Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Do You Love What You Do?

I recently wrote a blog post about analyzing how much I love my work, and if there are parts of my work that I don't love - Loving What You Do

It got me thinking ... Do you think that you should love all of the facets of your work?  Do you source out the pieces that you don't love?  Do you think that you wouldn't love your work as much if you only did your favorite parts all of the time?

Tell me about the parts that you love!  After all, I'm a sucker for a good love story!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Summer Challenge Results! Part #3

Sadly, this is my final results post!  It has been so much fun getting these results in!  In order to protect the innocent ... and the embarrassed ... I am not posting any disasters though!
Rachel Rode of RachelRode received supplies from Sarah-Lambert Cook of SarahLambertCook!  Here is what she had to say!

"She sent several paper punches of her watercolor color test areas. Basically splotches. :) She also sent a copper bezel and a brass locket, but I did not use them for this project. I didn't want to make jewelry - I wanted to make something out of the box and crafty since I don't get to dabble much in that area anymore. So when I saw the punches, I immediately thought of making a mobile sort of thing. Don't know why, but the different colors just looked so fun and pretty.

So I paired the punches that she sent with some of my own punches of vintage dictionary words and illustrations. I used a nature theme using earth, water, wood, air, flora, fauna, etc. There is an illustration of the moon cycles, a sun dial, and a hummingbird. I also found some dried rose petals inside one of my dictionaries, so I punched a few of them for the mobile. I included some pretty green leaf beads, freshwater pearls, and some glass beads for sparkle.
I strung and knotted the beads in place and then attached the punches in twos, back to back, on fishing line. I strung a large ocean jasper bead on the bottom of each line to hold it taught. Then I tied the fishing line to a birch twig that had broken off one of our trees. I haven't attached a hanger yet - my husband held the twig for the pictures, which, by the way are not very good - it's kind of hard to photograph a large project that has lots tiny details! And my lighting was awful. :(  I had planned to encase the punches in resin but I ran out of time! I think that would add some 3 dimensional character and sparkle.

I guess I can't exactly call the piece a mobile since it doesn't turn except on each line. And it's not a wind chime since it's not meant for wind and it doesn't chime! It's more of a wall hanging...a little bit of frippery for fun. I love the colors and the theme of it though the execution wasn't quite what I had in mind...that happens to me all the time! I like the "happy little surprises" as Bob Ross used to say. :)~

I have not listed this in my's more of a decoration for my studio. I love Sarah-Lambert's work, even splotches! So I might rework the design to focus more on her punches and less on the other stuff."
Finally we have Laura of le animalé who received supplies from April of MooreMagnets!

Laura, also created 2 sets of things including a tiny box and some magnets!  I wonder if she will let a tiny animal live in the box! 
Here's what Laura had to say!

"My first thought was to paint animals on the pieces you sent, but I wanted to try to push myself into something more unexpected. For me, at least. In this case it kind looks like I pushed myself backward, toward Kindergarten maybe, but that's ok. It was fun messing in the paints and glitter (ugh, glitter) and getting my fingers messy. :)"

I would like to thank everyone who participated in this challenge!  Perhaps we will do another one next summer!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

AAG Summer Challenge Results #2!

So, I guess it is my turn =), April of MooreMagnets ... I actually thought for a long time that my results were going to be one of the "crafting disasters"! ... Not because of the lovely supplies sent to be by Jocelyn of FlowerLeaf ... as you can see it was a lovely collection of beads and chain!  However, I am in no way, shape or form a jewelry maker!  It is actually one of the things that I love about Etsy and being on this team, because there are so many wonderful jewelry makers that do fabulous work, that I never ever ever have to make it myself!

 So I looked and looked at these lovely goodies all collected in a cup ... well for a week they rolled all over my desk and drove me crazy!  I made about 3 trips to the craft store and eventually collected these other jewelry making supplies ... I have cursed and thrown my fist so many times dropping these little pieces, put the beads on little pieces of wire and connected them to the chain with the little round things (yes I am using very technical jewelry terms now), only to have the chain break and the little round things pull apart again ...

Yes, I pretty much gave up ... until my pony tail holder broke and I decided to make a book mark ... not sure how I came with that idea ... but I did ... and here is the result ... Not a jewelry wonder or the most beautiful design ... but every time I read a book I will remember how much I love Jocelyn's shop, and how I am so thankful that she makes these lovely things so that I don't have to!!


Next up is Jocelyn jeweler and painter extraordinaire of Flowerleaf!  Now Jocelyn out did herself and not only made one project ... but 2!!!

Jocelyn received a bunch of supplies from Michelle of Calamaristudio and plans to continue to use the supplies after this project!

First up is a set of paintings that she made ... here is what she said about them.  "I sent a bunch of different perspectives to show the 3 little pieces that are part of a series "Wish you were here."  I wanted to create a contemporary collage/mini shadowbox with the canvases I was given. The pictures come from vintage postcards and the borders of the larger canvas have pieces of a map and the back of the postcard with actual writing on it.  when I put the varnish on the paper, it made the ink bleed and I really like the look of it. "

Second, Jocelyn has added a completely new line of jewelry to her Etsy shop because of this challenge!  Jocelyn says, "I had a blast using the shrink plastic and it has brought a new form of media into my jewelry, so thank [you] bunches for this challenge."  Here is one of the sets that she made!  It is listed in her Etsy shop, so run over there and have a closer look!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

What do you want?

I think the defining characteristic of my generation is not knowing what we want to be or where we're going. Maybe it's what makes shows like HBO's "Girls" so popular. People can really identify with that. In the show, all of these girls are in their midtwenties and someone asks at least once in every episode, "What do you want to be when you grow up."

Lately, I've been asking myself this question a lot. It's sort of a funny question to ask when I work from home and am doing pretty well at it. But I'm asking all the same.

I started to take a good hard look at my business in spring, but it was in June that I asked myself the really important question--one I hadn't asked since I started working on making it go two summers ago: What do I want to get out of this. It's an incredibly important question! Without knowing the answer to this, how do I really know how much effort I want to put in? What do I want to get out of my own labors? I guess it hadn't really occurred to me when I started that this would change. It should have. My goals were all built around working to get myself and my husband into a place of our own where we were comfortable. When I started, I had 5 things I wrote down that I knew I wanted to achieve and I gave myself a deadline of January (I set the goals in June, 2010):

1. The financial independence to not have to work outside of my own endeavors.
2. Location freedom
3. Sell at least 500 pieces
4. Establish a definite look for my work and my shop.
5. Begin making my brand truly recognizable.

In a lot of ways, I've achieved most of these things (#5 is still iffy). Still, I look at what I wanted then and I realize that it was all very short term. I had images of myself working a year later, but not of where I wanted to be several years later or even ten years down the road.

Right now, it's not just about setting long term goals. What it is about is figuring out what I truly want and setting those long term goals to help me meet that.

...I haven't got it yet.

I wish I was writing this from the vantage point of someone who has really figured it out and set goals and put them into action. I have set more short-term goals, but it's just not the same, is it?

So here's what I put forth to you: it's not about deciding "What you want to be when you grow up," that's such a broad question and I don't know that it needs to ever be answered, but decide what do you want to get out of whatever it is you're endeavoring to do now. What do you want to get out of working in an office building, running your home business, or taking classes?

Sit down and write out what you truly want. What do you see these current actions bringing you? Work through it and really figure out where you want this to carry you. That's the hard part. Once you have that, it's easy to figure out how to get there.

By Sarah-Lambert Cook

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Summer Challenge Results! Part 1

I have to say that the most exciting part of heading up this team challenge has been getting the results in!  I am always so blown away by the talent of this team, so to see them work with different materials and in different mediums has been pretty incredible! 

First up - Sewingseed!  Tina is a very talented cross-stitcher and creator of wonderful cross-stitch patterns, so it was fun to see what she would make with supplies from Laura at Le Animale, creator of wonderful animal totems!  Tina received some little gems that were incorporated in to this lovely hoop wall hanging!

She wrote a whole blog post about it, so you can head over and read all about it!  She has links to some awesome tutorials in her post too in case you want to learn how to make these cool flowers!

Next comes Michelle of Calamari Studio who received cross stitch supplies from Tina above! 

This is what Michelle had to say about the challenge!

"I received my supplies from Tina of Sewing Seed, which consisted of a cross stitch kit with material, thread, a needle and a button. 

I'd never cross stitched before, but I've always wanted to give it try, so this became the perfect motivation to figure it out. I decided that I was going to cross stitch a quote from one of my and my husband's favorite shows.

After all was said and done, I definitely have to say that I still have a lot to learn. There were a lot of knotted thread issues when I decided to use way too long thread, I was constantly loosing track of how many spaces I'd decided there was going to be between letters and words, and I'm pretty sure it took me twice as long as it needed to because I had no idea what I was doing, ha ha. However, my husband loves it, and it was lots of fun!"

I think Michelle did an amazing job!!

I'll bring you some more next time!!  This is so much fun!!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Summer Challenge

Greetings!  It has been a long hot summer around here, and we still have August!  I hope you can all find a way to enjoy the last half of summer and stay cool!

AAG team members have been off on vacations, busy crafting, coming up with new ideas, and some of us have been working on a team challenge too!

At the beginning of June I had this crazy idea ... you know one of those ideas you think is "Wow, What a fantastic idea!!!" and then you get in the middle of it and thing "Oh No!  What was I thinking!!"

The idea was ... Why don't we all swap some craft supplies with each other and see what we can make! 

Now the results are in, projects are finished, some disasters were created, and most of all I think we were all ready to settle back in with our own familiar supplies =)

Next week I will start showing you the results of this challenge ... between now and then I am going to go tell my supplies how much I love them!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sense Diary ~ Riddle: We Have Five of These.

     If your answer to the riddle was "senses" then you are correct!  Keeping a sense diary is all about putting the five senses we have been given to good use and these days, we are fed with so much media that I wonder if we stop to smell the roses like we used to?  Do we marvel over the awesome cloud formation in the sky while we are taking a walk in the park, or when we go to the grocery store, do we notice how the grocers display their produce?  

When we are going about our daily tasks, everything can seem common and mundane, but statistics and probability prove that's just not the case.  You can go the same place every day, see the same people everyday, and eat relatively the same meals every day, but there's always something new to notice when you force yourself to see, taste, hear, touch, and smell everything differently than what you're already used to seeing, feeling, hearing, tasting, and smelling. 

from Pinterest

This week's assignment is about finding something uncommon in your everyday tasks and heightening your senses. This will expand your creativity after incorporating it into your craft. I have a feeling that the most creative people look at the everyday things much differently than most people do and that's an amazing thing to know.  Plus, it gives us all something to reach for - coming up with more original ideas and concepts that can help us be more prolific with our craft as well as help grow our business. 

This week's sense diary assignment:

Pick at least three things you do every day or every week and try to notice something you have never noticed before, using all your senses... 

This doesn't mean you have to taste a tree when you're walking in the park, but maybe feel the bark, smell it if you don't care who may see you... and record your observations - the sounds you heard, things you tasted when eating a sandwich that you might usually scarf down because you have to get back to work, etc.

You can record these things three ways, or you can use all three.  Sense diaries are all about what you want to include and how you want to include it.  So you can make a list, write a paragraph or two, or you can make a sketch of the actual thing you noticed.  

Don't forget to have fun... even though I am using the word... "assignment."  *gulp*  ;-)