Monday, November 2, 2009

Kiva. org

Every year I pick a giving theme in December. Last year, I "adopted" endangered animals from around the world in the names of friends and family members. This year, I would like to help entrepreneurs in third world countries by loaning them money through is an online organization that helps individuals start businesses in areas of the world where business loans are difficult, or impossible to get. Loans come from all over the world in small amounts. $20 is a reasonable amount to loan and be helpful to someone who needs help in establishing a viable business!

So, I am started to look into businesses to help support. In the month of December, a portion of all of my profits from selling Xmittens fingerless gloves will be used to create this loan (minimum $50). As I narrow down my search, I will post my top three choices. So far, I feel a connection to the Aqlema Group in Afghanistan, a small group of women who run a quilting business and needs new sewing machines. **Aqlema Group became fully funded as I was finishing this post up. Wonderful!

In the meantime, if you have a minute, check out and feel free to leave a suggestion in the comments below as to who you think I should support.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pittsburgh Gives!

Today is a good day to donate to a Pittsburgh non-profit. The Pittsburgh Foundation is sponsoring a day of "gift matching". In other words, your donation will be added to by the Foundation, so that it can go even farther in the non-profit of your choice. Some of my favorites include:

Calliope: The Pittsburgh Folk Music Society

The Carnegie Library System

and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania.

There are so many organizations that need a little extra TLC. Have fun searching through the extensive database of wonderful organizations that make Pittsburgh a culturally rich city.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Madrid, Frederick and Lawrenceville

Planning on traveling anytime soon? Well, if you find yourself in Madrid Spain, Frederick Maryland, or in the Lawrenceville area in Pittsburgh, make sure to visit one of the three new stores carrying my work!

If you find yourself in need of Xmittens while in Madrid, visit Little Miss Maimum. Little Miss Maimum opened in September and is the kind of shop I would want to peruse while traveling. So much color and a thoughtful variety of items. This is the first international wholesale order for me, so this is shop is extra special.

The Muse in Frederick, Maryland is a fantastic boutique that also offers classes, artist demos and now offers Xmittens, too! Plus, the boutique was voted as a Top Retailer of American Craft in 2005, 2006, 2008. Whitney Bingham, the owner, is a sweetheart with great taste, so make sure to stop by!

And the latest to join the list is one of my favorite local boutiques, Pavement. I have always loved Pavement- I buy as many shoes as I can afford there, including my fave winter boots EVER. Pavement will carry a variety of both Xmittens Fashions and amtextiles hand-dyed accessories some of which you may see on live models at the Local Motion Fashion Show later this week.

Other news:
~Sprayblog, the fantastic art blog, asked to interview me about my artwork. They published the interview this week. Go to to read it and see some photos (old and new) of my work. Sprayblog is pretty cool overall, so make sure to read up on other artist and artistic happenings!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Business Tools for Artists, Crafters, whomever needs 'em!

Let's face it- we all need a little help when it comes to some area of our business. For me, though I love the business-y side of things, I need a a starting point to jump off from. So, i have been searching the internet, the library and bookstore for business ideas and advice. Here's some online sources that have been helpful.

Biz Ladies on Design Sponge is my new favorite for getting in-depth, but easy to read business advice. Usually oriented towards artists (Wow!), articles such as Microenterprise Development and Fortune in the Follow up have been helpful as I continue to create a successful creative arts business. There are even more articles than the last time I checked. I can't wait to read about Media Kits, since I am putting together some this week!

And, of course, Modish Biz Tips is amazing, as well. I especially like the monthly goals check-in. It's informative to read about how people develop their business and creative goals and how we all deal with meeting, or not meeting, the monthly goals. Also, there are series such as Brick-by-Brick and Biz Basics the latest of which was written by Tara Gentile of Scoutie Girl ( current blog fave).

Got any business resources you want to share? Leave a comment with your favorite!

Monday, September 21, 2009

More Disappointing News From Pennsylvania

I hate that I am still having to post these disappointing updates about the Arts in PA. However, there are still a few more days to make changes to the budget! Here is the latest news from the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council and Citizens for the Arts:

Proposed State Budget Includes Sales tax Expansion

The new proposed state budget agreement removes a sales tax exemption on tickets to museums, theaters, concerts, opera, ballet and other similar activities as a means of raising revenue for the state. According to an article in yesterday's Philadelphia Inquirer "Sources familiar with the final package said the deal calls for the creation of a special fund for cultural institutions and the arts."

As the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council continues to work with partners across Pennsylvania to determine a unified course of action, local arts advocates can help by calling their state legislators.

1) Let them know that you are opposed to the sales tax expansion and that this is "taxing" ordinary citizens out of the cultural experience.

2) Ask them why the arts have been singled out for this tax, when other forms of entertainment with much greater revenue generating potential, such as movies and sporting events, are exempted?

3) Demand that if Harrisburg is going to create a dedicated arts fund, then the arts need to be invited to the table to talk about it.

If you need a phone number for your legislators visit the Citizens for the Arts website. The budget will take at least 10 days to pass, so the time to act is now.

For up-to-the-minute information regarding arts funding in the state budget, follow the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook.

Please forward this message to your contacts or networks who are supportive of the arts.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Art funding in PA, there's some, but not all...

For people in Pennsylvania, this is really important. Call you legislators today!
Call Your State Legislators Now!

During a press conference this morning (9/11/2009), members representing both caucuses in the Senate and the House Democratic caucus announced that an agreement had been reached on the state budget for FY 09-10. It is reported the budget includes $10 million for arts grants (down from $15.2 million) through the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and $1 million (down from $1.3 million) for administration of the Council.

This increase is a huge testament to your advocacy efforts considering the ZERO offered in SB 850. However it still represents a cut of almost 30% over last year's approved appropriation. There is a brief window of time to CALL your legislators. Express your appreciation for including the funding for the PCA but urge them to fund arts grants at a level between $12.5 million - $14 million. Arts funding supports jobs, programming in schools and at senior citizens centers, and helps revitalize our downtowns. Remember to tell them why this is a priority to you and your community. Tell them the many ways that we all benefit from an investment in the arts. CALL YOUR LEGISLATORS TODAY.

You can locate phone numbers on Citizen's for the Arts in PA's e-advocacy site at .

Friday, September 4, 2009

Crafts N'At Indie Craft fair this Saturday!

Need something to do this weekend? Want to get a heads start on holiday shopping?

Come to Crafts n'At at the Union Project in Highland Park, Pittsburgh. All the new styles of Xmittens will be there!

10am-6pm this Saturday! Crafts, Music and a Benefit to the Parkinson's Foundation...Find out more here.