Practice, Practice!
The more you photograph and experiment with these tips, the better your photographs can become!

Thank you Melanie of Violet's Buds for this week's post!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A Few Crafts For Fall

For those of you that love fall and want to make unique pieces, these homemade decorations will delight anyone who loves this time of year.  All of these pieces can be made cheaply, and with items from nature and around the house.

Book Leaf Garland
Items needed:
Old book pages
Colorful pressed fall leaves

You can press the leaves in the book and as soon as they are pressed, cut out pennant shapes from the book pages, leaving extra at the top to roll over the twine and secure on the back with tape or glue. 
This is a really easy and cheap garland to make, and it still looks lovely!

Rustic Garland

Items needed:
Pressed fall leaves
Quilt blocks
Twine or long pieces of quilting
Berries or other natural accessories
Hot glue and hot glue gun or E600 glue

Are you a quilter and you have some extra supplies hanging around?
This garland is fairly easy to make. 
Cut out quilt blocks or use preformed ones and tie them to your twine or another long piece of quilting. 
Attach your pressed leaves or berries using hot glue and place quilt bows over the top of each piece. 
Very cute and can be reused year after year!

Leaf Print Bag
Items Needed:
Pressed leaves
Acrylic paint in fall colors (orange, red, yellow, etc.)
Fabric bag
Two paint rollers
Paper plates

Take your pressed leaves and place them on the paper plate.
Take acrylic paint and roll the paint over the leaves.
 You can then turn them, painted side over, onto the fabric bag and take your clean roller and press them onto the bag, leaving your imprint on the bag. 
If you want to get extra fancy, you could also embroider a fun fall saying onto the bag to add a decorative accent.

Painted Acorns
Items needed:
Acrylic paint

These acorns can be placed in various different areas of your home to add a colorful touch.
Place acorns on a cookie sheet at bake at 170 degrees for two hours.
This is to make sure that they are sanitary and that you don’t have any issues keeping them around your house.
Paint the acorns with your choice of acrylic paint, letting them dry while leaning back on their caps.
Place them in a container or bowl of your choice. 

A mason jar with a battery operate tea light in the center might just be adorable with these acorns in it!

Thank you Tania Rose Marg of Ivory Isis for this weeks post!!