On Making and Selling

Well hello, friends! It’s been a little while. Here are some thoughts I jotted down about being an artist and making money at it.

While there are some questionable “arts” out there, generally speaking, I think it’s safe to say that most people who create can be termed an artist of some kind. Not everyone earns money or an actual living from their art, which is fine. There is nothing wrong with art for art’s sake. (Take this blog, for example! I write because I like it.) But it is a heavily sought after dream.

Artists who create with fabric or yarn know that it’s not only popular because it’s fun, challenging, relaxing, and rewarding, but as with any creative endeavor, making any kind of money from this passion is not an easy feat.

Essentially, anyone who knows how to make something out of fabric, yarn, or thread can sell it. That’s the beauty of having an Etsy shop, really. (Or Facebook, for that matter.) I’m no exception to that. I’ve sold a few crocheted things from the shop and I’ve made a few dozen custom orders from people who have seen my finished works on Facebook. It’s a wonderful feeling to know you’ll earn some pocket money from your craft in addition to having fun making the end products. Win-win. Silly baby whales

While there are certainly people out there who have mastered selling finished works and make a pretty penny off of it, it is my observation from both the photography world and the crochet world that the real money is in selling to the artists. I have mixed feelings on that. On the one hand, it makes sense, and bravo to those who have figured it out. On the other, I wish it appeared to be more prevalent that the artists themselves had more success than the teachers, marketers, and “gurus.”

When I was immersed in All Things Photography for the first couple of years, it became overwhelming to muck through all the businesses out there who marketed to photographers who were just trying to earn some money taking portraits. My email was dinging every few seconds with promotional email after promotional email. I even worked with a “photography business consultant” for a little while, until I realized that she had never had a successful photography business herself. (Seriously.) Eventually, when I realized that it was not going to be the business I thought it would, it was a tedious chore to unsubscribe from most of the companies that had my email address. Now I enjoy photography on a much more leisurely basis (see: Pho-chet), and I’ve realized that, at least for this period of my life, it’s what works best.

When I jumped into crochet in 2013, the same thing happened where I realized that the gurus exist who are quite successful, and most of them have marketed patterns, classes, or how-to videos on YouTube. (Don’t get me wrong–YouTube is a fabulous tool for learning a craft like crochet for free!) Fortunately, I had learned from my mistakes with photography, and I did not sign up for too many groups, emails, classes, etc, though crochet is a completely different beast than photography.

Aside: I won’t deny that I may have a slight yarn addiction but I think most crocheters and knitters have one. Becoming a yarn snob is something I’ll save for another post down the road.

Before a couple of years ago, I had not browsed Etsy for much of anything. Now that I have my own shop, I have made a point to buy unique gifts for friends and family from others who share their beautiful artistry with the world. Pretty much anything you can think of–and a lot of what you can’t–can be found there. (Here are things I’ve favorited, if you’re into that kind of thing.)

Again, just because one has a shop, it does not mean that people will buy. Standing out from the herd of millions proves to be a frustration for many, myself included. Crochet and photography shops are a dime a dozen and, once again, those craft shops who stand out seem to be doing something truly unique OR they’re marketing to people like me, who are passionate creators but are not necessarily blazing a trail in the design world.

Perhaps designing is in my future; it’s not out of the realm of possibility. But for now, I am a happy little maker of things. Speaking of which….I know it’s a shameless plug, but it ties in so nicely with my topic here, so I hope you won’t mind too much.

I started this post a while back and by the time I’ve gotten around to publishing it, I happen to be having a canvas sale in the Photography section of my shop this week. And if I’m being honest, which I am, it’s a good one.

I’ll just leave this here and if you or someone you know needs some wall art in your life, well then…..yay!

And now I slip quietly back to my creative dungeon…until next time.

Wed

Happy New Year, friends!

I took a little sabbatical from posting in the latter part of 2014 and there is good reason for that.

On October 25, 2014, I married my best friend and the most wonderful man I know. After almost two whole years of engagement, planning a wedding, and designing a honeymoon that we hoped would work out (and it did!), the misty ethereal imaginings of our ceremony and fancy party became a reality.

In terms of anticipation, my wedding day was my entire lifetime of Christmases combined. I just could not fathom how it would all be on the day of until I was experiencing it. And every person who gave me the advice that there would be things happening that were completely out of my control was absolutely right.

  • My dress wasn’t perfectly pin straight after being pressed.
  • We ended up taking a cab from the reception to our hotel because of a SNAFU with the limo company. It was late, it began to rain, and we were hauling all of our wedding paraphernalia into and out of a minivan taxi. Fun times.
  • I found out way later that someone had broken into our car the night before the wedding, something my very wise husband kept from me on the wedding day, as nothing was broken or taken. (My decision to not keep anything of value in our car paid off, at least.)

And you know what?

Courtesy of NBC Universal

In fact, it was the journey leading up to the wedding day that held a number of surprises I didn’t expect–many more than any small things that took place the day of.

Things like:

An imminent wedding brings out ALL the feels in everybody.
There is something about the acts of booking a reception hall, picking out invitations, dress shopping, cake tasting, photographer interviewing, and a million other details in this process that makes anyone who has ever gotten married much more emotional–and I mean every emotion on the spectrum. To be sure, it is a thrilling time. I had a ball during the major part of the last two years and have been touched beyond measure by people’s thoughtfulness and generosity.

But man alive, not only will you go from manic to drop-dead exhausted all in the course of minutes or hours, but anybody involved in the planning will also add his or her feelings into the mix, causing quite the Feels Party. It could be about an accessory, the location of a hotel, what kinds of favors to include in hotel welcome bags, or any number of issues a person has about the Wedding Day Schedule. The fact that my husband and I had two solid months of 2014 that weren’t devoted to wedding planning was the greatest gift of all, quite honestly. The relief that comes with not planning All the Things is indescribable.

The mother/daughter relationship in particular during wedding planning is one that goes through a special time. I won’t delve deeply on this particular topic but I will say that wedding planning can damage a relationship if it’s not a strong one. Let’s just say I am grateful that my mom and I emerged with lots of love, even if there were a few bumps along the way.

You try strange things you might never have otherwise.
As the weeks dwindled down, all kinds of thoughts entered my mind about my skincare regime. Since I no longer possess the youth of my twenties to afford me automatic dewy fresh skin on the day of my wedding, I was examining each pore, line, and freckle on my mug.  I have my usual daytime and nighttime routines but like anyone with their looks on their mind, I was paying attention to things that normally I would pass on by. Case in point: I read something about taking coffee grounds and using them as an exfoliant on one’s scalp and face. This struck me as a brilliant thing to try out.

Since we had just brewed some coffee not too much earlier in the morning, I piled some fresh coffee grounds into a bowl and placed it on the edge of the tub. I dumped a bunch of coffee grounds all over my scalp and began rubbing them in. I discovered that sure enough, they exfoliate. Boy, do they. However. The mess that coffee grounds make in the shower is shocking. They go ev-er-y-where. The entire shower from top to bottom was coated in little black flecks. Half the shower was spent chasing these little buggers down the drain and then making sure they were rinsed off my person and then I would have to start all over again with rinsing the tub.

I’m not sure I would keep this up on a regular basis since the clean-up is so time-consuming. I can say that after using a very small amount on my face, that it was extremely smooth after sloughing off the surface cells. As far as cheap scrubs go, I can’t really complain. I would probably caution against using coffee grounds in one’s hair, however, no matter what the experts say it’ll do.

In the end, I did not use coffee grounds on my face or scalp prior to the wedding. Oh and airbrush foundation and having someone do your full hair and makeup is absolutely fantastic. Oprah knows what she’s talking about when she says it’s one of the best experiences money can buy on a regular basis.

Despite the excitement, you can’t invite everyone you know, and those who fall into your Made It and Didn’t Make It lists will surprise you.
Both Kevin and I had some strong disappointments that certain folks couldn’t attend our wedding for one various reason or another. (Our wedding coincided with a TON of babies being born, for starters.) Nevertheless, we had the time of our lives, and the joy of the day dominated any lingering regrets we had about those who couldn’t be with us. One aspect of the wedding that I loved was hearing all the individual stories from people later about their personal experiences having attended. Stories would interweave with one another and I slowly put together this puzzle of what it was like to be one of our guests.

Another favorite was seeing how much fun people had and hearing it was an amazing time for them. As a person who takes pride in her hostessing, nothing makes me happier than hearing that all of the time and energy I spent on the details of this elaborate, expensive party didn’t go unnoticed, and in fact, were ultra appreciated. Never have my organizational and coordination skills served us better. Which brings me to….

Get used to “we” and “us.”
Despite having been in a relationship for years with the man I now call my husband, I’m much more conscientious of using the pronouns “we” and “us.” When I became married, I also became ultra conscientious of being one of an official couple and losing a little of the “I” in my identity. I now represent a family of two people, as does my husband. I find myself having to revert my pronouns when I get onto a “we” streak, because sometimes it doesn’t apply. It’s like, oh yeah, sometimes I’m just me.

Being super "we" and "us" makes me feel like Meg and Hamilton Swan sometimes.

Being super “we” and “us” makes me feel like Meg and Hamilton Swan sometimes.

The whole thing about wedding planning is, and it’s HARD to remember throughout, as long as you’re having fun and you are looking forward to seeing all of the details you’ve planned come to life, you will have a fantastic day. It’s been almost three months already since our day came and went, which amazes me, and I’m still processing and reliving one of the happiest times of my life.

If any of you out there are planning your own nuptials, all I can say is: savor, savor, savor.

ZK

Letting Go, Letting In

A Friend

Recently, mid-week insomnia led me to my computer to write on something more personal and that which has sat in my heart and my Drafts for months. Truthfully, I have been mulling over this particular topic as a post for so long I can’t remember when it actually germinated. I’ll start with this: If you […]

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Baby/Blanket Fever

Happy Friday the thirteenth and full moon! Though the number thirteen and I are not friends, it is a beautiful and quiet day in my neck of the woods, so I thought I would send out a project update. Crocheting has proved to be an aid in more regular blogging, it seems. This way, I […]

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Showcase of Recent Projects

I promised about a month ago to begin doing more show ‘n tell posts on projects I am working on or have completed. Here I am to fulfill that promise….slightly out of breath and a little worn, truth be told. Between working full-time and wedding planning, working on my side interests is all about making […]

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