Under Construction: My new studio space!

It's going to be a fun summer around here: I'm getting a "new" studio space! When my son was born (NINE years ago), and needed a room of his own, I moved my studio/office into our unfinished basement where it was mostly UN-used for a number of years because it was . . . gross. Then about four years ago I cleaned it up, made it feel more comfortable (see below), and I've been using it ever since. It's great to have a dedicated space to work, get Etsy orders ready, sew stuff, and generally make a mess (which I tend to do all over the house) but the space wasn't totally ideal. Because it's an unfinished basement that means I was lacking things like a floor, walls, and HEAT! Working in Minnesota in the winter gets cold people. Space heaters and fingerless gloves only get you so far. Not to mention the spiders!

My old studio, as seen on a very clean day! 

My old studio, as seen on a very clean day! 

This summer we're finishing the entire basement level of our home. It'll have a big family room, kitchenette, bathroom, laundry, storage space, and my studio. A studio which will probably eventually be a rotating bedroom for our kids as they move on to college and do the leave/return to the nest routine. I'm so excited! (Not for the leaving the nest college part, just the studio!) I've spent the past month, on and off, cleaning out my space and putting nearly everything into storage. (SO. MUCH. STUFF.) We're finalizing our plans and ordering materials this week so construction will start soon! I thought it'd be fun to share the process with you because I'm a total home decorating junkie and I love seeing how other people create their spaces.

The "before" picture: my studio space all emptied out and ready to be finished. I painted the concrete white a few years back.

The "before" picture: my studio space all emptied out and ready to be finished. I painted the concrete white a few years back.

For the summer I'm temporarily working on a small desk I put in a front room on our main floor. It's a lovely location but I have far too much crap to put in here. Everything else is currently in my in-laws' garage! 

For the summer I'm temporarily working on a small desk I put in a front room on our main floor. It's a lovely location but I have far too much crap to put in here. Everything else is currently in my in-laws' garage! 

Below you'll see a mood board for the space. For years I've been saving images I like on my "Creative Studio Spaces" Pinterest board. I typically use a good deal of color in my home but in my studio I like to use a lot of white because it feels so clean and undistracting. There's plenty of color going on in my work! It's kind of like serving your beautiful meal on a white plate. I already own some of the items below (the desk chair and lamp, along with some white desktops). I also made a large inspiration pin board, covered in linen, back when I cozied up the space the first time. On this finishing project I'll be adding laminate floors, drywall, trim, and hopefully a lot of new storage/closets. The space was a hodgepodge of college-era storage solutions before. 

Sources (when known, top to bottom): Office nook from a profile on  The Design Files , Studio from  Jones Design Co. ,  Ranarp work lamp  (IKEA), Large pin board project from  Handmade Mood ,  Mosslanda picture ledge  (IKEA), white office chair from Wayfair  (similar one) ,  Alex drawer unit  (IKEA), gray vintage look area rug (ideas from  Target ).

Sources (when known, top to bottom): Office nook from a profile on The Design Files, Studio from Jones Design Co., Ranarp work lamp (IKEA), Large pin board project from Handmade Mood, Mosslanda picture ledge (IKEA), white office chair from Wayfair (similar one), Alex drawer unit (IKEA), gray vintage look area rug (ideas from Target).

That's about it for now! I'll be posting updates both here and on Instagram, along with some video updates there. Hopefully I'll be moving back in by the end of the summer!

How I’m working better and smarter this year

Does everyone start off a new year ready & rarin’ to go? I’m probably not too unusual in that respect. While I don’t make crazy resolutions or run myself ragged trying to accomplish all my dreams in the first two weeks of January, I do try to set some goals, re-think how I work, and brainstorm ways I can work smarter and focus on what I want to do and accomplish. With that in mind I have a few recommendations for those of you who might find yourself in the same new year new energy boat. 

  • I always do one of those “brain dump”/mind map things when I’m planning out a new year. I do believe that writing things down helps me narrow my focus and leads me to accomplish more of my goals. This year I’ve also been using the Your Best Year 2018 book by Lisa Jacobs. It’s been a really helpful tool to be even more intentional about how I spend my time and what I accomplish. Hopefully it will help me stay on track when the shine of January is far behind me. 
  • I’m determined that 2018 is the year I finally get a handle on my business finances and accounting. I’m not going to lie, I HATE this part of business, but I’m finally ready to embrace it and I know my business will benefit from it. I’m using the resources and wisdom of Melissa Whaley, a tax advisor and financial strategist especially for creative women entrepreneurs. I’m learning TONS.
  • I also finally did a one-on-one consultation with Jennifer Nelson, the founder and artist agent behind Jennifer Nelson Artists. Jennifer is so incredibly generous with her advice and support that I’ve been thinking about doing a one-on-one with her for awhile. It really helped me know what I don’t need to worry about and how to move forward in the best way. It was awesome and I think it’s really important for those of us out here chugging away on our own to have someone we can check in with, whether that be a paid consultation or having a good support group (ideally, a little of both!)
  • I‘m also taking charge of some of the technical issues involved in my business. My computer is getting a badly needed upgrade that will (hopefully) drastically improve my workflow. And I’m also using some new tools to help with my work. I just took a Skillshare class by Elizabeth Silver called “Optimize Your Design Workflow: Adobe Bridge for Artists.” I don’t currently use Bridge and I know it can help me, so I’m diving into that.

Those are just a few of the things I’ve been using in this new year (one month gone!) to work better and smarter. Of course I’m also making new art! Here’s a little show & tell of some new stuff:

 

2017: Good Stuff from a Good Year

2017, you had your moments! For all the upheaval in the world my business had a good year. I reached a lot of goals I set for myself (and heck, came up short on some too, but that’s life!). The first week of the new year I’m always in planning mode. I grab all that NEW YEAR ENERGY by the tail and try to make the most of it. I also feel that reflecting on what I’ve done, writing down my goals for the year ahead, and coming up with some strategies to accomplish those goals is really important. Especially as a solo entrepreneur, I’m the only one who’s paying attention and holding myself accountable! 

Here we are, let’s look back on my year! Some really great stuff happened and it was fun to think back on 2017.  So if you’re interested, here are a few of the highlights:

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From the top (kind of chronological, not in order of importance):

  • I got myself a new website last January! I switched over to Squarespace, and oh, Squarespace, how do I love thee? So easy and a good investment on my part.  
  • Then I got to see my work in the Print & Pattern Nature book by Bowie Style (a.k.a. Marie Perkins from the Print & Pattern Blog) - dream come true! She was also kind enough to feature me on her blog in March - how cool is that?
  • That big mug up there is ME at BLUE PRINT, my first trade show I exhibited at with my awesome art collective, Pencil Parade. That was by far the most important (and scariest) thing I did for my business this past year. I’m really happy with how it went and in fact, I’ll be back there later this year with Pencil Parade from May 17-19! 
  • Another perk of Blue Print was meeting my Pencil Parade comrades (Betsy, Megan, and Brooke) in person for the first time! These ladies are awesome and I’m so glad I have them! This pic also represents all the other artists I got to meet this year in real life, from international online acquaintances (even some art/design heroes) to some new local artist friends. This profession of mine has an incredibly supportive community and it’s important to connect with and support each other.  
  • Yes, that’s my iPad up there. I got my iPad Pro at the end of 2016 and it’s become such a valuable tool I had to include it. (I’m using it right now) It’s given me more flexibility, it helps me work more efficiently, and I actually love creating art on it too. I can make art wherever I am: with my kids, on the couch, in a coffee shop, or in bed (?!). 
  • My first greeting card with Design House Greetings for Trader Joe’s came out this past summer! It’s been SO fun to start working with them (did you know they’re based in MN?) and I have a number of new cards coming out with them in 2018.
  • Another great new client, Mpix, who make customizable photo cards. I was able to order Christmas cards for my family that were of my own design. More designs to come this year!  
  • My 30 Days of Patterns Challenge! This past fall I made a new pattern every (or nearly every) day for 30 days. It was a way for me to speed up my workflow and be really productive in a fun way and it was a good (but manageable) challenge. I made a lot of that work on my iPad too (wink, wink).
  • Also this fall I started the Yellow House Post! This is a newsletter for friends, shop customers, and art aficionados. I share new art and shop items, special promos, and free printables. I love sharing that kind of stuff (what else is the internet for anyway?). Sign up here if you’d like to receive it!

There you have it! 2017 in a pretty little nutshell. There are of course other good things from the year, including some art opportunities that won’t come to fruition until this year. Now I’m looking forward to another great year of art making and growing my business! Thanks for coming along for the ride! Happy New Year!

Print & Pattern Nature

Last week I received my copy of the new Print and Pattern Nature book by Bowie Style (Marie Perkins). And there I am on page 128! 

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I've been a long time fan of the beloved Print and Pattern blog that Marie curates and I've collected all the other editions of her books. So when I saw that she was accepting submissions for a new book (with the theme of Nature), I eagerly sent her some pieces. I was completely surprised and elated to find out that I'd been selected to be included. My family can attest to the happy dance lap I did around the kitchen. Marie was terribly sweet and wonderful to work with too. The book has been long in coming (I first heard about being selected back in September 2015) so it was really exciting to see it completed and to hold it in my hands.

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I'm completely honored to be alongside some of my design heroes. The book is simply beautiful and if you enjoy print, pattern, surface design, and illustration, you'll find endless inspiration inside the pages of this book. It's available, of course, on Amazon. Published by Laurence King Publishing.