Saturday, October 30, 2010

In Which Averil Spends More Money Than She Has

First off, let me say that I really appreciate the thoughtful comments on my last post. Thank you so much for taking the time to give me your feedback and opinions on websites and blog posts. You guys are wonderful!

Ok so today -- after Emily and I delivered and set up for two weddings,she suggested we peruse the vintage and secondhand clothing stores on Karangahape Road in the central city. All in the name of business, of course – I was supposed to be looking for vintage brooches to incorporate into the wedding jewelry line that I am contemplating starting.

Well, ahem… let’s just say I got a little distracted at The Paper Bag Princess (everything is $20 and under!) and spent most of the money I had just earned by working for Emily. Never mind that I had been complaining all morning about how I had to decide between buying dog food and groceries for myself (guess who won…) While we were out though I got an email from Etsy that I had sold two items, so that makes up for it. Hooray!

But look, the two pretty cream shirts I bought serve a double purpose --- as props in my new jewelry photos! It was quite fun taking these photos, I felt like a fashion magazine stylist.

The trench however, well, I just had to have that ($20!). It looks new and feels so, so soft. I am a total sucker for tactilely (is that a word??) pleasing clothing. You can’t really see it in the photo but it has kind of a bubble hem which is quite unique. And look at the belt! So pretty. Now I just have to wear it ALL THE TIME or Emily will make fun of me for buying it.

When I moved back to Auckland last month, I had to be pretty ruthless in deciding what I was going to bring from my clothing and shoe wardrobe (which was actually already pretty meagre as a result of moving between Auckland and L.A. 3 times previously in the past 5 years) in order to keep my baggage to a reasonable amount.  So I feel that these purchases are somewhat warranted, despite the state of my bank account (I know Emily will be laughing at me as I write this, that I am still trying to justify this several hours later...)

Hope you are all enjoying the weekend as much as I am!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Flying Lessons: Round Two Part Two and Questions for You!

Another one of my new photos.
Back to Flying Lessons!

In the second week, the lessons concerned developing an internet presence:  websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc.  I have all these, sans the website.  My wonderful friend Emily, besides being an amazing florist and my #1 creative-biz cheerleader, is handy with web design and has offered to build me my first website.  She gave me an assignment -- find some websites I really like and pinpoint the elements I like about them.  Surprisingly, this has not been an easy task.  I realized that I mostly look at blogs, not actual websites, so I had to go hunting for them.  And honestly, it was difficult to find some I was impressed by.  Do you have any favorites to share?

I have been thinking about my blog (and Facebook and Twitter too).  I feel like I should be writing more "high-value" posts (I can't remember where I saw that terminology, but I mean posts that give something to my readers that they value).  I have such lovely readers/friends and I'd love to hear your feedback - what kind of posts do you enjoy reading (here or on other blogs)?  What draws you in?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sneak Peek -- New Photos

I have been working hard to re-style my jewelry photos for Etsy with a little more deliciousness.  It is a lot of work and a definite learning curve (with help), and I have a LOT more to do!  Here is a sneak peek:

Monday, October 25, 2010

Updated Blog Roll And Links

I just spent some time updating my favorite links to other blogs and crafty inspiration sites in the sidebar.  I added a new list for "Creative Biz Links" (blogs or sites full of inspiration for those in creative business), removed a few dead or less relevant links, and added some of my new favorites.

New additions:

I have the pleasure of now working part-time with Emily of Blossom Wedding Flowers.  As I wrote about in this post, Emily and I have known each other for going on 12 years.  Emily is an incredibly talented floral designer here in Auckland (as evidenced by how busy she is this wedding season!).  She has just started a blog for Blossom Wedding Flowers and I highly recommend you take a peek at her beautiful bouquets and the other wedding and floral inspiration she is posting over there.

Craft eye candy.  Craft p0rn.  Call it what you want, it's heaven.

You all know by now how much I heart Jenny Lee Wentworth by now, right?  Not only is she one of my favorite customers, I really think this girl is the sweetest thing on the planet.  Read her blog, she's adorable.

Erin is a fellow Kiwi and self-taught mixed-media artist.  I love her work and her writing.  I am going to treat myself to something from her Etsy store as soon as I get a paycheck!

More eye candy, giveaways, craft book reviews, and general yumminess...

Goodness me how I love Michele from Pipi La La.  Michele is another Kiwi artist-in-bloom and she is so lovely and authentic on her blog.  I adore her work and am the proud owner of one of her pieces.  I also have my eye on another piece in her Etsy store and I check it daily to make sure it hasn't sold yet ;)

I think that's it for the new additions to my links, I hope you take and look and enjoy them as much as I do!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Etsy Favorite Finds: Baby Animals!

It's springtime here in New Zealand and it's a lovely time to live in the countryside - baby animals abound!  Here is a collection of Etsy finds inspired by the season :)

Top row, L-R:
Duckling Glass Tile Pendant by thelittlefox
Vintage Inspired Bird Nest Eggs Gift Tags by bljgraves
Mommy And Chicks Print by joojoo 

Bottom row, L-R:
Belle And Her Little Lamb Blank Greetings Card by belleandboo
Tiny Pig Print by acageybee
Ball Bunny Print by Thalitadol 

Top 5 Craftypod Podcast Episodes

I love the Craftypod podcast put out by Sister Diane (nope, she's not a nun, but I wondered that too...).  Every couple of weeks, Sister Diane puts out a new podcast of 'crafty goodness' aimed at the crafty biz crowd, and often including interviews of some of the craft world movers and shakers, like Tara Gentile of Scoutie Girl and Kari Chapin, author of The Handmade Marketplace.

The back catalogue of Craftypod episodes is so vast (my iTunes has episodes dating back to 2005!) that I have yet to listen to them all.  That said, here are my Top 5 Craftypod episodes (so far) for crafty biz inspiration:

1.  Why Your Story Is Everything, with Tara Gentile

2.  Making Ideas Happen with Scott Belsky

3.  Engagement Marketing For Your Crafty Business

4.  Craft Blogging:  What Should You Write About?

5.  Why Should You Plan Your Blog Posts Ahead?

Enjoy! You can also find more crafty biz inspiration in my post of my Top 10 Craft Business Blog Posts.

If you have any other crafty podcasts you recommend, I'd love to hear them in the comments.  Now, I think I need to go and re-listen to numbers #4 and #5....

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Terrible Pieces

Recently I posted about my desire to make a living from art, and my simultaneous fear of the learning process and of making mistakes (thank you for the encouraging words you left in the comments! :) ).   I figured one way to get over this hump was to give myself permission to make fifty terrible pieces of art (maybe that's a LOT of terrible art, but I figured better safe than sorry...)  Fifty pieces of technical mistakes, smudges, bad color choices, weird composition, flat faces, uneven facial features, give-up-in-the-middles...  And it helped.

As proof to you, here is Terrible Piece #1 (in background) and #2 (in foreground), both still in progress:

I really am horribly impatient.  I can't wait for paint to dry (even acrylic paint), so I end up smudging lines and smearing colors and tearing holes in paper.  Funny, because when people would hear what I used to do for a living for seven years (working with children with autism), they always exclaimed "Oh, you must be SO patient!"  No.  Absolutely not.  Not me.  Not in any aspect of my life.  I open the oven too soon to check on the cake.  I flip the pancakes before they are ready.  Maybe this explains why I like all my food a little under-cooked.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Home Is Where The Art Is

So, currently, (and for the foreseeable future) I am back living at my parents' house.  I get huge pangs of missing my adorable little house in L.A.  I moved into that place when my marriage broke up, and it really was my sanctuary for two years.  It was all mine, just Kenzo and I, and although the rent is probably the reason why I have come back to NZ with basically nothing to show for four years of a decent-paying job, it was worth every penny.
This is not the house I grew up in either, so I doubly have that sense of not feeling at home.  I've been pondering how to rectify this (on a part-time budget).  I think some New Zealand art might be a good place to start - here is what I am eyeing:

Sleep And Her Sisters

Pipi La La

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Flying Lessons: Round Two

A few months ago, I participated in Flying Lessons, Kelly Rae Roberts' first (and fantastic) creative biz e-course.  Flying Lessons was so packed with amazing and valuable information that it was difficult (if not impossible) to really absorb it in the moment while the e-course was running.  Almost every day, Kelly posted tons of information, and then the comments! Wow.  Over 500 comments most days.  Half of the fun was "meeting" the other course participants and checking out their blogs and websites and beautiful work.

Now I found myself voluntarily sans full-time job, with a little more time on my hands.  I've decided to start working through Flying Lessons again.  In the first week, the lessons cover goals, commitment, fears, and several days on the art and logistics of blogging.  Phew!

The "fears" lesson is particularly speaking to me right now.  If I am honest, I spend hours daydreaming about making a living creatively -- reading books and blogs and making grand plans.  And then I avoid actually creating anything like the plague.  I realize that I do that because of fear -- the fear that I will find out that I am actually not creative or talented at all, and then I will have to give up the dream.  While I don't make anything (and fail at it), I can still live in my fantasy future.  I also know that there is a learning curve to anything -- while I don't expect my first knitting or sewing attempts to be professional, saleable quality, for some reason the thought of making art or jewelry that I'm not thrilled with makes me want to give up before I even start.  Ridiculous, I know.  Does anyone else relate to that??

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Art & Clasp - Back Up And Running!

Hi all,

So, I survived the move back to Auckland, and this morning I re-opened my Etsy store.  Shipping was readjusted, my policies and listings and announcement all modified.  I went through my inventory and checked everything was there (currently minus two pieces, so those listings were deactivated, I hope they show up...)

Thank you all for your kind words of support while I put things on hiatus.  It's nice to be back!