Monday, February 16, 2015

Pay It Forward

Happy Monday Evening to My Friends,

>> hum, um, walking around--dh in the den with me, piddling around
>> hum, beep, beep--dd in the kitchen, heating a snack in the microwave
>> the hum of clothes tumbling in the dryer

These are a few of the sounds of life at home.  Sounds that help me remember what is important to me … the little things, my husband, my daughter, a routine, a home to live in, and so much more.  My life as I know it is simple, and awesome and amazing at the same time.  I have family that loves me, a home that shelters me from the storms outside—real and imagined, trival and colossal, Mardi Gras or infuriatingly slow drivers on a normal day.  LOL  We have a refrigerator with food and beverages in it, vehicles that are gassed up, and clothes appropriate for our mild winters and summer days that feel as thick as gumbo.

What makes life awesome is that I get to do something I love …. My crafting.  I love getting my hands dirty and inked up with my solvent ink while making my coasters, trivets, and plaques.  It is as fun as can be.  Of course, the ink does not come off easily and I can look like a kid who has been playing with sharpies or magic markers!  <smile>

In the process of making and selling my wares is that I get to meet some amazing people.  Some I have met in person and some online.  Today I got some technical advice on photographing my products from a professional photographer/editor.  We have never met in person but met each other from a forum we are on for artists and crafters.  This phone consultation was free but worth the time to make the photos look better.  I am no “photographer” by any means.  When I have taken photos, they are merely pictures to remember events like vacation or people who are special to my family and me.  It amazes me that people currently willingly give time to help a newbie when they could easily charge an hourly rate.

Some say, “You get what you pay for.”  Others say, “Free is good”.  Sometimes you get more than you pay for and free is not only good but amazing!  Like in my case today when I got free advice that is not only good, but also amazingly helpful.  It is a good thing to live with open hands and share our wealth of information or talents that God has given us.  I do not mean open hands ready to take, take, take from others but to give back or pay it forward.  We are all given gifts to share with others as my friend did today.

God’s Word says:
The world of the generous gets larger and larger;
    the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.  Proverbs 11:24 (The Message)

This Proverb reminds me that I have things to share with others too.  If I want to remain open to what God wants me to do, I am to remain open to God and share the insights and talents God has blessed me with.  Now that I think about it, many people have invested in me and I have not always appreciated what they have done.  Sometimes I have glossed over their investment in me.  Other times I’ve dismissed their investment because I didn’t think I had time for them at the moment.  Sometimes I thought I knew it all already.  How sad on my part.

I have something coming up where I can bless someone and will use that situation to do so.  I don’t know who the end recipient will be got God does and that is all that matters.  It is one small step in paying it forward.

Now that Lent is upon us, what are some ways you can pay it forward?  Who can you help along your way?  Are you willing to start this new habit during Lent and then extend it beyond that 6-week period?

If you find a way to bless others and pay it forward I'd love to hear your story!

God bless,

Monday, February 9, 2015

Welcome 2015! An Update

Hello Friends!

I am so happy to be coming to you this afternoon via my blog.  My blog … it has been longer than I remembered since I last posted.  I am sorry it has been so long but that means I have more to fill you in on, right?  :D

Let’s see, the last time I wrote in we were in the middle of that awful New Orleans Saint season.  What can I say except that I am glad that is over?  As we Saints fans like to say, “There is always next year.”

We were also in the middle of the fall craft show season.  At Custom Coasters by Cindy, we had some good shows.  Of course, we had a good turnout at Southdown Marketplace here in Houma.  I believe that was our best show yet.

Shadows on the Teche in New Iberia, Louisiana was a great show as well.  I got to see an old friend from childhood.  It was great to reconnect and hopefully we can get together soon.  Between work for both of us and distance, it will be a challenge but it would be worth it.

Of course, not all craft shows go off without a hitch.  We had one that got off to a rocky start.  Let me back up a minute and give a brief history.  Back in the summer when we were on hiatus from craft shows for the season, we had reworked our booth.  We obtained totally new “fixtures” for out booth.  We put together a pipe and drape system that we can use for our booth with our without the tent.  Our fixtures include floor length black professional table covers and honey colored 6-foot drapes.  Dh is so handy and got this design thing down in a heartbeat.  Of course, I picked the colors.  A girl’s gotta have her part in the decorating, right?

So we go with our new set up to our fall shows.  We got really great reviews from customers, family and friends alike.  Our confidence is riding high.  Then we show up at “Show X” and begin setting up.  After we put up our pipe and drape and began setting up tables and merchandise, the show organizer came over to our booth.  She asked us to removed our pipe and drape system.  I let her know that the rules and guidelines did not address this and that it was not prohibited.  Long story short, we removed part of it but not all.  When other artists and crafters at Show X realized we had removed part of our set up, they asked why?  When we told them, everyone to a person was shocked and appalled that we were asked to do this.

So why am I writing all this?  For most people attending craft shows as a shopper, you have no idea the heart, work, and sweat that go into just getting into a show, then to get set up.  I know I had no idea.  As a shopper, it was all about the fun and seeing new cute things to buy.  Many artists get up before dawn and/or drive in the day before an event.  Then he or she spends 2+ hours setting up for the event before the public is allowed to enter.  At some shows each vendor’s booth must be inspected by the organizer to know their products match what is on the application for the show.  Then tear down starts as soon as the show closes and can go on for 2-3 hours.  After tear down comes the commute home.

When you go to a show and see a product you really like, or even a booth that you like, please let the artist or crafter know.  It can really make his or her day.  Even if you cannot buy from them, the positive encouragement goes a long way.

At this year’s shows, we were able to reconnect with many “roadie friends” who have booths at many of the same shows.  There are a few that live close enough that we get to see them in between.  I have a roadie friend who I keep in contact with by phone.  We may not talk every week, sometimes weeks may go by in between calls.  However, when we get on the phone, it is as if no time has passed and we just pick up where we left off.  Hey Flo! if you are reading this!!!!

During Black Friday weekend, I did something for the first time.  I had my 1st Annual Trunk Sale!  I did really well, especially since I did little advertising, had no booth fees or travel expenses, and got to see some friends over that weekend in my home.  Therefore, this will become an annual event, and admission will remain free to those who want to attend.  As time gets closer, I will announce the next one here.  The announcement will probably come out in late October or early November.

December brought good sales for Christmas gifts.  There were a couple of people who bought during my Trunk Sale that came back and bought later in December.  Repeat customers are always good.  Late December slowed some and that was good because we were able to concentrate on the real reason for Christmas, Jesus.  Our family had a quiet day together and it was just what we needed.

January brought some new ideas and we are proud to say we have gotten off to a good start.  The first idea came from my husband.  I had always said I would never, ever, ever have an Etsy shop.  I seemed to me there is no way to get noticed, there are gazillion artists competing for a limited number of sales and some will underprice their art or crafts just to get sales.

So about a week in to the new year, dh says, “I think you ought to set up an Etsy shop.”  I am so surprised.  I had explained to him why I did not want to do it but he had suggested it anyway.  Sometimes he does have good ideas.  So that evening I set up a shop and began adding stock to it.  One week later, I had a sale, then another week went by and I had another sale.  I sold four sets of coasters in all in just 2 weeks.  I was amazed!  Then, today I had another sale!  Some artists go a long time without being noticed.  I feel truly blessed.  My Etsy shop will serve as a place for people to find my product during craft show season hiatus.  For those who are interested, you can find me on Etsy at  My shop has “coasters” in it but I have a variety of items to choose from:  coasters, trivets, plaques, cards, etc.  I hope you’ll stop by and check it out.

Now, for those who saw my post on Facebook about some photos I posted Saturday, February 7.  (For those who did not see the photos, you can follow this link ….

I have been designing trivets since shortly after I began doing coasters.  I use travertine for the trivets just as I do for coasters.  The trivets in original form---8”x8”, with chiseled edges, have been awesome.  The surface was smooth, beautiful, and so easy to work with.  Late last year I ordered a case so I’d have some when I was ready to work on some for this year.  I opened the case and was so disappointed.  The tiles were so pitted, distressed and ragged that I feared not being able to use them.  I had ordered through the same local company I had ordered through on previous orders.  So I asked if they ordered through the same supplier.  Of course, they said.  Well, I could send them back but I’d have to pay shipping, which is understandable.  However, shipping back travertine tile is costly.  So had I to come up with an option.

The option, one I was scared to try, was to grout the tiles.  So, now am I not only designing and selling trivets but also getting into grouting!  I could start a completely new career.  Let me tell you, it is not as easy as it looks.  I am having quite a learning curve!  It is tricky learning to get the texture of the grout correct but also applying it to fill the holes.  Then it is learning to wipe off the excess grout without wiping off too much!  Oh, this could be too much for me!!!

I have done about 10 tiles and have gotten some technical assistance with my best buds at the flooring center.  I took some of my “work” down there for them to provide a critique.  I never imagined I would be asking for a “grout critique”!  LOL  All of this goes into making a better, supreme, premium product for my customers.  You are worth it and I will work on my technique till I get it right for YOU!  To see the finished trivets you'll have to keep watch at my Facebook page and Etsy shop.

Thanks to everyone who supports their local artists and crafters!  You make all the work seem like fun!

My plan is to make a weekly post of things going on in my little crafting world.  I am not sure what it'll include but look for it each week, most likely around Monday.

Many blessings,
Cindy Welch