Creative Girl Book Group: Chapters 9 and 10

June 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

Chapters 9 and 10 of the book Creative Girl: The Ultimate Guide for Turning Talent and Creativity into a Real Career by Katherine Sise focused on preparing for the job interview in a mainstream Creative job and THEN what to do once you land the job.  It was very interesting to rethink the dreaded questions you get in the process like “what are your strengths and weaknesses”  and the sticky nature of the answers you or I give.  One thing I took away from Chapter 9 is that it seems like the old stigma of having to dress in that traditional business suit has been done away with a bit.  The author encouraged the reader to let a little of your personality come through in your wardrobe.  I like the reasoning behind this.  When you go into this process, you do want to make sure to let your boss know a bit about what he/she is getting you as a potential employee.  I think wardrobe is one way of assessing whether each is a good fit.

I liked the concept in chapter 10 of continuous learning.  I think this is incredibly valuable in owning your own business as well.  I think a part of minimizing the risk of becoming stagnant in your work life is to continue to look for “the interesting” in the work you are doing or the industry you are involved which ultimately helps one to find passion where it can be found.
Anyone else reading along with me?  Put your comments and/or your links in the comments and I will be sure to stop over.
-Robin Norgren


Pepe and the New Old Couch

June 27, 2011 § 2 Comments

I hope you had a great weekend!  We recently scored this beautiful old sofa…it’s just long enough for two (people that is) to stretch out at each end, carved wood arms in the design of acanthus leaves, vintage velvety gold tufted upholstery…it’s lovely!  I spent most of my weekend on it reading Villette with my little guy, Pepe, as it is just too hot now for me (and him).  Pepe wanted to be sure and model this new addition for you and let everyone know how he’s enjoying it!

Oh Hai! You have a camera?

I don't notice you at ALL

Oh my this is quite comfortable

Would you just pet me???

–Lisa LeBlanc

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Ikea’s Love for Textiles Book

June 23, 2011 § 2 Comments

I’m back from Houston after a round of scans and doctor appointments at MD Anderson (you can read more about my story); fortunately I’ve returned with good news tho I have to go back in three months to do it all again.  In the midst of appointments, we found ourselves with a sizable chunk of time and I had to get some retail therapy!  We headed north (I think?) to Ikea and I scored some absolutely beautiful draperies (Henny Rand), a new ironing board cover that didn’t fit AND this beautiful new book, Love of Textiles for only $10!  The book is filled with sumptuous photography imploring mostly Ikea fabrics in the most inspiring ways.  There are some DIY to close out each chapter; most do not require machine sewing…easy peasy.

image credit

From the Ikea website:

This is not a book to read. It’s a book to touch, to browse, to be inspired by and enthused about. Because textiles aren’t about sharp scissors and awkward sewing machines. They’re about creative desire. So stop reading and step inside our textile world.

I’ve poured through the pictures and text every night before bed and it has been such a nice getaway mentally after a busy and stressful few days.  Unfortunately, the book appears to be only available in store; I’m not sure why Ikea has never got into the whole online biz but perhaps you can bribe a friend that lives near one to pick you up a copy…at $10 bucks you can offer to buy them one too!

–Lisa LeBlanc

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Creative Girl Book Group: Chapters 7 and 8

June 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

Chapter 7 of the book Creative Girl: The Ultimate Guide for Turning Talent and Creativity into a Real Career
helped me work through those daunting fears I have rallying around any new idea I try to implement.  What an obstacle fear can be!  Many times I recognize it for what it is and I am able to hold it at bay. The reality is that operating a handmade business where the majority of your sales depend on how much you are marketing…well YOU!… can turn into a bit of a nemesis, especially in those times where you might be doubting yourself.
I like the quote this chapter started with:
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage” — Anais Nin
    My greatest fear has to do with whether or not I have the stamina to market and promote in the manner you MUST when you are starting out.  The reality is that at some point I should be able to gain some momentum because I am learning more efficient ways to market and to produce and to integrate new ideas.  But I know I could not spend the hours and hours I spend now for the rest of my life.  That would be ridiculous!  There is a point where doing what you love has to find balance within a normal life, one that includes family and social engagements.  For right now, I have INCREDIBLE wiggle room because my hubby is deployed and I do not sleep well.  But there will come a day that this will all change.
Final words on Chapter 7:
“Don’t be so obsessed with making the exact right step that you paralyze yourself from moving forward”
       Chapter 8 dealt with putting together a resume which did not really pertain to my situation at this time.  What I did like about the chapter though is the section on finding ways to build in the experience you need in whatever field you would like to forge out a career.  In that way , you are working toward that day when you might need to craft your resume.
What about you?  Leave your links in the comments if you are blogging along with me and I will definitely come by and visit.
-Robin Norgren


June 21, 2011 § 1 Comment

I love the idea of yarnstorming or sometimes called yarn bombing; if you are not familiar with the practice, it is sort of a guerrilla style knitting installation popping up in public spaces that was made famous by Magda Sayeg of Knitta Please.  Today these installations mean different things to the groups that create them but each signals us to have a deeper relationship with our day to day environment.  This beautiful installation is in the German town of Velbert, created by Ute Lennartz-Lembeck.  It took approximately 200 hours of labor and 400,000 stitches to complete the project!

Here is Ute Lennartz-Lembeck’s car packed in preparation for the installation in Velbert.  Again, I’m in awe as I barely finished a scarf last Christmas!

Have you seen any great examples of this public art or participated in it?  Fill me in on the details!

–Lisa LeBlanc

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A Basic How-to for Craft Shows Part 2 of 2

June 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

Getting Ready to Go……

Ok, we learned in my last post what you need for your first craft show, now lets learn what to do with it…

You should have everything packed and ready to go a day or two before.  I always like to have everything loaded in my truck the day before. Make sure you have your list and check it twice.  Once you arrive and check in, the show coordinator will tell you where your booth will be, find it first, then pull your car around if possible.  Depending on the set up and what time you arrive, the earlier the better, you may be able to pull right up to your space to unload. If not make sure to have your dolly with you to help move your things.  I have forgotten it before and had to carry every thing from pretty far, believe me it is no fun.

Always set up your tent first, then your banners, tables, and table coverings.  From here you can start decorating and set up your displays.  Give yourself plenty of time to set up, it takes me 3-5 hours to set up my display.  You can set up your booth anyway you like, but I recommend you keep the customers in mind.  Try to have a good flow, I like to have them come in one side and exit out the other, of course it will not always happen this way, but it is good to keep in mind while you are setting up.  It is also good practice to do a trial run before your show, so that when the time comes for you to set up, you are familiar with how you want to display your merchandise.

Once you are all set up, and the show is starting it is time to sell, sell, sell! Make sure you have plenty of change, and a calculator, as referenced in my first post, and get ready for the customers.  Always smile, be friendly and answer any questions that the customers have about your products.  As a rule I never bargain with customers, you may want to, but I decided after I let customers talk me down a few times, that it was not worth it.  My things are priced reasonable and not too much over what I have put into them including my time.  If I let everyone talk me down on my price, I would just break even.  It is up to you how you want to handle this, but have a plan, because you will be approached several times over the course of your show.  Ask the customers what they are looking for and what they like and that may help you promote your items, for example, if you sell handmade soap, ask what their favorite scents are and maybe you carry that scent or something similar.

You will need to charge tax at your shows, the easiest way from me is to figure it into my price, that way I do not have to deal with change. I will round-up to the nearest dollar in most cases. Do this before hand so that you do not lose on money on taxes. Most shows will collect city taxes at the end of the show, you will be responsible for mailing in your state taxes.

Never leave your booth unattended, if you have a friend or family member that can come and relieve you for a break, do that.  If not you will need to stay in your booth or close it down, to take a break. Most shows do not like for you to close it down, so if I am at a show that is far from family, I sometimes ask my neighbor to watch my booth.  In most cases the people around you are very friendly and will be happy to do that, make sure you do the same for them.

Once the show is complete, turn in your taxes, if required, and start packing up.  All shows request that you do not start packing up until the show is over.  If you do they may not allow you to return. Some are very strict about this and some are not, especially if the show has wound down for the day.  Take the time to pack things back up nice and neat that way it is ready to go for the next show. Believe me I have learned this from experience!

Each craft show is different and with the economy today, it is hard to tell you how you will do at a show. Some shows you will do great, some you will break even and some you may even lose, the point is to try!  The more shows you do, the more you will learn what to do the next.

Congratulations! You have completed your first craft show!  Count your profits, and whatever they may be and be proud of yourself for making it through.  Craft shows are a lot of work, but can be very rewarding.

Now let’s get started working on the next one!! 🙂

–Mary Lindsey

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Creative Girl Book Group: Chapters 5 and 6

June 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

photo credit

So here we are at Chapters 5 and 6 of the book Creative Girl: The Ultimate Guide for Turning Talent and Creativity into a Real Career.

Here is the link to my friend Jane’s blog to find her take on these two chapters.

The chapters offer practical journaling prompts which aid in your decision to make a move from your current job or stay put and start slow in your “off time” until you are sure you have a handle on how your lucrative your idea is. I am coming from a different perspective in that our family made the decision to live lean and get debt free while my hubby is deployed. So what I am prepping for is when my little one starts school in August. The reality is we have been treading water so our little one would not feel abandoned with one parent gone for months at a time and the other working full time. But the time is coming when that will all change.

That said, I did take VERY SERIOUSLY the prompt to list what you don’t want in a job. The reality is that the struggle to find ANY job is one where we need to be grateful for what we are able to get. I think for me I took this exercise to mean if I am going to go through the trouble of starting my own business, pouring hours upon hours into its success, what am I willing to endure?

These three things I came up with for sure:

  • I need to create a business that thrives on innovation.
  • I cannot produce the same thing OVER AND OVER AGAIN.
  • I need to have social contacts; some outside connections with others who are involved in small business but also others who are completely UNRELATED to what I am doing so that I can take a mental break. A job that offers variety in its tasks so I am not constantly drudging through the tedious.

Another great question is what does success look like/what kind of life opens up for you when you make the plunge into owning your own business:

  • more calculated use of my time
  • becoming more strategic about where I want my business to go
  • less “busy” work
  • trust my intuition

Here is my friend Sonya’s link

Feel free to add your links to your blogs if you are reading along with Jane, Sonya, Lisa and me. I would love to come by and see your thoughts on these or other chapters of the book.

-Robin Norgren

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