Bespoke and Boutique News and Tips

Protect Your Custom Home from the Winter Thaw

After a long winter that included record cold temperatures and more snow then we have seen in Southeastern Wisconsin in a long time, this warm spell may be good for the psyche, but it might not be so great for your house. 

Drainage issues, roof problems and maintenance oversights could result in leaks now that the snow is melting. 

You may not be able to solve the underlying problems until all of the snow is gone and spring has truly arrived, but you can take some measures now to prevent or minimize damage, experts say. 

What to remember as the temperatures rise and we wait for warmer weather. 

 Clear the snow. 

Once the ground thaws, melting snow acts much like an extended rainfall. As the ground absorbs the inches of snow, it may have nowhere to go and can collect against your house and seep into your basement.

You may be able to prevent a basement leak by shoveling snow and ice away from the foundation wall on the uphill side of your house. But don’t just leave the snow there in a pile. Remove any remaining snow and move it to a lower part of the yard, or else it will just melt and run back toward the house. 

Check the drainage. 

Be sure you have clear, uncrimped outlets for your roof’s downspouts and the foundation drain that runs underground around the perimeter of your house. Those systems usually drain to either the street or someplace on your property. Sometimes the downspouts empty into the foundation drain. 

Check that the openings from the gutters to the downspouts are clear, too.

Make sure water from your downspouts is directed well away from your house. That may require adding a flexible downspout extension that’s long enough to carry the water to a lower part of the yard. 

Check your sump pump. 

If water does get into your basement, a sump pump is designed to get it out. Now’s a good time to make sure that pump is working. 

Pull up on the float to make sure the pump turns on. 

Safeguard your valuables. 

The contents of your basement are vulnerable during a flood. Take a few minutes to make sure anything valuable is stored in waterproof containers or lifted an inch or more off the floor — perhaps on shelves, pallets or other supports.  

Protect a flat roof. 

While the snow has already melted off peaked roofs, snow and ice can remain longer on flat roofs. Those roofs are designed to be waterproof, but if you already have a small leak, it can turn into a big one during a thaw. 
Make sure the drains on the roof are open, so melting snow can escape easily. It’s OK to remove snow and ice from the roof if you can, but don’t chip off the ice. You could cause further damage.

Check for faucet leaks. 

You may be tempted to wash your car on one of these warm days, but be cautious. The stem leading to your outdoor faucet can break if water freezes inside it, which will cause a leak when you turn the faucet on. If the leak is indoors, you might not even be aware of it.

The post Protect Your Custom Home from the Winter Thaw appeared first on Colby Construction.

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Bespoke and Boutique News and Tips

Pivoting from Markets to Selling OOAK Online with Upswitch [255]

Michael Hanley of Upswitch has had a lifelong fascination with old ‘stuff’ that has been made redundant by ever-changing technology and been condemned to the scrapheap.⁠

With Upswitch, he has turned this fascination into a passion: reclaiming otherwise unloved items and giving them new life, in the form of lamps and lighting.⁠

In this interview, I ask Michael to share why he started selling his creations; how COVID has affected what was a primarily market/show-driven business model; how he balances work and a young child; and what marketing channels have worked best to grow his business.⁠

You can listen to this episode below, or on your fave podcasting app!

Do you want to learn how to set up your own online craft shop and get it right, first time?

Want access to a proven system that over 1,000 makers have used to set up a stellar online shop?

Check out my flagship course – Set Up Shop

Highlights from this episode:


  • Michael has always enjoyed tinkering with repurposed materials and began to focus on lamps and lighting. He spent the first two years of his business teaching guitar as his day job and transitioned to Upswitch full time in his third year.
  • Prior to the pandemic, Michael regularly sold at markets. This generated repeat sales and wholesale orders.
  • All of Michael’s pieces are one of a kind and are created around a found, central item such as an old telephone or microscope. 
  • Customers will bring Michael special items to create lamps or request specific items. This allows Michael the opportunity to experiment with objects he may not have otherwise used and collaborate with the customer.
  • “That’s the most exciting and fun part for me—finding new things to create into lamps. Because once you start to work on it, you’re just looking at everything and wondering how it could become a lamp and whether it would work” {Michael}
  • Michael’s work peaks and troughs—around markets he will spend around 8 hours a day preparing. At other times, he can take days off to spend with his family.
  • A regular day for Michael consists of approximately 2-3 hours of admin a day, 3-4 making and additional time for packing and travel.
  • Shipping presents unique challenges for Michael with online sales. Due to the unique nature of his creations, it is difficult to predict his postage requirements.
  • Jess and Michael discuss the challenges of postage rates and setting prices for your work.
  • “It does always surprise me what some people are willing to pay—if they really want something, they will pay the shipping for it.” {Jess}
  • By increasing the price of his creations to include the cost of postage, Michael saw an increase of sales.
  • “We are the creative engines behind our businesses so it’s important that we don’t lose sight of the one part of the business we can’t really outsource to someone else” {Jess}
  • Check out Michael’s work at Upswitch.

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Bespoke and Boutique News and Tips

16 DIY Craft Booth Ideas

Does your craft booth need some Tender Loving Care – TLC? Whether you’re looking to completely revamp your space or to add a few new additions here and there, these DIY craft booth ideas are for you! We’ve curated a few DIY jewelry displays for your craft booth design that are both easy to make and budget-friendly. You can get in on the industrial-chic trend with the Industrial Jewelry Stand that’s so cheap, it’s simply a no-brainer. We also like this Embroidery Hoop Display meant to show off favorite photos, but we like the idea of showing off some handmade earrings creating a beautiful, eye-catching, and shoppable chandelier.

We’ve also included some signage and pricing DIYs you can try out at your next craft fair. There’s a reason why chalkboards are so widely used: you can easily change your price or reuse the sign. Plus, with chalkboard paint, anything can be turned into a functional sign! Use this Craft Show Display Easel to easily display your chalkboard signs. We also like the idea of turning a mirror into a sign which is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also serves as a unique signage option. Our pricing favorite? Make a Wire Display Stand. We like the idea of using stones, crystals, and wood blocks as the base. Plus, you can form the wire into any shape you want!

Don’t forget to check out our Craft Booth Display Essentials in order to make sure you’ve got the basics for a successful craft booth design. There are a ton of DIY options you can create in order to customize your craft booth to best serve your needs and to best display your product. You can also check out our Top Craft Fair Trends if you’re looking for craft booth design inspiration.

DIY Jewelry Displays

Plywood Jewelry Pyramid
Image courtesy of

Industrial Jewelry Stand

$10 Jewelry Holder

Copper Pipe Jewelry Display

Plywood Jewelry Pyramid

Faux Ceramic Ring Cones

Embroidery Hoop Display

DIY Craft Fair Signage + Pricing

Vintage Marquee DIY
Image courtesy of

Craft Show Display Easel

Vintage Marquee DIY

Wire Display Stand

DIY Plywood Sign

Recycled Window Sign

Mirror DIY Sign Idea

Craft Booth Display Essentials

Spinning Display Rack
Image courtesy of

Spinning Display Rack

DIY Suitcase Table

DIY Freestanding Pegboard Display

DIY Display Risers

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