Post-market free fall continues

It’s not been a week, yet, since I had my last day at the market. I’m not sure how best to explain it, but there’s an untethering that has left me feeling sedentary and directionless each night this week. I look at craft p*rn online and feel stirrings of inspiration, but mostly I’ve only made a mess since Sunday.
I haven’t even leafed through any books. I cannot even find the inspiration to decide which book to peruse.
I can’t help but wonder if it’s the shorter days that have me wanted to binge watch Key and Peele and crochet (if that). Could be. Maybe it’s the relaxation that comes after six months of six-day work weeks. I don’t know. Whatever it is, I’m looking forward to saying goodbye to it. I’ve signed up for a mosaic class and and metal-working class. (One in November and one in December, respectively.) Learning something new is always good for getting the creative juices flowing. Hey, isn’t that part of what my book project was all about?!
Sigh …
I have, however, done a few things.
• Disassembled another painting set from my craft books shelf. Slowly I’m freeing up space.
• Poured resin. Never mind that I forgot two pieces and made something too pink and not red enough.
• Done more organizing of my beads. I do love these storage trays. Of course anything is better than the throw-it-in-a-box approach I’ve been using.
• Taken steps to make my book-keeping more efficient. (There’s the book tie-in for the week!)
• Updated the “find me” section of my site. I’ve for four holiday shows coming it. I do hope familiar faces will come by and say hi!
Or, say hi here. Comments are always welcome!

A day late and a dollar short

I dropped the ball on my Sunday post, but I refuse to beat myself up about it. There was pre-guest cleaning to do. And baking! I received a Bigfoot cookie cutter for my birthday, and I needed to put it to use. So, after cleaning up the kitchen, I decided to make sugar cookies, which meant that I then has much flour to clean up. I think I’ve seen octopus cookie cutters, but I need a proper squid. However, I can imagine that getting all of the tentacles out without breakage would be a challenge.

 Saturday was my last day at the market this year, and now I’m left wondering where the past six months went. The market is a time investment. It’s a great community. It’s an anchor for the year. As much as I’m really looking forward to sleeping in two days in a row for the next six months, I will miss my market neighbors, regular customers and all of the friendly market faces. It never ceases to amaze me how something that takes up so much time is something that I can miss so very much.
It’s kind of a bummer that I had a great idea for displaying necklaces on my *last* day at the market. Oh well, it only means that next year I’ll be able to debut all kinds of neat ways of displaying items.

I’m still working through tasks and plans inspired by Schoolhouse Craft.

Without the regular deadline of the market for making new jewelry, this is also the time of year when I long to just knit and and crochet. I did get rave reviews for one of my ponchos. I’ve started a third — a very practical black and gray. However, the needle size that was recommended is just too small. So, I’ve started over with larger needles. The knitting is moving along at a better clip and I no longer feel that the project will never be finished.

Last night’s lack of sleep is catching up with me. It’s been a day of moving slowly and sluggishly and doing things like calling hiking boots hiking books. Both have their place, but if it’s boots you need, it’s boots you should have.

Apropos of nothing, I got an email from REI today saying they’ll be closed the day after Thanksgiving. I love that. Please, please, please let this be a trend.

Derailed by details and some other stuff

Thursday is book day, and I’ve got nothing to report.
At least not craft wise. On second thought, I took my “Instant Artist” set off of the shelf and think that the pre-printed canvases will make for great journals covers.

I think they need to be left blank to let someone else do the painting. (This is 100% the kind of freeing activity I hoped for when I decided to go through all of my books.)

I also returned several books to the library, and their unopened, unperused status is no longer tormenting/mocking me.

I finished a book for an interview for work. As much as I have craft crushes on any number of people, products and techniques, I have a genuine respect for Ruth Wariner, whose The Sound of Gravel will be published this January. Because the book’s release is still months away, what I can say is that she is really, truly lovely. I don’t envy her her childhood, and I admire her spirit, her soul. Oh, I can also say, visit her site and pick up the book when it’s published.

I’ve been listening to the audiobook of Challenger Deep, by Neal Shusterman. Once again I’m left feeling a bit bummed out that so many wonderful YA authors started publishing after my YA years. And so, well into my adult years, I’m still reading/listening to these great and moving works. Truth told: I think I’d prefer this as a physical book. However, the parrot’s voice sounds so much like Jim Rash that I keep thinking about the TV show Community, and that makes me happy.

I’m giving myself homework. I need to break open Market Yourself by Tara Swiger.

And, I need to figure out how to best use these display cards.

 I want to stamp on all of them. Should the stamps show? Should they be a surprise beneath the surface? How often will I be able to break away from the “Sparkle like you mean it” stamp? There’s always another decision to make, isn’t there? I guess that means I’m alive, and really, in this case, how can there be a wrong decision?

Whoa and whew …

Sunday is the day I like to show off what I’ve make during the week. Today I could show off the mess on my table or studio desk. Or, if only it were possible, I’d like to show off the synapses and connections made at this year’s Schoolhouse Craft conference. Tara Swiger, Marlo Miyashiro and Caitlin Bacher offered up so much good information that my brain still feels full.
The conference was worth it, for sure. I have many action points, and I need to act on them while I still feel inspired.

My first action point is to proudly talk about what I make. I’m still plagued by worries that what I make isn’t good enough. But you know what, people like it, they buy it. Why do I still feel like what I do is so inferior?

I could, easily, keep my business where it is, and that would would be that. And it wouldn’t be bad. But, I would like to grow it. And, what I learned is that I need to get my head around my ideal customer, business budgets, social media and more.
I need to organize my bead stash. I need to add more items to my store. I need to take better photographs. (How can I add the personality of my business to those photos.) I need to be better about catching typos. These tasks are overwhelming, but they’re also exciting.

As exciting as it all seems, just thinking about it all makes me want to put on my pjs and do anything but what needs to be done. But, I’m here at the computer, and that’s a start
I only have one more Saturday at the market, and I’ll start giving up four hours or more of my Saturdays to get business stuff done.
Morgan, as always, has offered a sympathetic and curious ear. For a man who is for sure part artist, he’s fascinated by the business side of what I do. Crazy, right!?

Another interesting thing about the conference was the connections I made for work. Some of those were the “Hi, I’m Stephanie,” kind of connection. Some were more of a “Hmm, how would that fit into our small-business coverage?” I’ve come to learn that I love the small-/micro-/solo-business world. Entrepreneurs face the same issues no matter what the product or service. I love hearing the stories. I love connecting the dots, for myself and others. Is this a passion? A path? For sure it’s another thing to contemplate/do.

Speaking of which, I’d better get to doing.
But first, here’s a little of what I did over the last week. 

This bead embroidered Space Needle can be a pin or a pendant.
Lucky penny
Matthew Sweet journal

Seed beads just be(ad)cause

The Hoosier family members have been gone for just shy of 48 hours. I miss them like crazy. What a kooky, wonderful family I have.
Our workplace fall craft fair was today. I’ve been up since 4:30ish and am really so sleepy I have low hopes for the clarity of this post.

I started to panic about having something to say about a book this week, when I realized that I should give a hearty thumbs up to Seed Bead Stitching, by Beth Stone. I’ve looked online and can’t find any proof of a website for her. That’s not quite true, the most recent blog post I could find was from 2011. Even I’m not that casual about time lapsed between posts.

Anywho, I like this book because, all in one place, I get instructions for basic stitches such as the tri stitch, quad stitch and spiral stitch. I’ve not gone too crazy with any of the stitches, but I appreciate how different beads create different looks. Of course bigger beads stitch up quickly, which is a great thing. But, the smaller beads create such a nice, sleek look. (Think bulky yarn vs. sock yarn.)
The book is full of colorful and easy-to-follow instructions. The author includes a variety of examples to show the different kinds of looks possible. This book is a workhouse, as least in my book “stable.” I wish I could say that about more of my books. In addition to the stitches I use on a regular basis, the book also covers the right-angle weave, peyote stitch, brick stitch, daisy chain and Russian stitches. (I have a “weankess” for Russia/Russian things. How have I not tried any of the Russian stitches?! Watch this space; just such a trial will happen soon!)

Here are some of the different looks I’ve created for various projects with the help of Stone’s book.   

Spiral stitch. These colors make me want to be somewhere tropical.
Tri stitch with size 11 seed beads
Quad stitch
Quad stitch

Tri stitch with size 6 seed beads


 Tomorrow and Saturday I will be in a two-day conference: Schoolhouse Craft. I won’t lie, I kind of wish I had the next two days to lounge or knit or read. But, I half wonder if my hesitation is just fear — of success, of having to talk about my stuff or promoting myself. The money is paid, so I am going. I imagine there will be much food for thought. Plus, Kim Werker will be there. And as I can’t seem to shut up about her lately, her presence there is nothing shy of a sign that I need to go. Besides, someone found my site and asked about my attending a winter show. So, why not think about the always-desired betterment of one’s self and business.

Sigh … knitting is calling, and my words have run, if not dry, then certainly sparse/uninteresting. We’ll see just how many stitches I can get in before I nod off. My guess is 20ish. Do I hear 15?