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Posts Tagged ‘jcspock’

Letting Go Girl

I mentioned in my previous post that I felt I needed some time away from the internet (save for my work) to clear my head, my psyche and so I wouldn’t compare myself to the success of others.  But the other reason is because I tend to get over-inspired by ideas on the internet and it can be so overwhelming that I become paralyzed to start!

So when I announced to my husband that I was going on an internet diet for a month, he kindly replied, “Why don’t you try it for a week?”  Though I wanted to do something drastic, I knew he was right and reasonable.  A week was a good start and I could always extend it out.

And so for a week I stayed away from Facebook (my personal page), Twitter, Pinterest, and other’s blogs.  I tried to stay off the Etsy forums (where I spend about an hour each day) but I was unsuccessful because it really does contain nuggets of information for micro-businesses and I learn something new nearly every day (though it can also be a major time suck so needs to be managed).  The only other time spent on the internet was to run my shops, promote my goods and purchase supplies for my business.  Nothing social, nothing recreational, nothing to waste time on.

And the results???  Major productivity!

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I made it a point to be at my painting table by 7pm every night, if not earlier, and found that I was able to create a lot of new material.  It was refreshing.

Knowledge girl

I created new pieces, actualized old ideas and even finished up previous pieces like these square blocks that were once butterfly pieces I wasn’t crazy about that I painted/decoupaged over and made into new tea pieces:

PicMonkey Collage

I only painted Mon.-Thur. as Friday was a date night for us and this past weekend we started working on house projects, but even in those 4 days I accomplished quite a bit.  We are hoping to put our house on the market in the spring, so there is lots to be done on that front to get it move-in ready and turn-key for the next residents so I won’t be able to earmark as much time for continual creating.  But the change in schedule has freed up a lot more time for me and I’m hoping to stick with it so I can tackle my to-do list and find time each week to create.

And you know what, as addictive as it can be, I’m going to stay off my personal FB page (the drama on my newsfeed just annoys me, so I’m staying off), I’ve unsubscribed from a lot of blogs and when I need inspiration, I’ll just refer to all my journals/sketchbooks which has tons of ideas waiting to be sprouted.

And it helps me to stick to my new year’s theme of decluttering; just getting rid of a lot negative space, negative energy and negativity in my life and that’s always a good thing.

Deserving girl

Hope you take more time to take care of your needs, block out the negatives and spend more time on what you want to be doing (instead of wasting time on the time-sucks and energy-sucks of the world!).  Wishing you all a good week.

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I’ve been decorating my booth space at The Barn for a couple of weeks now and it makes me so happy to be decorating for my favorite season and holiday!

We were there last weekend for 4 hours re-merchandising my space and taking inventory and we were so tired and ready to get out of there that we forgot to take photos.  However, I did take some photos of the items I’m selling there like spooky potion bottles using antique/vintage apothecary bottles I recently scored:

Some of my artwork mounted on wood blocks…

As well as some public domain vintage Halloween images on blocks…

I’ll try to remember taking some photos this weekend on my actual display!

At home, I haven’t done anything except dress up our mantle…


Some pumpkins, some mercury cloches and a bat/candle display give it a splash of spook, a splash of whimsy…

Some old cabinet cards definitely add spookiness…

As do more apothecary jars and a vintage black scale…

Have I mentioned how much I love this time of year??!  :)

Do you decorate for Halloween or fall?  Post a link, I’d love to see!

 

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The Barn

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Okay, I’m in the midst of running around with my sister, helping her daughter with prom, splitting time among family members and visiting favorite nostalgic spots…and the weather is fan-freakin-tastic so I’m a happy bird!

But…wanted to tell you about my *latest* endeavor!

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So a couple weeks ago I mentioned that I was pretty much collecting my eggs back from the proverbial baskets I had put them all into.  It was part of my New Year’s resolution to try different ventures for my business but I realized after the fact that I was going into the wrong ventures.  All things that didn’t feel right and were giving me that pit in my stomach.  I’m pretty big on listening to your gut so that’s what I did, even if it meant slowing things way down.

ImageHowever one of the ventures that I’ve been secretly hoping to get into was renting a booth out at a specialty kind of shop – one that features gifts and antiques, but those kind of places are hard to find.  Until I happened across the Barn.  I’ve spoken about it before in this post and the wonderful antique and handmade boutique feel it had.  I thought it would be a great fit for my stuff and left my info at the front desk for the owner in hopes of renting out the space.

When I never heard back I was a wee bit discouraged but now know that they don’t have much turnover and the wait list to get in is long (which is a good thing I now realize!).

ImageSo here’s my philosophical moment: I am a believer that when you clear clutter from your life (physical and emotional), you create space for good things (and things you’ve been wanting) to come into your life.

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Well wouldn’t you know that only a couple days after I terminated my art licensing agreement, I got an email from the owner of the place I was hoping to rent a booth, letting me know she had space.  I went to see it and it was the perfect sized space for my work.  I pay rent and a portion of sales and my booth operates like a permanent stall; there’s a central register, my work is tagged with my vendor number and I get paid weekly based on what I sell.  I really only need to visit weekly to spice up my booth and bring new material as needed.

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The day I went to see it was less than a week away from my trip to CT so I had to act FAST to set up before I left.  That means that for 4 days, David and I worked day and night to make, package and tag close to a thousand items (between cards, bookmarks, magnets and originals) – even on my birthday, we were working it!  Then we had to set it up and merchandise the space.

Here’s how it looked before…

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And here’s how it looks now:

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I’m really hoping it does well!  But I’m giving myself a pretty strict timeline to turn a profit (the fees aren’t cheap and neither is the gas to make the weekly 120 mile round trip drive) so if it works, then I’ll be a happy camper.  If it doesn’t, well, at least I’ve given it a shot in my never ending search to determine where I and my artwork fit in this world.  Though sometimes heartbreaking and always a lot of work, I’m learning so much with every venture I take on.

If ever you are in the Castle Rock area (situated right between Denver and Colorado Springs), hope you check out the great finds at The Barn!

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An early sketch for a Spring Girl I'm working on

I know, I’ve been quiet.  The last 2 weeks have been challenging for me.  They say business is business, but when it’s your business, it gets personal really quick.  I know I need a thicker skin to run a business, but the reality is I’m a sensitive soul (don’t think I could be doing the kind of artwork I do without being one!) but it’s really hard to brush things off when people get picky, snippy or say things that crush my spirit.  So, I shut my shops.  That’s what I did (and that’s why I strictly stay with running an online shop, I can shut it down when I need to).

Actually, I need this week to not only take a breather, but finish taxes/inventory, catch up on administrative tasks, and meet deadlines on unique pieces, custom requests and wholesale orders.  So I think I was getting a bit overwhelmed, getting to the point where I was feeling run down and unhappy with what I was working on and lots of changes and cranky sentiments were wearing me out.

This is why I rarely do custom orders, especially paintings.  It’s soooo difficult to create someone else’s vision and I really take it to heart if they’re disappointed (or I drive myself crazy trying to make it just so).  So while I’m always flattered when someone asks me, I almost always turn down commissions, less it be for a very close friend or family member and only if they let me have creative control of the piece.  It’s just too stressful otherwise and if something is not up to their vision, I take it too personal even though I know I shouldn’t.  But I guess that’s the upside of being my own boss, I can choose what I want to work on and what I don’t want to work on, even though I’m trying to still create healthy boundaries and the people pleaser in me is still learning to be comfortable with saying no to certain requests.  It’s all a process and I know I’m not the only one who struggles with this!

Okay, enough yappy…here are some of the things I was able to work on this last Saturday.

This is a “body image” girl that I’m still working on; need to do some color balancing on her and some editing. Think most of us women could afford to be kinder to ourselves, especially when looking in the mirror, right?

Some custom collaged frames I was asked to make…these are actually pretty easy for me to take on because it doesn’t involve painting a girl!

A sneak peak of something I’m working on…really loving her, she’s so sweet!

I’m pretty excited, a big package of wood blocks arrived at my door today and those mounted prints I spoke of months ago I’m actually going to work on this week while my shops are closed and hope to have them listed when I reopen…sizes as small as 4×4 to as big as 11×14.  It’ll be a way to own something that is ready-to-hang artwork, yet less expensive than an original own a piece of my artwork and still handmade by me.

So, that’s what I’m up to in a nutshell.  Hope to have more material to write about this week, but don’t blame me if I keep quiet for a little longer…just trying to build my reserves.  ;)

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Okay, so to get more in line with my old blog schedule (photo Mondays, Whimsical Wednesdays, etc), I decided to also go back to a once-a-week shop update.  I know the nature of being a self-employed artist means that I have to promote myself if I want to make an earning, but it’s a fine line to walk and I really try to share what I’m working on without being spammy, so I’ll stick to just Saturdays for those of you who are curious to see what’s new in my shops and to hear what’s going on in this lil’ business.  So here goes.

This week I spent the better part of a day just photographing the 50+ originals I have yet to list in my art shop.  Why didn’t I get these up sooner?  Ah well, better late than never.  I’ll be adding them at a rate of 10 or so a week over the next month+.  Above are some of the newer ones I’ve added, including Music Girl, one of my earliest pieces that I created on a framed art reproduction I found at the thrift store.  Eco-art through and through!  You’ll also see the vintage girl stickers I’ve added (featuring friendship and sisterhood themes and which includes some of the latest girls I created earlier in the week).

Also, if you’re in my art shop regularly, you may have noticed a change in offerings.  I made a decision to try something out.  I previously had nearly 700 listings, but that made for almost 30 pages to go through (Etsy allows us 10 sections, but no subsections as of yet) so while I had my sections labeled out “prints” “originals” “notecards” and so on, I was feeling the crushing pressure to get all available options up.  Well guess what, when you have 250+ pieces of artwork times ten different options, that means 2,500 listings which would be about 130 pages to slog through.  Not to mention it costs to list every item AND most importantly, it takes on average 30 minutes to list each item (between descriptions, titles, tags, taking several photos, editing and watermarking photos and uploading them).  That boils down to over a thousand hours to be completely updated and assuming no new paintings (yeah right!).

As such, I decided to only list my prints, originals and then a listing for each of the other categories, so someone can still purchase the “pick any notecard” option and tell me what image they want.  Does it mean I’ll show up in less searches?  Yes.  Does it mean that I may not get as much traffic and people may still get confused by my pick any options?  Perhaps.  But I just can’t keep up and this seemed like the most seamless way of doing things.  I might review in the future, but meantime, this frees up a lot of time for me to list those stacks of originals (and prints) that I never had up in my shop.  And I guess that’s the best place to start.

As for my goodies shop which I mentioned last week is newly re-opened, I’ve added a couple more sticker options this week including snip-its of those gorgeous vintage/antique receipts I sourced from France (the bigger picture); it’s amazing how beautiful the vintage fonts, stamps, and handwriting are!  Also in this batch are vintage lady stickers from my personal postcard collection (I use the images from the postcards and receipts not only in my artwork, but here as well!).

I had a bit of a panic this week when I learned that the manufacturer of the recycled sticker paper I use to make my eco-friendly stickers and tags has decided to discontinue the product.  So I went on a shopping spree trying to locate any remaining boxes out there…and found out that many sites are owned by other sites and no one seems to update their inventory, so I was left with a lot of “sorry, you’re order has been cancelled” emails.  Alas, I have 17 boxes right now, so hopefully that’ll last me the year until I can find another source.

In addition to that panic, my eco-paper supplier that I’ve been buying from for over 2 years decided to switch paper on me and they were backordered and never informed me.  So while awaiting this very late order and having customers of my own in limbo – many of them brides looking for blank, eco-friendly cardstock and cards – I received my order only to learn that they have permanently changed their paper source and it’s completely different texture and weight that I can’t use.  So I had to go on another sourcing spree, only to learn a day after placing that secondary order with another supplier that they too were on backorder.   What gives?  Ah yes, a full moon this past week.

I’ve had an exceedingly high amount of these kinds of frustrations this week, including very expensive international shipping problems that are giving me high blood pressure.  Ah, the trials of being a small business owner.  Being in charge of your own business is extremely challenging, but still beats doing work for someone else, so I can’t complain.  Just have to roll with it…

Well, that’s it for now.  I have a busy weekend slated with orders that all came in yesterday after a strange halt in orders during the middle of the week.  And I have a major studio/office clean-up and overhaul in the works.  Shameful pictures to follow later in the week ;)

Take your cue from Peanut and take it easy this weekend!

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Shop Update & a Sneak Peek

As mentioned yesterday, I’ve given my lil’ art shop some attention this week and added some new options featuring my previous works, including several postcards, magnets, note cards and yes, those collaged frames I’ve made eons ago!

And here’s a sneak peek on tomorrow’s post…yes, I’ll be sharing some new artwork just for my shop :)

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in the hood?  Nope.  The sticks?  Nah, doesn’t rhyme.

Let’s just say this mountain girl is much, much lighter today.  It’s so challenging when your head and heart are in conflict and you’re unsure what to do.  So that’s when you have to listen to your gut.  I did that, made a difficult decision and wouldn’t you know that in response, I got the best outcome possible.  Relief.

This morning I woke up to it being only 40 degrees outside and all day today, it’s been in the 60′s.  I’m a happy girl.

If you’ve been following me for a year or two, you know that fall is my favorite time of year.  It’s definitely the New Englander in me.  And I LOVE Halloween.  So I’ve created a bunch of Halloween girls (though only 2 complete at this time).

This is Jack 0′lantern girl who like me can hardly wait:

And this lovely lady who is ready for the masquerade:

I’ll have the originals, cards, magnets, etc. in my shop soon, but it’s hard to keep up as I’m creating way faster than I can get all the possible options up.  So if you ever see a piece that you like but it’s not listed in my shop, know that you can choose any of my “Pick any” options and when checking out, let me know which image/girl you’re interested in.  Don’t ever feel like you have to wait for me to list something.  I make everything myself in my studio so I can make anything as soon as I complete a piece.

I also just finished another coffee collection, have a heart collection in the works and more and more girls.  It’s mayhem over here but I’m really enjoying all this creating.

Tomorrow I’ll talk more about my creative process, from sketch to finished product and now the extra steps that needs to happen now that I’m licensing my art.  Lots of new stuff I’m learning (and wish I had known when I first started mixed media!).  It’s all good.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

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Well, since it’s my birthday this week, I thought it’d be fitting to share some fun cupcake pieces I did recently.

I’ll be spending some downtime in Rocky Mountain National Park (more on that tomorrow!) and hopefully I’ll be able to sink my teeth in a lovely confection such as these (and if all else fails, there’s always Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory…we have a love/hate relationship *wink*)

Got Cupcake, Eat a Cupcake, and Long live Cupcakes will be coming to my shop (originals and merchandise) soon.  Thanks for taking a look at what’s new with my artwork :)

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Don’t have a lot to report as I’ve been keeping up with orders and doing a lot of shop maintenance.  It doesn’t help that the USPS recently raised first class rates which means that I’ve had to go back and raise shipping rates on some items and recently I’ve really cracked down on my ROI spreadsheet and realized that I was basically losing money on some of the items I was selling after all the fees were taken out (that’s a pretty sobering reality but a necessary one for any small business owner).

I did manage to add a couple new items to my goodies shop (yes, still playing with my vintage ledger sheets!):

I’m planning on making some new gift tags this weekend made out of reused pizza/cereal boxes and thrifted twine; look forward to sharing with you next week :)

And some more options to my art shop as well as new art stickers:

And that is about it..keeping busy with no complaints.  Hope you have a great weekend!

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Yesterday I finally got my opportunity to do the dance team photo shoot at the local high school I spoke of.  I had raging butterflies in my tummy as I knew this would be my first professional gig and I had 17 families depending on good pictures.  Despite a little bit of brief drama amongst the team and some chaos with people not bringing paperwork or payment, it all worked out in the end and after doing some minor retouching/color balancing, I can say that I’m very happy with how they came out.  I can’t post photos here as I haven’t received permission from anyone to post in my portfolio just yet, but will once I do.  The yellow aspen trees and green evergreens made for some beautiful backdrops!

Here’s the piece I recently did for my sister who is 44 and has just started grad school.  It’s been a while since she’s been out of college and the experience so far has been trans-formative.  It’s not just about learning material, she’s learning about herself and is coming to terms with many things she’s put on hold in her life.  While talking with her about this, I mentioned the quote, “when the student is ready the teacher will appear.”  This inspired the piece I sent out to her:

As you can see, this girl is pretty light.  Unlike my olive skin, dark hair and eyes, my sister is light, blonde and has blue/green eyes!  I’ll be listing merchandise of “Transformation Girl” pieces this week in my whimsical art shop.

This week my Brave Girl and Sisterhood Girls pieces are being featured in a blog that the author is dedicating to breast cancer awareness during the month of October.  She is featuring artists that create pieces related to breast cancer awareness.  I’m doing a small giveaway there and also offering 20% off to her blog readers who purchase an item in my art shop.  And it’s time I do that here too!

So that I don’t compete with this lovely blogger who is helping to promote my goods and my partnership with FORCE, I won’t offer the giveaway here at this time (perhaps in the future, though you can enter on her site) but I would like to offer 20% off  the purchase price on items in my whimsical art shop to you, my Green Earth Goodies blog readers, as well! (Please note that Sisterhood Girls and Brave Girls are not eligible for this discount as they are for charity, but perhaps while you’re shopping, you’ll still consider adding to your basket and 50% of the price will be donated to FORCE).  Just put “GEG blog” in the message to seller box when checking out and I’ll refund you the difference!  This offer will run until October 15th.  Get some early holiday shopping done and support a new artist at the same time!

Get some early holiday shopping done and support a new artist at the same time!  (Please note that I’m still updating my shop with all the possible options, so if you want a particular girl in a particular format that’s not listed, just click the link “Contact j.c.spock” to send me a message and I’ll take care of you or purchase the format you like and in the message to seller, indicate the girl you would prefer to have on your card or bookmark or print, for example).  Thanks for checking it out!

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