Monday, February 1, 2016

The Gift of Encouragement - and a Giveaway!

There are a couple of things that led to this post.
  • I am the mother of a college student
  • I like to think of new ideas and projects
  • My college student has a birthday in the next few months
  • College students like care packages
  • College students need encouragement
Okay, so maybe five isn’t “a couple” but you get the idea…
Anyway… My idea is for a package that can be sent to anyone, but to start, I am thinking college students.   What do you think of sending a little birthday celebration/care package?  There will be different options, but to begin I was thinking for a daughter, niece, etc. a package with some (not all) of the following:
  • a cute little banner/garland,
  • some encouraging note cards,
  • perhaps a paper flower bouquet or tiny wreath (something small to add a bit of home-y-ness to their room),
  • an illustrated, encouraging quote to hang on the wall
  • a crocheted coffee cup cozy
  • reusable hand warmers
Now…can I ask for your help?

If you were a college student, are a college student, know a college student (male or female), what simple, handmade item(s) would you like to see included?  How many items would you want included?  Would you want it spread out over a few mailings, like a short subscription of sorts?

**I’m not looking for food items, but am considering the option of having it sent either directly to the student, or to the “gifter” so they can add favorite snacks and goodies…**

On to the giveaway part!!!
If you would leave a comment letting me know what other ideas you have for items to include, and maybe who you would send a package to, I will enter your name in a drawing for a sample package!!!

Thanks for your input!  :)

Monday, January 18, 2016

Here we go - 2016

I'm not one for New Year's resolutions. Maybe I'm just too lazy to make that kind of commitment.  

Maybe I know myself too well and if I were to fast forward a few weeks (or days???) I would fall flat on my face with any new goals that have to do with eating better, or moving more...

I do make To-Do lists, and I do have goals I try to keep track of.  As I try to re-organize my thoughts and my work space after a busy Christmas season, I am grateful for the busyness and the new connections.  I look ahead to the next couple of months and determine what my next step or two or three will be.

As I try to catch up with dishes and vacuuming, I think about what other projects I have been wanting to try.  I do have a request of game figures to paint, so that is top of the list, but more ideas and thoughts fill in the next few lines.  I hope to get back to painting on canvas, and maybe some watercolors as well.  I need to get my camera out again, and stop relying solely on my phone to capture images and compositions.

I know some of these things have been on previous to-do lists, but that's okay.  I know I need to keep adding them as often as necessary to stretch myself, keep myself accountable and create.

Monday, January 4, 2016

When I Grow Up

I think about a time in the not-so-distant future, when my dreams begin to become reality...
(Insert screeching record or brakes here)

Really, when I am daydreaming, I think of what I would like this creative business to become, and what I would like to do with it.  There are some very creative people who I follow, and I'm sure you have heard of them, but here is a list of some of the people who I look up to, and would love to meet someday!

There are more that I discover as I go out looking for inspiration, but these are a few that I have been following for a while now.  I enjoy reading their blogs and keeping up with their ideas and projects because they see beauty in a variety of styles.  I also like to hear their insight into how they got to where they are in their businesses, and what they are still learning.

There are so many ideas out there, and I have a few of my own.  I had a brief conversation the other day, beginning with someone asking "What do you have as a vision for this creative business?"  I realize that I don't always allow myself to think too far ahead, but I have dreams (and sometimes pictures) of what I would like to see happen.  I would love to have a space for workshops, classes, maybe even retreats.  I would like to have a retail space of sorts, with unique gifts and ideas for people to browse, and perhaps find a piece of their story.

It is scary to say it out loud - or to even type those words - though I don't know exactly what I am fearful of...  So as I get back to my full-time job, and dream about my creative business, I will keep working on ideas and jotting them down.  I will keep seeking out and trying new projects and experiments.

What do you want to be or do when you grow up?

Monday, November 9, 2015

Busy season

While most of us don't have an "off-season" there are certain times of year that the schedule fills up more than usual. For me, that  time is now.  I signed up to do several craft shows this year, which I haven't done for a while.  It has been fun preparing for them, but I am also taking orders for custom Christmas ornaments.  I try to take orders only until December 1st, to be sure I have time to finish up the requests to get them out before Christmas.  So between working full-time, my kids' schedules, crafts shows and ornament orders, my days are filling up quickly!

This week I will start buckling down and working on the orders I currently have.  I have started sketching them out - the next step:  painting!  I try to post things to my Facebook page, but where many of these orders are going to be Christmas gifts, I can't always show the finished project, but you can see some examples of past works in the photo section.

If you are interested in ordering an ornament, you can visit my Etsy shop and either convo me and I will create a custom order for you, or I do have a couple of listings available that you can select and send me the details...But remember - if you need it for Christmas, be sure to get the order in by December 1st!

Do you have a busy season?  What does it entail?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A Little Back Story

As we quickly approach November, and we really start to think about the upcoming holidays, I thought I would share how I got started with this business of crafting/painting and sharing my least the ornaments part of it!
"Once upon a time, an idea was formed. Money was in short supply and Christmas was fast approaching. Names had been drawn for family members, but how would gifts be bought? Mixing together creativity, heritage, artistry, and frugality, the idea was born. The house the family members had grown up in was painted on a glass ornament. It could be a simple decoration for their tree, or an heirloom to be kept and shared for many years to come..." 

It was quite a while ago, we were living back in Michigan at the time, and I was staying home with our two (then little) girls. 

My husband's family exchanged names for Christmas gifts, so we were trying to come up with ideas for meaningful gifts that wouldn't break the bank.  I don't like giving a gift just to say I did.  I like to have some connection or meaning behind it.
I'm not exactly sure where the idea came from, but my husband and his brothers always told stories about their family and the house they grew up in.  They call it "The Estate."  I was also in the mode of keeping things simple, and not having extra tchotchkes around, so wanted something that wouldn't have to be out and dusted. So I decided for two of his brothers that year, we would send ornaments with their parent's house painted on it.  That is where it began.
Since they were for Christmas, and they were ornaments for the tree, I painted a winter scene, including snow and an "evergreen" wreath around the picture.  And, since my mom has a friend who says there should be signs of life in pictures, I painted the background a darker blue, for the evening sky after sunset, but still early.  Then I added candlelight in the windows, to give the house a warm glow of someone at home, warm and cozy as the evening sets in. 

We moved to Massachusetts a short time later, and when our youngest started preschool, the school had a bulletin board space for local businesses to pin their cards or information.  I talked to my sister-in-law, and asked if I should put a card up with an ornament, to see if anyone else would be interested in ordering.  She said absolutely, so I painted an ornament of the school - The Little Red Schoolhouse -and pinned it to the board with my contact information.People loved the idea, and I painted quite a few ornaments for parents at the preschool, some of the school, personalized with children's names, some of houses.  Over the next few years, most of my orders came either from people who had ordered before, or those who had received an ornament and wanted to order for someone else.  I believe somewhere along the way someone asked if I would paint pets, so I have also painted cats, dogs and bunnies!
Here are some more examples of ornament requests I have had:
  • The houses that were being sold because both parents were gone, so an ornament was ordered for each of the siblings to remember...
  • The new homeowners that were just starting out...
  • The church where friends were just married...
  • The cottage where so many summers were spent...
  • The family pet that has been loyal for so long...
  • The building on the college campus that is a landmark...
  • The high school where the graduate just finished their studies...
  • The school where the teacher spends countless hours preparing for and teaching children...

There have also been special requests - painting on bells instead of glass ornaments due to pets and small children...  Adding more detail to the background, with snow, or sand, or summer...
As I listen to people tell their stories, I try to pay special attention to the details.  I try to add those details to each ornament.  That is what makes them unique.  I love hearing the stories of the houses and families when an order is placed, and look forward to hearing about the reactions when the recipient sees the gift.
To date I have painted well over 400 ornaments, for fundraisers, school events, teachers, graduates, newlyweds, and the requests keep coming.  I am so grateful that people contact me and ask me to be a part of making something very special for someone they consider very special.  I hope these ornaments continue to bring joy to those who received them, reminding them of the places they love and the ones who love them.
  So if you have ordered an ornament from me - Thank you for allowing me to add a line to your story!