Things have begun to happen on the music part of my life, so I thought I'd share the process here. It's been a dream of mine for a while to start a steel band in a school or community setting. I got my Masters in Steel Pan, so I'm trying to get one started. I've had several organizations, a music school and community center contact me about this possibility, but for various reasons, it never happened. I figured if I want it to happen I'm going to have to rent a space somewhere, and that wouldn't happen for many, many years.
Yesterday I was talking to someone from my church and he threw out the idea of having a community steel band at the church! Whoa, that's huge! A facility to rehearse in is a major step. The next step is to get instruments (very expensive) and figure out how I want to fund this. Do I want to form a non-profit organization, or a normal business, kind of like a music store that teaches classes?
I went to the library and picked up some books on non profits, writing grants and starting a business. I need to weigh my options and figure out what will work best. With a non-profit it's easier to get donations, and government grants are only for non-profit organizations. But I feel a little overwhelmed by the amount of work and bookeeping that goes into it, and being just one person, that's scary! I'd like to get my husband involved so he can quit his day job, but he doesn't have the same knowledge of steel pan that I do. He is a great musician though, so there is a role we could find, plus just helping me with the bookeeping and business details. We're still in the infant stages with this and there's a lot of work to do. I'm excited and I feel a new sense of motivation that I had kind of lost since graduating last may. Now that one major step has happened it doesn't seem as much like a distant dream.
I also wanted to share some new stamps with you!
These were so fun to make! They are a set of 9 stamps, 3 for each robot and you can mix and match them with different colors and body parts!
Don't you hate it when you check a blog and they haven't updated in many days? Ack! I know, that's this blog and I'm sorry! Things have been busy, which is good, but unfortunately had to put the blog on the back burner. I also need to post results for the giveaway and I promise I will soon. Just wanted to apologize for being non-existent here.
I have been playing some gigs which is definitely a good thing. I'm thinking of applying to work at our local library part time because I need the work and it's walking distance, which is great since I share a car with my husband. Well, that's it for now!
WOO HOO! Our high temperature today is 72 in Kansas City, MO! I'm so excited! I absolutely love when the air starts to turn warm this time of year. It's like starting over. Every year I feel like the end of winter and the entrance of spring means new things to come. We have a rental house and outside have noticed some kind of plants sprouting up. Who knows what they are, but it's still fun to see! Here they are, with my kitty Maddux We want to plant some flowers in the front this year, and we're going to attempt to grow some veggies in the back in containers. I think we're going to try tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers and red bell peppers. I've read these are the easiest for newbies, except maybe the red peppers. We love bell peppers, and I can't eat green ones, so we always buy red. But they cost about $2-$3 each at the store! WAY too much for one vegetable!
Here is my amazing stamp that I just finished for a customer. It's huge, measuring 4 inches by 4.5 inches.
Definitely the biggest one I've done.
I've been getting a lot of custom orders lately which is so amazing and I'm so happy for it. However, I haven't had time to work on any new designs for my shop!
This is my newest treasury. I wanted to do something different by using all art prints, photographs and original paintings. Usually, when I curate a treasury, I have dreams of front page in mind, but this time I just decided to do what I think would be really cool. I'm a musician so it holds a special place for me too!
How about a little Handmade Hotness? I found this great shop in the forums, AussieFelts at etsy, and her work is AMAZING. These felted animals are so well made and hand crafted, you can see the attention to detail in her photos. Please stop by her etsy shop, and read on to find out more!
When and how did you get involved in felts?
I was actually selling a different product on Etsy under a different store name about 2 and a half years ago. In the chatrooms I kept seeing these needle felted dogs and cats being featured. My interest was piqued from there. I bought a needle felting kit in February 2008 and the rest is history.
How long have you been selling on etsy, and what brought you here?
Under the aussiefelts name i've only been selling for just over 3 weeks. I've had the shop name for over a year though. As I mentioned above I was selling under a different name on and off prior for a while.. I think i've been with Etsy for around 3 years. I started as just a buyer first. I honestly can't remember what brought me here. I do recall hearing Etsy mentioned but for the life of me I can't remember where.
Have any other hobbies or past times you'd like to share?
I have 2 young kids so in between school and keeping my 2 year old entertained, I don't have a ton of time for other hobbies. I do enjoy cooking when i'm in the mood and love interacting on the internet. I love music and reading too.
What can customers expect in the future from you?
I'll be building up my store inventory a lot more as time goes on. I recently asked in the Etsy forums what animals people would like to see in my needle felting style. I got a lot of great ideas from that so you'll start seeing animals that you might not see in a plush style very often. I'd also like to get some needle felting kits together and start selling those so I can help spread the fun of my craft.
My etsy shop has taken a totally new direction in the last couple of months. I've made and sold greeting cards for about 3 years and I totally love it. I sell pretty well to my mom's avon customers and friends, but online, I just wasn't selling. I got so many comments about my items; "oh that's so cute" but the sales just weren't happening. I even sought out veteran sellers, who gave me some small pointers, but basically were as bewildered as me about my slow sales.
So I decided to try something new. What do I like to buy and obsess about? Scrapbook embellishments and stamps. That's how I started to make them more, and it appears that my stamps are far more popular than my cards were online. It's a weird feeling though because I still love my cards and still want to sell them offline, but I'm trying to come to a decision of if I should offer stamps exclusively in my shop. Maybe an occasional card, but I want to make more of a brand for myself, and I think going with only stamps will help. It seems silly, like an easy decision. If one thing is selling, and one thing isn't, offer only what is selling. It just feels weird to part with my cards.
I just got back from the grocery store, and proceeded to scarf down a bowl of Golden Crisp. You know, the one with the Sugar Bear? Mmmm. I only got them because they were on sale, and I don't think I've had them in years. I am a cereal fanatic! I could literally eat it for every meal of every day and be perfectly happy. I remember eating bowl after bowl of cereal as a teenager at night because I could never get full. In recent years I've been a good little girl and only eat healthy cereal, and I enjoy them too! I pretty much only buy healthy cereal except for the occasional, on sale sugar cereal. In fact, the first ingredient is actually sugar!
You know what I miss a lot? In the college dorms, the dining halls had a literal buffet of cereal, and sugar cereal reined supreme! Sometimes I'd just have like four bowls of cereal for dinner. Frosted Flakes, Fruity Pebbles, Crispix and of course Cookie Crisp! 'Cause no one could actually afford to buy cookie crisp and they don't make a generic version (at least not then), so it was a total treat!
Ok, I think I'm done with my completely random post about cereal! I finally got around to making an owl stamp. I've wanted to, but I felt like they may be getting old. But I have a cute design, so I figured, why not?
I've been feeling kind of blocked for a few days with coming up with new stamp designs. I finished up my biggest custom order ever today! That was awesome, and somehow inspired me to work on new ideas. 3 came to me all at one: rocket ship, skeleton key and a guitar. Kind of on the more boyish side than my usual cutesy items. Although I think these are still cute. Those monsters were my custom order. Here's my rocket ship:
And I made this guitar stamp because my hubby plays guitar:
I told my mom that I was going to write about my excitement over Easter candy coming out in the stores already, and she thinks I'm crazy! LOL! Well, here it is. I LOVE candy. In fact, I love anything sweet, and it's a requirement that I have something sweet everyday. Sometimes I think I may have an addiction, but I really don't mind because it's so yummy!
I love holiday themed candy because it only comes out once a year so it is so much more special. Easter candy is by far the best of all holiday candy. I love Robin Eggs and Cadbury Eggs the most (pictured above), and I also love easter sweet tarts, and I swear easter colored m&ms taste better! They even have this new kind of cadbury eggs called "orange creme." Mmmmm, it's so good, but for some reason it costs twice as much! Go buy some Easter Candy!
I was inspired by a forum on etsy where all the sellers where linking to pictures of themselves. It's so cool to see someone you've been buying from, or communicating with, or just someone you see in the forums all the time- to actually see their face. Most of us on etsy just put up an avatar of one of our products, mine is a cute flower on stamped paper. But it's neat to really see the artist behind it. Kind of like when you go to a craft fair and you get to meet the person, and hear their story. But online, I think sometimes we forget that there is an actual human being behind it all. I know I have a small little picture of myself on here, but it's hard to see, so here are some of mine. I encourage you also to post a pic on your blog if you don't have one, for a little fun and a peek into your world. Let me know if you put one up!
The top picture is me in career mode. I'm a professional steel pan player, freelance musician, self-employed teacher.
Here's my wedding day with my parents:
and more recently after I chopped off 10 inches of hair!
Handmade soap. What's all the hype? Well, this was my question. Sure, it's great to support small business, but what else is in it for the buyer? If you're like me, you might have concerns, maybe certain skin conditions or sensitivities. I am no expert on skin conditions, but I do have severe eczema and overall extreme dry, flakey skin. I can at least tell you my experience with handmade soap and why I think everyone should give it a shot.
But, soap dries me out! Right? Wrong! This is what I thought my whole life, until I learned on the etsy forums that it's the harsh detergents in commercial soaps that dry you out and not the soap itself. In fact, with out all those added detergents, soap just cleanses the skin and does not strip it of your natural oils. So I decided to give handmade soap a shot and I found a shop with some soap that looked really cute and I'm so glad I found it!
Annie's Powder Room is my new favorite source for soap! That lovely popsicle soap picture at the top is what I ordered (in a different scent), and after only a couple uses I noticed my skin was not nearly as dried out. Annie's soap, like most handmade soap, has glycerin in it, which is nice and moisturizing. Did you know that most commercial soaps actually REMOVE the glycerin? Just another reason it dries your skin. After a month of using her soap my skin has vastly improved. I know I sound like a commercial, but after a lifetime of dry, cracked, sometimes oozing skin, I have finally found a good solution.
I have been told with eczema that you shouldn't shower daily because water is drying. But I just can't do that, I love my daily showers, so handmade soap is my best option. No, handmade soap has not CURED my eczema, but it has made my skin feel so much better. I mean, I'm writing a whole blog post on it! It must be good. Please check out Annie's shop, and take a gander at a few of my other favorites that I haven't tried yet, but can't wait to!
I definitely recommend a soap with glycerin if you have particularly dry skin. Also, a lot of soap makers on www.etsy.com have samples available either in their shops, or if you ask them by convo. It's good to try samples of several kinds to test what is best for you. EpicallyEpicSoap:
This is by far the most challenging stamp I have made. It was a custom order for someone to stamp on their wedding invitation envelopes. There are so many little crevices to carve out, it took a while, but I think I'm better at carving now! I want to try making this stamp in different fonts because it's a really cute saying. I see a lot of hand carved stamps that are images, and not a whole lot of words or text. I want to get really good at carving text so I can be unique. It's really challenging to carve text well. Here is the sketch I made to lay on the rubber before carving: And again the finished product:
I graduated from Northern Illinois University last May, and during my final semester, on Valentine's Day of 2008, a gunman entered a full classroom and opened fire. 6 Students were killed and many injured. The gunman then killed himself. I was in class across campus, but got home safely and am very thankful that no one I know was injured or killed. But to those who lost their lives, I will always remember them on Valentine's Day and tell the world that they are not forgotten. They are fellow Huskies, and fellow humans. www.niu.edu
I made the most amazing muffins the other day! They were so good, they looked and tasted just like they were from a bakery. They're blueberry, made with fresh blueberries!
There's also this "struessel" topping, which isn't really struessel, but is SOOOO tasty and gives it that bakery touch. It's a mix of flour, butter and sugar. I would like to try brown sugar next time:
Then guess what I forgot to do? Take pictures of the finished product! So, I thought I'd provide the link to the recipe since I forgot those pictures. They lasted about 2 seconds in my house. If you want to be healthier, just replace oil with applesauce. Blueberry Muffins I filled my muffin cups very full so that the tops were really large and overflowing. But make sure if you do this to get plenty of oil on the top of your pan too.
Today I did something I really love. I taught drumline. I played in drumline for many years and I have been away from it for a long time now. I got the opportunity to teach, and it's been fun. I wrote a drum cadence from scratch for them. I didn't really know how it was going to sound, just how it sounded in my head. So, tonight they got to play some of it, and it's always cool to hear your music played for the first time. Watch as they try to figure out the rhythms, make mistakes, but then clarity comes and they can all play it. And it sounds so good!
I graduated last May with my masters degree. I had a graduate assistantship at my school and today I get a letter from the university human resources dpt. telling me that my W-2 was returned to them from my previous address (I moved last september). However, the address on the front of this letter was my current address. So, they tell me I need to tell them my current address. UMMMMM......is it just me, or is it on the front of the envelope? You just sent this to my current address!!! Come on people!!! It made me laugh.
I've been very busy writing music and making lots of stamps. Here's a new bee stamp:
In my never-ending quest to get my treasury on the front page of etsy, I've created this latest one in hues of Sage and tangerine. I admit, this has been my favorite so far, I really love these colors and I really just happened upon them. I opened up treasury west and it was opening in a few minutes and I didn't have anything planned. So I named it "I just got here!" Then I went to my poster sketch and saw that I had a few pieces in these colors and went with that.
Don't you think it should be on FP? I wish it would one of these days!
YAY, a winner has been determined. Thank you all for your lovely comments and I hope you will check back for my next giveaway, you never know what kind of cute stuff you will find!
So, I threw all your names in a bowl Then, I threw them out on the floor and whichever one my cat picks is the one that wins. only, my cat didn't pick one, he just looked at me like I was crazy. So then I threw them all back in the bowl and picked one out at random. And the winner is Stacie!!!!! I'll email you to get your address! Congrats!
Here's my first giveaway! The winner will get a file folder shaped greeting card. It's the same size as a standard greeting card, but is in the shape of a file folder and it says "hello" on the tab. Also, you'll get 2 coordinating gift tags. You can use them on gifts, scrapbooks or even as bookmarks!
It's easy to enter! Just do the following: 1. Leave a comment telling me what types of items you'd like to see in my next giveaway. 2. Leave your contact email
Winner will be chosen at random on Friday, January 30.
Things are finally starting to pick up for me in the career field. I'm going to be teaching lessons at the local community center as well as teaching at a school. With my music career it's been really difficult to figure out how to market myself. They don't teach these things to musicians in school. I have so much education, but not a clue when it comes to getting gigs, talking to band directors and venue owners, etc. So I've just been figuring it out as I go, and I'm starting to get better. I'm a very shy person, so it's been a challenge, but also a learning experience. We're hoping that someday my husband can quit his job and be my manager.