Craft Room Organization – Work Tables

There are a lot of expenses to consider when you’re running a handmade business. On top of supplies, tools, and packaging, you have to think about things like furniture, technology, and website/shop fees. 

So I try to work with what I have and just upgrade when necessary (besides my love of trying new tools & materials whenever possible). For a year or so, my main workspace was a little wooden table left by the previous owners of our house. I could fit most of my clay and clay tools, but found myself having to move around the room to finish pieces that included paint or jewelry findings. And as I accumulated new supplies, I began to run out of room.
I wanted a folding table so I could also bring it to craft fairs, but decided to be cheap and buy a thrift store desk instead. It’s actually perfect because it has extra shelves and fits pretty much everything I need for the whole clay jewelry making process, plus I wouldn’t really want to move all my stuff now that it’s set up.

 

My workspace before & after (the “before” got a lot more crowded than it is here).
 
But when my husband insisted on buying me my folding table (thanks babe), I also got to upgrade my shipping station (previously on an old TV stand that wasn’t quite big enough for everything or tall enough for sitting in a chair). Now I can have my printer and all my packaging supplies in one place, and get my items ready to go at the table instead of on the floor. 

 

My shipping station before & after (ignore all the nail polish; that’s for another project).
 
So I guess if there’s a point to this post (besides “yay, new stuff,” haha), it’s this: if you’re on a budget, you still have options for making your business or hobby work. But if you have some extra money or you use something a lot, a little upgrading & reorganizing can make your life a lot easier. 

50% Off Handmade Jewelry

Just a quick update on my Etsy shop – I now have a Sale/Clearance section with some of my older items about 50% off. 

Some sellers don’t like doing sales because they put so much effort into each item; I didn’t like the idea at first because I only wanted people to see my best, latest work. But I have a lot of old stock to get rid of and a lot of new ideas, and people love good deals, so it seems like a win-win. Plus it couldn’t hurt to possibly get more reviews.

Check it out here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/PasticheAccessories?section_id=17046251. I hope you find something you like! 

  

 

Thrift Store Shoe Refashion – Floral Heels

I’ve been on a search for the perfect red heels to add some color to a black dress. It’s hard to find a pair that’s cute, affordable, and fits right. And when I actually know what I want, it’s nowhere to be found. I think I’ve settled on a pair of Mary Jane pumps, but in the meantime, I got hooked on the idea of floral shoes. 

So instead of buying another pair, I decided to try re-covering some thrift store heels I had lying around. The ugly dress I challenged myself to re-fashion is not turning out quite as planned, but some of the leftover fabric ended up working perfectly for the shoes. It was just sheer enough to lay nicely but not show too much background (the shoes were originally black but painted red, which matched well). 

I cut a few separate pieces of fabric to fit the shape, stuck them onto the shoe with a layer of Mod Podge, let it dry, trimmed the edges, and finished with another layer. 
Unfortunately I don’t have a “before” picture, and I’m still working on some finishing touches, but I was excited to share these. I sent a photo to my husband and he thought I bought them this way!    

   

I’m thinking I could wear these with a nice red dress I bought for a date night, and no one would even know. 

New Store on My Website & Facebook

So I finally discovered a selling platform that’s affordable and can be integrated with my website and Facebook. I’m still on Etsy, which is great exposure all by itself. But through Storenvy, my Facebook fans can browse on my page, and when I send people to my website, my new shop is there too so everything is in one place. I’m hoping the checkout process will also be a little more convenient for some customers. Please check it out at shop.noellelewisart.com, and if you’re the first to make a purchase, you’ll get a free item of choice with your order! 

While I’m writing, I also have a couple new items to share. I have been wanting to get back to my “roots” as a creator. I won’t get into all the complicated debates about movie inspired items, copyrights, and the fine line between idea-sharing and idea-stealing between artists – maybe later. But I feel like modern technology makes it so easy to find inspiration that you can sometimes forget how to come up with your own. I want to sell things you can’t find anywhere else, and not have to compete with what’s trendier or cheaper. 

The first items I sold on Etsy were inspired by a mission trip to Haiti, and I donated a lot of the proceeds to relief efforts. Since then I’ve had to be a little more realistic about building my business, but I don’t want to forget what was important to me when I started. This set features Haitian crows – like regular crows except they sing – and combines old & new techniques for a unique look. Part of the proceeds goes to Oxfam.

  

Even before that – before my parents bought me polymer clay supplies and my friend recommended Etsy – I was making cartoony animal figures with modeling clay, calling them “Bloopy Buddies,” and planning a business. These two pairs are an updated version of that style.

  

I would also like to find a way to re-incorporate some of the re-purposed metal components I was using at first, before I decided that polymer clay jewelry was my niche. I love that I can make anything I want from scratch, and picking a favorite material has helped me focus. But I also like to give new life to old things, so maybe there’s a way to do both. 

Thanks for reading and if you liked this post, please share! 

New Mountain-Inspired Art & Jewelry (and Sign-Up!)

I knew going on vacation somewhere beautiful and artsy (Asheville) would result in lots of new creative ideas. My inspiration has come and gone since my return to real life, but has so far resulted in a few new items I’m really happy with. 

 I’ll have to write more later about the new clay technique I learned, the paintings I plan to do from the photos I took, and my thoughts on getting back to my own style with so many project ideas available on the Internet. But for now, I hope you will enjoy these new pieces.

   

Above: Starry Night Sky, Acrylic on 20 x 24″ canvas, available at Noelle Lewis Art


 

Above: mountain scene pendant & earrings, polymer clay with blue or green beads, available at Pastiche Accessories


Also, I just added a sign-up so you can be notified of new posts to this blog by email. It should be add the top of the right-hand sidebar on my home page, but let me know if you have any problems. You may know I’m not very tech savvy, but until now I didn’t even realize the difference between subscribing and following!

Anyway thanks for reading and please check back (or subscribe!) for more of my latest work!