Sunday, August 29, 2010

Booga Booga!

Get ready! Crazy, scary creatures are about!

And more are on the way!! Booga booga!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Countdown Begins...

I have always worked better with a schedule, a time line and just a bit of pressure.

If you are like me, here's some interesting information for you:
  • There are 66 days until Halloween
  • There are 91 days until Thanksgiving
  • There are 98 days until Hanukkah
  • There are 121 days until Christmas

My intent for the next two days is to seriously clean and organize my studio and storage spaces ~ start with a clean slate before jumping into holiday production. Which means, of course, I will be chatting on Facebook a lot; returning emails from two weeks ago; taking an extra long walk with my dog; cuddling with my cat; going thru my photo archives and phoning my Mom.

You see how the "pressure" part plays into this. :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Remembering Muffin~~~

Anyone who has ever had a dog or a cat (or a fish or a bird ~ on and on) as a member of your family understands this ~~~

Once in awhile I get a special request to make a clone of someone's pet ~ a little Mini Me if you will. Sometimes it is to commemorate the passing of beloved pet; sometimes it is just a pet that is loved so much the "parents" want more of them.

Whatever the reason, these requests present a big challenge for me; but one that I do my best to honour. I accept such a request with caution and an explanation up front ~ the Mini Me will be an impressionistic version of your pet. It won't look exactly like them. I am a perfectionist (yes I said it) so that is the first obstacle to overcome... Every animal is unique and special, so it is challenging; but I do my best to come close. Working from a photograph I pull out my sketch pad and measuring utensils and go to work.

And so it was with Muffin. Muffin was a much-loved family dog of friend's husband's family (following that?). When Muffin passed, she, of course, left a huge hole in the family. My sweet friend wanted a remembrance and a likeness of Muffin for her husband, so working from a black and white photograph, with a brief description I did my best to honour Muffin from Georgia...

RIP sweet puppy.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Fall Preview ~ BC Comfort Friends Make a Return!

Just as last year this October cmh design will focus on Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It is a cause near and dear to my heart.

This year I am featuring a family of Wee Ones ~ The BC Comfort Friends. A cat, a dog, a bear and a bunny (and probably more!) can be found in my Etsy shop in just a couple of days. If you would like to purchase one ~ or order several, 10% of all sales will go to Susan G. Komen for the Cure!

So this is just a little preview of what is to come in the Fall! Can Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah be far behind??

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Finding Direction

When I opened my Etsy Shop about 18 months ago it was a mixed bag of photography, knit hats, note cards, dog treats and stuffed animals. Initially I thought ~ wow, what an opportunity to showcase all my interests!

Three months in (after a thoughtful hike along the East Bay in San Francisco/Berkeley) I made the decision to narrow down what I offered in my shop. I felt that the wide array of items offered were perhaps working against me ~ that maybe potential customers were confused when they entered my shop. Was I a photographer? A seamstress? A baker? A knitter? I was confused; I can only imagine what visitors thought.

On this early morning walk along the San Francisco Bay, watching the sun rise and reflect off the city skyline I thought about two things: (1) Considering all my interests, which offered me the most satisfaction and the most happiness? and (2) Considering all my interests, which presented the opportunity to actually make some money?

Although photography was, and will always be, a passion, it is an extremely competitive market. I have always had an affinity for stuffed animals, so I decided to focus on that.

So I did. And sales picked up. Within six months I began designing my own stuffed animals and developed a line of one-of-a-kind "Wee Ones." Sales hit an all time high at that point. A few shops across the country began to approach me interested in consignment possibilities.

Wanting to stretch my imagination and creativity a bit (because I have to admit I like creating new things) I recently expanded into applique plush pillows and applique baby bibs. And then I remembered ~ oh yeah, I know how to make knit beanies/hats. It is fun to go from one line to another ~ to mix it up a bit. But this time, I realized I had unconsciously created a new focus.

While at a networking social the other night a few people inevitably asked, "So what do you do?" I instinctively handed them a business card and said, "I make stuff for kids." They knew immediately what I do.

And with that, I realized ~ I have a direction. I have a demographic I can focus on; I have a market I can cater to. I know what shops to contact; I know how to promote my business. Everything makes sense now. :)

Direction. It makes all the difference.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Monday Morning Advice: Leap and Trust.

I remember walking past this skull and crossbones flannel fabric in the store and thinking, "Oh that's cute."

Walk past again; thinking, "But is it too edgy?"

Walk past again; thinking, "But I like it. It's my quirky personality. If I like it, surely someone else will like it, too."

Walk back, pick up the bolt of fabric and think, "Oh, go for it."

So I did. And I'm glad I did because it taught me something ~ to trust my instincts. If I like it I'm going to have fun creating it. And if I like it, chances are someone else will like it as well. It is a philosophy I adopted with my photography a few years ago ~ to be a little daring and different and not worry about what other people think ~ and now I am carrying that philosophy into my new world of creating things for kids. Design things that make me smile and I will bet you a dollar someone else will smile as well.

So my Monday morning advice? Don't hide your personality ~ let it show in your work! Don't worry about pleasing everyone because you never will! Dare to be a little "out there" because there are friends "out there," too! And it's a helluva' lot more fun. :)

I was reminded of this with my friend, Kathleen's recent blog post about photography. If you create things you like that's really all that matters. Because that will reflect in your work; you're happy; you will probably touch or inspire someone ~~ and it is a win-win!

So I had so much fun creating this little bib yesterday. And guess who bought it early this morning?

Kathleen. Point made. :)