Friday, March 28, 2008

Fuh-fuh-fuh-Foolin' - April First is Almost Here!

Who else has Def Leppard on their iPod?!?! YEAH, BABY! LET'S GET ROCKED!...... Oh. Just me? Ok, then.... moving on.

Alright, people, huddle up. April Fool's Day is just around the corner and this year I'm determined to be the "fooler" for once. I may be a Virgo, but I'm vowing here and now to set aside my intolerance for silliness and take advantage of this once-a-year opportunity to make someone (ahem - husband) feel like a complete idiot for one brief shining moment. Mean-spirited? Possibly. But, from the moment we met, the man has been constantly looking for ways to embarrass, confuse, ridicule or otherwise horrify me in front of large groups of people. It's my turn!

How about you? Are you planning to get up to some dirty tricks this April 1st? Any fantastic ideas or are you drawing a blank? To get us both started, I'm listing a few of the great classic pranks of all time.

  • RIGGED SPRAYER - Put a rubber band around the button on your sink's spray nozzle. Create a situation that requires your victim to wash his/her hands and watch the hilarity ensue.

  • FUNNEL FUN - Put a funnel in your pants waistband and drop a quarter from your forehead into the funnel. Bill this activity as particularly difficult and challenge your victim to try it for him/herself. Once the funnel is in place and the victim has leaned his/her head back to balance the quarter, grab a full glass of water and pour it quickly into the funnel. Run!

  • SALTY SURPRISE - Fill your sugar bowl with salt. Make some coffee. 'Nuff said.

  • BUG IN A BURGER - Pick up some rubber "roaches" at a toy store. Surprise your family with take-out. I get the giggles just thinking about it...

  • EARLY BIRD - Wait til everyone's asleep and set the clocks forward a couple of hours. Wake your husband and/or kids at the time their alarm clocks would normally go off with a shake and a panicky-sounding, "Get up! You're late!"

  • TIGHTY WHITIES - Buy the same type of underwear your victim normally wears in a much smaller size. Wash several times to create a well-worn look. Replace the underwear in your victim's drawer with the smaller size. Try desperately to suppress your laughter as he/she victim tries to get dressed.

I don't know about you, but I'm inspired. Watch out, my one true love, I'm comin' for ya. You won't know when and you won't know where, but rest assured - you'll be fooled. Mmmmmmmmmwah ha ha ha!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Yikes! Attacked and Interviewed by Tiny Monsters!

If you don't get enough of my jibber-jabber over here, then head right on over to Livvy Lu's Little Monster Shop and see what else I could possibly have to say. Thanks so much to Tracey of littlemonstershop, a fellow mommy and crafter, for the great interview (and patience with my seemingly insurmountable case of writer's block this weekend). Remember - approach with caution. Monsters may seem cute and friendly, but there's no way to tell if they've had their shots...

Saturday, March 22, 2008

My New Best Friend - An Interview with ouou

Sooooooo, yeah, hi again. Let's talk for a sec. Now, I know I promised big things when I started this blog. I was going to fill your screen with sage advice and spectacular witticisms. I was going to document my life and times in a series of charming, heartfelt vignettes that would both inspire and empower. But I've since come to a stunning realization - most days, I'm not interesting in the least. Playdates aren't interesting. Housekeeping's not interesting. The world around me, now, that is interesting. But do we really know each other well enough to get into all that? I mean, I barely know anything about you... Even when I have something to say, there's still the little matter of my "system" - timing is critical! That said, I promise I'll figure all this out. Just be patient, ok? And thanks for coming by in the first place. Hey, that reminds me, I want to introduce you to someone...

This is Audrey. Isn't she fantastic? I just want to snatch her up and run away with her.... No, ok, that would be awkward and kidnap-y, but I really really really like her! Audrey was my introduction to a little Etsy shop called ouou , and I immediately fell in love. There is just something about her - innocence, charm, imagination, those boots! - that transports me instantly back to my childhood. Maybe it's the fact that I so completely identify with her, maybe it's the fact that she's just so pretty - but Audrey is one of those characters that gives me a serious case of artist-envy. A very serious case. I mean, like I want to be the artist behind Audrey. If I could draw (and I most certainly cannot - I'm a designer, people, not an artist), I'd spend all day every day drawing lovely little characters like Audrey and her friends.

After idolizing Laurie (ouou) from afar for some time - checking in regularly to see what was new in Audrey's world, taking note of Laurie's simple images and eloquent item descriptions - an amazing thing happened. She hearted me! It was just the opening I needed - time to convo and share my true feelings. After I'd finally managed to convince Laurie that I was (mostly) a harmless kind of stalker, she kindly agreed to answer some questions for me. And here's what she had to say:

M & G: How did you get to be so cool?

L: Oh, please. I'm a total nerd! :)

M & G: No, seriously, do you think I could ever be as cool as you?

L: You're the coolest stalker I know. (wink!) Promise!

M & G: I love Audrey (but you knew that already). When did she come into your life?

L: My most constant form of art practice has been drawing creatures on postcards or mail or such for my friends. These little drawings were building a world of characters for years without my really knowing it.This past autumn, it had been 7 years since getting my BFA in children's book illustration without much art involvement. In September, I met a children’s book author who gave me a very stern talking-to about the important step of releasing creativity into the world. She motivated me to take a look at what I enjoyed the most and think about what I wanted my life to look like. She tore through my excuses! Ha! After that meeting I got right to it and, with help & support, was able to open the shop 2 months later! That was November, holidays were in full swing. What a wild wake-up! These characters are descendants from the notes I wrote to my friends, so they are the oldest and newest to me. Anyone who looks at their Wellingtons as a means for some serious splashing has a kinship with Audrey!

M& G: What is it about children that makes them such an integral part of your designs?

L: Bringing a child into a drawing gives us permission to let our whimsical, open-hearted, and imaginative side take over. Adding a child to those drawings asks the viewer, “Where are you in this story?". I have gotten more people writing in because they saw a drawing and it reminded them of someone in their life. Its always in response to a child's image (never to the animals or monsters or dragons alone) that people get involved and start telling stories. Those stories coming into the shop were completely unexpected, amazing (!), and they’ve made this such a fulfilling and enjoyable adventure. It feels really welcoming to have people share very warm and loving aspects of their lives in that way.

M & G: Talk to me about your Gocco.

L: I’m fascinated by different kinds of printmaking. If I ever return to art school I'll be there for printmaking. Gocco is great because it fits in the house, you know, without the acid baths and all that! (You can learn more about Gocco at The Gocco machine actually belongs to my trailblazing sister & collaborator, Celeste. She opened her shop Bamboo Village Press on Etsy before I came aboard and we have both found Gocco to translate our different styles in a really amazing way.I’m still learning how to be bold and print with several colors, to use color to make form. I am addicted to line = form, so it’s a great challenge! I tend to favor the silkscreen items in my shop because they are more a handmade craft, the process of making them is very long, and in the end I’m always all inky and happy. By the way, I'll do my best to help if anyone has a Gocco and needs help with something! They're quite an investment so troubleshooting can be unnerving. Honk if you love Gocco! (<---ahem, *nerd*)

M & G: Do you have a day job? I’ve been working on illustrating & creating for the shop full time for 2 months now. Although a lot of us begin on Etsy and get swept up in the dream of quitting the day job and living happily off a craft, I think there are a lot more questions you need to not only ask, but answer with yourself before taking that step. I have learned so much, but am also looking forward to going back to a day job. The Storque recently had an interview (a great read) with Brandi Strickland who said she works 3 days a week & the rest is art. That sounds like heaven to me!

M & G: Where do you see yourself and your business in 5 years?

L: I’m curious to see what Etsy will look like in 5 years, as a marketplace, and hope it is still fundamentally a craft advocate. I’m very eager to begin printing only on recycled paper, to have a wholly earth-friendly shop. As a paper goods shop, I’m always aware of my responsibility there. Personally I would like to be more settled, have a garden, a stable home. I really enjoy gardening but have lived in cities for a long time. There are so many things to try; new printmaking techniques, more bookbinding, printing on fabric…I expect I’ll be busy over the next 5 years! If art comes from a place of playful exploration, and I am still accessing those imaginative travels in 5 years without cynicism or hesitation, then I'll still feel very lucky to be doing this!

M & G: Can I be your best friend?

L: If you made it through "Honk if you love Gocco!" and you still want to be my best friend, then yes!


Friday, March 21, 2008

Front Page, Baby!

WHAT?!? What's that on the front page?? Could that be..... no, surely not.... yes! It is! It's my butterflies!


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Macaroni and Glue LIVE

Coming soon to an actual walk-in boutique near you - Macaroni and Glue! Ok, maybe not near you - in South Bend, Indiana, actually - but still an actual brick and mortar shop! I couldn't be more excited. I've been asked to provide product for the grand opening of Flourish Boutique this spring. The web site launches in May, with the physical storefront opening in June. And I'll be in great company. The shop will feature a number of handmade specialty items from some very talented artists, many from the Etsy community. Now to decide what to send... The shop owner likes these, these, and these, among others. I knew it was truly meant to be when she mentioned the corset design. It's one of my all-time faves!

In other news, I am finally starting to get my a few of my invitation and announcement designs into the Etsy shop. Here are the first to be listed:

I'm very proud of these. As usual, the graphics come from unusual (free!) sources - the print on the announcement started life many many years ago as wallpaper. Now that it's been altered, I'm so in love with it that I'll bet you see it cropping up all over the shop in the near future. In fact, who wants to make me a t-shirt with this print on it?!? It will be interesting to see how I do on Etsy with invites and such. There is often such a tactile element to these things.... Hopefully I'm able to convey texture and weight with the photos. And if not, there are always samples, right?

Meanwhile, I've begun stalking another super-talented Etsyian, so look for an interview later this week if she doesn't file a restraining order.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Quick & Dirty Tips for Better Etsy Pics

In the past couple of weeks, I've participated in several shop critiques through various team sites and forums. Overwhelmingly, the comments I received related to the quality of my photos, something I wasn't surprised by in the least. I am in no way, shape, or form a photographer. I have a decent eye for good product photos, though, and I knew going into my critiques that I didn't have them. I have struggled with this since I opened the shop, making subtle improvements almost daily, experimenting with different backgrounds and lighting, adjusting things in Photoshop, etc., but never really conquering the problem. However, the advice I received from lots of seasoned Etsy professionals have really helped me focus my efforts to spiff things up in my shop.

Apparently, the trick to getting views (and we all know you don't get sales without views) is to make your photos "pop" in a list of similar products. While I'll freely admit that my photos are not yet a shining example of the uber-professional Etsy listing we all hope to be able to claim as our own one day, I have seen a significant increase in my views since I incorporated some of the tips I'm about to impart.

  1. Always shoot in natural light. It keeps your colors true and eliminates wonky shadows indoor lighting can cause. If you must shoot indoors, head for a window and turn off the overheads.
  2. Never, ever use the flash for your product photos - it will mute bright colors and wash out subtle ones. If it's dark outside, wait til the next day to shoot. A day's delay is always better than a crappy-looking listing.
  3. Use a simple background in a color that contrasts with and compliments your product. Use props (minimally) to establish scale.
  4. To avoid fuzziness in close-ups, use the "macro" setting on your camera. On most cameras, it is associated with a little flower icon. You'll be amazed at how close you can get without the shot getting blurry.
  5. White should be white, not gray. Often, simply using "Auto Adjust/Correct Color" in your photo editing program will do the job. If necessary, adjust lighting (and then contrast if necessary) until you're satisfied with the result. If the white almost hurts your eyes on the screen, then it's just about right.
  6. Use square photos so they won't be cropped when you upload them - they look best in list views (the way most people will find you), and in the thumbnail Etsy minis. I accomplish square photos by creating a 1000 x 1000 pixel blank file in Photoshop and dragging my image into it. You can then resize and move your pic around in the frame until you've got something you like.
  7. Choose something intriguing for the first pic - probably not a photo of your entire item, but maybe a close-up of single design element. The first pic should make a potential buyer want to see more and therefore click through to your listing. Since I feel that my graphics are the strongest elements of my designs, I have chosen to use the graphic itself as my first pic. I was hesitant at first, but I've had several people comment on them being better than a close-up of the cards.

And that's it! Hope it helps. I'll keep working on it too, and will let you know once I'm so thrilled with the results that I stop making changes. Yeah! Like that'll happen!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Kindred Soul - An Interview with Stories & Divinations

It may surprise you to know that I am extremely, exceedingly, unrelentingly, obnoxiously cheap. I haven't always been. In fact, when I was working full-time outside the home, I thought nothing of spending $100 in a lunch hour on some extra swanky takeout and some trinket or other. A reward for my hard work, I thought - well deserved. Now.... well, let's just say things are a little different around here. My former love of shopping has been replaced with a love of saving. After endless rounds of budgeting and adjusting and reprioritizing, $100 is now more than our entire "eating out" budget for a month. I'm very into creating the things we need with my own hands rather than spending money on them, be it meals or birthday cards or items for our home. I very rarely buy anything that isn't consumable, and I never, NEVER buy anything for myself.

That's why my first Etsy purchase last week was such a momentous occasion. It signified a couple of important things: 1. my ability to earn some income doing something I enjoy without sacrificing my stay-at-home status (I had just completed a custom order), and 2. such a profound response to a particular piece of artwork that I felt it simply had to be mine. I actually limit my Etsy browsing in order to avoid such emotional responses and temptations, but this particular encounter was different. Unlike coming across a great owl-adorned hoodie and daydreaming about showing it off to the other mommies at my next playdate in the park, when I stumbled on storiesdivinations, I knew that I had found a kindred spirit. And this is the piece that did it for me:

I asked the artist, Laurie, if she'd be willing to answer a few questions about the piece and her work in general, and she kindly obliged.

M & G: What inspired the piece?

L: I've always had a love for what JFK has come to represent, at least in my mind. I grew up in Detroit and was about ten when the race riots broke out. My mother had always been very vocal politically, as were the nuns at St. Benedict's, my elementary school. My favorite teacher, Ms. Modlin, had just come to us after a stint in the Peace Corps. She was wonderful and would take a handful of us on special trips after school to the museum and through neighborhoods downtown just because we seemed to need the extra attention... In large part because of her and my Mom, we knew about JFK and knew what the "Warren Court" was and about the ideas of social justice and, unfortunately, social injustice. It may sound strange, but I remember feeling nostalgic for JFK even at 10 and 11, although that may really just be rewriting my internal history... I was very lucky to be raised in a period of social upheaval... And very lucky to have had the nuns as teachers. I'm an attorney now largely because of my 9th grade math teacher at Shrine of the Little Flower, Sister Ann Breutsch, a nun who started attending law school when I was in the 10th grade. She talked to us about law and social issues and took several of us to trials in Detroit and to the county jail. More recently, I think about JFK more often since Barack Obama started running for office. They seem to share a particular kind of genuine openness, honesty, and even sweetness that defies the cynicism that has unfortunately become the (entirely justifiable) standard in recent years. I have always had as a personal goal to live long enough that at least an approximation of the Warren Court might be once again ensconced in Washington. If the elections go as they should (yes, I really said that!) we might really be start moving in that direction.

M & G: What are your greatest inspirations in general?

L: Watching people transform from little kids sorting things out in their families to young adults sorting things out outside of home... It's hard work in so many ways but there's no avoiding it. Watching individuals trying to deal with institutions created by the collectivity. Watching people sorting through their normal rituals and struggles. People are so complicated and amazing up close and some are so much stronger than we tend to notice, especially older people. It a little too easy to diminish the details of what older generations lived through. We skim over it in our collective media recollections - the details of life 40 and 50 years ago blur and then become irrelevant. It's so miraculous to look back in detail and see how someone acted out of courage in responding to someone else's need, however large or small, or in taking a stand for themselves. It's an outward manifestation of the constant inner struggle that everyone deals with from day one no matter when they've lived or where. Watching that moment, even surreptitiously, even after it's long past, is like watching birth.

M & G: How would you describe your design aesthetic?

L: I don't know. It shifts around depending on what kind of week it's been. Mostly it's just functional, a graphic opportunity to work out the things I wouldn't otherwise have a chance to say about issues that bother me at 3:00 a.m. It's a little strange to me that other people respond to it. And it's starting to create little bridges to people that might not otherwise exist. Nice.

M & G: What drives you to create what you create?

L: It helps that my youngest kid is now almost 13 and wants me around the house but at the same time doesn't want to engage much and really, really, doesn't want to hear me talking to him about social or personal issues (I can see his eyes rolling as I write this...). It also helps to be in a profession in the other part of my life that requires me to edit myself and exercise such careful scrutiny with every sentence I write. Although law is in some respects all about justice, as a practical matter it's an enormous taboo to talk outwardly about "injustice" in an appellate brief - it's considered overly dramatic and risks being interpreted as an attempt to avoid the specific facts involved in the case. Sometimes the impulses I have to just shout out "enough already!" in that realm find their way into these other things and there's a little release. (Although I do still have an incredibly strong urge to stand in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue before January 2009 and shout just once "WHAT were you THINKING!?")

M & G: What do you hope to convey with your work?

L: I hadn't thought about conveying anything or, initially, even about making jewelry for other people. It just evolved - I made something for myself to wear, kind of as a personal talisman, and other people asked me to make them something. Whatever happens to be on my mind at the moment I'm making something just seems to show up at the end of the process. The process itself is very meditative and, even if nobody wanted anything that resulted, I'd probably still go ahead with it in lieu of other more expensive vices. It's a complete surprise and also really affirming that it happens to result in something that touches someone else... I love that. With any luck, we will have a new political reality very soon and I will be able to sleep instead of waking up in the middle of the night and heading to the dining room table to vent through my jewelry...

Stunning. Hopeful. Mine.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Found! Sweet Deals and Free Stuff!

I am probably the last person in the indie community to know about this, but I recently came across this site:
It's a very non-threatening, not-overwhelming way to check out who's having a sale, doing a giveaway, or offering some other fabulous way to get something for nothing (which is my very favorite way to get something after all!). Examples include the chance to win a handmade goodies grab-bag for commenting on Smidge or a free 8 x 10 print with commissioned fantasy portrait by Lacy Clagg (soooooooo cool).

I'm usually not big on sales and special promos, but I was so inspired by all the free stuff at IndieContests that I added my own sweet deal to the mix. So exciting.
Now get over there and get your bad self some loot!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Order from Chaos - How I Get It All Done

So, I sat down last weekend to review and revamp my "system." The moms among you know exactly which "system" I mean. The "system" (and, yes, I'll stop using quotation marks now) is what gets things done around here. It's the way I ensure that somehow or other, amidst playdates and potty training, I manage to keep people clothed and fed, and maintain a (somewhat) orderly environment. I have two systems actually - one for Home Management (capitalized 'cause it's important) and one for everything else. I tend to think of the Home Management tasks as requirements and my non-houseworky tasks as goals. Goals are those things that somehow move me forward in some area of my life, be it career or art or simply the pursuit of happiness, as opposed to those housewifey-type things that require hours and hours of work just keep things the same. Up to this point, my system for accomplishing goals has consisted of a list of projects I'm hoping to get to - paint that rocking chair, make an appointment to meet with that shop owner, mock up that invitation, get that scrapbook done for my dad's birthday... Not particularly formal, but it does help to have it all on paper.

Just recently, I've added a couple of important elements to my extra-mommy activities. First, I opened my Etsy business and began promoting my stationery line in earnest. Second, I've been volunteering with a local womens' group. While I very much enjoy these activities, I've noticed an appreciable increase in TV time around here. As you mommies know, TV time is the best indicator of the attention you either are or are not giving to your children. If the TV is on, you're probably doing something else while your kid is parked in front of it. Personally, I don't much like TV time, so when I see it becoming our primary at-home activity, I know it's high time to sit down with a pencil and get my priorities in line.

To get us started, let me show you what my system looked like before (and I apologize in advance for a couple of cheesy mnemonic devices). The tasks you see outlined below are those tasks that I generally save for naptime or early morning before anyone else is up. While my daughter's awake, we do our daily chores, i.e. general picking up, laundry, errands and dishes. The system just helps me organize those things that only need to be done once a week. The idea is to get through the task-of-the-day and then use any kid-free time I have left over to get cracking on my goals list.
  • "Money Monday" - pay the bills, balance the budget
  • "Trashy Tuesday" - collect and take out the trash and recycling, scoop up the dog poo
  • Wednesday - clean the bathrooms
  • Thursday - dust and vaccuum
  • Friday - clean the kitchen and sweep/mop hardwoods and tile

At this point I should also mention that I cook only once a month, usually the first weekend. I get a big list together beforehand, head to the store on Friday, and get to cooking Saturday morning. By Sunday night, I have 30 two-person meals prepared and frozen. When my husband comes home, which is often fairly late, I just defrost and throw together a salad. The cooking system evolved after lots of trial and error. I just found that, although I generally enjoy cooking, I don't enjoy cooking after 8 PM, and we don't have the money to constantly order out. The cook-ahead thing has been a huge money and time saver, and I highly recommend it to moms that are looking for more time for artsy stuff.

Aaaaaaah, artsy stuff... That brings me to the problem I encountered when I tried to fit all my brand new 2008 activities into my otherwise foolproof system. All the little "tasklets" related to my volunteering and entrepreneurial endeavors seemed to require my constant attention - database updates, emails, outreach, networking, shop maintenance, design - and there simply were not enough hours in the day. Plus, when I tried to do a little of everything every day, I found that I wasn't able to focus enough on any one thing to feel that I'd actually made any headway. And then naptime was over, I felt frustrated and (yes, I'll say it) resentful that I couldn't seem to succeed at the things that were important to me. Having never been one to stick with status quo when it's obviously not working, I knew that I had to make some changes before I became completely overwhelmed and gave up on all the fun stuff.

Hence, the revamp. I'm banishing the chaos and spiffing up the system. I will GET IT ALL DONE if it kills me! And I'll enjoy every minute because I'll know that I'm WINNING the battle for balance. To get started, I had to prioritize. First, I made a list of all the activities related to my business and volunteering, and determined how often each needed to be done. Then I took a look at my goals list. If an item on the list wasn't directly related to my business, I immediately moved it to the bottom of the list. Since the business is still in start-up mode, I have to expect that certain things will take more time. Once I feel like I'm really up and running, I can get back to things like painting those chairs. The process was sort of painful (I really wanted to believe I could do ten things at once), but I'm extremely optimistic about the result. The idea is that, each day, when I find myself with time to focus, I will first attack the Home Management task-of-the-day and then move on to my business/volunteer tasks. If something doesn't get done on a particular day, I just push it to the next day until I get caught up. And so, without further ado, here it is, complete with brand new mnemonic devices to help me keep it all straight.
  • Daily (early AM and late evening) - email, social networking, promotion, shop maintenance, add new listings
  • "Money Monday" - do the Macaroni and Glue books, purchase supplies
  • "TDWCC (the name of my womens' group) Tuesday" - focus on volunteer activities
  • "Working Wednesday" - assemble orders, package, and ship
  • "Thinking Thursday" - put together outlines for blog posts and cue up as many interviews/features as possible for the coming week
  • "Forward Friday" - map out next steps for the business, research new avenues for marketing, set up meetings
  • "Wonderful Weekends" - design, assemble and photograph for the week's listings

And there you have it! It sounds like a lot, but I swear it's manageable! I'm one week into the new system and, not only did I keep the house running as usual, but I made it through my new weekly list AND got two handmade gifts out the door for family birthdays. Woohoo! And I only stayed up until midnight........ Ok, I stayed up until 1:00 a couple of times. Ah, well. What can I say? It's a work in progress.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Spring Fling is Here!

Leave it to some Fabulous Artistic Moms to put together a faaaaaaaaabulous promotion for spring.

Starting March 10th, find the "FAMfrog" in the photos at five participating Etsy shops and you'll be entered to win FAMBucks which can be used at any participating Fabulous Artistic Mom's shop. Or make a purchase with any participating FAM member to be automatically entered. Visit the FAM blog for more details. Good luck!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Macaroni and Who?

Ok, so I've gone about this all wrong. I set up a little blog on another site - fine, nothing wrong with that - but I've since realized that you a) need to be a member to comment, and b) would never find me there if you googled til your fingers fell off. So, if it's not too much trouble, can we just start over? Just forget about the past and make a clean start of it? Let's pretend we've just met - I'm smiling, you walk up, we shake hands. Good...

So, new friend, let me tell you why I'm here. I'm a mom, I'm an activist (more on that as we get to know each other), and I'm a budding entrepreneur. As of today, I've been papercrafting for a little over a year and have been selling said papercrafts for about six months. At the suggestion of my sister (finder of all things cool online), I set up shop at Etsy about a month ago. I continue to promote and sell my stationery line among friends, family and referrals outside of Etsy, and in the coming months I hope to begin approaching local boutiques about wholesale opportunities. I also really like parentheses... but you knew that already, huh?

I expect that this blog will largely focus on my own creative journey - my design process, the work I churn out, and the process of turning something I love into a sustainable business. I expect that there will be ups and downs along the way, and I intend to share them with you as they happen. For example, I had 10 sales in my first 30 days on Etsy (yay!), but it took no more than an hour to reject my first portfolio application (ouch). As someone who crafts and sells stuff, I find it interesting to read about others who craft and sell, so I hope to be able to provide some perspective and insight as I try to figure out the best ways to do both.

You'll probably hear a fair amount about my family as well - my 2-year-old has more of an influence on my creative process than any other single factor and my husband, although supportive, has concerns that all this crafting might be compromising the housework....

In addition to me and all things me-related, I intend to use the blog to spotlight some of the amazing talent I find every day over at Etsy. It is so exciting to be part of such a dynamic and creative community! At least weekly, I'll feature someone or something that I've found to be truly special in my daily travels through the Etsy-verse.

And on that note, I have a couple of cool things for show-and-tell today! I have featured her before, but for my inaugural post, I am giving it up once again for one of my all-time favorite designers, rubypearl.

Her women's line is stunning and her designs for kids are ridiculous (in the best sense of the word).

And back in my studio this week, there are antique sketchbooks galore. I've just begun work on a series of notecards with graphics created from drawings of children from 1907. You can see the first two of the series here and here.