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2511 East 6th St, Bldg 4 Unit A
Austin, TX 78702

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The Paper + Craft Pantry blog is home to our latest DIY projects, current inspiration sources, and small business advice. 

Printable: Free Downloadable Mini Notes

Pei Sim


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With everything going on in the world today, it's easy to feel bogged down with the constant cycle of negativity on the news. For the most part, we probably all grew up with our moms telling us the importance of being kind to others, but it seems like we're at a turning point where everyone could benefit from a little extra dose of positivity.

Since we like to think it's the little things in life that make the world go round, we designed these mini note cards as a way for you encourage your neighbors, remind your friends how much you love them, and generally just spread some much needed "nice-ness" and joy in the community!

All you have to do is request these free downloadable Nice Notes, below, and print out as many copies as you'd like! 

Sweet Ways to Use Nice Notes: 

  • Add one to your bathroom mirror (better yet, leave one in your office bathroom so everyone can enjoy).

  • Leave it on someone's windshield to find when you're out and about.

  • Present it to a stranger who seems to be having a rough day. 

  • Slip it to a friend you haven't seen in a while.

  • Pop one in your neighbors mailbox, or leave one for your mailman! 

  • Print out a sheet and gift it to a friend, encouraging them to pass out nice notes in their community.

Don't forget, a little goes a long way. And you never know how a little encouragement in the form of a note can impact the person receiving it! 

p.s. Be sure to snap a picture and tag us so we can see how you're spreading nice-ness :) 

Nice Notes for Spreading love and kindness in the word
Compliment Cards free downloadable Nice Notes 
Spread Peace and Love with these Free Printable Nice Notes 

👇🏼 Grab Your Free Download Below! 👇🏼 

The Paper + Craft Pantry DIY Nice Note Downloadable

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D.I.Y.: Hand Knotted Tassel Earrings

Pei Sim


Free Pattern for D.I.Y. Hand Knotted Tassel Macrame Earrings

We're obsessed with all things macramé over here! And, given how quickly our Intro to Macrame workshop sold out this month, we know y'all must be too. 

Since tassel earrings have also been all the rage this summer, we were inspired to create our own version that incorporated some macramé ! The end result? These adorable hand knotted tassel earrings! 

Keep reading below to get the free macramé pattern and learn to how to make a pair for yourself (or a friend!) Don't forget to tag your creations on Instagram for a chance to be featured on our feed! 

Casual D.I.Y. Hand Knotted & Wooden Bead Macrame Earrings

HAND KNOTTED TASSEL EARRINGS

D.I.Y. PROJECT TIME: 2-3 HOURS

  • MATERIALS
  • Thin cotton cord
  • Colorful bakers twine (optional)
  • Wooden beads
  • Scissors
  • Wire hoop earrings
  • Washi tape

NEED TO KNOW KNOTS:

STEPS

  1. Start by measuring (16) equal pieces of thin cotton cord, measuring 2' long. We chose to substitute (4) of these strands for a muted grey and pink ombre bakers twine to add an interesting accent to our macramé pattern.   

  2. Divide your strands into two sets of (8) per earring.

  3. Tie each strand evenly around the metal hoop using the Lark's Head knot

  4. Once the (8) strings have been attached to the metal hoop, you will notice that they create (16) total strands to work with. *Pro-Tip: You will want to use the washi tape to secure the hoop earring to a table or flat surface to make the knotting a little easier! 

  5. From here you will be working in rows, with a series of "drops" to create the tapered effect on the earring. You will only be working with the THREE types of knots listed above, so get familiar with them and maybe even practice each style before starting on your design. Keep in mind that for a square knot you want to always be working with 4 strings at one time, and remember not to pull the knots too tightly! 

  6. Follow the pattern below👇🏼 to create these fun macramé tassel earrings! 

  7. After creating the series of square and diagonal half hitch knots, single knot each pair of strings on the backside of the earring. 

  8. Depending on how many tassels you want on the bottom edge, trim the strands accordingly. Where there are no tassels you will want to cut the strand as close to the knot as possible on the back of the earring.

  9. Cut the tassels 1/4" - 1" long and fray the strings by twisting and brushing them with your fingers. *Pro-Tip: getting the cotton cord slightly wet helps to separate the strands from each other as you roll them gently between your fingers. 

PATTERN

1st Row: Tie (4) square knots
2nd Row: Drop the first (1) strand on each side and tie (3) square knots, dropping the middle (2) strands.
3rd Row: Tie a square knot on either side, and when you reach the 4th strand on each side, string one of the wooden beads and tie a square knot around it. Create a series of (2) square knots in the middle of the two beads. 
4th Row: Drop the first (2) strands on either side, and tie square knots across the row, dropping the extra middle (2) strings
5th Row: Drop the first (4) strands on either side, and tie square knots across the row
8th Row: Drop the first (6) strands on either side, and tie (2) square knots in the middle
9th Row: Take the end string on either side and lay it diagonally across the border of knots you just completed, tape both strands at the center point. This is known as your "Holding Cord." Complete a row of diagonal half hitch knots down the holding cord on each side. Double knot on the backside of the earring when you reach the middle.

*Reference the steps (above) to learn how to make the tassel ends! 

Free Pattern for D.I.Y. Macrame and Wooden Bead Earrings
Free Pattern for Hand Knotted Cotton Cord Tassel Earrings
Free Pattern for D.I.Y. Hand Knotted Macrame Earrings

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Small Business School: Finding Pop-Ups + Markets that Work for Your Small Business

Pei Sim


How to Know Which Pop-Ups and Markets are Best for your Small Business

In a world where there are pop-up events, shows and markets every weekend (or at least so it seems), it can be a little daunting trying to navigate and decide which ones are best for you. As a small business owner, finding the right pop-up can be tricky because there are so many things to consider.

How do you decide which pop-ups to apply for? We're sharing 5 things to consider before saying "Yes!" to your next market.  

5 THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE SAYING 'YES' TO A POP-UP + MARKET FOR YOUR SMALL BUSINESS:

Attend one of their events

There's no better way to know if something is right for you than to see it first hand. Make mental notes on the location, who the fellow attendees are (are they your target customers?), who the fellow vendors are (are they up to par with your business? are they too similar? would your business fit in with the vendors there?). 

If the event is out of town, ask a friend who lives there to go to the event on your behalf. You can also consider reaching out to a fellow small business friend who may have participated in a past event. 

Vendor deadlines + fees

Well planned and usually successful events prepare well in advance which means they'll announce a vendor call or open applications months before the actual event. They'll also have a cut-off date for applications and typically will not accept last minute applications. 

Your booth fee typically just covers the physical space at the venue + marketing/coordination of the event behind the scenes. A well planned event will at the very least provide vendors with a graphic to share on social media and a Facebook event to generate interest. 

A good way to see if it's worth your time is to divide the booth fee into the duration of the event (hourly) to see what the "rental" cost of the space is to you. This will help you see if you are able to recoup the booth fee based on hourly sales! 

*Pro-Tip: Some events include additional perks like electricity, wifi, tables etc. But usually, these cost extra. 

Location + Calendar

Where is this market held? Is it in a part of town that already has a ton of other happenings that are similar? Here's a great example: during any given weekend there is likely some sort of fair, market, pop up going on in Austin. That's one of the things we love most about the city... but as a small business, it could end up diluting your customer reach if there are just too many events to choose from. 

Do some research to see if the market or event you are interested in is going to be held on the same weekend as another event going on in town. Does it coincide with a major holiday or some larger standing event that may potentially draw the community away from this particular event? 

Well put together and thought out market coordinators typically do a ton of work making sure that they event doesn't fall on the same date as another event! But, overlaps DO happen and it's important for vendors to do their own research before signing up for a market. 

Bigger doesn't always mean better

There are incredible markets that have been around for years that have a vendor list of over 100 and smaller events with vendor lists of under 10. Find the one that's right for you! Larger events with a bigger vendor list means more eyes on the event itself since ever vendor is likely sharing this with their individual communities. Smaller events means that customers attending have a more curated array of vendors to shop from. 

There's perks to both! 

Vendor relations + communication

When you peek at an events or market's website, they should have a clear description and expectation set! They should have an application process that's clearly communicated so that there are no surprises the day of the market!

Leading up to the event, they should be communicating with you to make sure you have all the information you need to have a successful day. They should also be responsive to your emails and queries! A vendor email + load-in packet/info should be provided to you before hand. 

If a market organizer isn't responsive or can't answer your questions, it could be a little red flag indicating how the event will go...

AUSTIN'S TOP 5 HOLIDAY POP-UPS & MARKETS

The Fine Goods Market

Austin's first and only handmade + vintage evening market. Small and intimate, set up as a showcase and happy hour. Curated from only Austin based businesses. 

Venue: The Paper + Craft Pantry

Date(s): this is a bi-annual market hosted in the fall and winter. September 1, 2017 + December 6, 2017

Cherrywood Art Fair

One of Austin's oldest 2-day art fair with over 90 vendors! You'll find a huge array of vendors both local and from all over Texas. Note that there are two booth options, indoor and outdoors! 

Venue: Maplewood Elementary

Date(s): This art fair is held annually, right before the holidays. December 9 + 10, 2017

Origin Designer Market

Organized and coordinated by a group of local makers, this market is the only one of it's kind n the Mueller neighborhood. You'll find a huge mix of local vendors and they usually have incredible goody bags for the first group of attendees! 

Venue: Browning Hanger (next to where the Sunday Farmer's Market is held) 

Date(s): This is a once a year holiday event held in December. December 16, 2017

Laissez Fair

This is the only exclusively vintage market in town. You'll find the largest group of vendors who specialize in vintage clothes, home goods, jewelry and other wares!

Venue: Space 24 (next to Urban Outfitters)

Date(s): This is a bi-annual event (spring and winter) with a mini version in the fall. August 13, 2017

Renegade Craft Fair

One of the biggest and oldest fairs in town with over 130 vendors. You'll find local vendors and even vendors from out of state (and even sometimes out of the country!) . 

Venue: The Fair Market 

Date(s): This is an bi-annual market hosted in the spring and fall. November 25 + 26, 2017 + May 20-21, 2017

 

After you've applied to a pop-up it's time to start planning your booth! For tips and tricks on how to elevate your product display, check out this past blog post. Have additional questions on how to know which pop-up markets are best for your business? Reach out in the comments below! 


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D.I.Y.: Abstract + Modern Dessert Display

Pei Sim


Paper Craft Pantry DIY Abstract and Modern Painted Dessert Display

There's so much to love about summer! We've been spending our off days cooling off here in our new pool float, and we've also been working our way through our list of best fries in town!

Summer is also the season of hosting backyard barbecues and dinner parties. And if you plan on having friends over soon, take your hostess skills up a a few notches with this custom, one-of-a-kind D.I.Y. serving ware. From brunch to an afternoon tea, appetizers to desserts, this D.I.Y. display will steal the show at your next get together. And it only cost us about $20! 

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PROJECT DURATION: 30 MINS

*This painting technique works on any clean glass surface

1. Flip your glass serving dish upside down and wipe clean. (We deconstructed a plain glass + metal dessert tier from IKEA)

2. Start by layering on paint! We chose to do simple + minimal brush strokes in different weights to create an abstract feel. Let dry. 

3. Layer on a final coat of paint (or two) to create the background color of your plate! 

4. Let dry completely before popping it into the oven at about 250 degrees for 20 mins to set the paint. 

Optional: We added a quick coat of metallic gold spray paint to the formerly silver hardware of our glass + metal dessert tier. 

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We want to see how you D.I.Y. your next get together! Be sure to tag us @thepapercraftpantry so we can see your D.I.Y. dessert displays!

You may have seen
this D.I.Y. on
KXAN's Studio 512! 

We sat down with Amanda Tatom in The Paper + Craft Pantry studio to show off these D.I.Y. Abstract Dessert plates, and demonstrate how to make your very own! Check out the full video here!

How-To Throw a D.I.Y. Summer Craft Party

Pei Sim


Paper Craft Pantry 2nd Annual Summer Craft Party Recap

In case you missed it, we hosted our 2nd annual craft party in June and had the best time with our Austin community! One of our favorite things about having a physical space in town is being able to host complimentary community events so everyone can be a part of what we are up to! 

This year, we spent the afternoon painting and working on a simple D.I.Y. for hanging plant shelfies. We were, once again, blown away, but the incredible creativity we saw! So, we wanted to give y'all a peek into how you can host your very own Summer Craft Party & get that much needed escape from the Texas heat. 

3 Steps to Hosting a Summer Craft Party

  1. Round up a group of your friends (even the ones that claim they aren't crafty :)
  2. Gather up the five simple materials you need for our D.I.Y. Plant Shelfie project
  3. Set a date and have fun!

We've included instructions, below, on how to create the simple and fun project we worked on at our Summer Craft Party! Feel free to print these and frame them at the craft table for your guests to reference. 

D.I.Y. PLANT SHELFIE

PROJECT TIME: 30 MINS

  • MATERIALS
  • Pre-cut + Pre-drilled plywood boards (we made ours 3"x 5")
  • Painters Tape
  • Acrylic Paints
  • Paintbrush
  • Cotton string

STEPS:

  1. Have your guests plan out the design by taping off their desired pattern onto the plywood. This is also a great time to select the color palette for their plant shelfie. 

  2. Once the board is taped off, it's time for the fun part—painting! Pro-tip: Be sure to recommend thin coats of paint so that everyone's D.I.Y.s are dry and ready to take home at the end of the party.

  3. After the paint has dried, cut two equal pieces of cotton string (we made ours about 3' long) and fold them in half. Where the string folds, tie one single knot while still leaving room for a loop that can hang from a nail or hook in the wall. 

  4. Each of the four individual strings at the bottom can then be thread through the pre-drilled holes and knotted on the bottom of the board. Pro-tip: It helps to hang the shelfie from the top loop before tying the bottom knots, that way the board hangs evenly. 

  5. Adorn the new shelf with a cute succulent or plant, hang, and enjoy! 

Small Business Chats: On Evolving And Growing Your Small Business

Pei Sim


Small Business School How to Grow with Your Business and Evolve your Shop Accordingly

We first met Allie through the world of Instagram years ago, even before we opened up our mint door! We were smitten with how sweet and talented she was and, of course, fell in love with her hand-stitched work!

In addition to being our resident hand embroidery instructor, Allie has grown what was a little hobby business into her full-time job. It's been incredibly inspiring to watch how she has grown her business in the past few years.

With a rebrand under her belt, a launch of over 40 new designs and products, and having her goods stocked in over 20 stores in the U.S., Allie is truly living her dream!

We sat down with her, while she was in Austin for two of her hand embroidery workshops, to chat about her small business journey and get advice on the best ways to evolve your brand!

How to Grow and Expand Your Small Business
Evolving your Small Business & Knowing when to Rebrand

Give us a little back story on your business:

I started embroidering while I was in college and found it so therapeutic. It slowly began to take over my apartment and I had a new found confidence that I decided to open an Etsy shop to share my work with others!

Tell us more about what you do!

I own a brand named after me, called Allie Biddle! I design + illustrate hand stitched greeting cards + joyful deskware! I’d describe my work as dreamy, mindful, and kind! I currently work out of my home studio where I dream up pieces for my line, work on production, and answer all the emails.

How were you able to take your business from an idea to an actual successful business online + in stores? 

I credit a lot of my early growth to The DIME Store in Denton, Texas. They were the first store to carry some of my early work, even before I had an Etsy shop. Community is SO important! My shop may be a little one woman show, but I’ve learned so much from the collections of small business + maker friends I have!

What's your proudest small business moment? 

Being able to write myself a check! I gave myself a year to do that—and in that time I was able to get my cash flow settled, give myself time to explore new products + all handle all the small costs it takes to run a business. Slow sustainable growth really does take its time, but it’s so worth it! 

Real talk: Owning a business can be hard, what’s a small business lesson you wish you would have known when you got started/wish you could tell your earlier self?

I think when you start a business, you get so consumed by what other artists are doing and how they are ‘successful.’ But the truth is, no other designer can be you and nobody has your voice + your unique perspective on the world. People connect to that. Stay true to that + you’ll be good! 

Last year, you rebranded your business. Tell us more! How did you decide to do that? Why did you decide to do that? 

So, my brand was initially titled ‘bedthread.’ It started with just lil' embroidered hoop pieces I had made around my apartment in a very therapeutic + hobbyist fashion. And the more time that went on, I realized that my work was growing stronger + more ‘me’ and that my shop was a full-time one-woman show! I really wanted to celebrate that, and didn’t feel the need to hide behind something that wasn’t my own name. The transition was kind of slow + steady, I announced it by changing my Instagram + Etsy handles. And then I just gave myself time to come up with a new logo, and develop my new line of illustrated work! The response was so wonderful and I’m so grateful to those who supported my rebrand! 

You recently launched a new line of designs and goods- what does the design process look like for you?

With bedthread, I was making these hand-stitched greeting cards, and the entire card was completely hand-stitched. They were wonderful + made their way into shops, but they were also so time-consuming! So, when I rebranded I had to rethink how to create products that weren’t so crazy, as it would take SO long to finish an order for a store! So, I took a Brit + Co class from Becky Simpson of Chipper Things on learning to digitize your drawings on Adobe Illustrator. I learned how to make that program work for me and invested in my printer (Karen the Canon!). Now, I illustrate by hand, digitize it, print, and then only stitch a small detail on each of my greeting cards! It’s a process for sure, but it’s an easier and ultimately means better designed products for my customers!

How do you decide what designs to launch? What does it take for a design to make the “cut” to be added to your linesheet? 

To be totally honest, I’m still working on this. Next month is the first time I’m unveiling a fall/winter line + having to think about the buying season ahead of the actual season we're in! Up until now, I've always just designed super intuitively and almost very impatiently! Once I have an design ready, it’s very likely that it will be available on my linesheet and etsy shop that same week! But I do try to evaluate my products often and make sure they all have a cohesive look! I’d rather have a line of 50 items that are both really strong designs and see my voice throughout, than 100 items and be all over the place.

When it comes to design, are there any Instagrammers you seek inspiration from or think we should be following? 

I get a lot of my color and design inspiration from painter Kindah Khalidy (@kindahkhalidy), the textile brand Dusen Dusen (@dusendusen), and my ultimate soul angel, Solange (@saintrecords)!

Who are some of your favorite independent makers and why? 

I love makers that share a genuine passion for their work and for sharing with others! I’m endlessly inspired by my great friend, Savannah Kurka and her brand Savvie Studio (@savviestudio)! Not only is her line amazingly beautiful + well-designed, she’s also a true maker’s maker. She’s always willing to talk out those business/wholesale/design issues we’re all having, and is always excited for those who gain great opportunities! I also feel those vibes from Worthwhile Paper + The Good Twin Co. I’ve never met these two ladies in person, but I'm sure I will one day!!

Any fun products or design sneak peeks you’re willing to share? 

Ahhhh, all the things! Stickers, notepads, + canvas totes are all on my list right now—stay tuned!

Growing and Rebranding your Small Business Advice and Tips