Ten Tips for a Successful Bake Sale

Over the past few years, Debra and I have organized several bake sales.  Along the way, we’ve discovered a few tips that help boost profit and make the sale run more smoothly.  This past Saturday, our local MOPS (Mother’s of Preschoolers) group hosted a community Easter Egg Hunt.  Debra and I were asked to coordinate the bake sale.  All proceeds went to help defray the cost of childcare.  We couldn’t have asked for a more gorgeous day!

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So, here are our top ten tips for a successful bake sale:

1.)   Start by creating a sign-up form for donated baked goods.  It’s important to get people starting to think about this sale early.  Our local MOPS group meets monthly at our church and circulated a sign-up form about three weeks ago.  We also gave other people in the church an opportunity to participate by announcing the upcoming bake sale and community Easter Egg Hunt the two Sundays prior to the event.  I made a few follow-up calls in the days leading up to the bake sale just to remind people of the event and go over logistics (how to package, where to drop off, etc).

 2.) To draw attention to the booth, we like to use colorful banners.  These can either be sewn or made out of paper.  The hot pink bunting banner, I made out of my daughter’s old sun dresses.  For directions on that project, click here.  The “SWEETS” banner is made out of burlap stenciled with black craft paint.  We sell lots of these banners in our store although this one was made just for our bake sales.

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This paper banner was simply made out of colorful paper and a stencil.

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3.)   Pre-package and price as much as possible before the sale starts.       This is always our ongoing problem whether we’re doing a bake sale or a craft sale.  We seem to be running around like crazy trying to get this done right as the sale starts.  We’re getting better but still have a way to go in this area.  These mini chalkboards  work great as we can recycle them from one event to the other.

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 To simplify and save time, we also use a few clipboards painted with chalkboard paint to write out the prices of several items.

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4.) Be prepared with plenty of items for repackaging.  Some people will come with their items prepackaged but many will just drop of containers full of cookies or brownies, etc.  and that’s great!   We always make sure we have plenty of cellophane bags and pretty twine (available through Miss Mustard Seed here) on had to package them up.

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5.) Make your display area as pretty as possible.  We love to use vintage kitchen items, colorful banners and fresh flowers.  We also sold Easter wheat grass centerpieces with whimsical peeps nestled in for color.

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6.) Provide beverages and non-sweet items.  In addition to baked goods we also always provide water and hot coffee.  Iced coffee may be good as well if you’re hosting in the summer.

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This particular sale was from 11a.m. to 1p.m. so people were hungry.  We offered bagels and cream cheese but sold out right away so next time we’ll make sure we are better stocked in that area.

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7.) If hosting the sale outside, make sure you set a rain date.  Originally the plan was to have the egg hunt and bake sale the day before Easter but if it ended up raining that day we would have had to cancel the whole event.  Better to give yourself a buffer.

8.)  Get extra volunteers to help staff your booth.  You can always use a few extra hands!  We were so busy and I got distracted running around taking pictures of my youngest as she participated in the egg hunt.

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9.)  Check into matching funds.  In the past, our MOPS group has applied for matching funds through Thrivent Financial for Lutherans but there are probably plenty of other organizations that do this as well.  If you start early, you can research this option and  greatly increase your profit.  It’s worth some investigation!

10.) Have fun!  If things don’t go that smoothly, that’s okay.  The main thing is that people have a good time.  For us, it’s a chance to meet up with old and new friends and raise money for a good cause.

We hope these tips help for your next bake sale.  And by all means, let us know if you have any tips for running a successful sale.  We love feedback!  Hope you get a chance to get out there and enjoy Spring!

Elizabeth

 

 

 

 

Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint Meets My Kitchen Stools

I recently used Miss Mustard Seed’s milk paint to give my kitchen counter stools a makeover.  In my old kitchen the black stools contrasted nicely with the all white cabinetry.

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But 12 years and 3 kids later, my stools were showing a lot of wear.  And in my new home, with the base cabinets painted black, I felt some contrast in color was needed.

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Using milk paint was a new experience for me.  First, it comes as a powder which you then mix with water.  It is non-toxic and odorless so you can use it inside without the need for ventilation.  I found I needed to stir it frequently because the  color separates easily.   If you  like a chippy look and are painting over existing paint, there is no need to sand first.  On the other hand, if you want a smooth finish, then light sanding is necessary.  You can also add a bonding agent to the milk paint mix to get better adhesion.

I decided that a chippy finish would best suit my family … our youngest just turned five so we still have a few years ahead of us of lots of  wear and tear by little ones.  I chose Lucketts Green from Miss Mustard Seed’s line of milk paint.  The color is close  to that of jadite.

Here’s how the chairs looked after the first coat of paint.

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After I applied the second coat, the paint naturally started to chip on its own.  I then lighted sanded the stools with a fine grit sandpaper to smooth the finish.  I applied two coats of polyacrylic to seal the finish.

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I like the new color.  I also like the contrast of the chippy stools with the more formal elements in the kitchen.

I will be sharing more about our Ikea kitchen in the weeks to come.  Stay tuned!

Debra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upcycled Crocheted Coverlet

My mom made this crocheted coverlet in the 70′s.
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Over time, parts of it have started to disintegrate but I hated to throw it out  - just too much sentimental value!

Rather than having it just sit in my closet, I decided to cut out the good parts and make decorative throw pillows.  Using pillow forms that I already had around the house, I simply cut the crocheted coverlet to the size that I wanted, allowing for a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  I layered the coverlet piece on top of another plain white piece of material and used a simple envelope closure for the back.

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 Using different colored fabrics under the coverlet would have resulted in a totally different look.  I liked the versatility of the white and felt that it emphasized the texture of the material.  I keep this one on my bed and love the contrast with the deep red pillows.

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I enjoy using sentimental objects for decorating in my home.  A few years ago, I upcycled an antique quilt that my great-grandmother had made.  You can read all about that here.

Hope this inspires you to upcycle a family heirloom that may be buried deep within a closet.

Elizabeth

 

Friendship Soup

As the weekend approaches, my thoughts turn towards hospitality.  It’s easy for me to make excuses to not have people over:  too tired, too busy, house too messy,   too limited with resources, etc. etc. etc.  But, I know that pushing through those excuses is good for both me and my family.

On the birth of my first child 13 years ago, I was given a gift basket which included this simple, humble soup mix.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made this soup!  I don’t even know where it originated.  I’m assuming that it’s called Friendship Soup because it feeds so many.

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Here’s how you make it:

Ingredients:

1/2 cup dry split peas

1/3 cup beef bouillon granules

1/4 cup pearl barley

1/4 cup onion flakes

2 teaspoons Italian-style seasoning

1/2 cup uncooked long-grain rice

1/2 cup (or more) uncooked pasta

2 bay leaves

Directions:

1.) In a quart jar, layer the split peas, bouillon, barley, lentils, onion flakes, Italian seasonings, rice and bay leaves.  Place macaroni on top and seal tightly.

2.) Attach a label to the jar that reads:  “Additional Ingredients: 1lb. ground beef, 3 quarts (12 cups) water, 1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained, 1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste.”

Prepare Soup:

Remove macaroni from the top of jar and set aside.  In a large pot over medium heat, brown beef and drain excess fat.  Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, water and soup mix.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes.  Add the reserved macaroni, cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until macaroni is done.  Season to taste.  Note:  putting the macaroni in a sealed sandwich bag makes it so much easier to remove.  Also, I prefer to cook the macaroni separately (less mushy for leftovers!).

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So, push the clutter under the couch, dim the lights and invite your loved ones over for this simple yet satisfying meal.  You’ll be happy you did!

Elizabeth

Upcycled Sweater Flowers

We had a great time at the Tuscarora women’s retreat this past weekend.  We did a couple of craft workshops, showing the women how to make these fabulous flower pins using old sweaters.

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For the zinnia type flower, any sweater will work ….wool, cotton, polyester, etc.

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Icut a 1 1/2 inch wide strip, 16 inches in length.  I folded it in half length wise and hot glued the raw edges together.  Then I cut slits in the folded edge about 1/4 inch apart and 1/2 inch deep.  I rolled it and glued it every so often.  This one was super easy to make.  For step by step instructions, go to betzwhite.   She uses felt instead of old sweaters and sews the flower instead of using hot glue.

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This one is made from the cuff of sweaters.  A simple running stitch around the raw edge, pulled tight forms this cute little flower.  The center is a button taken off of a sweater.   Check out pollywantacrafter for step by step instructions.

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For the two rosette style flowers, felted wool sweaters work best.  100% wool sweaters are easy to find at thrift shops  Just wash in hot water and dry on high heat.  This will turn the sweater fabric into felt.  You can also use purchased felt if you rather.  Here’s the link on how to make the simple rosette.  

imageThis one is just a variation on the simple rosette but a little trickier to get the technique.  Start with a round circle of felted wool and cut into a spiral.

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You end up with one edge out of alignment which you will need to cut off.

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Beginning from the outside roll it tight 3 or 4 turns and glue.

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Then instead of just rolling, twist the strip away from you while you rotate the flower in your other hand counterclockwise. This will form a petal.   Glue as you go.

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Continue rotating the flower counterclockwise as you twist the strip away from you about every quarter turn.

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Continue in this manner.  For the last two layers don’t twist them, simply wrap them around and glue as you go.  Put a large dab of glue on the underside.  The inner part of your spiral becomes the back.

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This style flower is probably the hardest one to make.  Stick with it and it will get easier.

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These are so much fun to make.  Use hot glue to add a pin or hair clip to the backside.  Or simply sew them onto a purse, or pillow.

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Map Wreath

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I love to decorate with items that evoke memories and maps are a great way to commemorate a favorite location or special place.  With GPS now built right into our smart phones, paper maps seem to be becoming a thing of the past. Before throwing out though, consider upcycling them into a beautiful wreath to decorate your home.

Here’s how:

For the wreath shown above, I used two maps.

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First cut maps along the folds.  Then cut in half again.

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Hold paper horizontally, with right hand holding upper right corner and left hand holding lower left corner.

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Bring corners towards each other and overlap.

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Hold the opening of the cone together with your right hand while pulling the paper tight with your left hand to make the cone shape.  This will feel awkward at first but keep at it.  Pretty soon you’ll be able to make them very quickly.

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Run a strip of hot glue along the side of the cone to secure.

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Once you’ve rolled enough cones, you can begin assembling the wreath.  The wreath that I made took 58 cones so you’ll need lots.

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I used a light weight cardboard for the base of this wreath.  I found that a shirt box left over from Christmas worked well but use whatever cardboard you have around the house.  I used plates from my kitchen to trace two circles, one inside of the other, to make a doughnut shape.  Mine measured 9 1/2 inches in diameter.  Use what you have to get the size that you want.

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I then cut out the shape and added a hole punch to the top.  Do this now as it’s hard to add the hole and string later.

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Next, add the first layer of cones by gluing to the cardboard base.

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Glue another layer of cones to this base layer, placing them slightly down closer to the inner circle.  You can stop after two layers or continue on with another layer, depending on what looks best to you.  I’ve made some with two layers and some with three.  You need to step back and evaluate as the process goes on.  In this particular wreath I didn’t like the way the tips of the cones were coming together so I added the third layer to “clean up” the center.  I snipped a little bit of the cone before gluing in.  This is what makes each one unique.  Sometimes adaptation is needed in the creative process (but that’s what makes it fun!).

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I’m happy with how it turned out although I think I’m going to make a larger one with maps that my mom just sent to me from my home state of Minnesota.  Can’t wait to get it started!  Hope you try this fun project and hope it brings back lots of good memories in the process!

Elizabeth

Candy Cane Hearts

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Don’t throw out those Candy Canes just yet! Here’s an easy way to upcycle them for Valentine’s Day. Don’t have any? Head out now, where stores are selling boxes of Candy Canes for 75 – 90% off. They’re not expensive to start with so we’re talking about 25 cents per box!

Here’s how:

Supplies:

cookie sheet

parchment paper

candy canes

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Directions:

heat oven to 300 degrees

line baking sheet with parchment paper

arrange two candy canes into the shape of hearts

bake for approximately 8 minutes but watch closely as ovens will vary

let cool and peel off parchment paper

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Enjoy!