Crafts and Fairs


Well, the recent Austin Pet Expo I attended is over.  I have been reluctant to attend a big event like this, and I think I now remember why – they are a lot, and I mean a lot, of work!  It was a fun event and I handed out dozens of business cards and met lots of pets and their owners.  I think the best thing about any in-person event is getting to meet folks directly and talk about your products/business.  And you get really great feedback.  People tell you what they do – and don’t – like, and why.  I consider all input good and informative, letting it serve as a basis for possible product refinement and new creations.  One thing I saw at the event was people carrying their small breed dogs in slings, so when I find time that may very well be my next new design!  My best seller at the expo was my new pet idBandanas, which I will be writing more about soon.

One really neat thing I finally was able to use at the pet expo was my Shopify card reader.  I used it on my iPad (after first testing it at home), and it worked beautifully.  Honestly it worked so well that I think I could just sell things from anywhere, just like you see in the commercials.  Perhaps I should carry it, along with my new pet bandanas, in my purse.  Hmmm…

I also know that I don’t want to do a really large event like this again.  I think something much smaller, and even closer to home, would work much better for me.  I would be interested in attending a fair that only requires a 6′ folding table and a couple of chairs, along with a limited number of my smaller products  like bandanas, toys, blankets, and crate mats.  I don’t want to think that all my preparation work and extra things I had to purchase or create for this event will be wasted by not having another event, I just want to keep it smaller and more manageable.  I am certain that there will be at least one local fall craft fair that will suit me perfectly!

That being said, my other decision since the Expo ended is to put my crafts back on Etsy. Etsy admittedly has the greatest global marketplace, and has been the best overall venue for me.  It worked for me prior to blogging, social media, and attending any craft events, and that’s really saying something.  I do still hope that in time my new shop website will replace my Etsy shop, but for now products will be listed in both locations.  I will be spending time the next couple of weeks getting everything re-listed on Etsy, with product descriptions that match those on my new site.  Fall has always been an especially busy time for me as a crafter, and I know that September is sneaking up quickly.

The best comment I received at the Austin Pet Expo-

Your creations take pet products to a whole ‘nother level!

Glad you think so!



Litter Box Solutions – Part II



This is the second part of a two-part article on solutions to typical litter box issues.

So, here is another delicate problem I’ve been forced to resolve with my cats and the litter boxes.  I call it high peeing.  Yes, you read that right; I have cats that stand to pee or “spray” in their litter box.  The solution to this problem initially seemed like a simple one – just get a litter box with high enough sides to allow a cat to stand and urinate.  But it turns out this was not such a simple idea.

I measured the space in my newly designed utility room closet area to determine the largest litter box size that could be accommodated.  I also wanted to be able to fit two litter boxes in this area, and decided that two 20” square boxes would be the largest size I could use, and they needed to be a minimum of 15 ½” deep.  Deeper would be even better!   This would allow for approximately 3-4” of litter to be placed in the bottom of each box.

And this is just my opinion, but I firmly believe in having “open” boxes for cats.  They say cats have noses that are 14 times more sensitive than human noses, and personally the idea of porta potties is not something I find pleasant.  Can you imagine with their sensitivity to smells how cats must feel having to use a litter box that is dark and confining?  Knowing this, I wanted boxes that were open at the top and made of clear translucent plastic, to provide the cats with as much open and visible space and fresh air as possible.  Having the boxes open at the top would also make them easy to clean.  Lastly they needed a cut-out for the cats to step into the box.

So once again I went on the hunt.  I went to all the big-box pet stores, Target, and Walmart, looking for the perfect boxes.  Pet store litter boxes all had sides that were way too low for my needs.  Finally, after finding nothing, I ended up purchasing two perfect size translucent plastic boxes at The Container Store, and had to do the cut-outs myself.  I used a cardboard template and drew my lines, and then used a jigsaw for the cuts, and then sanded the edges once the cuts were made.  Perfect!   I have to tell you that once I had the two new litter boxes in place in the closet, the cats quite literally lined up to check out their newly remodeled bathroom.  They gave me 16 paws up!

I know of at least three friends that have this very same problem with their cats.  I hope there are some litter box manufacturers out there listening, because apparently my cats have a rather common issue which manufacturers have yet to address!  Have you found solutions to any litter box issues you might have?