Waiting out Joaquin

Football and KnittingJust in case you haven’t heard, the East Coast is being pummeled by rain associated with Hurricane Joaquin. Gopher wood is in high demand and grocery stores are low on bread and water.

Joking aside, many on this side of the country are smartly playing it safe and staying home to avoid flooded roads and torrential wind and rain. I consider myself blessed not to have an event this weekend, and instead can hole up at home with three of my favorite things. Football. Crafts. And my husband. Wait…maybe I should reorder those things…

Today is going to be full of college football games and knocking out a mile long project list. Rainy days make me feel ambitious because, well, there’s nothing I can do outside! No guilt for not getting there!

How do you wait out rainy days? Do you take advantage of the good napping weather? Wrack your brain for kid-friendly activities? Does the overcast sky make you more ambitious or low key? Let’s get some brainstorming going because who knows how long we’ll have before this system moves on!

PS – one of my favorite rainy day kid activities is fort building. That makes even normal toys and games seem more fun!

Creative Business Dictionary: Fear

As a journalism major in college, I developed a strong affinity for words. They are deep, complex, and have the ability to convey multiple messages. Now, as a creative small business owner, many words have taken on new meanings, and I am constantly catching myself seeing the world from a different angle.

Each week, we look at a word that impacts creative businesses and share a free download to view, print, frame, ponder, or shred. We’d love to hear your stories of how these individual words have impacted your business or your life!

CBD Fear - SquareOctober 1, 2015 – Fear

n. a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; concern or anxiety

The best part of this definition for me is the fact that it acknowledges that fear can be real or imagined. There are real fears like hearing a scary diagnosis. There are also imaginary fears that we convince ourselves are threats, such as telling ourselves we aren’t going to be successful entrepreneurs because we don’t know everything. (Spoiler alert on that one – you aren’t ever going to know everything and that’s okay!)

Fear is a natural human emotion and can keep us out of harms way, but it can also paralyze us. Starting a business, accepting a treatment plan, leaving a job, having a family; no matter what your situation is, there will be unknowns. There will be anxious moments. Even the most risk-averse people on the planet cannot hide from this distressing emotion. We can’t let these moments keep us from living, though!

Throughout the month of October, we will all be hearing the stories of those who have or are battling breast cancer. Take some time to listen to how these brave souls tackle their fears. You may not be facing a life-changing illness, but we can all learn from their methods and be inspired by the ways they live their lives. How have you overcome your fears?

We may not like to think about or talk about negative emotions, especially in a professional setting, but today’s free download is meant to encourage us all that we can overcome our fears! I know I need that reminder on a daily basis!

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How to Deal with Product Errors

enhanceBeing a perfectionist in the crafting industry is dangerous. I consider it a blessing because it means that I care about the quality of the work I produce, but it can also be painful when I have moments that remind me I’m human. Which are much more frequent than I typically care to admit! There will inevitably be times when something doesn’t go as planned, however, and you’re going to be frustrated. Quality control is extremely important, but take it from me, letting those frustrations get you down can be even more detrimental. Even if you weren’t planning on selling the item!

When I find an error with a product (keeping in mind that I create a majority of my projects to sell), I’ve established four basic ways to “resolve” my frustration with it:

1. Start over. I do this much more frequently (and successfully) with knit or crochet pieces. When you’re working with paper or fabric, it can be difficult to start over and salvage your materials. While I certainly don’t want to waste anything, for personal sanity and customer satisfaction, sometimes it’s a necessary evil. Many times I start over because I’ve learned a thing or two about my process, and the end product is even better than I imagined it the first time!
2. Change it. There is nothing that says you can’t change your plan while you’re creating something. That’s part of why you’re doing it – to be creative! So you start out with a plan to make an infinity scarf and you don’t have enough fabric or yarn. The police will not come knocking on your door if you alter your product to be a beautiful cowl instead! Stamp not come out clearly? Maybe the missing portion is “hiding” behind another layer of your paper craft!
3. Keep it. 
Since I design most of my items within the realm of my own personal taste, many of the items I don’t deem worthy of being on Etsy make their way into my personal collection. Doesn’t earn me any money, but it keeps me from spending money on new items when it feels like I just gave myself a gift! (Fantastic logic, right?!)
4. Discount it. Not the best option in the craft world, but especially if you’re tight on resources, it may be best to at least recoup the cost of your materials if the final product still functions. Just remember to use this as a last resort as you don’t want to diminish the perception of your work. On the other hand, you also don’t want to lie about the quality of the work or deceive a buyer into expecting more than they will receive.

This entire post was actually prompted because of a scarf I made recently. I was trying a new technique on a cotton scarf and silly me, did not think to change the color of my bobbin (the bottom or “wrong side” thread). So I’m trucking along and suddenly realize that while my white stitches look great on the top – which is white – the underside that’s still visible is dark gray, and the white stitches don’t look so hot. Does that ruin the piece? No. Does it make me less than thrilled and consider it below my shop’s standards? Yes. Solution? I will sell it in person at a lower rate, but not online. This will provide a great way to be honest about the product’s “flaws”, while still promoting the quality of the material and craftsmanship that went into it.

The next time you find yourself disappointed with the quality of your work, I hope you’ll consider one or more of these solutions! Or maybe you already have a go-to method for beating the blues. I’d love to hear how you tackle these human moments! I promise it happens to us all!

Changing Fall Colors

Fall Colors 1 - traditionalWhen the temperatures drop and the breeze picks up, it’s hard not to jump on the fall bandwagon. As someone who loves the outdoors and natural decor, it truly is like a breath of fresh air! The outdoors are bearable again and there are so many beautiful ways to create a cozy home that embraces the season.

Now, I love the traditional autumnal colors and warm hues like red, orange and yellow, but as I began to bring out my harvest pieces, I realized that very little of it fits the mold for textbook fall style. That got me thinking, why should I feel limited to three colors? There are so many incredible ways to bring non-traditional colors into your fall look!

Fall Colors 1 - jewel tonesDo you love deep, rich colors? Bring some jewel tones into your space to complement the more natural neutrals that fall gives us! I love how Scout & Nimble incorporated navy into their tablescape through napkins and a burlap ribbon on the wooden crate. It adds a touch of class and refinement to what is otherwise a fairly eclectic design.

The porch scene arranged by Kate Riley manages to maintain a life and vitality that many fall themes lose. The gorgeous purple mums coupled with stunning coleus prove that while it may be harvest time, there is still lots of growing going on!

Fall Colors 1 - muted tonesMaybe you prefer a little more subdued color palette. Swap out the saturated jewel tones for muted earthy hues, and you have another amazing recipe for success. I mean, look at this beautiful mantel design by Michelle at Dandelion Patina. My rural Wisconsin roots make me immediately want to go out and buy a windmill, and those wooden candlesticks are a perfect complement for height! (I can’t not mention the squirrel! He’s adorable!)

Ok. Maybe after checking out Nothing Past Nine you’ve noticed that these are my kinds of colors. But can we just take a moment to enjoy the beauty of white pumpkins? I don’t say this very often, but *SWOON*! The combination of white and grapevine pumpkins looks unbelievable in the blue tinted crate! I want every bit of this design Laura put together over at Finding Home Farms.

Which way do you lean? Are you a traditional type with lots of warm colors? Do you go a little bolder with more lively jewel tones? Or are you like me and get excited about the soft, muted earth tones? I’d love to hear your thoughts, or better yet – share some photos of your fall colors! I can’t wait to see them!

Find more on each photo here: sunflowers, pinecones, tablescape, porch, mantel, coffee table

 

Creative Business Dictionary: Passion

As a journalism major in college, I developed a strong affinity for words. They are deep, complex, and have the ability to convey multiple messages. Now, as a creative small business owner, many words have taken on new meanings, and I am constantly catching myself seeing the world from a different angle.

Each week, we look at a word that impacts creative businesses and share a free download to view, print, frame, ponder, or shred. We’d love to hear your stories of how these individual words have impacted your business or your life!

CBD Passion - SquareSeptember 24, 2015 – Passion

n. strong and barely controllable emotion; an intense desire or enthusiasm for something

What do you think of or react to this definition? It makes me feel excited and gives me a sense of energy. I start thinking about my passions and how excited I get about them; it makes me want to act!

Now, defining your passion may be simple, but it’s been a work in progress for me. There are lots of items, tasks, responsibilities, etc. that I love. For example, I love food. At times I would say I’m downright passionate about it! But identifying what exactly it is that I have a “barely controllable” emotion for and something that I feel a sustained sense of “intense desire” for has been tough. I love working in sports, but I love my hobby-turned-business of crafting too. So I’ve been digging deep and establishing what it is exactly that makes me passionate about life, and I’m determined to live more for that purpose.

Over the next week, I challenge you to think about your passions. Have they changed over time? Are they changing now? I think that’s natural and 100% okay! Do you have a strong sense of your passion? Are you living for that? Share your thoughts so we can commiserate or brainstorm ways to make our passions more present in our lifestyles!

Need a reminder to find time for your passion? Enjoy a free download and have a beautiful reminder wherever you go!

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Why I Took Beginner Knitting

20150816_145952I admit it. I signed up for Beginner Knitting and already “knew” how to knit. (Never fear – this was disclosed to the instructor!) So, why on earth would I take a basic class in a skill I already knew?

1|  I know my weaknesses. Yes, I had a working knowledge of the fundamentals, but did I know how to knit effectively? Heck no! It was all self taught, and I knew I could be better.
2|  I believe in foundations. Not only did I know that I could do a better job of accomplishing the skills I already had, but I knew that if I started from the beginning and learned properly, I would have a solid foundation for tackling more advanced tasks down the road.
3|  I wanted to slow down. Anyone who interacts with me for five minutes realizes that my brain goes 100 miles per hour around the clock. Going into the first lesson with the expectation that it would be slow, simple and straightforward kept me grounded. It made me focus on each step of each stitch in each row of each project. I began to understand concepts and processes – the why’s – as opposed to simply knowing how to complete a pattern – the how’s.

Do I recommend taking a beginner class in all the skills you think you know? No. That’s not practical, and you’d easily become frustrated. However, if you’re just starting out on something, picking something back up after a few years, or are self-taught and want to have a higher quality product – consider a basics class! It takes a lot for me to admit I need help, but with the proper guidance, I have made huge strides in my knitting in a few short weeks! When we open ourselves up, there can be huge rewards. I’m so grateful I took a chance and did something outside of my comfort zone. I’ve met new people, have more confidence in myself and my abilities, and am simply enjoying a craft that used to be more of a struggle for me.

Do you have a talent you want to be better at? Have you always considered taking golf lessons or basket weaving or Soups 101, but never made the commitment to yourself to do it?! Tell us what you want to learn, and we’ll be here with encouragement the whole way! Connect with us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest too!

**UPDATE** I wanted to add that the day after I posted this, I was at my local yarn shop and there was a beginners’ class going on. As I quietly observed the session from the back of the shop, it struck me that another huge benefit of a class like that is the questions that are brought up. None is considered too basic, and I know not many people think like I do, so it’s wonderful to get their fresh perspectives!

Creative Business Dictionary: Determination

As a journalism major in college, I developed a strong affinity for words. They are deep, complex, and have the ability to convey multiple messages. Now, as a creative small business owner, many words have taken on new meanings, and I am constantly catching myself seeing the world from a different angle.

Each week, we look at a word that impacts creative businesses and share a free download to view, print, frame, ponder, or shred. We’d love to hear your stories of how these individual words have impacted your business or your life!

CBD Determination - SquareSeptember 17, 2015 – Determination

n. firmness of purpose; resoluteness; the process of establishing something exactly, typically by calculation or research

Determination is the fuel that makes success possible – be it over the course of a semester, a career or a lifetime. I cannot get enough of the phrase “firmness of purpose.” We each have a purpose and in my mind, to live fully, we need to conduct ourselves with a resoluteness toward that purpose; be it as a creative business owner, a stay at home mom, or the CEO of an international corporation.

I also find the concept of establishing something “exactly” through “calculation or research” to be highly intriguing. We’ve all heard the phrase, “come to the determination that ____,” but have you stopped to consider how you go through the process of determining? How do you calculate? How do you research?

This week I challenge you to re-think the word determination. Think about your purpose. Write it down. Share it with a friend. Maybe it’s your purpose for the day or the week or maybe your life. Regardless, keep this definition in mind this next week and maintain your determination! I’ll be cheering for you either way, but I’d love to have you share your purpose here!

Ready to tackle the week? Enjoy a free download and take that motivation wherever you go!

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Creative Business Dictionary: Creative

We are starting something new at Nothing Past Nine, and we’re calling it the Creative Business Dictionary! Look for more of these fun new posts each Thursday!

As a journalism major in college, I developed a strong affinity for words. They are deep, complex, and have the ability to convey multiple messages. Now, as a creative small business owner, many words have taken on new meanings, and I am constantly catching myself seeing the world from a different angle.

Each week, we look at a word that impacts creative businesses and share a free download to view, print, frame, ponder, or shred. We’d love to hear your stories of how these individual words have impacted your business or your life!


CBD Creative - SquareSeptember 10, 2015 – Creative

adj. relating to or involving the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work

Art is everywhere and creativity is limitless. I think that’s what draws me in. There are no borders or boxes to hold back a creative business. What you are capable of is as big and bold as your imagination, and your imagination is unique to you. Use that tool to build a business – and life – that is original and authentic!

This week I challenge you to re-think the word creative. Are you comparing yourself to others? Do you try to do what others are doing? For business or pleasure, take some time and be creative! Brainstorm, doodle, create a new recipe – no outlet is off limits. Just get those juices flowing and appreciate your individuality!

Feeling extra creative now? Enjoy a free download and take that motivation wherever you go!

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Building a Brand

20150512_123925When I started my own business and opened Nothing Past Nine, I was confident that my education, knowledge and determination would make the business side of the equation easy! All I would have to worry about was creating products and taking pretty pictures of them! HA! If only it were that simple.

Building a functioning business is easy. Building a brand that stands for something you believe in is hard work that makes you question everything and always strive for more.

As an entrepreneur, you have the benefit of working for no one but yourself. Flip side is that there is no one else there to pick up the slack when you’re tired. There is no one to blame when something isn’t done, or isn’t done well. Everything you do is a reflection of yourself and as people judge your work, they are determining the value of a piece of you.

Going into my second year as a small business owner I’ve decided to dive into building this brand and this business to be something I’m proud of and not simply something I do to make money. I’m taking the time and energy to think about why I do what I do, and how all the different pieces of my brand align with that. They might mention the importance of this congruity during MBA classes, but putting your heart and your passion into words that resemble a mission statement can be daunting! Much less making sure that every post, tweet, image and description align perfectly with your vision!

If you are a business owner or thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, I challenge you not to neglect the hard work of laying a firm foundation for your brand. Not only will you be more content with the image you are communicating, but you’ll be reaching the people that you are aiming for; the people that want to do business with you.

When I started my own business and opened Nothing Past Nine, I was confident that my education, knowledge and determination would make the business side of the equation easy! Now I know that understanding my motives and the reasoning behind my actions is what makes decisions and next steps easier and easier. Which means I can enjoy more time creating and taking pretty pictures!

Follow along on social media (especially Instagram!) @nothingpastnine to see how this small business builds its brand. Share your story too! We’re in this together, my friends.

Relaunch Recap

Screen+shot+2015-07-01+at+8.07.17+PMWe’re more than two weeks into the Nothing Past Nine “Grand Re-Opening,” and I want to see what you think and give myself a reality check in the process!

You’re currently enjoying the most important aspect of the relaunch which is this website. The idea was to be modern, clean, and  highlight the products from the shop. I mean, without the products, there is no Nothing Past Nine! Not only does the website look great, but it has a lot of the functionality that make it more appealing on the back end. Did you notice the URL??? Even something like that is a big deal in the small business world!

Social media (and unfortunately blog posts) are still slow going, but elements are coming together. Understanding what I’m posting about and WHY as the girls at With Grace and Gold cannot recommend enough, has helped me gain a better grasp of what I’m doing. Now its starting the process of acting on that knowledge!

Lastly, new products have FINALLY been making their way onto Etsy. Woooooo!! If you haven’t checked out our new scarves, do it now! Ok. If you can’t do it now, just do it soon! I know it’s not technically scarf season, but these are some of my favorites to date. (Which is problematic if you’re my husband!) I’ll also be adding some more paper goods in the near future that I’m pretty proud of!

How about all of you? What projects have you been working on or goals have you been making progress toward? Are you preparing for Christmas already? I just saw that there are 22 Fridays until Christmas or something like that. Crazy!