The newest additions to my shop:

Monday, December 14, 2009

Taking a breather

Whew! I know that Christmas is still 11 days away, but for me in the land of craftiness (especially online) the busy parts are over. I've had a blast doing shows this fall and my Etsy store has been chugging along. A few days ago I found myself at a standstill 'You mean I don't have to fold candy wrappers like a madwoman anymore?' I asked myself. At first I threw all my pent up craft energy into holiday decorations and gifts (viewable in my flickr photostream). Now that the house is done and all my gifts are finished and wrapped (see my guest blog article for the trashion team) I find myself asking again 'Now what?'

The answer is: take a break. I plan to take just a few days to step away from things (well maybe I'll sort out the craft room a bit) so I can come back with fresh eyes. I'm happy with how I did achieving my goals for 2009, but its time to make new goals to see how my business can grow next year. Then comes the fun part, I've got some great new ideas that I've been too busy to try out. January is the perfect time for research and development, so I plan to dig in and hopefully will come up with some winning new ideas for 2010.

I plan to take a break from blogging for a while too, see you on the flip side!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wow me Wednesday - photography by bomobob

Guess what came in the mail today!! The prints I ordered from Bomobob! I've had an empty frame for 5x7s up on the wall for months (well with the stock photos in) and now there's a carnival in my living room. Per his item descriptions many of the photos are 'taken through the viewfinder of an old reflex camera' I don't know what exactly that is, but I do know that the wonderful bright fantasy colors are balanced with vintage esque dust and scratches that give the pictures an old but new feel.

I chose from the Carnival series, but the flowers are also drop dead gorgeous, it was a tough choice.

Monday, December 7, 2009

November Photo of the Month

So I couldn't help but notice that November was kinda a skimpy month for my Craft 365 photos. Not very many to choose from. Anyway, my favorite photo from last month is:

Craft 365 - day 183

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wow me Wednesday - make a flake

The first snowflakes of the winter season are expected to fall in St. Louis this afternoon (I haven't seen any yet) and it reminded me of one of my favorite holiday pastimes - making paper snowflakes. I'll be whipping up a batch for around the apartment later this week, but for now I'll be using the make-a-flake snowflake generator.

Its so much fun to play with, here is a flake I made earlier:

Monday, November 30, 2009

Candy Corn recipe #4

Its been a while since I updated the candy corn project. I tried out recipe number four - popcorn candy corn balls for a post thanksgiving party this weekend. This recipe turned out to be way more popular than number 3. The recipe was from farley's and sathers candy company. I added a tablespoon of cinnamon to the melted marshmallows which turned out to be a yummy choice.

The only other thing I would do different would be to make a half recipe - three bags of popcorn is a lot!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wow me Wednesday - showme etsy

This seems like a good week to focus on being thankful for what I have, so with this week's wow me Wednesday I'd like to feature my totally awesome local street team Showme Etsy. When I joined Showme Etsy, I had been on etsy for a little over two months and was so new to the St. Louis metro area not only had I never done a craft show I couldn't even name any in the area.

The artists of Showme Etsy have not only amazed me with their artistic talents, but have also helped me grow as a business woman by sharing many years of know-how. I'm thankful for having found such a supportive group of friends.

I strongly encourage everyone to shop handmade this holiday season to support individual artists instead of national retail stores and the Showme Etsy team store is an excellent place to start.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Two Milestones in one day!

Sunday, November 22nd 2009 is not exactly a date that will live in infamy, but it will always be a blip on the radar of Candy Calamity history.

First, I posted my 182nd photo in my craft 365 journey - that means I'm halfway to the finish line! On January 1st 2009, when I started taking a 'picture a day' celebrating the role of handcrafts in my life I never imagined the kind of things that would pop up. I knew I would never make it to 365 in one year, but my goal was to finish within two years - so I feel like I'm on pace.

Second of all, I made it to over 100 items listed in my etsy shop. This is a pretty big deal for me. When I was setting up my business goals for 2009 I was still struggling to keep 2 pages worth listed online, but I knew I needed to be more consistent for my business to grow. With any luck my number will fall below 100 again as I get more holiday sales but that's a problem I'd be happy to have.

To celebrate I'm running a giveaway contest on my facebook fan page. If you want a chance to win leave a comment on the fan page wall before Tuesday at 11:59.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Illustration Friday - music

This weeks Illustration Friday theme: music. Seems beautiful, right? Somehow my mind skipped right past beautiful and straight to creepy with this pen and ink drawing of earworms (a piece of song you get stuck in your head is an earworm) I've got like 9 different songs stuck right now, maybe its making me crazy.

Please note that my earworms use old school headphones, not any namby-pamby earbuds


Hey blog readers,

If you are not already a fan of Candy Calamity on Facebook, I just added a fan box button over in my left sidebar to make becoming a fan super easy. I'm planning a special promotion early next week for facebook fans only, so check it out.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wow me Wednesday - Squishy Sushi

Maybe its the last minute burst of nice weather we've been experiencing here, but this week I've had a stronger then average urge to go see the world. Sadly, travel is not in the cards for me so I'll have to settle for a nice walk around the neighborhood and checking out these fabulous world map eco-bangles by Squishy Sushi

Check out Squishy Sushi's other lovely eco-friendly recycled paper jewelry: here

Monday, November 9, 2009

October photo of the month

From my craft 365 set - mother nature wins this round with the prettiest leaf in St. Louis (I did some extensive research)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Illustration Friday - blur

Thanks to the tip off from Diane Evans in my last post I've decided to throw my hat into the ring and join the artists participating in Illustration Friday. Each week a new theme is released for artists to draw, this weeks theme: blur

If you look closely you'll see that I sketched this on the back of an envelope (hey if its good enough for the Gettysburg address its good enough for me) I think I will keep the pen and ink style for my drawings for a while, but I may just graduate to real paper for next week. Learn more about the contest at

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wow me Wednesday's - sugar buzz

Having spent the last 3 days with a constant sugar buzz from chomping down all kinds of Halloween candy, I present to you my three sweetest picks from Etsyland:

Polaroid Greeting card Sweet Stuff by CraftedbyLindy

Cherry on Top Cupcake painting print by Diana Evans

What cake? by Tummy Mountain

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Candy Corn Recipe #3

Happy Halloween!!!!
In the spirit of the holiday I decided it would be a good time to feature the next installment of my candy corn project. Recipe #3 comes from the Farly and Sather's (makers of candy corn) website. When I first heard about 'Candy Corn Pretzel Salad' I admit I was scared; candy, cream cheese, pretzels and jello just don't seem like they should ever go together, but I couldn't stop thinking about it and found myself reaching for the necessary ingredients when I was at the grocery store yesterday.
The first layer is pretzels, sugar, and butter cooked together. I guess this is like making a graham cracker crust only with pretzels - that's justifiable. Plus it smelled pretty good cooking.

Layer two features coolwhip, cream cheese, sugar, and candy corn. It resembles my own candy corn concoction from the other day, so I guess I can't knock it.

Layer three is orange jello and more candy corn. I did mess up here and used a small box of jello instead of the big box, in my defense I don't think more jello was going to make this mess better. The only nice thing I have to say about this layer is that candy corn and pretzels are not the weirdest thing I've seen in Jello (That honor goes to corndog jello)

Here is a finished slice. The final report is that this dish is not as horrifying as I thought it would be. Special thanks to Derek and Kim for humoring me and eating a slice. With all the sugar it is really too sweet (even for me and my gigantic sweet tooth) and the salty pretzels just arent able to balance it out, especially once they are soaked in jello.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Craft Race redux

Craft 365 - day 158
Originally uploaded by candy_calamity

Just realized I forgot to post the update to my original craft race post.

I'm pretty pleased with my improvement. Same set up, 12 octagonal pyramid ornaments. This time my final score was 3 hours, 53 minutes, or 19 minutes per ornament.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Candy Corn Recipe #2

One of my side projects: eating candy corn - normally I just devour it straight up this time of year, but 2009 will be different. I'm venturing out into the mostly uncharted territory of candy corn recipes.

(If you were wondering recipe number one is mix candy corn with salted peanuts and eat like crazy)

Recipe #2 (working title: Sweet monkey love)

Chop up 1 banana, place on plate
cover with whipped cream or cool whip (I used reddiwip in my recipe)
Sprinkle liberally with candy corn.

This was a super yummy snack - I would definitely consider it a step up from plain candy corn.

Clearly I need help in the naming department, any suggestions left in the comments would be appreciated.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wow me Wednesdays - Sagittarius Gallery

One of my life goals, one of the things I've told myself I'll do when I'm a 'successful grown-up' is to pick out a real fine art painting by a real artist. I've always loved going to the high-end art shows, meeting the artists, and dream shopping for someday. Well 'someday' is probably still a long way away and I think I love paintings too much to wait. Luckily, I found new ways to dream. Check out this lovely Art Locket Necklace by Sagittarius Gallery:

Its all the beauty of a full painting, in a tiny package that you can wear around with you. Sagittarius Gallery also paints amazing full size pieces both on etsy and in several exhibitions, such as this beautiful landscape:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Exciting News All Around!

Today, I'm just bursting with good news (I'm sure I have a fortune cookie fortune somewhere that told me about this).

First - tentative no more- I finally got confirmation that I will be at the Edwardsville High School Craft show. This is by far the biggest show I've done (270 crafters each year), I'll be in Gym A, booth AF5 if you're looking for me.

Second - A new show has been added to my schedule. I'll be participating in Ladies Night at the Town and Country Melting Pot October 28th. They offer a four course fondue meal, drink specials, and door prizes. It will be great fun for a group of friends, hope to see you there. See my events calendar for details.

Finally - My pasticcio resin earrings were featured today on! Check it out: here

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wow me Wednesday - breast cancer awareness

As I'm sure you're aware by the plethora of pink items everywhere this month, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Many companies and organizations are doing something special to help fund raise for the cause. One fundraiser that really caught my eye is by the Etsy Plush Team. Can you say plushie boobs?

Proceeds go to the Susan G Komen Foundation. If you're interested, shop fast; looks like these boobs are flying out of the store.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Craft show rules

The first craft show I ever participated in as Candy Calamity was almost a year and a half ago and I can tell you now, I did not know what I was getting myself into! But I'm glad I took the plunge and signed up because now, more than a dozen shows later, I can say that I have learned something at each show I've done. Here are my 8 craft show rules that I've made up for myself to make sure things go smoothly:

1. Bring food! More then you think you'll need. Keep it neat so you can safely eat at your booth, but nothing brings down a show more then a rumbly tummy.

2. Make friends with the sellers around you. You're going to be spending a lot of time together, so you might as well be booth buddies (this goes double for a two day show)

3. Keep smiling! They say that smiling even if you don't feel like it will make you happier, I'm hoping it will also make for happier customers.

4. Print out an up-to-date inventory and take notes on it during the show - track what sells, note what you'll need more of and most importantly: know what needs to be taken off etsy when you get home! There's nothing worse than trying to play a matching game with what's online and what's at home.

5. Don't wear a watch or keep your cell phone clock in easy reach. For me clock watching when things are slow can slow time down abysmally. Also, I have never once accidentally missed that a show was over because I didn't know what time it was.

6. Wear layers, most shows are either too hot or too cold and you won't know which until its too late.

7. Do consumer research. People watch to see what types are at that show, who comes up to your booth, and who sails past without stopping. Which pieces get picked up the most? If a customer seems happy to chat ask how they heard about the show, what they are looking for, and what they like best. If you are super organized take notes for next year.

8. Have fun! I always say 'If I was in it for the money I'd be an actuarial scientist' Yes, I am running a business, but I also want to have fun doing what I do; craft shows can be a blast, as long as I follow my rules.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wow me Wednesdays - indig wood works

I have a post about my fall shows 'in the wood works' that was supposed to go up on Monday, but until that's ready I hope you enjoy these fabulous pendants from Indig Woodworks. I can't stop staring at how the natural beauty of the wood burls pops out with the addition of turquoise.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Wow me Wednesdays - spoon!

Yikes I guess this should be the wow me wednesday - thursday edition. I totally blanked out on what day it was yesterday.

When I was in highschool my mom gave me a spoon ring which she had made when she was in high school. It's awesome and I still wear it often. This week I'm paying tribute to all the awesome things that can be made from spoons.

First up JJ Evensen Art who makes these funky coat hangers from spoons. They also have fork hangers which is cool - I appreciate equality among utensils.

Next we have Prime Chimes, who I had the pleasure to meet in person at last weeks Green Homes Festival Craft Show. Their spoon wind chimes are so beautiful and melodic I actually ended up buying some for myself before the show ever started!

Finally we have this graceful fork business card holder from Goorsend Jewelry. Goorsend Jewelry also sells a huge assortment of spoon rings (my first spoon love) I think its safe to say if you want they've got it.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

cheesy moment

I do my best thinking when I'm driving. Today on the way home from work, 'Unwritten' by Natasha Bedingfield came on the radio. It made me realize how important positivity and the braveness to try new things is to being successful in life. I felt very inspired:

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

So what's inspiring you?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Craft race

Once I've set a specific method for making a new item I like to make a big batch all at once. It serves three purposes: 1) it helps boost inventory quickly 2) I need to know how long something takes to make so I can price it 3) racing against the clock is fun.

I'm finally happy with how my recycled christmas card ornaments have been turning out so here is what I did Wednesday:
10:00 - start time!

10:47 - Picked out the cards I would be using from my collection, organized them into piles, and traced the templates onto the card fronts. I decided to make 12 as thats what fit on my table well.
1:12 - Cut out everything and laid out the pieces for gluing
Between 1:12 and 4:30 I took 30 minutes for lunch plus a 15 minute internet break (what can I say I'm not a distance racer)

4:30 - scored all folds, first gluing (attach floss loop and bottom), and second gluing (the cone)
5:30 - All done!
Final score: 405 minutes
Time per ornament: 33.75 minutes

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wow me Wednesdays - pirate edition

In honor of last Saturday being 'international talk like a pirate day' This week's wow me Wednesday is this sweet pirates vs ninjas checkers set by Goosegrease.

Look at those tiny little eye patches!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Craft 365 of the month - August

Craft 365 - day 131
Originally uploaded by candy_calamity

Today I hit day 150 of my craft 365 challenge - each day I photograph one crafty thing that was part of my day and upload it to flickr. On the Candy Calamity blog I'll be sharing my favorite picture from each month. These pink and gray earrings posted on August 24th are my favorites from last month.

You can find them currently in my etsy shop: here

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wow me Wednesdays - paper folding

As a long time origami fan and someone who does a lot of folding for my craft, I try to keep an eye out for new techniques to learn and things to try when it comes to paper folding. This week I found two interesting things.

First is this dramatic folding technique by Paul Haeberli

I haven't figured this one out yet, but I know I'll get it soon.

The second is
I found a great tutorial there for kusudama flowers which I used for my wedding, but I finally had the time to check out the rest of their site. Turns out, every tutorial is a great tutorial, I'll be busy with paper projects for weeks as every post they make is fun and irresistible.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Fall is in the Air

Although we have been blessed with remarkably cool weather here is St. Louis this summer, when I stepped outside today I noticed a change in the air. It was a bit crisper and fresh - I also noticed that the neighborhood seemed to have acquired a full coating of crunchy brown leaves overnight. Yep, fall is here, which means its time to get busy for the fall and winter craft show season.

From the candy calamity blog you will see a new show calendar I added to the sidebar. I'll be keeping that up to date so its a good place to check and see where to find me locally.

I've got seven shows planned this season, which is quite a bit more then I did last year, and I'm pretty excited to get going. Here they are:

Sept 19th: Grovefest
Sept 26th: Green Homes Festival
October 3rd and 24th: Towergrove Farmers Market
November 7th: Eureka High School Craft Show
November 14th and 15th: Edwardsville High School Band Craft Fair (tentative)
December 5th: Artropy by Showme Etsy

and the first show is this up coming Saturday, which means its time to get busy!!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wow me Wednesdays - woollyfabulous

It seems like everywhere I look I run into another fabulous creation by woollyfabulous. She works mostly by felting recycled wool sweaters. But its her ingenious use of zippers and other embellishments that really wow me and take her pieces to a whole new level. Check it out:

Plus she covers the local trees with doilies - lacy trees are just wild!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wow me Wednesdays - fused plastic

This week for Wow me Wednesday I focused on upcycling plastic bags. Pretty much everyone I know has a big pile of grocery bags either under their sink or in the pantry or garage. It seems like they are everywhere. Even since I made the switch to reusable bags I still end up with bunches of them. I've been experimenting with fusing the plastic and making flowers from them. But here are a few neat-o things that other etsians are doing with their bags:

A knitted plarn Barrett by Stick to your Knittin Kitten

Eco-friendly wedding ware (it looks so delicate!) by VieModerne

These unique wired leaves by Emily Grace and the Yellow Suitcase

And this cutie owl coin purse by So She Sows

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Zen and the Art of Candy Wrapper Folding

I recently quit a job at a telephone research center. I quit because I couldn't make myself go there and make the same phone call asking the same questions over and over again anymore. This came as a surprise to me because boring repetitive tasks are my forte. I love counting things in large numbers, sorting, alphabetizing, and even stuffing envelopes. I think this skill of mine is the biggest key to the success of my business Candy Calamity.

I started making bracelets from folded candy wrappers while I was in college. Years later, when I thought about turning my hobby into a business, I knew that I would never make it unless I could create dozens of bracelets or more. Since deciding to go for it, I have make close to 100 bracelets, many candy wrapper coin purses, and even some purses made from folded potato chip bags. That equals thousands of tiny folded pieces.

So what was so wrong with the call center? My brain was forced to spend tedious hours thinking about things like satisfaction scores, efficiency quotas, and demographics. It was repetition for the brain, not the hands; a far cry from my beloved candy wrapper folding.

When I do my folding, my hands fall into a familiar rhythmic pattern, my body relaxes, and my mind moves beyond the worries of today. After a few minutes I no longer think about what to fix for dinner, what chores need to be done, or other mundane things. Instead I dream of future projects to be, the possibilities of tomorrow, or sometimes simply nothing. The allure of the daily moment of Zen is what draws many crafters back to their craft time and time again, be it knitting, cross stitch, painting, lamp working, or even making jewelry out of candy wrappers.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wow Me Wednesdays - Free Toys!

I've been having a blast printing and creating paper figures such as this shark swimmer combo by Marshall Alexander - paper engineer.

Visit his website to make some for yourself: