By: Lisa Martin
Writer Anna Quindlen sums it up nicely: “You cannot be really first-rate at your work if your work is all you are.” Most working moms I know want a life–a life that includes work but is not completely dominated by it. We want to be fully engaged in, and feel passionate about, all aspects of our lives. Yet we often find it difficult to give ourselves permission to pursue our interests –activities or hobbies– outside of work and family obligations. Perhaps we think engaging in our hobbies is too self-indulgent or not important and we fail to create adequate space and time for them.
But when you take up a hobby, whether it’s training for your first 10K run, singing in a choir or creating funky jewelry in your spare time, you reap the benefits of inspirational self-nurturing. By helping you to find a better balance and more meaning in your life, hobbies make you feel good. Here are five great reasons to stop procrastinating and start that hobby you’ve been contemplating.
1. To play and feel lighter Playing means enjoying yourself for more than a minute or two, for the sole purpose of finding pleasure. It’s something you do just for you and it makes you feel good physically. Just look at your children to remind yourself of the magical powers of play. When kids play you can see, hear and feel their happiness and contentment…it practically vibrates off them. As we grow older, we often lose our playtime to the responsibilities of adulthood… working hard and being productive, striving to make a difference and tending to others. Yet, when you make playing a priority in the form of a hobby, you can face life and work with more enthusiasm and lightness.
2. To become more interesting and interested Expanding your interests allows you to focus on things outside of your normal routine. Hobbies beat out boredom. There is excitement and challenge in learning how to paint, write short stories or sail. Committing to a hobby, whether it’s adventure traveling or joining a book club, will give you something to look forward to and spur you on to achieve greater goals. When you participate in an activity that is engaging, your passion and enthusiasm becomes contagious and makes you more interesting to others.
3. To enhance self-esteem Many hobbies allow you the opportunity to gain new skills, giving you a sense of accomplishment and confidence that makes you feel better about yourself. Hobbies that involve physical activity such as hiking, gardening and mountain biking strengthen your body and coordination. And getting in better shape can also make you feel good. Creative hobbies like pottery, quilting and writing poetry fuel your imagination and rid you of that “something is missing” feeling…and that makes you feel great.
Next time you are wondering whether taking up a hobby is a good use of your time, think about all the benefits that come from branching out, exploring something new and nurturing yourself. Give yourself permission to pursue an interest or an activity that is just for you. And see what happens when you dedicate a little time for your own personal growth.
Copyright 2006. Lisa Martin. All rights reserved.
About the Author: Lisa Martin is a certified coach who inspires working mothers to achieve success thats balanced. Author of Briefcase Moms: 10 Proven Practices to Balance Working Mothers Lives, Lisa is a sought-after expert and speaker on work-life balance issues. Known for her very personal and practical approach, Lisa coaches working mothers to know what they want and get what they want.
With 20 years of entrepreneurial and corporate experience, Lisa is also the founder and president of The Briefcase Moms Group a work-life coaching and training company that helps organizations attract, engage and retain working mothers. A mother herself, Lisas powerful presentations and programs have helped thousands of women define success and balance on their own terms. http://www.briefcasemoms.com
By: Anne Clarke
Obviously, any bowling rules will be relevant and important, but keeping score? You have to learn all of the bowling rules there are, but before I tried my first game my father showed me how. You will learn many bowling rules as you continue bowling—from your very first day!
There are 10 “frames”, (i.e. turns you get) in a bowling game. A score of about 120 in the 9th frame the absolute most points this person could get would add up to 150—however, the player would have to roll three strikes in a row when he or she plays the 10th frame, if this happens the player continues rolling the ball—achieving 30 pins for each strike he or she makes. The basic notion of this bowling rule is also recognized by other players, but by adding only 10-pins to the score.
Bowling rules for bowling attire:
a) There really is one essential kind of bowling attire is that the players wear bowling shoes when they play. This is why having the appropriate shoes is up on the top of the list of bowling rules. When someone does not follow basic bowling rules and wears their street shoes on the floor. If a ball drops on his or her foot, well it is likely that he or she will never make that mistake again. Seriously, a heavy bowling ball can fracture your toes—and sometimes people drop things.
Another one of the most important bowling rules is to use the proper technique for bowling.
a) Bowling rules about technique:
Primarily there are a couple of simple, physical moves that will improve your bowling skills. They are different depending on whether the person is right-handed or left-handed—but quite basically the same bowling rules of posture, pressure and release.
b) Bowling rules about mental preparation:
Perhaps it sounds pretty ridiculous, but concentration on your bowling can really help when you are trying to get that high score. Re-think the physical bowling rules, and then envision your ball rolling down the lane towards a perfect strike.
The saddest bowlers are the ones who toss the ball carelessly and have poor technique. Usually, in such circumstances, the bowling ball will end up in the gutter—so knowing the basic bowling rules is very important.
About the Author: Anne Clarke writes numerous articles for websites on gardening, parenting, recreation, education and home decor. Her background includes teaching and gardening. For more of her articles about bowling and bowling merchandise, please visit Bowling Rules.
By: Mark Ransome
In today’s fast-paced stressed life, even children need to take a little time off with some form of relaxation. However, instead of raising a couch potato who listens to MP3s, plays video games, surfs the Internet or just watches TV, encouraging a child to take up a constructive alternative, such as, a hobby could open a whole new dimension to his life. Parents should support their child in discovering the rewards of having a hobby.
What is a Hobby?
A hobby is a pastime or activity that a child does in his spare time for individual accomplishment. It is something they have an interest in and that they enjoy. It differs from an activity that is forced on them. For instance, a parent may think that her son needs some exercise and signs him up for soccer. While her son may not mind playing soccer, he is not especially enthusiastic about it either. This is not a hobby for him; whereas, a daughter begs to take up ballet. Here she is not only getting exercise, but she lives and breathes ballet. That then makes it her hobby.
What kinds of Hobbies are there?
1. One type of hobby is collecting, such as, key chain, lunchbox, autograph, stamp, trading card, comic book, postcard, doll, spoon, patch or coin collecting.
2. There are educational hobbies. A few of them would be amateur radio, bird watching, genealogy, chemistry or astronomy.
3. Then there are creative hobbies. They could be painting, photography, playing a musical instrument, cooking, scrap booking, building models, HO gauge trains, kite building, wood carving, needlepoint, knitting, sewing and crocheting.
4. Also there are physical hobbies, for example, playing sports, yoga, bicycling, running or hiking.
5. Next there are the games. Many of which can be played in competition. Several are chess, checkers, bridge, gin rummy, backgammon and scrabble.
6. Some are then a combination of hobby types. For instance, hobbies that are a blend of the collecting and educational varieties are rock and mineral, fossil, butterfly, feather, shell and arrowhead collecting. Gardening could be considered both physical and educational; whereas, the art of dance is creative and physical.
What are the Rewards of Having a Hobby?
1. It can promote relaxation.
2. It can encourage physical exercise.
3. The hobby may further advance creativity.
4. Through the process of self-discovery, a child may realize a talent they did not know existed.
5. A hobby can teach. A child may learn about the particular subject they are engaged in and perhaps become an expert. They can learn organizational skills through setting up a collection or planning the next phase of their hobby’s development.
6. It may aid a child in increasing the drive and persistence to attain their goals.
7. Due to self-achievement, the hobby can help in building confidence. For example, when a budding gardener takes some seeds, cultivates the soil, adds the right amount of water and proper sunlight and wins first prize for growing the largest tomato at the fair.
8. It can also aid in developing social skills like how to handle competition with learning to win politely or lose gracefully.
9. The hobby could result into a lifetime passion or eventually turn into a career.
There are very few downsides to having a hobby. Unless, of course, the child becomes obsessed to the point where everything else in their life falls to the wayside. It is the duty of a parent to keep their child on track with what is appropriate and not to allow them to become too fixated on their hobby.
To further the desire to take up a hobby in a child, it is important that the parents have a hobby themselves. They also should attempt to expose their child to various experiences so that possibly their child may form an interest in some area. When an interest seems to develop, parents should support it wholeheartedly. Perhaps take a trip to a museum, show, or exhibit that features the hobby.
However, parents should not demand absolute perfection from the child. They should allow the child to try, fail, and learn from their mistakes. After all, it is their hobby and they should be allowed to explore it their own way. A child who discovers his own personal pursuit will surely reap many rewards from his hobby that he otherwise would not have experienced.
About the Author: Mark Ransome writes articles about trains and model trains for the web site Model Train World. More information on model train help can be found on his blog; http://modeltrainhelp.blogspot.com or http://modelrailroadhelp.com
By: Michael Russell
The blank piece of paper. It’s the hardest thing for the writer to deal with. Sometimes he can stare at it for hours on end and by the time he is done staring it’s still a blank piece of paper. Welcome to the world of writer’s block. Any writer worth his salt has gone through it. The thing that separates the successful writers from the ones who don’t make it is the ability to get through it. Hopefully, the following tips will give you some ammunition to deal with writer’s block.
Please note that this list is by no means written in stone and the only options available to you. They are just some exercises that many writers agree can work.
The one thing you can do to get through writer’s block, believe it or not, is to just walk away. Put down the pen and paper or keyboard of whatever it is you use to put your thoughts down and just take a walk. It doesn’t matter where. If it’s a nice sunny day, take a walk to the park. Sit on a bench and observe your surroundings. Don’t just look, but really observe. Concentrate on the birds. See if you can identify some of them. Stare at a blade of grass or a flower and watch how it moves in the wind. Do whatever you can to get your mind off your writing. By the time you get back home you will many times find that the ideas just begin to flow.
If getting away from your writing isn’t in your nature then there are some exercises you can do while you are writing that can help jog some ideas loose. One of the best methods is to stop writing whatever it is you are working on and start writing something completely different. If you’re writing a murder mystery and can’t come up with the final revelation of how the murder was committed, stop writing about the mystery and start writing a poem, or a to do list for people who want to get into the writing business. Get your mind off of the specific thing that you’re writing about but still keep your mind active in the writing mode. Many times you will find that the idea you are looking for will just pop into your head.
Another thing you can do to get past writer’s block is to do a writing exercise. Think about the topic you are writing on and make a checklist of all related topics that you can think of to that topic. For example, let’s say you’re writing a non fiction book about mole and wart removal and you’re looking for related topics to add to the book to reinforce the methods discussed for mole and wart removal. Think about what things are associated with health in general. Make a list. You’ll probably come up with diet, cleanliness, exercise and a number of other things. This will give you additional ideas for things you can include in your book such as a chapter on diet and exercise. Maybe a section on the immune system since moles and warts are usually caused by weak immune systems. By simply thinking of related material you’ll be surprised on what you can come up with. Don’t just focus on the main topic. Expand your mind and your book will expand.
These are just a few of many things you can try to get through your writer’s block. We’ll try to cover some more tips in future articles.
By: Holly Burnham
Knitting is such a passive hobby we aren’t necessarily focused on preventing injury. We can sustain injury and pain from our beloved passion.
Discomfort you are probably blaming on arthritis, a pulled muscle or ‘old age’ could very well be caused by knitting.
If your lighting is too dim you may be contorting your body in an odd position to try and get your hands under the best light. Personally, I did this for too long. I tried using a regular pole lamp for years and realized it just wasn’t giving me the light I needed….so I took that away and started using a table lamp on the end table next to the chair I knit in. A few days later my lower shoulder started aching and I realized I had been twisting my torso toward the lamp. I finally bought one of the new ‘day spectrum’ lamps and life has so much improved for me. I’m not saying you need to go to the expense of purchasing one of these lamps. I’m just suggesting you think about your lighting and if it’s sufficient.
We also tend to rest our arms on the arm rest of our chairs as we knit. This might be lifting your shoulders up toward your ears too much and could cause neck and back pain. Your knitting position is habit. Try keeping your hands closer to your lap and see if it might not feel better. If you are working against an old habit, it may take a while for this to feel ‘normal’.
I’ve read many times we should take frequent breaks from knitting to stand and shake out our hands and arms and stretch our necks and back. I do that now and I can knit for longer periods without pain.
I’ve tried warming my hands under hot water before grasping those knitting needles. This helps me….you might try it.
There is talk about different needles weighing less than others. It’s my opinion it’s not the weight of the needles that cause the problem, but rather the weight of the project we might be holding up as we knit. I try to use circular needles almost exclusively as I find I can knit closer to my lap and I don’t have to carry the weight of the garment as I do with straights. Again, just a personal observation.
I encourage you to take some time and think about your knitting routine and how you can improve your posture and tools to make knitting more of a pleasure than you already think it is.
About the Author: Holly Burnham is a self admitted yarn addict. The addiction will be life long and there is no hope of remission. Her constant knitting has put the cleanliness of her home in peril. Her yarn stashes are havens for generations of moths. At the risk of contracting this affliction, visit her at http://www.knittinghaven.com
By: Louise Dop
Cross-stitch is a wonderful, rewarding hobby that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities. Avoid these common beginners’ mistakes and soon you will be creating stunning pieces of cross-stitch work to treasure.
1. Choosing the wrong pattern
With the extensive range of charts on offer it is often tempting to start with something too complicated. For your first cross stitch project choose a chart with a relatively small design area and no more than 3 or 4 worked colors. You will have the satisfaction of completing it relatively quickly and can soon progress to something more challenging.
2. Tangling your threads
There’s nothing more stressful than tangled threads so always keep them organized. When starting a project, punch a line of holes in a piece of card and loosely tie each colored skein through a separate hole. Label each hole with the appropriate thread reference number and chart symbol.
3. Not finishing your edges
Some even weave fabrics and linens fray easily. Before you start stitching, prepare your fabric properly by loosely back stitching around the edges with cotton.
4. Loosing your place on the chart
For a large piece of work it is sometimes hard to keep your place on the chart. Before you start work, divide your chart into a grid of workable areas and mark with a colored pencil. Stitch a corresponding grid onto your fabric using brightly colored cotton. Sew loosely so that the cotton can be removed easily on completion of the project.
5. Stitching too tightly
Keep your stitches evenly tensioned or your fabric will buckle or stretch out of shape. Many cross-stitchers find that a hoop helps to keep the fabric taut as they work.
6. Not starting in the middle
The center of a chart is clearly marked. You should always start stitching from this point and work outwards to the edges of your design otherwise your fabric will pull out of shape.
7. Leaving the needle in your work
Always remove the needle when you finish sewing to avoid rust marks staining your fabric.
8. Getting your work dirty
Grubby work looks unattractive. Wash your hands before you stitch and store ongoing work in a sealed bag or container. Finished pieces can be washed by hand with a gentle detergent. Dry by rolling in a towel – never wring fabric.
9. Starting with a knot
Knots should never be used to start off a new thread. Instead, leave a 10mm length of thread at the back of your work. Hold it against the fabric as you work your next stitches and it will eventually be kept in place by the new stitches. Trim off any excess thread.
10. Straining your eyes
It is very important to avoid eye strain by working in a well lit room. During daylight hours, work by a window where possible. Consider buying a halogen lamp for stitching in the evenings. If your eyesight is really poor, you might need to invest in a magnifier to place in front of your work.
About the Author: Louise Dop is a successful freelance writer and technical author. Her ebook, The Writer’s Secret Weapon, brings together a collection of the best free online resources for writers and gives an insight into the writing life. With over 50 direct links to resources, this straightforward guide will show you the real-life tips and tricks that – armed with an Internet connection and basic computer literacy – you can try for yourself right away.
By: Michelle Bery
Crochet, like any form of art, is as much about skill as about innate ability. What comes from within – combined with the guidance and technical know-how of formal education – results in beautiful products. Those who learn to crochet will attest to the fact that not only do they now have the skills to make one-of-a-kind projects for themselves – as well as for gifts – but they have the knowledge that, no matter what, they’ll always have this creative outlet that’s all their own.
Those who learn to crochet do so for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they have always had an interest in crochet and want to foster it. Or perhaps crochet is something that their mothers or grandmothers participated in and they want to continue the family tradition. Either way, the ability to crochet allows enthusiasts to practice it for their own enjoyment or even make a job out of it, selling their pieces in craft stores, at fairs, in specialty boutiques, or online.
For those wanting to learn to crochet, there are several possibilities to go about it. First, visit your local craft store. You’ll often find that they have a schedule of classes for those who want to learn to crochet. Generally, just a few classes will be more than enough to get you on your way. The rest is really about practice. Purchase some yarn, hook, and a beginner’s book of basics and you’ll be well on your way to furthering your skills. You may even find that if you approach someone who knows how to crochet and tell them that you would like to learn to crochet, they’ll be happy to pass along some lessons. For those who love the art of crochet, they are often more than happy to assist others in getting started.
Beyond the basics it’s up to you to practice, practice, practice. If you start with simple patterns – such as blankets or scarves – you will find the easiest path to learn to crochet. The repetition is something that your hands actually learn. Soon you’ll find that picking up a crochet hook is much like picking up a pencil – your hands know what to do.
Learn to crochet and you’ll discover a passion that you’ll have for a lifetime. And the ability to make treasured items that can be passed on from generation to generation.
By: Marcy Larsen
Scrapbooking is one of those things that keep our memories alive and brings smiles to people’s faces for years to come. It allows you to relive the feelings and occasions as if they happened yesterday.
What is Scrapbooking?
Scrapbooking is basically a journal in which you keep your records through out your life. You can capture events that mean the most to you and your family. For instance you can capture birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and family vacations. You can scrap anything that you find special and want to share for years to come.
Scrapbooking Page Layout
Now that you are entertaining the idea of a scrapbook, it is important you make those memories as alive and beautiful as possible. Here are some layout ideas:
1 Depending on the occasion, make the page have color coordination. Use themed paper and/or matching colors to accent the photos.
2 Pictures, take and record as many as possible, whatever the occasion, and later on you will be glad you did.
3 When you get photos back from developing, write a few memories on the back so that you can remember all the little details you want to preserve. Sometimes we forget the smallest things that made the occasion special, writing them down will make it a lot easier when you start the journaling.
4 Keep mementos from the occasion to add to the pages. Birthday cards, airline tickets etc. Use these as backdrops for photos or as the title to the page.
5 Use accents such as brads, photo clips to add to the layout. A little dimension adds to the character of the pages.
There are several different ways to make a scrapbook layout. These pages are very personal to each of us for different reasons. Chose for yourself what works best, however, there are many ideas and examples available in case you run out of scrapbooking page layout ideas.
Whatever way you choose to record your memories, a scrapbook has to represent you and the ties you what to capture and save, so even if there are many ideas, it is what connects you to the memory that will be the right choice.
Take the time to create a scrapbook, if you don’t have one already; it is sometimes better then an album or a standard journal and can become a bit of yourself. Memories created in a scrapbook live beyond you, to be cherished and enjoyed forever, so don’t just create a scrapbook, put a bit of love and soul into it. You will be happy that you did when you look back in years and live those times again.
About the Author: Find Scrapbook supplies, tips, and techniques at marcylarsen.com. Let Close To My Heart Consultant, Marcy Larsen take your scrapbooking to the next level.
By: Joan Masterson
Scrapbooking is basically the preservation of memories around a specific theme.
There are many themes you can use, for instance: Weddings, Birthdays, Anniversaries, Baby Births, Special Pets, 21st Birthday parties, your babies mile stones, achievements, Christmas get togethers with the family, a special trip, a special holiday away.
If you have children, why not make a scrapbook from birth to their current age, recording their various stages in life, remembering especially the good and funny moments, the special dreams and fond memories. Use it as a special gift to present to them on their 21st birthday or on their wedding day – they will treasure it forever!
For Valentine’s day, why not create a scrapbook about you and your soulmate, remembering and recapturing the special moments in your lives together, and the love you have for one another? That would be a truly amazing gift to receive on Valentine’s day!
For future scrapbooks you should also record the happenings at special events and special moments in your life. What was the event, what was the weather like on the day, who was there, how did you feel? Amusing anecdotes and sentimental feelings jotted down can be used to give you ideas for captions and titles in your scrapbooks.
You could even make some money out of scrapbooking if you really want to get into it. Once your friends and family see your scrapbooks they will probably beg you to make them one as well! Give them a reasonable scrapbooking quote, and you could very well find yourself earning a nice income with a fun to do activity!
Starting your scrapbook
There are many scrapbooking kits on the market that will make your life a lot easier once you get into scrapbooking. However, when you first start out I would suggest that you only invest in the basics. You do not have to break the bank to create a special scrapbook that will capture your special moments for generations to come. Many of the items that you will need for your scrapbook can be found in and around the house.
There are many things around the house that you can use for scrapbook embellishments, from sugar crystals, beads, pasta shapes, leftover fabrics, trimmings and ribbons, to bird feathers and special grass and seeds that you can find in your garden. Use your imagination to put everyday items to good use in your scrapbook.
Other items that you might want to use in your scrapbooks would be stickers, rubber stamps, paint, glitter pens, chalk, three dimensional cutouts etc.
You will also need a scrapbooking album to store your pages in, as well as various background papers to add your photos, captions, stickers and other embellishments to.
You can create your own album by using strong cardboard squares and covering it with pretty paper and pictures related to the theme that you are building your scrapbook about. Use various colored cards for your inside pages. Then punch holes through all of it, and tie it firmly together with a pretty ribbon or piece of string.
All in all though, it is a fun pastime that you can use to spend time with your kids and maybe help them to start their own scrapbooks.
If you follow the advice in this article, you can have hours of fun without having to spend too much money. Let your imagination flow and take you places! Happy Scrapbooking!
By: Darrell Crow
It’s hard to imagine a weekend in New England’s Spring and Summer without one village or another playing host to an arts & Crafts show. I love to wander down the aisles inspecting the local artist works and seeing all the different creative offerings and themes. Often, I’ll stop and talk with the booth owner and see how they like the show…. Imagine what it would be like to exhibit your paintings at a local arts and craft show….
Yesterday, we talked about the ins and outs of conducting a successful art show with a benefit or fundraiser or charity event. Today, its a traditional, for profit show I’d like to talk about. Seems to me we all like to visit these shows until someone says……” Hey, you should sell your stuff. You’re really good!”
Besides flattery, we’ll visit art shows and think, hey I can do this…. And why not? We don’t have to make a living as an artist to exhibit at these shows. Just making a happy buck is all the motivation we need.
I will caution you to carefully consider which paintings to bring. The best, all time hits are either paintings of local scenes, or a common theme. A common theme could be all seascapes, or all lighthouses, or all wildlife, etc… You’ll need to research the show to decide what might work best for you.
Remember the questions we asked for charity evens and shows?
Same question for any potential art show. You have to do your research. Go on-line and look up art shows and festivals directories and find as many in your area that you can.
Look them over and again, the questions to ask are:
1. What’s the art show’s attendance for the past 3 years? History will give you an idea whether or not this show is growing or declining in popularity.
2. What’s the history for vendors? How many first time vendors? How many repeat vendors? This quickly lets you know whether or not other vendors have considered this event worth attending.
3. Often show organizers will schedule a dozen shows throughout the region over the season that they call a circuit. See if the same vendors attend each trade show in the circuit. Many artists make an entire year’s income just in the short season by signing up for all of the shows within one organizer’s circuit. Check it out. It’s not hard to see a show travel one weekend to Tuscon, AZ, Next to LA, then to Phoenix, than to Santa Fe, then to El Passo, then to Las Vegas and so forth. You know when an artist signs up for all of the shows on a single circuit, this is high income for him/her. So be sure to check it out.
4. Talk to other artists and vendors to get their reaction. Will they sign-up again next year? How many years have they exhibited. What makes this show unique for them?
5. What kind of publicity promotional programs are being done by the organizers? Estimated attendance this year? What’s the major drawing power of the show….or what compels people to take time off during their valuable weekend to come to this particular show.
6. What’s the average cost of items offered by other vendors? (Why? Because if you’re trying to sell $175.00 paintings and all other vendors are selling $15.00 items, its the wrong crowd for you…)
7. What’s the average sales per event for vendors…?
8. What kind of other vendors will be participating…..? In other words, match up your products with the true interests of your audience.
9. What type of special show offer can you put together that will more than cover your costs for being at the show.
There are many publications available that lists arts and craft shows chronologically or via region than date.
This is just a partial listing….
* Where the Shows Are
* Art Search
* Art Examiner
* Find Art
There are also tons of on-line resources available for your examination.
Furthermore, You will find listings of the art and craft shows listed in these publication. More importantly, artists that attended the craft show in previous years share their insights and reviews of their past shows. These artists discuss the types of items that sold well, what price point did well, and rate if they would attend the show again. Find the show that matches your work!
Making sure your art/craft show is a success use this guide as a checklist:
* Plan what paintings/works you’ll bring with you.
* Decide whether or not its appropriate to demonstrate during the trade show.
* Often, show organizers have a ’show manual’ that lists rules, union obligations, if any, and advanced forms that must be filled out/submitted by certain dates to acquire electricity, signs, set-up times, etc… Ask about them and ensure you’ve followed all instructions accordingly. Not all shows have them, just find out.
* Determine the types of payment methods you’ll accept. The more you have, the more likely you’ll sell. Options include Cash, Credit Cards, Checks, COD, Pay Pal and so forth. Again, planning will help you out. Bring sales receipts and order forms. Check out sales tax collection policies and how this is to be paid. If you’re already a business, you may have these answers. If its just you, then see what show management offers or make an arrangement with a neighboring exhibitor for credit cards, etc… The key is planning and making these decisions ahead of time.
* Send out invitations twice. First, 3 or 4 months in advance to all the people on your mailing and email list. Announce your participation, dates, times and that you’ll be offering a show special (Don’t tell them what it is, just that it will blow their socks off and its only offered during the show.) The second invitation is 4-6 weeks prior to the event as a reminder. Email your invitations again your list two weeks prior and the Monday prior the show. Make sure each invitation is a complete re-write and doesn’t look like the others.
* Have any printed material ready at least one week before the start of the show. I would suggest you put together a black and white biographical overview of yourself, whatever art education (even if its ’self-taught) you have and what you have painted and specialized in. Include any shows you’ve attended and awards won.
* I would also suggest that you put together an “Overview” sheet for each original painting you’re exhibiting. Put this together on black and white. Include a nice black and white photo, Title of painting, your name as the artist, size of painting, structure the painting is on (Masonite, canvas, etc..) and the story of your painting. Often people will buy the painting just as much because of the story as the painting itself. Talk about your inspiration for the painting, your personal and spiritual investment, the colors you chose and why you love it. Make people identify with you as much as with the painting. This is your secret weapon. Have plenty of copies (that number depends upon the show, and maybe the organizers/other attending artists will advise you). Remember b/w copies are only a few pennies. Start with a 100 to begin with for each painting and then gauge with each show you attend.
* Put together a Certificate of Authenticity (COA) for each original painting you bring to the show. This is a statement that this is an original painting, that you are the artists and you’re stating this is an authentic painting by you. These certificates are very big for many collectors as they love having the story and credentials of the artist as much as the painting itself.
* If you’ve had articles written by you or for you by newspapers or magazines, bring them framed or in an attractive table top binder.
* Have another attractive Table Top Binder with 8? x 10? photos of your artwork. The more the better to show your range of creativity. Mark the one’s sold as SOLD.
* Have plenty of business cards ready and bring them with you.
* Decide how you’re going to collect a mailing list or email list. People who take the time to want to stay in touch with you are very important people for you. They could well become customers….they just need to know you better before you buy.
* Decide how to tastefully display your paintings.
* Frame your work.
* Consider printing up a few prints of your most favorite (or income makers) paintings, or post cards as low-end price points.
* If you’re only bringing a dozen or two paintings, than bring computer generated color post cards or color photos of each. As you talk with people, you’ll find out if they are serious about a particular painting or not. If so, hand them a post card of that one painting…. Be sure to have your contact information, title of painting, medium used, size written on the back of the painting. This should be a cropped, non-frame color photo so it fills the entire side of a post card. That post card has to scream, “Buy me, buy me, buy me!”
* Pack up everything carefully for the trip to the show or festival.
* Arrive early and set-up quickly. Then go scout for ‘non competing artists’. Before the show begins, introduce yourself to non competing artists and let them know that you will be happy to refer people to their booths for their line of work, and in exchange you would like them to do the same for you. Hand out a few business cards to your new found partners with your booth number on each.
* Consider paying a commission for any buyer that comes to your booth referred by your non competing artist partner. This little known strategy works very well. Ask for the same for each non competing artist.
* During the show, be friendly. Approach people visiting your booth. Shake their hands and talk the ’story’ behind each of your work. Let your work speak for itself. Listen to what people have to say, and if you suspect that they’re really interested, ask them if they’d like to take the painting home with them. Ask for the sale. Most sales are not made because people are too timid to ask for the sale. Sales is not about saying ‘magical words’ that overwhelm a customer, breaks down their barriers and compels them to purchase the painting. Sales is about making it easy for the customer to purchase from you.
* Remember, all arts and crafts shows and festivals have only one purpose. To bring buyers and sellers together under one roof so that purchases can be made. Your booth visitor came prepared knowing that all booths there will be competing for their dollars. Its up to you to get your unfair share.
About the Author: Darrell Crow is fast becoming one of America’s favorite internet oil painting instructor. With his step-by-step instructions, anyone can learn to oil paint. Guaranteed. Get a free sample of his 2-hour comprehensive Basic Technique of Oil Painting. www.darrellcrow.com