Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thinking Spring

It's been a long Winter.  That's all I'm going to say.  Many factors in my personal life continue to keep my out of the studio; however, that is all about to come to an end.  I have tied up some loose ends and found stable footing--somewhat--and will be returning to the studio next week--if I'm not called in to work!

I will be selling at the GALA/CREST craft show on Sunday, April 27 in Kensington, MD!  This will run alongside Kensington's Day of the Book.  We will be right around the corner.  If you're local, come check us out!

My first order of business will be to finish a bag I've been working on:

I just need to finish the trim you see above (no easy task, as it  is very thick!) and add handles. It should be ready in plenty of time for my show!  After that, I don't know what I will work on.  Possibly some charm bracelets. I just need to see which way the winds of inspiration blow!

I hope to have more news for you soon!  For now, it's just about finding my groove again.

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Tough Year

I won't lie:  This year has been tough! I have not accomplished much at all, due to various life circumstances, and that has been frustrating, but I'm plugging along, and now it seems like I may be getting back on a somewhat normal (if minimal) schedule with my business.

I think I have mentioned before that I have been focusing on comedy writing this year, along with everything else. Well, I have started to do stand up comedy, and you can see my first performance here.  I don't want to embed the video on this blog, because this blog is not about my comedy, and I feel that embedding the video would make the blog seem cluttered.  This blog is about my art, photography, and antiques.  Still, I will from time to time offer updates on my comedy, including links to my videos!  I have not seen a need to set up a blog for my comedy, so you can follow that aspect of my art on Facebook and on Twitter.  :)  Hope to see you there!  My next performance will be on November 14, 2013 in Washington, DC.  So far, I am enjoying it immensely, though I am not able to get out and perform as frequently as some of my colleagues.

As for my other writing, chiefly my two chapbooks, I have been thinking about them again lately, and I'm going to pull them back out later in the year and see if I can do anything with them.  I'm about at the point where I am ready to work with an editor. I need help with formatting.  Once I've looked them over again, I'll tap into my network and see if I can get help.  I'm really ready to make the push and get them out there!

I had two vintage/antiques shows lined up for this year, but I did not make it to either one, unfortunately.  The first time, my alarm just did not go off.  The last time--back in mid-October, I made the decision not to go, because it rained that day. As you all know by now, a lot of the vintage/antiques I sell is books, and vintage paper positively melts in the rain.  There is no drying it out.  If old paper gets wet, it's done for.  So, that sucked, but my online vintage sales have not been too bad, so it's not like my stuff is not getting seen.  It just makes me that much more determined to get out in the Spring!

I have a craft show tomorrow, and I'm delivering my items for a consignment show next Saturday.  They will be at the venue until January, I believe.  This week, I have managed to get in a little time in the studio, and I'm happy to say I will be taking two new decorated boxes with me tomorrow! I wasn't sure I would finish them in time, but I did! Yay, me!  Between Sunday and next Friday, I hope to get a few more things made.  The 2nd show is supposed to be for Holiday crafts, but I generally don't design things around the Holidays.  If I can during the upcoming week, I will, but it's just not something I do. I create as inspiration hits. Sometimes the seasons match up, and sometimes, they don't.

The one thing that has suffered this year is my photography.  I did finally get my camera looked at (nothing was wrong), and I even received a new telephoto lens and bought a new camera bag, but the time and inspiration to shoot just did not hit at all or at the same time.  Sadly, while I've had some nibbles about shoots, people just disappear when I give them my quotes. Seems everybody is a photographer now, so no one wants to pay for it.  (This happened last year, too!)  Since I'm interested in getting into pet photography, a few people did take my card back in the Spring, but I have not heard from any of them.  It could still happen--the year is not over yet.  We shall see.  I think that next year, I'm going to attempt 365 Project again, just to get me back in the habit of shooting regularly.

So after kind of a down year--a very hard year, really--I'm ready to get back in gear. I have some new time constraints, but I have plenty of projects that are portable, and I'm starting to get better about not over scheduling.  I also have the drive.  What happened this year to hold me back was unavoidable, and I have no regrets, but I sure would like a normal, calm year in 2014, so I can get more done! 


Happy Fall, y'all! ;)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Etsy For Animals: Making Shelters for Feral Cats

This is a great overview of ways to create shelters for feral cats to help them withstand the cold weather.

Etsy For Animals: Making Shelters for Feral Cats by Josie of Whiscraft

Thursday, September 19, 2013

This is Why I Do What I Do.

My most recent sale was the set of prints pictured above.  I got the notification a little late, but I jumped into action right away and got them shipped in plenty of time.  Today, I signed into my email to see this:

~Thank you so much for the prompt shipment of the beautiful botanical prints.  These will make a lovely surprise for a beloved young bride on my gift list!  The items arrived just as described and I could not be more pleased with the product, the price and the service.  MB~

You have no idea how pleasing it is to know that my item was chosen to be a wedding gift!  This is an appropriate one, too.  These prints are very delicate and feminine and romantic.

Last Saturday, I had a parallel experience.  As you know, I'm dabbling in stand up comedy.  What you probably don't know is that I'm due to hit the stage for the first time ever on October 10!  That's right! In front of real, live, people--people who are not other comedians! 

Saturday, I was at a workshop, and since I'm preparing my very first set, I was asked to run through my bit--all five minutes.  At the end of it, as I got off "stage" (it was really just the front of the room), another attendee looked at me and said,

~You are hilarious.~

I've never been told this by someone I don't know well before, so I was floored.  The next day, he posted about how his wife was still laughing at one of my jokes, which he'd related to her when he got home.

Feedback.  Encouragement.  Compliments.  Gratitude. Bonding.  This is why I do the things I do!  Money's always good, of course, but it is the connection to others that drives me in my business.

Today and every day, I give thanks to and for the people around me:  Customers, clients, friends, colleagues, mentors, even my competition.  None of us can do this alone.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

I Owe You an Update

Peonies from my mom's garden.

I wish I could just come here, to my blog, and share amazing, inspiring, and helpful posts.  I wish I could post wonderful photos of my works in progress, but unfortunately, at this time in my life, that is just not possible.  I am still very dedicated to my business and to my customers and supporters, but at this time, my health and some family issues are taking precedence over everything else.

I have been able to put up some new vintage listings recently, but even that has been sporadic.  I missed my show in June, because my alarm did not go off that day. (Very embarrassing!)  Now that I have devoted several weeks to my vintage ("several weeks" is actually closer to about maybe seven days), I am in the process of cleaning up my studio, so that I can focus on my handmade items for a while.  Due to my health, even my cleanup efforts have taken longer than I would like.  I am  working with my doctors to try and find out what's going on (ie, Is it really fibro?) so that I can treat it.  Right now, until we know exactly what's happening, all I can do is rest when I am flaring badly.  I'm coming off of the worst, longest-lasting flare I've ever had.  The last two days, I've been OK, but I never know how I will be feeling from one day to the next.

The other thing that is going on is that I am helping care for my dad.  My boyfriend and I travel to my parents' place (about an hour away) every, single weekend.  It's a lot of work and a lot of stress, but I am glad to be there for my dad and for the rest of my family.  My family knows about my health issue, so I am given allowances for reduced activity, and I do not take on overnight shifts. I'm basically there to support/help out my mom and sister. It's working out pretty well.

Hopefully, this coming week, I'll be able to settle in and work on the handmade items.  I have two boxes to finish up, and I will choose my next craft based on how I feel/how my time is after that.

I still have not gotten my camera to the shop!  (Hopefully, this week!)  I was on my way to the shop with it back in June, but while I was stopped in traffic, I was rear-ended!  Everyone is OK now, and no one was injured.  My car sustained about $2,030 worth of damage, but the repair was covered, and I have my car back now.  More than anything, it was a very annoying experience.  I'm hoping to take the camera in this week.  I've been able to use it for my listings, but I definitely can't trust  it for shoots.  (This is how things work for me!  LOL!)

On the comedy front, I'm still not performing, but I am preparing to take a workshop on August 3.  The teacher is apparently someone who has worked with a number of now-famous comics, many of them from the DC area.  his classes are very popular with DC comics, and he does these workshops once a month.  I'm excited to finally be able to go (provided there is no crisis with my dad.)  I have also set up a Facebook page.  There is not a whole lot there, but I will be sharing some of  my original jokes, as well as things that I just find funny and showtimes (when  I start performing.)  Feel free to follow!  :) People in the local scene and in my writers' group on particular have been amazingly supportive!

I think that about covers things, for now.  I was hoping 2013 would be a better year for me than 2012 was, and in a lot of ways it has been; however, my business still isn't thriving the way I'd hoped.  I can only just do my best.  Thank you for sharing my journey with me!  :)  (...And don't worry:  When I have insights to share, I certainly  will!)

Happy summer!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Things Come Up

My Spring has gotten "interesting", and by "interesting", I mean busy and sidetracked.  We've had some developments in my family that have been taking my focus away from JLP.  I think we are back at a quiet place now, though, and I hope to be able to start focusing back on my little business in coming weeks.  I need to--My next show is on June 9!

I still haven't gotten my camera in to be looked at, nor have I managed to finish editing the photos from our trip last month.  I would still like to blog that trip, but I'll get to it when I can.  I will probably take the camera in in early June.  I did try to do a small shoot with it, but the pictures did not turn out, so I had to refund my customer's money.  I did tell him to contact me in a couple of months, if he still wants the photos done, so maybe he will get in touch.

The first two shows I did, while positive in other ways, were busts.  That means that, unless my show on the 9th goes really, really well, I will have finished with shows for this year.  I never say "never", but if I don't have money, I can't spend it to make more.  ;)  I realize this paragraph sounds whiny, but it's not intended at all to be a whine.

Once I can get my studio cleaned up a little, I'll be working on my vintage and antiques.  The show on June 9 is an antiques show.  I try to do at least one of those a year, and I usually do well at those.  I have so much stuff to get cleaned up, identified, priced, and ultimately posted online.  At times, it all seems very daunting, but I love what I do!

Right before Paws in the Park, I finished up a box.  The theme of the box is "jungle" (or "rainforest", to be more accurate, I guess.)  It came out beautifully.  I was so happy with it.  Well, so was a coworker!  She wanted to buy it as soon as she saw the photo I had taken of it to show her.  I made a deal with her:  If it did not sell at Paws in the Park, I would sell it to her.   She ended up buying it from me after the event, and she is proudly displaying it on her desk at work!  I'm so thrilled!  She said that whenever someone asks about it, she tells them who made it.  :) If I can find that photo, I will post it here.  It really is one of my better boxes.

That's about it from me, for now.  I'm still dealing with the health/physical fallout from recent family events, so I'm very tired much of the time.  I do what I can, when I can, and I am hoping to be more productive over the summer.

...And in case you're wondering, the pink egg crate foam in the photo on this post is foam that my boyfriend put up as acoustic padding in our studio.  It gets much weirder:  There are pillows nailed to the wall in strategic places all over the room!  LOL!  Never a dull moment, and I love sharing space with a musician!  :)

Happy Spring!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Some News

Things are really picking up!  I have two shows coming up in the next two weeks!  My mind is already blown with the excitement.  I will share the details in the next few days.  On the 21st, I'll be doing the Gala CREST show, which is running in conjunction with the Kensington, MD Day of the Book.  I'll be there from 10am-4pm.  The 28th, I'll be doing Paws in the Park in Gaithersburg, MD.  I'm very much looking forward to these two shows!

The photo above is of my birthday present from my boyfriend!  I've been complaining for a long time about being stuck with my kit lens (Nikon D60). While the camera takes decent pictures, I outgrew that lens very quickly.  I was just making do until I could afford something better.  Well, I didn't have to! :)  I'm over the moon about this, and it was a total surprise!

Sadly, the camera's not working well, due to having been dropped last summer.  The photos it takes are passable, but in certain situations, the quality is bad.  Bad.  Things are quiet enough for me this coming week that I can finally take it to be looked at.  I've already established that the problem is with the camera and not with the lens.  If it's going to cost too much to fix, I'll have to replace it.  That's OK, because I'm about at the point where I want to upgrade, anyway.  (Naturally, it will go into the shop with its kit lens!)  Because of this situation, I'm not doing shoots right now.

I've also picked up a new volunteer blogging gig. It's been a while since I left the last one, and I feel sufficiently recovered, so when the leader of one of Etsy teams approached me recently to do some typesetting, I agreed.  I literally just started, so we will see how it goes.  I do know that I want to blog about a recent trip my BF and I took, and it would be perfect for that blog, and I'd like to blog the Paws in the Park event, as well.  I really try not to overextend myself, and I've gotten better about saying "no" and not committing to things if I'm not sure I can meet those commitments, but I do like to keep my writing machine oiled.

Finally, I believe I've mentioned this, but I am exploring doing stand up comedy!  I've been going to meetings at a comedy writing group, and it's going well. I've written and shared a couple of things, but I won't be getting on stage for a while yet.  I go to the meetings about once a month and occasional special events ,and I'm active in their online groups. It's a very supportive group, and I've made a few friends.  I'll do this until I don't want to do it any more, and if I'm successful at it, then Yay!  If not, I'll be able to say I tried something that scared me to death.  ;)

I hope that everyone is having a wonderful Spring!  Maybe I'll see some of you locals at my shows!