Friday, July 24, 2009

Business Planning for Artists- the Daily Worth

Last year, as we were looking into buying a house, I researched how to clean up my credit. It took a little bit of time, but so very worth it! Had I known about the Daily Worth I would have started working on this even earlier.

If you are a crafter, artisan, self-employed, a nine-to fiver, or just have some questions about personal finance, this is a great blog and email series to read! If you sign up for the Daily Worth emails you will receive short and sweet email messages about various financial topics like: Budgeting, cutting your credit card debt and being efficient and making more money this blog has something that everyone can learn. As their website says:

" DailyWorth is a
free daily personal finance
email for women. We deliver
practical tips, empowering ideas
and the occasional kick in the pants."

This is geared towards the ladies, though everyone can learn invaluable advice. I highly recommend it!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Inspiration Wednesday- New Jewelry Class!

As a birthday present from my mom (thanks mom!!) I am attending a great beginning jewelry making class this July. I love that I get to saw metal, solder silver, rivet rings and all sorts if crazy cool things that I have always wanted to do!

Here are some pictures of what I made during the first class. A copper pendant that I sawed, filed, sanded and drilled. I used a newly blossomed tiger lily from my garden as inspiration for the lines of the piece. I plan on doing a little bit more with it during the next class. Maybe round the "petals" a bit more? We'll see....

As I left class, I saw a beautiful sunset with the downtown skyline as a backdrop. Here's the pendant "squishing" one of the skyscrapers in downtown Pittsburgh...

What's your inspiration this Wednesday? Leave a comment about it!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Recycling Fabric- Ribbon

Recycling fabric is something I do every day in my studio. Some people may call it upcycling. Whatever the official name is, I make sure to not throw away anything that can be used again. As a new and regular blog subject I will be posting about recycling fabric ideas every week or so.

Today, Recycled Ribbon! I use a serger sewing machine most days. The cool thing about the serger is that it can be really interesting three dimensional ridges that I use to design on fabric frequently. The downside to this is that as it cuts the fabric to make the thread details, it leaves behind a thin piece of material. Since I use it a lot, this means I have a lot of very thin strips of fabric that are not use-able for many things.

Then, I got smart. I started to tie these thin strips together. This make beautiful ribbon! I use the recycled silk ribbon as gift wrap for my amtextiles line of art-to-wear and for gifts for friends and family.

Any kind of fabric will work. Or, tie scraps of ribbon together to make multi-colored ribbon. Just make sure to knot the fabric strips together at least twice so it is strong enough. Hang it around the house for easy decoration, wrap it around a vase, your wrist or decide! If you don't have leftover fabric, check out my etsy supply shop for some already made recycled ribbon.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Arts Funding still in Jeopardy!

After a few weeks of good news, eliminating ALL Funding for the Arts in pennsylvania is back on the table. Here is an excerpt of an email I just received from Jenny Hershour who is the Managing Director of Citizens for the Arts:

We are facing a disaster in state support for the arts.

The outlook for state funding for the arts has taken a dramatic and significant turn for the worse. Your immediate efforts are needed.

Senate Bill 850, that eliminates all funding for the arts and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, is back under consideration.

But it is worse.

The proposed budget in SB 850 would need to be reduced by an additional $1.7 billion to balance the budget. That’s billion, with a “B.”

We need more help from you.

Join us and tell your friends about the upcoming Arts Rally at the Capitol on Tuesday, July 14 at 11 am in the Rotunda of the Main Capitol. Your presence will make a powerful statement of support for the arts.

Please contact 5 other people to get them to sign up for advocacy alerts and to send a message to their legislators by using the Citizens for the Arts website.

Thank you for contacting your legislators in support of the state funding for the arts. We know your message is being heard. As the legislature and the Governor develop a budget for next year we must keep them aware of the strong support for the arts among our fellow citizens.



11 AM


Do what you can to save the arts in PA!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Our backyard

We bought this house last year. Both Adam and I have owned other houses, but this is the first we picked out together (awwww....). Anyway, we love being outdoors. We love the convenience and diversity of living in a city. As we found out, it can be hard to find a place in the city that has outdoor space.

Well, we found it! I have posted pics of the fabulous sunsets we get up here already. This summer we are working on making our backyard into the relaxing space that we have always wanted (so we can enjoy those sunsets). currently, we are building a garage and we already built a fence. Of course, since we are quirky, the fence has bird house turrets with hand-dyed dowel rod perches and a photo opportunity straight from the circus fun house!

Here are some pics of friends that poked their head through our gate only to find me taking their pictures. Adam painted the "Anonymous Rebel Leader" and I painted the "Lil' Goldilocks". Can't help but have a little fun with what's around us.

Friday, July 3, 2009

YART Sale at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts

It's going to be fun! I went through my studio and packed up lots of fabric (some hand-dyed!), jewelry and jewelry supplies, plus some of last year's Xmittens fingerless gloves! I know some of the other artists and they will also have good stuff, so visit if you can!

Here is what the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has to say about the Sale.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Strategic Planning for artists

It's summertime and not only does that mean I am busy making wonderful new things to unveil in fall, it also means I have been creating my yearly strategic plan. Yep, an artist who thinks strategically is not a person to mess with :)

Every morning before I start working I create a new visual journal entry inspired by business plans, strategic and creative businesses practices...basically, things I never thought would be pertinent to me, but now I find fascinating.

The picture is of an entry based on how I envision myself and my creative business to be at its best, along with what I am already good at. Things like "Outline Brain is Fun", "I can Focus" and "If I could pick my skin colors, I would pick the colors of sunset" help me sort out what is important to concentrate on and what is not.

One of the main strategic goals I have right now is to improve my blog entries by planning ahead and writing regularly along with cleaning up my Textile Arts newsletter email list. In this theme, here is a link to sign up for my e-newsletter. Either sign up for a Bi-monthly newsletter with exclusive product updates and coupons, or sign up for the monthly newsletter with in depth featured artist interviews, plus textile art news, reviews and special deals in my online shops.

By the way, I am using the book "The Creative Entrepreneur" as my guide in this process. I really recommend it to those looking for some structure in their creative business.

Happy Creating!