Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Kelly's Summer Favorites!

Hello! It is me, Kelly, of Kiser Krafts Handmade here to share my new favorites from some new members, as some of my old time favorites, from the amazing Handmade In Kansas City group of indie makers. It is so nice to be part an ever growing and changing group of artisans. Are you a Kansas City Maker looking for a group to help you learn and grow (even occasionally hang out)? Visit the groups amazing Facebook Page and Website to find out more details on how to join!

Here are my latest favorites.
Ni-Chern creates the coolest dog collars, like this adorable watermelon one. And she has join forces with the ever talented, Melanie, of Violet Buds, to create the cutest flowers to add to the dog collars! How cool is that! Your furry pup can dress up!

Hang Up Jewelry Designs creates SO many wonderful jewelry pieces there are times it is hard to choose! But I have fallen in love with this beauty "Here Flowers Bloom so does Hope" bracelet.

Ivory Isis has so many beautiful pieces too. It was really hard to choose one to focus on. But I kept coming back to this Rapunzel Enchantment Key Hole Necklace.

LilRhae is a new member of the group and she creates the cutest upcycled little girls dresses. I fell in love with this green dress on with my favorite Dr. Sesus quote. "There is No one alive that is Youer than You." It is so sweet.

And finally, no post would be complete without Gipson Wands. Becuase his shop is full of "magic"! My favorites are his amazing crochet hooks but I just finished watching the Harry Potter movies series and this beautiful Black Cherry Wand is wonderful! I feel like it is calling my name. They say "The wand chooses the wizard." I may need to hop on my virtual broomstick and fly over to the "wand shop" to see more about it.

Thank you so much for stopping by!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Vlogging Tips!

We were talking with some of our other maker friends about YouTube and making videos and that has led me to write about how to make your first video for you tube. The best part of YouTube is that anyone can be on it! You don't need to have a fancy camera or a small crew to make a video, you can make one with just your smart phone!

The tools you need are simple,
  • something to record video with, a smart phone, or any kind of digital camera will work best. but keep the video quality at the best you can do. 
  • a tripod of some sort, the video should be as still a possible and a tripod keeps the camera stable and frees up your hands to film and make at the same time. 
  • a script to follow - while this might not seem like a tool, it is! Having even a basic outline will save you time filming and editing. 
  • a video editing app or software (don't worry there are lots of free apps!)
  • whatever tools and supplies you will need for the subject of your video
Extra tools that you might want but don't need
  • an extra light source
  • a microphone - this can be a simple as the microphone on your headphones, just make sure to keep it close to your body and that it isn't getting muffled 
  • a sheet to act as a backdrop 
First thing you should do is write up your script outline and plan out what your video will entail. 
This could be you demonstrating the things you make, or even a vlog style video where you talk about what you make, how you make them, or other topics related to what you make. 

Next set up where you are going to film. This should be in a place with the best lighting; usually near a window with natural light coming in. This light should not be to bright, diffused light is the best. if you don't have access to a good amount of window light, Christmas lights or string lights are good to use to add some extra light in. You want to have a set up similar to the one below to avoid any harsh shadows, but there is no need to go out and buy studio lights-  just play around with lamps, or lights of any kind. And don't forgot that a window acts as a light so you might only need a window and a lamp. 

Next, dress your set. This makes sure the focus is on you and the subject for the video rather than on what is in the background. If you need inspiration just go on YouTube and look at what others are doing, or make your own.  Just remember that the background should be clean and organized. 

Next give the shots you want to use a trial run and feel free to practice enough to make you feel comfortable in front of the camera. Some shots to start out with are a torso and up shot for introducing your video and yourself. Then, an over the shoulder shot  to show what you are doing, If there are any small details, feel free to get a close up. 

Some helpful tips to make your video the best it can be. 
  • Talk slowly and clearly
  • Breathe! Don't forgot to take a pause before and after starting a sentence, it will help with editing later
  • Watch those filler words (our favorite here at X37 is so...)
  • Repeat a line as many times as you need, you can always cut out the bad takes later
  • As well as talking slow, make your movements slower than what feels natural, give the viewer time to watch what you are doing
  • Go ahead and make those mistakes, they will teach you so much more than the parts that are ok. This is your first video just have fun!
  • Crank up that personality! It's going to feel weird talking to just a camera and that tends to make people talk softer. 
  • Don't forgot to start the video with an introduction and end with a sign off. Let people know where to follow you on social media and where they can buy your products
Next you will be editing the video you filmed. You can find a bunch of different editing software online some of it for free or there a lot of apps to edit with.  Click the image for a link to some of the most used ones. Feel free to try a few out and see what feels right. 

Keep your transitions simple, no need to fancy fades or sin in or outs, a simple jump cut (when you quickly cut from one clip to the next with out a transition) will work fine. If you have never edited video before, give yourself time to learn and make mistakes. The one thing you want to keep in mind is that the audio is very important, if the sound is off or muffled the video will be hard to watch. 

Even if you don't plan to have a weekly video channel this is something that can be used to promote your work! More and more platforms are adding video to their sites

If you need help or advice, then stop on by X37 Adventures on any social media, and we will be happy to help. also go check out the handmade in KC Facebook and website for more awesome makers to learn from. 

happy vlogging 
The X37 A-Team

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Meet the Maker: Lil Rhae


Meet Jai, the newest member of Handmade in Kansas City!  She is the owner and maker at Lil Rhae, where she creates uniquely upcycled clothing and accessories for kids. Jai was introduced to Handmade in Kansas City by her good friend, Nicole, who also happens to be our founder.  She loved the thought of being part of a group of makers.  There is camaraderie, synergy, and creativity within the group and Jai thinks it is great (thanks, Jai!  We love it, too!!)
Born and raised in Kansas City, Jai left to attend college in Texas, then moved back to attend The University of MIssouri in Columbia for graduate school. She loves how Kansas City has so much big-city culture, but at the same time, hangs onto its small-town feel. She also thinks the Kansas City community is great and she also loves the food!
Jai started her business in 2006, and initially began sewing and knitting women’s apparel.  After the birth of her eldest son, she started experimenting with children’s clothing.  The first piece she made was a birthday shirt for a friend’s son. People liked it, and soon others were asking her to do the same. Hence, Lil Rhae was born! Rhae is short for Rhaeva, Jai’s middle name, and she added “Lil” when she began making clothing and accessories for children.

To create her products, Jai scours thrift stores for great t-shirts, then cuts them apart to give them new life. Each piece she makes is one of a kind, and a lot of herself goes into everything I create. She spends a lot of time thinking about a garment before she ever sits down at her sewing machine. She plans it out in her head first, and then she starts cutting apart t-shirts. Designing is the most involved part of her creative process. She likes to play with the colors and designs on the shirts. She also likes mixing textures. She loves the idea of putting images upside down or off center…anything unexpected. It takes a while, and she usually ends up with a huge pile of t-shirt scraps on her cutting table. When she is finally happy with the finished design, she sits down to sew. She is inspired by color, texture, watching her kids play, anything bohemian, and the Kansas City Royals! Her latest creation is an upcycled princess-themed dress that she made for a friend's daughter's 5th birthday. It was so much fun that she decided to make more. She currently has a stack of pink, sparkly thrifted tees waiting to be repurposed.
Being a creative and an entrepreneur is tough , at times, especially when you are trying to raise a family.  Jai finds that creating is very rewarding, but when she is finding it difficult to find balance between her business and her family life, she knows she has to remind herself of what is most important.  And she has learned that it is okay to say no sometimes, and to hold true to her vision for her life and her business.
Jai’s hopes and dreams for the future?  She wants to keep creating! She is also excited about bringing LIl' Rhae more into the social justice sphere. Like human trafficking.  She is passionate about seeing it brought to an end. A couple of months ago, she created what she called the HOPE dress. It was a dress created entirely from her scrap pile. She loved the idea of taking pieces of fabric that would normally be considered scrap and making them into a beautiful whole. The entire purchase price of the dress went toward an anti-trafficking organization. She wants to do more of that. One of her goals is to auction off more HOPE dresses.

Want to see what Jai is creating for Lil Rhae?  Go to or check out her Facebook page,
Thank you Christy (Aunt Christy's Country Kitchen) for this putting together this week's post!