Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Featured Artist- Needlings

I first ran across Needlings on Twitter, of all places. The little cute doll in her avatar grabbed my attention as much as the name. When I went to see her shop, I was happily amazed at the details that went into these dolls and bags, and I think you will be too!

1.Tell us a little about your craft, what is it and how did you get started in it?

Needlings started in 2007 when I made a little felt plush toy for a little special needs girl my mom, a nurse, takes care of. I have always loved making things but the first happy-making little handsewn face was the start of many more to come for me. I began making The Needlings plush and writing little stories for them to satisfy my writer's bug as well as other felt and sewing crafts such as pins, bags and pillows, which followed shortly after.

2.What inspires you or helps you create?

Thankfully, I find I rarely have blocks in terms of creating. I like to change things up a bit if I feel stuck but I'm generally inspired to make things on a daily basis. My plush's stories are often inspired by people in my life and lots of other silly things in general. I find the one thing I can't force myself to do is write. I have to let ideas come when they do; and if they don't, I just take a break by sewing up an Owl Mama, a bag or knitting some straps.

3.What do you love most about being a crafter/artist?

I just love making things from nothing. If what I make brings a smile to someone's face, it's a complete plus.

4.What one thing would you tell a new designer that you wish you had known when you first started?

Be prepared for your work to consume you. You will get back what you put in to it if you want. And don't forget to give yourself some time off!

5.Where do you see yourself in five years?

Hopefully, doing more of the same but on a larger scale!
Actually, I've never been good at this question. I've never been the life-plan sort...which may be why I now am a "toy-maker" of sorts.
I just want to be doing what I love with the people I love close by.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


A wee bit of a blog break this week. I have a cold that won't give up and a few family commitments so other than the featured artist and Fridays business plan workshop, I am taking the week off!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Planning for love AND money

Last week we covered the first section of your business plan, the overview. This week we will tackle the financial section. Put simply, this is where we cover how you are going to fund your business, your businesses expected debt load, your businesses expected profitability, and will do the all important break even analysis- aka when your business starts making instead of costing money.

I have said this before, but it bears repeating- it takes the average business 2-3 years to become profitable, and most businesses fold in the first year. Why? There are many reasons, but the largest by far is they did not have a sound financial plan going in and went broke. After completing this section you will have taken a very large step to insuring your business does not meet this fate.

Once again, we are going worksheet style. Following the worksheet are some tried and true methods to fund your business without seeking out a loan. You may want to have a calculator handy, there is some minor math in this part. (If you do want a business loan, please contact the SBA or your local SCORE chapter for more information on business plans for that purpose).

1) What equipment do you need or foresee you will need/need to replace within the next six months years. Start up supplies go here as well. Once again, place an approximate dollar amount by each item.

2) Any other overhead you need to start- licenses, membership fee's, studio rental, etc. Place the what and the dollar amount here.

3) What equipment do you currently own? Include craft specific equipment as well as office equipment such as computer, postage scale, etc. Place an approximate dollar value by each piece of equipment.

4) Do you currently have cash (not credit or loans) set aside for your business? How much?

Ok, now add 1 and 2 together. This number is your start-up debt. Now add up 3 & 4. This is your capital.

Now we are going to figure out your fixed cost and variable costs. A fixed cost is anything that is the same no matter how much you sell. Your start-up debt above is your fixed cost for your first year of business. We are going to do a three year break even analysis, so you will need to list your yearly fixed costs for the following two years as well- yearly rent, insurance, license renewals, etc.

Fixed costs
first year-(startup debt- capitol)
Total- $
second year- (itemize and dollar amount)
Total- $
Third year- (itemize and dollar amount)
Total- $

Variable costs are recurring costs that are absorbed each time you sell something. This is your labor cost (the hourly wage which you pay yourself), supplies, advertising, online listing/selling fee's, booth rental, etc.

Variable costs
(itemize each costs with a dollar amount example:
Labor- $20 hour
Listing fee- .20
then break it down to the amount of variable cost that affect each item you sell)

If you already have a pricing formula, write it down here. If not, you need to come up with one before we go any further. There are plenty of formula's out there for artists on the web, or you can use this simple one:
supplies + hourly wage x 2= price
if you pay yourself $20 an hour and the item takes 15 minutes to make and $1 in supplies, your formula would like this:
1+5x2= $12
Another option is to do variable costs+hourly wage+supplies x 2= price. Pricing can be the most complicated thing to figure out. You will most likely change your pricing strategy after writing this plan, and that is fine. You will just update your plan once you do.

Now pull out a separate sheet of paper, it is time for the last part of this section! We are going to do our break even analysis. Once this is done you will have a good idea of when to expect to begin making profit from your business.Leather Checkbook Cover by LnJARTSnCRAFTS

At the top of the paper write:
Capital year 1 Fixed costs variable costs Average item price
$ $ $ $

Now the formula to figure your break even point: subtract your variable costs from your average item price. Now take that number and divide your year one fixed costs by it:
Break even Point = Fixed Costs/(Unit Selling Price - Variable Costs)

This number is how may items you need to sell to break even. If you do not achieve this your first year, you will then go back and redo it adding your second year fixed costs to the remainder of year one's costs, and so on up until year three.

How does knowing your break even point help you? First, you know exactly how profitable your business is at any given moment. This is a good thing, as it helps you plan accordingly. Second, if you wish, you can start paying yourself from the first item you sell if you wish with out guilt. And third, you can avoid many of the common pitfalls of overspending and the cycle of debt many businesses fall into.

Time for the good part! Some ways to fund your business:
1) Re invest your hourly wage into your business.
2) Work a part time job to support you or your business until it gains profitability.
3) Work full time while building your business part time.
4) Research local opportunities for funding. Some local organizations have special accounts for small business owners where they match funds you deposit in them. Contact your local SBA chapter to see if any exist in your area.
5) Research grants you may qualify for. A good online resources:
6) The multiple streams of income method (the way my husband and I did it):
Freelance for another company for the steady check
work small odd jobs
write for in your area of expertise, this doubles as marketing that you get paid for.
scale back- don't eat out, hoard every penny mentality
7) Deliver the weekly free paper in your town. This is usually good for a couple hundred dollars a month, only takes a couple hours a week, and doesn't interfere with a day job or building your business.
8) Ask for start up capitol for Christmas, birthdays, etc, then set up a separate account for your business so you don't touch it for personal use.
9) Sell something. Do you really need two cars? Three t.v.'s? That hideous lamp aunt Martha gave you that is worth $150?
10) Set aside a certain amount from your current jobs paycheck into your business account. Treat it as a bill that must be paid.

Under no circumstances use credit cards to fund your business! That rarely has a happy ending!

Next week we'll cover the marketing plan, I promise it will be much easier than this workshop is!

Morning Coffee 10-24

1) Finish and post article.done
2) Finish creative catch-up.
3) Follow marketing plan.
4) List some items.
5) Do the weeks book keeping

An easy day today. I think I'm coming down with a cold :(

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Morning Coffee 10-23

Overslept today, good thing I don't have to be anywhere til this afternoon!

1)Follow marketing plan. done
2) Take and edit a few pictures. Done
3) Work on tomorrows blog post.done
4) Visit a few local shops about wholesale/consignment, done
5) Create! done

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Featured Artist- Caged Bird Sings

I have always loved wind chimes, my mother had them hanging in front of the windows when I was a child and the spring breeze would always fill our house with their melodic tinkling. When browsing Etsy a few weeks ago stumbled across artist Caged Bird Sings and fell in love with these amazing and unique chimes!

1.Tell us a little about your craft, what is it and how did you get started in it?

I create stained glass wind chimes using hemp, beads, and wood. My mom used to make candle holders with stained glass until it became a popular Wal-mart ,etc item. I used to help her make some of 'em and I simply loved stained glass... the variants of colors... the difference between in the house vs. outside in the sun, that sort of thing. My mom had tons of scraps that she bought from a brick and mortar stained glass shop owner and helped me to create my first wind chime. I was browsing the art site that I post my work on and that one day I saw a link to Etsy, clicked it, and thought "I can sell these..." and BAM! Here I am, 1 year later. I still shop with the same brick and mortar artist :) he helps me out a lot by saving his scraps of glass for me to pick up. At first I had used a soldering technique and fishing wire, but something about it wasn't very complete to me, and the soldering is messy and time consuming. HEMP! Have been using the stuff ever since :).

2.What inspires you or helps you create?

My mom, my friends, family, life in general. A lot of the times I walk across campus to clear my head, play soothing ipod music and stare the entire walk up into the trees. This usually causes collisions with other students but I don't like people who are constantly on their cell phones anyway :) ahahah. Music is also a big thing to me, once I get a certain vibe and sweat going I can cruise through any project.

3.What do you love most about being a crafter/artist?

The freedom and giddiness I get walking around the dorm room with my artwork, taking pictures of it, and the thrill of someone in another state, country, city, wherever saying "wow!" and purchasing something I made with my own two hands. Its an uplifting feeling to say the least.

4.What one thing would you tell a new designer that you wish you had known when you first started?

You're not just creating artwork or a craft for yourself and personal enjoyment anymore. Once you become a seller you need to have fun with what you're doing, but let the fact that you inspire others enough for them to spend REAL money on you is a huge deal. My mom told me that :).

5.Where do you see yourself in five years?

Hopefully not still in college haha! I hope to have my teaching and art degree and be teaching middle school history during the year, and owning a store during the summer and winter breaks. I think owning a brick and mortar shop is big for everyone but hearing and seeing my chimes in a window of a shop is something I always fantasize about.

Morning Coffee 10-22

1) Get featured seller posted.done
2) Follow marketing plan.done
3) Buy glaze.done
4) Create! (I'm behind on a few things I need to make :)done

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Morning Coffee 10-21

A little late today, but better late than never!

1)Get new items listed. Some listed, no Penny Pals yet :(
2)Work on inventory system. done
3)Follow marketing plan. done
4)Package and ship orders. done
5)Get things ready for the boutiques I am approaching Thursday. done!

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Noodle shops of Edo

Whenever I start to think that business and creativity do not go hand in hand, I remind myself of the noodle shops of old Tokyo, then known as Edo, in the 17th century. Japan was still in the midst of it's feudal time then, and Edo was the rising star. The Tokugawa shogunate had pretty much left the people powerless, enforcing strict social status and stripping much of the power from even the upper classes- the samurai and daimyo. Yet, art flourished, as did education and the culinary arts.

You would think living in a time with no individual rights where an actor could be killed on sight for no reason with no consequences would be bleak for the creative individual. Yet, the noodle shops flourished. What does a noodle shop have to do with being an artist trying to run a business today, you ask? Put simply, as an artist you are selling something that no one needs but they definitely want in a world where many others are trying to do the same thing. There were more than 3,700 noodle shops in Japan during this period. More than 80% of the population lived in poverty during this time, yet still thousands of noodle shops thrived.

How could this work?

Workers were coming from all over the countryside to earn a days wages in the busy urban centers. Some creative and enterprising soul figured theses people would be hungry, but wouldn't have much to spend. He made up a batch of soba noodles and soon had his first customer. People were able to eat cheaply, and soon other shop owners began to notice. What started as one shop turned into many with many people scrambling to get their piece of the action. The upper classes also were not immune to this noodle phenomenon. They too could grab a quick bite for little cash, and they were soon smitten with the idea.

With that many noodle shops, the average owner had to work hard to stand out from the crowd. First they began by specializing. This shop sold only soba noodles, and that one sold only udon. Once there were many shops specializing in the same thing, it was time to move on to more drastic measures. The proprietors began wearing outlandishly decorated kimono's and hawked their wares more vigorously. Some turned their shops into upscale restaurants, further specializing, while others focused more on quick service and a meal to go- fast food if you will.

There are still thousands of noodle shops in Tokyo flourishing today. All because the first noodle shop owners of Edo knew that to succeed you must be creative, and to be a creative success you must understand your business. When you think that it is impossible to balance your art and your business pay attention to the key elements here- have you specialized? Have you created a perceived need? Do you stand out from the crowd? Do you have items available that appeal to more than one economic strata? Tell me, what color is your kimono?

In short- Are you a noodle shop in old Edo?

Morning Coffee 10-20

Ah..Monday. I'm actually a bit excited to start my official work week today. I have been working on a few new things to roll out in the shop this week and I have my head burgeoning with idea's. My online holiday season is officially starting in two weeks. I have schedules and plans and dreams. Let the week begin!

1)Update blog. done
2)Follow marketing plan. done
3)Get new designs photographed and listed. meh, not done, tomorrow!
4)Go over holiday marketing plan. done
5)Begin work on new inventory storage system. still working on.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Weekend plans

My sons show table

I know I don't normally post on the weekends, but this weekend I have no shows and no parental duties (other than making sure the boys are fed and reasonably clothed) so I am actually going to get a bit of catch up work done! I have a ton of articles I've bookmarked to read later on, so I am going to do that today with a hot cup of cider or tea. I also have some light book keeping to catch up on, that sounds like a good after dinner task. Most importantly, I am working on some new designs, which involve hand sewing. I really have forgotten how much I enjoy hand sewing, and how relaxing it can be. I just must try not to spill any of those warm beverages I mentioned on my fabric!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Planning your business- Who are you?

I introduced the idea of a business plan for your hand crafted business here. Today, we are gong to start writing one. The first section in every business plan, whether for personal use or to attempt to get funding from outside sources is the business overview. For our purposes, we will be writing a short version of a real overview. This plan is not for the purpose of seeking loans or anything like that, it is to keep you and your business on the right the track. It is for your personal use, but if down the road you wish to write a full plan you will already have the basic frame work.

The first element of the overview is a description of your business. Answer the questions below to begin formulating your own overview.Plans for GLOBAL DOMINATION Artists sketch book by Champignon

1)What is the business? Jewelry, clothing, bath and beauty? Get detailed here. What kind of jewelry? Kids clothing, skirts, high fashion? Just soap, or lotions too?

2) Who's your demographic? Men, women, parents, students, retired people? What is their age range? Income level? Study your competition to get an idea of who you should be marketing to.

3) Who is your main competition? We're not looking for specific names here. If you make soap do you see other artisan soap makers as your main competition, or do you see specialty soaps from the department store counter as your competitors? Think of your demographic. You can have more than one source of competition.

4) Do you have any employees? Is it just you, or do you have a spouse helping out? Mention a little about yourself and your qualifications. This will help you see yourself as a true business person and not just someone who sells stuff.

5)Do you need insurance? Do you have it? What about licenses or permits? List them here.

6) Why are you opening this business? As a part time job? Full time career? To make a profit or to donate proceeds to a non profit? To grow your business into a huge company or to stay a small operation? Be truthful here. You can always change it later as your business and your dreams evolve.

Now take everything you wrote above and arrange it into coherent sentences. You don't want to be trying to decipher your shorthand and run on sentences six months from now! If you want, you can type it up and print it out on nice paper, or you can make a back-up and just keep a digital file. Just keep it somewhere safe, because before this series is done, I will give you some more tips on how to use it for years to come.

Next week we'll go over the second section, The financial information. We'll also cover some ideas on creative debt free funding!

Morning Coffee 10-17

It is Friday! The best thing about Friday is on Saturday morning I get to sleep in, since I don't have to take anyone to school. I usually still work on the weekends, but it is more casual and not the 15 hour days I am known to put in during the week!

1) Finish editing, round two.almost done
2) Follow marketing plan. Done!
3) Update my book keeping.think I'll do this over the weekend.
4) Make a list of local shops I will be approaching for wholesale/consignment next week.done
5) work on some promo's for some goodie bags.worked on but not done

Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Morning Coffee 10-16

I have a couple of things to catch up on from yesterday, c'est la vie!

1) Edit pictures from round two. Not completely done, but a huge dent made :)
2) Finish blog article.done!
3) Research a few local opportunities.done
4) Follow marketing plan. done
5) Finish tweaking new design. Done, gonna try a couple of spin off ideas this weekend and hopefully get some listed by early next week

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Featured Artist- Sun Basil Garden

Lauren at Sun Basil Garden creates some of the brightest and funnest soaps I have seen on Etsy. No plain bars here, each one is like a mini work of art. With special designs for men, women, and children, it is easy to find something for everyone!

1.Tell us a little about your craft, what is it and how did you get started in it?

I make what I call Soap Arts. All natural, high quality soap that are great for your skin and bring a smile to your face with unique colors, scents and soap inlays. I live in a house of 3 boys and dirt is almost our last name. I started making soap as a creative and fun way to keep my boys clean.

2.What inspires you or helps you create?

I normally get an idea late at night and write it in my soap journal. I love the many possibilities that soap as a creative medium offers. And love the challenge of coming up with new designs.

3.What do you love most about being a crafter/artist?

The time I get for myself. It gives me time away from being a wife and mother and puts me back on the map! Cookies and Milk Soap

4.What one thing would you tell a new designer that you wish you had known when you first started?

Still new at this. My Etsy advice is just list and list and list often.

5.Where do you see yourself in five years?

With my sweet husband and boys - wherever the road takes us.

Morning Coffee 10-15

I am only working a half day today, due to some afternoon plans. Not doing anything too time consuming!

1) Get Featured Artist up on blog. Done!
2) Continue to follow marketing plan. Done, It seems i do best when this the first thing I do for the day.
3) Start an article for Friday.started!
4) Round two of the great picture redo. Pics taken, edit tomorrow!
5) Research a few local opportunities.ran out of time, do it tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Morning Coffee 10-14

1) Finish photo editing. First batch done, next round starts tomorrow.
2) Continue work on my new idea. Almost happy with it, gonna work on it on Thursday, I think.
3) Follow marketing plan. Done, before noon even!
4) Get feature for tomorrow ready. done!
5) Continue consignment research. Done, gonna start making a list to contact over the weekend tomorrow.

Short and simple!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Morning Coffee 10-13

I am reverting back to daily Morning Coffee. It really does keep me more on track to break my goals down to days rather than weeks! I will not include creating unless I am under a time crunch and it takes priority, or I am working on something new. I already spend about 40% of my work day crafting, so Morning Coffee will focus more on the business side of my goals.

1) Update marketing plan and also blog it. I really do stick to things better if I know all of you know what I should be doing :) updated, not blogged, though. Decided to blog it once I get to the marketing plan part of the business plan series :)
2) As I am thinking of expanding to consignment, begin researching that option more in depth and local venues. did some research and found one local shop to check out.
3) Photograph and list/update at least five items. Done, updated Etsy AND Dawanda, woo!
4) Try out an idea I had over the weekend. If successful, post a pic on here :) still working on it.
5) Update my books and inventory. done

Friday, October 10, 2008

A typical day

I may be self employed and primarily work from home, but this is still a job. Especially in the beginning, that can be hard to remember. it's a job that has no sick time, no paid vacations, no weekends, and no insurance. I love it still! Yet some mornings, I can't help but think it was easier when I was punching the clock and had someone else making sure I got everything done. When I first made the move to business ownership, it took me a few months to actually become productive. In fact, I would sleep til noon, stumble out of bed and stare at the computer doing a bunch of nothing for a few hours, play with the kids, make dinner, then tell myself to get to work but decide it was too late to bother. That wasn't going to pay the bills for long! So I started treating self employment like a job. True, a job that gave me infinite freedom, but a job none the less. It takes awhile to develop self discipline, and I literally clocked in on a sheet of paper for a month to track my time in the beginning. I clocked in again on Wednesday so I could show you what my typical day looks like.

8:00am- fall out of bed. Grope for the alarm and hit snooze, crawl back into bed.
8:05am- Alarm goes off, oldest son bangs on door saying his lunch isn't packed. Stumble out of bed into kitchen.
8:10- Drink a cup of tea while searching the fridge for the lunch meat I know I bought yesterday. Find it and make lunch.
8:15am- Speed shower since I overslept and didn't make lunch yesterday.
8:30am- Diret traffic as everyone wakes up while trying to find clean socks in the laundry basket I didn't fold on Monday.
8:45- Take my son to school.
9:00- Fire up the computer and munch on a bowl of cereal while checking email and such.
9:45- Toddler wakes up. Get him breakfast and leave him alone. He is a bear in the morning. It will be a good hour before he will allow anyone within a 5 foot radius of the couch.
10:00- pour a batch of earrings. Manage to spill resin all over my table. Thats why it is covered in a dollar store shower curtain, as this occurs more often than I like to admit.
10:30- due to spilled resin, finish batch quicker than usual. Toddler is still yelling at anyone nearby so check the forums.
11:00- Toddler wanders into my work room and asks brightly if I will be mommy dinosaur. Take an hour break playing dinosaur family.BITE ME Dino by Boogerbearcreations

12:00pm-Check the forums and email again. respond to a convo. Check some blogs I follow.
12:45- realize I haven't done my daily marketing. update project wonderful, renew craigslist ad, update Flickr.
1:15- Toddler declare "ein hungery!" realize I am too, so we have lunch and watch Fireman Sam.
1:40-Toddler busy playing with his trucks. I take this opportunity to start sanding yesterdays cast.
2:00- bored with sanding, pop into forums.
2:45- Bored with forums. Start printing up earing cards.
3:05- Oldest son comes in from school. Make him a snack while he unloads backpack.
3:15- go back to sanding.
3:30- bored wit sanding again. Start adding findings to what is already sanded.
3:45- Check email and forums again.
3:55- Go help son with homework. Toddler is asleep surrounded by vehicles of all kinds.
4:30-Three more to sand. Decide to take a break. Wander around the house wondering what to do.
4:15- Decide to finish pricing stuff for an upcoming show.
5:00-Done pricing, check forums.
5:15- Finish sanding.
5:45- Son comes into work room looking spiffy in his Cub Scout uniform. Crap! Put on shoes and get him into car in record time.
7:00- back from Cub Scouts. Throw a frozen pizza in the oven and get some salad mix in bowls. go back to office to check email. Respond to convo.
7:20- Dinner time!
7:45- Get kids in bath and finally fold laundry.
8:30- hang out on the couch with the husband and kids.
9:00- put kids to bed and watch Ghost Hunters with husband.
10:00- start messing around on computer then realize the only thing I didn't get done was pictures. get everything set up then find out the camera batteries are dead. Put them in to charge overnight.
10:30- mess around online.
11:45- go to bed.

I waste a lot of time! I also get (almost) everything done. I could say I work long hours, but really I have a lot of play time too. And I can stop work to play dinosaurs whenever I feel like it!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Featured Artist- Always Amy

This week I am featuring someone I consider a great in the handmade business world- Amy from Always Amy. Her items really reflect her as a person, upbeat , positive, and lots of fun! Who wouldn't want a little of that to wear off on them while sporting her adorable jewelry?

1.Tell us a little about your craft, what is it and how did you get started in it?

Well, I think most people know my Etsy shop (AlwaysAmy) best for it's quirky, fun handmade jewelry. I would say my jewelry is a little bit kitsch, a dash of retro feel & a heaping helping of color. It's always changing as I explore new ways to repurpose vintage trinkets & I adore every minute of it.

Recently I have added another Etsy store front to my business, AlsoAmy. There you will find me exploring my love for paper crafting, crochet, painting, photography, mixed media art, sewing & whatever else floats my boat. It's really a hodgepodge of crafty goodness.

I've always, always been crafty & interested in art. I can remember my mom keeping me busy at restaurants with scraps of paper & pens from her purse. So it really was just a matter of time before I made this my profession.

I ran my own brick & mortar shop for about 4 years. New businesses are always strapped for cash & ours was no different in the beginning, so it wasn't long before I was handcrafting all sorts of things we needed for the shop. I made everything from hand painted Ouija boards to hemp knotted necklaces to help our little shop cut costs. Along the way I fell in love with making those things, the process, the care, and the time. I fell 'out of love' with the structure & demands of running my own B&M.

After a couple of years my handmade stuff was selling faster then most everything else we carried in the B&M. I had been on Etsy for a short while & decided to make a go of selling online. I chose to close down the shop & move home to change the focus of my business & cut out the overhead. I have to say it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

I've been happily creating (almost full time) ever since!

2.What inspires you or helps you create?

COLOR! I love color, texture, and vintage everything. Since my work is mostly based on nostalgic, vintage pieces I am inspired by digging through antique stores & thrift stores. I see so many amazing things along the way & a lot of them find their way into my work in one way or another.KAWAII ROBOT BEAR Silver Black Japanese - Dangly Dangle Earrings

3.What do you love most about being a crafter/artist?

I love that I get to work from home. I get to be the night owl that I truly am. I get to spend more time with my family & I can (& do) drop everything when I need to be there for them. I'm my own boss which is good. I'm motivated by knowing that success & failure are both up to me. I make crafty things for a living – who doesn’t love that?

4.What one thing would you tell a new designer that you wish you had known when you first started?

Work hard & then work harder. If you treat it like a hobby, it will be a hobby. If you are willing to put in the time and energy – treat yourself & your work, as a real business then that is what it will be. Just be patient & tenacious! (Although I am awful at the patient part!)

5.Where do you see yourself in five years?

Iceland? :) My husband & I are very interested in moving out of the US. I guess I will have to do some research about shipping from there! Oh, we can dream!

Besides a big move, I hope my future will still allow me to be creating all sorts of things & living off of my crafty hands. I hope I am healthy, still happily married to the love of my life, going to bed each night tired & happy & waking each morning inspired.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Another giveaway!

That's right, more free stuff! Even better, free stuff and a discount on more stuff! Head on over to Danielle's blog to check it out.

Morning Coffee 10-6

tick...tock...I feel so rushed this time of year. I guarantee come January I will have an entry on morning coffee saying "organize better for the holiday season"! This weeks list, post haste:

1)Get the project wonderful ad done!done!
2)Finish about eighty more pieces that are lying around in various states of completion.done
3)Get some hang tags done, and price the rest of the inventory.Done
4)List some of my backlog, I have been doing no listing lately :(
5)Blog article, this week, I promise!done
6)Hit the thrift store in search of that one last perfect display for my rings.done
7)get everything packed up and ready to roll for Saturday.done
8)Write a guest post I have for another blog.
9)Get more business cards. I print myself, so not a biggie.done

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Featured Artist- Mindless Pursuits

Keith at Mindless Pursuits has a way with people. He can make you feel like the most special person in the room, and not because he is faking it, but because he really believes that way. His paintings are no different. They draw the eye and make it known they are the most special thing in the room, too!

1.Tell us a little about your craft, what is it and how did you get started in it?
I like to work in multiple crafts, but my principal interest are painting and sewing. Painting has been a passion of mine since I was young, and thought that being a good painter meant being able to draw then paint the little designs in the back of TV Guide in the hopes of being accepted to a prestigious 'art school.' As I grew up, I realized that 'Bongo the Bear' wasn't going to be my key to success and worked more on abstract paintings.

When I was in my twenties, I stopped painting for close to a decade. During this time I taught myself how to sew simply as a matter of fulfilling an interest in making some clothing for my little girls. Earlier this year I returned to painting, and am now slowly combining both abilities by hand-painting designs on sewn items.

2.What inspires you or helps you create?
Nature is my biggest inspiration. I have a deep and abiding love of sakura (cherry blossoms) and those tend to act as my signature, but I also paint other flowers and landscapes. Increasingly, I am drawn to paint some of the darker side of nature, though I haven't unveiled any of that work yet. It's safe to say though, that a simple flower will always be my greatest inspiration.

3.What do you love most about being a crafter/artist?
What isn't there to love? I love having the ability to create and interpret the beauty and style of things that I love. I enjoy the process of creation as opposed to destruction. I take pride in the quality of the items I design. Mostly, I enjoy being able to share the good feelings within me through the various art and projects I complete.

4.What one thing would you tell a new designer that you wish you had known when you first started?
It's OK to start small and to paint the same thing repeatedly until you feel you've mastered your own style and technique. Too often, we feel pressured to show our diversity and then become frustrated because we lose enjoyment of the process because we lose our confidence in ourselves. Take your time and enjoy learning and building your form.

5. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Still happily painting flowers and bringing my particular floral aesthetic into apparel and needlefelted designs. What more could I ask for?


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