Saturday, October 29, 2011

How to make your craft a business

I am so lucky to be friends with some of the most business savvy crafty women in the country.  For real.  My friends Kim Dorn, Sara Dick, Christine Ernest and Kelly Rand from Hello Craft are real pros.  For the last three years these girls have curated, planned, booked and executed a three day national conference bringing together the best and brightest minds of the indie handmade movement.  Your favorite pickle maker (moi!) was asked to volunteer for this Summit of Awesome (yes that is really what its called!) and I got to peek into some of the amazing sessions and activities going on Friday, Oct. 21st and Saturday, Oct. 22nd.

Wholesaling 101 was an amazing workshop, I participated in an event called "Crafty Throwdown" with Jay McCarroll the hilarious, inspiring and sassy winner of Project Runway Season 1.  I sewed my name in cursive using needle and orange thread, I made book garland hearts from the pages of Pride & Prejudice and also got to hear some great tips on running an Etsy shop from Danielle Maveal, Etsy's own Seller Education Coordinator.

I really enjoyed being surrounded by so many successful, smart and nice people.  I am totally inspired to really pursue my dreams NOW because I have the passion, the business skills and the personality to do this.  A day spent doing something you don't love is a day wasted and life is too short!  I'm really lucky to have all the resources I need to make a change in my life and have an adventure and kick ass!  Needless to say, I am so signing up for a Hello Craft membership this year!!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Post Crafty


Brandon & I woke up super early to load up the car and head out to Adams Morgan in the crappy weather.  I got a flat tire while backing up to the curb to unload the goods but luckily new Mazda's come with free roadside assistance for 2 years and they service guy put on the spare while I set up my booth with my fabulous booth mate the Vegan Cupcake Queen, Rebecca Scott!

I brought 60 jars to the fair and by the end of the day I had totally SOLD OUT!  I got to use my super nifty square app to take about $40 in credit card payments, I learned I probably should have brought more 1/2 pints as opposed to full pint jars and I left with *drumroll please* A MEDAL OF EXCELLENCE!  I came in 2nd place for best Pickles in the Crafty Food Awards, SUCCESS!!!  I was a little bit of a sourpuss for not coming in 1st but it wasn't something a little retail therapy couldn't cure.  I bought a few really awesome things from some of my favorite crafters including Jen Menkhaus's gorgeous felt flower headbands (the littlest bean) and an awesome whale necklace from Rhonda Wyman (figs + ginger).  

I couldn't have done it without the encouragement of my friends, the help of my pickling assistant/lover and all the people who bought their very own jars of Blue Apron Pickles & Preserves to take home.  Thank you all and stay tuned for some big news and lots more adventures in jars!

Friday, September 30, 2011

The night before Crafty

Twas the night before Crafty
and all through the house, not an object was shifting not even my spouse
The car is half packed with chairs, tables and shelves
I sure hope I can cart this to my booth by myself

At this point tonight I should be snuggled in bed
instead visions of showers and downpours won't get out of my head
so I'll shake up a drink and have a night cap
While I do that I'll mark up my shopping route on the Crafty map

When from the living room I heard such a clatter
My kitty has knocked over my fancy display platter
I must place the loose things up high in a flash
Can't risk my cute labels sporting a pootie paw slash!

Things should go fine tomorrow but I just don't know
Even in it's eighth year, what if nobody will show?!
Will a crowd bigger than ever really appear
If I don't sell these things I'll totally shed a tear

With a cute booth and a smile this day could be comic
and getting that Square app is gonna make my revenues cosmic
I'll take cash and credit but checks are so lame
Then at the end of the day Blue Apron Pickles will rise up to fame!

Now sugar, now vinegar, now peaches, now pectin!
Time to show off all the yummy stuff I've been fixin!
My drink is almost gone and I'm starting to type slow
Tomorrow will be an adventure as long as I show

So for now I'll shoot off to bed like a missile
in the morning I'll brew a cup full of green tea with thistle
I'll have sweet dreams of my future customers tonight
When they realize it was my stuff that made their day such a delight

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Order Form Preview

Any requests for yummy concoctions I should add to this order form?  I've got 55 jars of assorted jams, jellies, pickles and preserves to bring with me to Crafty and I have NO IDEA what to expect.  Just in case things go GREAT I made an order form to bring with me.  I have a connection at an organic grocery store in DC so I should be able to order pickling cucumbers in fall, oh seasons!  Also, I was contemplating putting "pie in a jar" on the list, but refrigeration might be a problem especially with shipping.  Maybe it would be better to have a post-crafty pie in a jar party instead? Only one more day until its time to take my blue apron out on the road, I'm excited!!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


My friend Paola is the BEST!  She made me a great logo and business card to boot, I can't wait to display them at Crafty.  Here is a sneak peak, I just love it!

Also, thanks to everybody who voted in my jar decor poll.  As of 6pm it was 50/50, then I showed my blog to my grandma and she broke the tie.  Fabric on top is winning again! Just a few days left to vote, let me know what you think folks.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Poll Time!

Which jar do you like the best?

Hot Pepper Jelly

The first time I ever had hot pepper jelly was in Denver earlier this year at the annual National NORML Conference.  I'm pretty sure just about everything tasted better there because of the *ahem* high altitude, but this jelly was AWESOME.  It was green and the perfect blend of spicy and sweet and it paired perfectly on top of a bagel with cream cheese.  My version includes a cup of diced red peppers, about half a cup of diced jalapenos and a dash of cayenne.  I also steeped a bunch of the jalapeno seeds & veins from inside the peppers in a little homemade spice bag (I use cheesecloth and twine) and let it soak before I added in pectin to jelly it up.  Guess what y'all?  The only thing that makes jalapeno jelly green is food coloring, so I skipped it because I have no idea what its actually made of and apparently its not really that great for you.  There are some natural alternatives to the stuff you use to dye Easter eggs, but its kind of pricey and I didn't have any on hand.  So here you have it folks, my version of scrumptious hot pepper jelly.  Don't forget to wear gloves when handling the peppers!!!

Hot Pepper Jelly
1 Cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 Cup chopped jalapeno pepper
4 Cups white sugar
1 1/2 Cups apple cider vinegar
1 6oz. container of liquid pectin
Remove stems, veins and most seeds of the peppers, but reserve about 2 tablespoons and place in a spice bag.  In a large pot over high heat combine bell peppers, jalapenos, sugar, vinegar and spice bag and bring to a rolling boil for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes, discard spice bag and add a dash of cayenne (optional!).  Stirring constantly, mix in the liquid pectin packet and let the mixture continue to cool for 3 more minutes.  Sterilize and set up your jars, pour in the jelly mixture and top with lids and secure with bands and submerge in a hot water bath for 5 minutes.  I like to flip the jars every 30 minutes for about 2 hours to evenly distribute the pepper pieces, otherwise they will all float up to the top.  Enjoy!