Creative Business Dictionary: Friend

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 Friend - SquareOctober 15, 2015 – Friend

n. one whom one knows, likes, and trusts; one with whom one is allied in a struggle or cause; a comrade

I could talk about the importance of this word for days. Moving to a new city, in a new state, and more than 400 miles from nearest family means trying to find new friends. Getting older means maintaining relationships despite growing apart. Progressing through life’s stages means letting go of people who bring you down, and finding people on the same page who support you and encourage you! Being human means seeking companionship and camaraderie.

The two keys to this definition for me are the words “trust” and “allied.” I have many people that I know and like; I may even call them comrades. What I have found to be difficult is finding true friends that I trust unconditionally and who really feel like allies in the struggle I like to call Life. Whether it’s going through treatments, planning a wedding, throwing a baby shower, or simple coffee dates to let off steam, friends are gifts from God that make life much more meaningful (and bearable!).

This week I am determined to be a better friend to those who consider me one! I find it’s easy to be consumed by our own situation, but tough to put that aside to connect with someone else on a deeper level. I am so grateful for the friends I have and all they do for me, I want to make sure I’m giving it back and sharing it with others!  Let’s be honest, it takes a lot to put up with a crazy gal like me, and as a small example, there is no way Nothing Past Nine would have gotten past the dream stage without UH LOT of support!

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What I’m Reading

Some people chuckle at the fact that my library card was one of the first things that made me feel like Charlotte was home, but I have devoured books as long as I can remember. Even when it meant Mom had to read “just one more chapter” before I would consider sleeping! I am a huge fan of our metro library system and almost constantly have something checked out. Usually multiple somethings!

20151013_205530Lately I have been rather selfish in my book selections, choosing to read a lot of “self-help” and personally uplifting materials. Currently on my nightstand – amongst the Bible, devotional, study book, puzzle book, Sudoku book, lotions and glass of water! – are The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris, For the Love by Jen Hatmaker, and Simply Tuesday by Emily Freeman.

Before I wrap up this post, let me remind you all that I am no superwoman. (Case in point – this post is going out at 9:30pm my time!) Reading is one of the first activities that takes a hit when I am tired, behind schedule on posts, or feeling overwhelmed. That’s actually part of the reason I’ve chosen to read these books!

As we work at things and get involved in various capacities, it can be hard to say “no” and to enjoy the journey that we’re blessed to be on. I know I have been so focused on growing Nothing Past Nine that I hit a wall and wanted to quit. The Happiness Trap talks about the stories we tell ourselves – like the idea that we aren’t good enough – and how to accept the thoughts without letting them consume us. For the Love discusses living gracefully in a world of unattainable standards like those we women tend to create for ourselves. Cough, social media cough, cough! Lord knows I need to give myself a break on some things! Finally, Simply Tuesday focuses on small moments when life is beyond fast-paced. I cannot believe how fast the last few years have gone, much less the last week! Appreciating the small moments takes me back to enjoying the journey.

Enough talk for now! Need to save a few minutes for reading before bed! What’s on your nightstand? Are you a non-fiction or fiction reader? I LOVE good book suggestions so please share!

Creative Business Dictionary: Courage

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 Courage - SquareOctober 8, 2015 – Courage

n. mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty; the ability to do something that frightens one

Do you consider yourself a courageous person? I don’t! I like my comfort zone and playing it safe. There are not many people who take fewer risks than I do! At least…that’s the story I’ve been telling myself for years.

You and I each have a tremendous amount of courage, but we may not be giving ourselves enough credit. It took courage for me to start Nothing Past Nine, and it takes courage each day I continue this path of entrepreneurship. It takes courage to get up and go to the office, to the doctor, even to step outside in today’s world. One of the thoughts that struck me while reading this post is that it does not say that courage is the absence of fear. It says that courage is dealing with fear; whether that’s withstanding it or moving past it.

This week (and hopefully beyond!), I have challenged myself to see my own courage as many ways as possible – in my personal and professional lives. There are going to be things in life that we are scared of; we even talked about fear in last week’s post. It does not matter whether the situation scares us a little or a lot, we all have courage to overcome what frightens us!

Check us out on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter for behind the scenes looks, product information and more! Today on Facebook you’ll even see how I use the free download below to remind myself of this week’s challenge! How do you use your free download?

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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

 

Land of the Free

l30154aI am a sucker for free stuff, but who isn’t?!  In my crafting world, there are three types of free “stuff” that I cherish: free patterns, free ideas, and free items.

Free patterns are everywhere if you look for them (or subscribe to emails that send them directly to you!).  Some, like the American Flag pictured, are provided by companies looking to sell you something.  Others are provided by crafters who just love sharing their passion and spreading the joy of creating.

Pinterest is the Mecca for free ideas, but truthfully…any magazine, home design show, or friend’s living room can do the same thing – inspire.

I think its safe to say I don’t go a day without being inspired.

Sharing ideas leads to modifications and tweaks that develop new ideas and promote innovation.  I worry that I may use someone’s idea too literally without due credit, but by the same token, I hope that I can provide ideas to the world in the same way and expect no credit. (NOTE: I do try my hardest to list sources and do not condone stealing/piracy!)

Finally, there’s found items; things you come across – whether in nature or a dumpster or grandma’s closet – that just scream “I’m useful!”  I tend to horde many of these such items in my craft room, which my fiance is fine with…as long as they stay in the craft room.  I’m pretty sure I could walk past pretty much any pile of rubble and feel the wheels start turning.

So why this post today?  I told myself my email folder of promotional messages needed a scrubbing tonight and I can’t just delete things without looking at them…right?  The next hour flew by looking through free patterns on Lion Brand’s website which lead to many, many new project thoughts and money saving schemes.  Do you have this problem too?  Or are you able to keep your projects in check?  I mean…I still have wedding crafts to do before the fall hits!  How does one “pause” creativity?!