23 November 2009

Make It Yourself Monday: Paper Doily Wreath

Do I have time this craft? Hell no. Do I think it's cool and wish I had time for it? Hell yes.

From the queen of impossible crafts, Martha Stewart, this is a pretty sweet project. I have to say once in a while she impresses me. And by impresses me I mean not only does it look awesome, it's something I think I could achieve without investing in a boatload of crafting tools and having a small crowd of people to assist. Craft on.

image courtesy of marthastewart.com

20 November 2009

Fan Friday: Coleo Photography

Today's Fan Friday is dedicated to my good friend Nicole and her business Coleo Photography. She is one incredibly talented portrait photographer. Though still new at the business, she's got talent. I'm in complete admiration of her ability to take awesome concert photos and wedding shots. If you're in the Mpls/St. Paul area and you're looking to support a new photographer, please consider hiring her for your next event. She's incredibly easy to work with (I know, I've assisted her on a wedding shoot) and is very reasonably priced.

View her Flickr page

17 November 2009

Start, stop, start, stop

Workflows, plans, to-do lists. All those things constantly allude me. Oh, I make them. I even follow them on occasion. But do I do it consistently?

Well, let's see.

How many times have I said I'm going to regularly blog? (Please don't count. It's more of a rhetorical question.) I even came up with a schedule. It's on a little post-it note attached to my monitor.

I was really proud when I came up with that. In my head I thought, "this is it! I have a plan! No more excuses. All I have to do is sit down, do a little research, and 3 days a week I have a blog topic practically written for me. 2 days a week, if I so choose, I can write about what I'm up to with my business. Done. Finally. I'm awesome. And look. I even put it in a place where I can easily see it."

But what do I do?

I sit down at the computer after I get home from the part-time job, look at TweetDeck, look at email, surf the links that have been tweeted that interest me, chat with my friends or mom on iChat while doing bits and pieces of work that I've extracted from the scribbles of to-dos and look at that post-it note and say "yeah, yeah, yeah, in a minute". I go back to making lists, making plans, and trying to clear the clutter in my brain so when I sit down at the computer I don't just stare into 2560 x 1600 worth of pixelated space. (I have the 30" Apple Cinema Display. It's a lot of space at which to stare.)

The moral of the story?

I'm getting in my own way. I've always gotten in my own way. Sure there are actual obstacles that present themselves from time to time that can't be avoided, but most of the time, probably more than half of the time, the excuses lie on me. If something doesn't get done, it's because I chose to ignore it or to put it off.

Is it a crime? No. I'm human. I get tired, cranky, hungry, or whatever dwarf you wanna name because I'm not infallible. I need a break from time to time. I meet client deadlines because I want repeat business and would rather avoid the reputation of being a flaky artist, but as far as my own personal deadlines? Like that deadly "where do you want to be in 5 years?" question? Those don't exist. And that's a problem. So is thinking that taking workshops and reading blogs and buying books on marketing and business are going to magically solve the problem. Are those things worth it? Absolutely. Are they worth it if you don't implement what you learned? Absolutely not. Are they worth it if you implement what you learned for about 3 months and then fall back into old habits? Nope.

The other problem is I always seem to want to come up with a solution to the problem in the midst of the busiest times. Such as: "I've got 3 art fairs to prepare for but my business needs some seriously examining! I should do it RIGHT NOW!" Or currently: "I have 5 custom collages that I'm working on, 2 art fairs coming up and I'm moving head first into the holidays! Let's write a business plan!" Either my brain is addicted to ADD or it's just excited to be busy and wants to pile on more. I wish I knew.

But what I do know for sure is, despite as much as I want to beat myself up for all the things I haven't done, there is so much that I have. I've plowed through when a lot of people have found it easier to throw in the towel. I've been in business 7 years and though it's not enough to pay all the bills just yet, it's half of my income. I often get remarks about how much work I do, wearing the hats of the accountant, marketer, errand runner and artist. The other day I went to buy some card stock and when I told the clerk I had a tax ID under Inkblots she remarked on how I had been in business for awhile and how great that is. In the midst of berating myself for my faults, I often forget to praise myself for my successes.

And as much as I've stopped, I've also started, which is not always an easy thing.

I know a lot of you can say the same thing. Be proud of that.

09 November 2009

Make it Yourself Monday: DIY Holiday Luminaries

I LOVE candles. I tend to buy pretty much every holiday candle that smells like apple or cinnamon or baked goods of some sort. I light them all at once and my place smells wonderful. While the large jar lights last a really long time, they're not very pretty and leave something to be desired in the decorative department. I'd much rather by votives and put them in something pretty but candleholders can be pretty expensive if you're buying multiples.

So for today's make it yourself I hunted around for luminaries that would be easy to make and something that you would feel comfortable leaving out beyond the holidays.

This is one really cool tutorial. I know not everyone has a double boiler so it does require some extra equipment, but I think the beauty of these holders is worth it and the possibilities of customizing them (glitter, carving, stamping, etc.) is almost endless!


08 November 2009

Reality....where is it?

I had made a schedule of topics so I could take a shot at blogging every day or at the very least, every other day. So on Monday, Wednesday and Friday I could have very easy blog topics that I could just quickly research and write.

And then life got in the way. Which is generally what happens.

Today as I got up from a day after an absolute bomb of an art fair (didn't even cover gas or the booth fee) I sat down at my computer and started clicking around.

Here's how my brain pattern went:

A display rack for a local retailer needs ordering. Twitter needs checking. Ooh, someone tweeted about Google Adwords, I better check that. My Google Adwords ad has been very badly neglected but luckily custom work keeps coming in. Would more come in if I paid more attention to it? Nope, don't have time to delve into that. Keep going. Write list of what needs to be done today. Look at clock. Click on tweet about ideal design working space. Looks like nobody works in that designing space. Oh man, the apartment needs cleaning. And picking up. I should buy more boxes to store stuff in so it's out of the way. I should really start working, I need to start scanning photos for these collages. The dog needs to go out. Oh man, I need to do as much as I can today because I have to go to work tomorrow.....and pick up that frame on my lunch for that custom piece that needs to be picked up on Tuesday....look at clock....ugh....day is moving too fast!

Hard to read? Yeah. It's hard to keep in my brain, too. If I could get up, sit at my computer and start working in a linear order, that would be great. I need to work harder on that. I'm too ADD. And (prepare for a run-on sentence) if my weekend could be my weekend instead of the time to cram in all the work that doesn't fit into a normal week because 21 hours of it is spent at a job where I spend my lunches trying to catch up with customer emails and run errands and do things so when I get home maybe I can workout and eat dinner instead of just continue to work MAYBE I wouldn't get panic attacks when someone contacts me for more work and instead would welcome it in.

I know these are all excuses. I know I am the one in charge of making a linear work pattern and I ultimately control my cases of the "ooh something shinies" that lead me to bounce around from project to project so instead of completing one item on my list I partially complete several items.

And this is the life of the single female artist trying to make ends meet. No husband, no support, just me. If I fail, I could lose my apartment, or eat less, or get calls from creditors. Luckily it hasn't gotten to that point, except the eating less part.

This is why I hit my forehead on my desk when I hear about the successful female artist who (insert awesome opportunity here) and she would've never been able to do it without the support of her husband and family.

What about those who don't have that? What do they do? Or are they just never "successful"? (Define success as making a comfortable living by the sales of their art with no outside support/job).

If anyone can point me to a book/article/story about a single female artist who eventually made their way to being a self-sufficient artist without any magic I would really appreciate it. (read: stories like once they were living out of their car and then time passed and they persevered and now they're a successful artist are annoying. What did they do? Get an agent? Get "discovered"? Diversify their art? Details!) I feel like I'm heading in the right direction but am missing something and could use a inspiring story.

And less excuses.

02 November 2009

Make it yourself Monday: Snow Globes

When researching fun DIY craft projects on the interwebs I seem to come across three categories of DIY crafts:

1- Stuff you made between kindergarten and 3rd grade

2- Stuff you would actually consider making now and setting out for other people to see

3- Martha Stewart level crafts that consider a trust fund to purchase all of the supplies and infinite amounts of time and perhaps a staff of craft assistants

I'm mostly interested in the 2nd kind, though the 1st kind is fun to look at and chuckle (but you probably won't see them featured here).

What I found today is a nice holiday-ish themed craft that has been given a non-holiday twist: Snow Globes.

Looks pretty fun and is something you could make with what you have around the house.


30 October 2009

Fan Friday: Cowbell

Seeing as I've been running errands all day and it's 9:40pm and I have yet to write my blog post, today's Fan Friday is going to be nice and simple.

I've got a fever....

and the only cure....

is cowbell.


If anyone out there has decided to go as Will Ferrel as the Blue Oyster Cult cowbell player for Halloween, please post a link to your pics. I'd love to see it.