Friday, April 29, 2016

Effectively Organized: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up - Home Tour

So, I've finally Kon-Mari-ed my entire house. I organized, painted, upholstered, hung art and now my home is a pleasant, cozy space. It's also organized enough that I can find things easily on a regular basis. Yep. I believe in Marie Kondo's method of organizing. Most of the art I have in the house is art from other artists. If I know the artist, I'll link them. I'll start this post with guest spaces. 

Guest Space #1

I painted the dresser, tables, and head board in Annie Sloan chalk paint. The pillows are from my Zazzle shop. The driftwood whale was from a local art show in St. Augustine. The painting on the wall is one of my own textured canvas color washed in blues. I'd like to learn how to reupholster the chair in some of my fabrics at some point.  

Guest Space #2

The quilts in this guest room are by Rose Ann Points of Delightful Little Things. The bed frames, tables, and lamp are Craig's List finds. The wall hangings are random things I've found here and there. I've decorated this room specifically for my nieces to stay over with me. If I have two sets of couples, one of them gets the "Dick Van Dyke" show guest room. :-) It works nicely for families though.

The chest below is my mom's child hood chest. It got passed around the family and I finally repainted it. The chairs are some beautiful finds from Eco Relics up in Jacksonville. And the beautiful butterfly is by Mandy Saile. I have several of her original art works. Her bright, happy birds and butterflies make my home so happy.

Guest Bathroom

The poppies painting are by my friends Brenda Liz.The cute little birds are by my friend in Michigan. The sea turtles are made in Haiti of upcycled steel drums and can be purchased in one of the local art stores called Amistad.

The wall hooks for the towels are another driftwood creation. The hummingbird is another Mandy Saile creation.

More hour tour in a future post.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Studio Time: Color Crazy Custom Order in Navy, Coral, Green & Turquoise

Just finished and delivered this custom order of a color crazy necklace in navy, coral, turquoise and green. The colors were elegant so I used copper as the wire to complement this set. The matt beads are slighter smaller than the original color crazy necklace

I experimented with carving some of the beads and really like this texture to give simple beads a bit more interest. I added the lilies to copper chain and create two ways to wear this. A cascading asymmetrical above or a gathered corsage style below. 

And I refinished another custom order of a beautiful cobalt handmade glass arrow and wiring it up to be worn as a necklace. 


Monday, April 25, 2016

Studio Time: Exploring Patina & Texture

When I started playing with creating the Texture & Patina collection I admit I struggled. I stared at the photos, color palettes, and ideas for about 3 days with...nothing. Bupkus. Nada.

I knew I really wanted to explore Texture & Patina because that really resonates with the core of my personal design aesthetic - organic, rustic, textural and primitive.

One of the ways I broke my creative impasse was by getting ink, brushes, and paper and just playing. I particularly loved this photo with the blue paint and rust. I wanted to figure out how to translate this into a two-dimensional design.

Here were some of the marks I made through playing. I scanned these into Illustrator and played with the automated Image Trace.


The marks on the left translated into the scratchy pattern below. I have two versions... one more scratchy and saturated, one a little simpler. They make great blender fabrics for quilts.

What ways have you explored to a creative block? 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Effectively Organized: Shifting Mindsets - Production Mindset

I was just reflecting on the process of turning my hobby business into a real business, that it is as much about shifting mindsets as it is about implementing systems. Christine Kane addresses some major mindset shifts that need to happen in order to become an effective business owner. Here is her short list - but the whole post is worth the read. 

  1. When you were an employee, you had a boss.
  1. When you were an employee, you had deadlines.
  1. When you were an employee, you had to, you know, not wear pajamas to work.
  1. When you were an employee, you didn't have to market.
  1. When you were an employee, people cared about the letters after your name.
  1. When you were an employee, you just walked in and did your thing. Big picture, schmig picture.
  1. When you were an employee, you didn't have to invest in you. The company invested in you.
Silver and Copper Twig Earrings (multiple pairs of a design)
What about you? Have you found a need to shift your mindset as you develop your creative business?

Frankly, I'm not even that far along in my shift from hobby to business. I’m still back in areas like moving from just creating randomly as because I want to and shifting into production mode (i.e. setting up systems to make enough pieces to sell, and being efficient about making larger quantities).

For me, my hobby has been a de-stressor and a way to relax. And this is something that is worth looking at carefully. Often we start a hobby and start creating so much we have to sell it to offload the amount of stuff we have made because we're running out of friends to give things to and to support the stash we've bought into. [Cough, cough - that's been my hobby business so far.] If you want to stay in a small, a hobby business, it is perfectly acceptable. BUT. If you want to turn your hobby into a real business you have to start thinking differently. About pricing. About marketing. About production. About income. About strategy. About production and production efficiencies. About contracts. About taxes. About setting up legally and correctly to run within the parameters of the law. Those are a lot of mindsets to shift and rewire in your brain!

For this post, I'm going to dive into...

Production Mindset

Production Mindset could also be described as "how to make enough product to support myself." In 2012, I started exploring seriously moving my hobby into a real business. I took some advice and started working backwards: I figured out how much income I needed to live and started working backwards to figure out how many pieces of jewelry I would have to make and how much I would have to charge in order to support my life. Even simplifying as much as possible, it was a little... um, shocking... to see how much I would have to make and sell The making part had it's own mental hurdles, but the selling part was even more of a mental block. I realized in a saturated jewelry market, I could only sell so much. I needed to look at expanding my options of what I could sell. (Exploring multiple income streams is a subject for another post.) But, I still like making jewelry and do want this to continue to be an income stream for me.

Fast forward to 2016, tiny little movements forward in the business (like setting things up in the background to run as a real business), but little to no studio time in between. Now, I'm starting up studio time again and I’m finding some odd words creeping up in my vocabulary as I shift into business mode and re-wiring my brain to be a responsible business owner. Things like “dread,” “tied down to my workspace,” “trapped.”

I mentioned these things in my last Master Class coaching call with Lisa Call, and she said I needed to journal about it. Which I have done, but I thought it was worth sharing in a public forum. Perhaps you are a hobby artist who is trying to making a go of your business.

Exploring my mindset and reframing my fears

Regarding being "trapped" at my studio desk - I realized I have total freedom over my work space and can redesign my space to be enjoyable. I may not be able to sit on my couch and make whatever I want whenever I want, but I can still design the space to be efficient and motivating as well as beautiful and inspiring. That's actually something quite wonderful about working for yourself - you have control over your environment that you don't always have in a regular job.

Exploring another aspect of those depressing words, I realized the feelings behind those were fear. Fear of not being good enough, fear of being a disappointment to my customers, fear of not being able to keep up with the schedule and amount of art I needed to make. And the good news is that as I break those fears apart, I realize I can do something about all of that. Starting small lets me make mistakes, and work out the kinks in my business and systems, before I grow. It lets me organize and create systems to make sure I can handle each of those things that may crop up. 

Regarding not being good enough, I can experiment wildly and develop my style and find a style that resonates both with me and with others. Regarding disappointing customers, I can work slower and smaller to make sure I can make my customers happy. I can experiment with custom work to get a feel for working closely with customers. I can develop customer service systems that help maintain a relationship even after a disappointment. 

Regarding the fear of keeping up, well, this is a valid fear, but this is part of the reason I want to keep my business small and grow carefully. I want to figure out what works, what is sustainable for me personally. I want to keep my business simple, sustainable, and manageable as a one-person operation. 

What about you? Are you transforming your hobby into a business? What mindset shifts have you encountered?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Studio Time: Works in Progress

So I have a delightfully messy workspace at the moment.

working on custom orders and works in progress. 

Short and sweet. :-)

Monday, April 18, 2016

Creative Finds: Alyssa Hall, Mincy Branch, Barbra Mosby, and Linda Borek

My mom hosted a small mixed media show for our friends in mid-March featuring six artists who sell their work. I asked permission to share their work. It's so much fun having friends who are all talented artists. 

Alyssa Hall

Alyssa Hall is a talented and prolific multi-media artist. She paints, collages, and and creates jewelry out of her artwork. 

Mincy Branch

A very talented photographer - she's holding up some of her favorite works (and my favorites) - a water lily and a Monet's Garden type photo.

Barbra Mosby

Barbra brought handmade crepe roses to the event and taught session on how to make these. She's also very creative with her approach to paintings - for example, she bought a $5 painting at Good Will, but didn't like the color of the girls dress. So. She repainted the dress in a color she preferred. How clever is that?

Linda Borek

And finally, my mom, who hosted the event. My mom is a huge fan of paper. She creates one-of-kind cards, wall art, and is also a talented photographer. She also enjoy creating steam punk inspired art (demo-ed below).

And there you have the remaining round-up of artists!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Kanna Inspire: Creating an Indie Magazine

It has been a long circuitous route to the idea of creating and publishing a magazine, but Kanna Inspire is finally launched!

I have been playing with creating a version of an inspiration journal for myself since 1997. I've been creating themes for for my art since 2008. I even pitched the idea of creating inspiration journals to a publisher once, with a quick "not interested" response. I then hatched the idea of creating an indie magazine. The closest to success was a version I started in 2012 and finally came to fruition in 2013. I did two versions: one was a 20-page Challenge version with the inspiration photos, color palettes and themes. The second version was a Results version with approximately 20 artists contributing art works that were inspired by the Challenge issue. It struck a chord, but I let the project languish while I coped with moving several times and health issues.

The idea never really died. I kept working on it, establishing a trademark for the name and filing copyright for the issue in 2015. I engaged Jennifer Greenberg at Merely Studio as the Art Director for the magazine and gave her pretty close to carte blanche to create this magazine from scratch. She took my vision and elevated it to a professional, finished magazine. Every time I send her ideas, she comes back with a finished product that makes me giddy with excitement.

Indie Magazine Inspiration

Along the way, I've stumbled on a few indie magazines that keep me coming back for more. I've been using them for ideas and inspiration as I launch my own magazine. I have seen a number of indie magazines, but these two resonate the most with me and I would consider myself long-term subscribers in support of their work. Both are print only magazines (no digital!)

The first one is Uppercase Magazine. This is a one-woman show by Janine Vangool. The tagline is "for the creative and curious." What keeps me coming back for more is how wide and far-reaching that tagline roams...I love a magazine that is all-encompassing creatively. She chooses themes and creative readers submit projects and articles along the lines of the theme. I've been learning from her journey as a one-woman publishing show for her magazine and other projects. She is pretty open in her blog and newsletter with the ups and downs of her business. Besides being a magazine that I would like to submit to, her sharing her business activities is really helpful to me as I launch my own magazine.

The other magazine is Offscreen Magazine. Kai Brach is a also a one-man publishing show. His magazine is an "in-depth look at the life and work of people that use the internet to be creative and build successful businesses." He is also particularly generous and transparent with the costs of publishing and some of the other issues he runs into with running his business. I've probably learned the most from his blog posts.

Kanna Inspire Plans

While I am particularly inspired by these print-only magazines, Kanna Inspire is going to be both digital and print. I'm creating a magazine that works the way I interact with digital and print now.

When the iPad first came out, I thought it was just another cool toy. Until I read a magazine on it and then I realized it was a game-changer. For a few years, I experimented with being completely digital with reading. Before I moved to Hong Kong in 2008, I had a pretty decent library of books that I read and used over and over again. I gave it away because I couldn't easily carry that many books  overseas with me. Even though I gave away the bulk of my library, I kept about two boxes of books and schlepped them with me every time I moved (11 times since 2008). There is something so enjoyable about print.  And now, 5-6 years later after my experiment of being all digital, I have actually started buying analog books again to read and relax at night. The blue light of the screens definitely has an impact on my sleep health. (Side note: it is a little funny when I try to turn up the light or make the font a little larger - and then I realize I'm reading actual paper.) But, back to how I operate today - when I read a print magazine, I often have my digital tools (laptop, tablet, or smart phone) handy so I can look things up online if I'm interested in something. Uppercase magazine has loads of stuff that I want to look up - new artists to follow, shops to check out, etc.

My goal for Kanna Inspire is, if you purchase a print copy, you will always get a digital copy with all of the relevant hyperlinks. The current version is very hyperlinked... if you click on any of the social media symbols on the Editor's page, it takes you to all my social media. If you click on the ad for Merely Studio, it takes you to Jennifer Greenberg's website. If you click the links on the ad on the back page, it will take you to my online shops.


Aiya, this is a tough one. Money is always a sensitive subject. I'm so grateful to Kai for being as transparent as he is about his business.  I won't always be as transparent on the expenses. (Kai is plenty open - so you can learn from him if you want specifics about dollars.) However, I am happy to share what I learn, resources, issues that I've learned and worked through, etc.

I considered just offering the first version for free. But, technically, I did offer the very first version for free. It's still available in the HP MagCloud store. Since I launched this first version, I have since renamed the magazine to Kanna Inspire. I had found a blogger who took the name "Inspiration Adventures" for the name of their blog after I published. I had not filed a trademark, so it was open season.

Because of that, one of the significant steps I have taken was working with an attorney and filing a trademark on the name Kanna Inspire. I will also file copyright on each issue of the magazine going forward. I have already invested up front in my vision for the magazine and will continue to do so for the protection of myself, my ideas, and also for the protection of the artists who may participate in future issues. Hours and hours of my time and Jennifer Greenberg's time have also been invested. As I grow, there will also be other infrastructure needs (such as creating a website that makes it easy to submit projects).

So, why $2? Basically, $2 is a somewhat random choice. I've been checking what people are charging for their digital magazines. I plan to have three versions.

  • The Challenge version will always be small - 16-20 pages. It will be available in digital and print. Currently I plan to continue to charge $2 for the digital version, with the print (digital included) being slightly higher based on the cost of printing, possibly $5-6. 
  • The Journal version - this is basically the 16-page Challenge version stretched out over 80-100 pages with blank working spaces for developing the designs associated with the challenge. The Journal version will be a print-only version, but the Challenge digital version will come as part of the purchase. Printing options are being researched. Right now, depending on the quality and print pricing, the range is still pretty wide of $25-35. I've always been willing to spend a bit on a nice journal that inspires me. With the next issue of Kanna Inspire, I hope to have a Journal version to release.
  • The Results version will be the icing on the cake - it might take me a year or two before I get to releasing this version. I want to get a good subscriber base to make it worth while for artists to contribute a showcase of their project and art. I plan to align the pricing similar to Uppercase Magazine and Offscreen Magazine in the $22-25 range. 


Uppercase publishes quarterly. I think Offscreen is mostly quarterly, but a little less structured. I explored a quarterly publication rate and I think that's a little bit overwhelming for me. Reducing to a trimester (every four months) publishing schedule seems more do-able.

Subscriber Base

The core of making this initiative successful will be creating a subscriber base. While my launching subscriber base is very tiny,  I'm really, really grateful to those early purchasers who are supporting my magazine and vision! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Creative Finds: Rosanne Points

My mom hosted a small mixed media show for our friends in mid-March featuring six artists who sell their work. I asked permission to share their work and links to their online presence.

This week I'm featuring Rose Ann Points, a multi-busy artist. Not only is she a new and talented quilter, she is also a yacht broker, which is perfect for our Florida location. 

Rose Points @ Atlas Yacht Sales

Rose Ann started quilting only recently (in the last two years) to connect and help her mom with some of her hobbies. As she started helping her mom, she discovered her own talent for quilting and dove in head first deep into the quilting world. As a fabric designer, we've been talking about collaborations - I want her to design a quilt for my bedroom featuring my fabrics and she wants to learn how to create her own designs. I think I see many a future collaboration between us! 

Rose Ann created a range of price points for this art show and demonstrated the embroidery patterns her very cool machine can do. 

The Amazing Quilts

So, these are the amazing quilts Rose Ann makes. She made these gorgeous quilts with nearly 450 individually cut out hearts, appliqu├ęd in many different square blocks. I've been assembling a guest room specifically for my nieces to feel comfortable staying in when they come over and I think these quilts just put the room over the top. My past two guests have raved about the quilts.

Follow Rose Ann on her website as she creates these delightful little quilts and gifts.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Studio Time: Experimenting

This month is the month for wild experimentation. When I do that, usually my experimentation with color is off the charts. This piece is keeping it in the pink and purple range, but still a funky stripe. I've done these quilted hearts before, but I let the texturing and random placement of the slivers of cane just do what it felt like doing instead of trying to be careful and intentional. My niece lit up when she saw it. She wearing it to give it a test for sturdiness and meanwhile, I think I've come up with some ways to make the hearts sturdier.

I've already started dialing back the color crazy with this turquoise and copper necklace. It's an experimental design and is getting good reviews, even unsolicited reviews from strangers. I want to experiment with happy spring colors. 

Finally, an experimental custom commission from a friend to find a way to make this hand-made glass arrowhead into a piece of jewelry. My original goal was to wire-wrap it, but I found the wire I had, even the thin stuff, was still too thick and strong for this delicate glass piece. I experimented with with free-form seed beading, but it overtook the arrowhead too much. Even so, it was a fun experiment. I have some thinner wire on order which will probably do the trick for wire-wrapping.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Creative Finds: Mixed Media Event - Brenda @ Art by Brenda Liz

My mom hosted a small mixed media show for our friends last weekend featuring six artists who sell their work. I asked permission to share their work and links to their online presence.

This week I'm featuring Brenda atArt by Brenda Liz. She is a local, St. Augustine, Florida artist who is working in acrylic and oils.  

Brenda @ Art by Brenda Liz
Instagram @ BrendaLiz.Art

Brenda has been working smart by creating a range of items. These small 4"x4" burlap panels are simple painted beach themed items perfect for the Florida beach market. I snagged these four pieces for my home.

Oil Palette Knife Painting

I like the bright cheery nature of poppies. Well, I like all flowers. In this painting she has started experimenting with palette knife painting. It's really rich and interesting! I'm really looking forward to her explorations in palette knife painting and oils.

Custom Pet Painting

Last, I just had to highlight an acrylic painting Brenda did for my parents. This is my dad's sweet little doggie, Madison, that passed last year at only 11 1/2 years old. We expected to have her with us for a few more years. She was just a snuggle bunny who loved her belly rubs. She was extremely devoted to my dad. While people who meet us think all of our Maltese look alike, anyone who has multiple dogs of the same breed, knows each one has their own unique little personality. Brenda perfectly captured Maddie's expression.

Brenda posts her work and her progress over on Instagram Instagram @ BrendaLiz.Art. I recommend following her work!