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Inspirational?

12 Sep

I’ve noticed that a popular topic seems to be where creative people get their ideas from. I think this is because most creative people have no idea where their ideas come from, and when they’re feeling creatively blah, they ask the internet to solve their problem, and the internet is like, I don’t know? Go outside maybe?

Seriously, that’s the number one piece of advice in my brief and unscientific survey. Go take a walk. While that’s pretty good advice, it’s really boring, as it is also considered the solution to things like sluggishness, being angry, and vitamin D deficiency.

I feel a lot more pressure to be creative now. I want to constantly be churning out quality things for my shop, making each project I take on the best thing I ever made, and coming up with cool things to make and do in my spare time so I can blog about it. I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily a bad thing – I enjoy making things for my shop, I can’t give my clients work I’m not proud of, and if I didn’t feel the need to do fun and interesting things I would literally sit on the couch and watch Arrested Development re-runs until my skin grafted to the sofa fabric, and I thought I was a Bluth, too.

However, since I feel the need to be so creatively ‘on’ all the time, I’ve been figuring out what does, and doesn’t work for me.

Walking around outside usually doesn’t work.

I need a full night’s sleep. I’m saying this fresh off a night full of nightmares/my dog waking me up, and let me tell you. I am about a dumb as a bag of rocks right now. Even writing this blog post is 12 times harder than it normally is.

I schedule enough flexibility so that I can make the most of the times when I’m feeling creative, and if I’m having a particularly bad day, I can work on something non-creative, like billing!

Watching my dog sleep is very endorphins boosting. Go stare at your pet!

Read The Creative Habit, by Twyla Tharp. She talks about her process, and provides exercises to get out of a creative rut. It’s massively inspiring.

Yoga. A lot of good ideas come in savasana.

I do something I hate. If I’m scrubbing a toilet, or running, or mopping floors, I inevitably get a good idea. I don’t know why, but there you go.

What do you do when you’re stuck for ideas?

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Good lord it’s been a month already?

8 Aug

 

Oh goodness gracious. Allow me to begin this post with a little story.

I was slumbering not so peacefully the other night (seriously, in the past couple of weeks I’ve awoken to think I saw someone standing over my bed – a mean trick of the shadows – there have been a lot of thunderstorms, and I’ve been having exceptionally vivid dreams.. I think I need to drop my little extra cup of coffee in the afternoon habit right back on the ground) and I had a dream. I was at a Goodwill, but it was a different company from the Goodwill we all know and love. I was chatting with some executives, as I tend to do, and they told me to come in the next day for an interview, and I would be guaranteed a job. As I was preparing for my interview, I realized that I didn’t want to do any of it. I like the job I have now, and I didn’t think I wanted to give it up.

This sums up how freelance is going for me right now. I woke up, and the dream dissolved, but the basic sentiment remained the same. I really like it!

 

 

My Goals For Month 1

* Grow my Etsy shop exponentially. – Still working on this one! Definitely have made a lot of progress.

* Redesign my website. NOPE.


* Streamline the not-fun aspects of freelancing.
This is in progress as well. I have taken steps.


* Become a better blogger.
I wouldn’t say that being ‘better’ at blogging is a goal to be reached, but I have been way more consistent at blogging, so I’m counting it as a win.

FEARS

+ What if I become a shut-in and don’t ever talk to anyone except for David/my family again? I am actually socially busier than ever! I don’t know what I’m doing, but I guess I am doing it well.

+ What if nobody is interested in hiring me?  I actually have more to do than I thought I would!

+ What if I never wear real clothes again? Yeah… about that. I need to go buy some nicer ‘lounge’ clothes, because the giant Planet Fitness t/no pants/hair in an unbrushed braid/no makeup is not a good look for me.

+ What if I can’t find any good music to listen to and the silence slowly drives me insane?  Pandora/Netflix have taken care of that for me.

+ What if I become a crazy person who talks to her dog like he’s a human? (Oh wait..) I need to accept that this is not so much a ‘fear’ and more of a ‘reality’.

+ What if I cut my finger off with an X-acto and slowly bleed to death because I can’t get to the phone in time? (maybe I should get a life-alert?) This is still a big issue for me. I have added, choking, and falling, breaking both my elbows and being unable to dial my phone to this list.

 

 

My biggest problem right now is organization. It is extraordinarily difficult to organize my days, and feel productive by the end of them. A typical day for me looks like this:

+ Wake up. Eat breakfast with David, send him off, etc.

+ Think about what I want to accomplish today.

+ Start working.

+ Email! From someone who needs something from me!

+ Feel torn between completing task, or completing client request.

+ Complete client request, return to task.

+ Phone call! More new stuff to do.

+Ping pong back and forth. Finally get back to task, for reals this time.

+ Yoga/David comes home/Previously scheduled appointment comes up. End day feeling semi productive but also frustrated that it takes days to complete anything.

 

This is hard, because I want to be accessible to the people who are willing to pay me money to do work for them, but I also want to, you know, get things done.

 

Also, my desk got real messy:

 

My Goals for Month 2:

+ Relaunch Etsy shop with new products and a new gameplan.

+ Actually redesign my website. I need to stop procrastinating and do it.

+ Finish some client work and get the whole invoicing/billing thing all smoothed out.

+ Talk to an accountant. (My, that sounds responsible)

+ Come up with a work flow that allows me to be accessible AND productive. I have already taken steps on this one. Many of the steps involve coming to terms with the fact that it’s okay not to read and respond to email instantly. People can wait 15 minutes.

+ Get office organized. This is not so much a ‘goal’ as it is a ‘nerd-out waiting to happen’. File folders, here I come! This is gonna take at LEAST 2 trips to Office Depot, boy oh boy!

+ Get out of the office more! I had these dreams of always working at coffee shops, being too cool for school with my feather extensions and pierced nose (I have neither of these things). I haven’t left the office to work hardly at all because I always plan to make more Etsy stuff, and that requires a lot of supplies. I think it’s hard to be creative and stay fresh being by yourself all the time, and not being out in the world, even if the world is a little coffee shop table. I also have big dreams of working poolside. The pool closes in a month, so I better jump on it. Honestly, I want to take advantage of the wonderful freedom of schedule that I have right now, and not spend my life in the same place at the same time every day.

Phew, this ended up being a long post. (over 900 words!) I certainly do love taking stock. In a nutshell, I love it, I’m getting better at it every day, I can’t wait to show you all the new stuff I’ve been doing!

 

 

My Freelance Life:

Read about day 1 here

I’m a fan

1 Aug

I hope everyone had a good weekend! I accomplished almost everything on my list. I also took in an outdoor movie, learned how to play Skip-Bo, and cooked a lot. I made these bacon-wrapped baked eggs, which were insanely good. They also reheated well, and were kind of portable, so who knows? All you need is a bloody mary in a thermos, and you’ve got brunch on the go! (Don’t do that. You’ll get arrested.) It was also a very rainy weekend, which is excellent for doing home projects. It is not so excellent for spray painting, but I made it.

I woke up this morning feeling like I was hit by a train, and then had the hardest yoga class of my life. It was so hard, you guys. I learned that sometimes I can be  grossed out by how flexible people can be. The class was a little awkward for me, because it was a small group of women, and I think they were all stay at home moms and they’d all been taking this class together for months and months. I felt out of place, especially since I was the least advanced yoga practitioner by a long shot.  And my mat was really squeaky, and it was extra quiet in there. On the plus side, I did crow pose for the first time without falling on my face.

 

My office is slowly coming together. This weekend, I painted the fan.

It was a big dark funsucker just hovering above me. The fan blades were this weird 70s wood laminate type stuff, and it was a big downer on my white, bright office space. (By the way, how do we feel about maybe painting the walls seafoam? I’m not loving the white, and I always love the 50s..)

It was surprisingly easy to take the blades off. I was most afraid of this part, mostly because I figured I’d never be able to put it back together and things would be falling off and killing people left and right, but it was pretty simple.

The grossest part was the nice, thick layer of dust on the blades. This room used to be the roommate room, and I think it’s safe to say in the 3 years I’ve lived here, nobody ever dusted the fan. Maybe nobody dusted it when I moved in. I don’t know. I’d rather not think about it.

The cool part was this neat little detail around the base of the lamp part of the fan. I love the cut outs. They remind me of Orla Kiely. The lamp bit was quite dirty too. I washed everything.

Hello weird little frankenfan. You look like a weapon.

At first I didn’t listen to the designsponge instructions, and tried to paint my chevrons using a paper template. This looked like crap. The paint was super thin, and it would glob up. If you’re thinking of doing this, or really any small painting project requiring tape, just go ahead and buy some frisket film. That stuff is amazing.

The frisket film looks cool and shiny by itself. It would be super neat as a completely removable, but very subtle detail.

The finished product! I love it. The gold comes out really brown in this photo, but in real life it’s a nice, subtle shimmery gold that almost perfectly matches the fan equipment. I originally thought I would go with grey or black, but I thought that gold would tie everything together, and look more intentional.  It is crazy what a difference it makes in the room. I didn’t think it would be that drastic, but it just makes the room look much more finished.

Also, check out this blog post! I contributed the place cards, menus, and table name. I think it turned out pretty cool.

27 Jul

My cutting machine supplies! I have fresh blades! I have sweet markers that I can use in my cutting machine, essentially allowing me to print white on black, and metallic (heck. yes.) I am ON TRACK for my shop relaunch. It’s a relaunch because I’m going to have a ton of new stuff, + a new brand, + actually send my email newsletter.

BRB, cutting paper forever.

While I was taking this photo, I also found this beauty:

 

You guys, what the hell am I doing here? I have absolutely no memory of taking this. I have no idea what was in my mouth, although I can only assume it was chocolate of some sort. Why did I take this? Even though we may never know the answers to those questions, I think it pretty well exemplifies how I’m dealing with the whole being alone for 8 hours a day.

How To Write A Blog Post When You’re Feeling Blocked

12 Jul

1) Stare at your computer screen for a while.

2) Pick at your hair. Everyone knows that your best ideas come out of your hair.

3) Look at other people’s blogs. Wonder if anyone would mind if you copy/paste whole posts.

4) Pet your dog. Unfortunately, he can’t write a post for you.

5) Start an incredibly boring paragraph. Halfway through, delete it, because it’s making you sleepy.

6) Wonder if you can write a blog post about how watermelon smells good. Probably not.

7) Stare out the window for a while.

8) Decide to go to your old standby, a list, and hit post!

Kitchen Before/During

27 May

The view from the kitchen door. I had loved the bright color of the kitchen for quite some time, but I think it definitely contributed to the cluttered feel of the kitchen.

 

The sad, lonely pot rack. And the sad, unpainted shelf.

 

The kitchen sink and the only available counter space. It always ended up filled with dishes, and the tiny counter above the sink was a messy spice rack.

The kitchen sink and the only available counter space. It always ended up filled with dishes, and the tiny counter above the sink was a messy spice rack.

This wall was so messy and there was no possible way to keep it clean because it had to serve so many functions. Storage, laundry room, auxilary counter space... It was always a mess.

 

Looking out of the kitchen doorway.

 

 

I decided to go with a greenish light blue color and accent with bright pops of red. It makes the kitchen feel much more soothing, and it also brightens up the room quite a bit!


This coffee cart now holds Caspian’s food, and the white dish on it holds random fruit. I bought the rug on sale at Crate and Barrel in Ohio, and I love how perfectly it picks up the colors in the slate and the wall.

I love this pot rack. It holds all of my most important dishes, and most needed utensils. The spice rack keeps the spices contained, although I’m not sure that it’s going to stay, since a (very expensive) jar of fennel just fell out the other day, and shattered all over the floor. I also love how you can store the lids on top of the rack. Oh IKEA. You just get me.

This is the wall where the refrigerator and the washer and dryer used to be. I like this setup SO MUCH BETTER! It has tripled my counter space. I especially like the bar set up. During parties, people can stand on the other side and it’s almost like a real bar! It is also incredible to be able to be in the kitchen and hear what’s going on in the other rooms. It has really opened up the the whole apartment.

These are some cookie cutters that I have collected over the years. I think cookie cutters are so cool, and they have fun shapes that should be displayed for the other 99% of the time when they aren’t cutting out dough.

This is my little collection of ceramic things that go over the sink. These are the ONLY things that are allowed to go over the sink. Please note the dish rack in the bottom corner, keeping dishes under control since 2011.

Owlbert and Hoobert.

I hope everyone has a great memorial day weekend!

Drilling Through Canvas Is Harder Than You Think

26 May

The other day I was spending the morning doing nothing, when I decided that I would like to make a light wall behind the TV. Unfortunately, googling light wall didn’t produce much. I had this vision of twinkle lights hanging down, but I couldn’t think of a good, beautiful way to mount them.

I did see a project someone did where they made little flower shapes on a canvas and poked lights through. This seemed to be a much cleaner solution, and I came with an idea to use that concept, but way, way brighter.

It was pretty lucky, because Jerry’s Artarama had a canvas sale, and I got a HUGE canvas for cheapies. It was pretty unlucky though, because whatever way I tried, the canvas wouldn’t fit behind the TV.

So I moved some things around and put it next to my big mirror!

I am a little obsessed with chevrons right now, and big bold stripes seemed like the best way to have maximum impact and NOT use a hundred million lights. I marked out the blank stripes with masking tape, and then I marked where I wanted the lights to be with a pencil.

I thought it would be easy to make a hole in the canvas with a pin, but it turns out canvas is much sturdier than I thought, so I had to bust out the drill. The next step was poking all 700 twinkle lights through the holes, and making sure all of the strands were lined up correctly.

I really like how it looks. It has this nice soft glow, and it lights up the room. I’ve always loved these lights, and I’m glad I found a solution that doesn’t make my space look college-student-y. I don’t like that big ugly brown cord, but I’m going to get some conduit or something and fix that. (And the rest of the ugly wire situation that is rampant in the apartment. It wasn’t quite as worrisome until Caspian started randomly chewing on the occasional wire. It would be great if I didn’t come home to discover that he electrocuted himself, ala Christmas Vacation.)

That’s my latest project! If you are coming over any time soon, I will plug it in and talk about it a LOT. Lucky for you, I only keep it plugged in for short periods of time, because it throws heat like a boss, and I’m pretty sure if you leave it on for too long the canvas will burst into to flames. (Kidding. (I think.))

I Couldn’t Wait…

7 Apr

To show you the business cards I made last night! I am going to be showing some stuff at a wedding expo, and I wanted to be sure I had some really awesome business cards. I think I might have broken my diecutter in the process, but they are finished and I’m pretty happy with them.

Behind The Scenes

31 Mar

The first thing anyone will tell you about selling products on Etsy is that it is super important to have great photos! Everything else can slide, to some extent, but the photos are key.

That’s why I call my dad! He is a semi-professional photographer, and his photos are way better than anything I could make.

It’s always fun, because he’ll come over and we’ll grab things from around the apartment and test out different product styling, and shots. I think every photo session the pictures get better!

Dining Room – After/During!

29 Mar

I don’t think calling these things an ‘after’ is technically correct, since like I said before they are still very much in progress. Also in progress are my photography skills! Taking pictures of your house is hard, yo. Last week, I spent about an hour shooting, and came up with very few usable pics. I would be tempted to blame my camera, since it seems to be slowly dying, but I think it is also attributable to my lack of camera knowledge and poor lighting.

Well, now that you know that, I think it’s time for you to see my ‘new’ dining room!

BEFORE

You know, what’s crazy is I didn’t think it looked THAT bad. I liked how nice and long the table was, and how it was close to the window.

This room also had to function as my ‘office’. It was a pretty good space to work in, I will say, but I never had enough room on my desk, and if I wanted to do anything handmade, it had to spill over onto the kitchen table. I felt like a theme for this room was ‘where you put things that have no home.’ There was always something on the table that didn’t belong, and my desk was constantly piled up with things that I needed, but had no home.

There was also this bar/bookshelf thing that was nice, but (say it with me) served as a clutter catcher. It was something of a random addition to a room that was already serving too many purposes.

AFTER(DURING)

Ahh… I like this so much better! It’s amazing how open and airy the room feels, even though we actually took away space with the remodel (more on that later, once I get some good pictures!) I took some leaves out of the kitchen table and put it in the corner. It is not necessary to have it big for workspace any more, and David and I usually eat on the couch anyway, so a big table didn’t make sense. I do want to swag up the chandelier at some point, since people keep hitting their heads on it, and it will make the arrangement look more natural. I also have dreams of leaning a big mirror against the wall behind the chair, to bounce off some more light and add another big piece to the room. I also have dreams of finding another rug to layer over the one we have already. Another thing I’d like to do is add cafe curtains to the window. You can’t see them here, but we have these wooden slat shades, which are super heavy and dusty and block more light than you would believe. I think adding curtains around the apartment will also really soften up the hard corners minimalist thing I have going on now.

I like having the piano in this room. It has a lot of visual weight, and even though I’ve moved it around a couple times, it never felt like it fit in anywhere. It felt too big and brown for my apartment, which was sad because I like music, and I like to play piano! I feel like it’s finally found its home. The walls behind it and next to it are bare, bare, bare, and while I like how clean it looks, I also really want to get something up on those walls! I’m thinking some bigger scale art piece that’s soft and neutral colored, so it doesn’t draw too much attention. Really large scale snowy photography perhaps? Or maybe misty trees? I know my dad has some stuff like that, maybe he will give me a big print for my birthday (or my half birthday, which is much closer.. hint hint!!)

I love this grouping. My family has so many amazing old photos, and they just make me smile! I love the little print of my mom in her nurse’s uniform, and I think it looks great next to the photos of my grandparents. I think they were so stylish, and it cracks me up that they never looked at the camera! (gotta avoid that glasses glare). It’s my goal to fill our home with photos of our loved ones, and especially old photos of our loved ones. I know David’s family has some great ones too, and I can’t wait to get more of them up!

I have this struggle to make things clean and minimalist looking in my house. I love how peaceful that can be – but I also love to group photos and art together in collections on the wall. If I’m not careful, my apartment can look cluttered even when everything’s put away, which I hate. The public spaces are basically one big room, so I have to be especially careful, which is why I am so proud of my solution. I put collections on walls that you can only see from a specific angle, which means that in general, everything is calm and clean and peaceful, but I still get to enjoy my collections. This is the breakfast nook, which features art done by my mom. My favorite is the pomegranate, which she decided to paint after she saw something similar in the kitchen on Modern Family. Food is really important to me, and I like that I can celebrate that with the art on my walls.