Sunday, November 12, 2006


Next weekend is the Messiah Lutheran Church bazaar, an annual event that throws our household into a frenzy of crafting activity. Generally, the items that I make do not sell well, they are either too quirky or maybe too expensive or poorly displayed. In general, I think that we put too much focus on "filling the table" and not enough focus on having some sort of comprehensive craft strategy. But still, the bazaar shopping crowd is unpredictable and therefore difficult to target. Items that I've made in recent years that have achieved a less than stellar reception include:
  • Felt finger puppets - these did very well the first year, but that was because one lady bought all of them. She was a blip in the demand profile for this item--the next year, maybe one or two sold.
  • Packets of multi-colored crayons - a typical "fill the table" item, these were packets of crayons molded from pieces of other crayons. Thanks, Martha Stewart--these went nowhere.
  • Hairclips and magnets made with felt flowers. I looove these felt flower items, they are an old standby. Who cares if it's a little weird to put googley eyes on flowers? Googley eyes are what gives them character, and they are the greatest craft invention ever.
  • Clown cakes - these are small cakes decorated with frosting and fondant to look like clowns. They are both delicious and cute, and were a BIG hit at E___ & S___'s wedding. Not a single cake sold--I could not believe it. Look at hat, and the blue hair, and don't forget the googley eyes! I do not recommend perishables for the bazaar--who needs a half dozen clown cakes??
With the exception of the clown cakes, normally the inventory rolls over from one year to the next (another possible flaw in the strategy is to make enough of any item to last for all future bazaars). After the clown cake disaster, I liquidated my inventory (or at least made nothing new), and sat out last year's event. My plan was to pass on this year's bazaar, too, but last weekend I saw a quick and easy pattern for travel tissue holders that I thought could possibly sell. A few hours later (seriously, probably only 4 hours), and here's what I had:

Thirteen Christmas themed tissue covers . I like the candy canes and the red polka-dots the best. All of the fabric came from my stash, except for the red and white striped fabric, which was $2 per yard on the clearance rack at Jo-Ann fabrics.

Fourteen year-round fabrics. These are mostly scraps from different projects. The bowling pins are from a work function, where I used this as prize wrapping. The sagey-goldy fabric is leftover from a bag, the yellow floral is leftover from J_____ C______'s baby quilt.

Here's a photo of my favorite, in use. Since the odds are low that these will all sell, I will keep this one for myself. The total project cash outlay was very small (the big expense will be the tissues), so any selling is almost pure profit! I could make as much as $10 or $20 on these babies!


Laura said...

Great job on the tissue holders! I might have to look for that striped fabric today at J's. :) Good luck with the bazaar!

Kevin said...

Well, it's a little discouraging to know what kind of cra^h^h^h stocking stuffers I'm going to be getting this year for Christmas. What happened to the little dudes made from rolls of candy? It appears you and Mom have created a strategy optimized to fill the table with stuff that never sells, then again all my Economics comes from a trade school so I could be wrong...

cinetrix said...

Selfishly, I'm glad the monkeys didn't sell that year--the Fesser and I looooove little Junior and Senior--but congrats on the tissue holders.