Archive for January, 2010

Ever feel like selling your art is an uphill battle?

Yesterday I went to a workshop called Creating More Money From Your Art.  Lead by songwriter Justin Stark in Portland, Oregon, this inexpensive workshop detailed the steps of art and business, both separately and together.  We were each given complete workshop and take-home materials, which I appreciated, so that I could review everything at home from time to time.  It included topics such as personal/professional strengths and weaknesses, consistency in creating one’s art, rejection, goal processes and so much more!

The 6-hour workshop is conducted round-table style, with attendee participation encouraged.   It was casual, comfortable and it felt great to discuss commonalities with other struggling artists.   The six hours flew by, and we were all reluctant to end the workshop.

This workshop is held monthly, and is worth a few hours in the car to attend!  Email me for more information.


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My reaction, after learning about the earthquake disaster in Haiti, was wondering what I could do to help.  The most obvious answer is donating money to those giving immediate relief; unfortunately, my meager finances are tied up in electric bills and rent, with none extra to give.

I then realized that I could create a line of notebooks for my Etsy shop and donate 100% of the proceeds to the relief effort.  While there’s a lack of cash in my home, there’s an abundance of paper.

This makes me think about trading talents.  The economy is tough lately, and most of us are impacted by it, whether we have to find new jobs,  cut back on spending or have to rearrange our lifestyles to accommodate the tight financial situation.  But every single one of us, yes, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU, has a talent or gift that can be shared.

Be it artistic talent, eggs from backyard chickens, a talent for graphic design, a recipe for fantastic cookies or a flair for photography, a gift can be shared, donated or traded.  A friend of mine owns a child’s clothing company, and was in need of packaging designs for baby clothes.  I am a talented paper crafter (patting my own back,) and happened to be in need of a baby gift for a friend.  We agreed to trade our goods.  For the price of shipping a small box, we not only satisfied a need we had, but we supported each other.

Here’s food for your thought:  Your talent or gift is more valuable than money.  Whose lives, including your own, can you touch or enrich with your gift?  A new motto of mine, created with my disaster relief notebooks, is this:

(Thanks to Karin! Her purchase of this notebook donates to Mercy Corps.)

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The earthquake disaster in Haiti is heart wrenching.  I’ve watched the news, every day, feeling a mix of horror and absolute awe for the people of Haiti.  I’ve learned that pre-earthquake, half of Haiti’s population was under the age of 18.  Pre-earthquake, there were 300, 000 orphans.  Post-earthquake, those numbers have risen significantly.

I have created a line of notebooks in which I will donate 100% of the purchase money to Mercy Corps.

Here are some of the items I’ve made:

(blue, red and yellow are the Haiti Support Ribbon colors.)

For more info, visit KellyPress@Etsy

For more info about Mercy Corps, visit Mercy Corps

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When I list my items on my KellyPress.Etsy.com website, I’m always trying to think of clever names.  “Journal” or “Date Book” won’t cut it.  I like to get creative, and sometimes I get really creative.  Here’s some examples, defined:

The Emo Snowman Holiday Cards

Emo, meaning emotional.  He’s a sweet dude.

The Cowgirl Mini Notebook

It’s sweet, its tough and its a little bit country.

The Cheery Critter Greeting Cards

I couldn’t call them The Stinky Critter Greeting Cards, could I?

The Oops Journal

When I glued the notebook in, I did it upside-down accidentally.

The Ollie Notebook

It’s little, it’s fat…just like my parents’ pug, Ollie.

The Bananaflower Recipe Book

If there were such a thing as bananaflowers, they’d look like this!

The Tres Popular Engagement Planner

Because mean people don’t get dates.

The Kelltic Personal Calendar

It looked Irish, so I named it after me!

The Lady’s Secrets Files

I’ll just put my parking tickets and credit card statements in here…

The Grandpa Sock Monkey Journal

Seriously, this dude looks just like my grandfather.  Bless his heart.

The TK Sketch Book

One of the more masculine things I’ve made, named after one of the more masculine people I know: my husband.

And finally, my business logo.

My mother used to tell my sister and I every night, “I love you to the farthest star and back infinity times.”

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Meet Julie.  She’s a wonderful friend, a writer, a poker-playing comedian and a philanthropist with a heart big enough to fit us all inside.

She’s also the Pumpkin Queen of Las Vegas.

Julie and I became friends in high school, and on any given day you could find us together writing poetry, listening to music, making trouble, confiding secrets and dreaming of what we’d someday do.  After more than ten years, we reconnencted and  I’m ecstatic!

High school buddies are great, but teenagers haven’t really developed into who they really are yet.  Ten years later, I know Julie as the real gal that she is: she’s dedicated to her friends and family, her sense of humor has only grown, she’s one of the most goal-driven, optimistic people you’ll ever meet, and she’s an entrepreneur.  She’s so wonderful that I have to share her with you.

The (fan-dubbed) Pumpkin Queen of Las Vegas recenlty started her business via Etsy.com selling Aunt Helen’s Pumpkin Bread.  This bread is a perfectly-spiced, moist piece of heaven that is perfect toasted and slathered with butter.  It comes in skinny loaves and muffins, and is worth the 2-3 day shipping wait.  I bought two loaves: one for Ty and me to apparently devour in one night, and one to give as a gift.

Julie’s bread is special for so many reasons, but my favorite is that she bakes with her heart.  Baking is a love instilled in her from her grandmother, and each time that she bakes she’s honoring a family tradition.  She combines this love with her memories and all of the ingredients into her craft.

In honoring crafters who sink their heart and soul into their craft, I thank Julie.  And I encourage you to check her out!

Aunt Helen’s Bread And Muffins

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I recently visited my parents in Bend, Oregon with my husband, Ty.  A few days before the visit I received a huge order from a community college bookstore for 45 journals, all due within the week.  If you’ve never made a book from scratch, I’ll tell you right now that it’s no easy task: it takes time to let glue dry in-between steps, there’s tons of paper measuring an cutting, there’s board sanding and paper/binding design, and millions of details.  But I was determined to get it done, so I planned to do it while visiting my parents.

After ordering a 30 lb. box of supplies to be delivered to my parents house the next day (complete with mile-high shipping costs), I packed 2 huge boxes of supplies.  I called the Bend homestead to warn them of the project I’d be undertaking, and let them know that the majority of my time there would be spent elbow-deep in paper.

Our Jeep was filled with boxes, tubed rolls of paper and paper cutters, my camera and our luggage.  My poor dog Spencer was crammed into a tiny space in the back seat, bless his heart!  The trip over the mountains was an eventful drive over ice, through light snowfalls, and I must thank my wonderful husband for driving slowly and safely and for putting up with my gasps and my yelps of “SLOW DOWN!” every few minutes.  Luckily, we arrived safely.  And  in one crammed piece.

My parents greeted us with open arms, waiting on the front porch like always.  As my dad hugged me he said, “I’ve got to show you what I set up for you!”

He led me to the garage where he had cleared a large space,  set up a table and a bright project light.  The cd player was playing holiday music, the space heater was blazing and various tools were ready for my use.  This was such a sweet (and very appreciated) gesture!  My million-dollar delivery box was waiting for me, and after family updates, a piece of leftover pizza and a slobbery kiss from my parents’ pug, I got to work.

I set up my work area with haste: I had two good work days to get my project complete.  I cut my paper pieces, I cut my ribbons and I measured my boards.  After about two hours of work I was ready to move to the gluing stage.  I dug through my supplies, and only found an old bottle that was nearly empty.  I found the shipping box, which didn’t contain any of the 6 bottles I had ordered.  I became frantic. I can’t make even a single book without that specialty goo. Where was my glue?!?

I pulled out the itemized shipping list, and there, at the bottom, in teeny font, was a single, terrible sentence: In freezing temperatures, glue cannot be shipped, as our glue’s properties change.  Charges for glue have been returned.

I tried to keep my cool as I stared at that awful news.  Why didn’t I know that it couldn’t be shipped?!?  Why didn’t they call me and tell me?!?  Where could I get glue in the middle of Oregon, with no bookbinding supply stores for 200 miles?!?  What would happen to my order?!?  I was shaking, my hands were wringing and I started to feel faint.

After a few hours of online research, a few phone calls from my dad to local craft stores and quite a few crazy-girl, freakout moments, I found my only option: a craft store in Eugene.  I called them and blurted my freakout dilemma and they told me they could hold thier last 6 bottles of glue until close, at 6pm.  I looked at my watch. 2 o’clock.  “Thank you so much,” I said to the salesperson as I hung up the phone.  Eugene was two and a half hours away, over icy mountains.   I think that then and there, sitting in the swivel chair at the computer in the office at my parents’ house, there I reached the pinnacle of my freaked-outness.

Ty came in, rubbed my shoulders and asked, “Hey baby.  What’s going on?”  Through tears, wheezing and an almost indesipherable rant I told him about the glue, the store in Eugene and about my level of anxiety.

“I just started my business and I’m being irresponsible and they’re counting on me and I hate driving in the snow and ice and I should have known and now I have all this stuff and no way to make journals and I’m screwed!” I wailed.

Ty stood me up and hugged me.  After another crying bout, he wiped my slimy tears off my cheeks, took my shoulders in his hands, and looked into my eyes with a calm, loving look.

“Here’s what’s going to happen.  You’re going to go back to your work, and keep going.  Do whatever you can that doesn’t take glue.  If I leave now, I’ll make it to Eugene before the store closes,” he said.

I was so relieved!  Ty was wonderful, I knew already.  But things like this just make me realize just how wonderful he is.  I felt guitly and worried about the drive and still anxious, but I knew then that it would be okay.

I sniffled and shuffled back into the garage, and began to work.  My mom made Ty a thermos of coffee and a sandwich and he left.   I might be able to make my deadline after all!  Soon after the cutting began, my mother came into the garage and handed me cheese and crackers and hot tea.   I nibbled and listened to Jingle Bells, and worked and worked.

Six hours after he left, Ty returned with the glue.  I thanked him and told him I owed him forever and ever, and I gave him a squeezing hug that knocked the wind out of him.

“You don’t owe me.  Just know that if someone drives six hours over the icy mountains just to get you glue, well…he must love you a whole lot.”

And I do: my dad set up a work space for me with music, my mom made ty roadtrip snacks and brought me snacks as well, and Ty braved the mountain’s dangers to bring me 6 bottles of glue.    I love my family.  And they prove, time and again, they love me.

Oh, and after two days and one sleepless night, I finished.  The journals were beautiful, and they’ll carry an untold story with a theme of family and love to their owners.

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