Halloween Celebration!

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Happy Halloween everyone! I know it’s on a boring old Tuesday this year, but make sure to have some fun with it in a small way. Be it taking kids trick or treating, enjoying a scary movie, or ya know, decorating your house elaborately for the Holiday.

No, it’s not that other guy, this is a light display done by Tracy, a California music school teacher set to one of the best Halloween songs ever: “This is Halloween”. A fun watch though, I think I’d go crazy if I lived near anyone that does these big light displays. Definitely invest in some black out curtains at the every least, lol.

Halloween Out of Doors (DIY Decorations)

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Happy Monday, my crafty little minions!

Last week, I gave you all some ideas and tips for fun and freaky Halloween decorations that can spruce up the inside of your abode. But what about the outside? If you live in a home with a yard or porch/balcony area, this provides a fantastic addition to showing off your Halloween-y adoration.

The website HomeBNC has a lovely article that you can check out here if you want some great tutorials and ideas. A couple of my favorites from this site include Hanging Spider Sacks and Haunting Hooded Ghouls.

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Another thing that is quick and easy to do and helps creepify your porch or balcony is just pulling some cheesecloth or natural cotton scrim around the railings or from the ceiling, hanging down. If you’re feeling extra crafty, you can dye this black, grey, or tan to give it an extra edge.

Nowadays, you can purchase orange colored string lights. These are just as fun to simply wrap around trees or through bushes as they are to hang across your porch. However, you can also take small plastic hollow pumpkins (usually found at places like your local craft or dollar stores), poke holes in the tops or bottoms and slip them over the individual lights. Viola! String o’ lighted pumpkins! (You can also hood the lights with orange Solo or Dixie cups. Draw Jack’O’Lantern faces if you like.) This can be hung or strung as usual or you can tape/staple it down to the top of your balcony or porch railing to display a cute row of glowing pumpkins. (Make sure that you don’t leave them on all night because the plastic could become too hot and melt, creating a fire danger.)

Want something a little extra creepy? Go buy a skeleton head and arms and stick it into the ground. You can have it look like it’s crawling out from under that big old oak in your front yard or it can be clawing its way out from under the front porch. If you have a felled log or slab of rock in your yard that you consider a terrible eyesore, use it to your advantage. Have this be the thing your skeleton is emerging from underneath.

The best thing I can suggest for your yard or outdoor areas are to use your imagination. Every space has unique aspects to it; use the items around you, incorporate them into your decorations. It can make it feel more authentic!

Happy decorating!

~Scribe Sarah~

Displaying your jewelry designs

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Good morning all. This is Kim with Fantastical Menagerie. My summer season has started with a great bang, and for those of you who also make jewelry, I’m sure you think about how best to display the unique pieces you craft. Whether it is at home or at a show, it can be tricky to come up with ways that show your pieces to their best advantage, and let others know how unique your things are. I’ve found some excellent craftsmen on Etsy that make some excellent displays, ship, and are happy to customize them.

WhatWeMade is based in Arizona, and has some unique designs. Their necklace bust is gorgeous, wooden, and striking with any silver pieces you have.

DalesWoodandMore has a lovely wall unit that would be great for personal collections, or hanging on grid for a nice table display.

If you want to go more metal, BlackIronIndustrial has some unique shelving and bar selections.

I also love this wonderful travel case from Canoa Naturals

It is versatile and pretty. If looking to make your own display, there are a number of tutorials out there to make it a snap for any crafty person!


Hickory ComicCon

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Happy Wednesday! This is Kim, with Fantastical Menagerie.ย This coming weekend, you can find my things at a local show in North Carolina, Hickory ComicCon. It’s June3rd, in Hickory, NC. I and a number of other artists and vendors will be set up at this event at the Hickory Metro and Convention Center from 10-5. You can find the event information here.

They offer a costume contest, comic book grading, and the 501st Legion will be there are well. This show offers an opportunity to stick your toes in and try out a smaller event, and see if you like them. North Carolina offers a number of one day events like this each year, including Shelby ComicCon, Statesville, Greenville, and one in Marion, NC. They offer a relaxed environment, the opportunity to network with other local geeks, and gaming!

I will have my small setup here, but some really cool new designs and pieces.

*Photo taken from Hickory ComicCon’s event page.



Gearing Up for Show Season, Part 3

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Happy Wednesday! This is Kim, with Fantastical Menagerie. In previous Wednesday posts, I have brought up how to apply for shows, what to do for Juried events and photos, and what questions to ask an event to determine if its a good fit for you. Once you apply, and receive an acceptance, what next?

Creating stock for the event. Generally, think about the theme of the show, the demographics and buying power of customers likely to attend an event. If there are special guests or celebrities, consider whether items inspired by them should be something you offer. A wide variety of pricing can also help. The rule is enough stock to refill your table 3-5 times.

Make sure your display is tasteful, geared toward the event, and something easily visible to customers. It should never overpower your stock. If using tables, consider table lifts. They are easy to make or buy, and raise the tables enough so that customers don’t have to bend too far to see what you have. Organize your things, and have price tags or price signs out. Many customers don’t want to ask the cost of items- they may simply walk away and assume they can’t afford what you have. A sign across the front of your table or hanging on a display behind you will help with customers that are farther away. If at an art or craft show, having a banner across the top bar of your tent, or framed is a nice touch. Make sure it includes a logo or photos, along with contact information such as websites, email or social media links.

Invest in good business cards, shopping bags in paper or plastic, wrapping tissue, bubble wrap, boxes, or other packing materials for customer purchases. Unless you are selling bags or purses, most customers want their purchases wrapped. Buying handmade implies a higher level of service, so make sure that every part of the purchase is a pleasant one. If you want to make reusing or recycling part of your concept, offer newspaper, saved bags, or them about going green. Make sure you can take credit cards, because it will account for a significant number of your sales.

Before your show, its also a good idea to make sure you utilize social media to its full potential. Advertise the show, share photos of the art available, and make sure to publish directions and a map to your space. When at the show, walk around, talk with other artists and vendors, and network. Many times you can share customers, or direct them to someone who may sell something you don’t make. It is a small community, and it helps everyone when you are nice.

Next week, we can talk about pricing your items for your event!

Retro Video Game Shadow Boxes

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My husband and I have started a collection of the games we grew up on (NES and SNES mostly), but this person blows our simple little plastic cases out of the water.

Designed and made by Glitch Artwork, these shadow boxes give a bit of art and style to your gaming collection. They layouts are well thought out and visually appealing; so much so that the gaming cart isn’t the first thing to grab you. Quite a feat when it takes up about 1/4 of the space.

If you’ve got your own collection, or maybe a few favorite games you’d like to keep, I’d recommend giving their shop a look. The frames range from $35-75 and are definitely a way to class up your home, while still showing your gaming love. ๐Ÿ™‚

DIY Shelves: Pro Edition

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Yup, I’m back with a final update in making your own display shelves for shows. For awhile now I’ve been wanting to ditch the foam cores I originally made over a year ago. As time has gone on I’m always in constant fear of them being crushed or broken due to their lightweight material. So, back in March I had the idea to instead make them out of wood. They could remain the same thickness (meaning no new math to figure out, yay!) and shape, but by being made out of wood I would have a more professional display piece that could hold up for years to come with only a small amount of care.


This is how mine they turned out in the end, and below I will walk you through step by step how I went about constructing my lovely new display shelves. PLEASE NOTE: Unlike working with foam core, working with wood involves at minimum a jigsaw and a sander. If you do not feel comfortable using these tools be sure to have a friend/family member who can help you.

Items you will need:

-1/2″ Thick wood (as much as your designs say)
– A Jigsaw (I used a hand one, but a standing one would also be lovely)
– A sander
– Pencil
– Measuring Tape/Ruler


– Wood Stain
– Sealent
– Paint Brush or Rag
– Drop Cloth

Since I had access to a jigsaw, I knew my first challenge would be having the big cuts I needed from my large piece of wood done. Thankfully, most hardware stores that sell such large pieces of wood will cut it for you into any size square or rectangle you like. I got my wood at Home Depot and after the first 2 cuts they charge $1 for each additional cut. I don’t remember how many cuts I needed in the end, but it was more than 10. Getting as many cuts as you can done will only save you time. It’s worth the extra charge as long as it’s done properly. Once you get your wood and get home, it’s time to once again get your pencil and ruler out to mark all your measurements for where you’ll be cutting your wood. As always: measure twice, cut once.


You can see on mine where I had issues with one. Yeah, the guy cut one board 1/4″ shorter then all the others for my support struts and it messed me up. Maybe have an eraser handy in case this happens to you when you’re measuring. Once everything is marked, bring your wood over to your cutting station and carefully cut out your design/pieces. You don’t want any crooked lines so take your time and do it right.


Now that you have all your pieces cut, it’s time to sand! Get your sander ready and start with a high grit paper like 80-100 for your first pass, working your way up in numbers to a finer grit and a smoother finish. Make sure you get all of your edges too to prevent and splintering or roughness. Last thing I want is to have a rough section when handling my display stands. This step will take awhile to do and that’s okay, cause if you want, you can stop after this step!

029You’ll have a fully finished display stand at this point (baring any gluing/drilling to add dowels like I do with mine) that you can simply take as is and use all you like. Personally I wanted mine to be a darker color so I opted to stain it ‘Dark Cherry’. Before you start brushing your stain on, you’ll want to prep your area by laying down a drop cloth, an old sheet, or even old towels. You’ll also want to wipe your display pieces down with a clean cloth to remove any fine particles that may be hanging around from sanding. Once that’s done, simply lay your pieces out on your work space and evenly coat your wood with stain.


This will take at least 2 rounds as you’ll need to flip your display to make sure you get all the sides. You can use a brush or an old rag to put your stain on. As long as it’s evenly applied you can choose whichever applicator works best for you. Knowing this is a several hour project overall, I also recommend getting a stain that is also a sealer to save some small amount of time. You don’t have to of course, but sealing is needed to make sure your stain retains it’s color/look for as long as possible.
034And there you have it! Once everything is dry and finished your new display is ready to use at your next show. It will be sure to impress the guests and other vendors as they all wonder where you got your great display shelves. ๐Ÿ˜‰


Stained Glass Planters

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While not a huge fan of taking care of plants indoors (I tend to forget about them and kill them, my bad) I do love the sight of having them around. Even better is when it’s done in a beautiful or creative way. Such as with the lovely glass planters made by SNLCreations.

Based in Minto, Canada, artisan Susan Napper-LeDuc creats these beautiful planters out of stained glass and soldered metal. They come in quite the range of sizes, but most tend to stay under 6″ meaning they can be placed in almost any home. If plants aren’t your thing, she also has a lovely collection of stained glass decor pieces and really her whole store is worth a look through as it’s just lovely.

Make your own Jewelry Box

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As I’ve said many times, I’m not big on owning jewelry myself, but this is a great tutorial for those out there in need of an extra display for their product or just safe storage for their growing collection …but are strapped on cash.

The materials needed are pretty simple:
1.A sturdy cardboard/plastic box
2. Glitter foam sheet/tape
3.Pretty Washi Tape
4.Hair Curlers (the foam ones) in coordinating colors
5.A mirror to fit inside the box’s lid
6. Faux Pearls
7. A Pair of Scissors, Double-sided Tape and E-6000 glue

Now, I wouldn’t say this is a hard list that you have to stick to. If washi tape is not your thing you could easily replace it with contact paper and achieve the same (or better!) look. The genius idea from this site for me was using the cheap foam hair curlers as your jewelry separators. Such an elegant and simple solution. ๐Ÿ™‚ You can find the full tutorial here at A Bubbly Life with step by step and fully illustrated instructions.

DIY Display Riser – Mark 2

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Those that have been coming to the site since April will probably remember my DIY on making your own display risers out of foam core for a cheap, lightweight, and simple display that you can customize to suit your various needs. Well, I’m back with an update! After it was shared around on the artist group AANI one member had their engineering parent help them modify the design so it could be collapsible, making ease of storage/packing another benefit to making these risers.

I had a mighty need to make my own as this was my only gripe with them. So, after speaking with the artist directly to find out how they went about it, I set about making my own this summer.

After taking it out for a test run at 3-4 conventions after I made it, I have to say I’m in love. They lay flat and only the long shelves cannot be placed in bins and be completely protected in my packed car, they are much more sturdy (this could be to better measuring/leveling), and take just a minute to assemble when putting together my display. Now, I’m not here just to show off my new display, but to teach you all how it was done as well! Please note that I have never fully typed out instructions for a DIY before and that I made these back in July so it is possible I forgot a detail or did not explain something that was a basic skill for me. If you find any part of this hard to follow please don’t hesitate to contact me and I will do what I can to help you out. ^_^

You’ll need the following materials:


– A Pencil
– A long ruler (I used a metal 18″ one with cork backing)
– A cutting knife (Xacto or other brand) with a new blade
– A Cutting mat (I used an express mail box I had lying around)
– 1/2 inch thick foam core (Double the normal thickness is essential to give it support. Regular foam core IS NOT recommended)
– Hot glue & Gun (Or any glue that can be used with foam core. My E6000 ate thru it so don’t use that one)
– 1/4 inch diameter Wooden Dowels (can also use metal, but I found the cheap balsa ones worked fine)
– Drill (or be lazy like me and use the knife and wooden dowel to push a hole in. Just depends on how pro you want it to be)

1) First thing you want to do it measure out your cuts. Always double check your measurements!! The things to consider when making your measurements: Your total height of your display, the height for each shelf, how many shelves, the total width of your display, the width of the foam core. What we will be making are shelves to hold you items and support struts to keep them all in place/sturdy. My display measures 23″ long so I made 4 struts (2 for the ends and 2 in the middle), making it about 7″ between struts. My items are light weight with each shelf only holding about 1-1.5lbs. If you are going to have heavy items on your shelves you will need additional struts to keep the foam from bowing/breaking.



As you can see in my picture, I measured out each shelf height (mine is 3 shelves high. The total height is 15″ so each level is on a 5″ increment with 1/2 inch taken out of the bottom where the shelf will rest ) and made sure to include the area where the shelf will slot into the support struts (pictured above as the shaded in areas). The depth that they go into the display I’m sure has some sort of math formula, but the basics of it is that the heavier it is, the closer to half way through your support strut it should be. I wanted my shelves interchangeable so I just measured an inch deep into my strut. The other thing you will notice I did was flip my design so I wasted very little foam core. Shading in the sections that would be completely cut out for where the shelves would slot into the struts helped me visualize my shapes, but don’t feel as if you have to do it this way. Once you’ve double checked your measurements, you’ll want to use the cutting knife to slowly cut along your lines and cut out the support struts. This may take 2 swipes to get thru the bottom layer of the foam core.

051You’ll notice that these finished ones also have a back notch that I didn’t include when I first cut them out. I found it too confusing visually with the piece rotated, so I measured it onto each of my 4 struts and cut it out of each one afterwards. What is it for? Well, that is for a back support to help stabilize your display. I use mine as a shelf to hold my various tools/supplies during shows, but you could keep a bit of stock to restock your front with if you like and the items are small enough. You want it to be close to the bottom but not too close. Mostly you want it equal distance from the base and your first shelf to provide maximum support (mine is 1.5″ from the base). Too close to either will cause weak points in the struts. Now with the supports done, it’s time to move on to the shelves!

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Do the big cut of your shelf first out of the foam core (total length by total width). When you do this be sure to include the overlap on the edges where your shelf will slot into your struts!! If you don’t have these your piece will not be nearly as stable! For example, my shelves need to be 2.5″ wide to hold my items so I make the overall width 4.5″ since 2″ will not be used to hold product, but will instead go around the struts. Now, I hear you saying ‘But, Nicole, you only made a 1″ notch into the strut. Why do I need to double it?’ Well, dear anon, this is also for support. The extra 1″ I have added will wrap around the strut to provide the need stability. Like an interlocking puzzle piece they will both support each other and provide a sturdier and safer display. For much the same reason, my total length of 23″ included an extra 2″ to accommodate the 1″ on each end that would go around the outside strut.

When measuring where you will place your inside struts, remember that math is your friend and find the spots that are equal distance from the outer ones. Using my own as an example again, my total length is 23″, 2″ of which is going outside the struts for support. Then I lose another 1″ for the width of the foam core struts (these holes are .5″ wide by 1″ long) making my inner length 20″. I have two struts that need to be equal distance apart meaning my struts need to be (20/3=6.666″) 6 and 2/3 inches apart. I divided the space by three because putting in 2 struts would give me 3 inner sections. If you have 3 struts you will have 4 sections, and so on. Make sure you measure the 1/2″ strut width around those dividing points or else you will derp like me.


While my structure works just fine with these being and inch closer together in the middle….don’t be like me. Measure twice people. In my defense, I had been working on installing upper ball joints in my car before working on these shelves so I was kind of tired. Anyway, the observant person will have no doubt noticed that this shelf seems like it has much less width then the ones above. Congrats! You are correct! This shelf happens to be my back support shelf. It is only 2″ wide as I don’t need to have the back sticking out for me to hit while it’s on the table so I made not as wide that way it will be flush against the back. You don’t have to do this if you want to store more items there, but I think it looks better. At this point I have 2 shelves with notches and one back support shelf….but what about the top?


I was tired and forgot to take a shot of the shelf’s full length (hint: it’s 23″) but this is the important area anyway. This shelf is the required item width of 2.5″ for me as it will be going on top of my display and doesn’t need the extra support strut length. The important part is that this is what you will be making holes in, along with the top of the struts. You again want them to be equal distance apart (mine have .75″ gaps on either side) and you can use a drill with a 1/4 inch bit here…..or be lazy like me and carve it out with an Xacto knife. Just make sure the dowel will fit in the hole and it will be fine. Now, you can also drill a hole into the top of the foam core very gently that is at least 1″ deep to add your wooden dowel to (meaning you will need 2 dowels that are 1.5″ long for each strut you have. In my case I needed 8 as 2×4=8).

I can already hear you asking what the lazy the way that I did this is, so here you have it. Since the top of the foam core strut is just open foam, I simply measured where the dowels should go and pushed them down into the foam gently but firmly. If you don’t have a steady hand or want a very professional look to your stand, don’t do this. It will condense the foam and a very slight bulge will be visible on the sides. I was busy and tired all summer and did not care. One day I may make new ones that are pretty. Don’t blame me if you take the lazy way and push the dowel out the side of your strut though. Get help or borrow a drill if you don’t think you can do it this way.

Place some glue on the end of your dowels and slot them in your newly made holes at the top of your struts. Let it dry and ta da! You are feel to assemble your new display shelves!

Unlike the original DIY shelves I posted about, these clearly do not have backs. If you want to add backs you’ll need to figure it out yourself. These are about the extent of my engineering skills, lol. If you have any questions or need help assembling your own, please do not hesitate to contact me in the forums or in the comments where I will be happy to answer your questions or explain steps better.