Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Signposts and Guides for the Creative Life

I've mentioned Alyson Stanfield's blog in the past and sometimes posted a link to one of her articles that has seemed especially helpful or provocative.  Her book  I'd rather be in the studio!  is a great guide to the creative life, especially with regard to taking steps to market and share your work.  She subtitles her book: "The Artist's No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion".

"Live with Routines to Free Your Creative Mind" is a title of one of her chapters.  Do we automatically associate routines with creativity?  On the one hand, I continue to hold dear the idea that creativity should bubble freely, without being bound by restriction or structure.  And yet, if you go back through some of the previous posts in this series, you'll sometimes see that there are many people who use routine and discipline to make themselves ready for their creative expression.

Alyson suggests that "if you structure your life around routines, your mind will be free to respond to your creative inspiration."  Her favorite routine is to make sure she is dressed, made up, hair done before she starts her day - it establishes the professional tone she wants right from the beginning.  The last post on Maya Angelou talked about the ritual she uses to begin her writing.  I like to set out the materials I expect to use, clear the kind of space I'll need, choose music or cd's that I will listen to.  I get certain tasks done early in the day - exercise, meditation, shopping, etc. , so the studio time will not be interrupted by things hanging over my head.  There's often an inertia when I want to work.  The idea of just sitting down and beginning feels impossible.  But if I ease myself into it by my small rituals, then I find myself relaxing and ready, ideas flow.

How about you?  Do you have established routines that enhance your creative process?  Or does that feel too cumbersome?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Creating Success from the Inside Out - Get Psyched-up By Your Competition, Not Psyched-Out

If you are at all like me, you may have had the experience of being in a really good groove with your business – you’re creating products that you are excited about, motivated about reaching your goals…and then all of a sudden you get psyched out.  What a downer that can be!  I’ve pinpointed the triggers for when that happens to me and have developed some tips for getting out of the psyched-out mode and back onto the Psyched-Up Groove Train.

I have recognized that sometimes when I start browsing Etsy and looking around at all the beautiful items that others are creating, I get overwhelmed.  I start to feel like a little fish in a gigundoid pond.  I start thinking, “How will people find me in this sea of glorious products?  What makes me so special?”  Other times I decide to do an Etsy search to see if my tags are working the way I want them to.  Let’s say I have some hot pink flower earrings and I want to see when they come up in search, so I type in that tag and I am then faced with fifty pages of hot pink flower earrings.  I start looking for mine and realize that there are some really talented people out there selling gorgeous hot pink flower earrings.  The self-doubt kicks in and I start clicking further.  Inevitably I click on some shop’s cute hot pink flower earrings and see that they have 2000 sales under their belt and they opened their shop a year after I did.  Total psych-out.

Here is what I have realized from going down this path one too many times that inevitably gets me back on track on the Psyched-Up Groove Train.

  • Recognize that others have proven they can be successful on Etsy and that means you can, too!

The fact that there are other jewelry makers out there getting ten sales a day (in a land with hundreds of thousands of jewelry sellers) is proof that people can be successful on Etsy.  I reframe my thinking to ask myself how I can get more of that Etsy revenue pie goodness.  I also consider what I might be doing/not doing that is preventing my sales from skyrocketing.  I focus on what I can do better with my business.

  • Remember why you went down that rabbit hole in the first place. 

Oh yeah, I was trying to improve my tagging when I stumbled into Psyched-Out Land.  So maybe I should get back to that and focus on my own business…  Tommy Hilfiger didn’t get where he is today because he was worried about what Ralph Lauren was doing.  Reframe and refocus and get back to it.

  • Celebrate your own unique abilities.

If you haven’t read Gay Hendricks’ The Big Leap, you might want to grab yourself a copy.  The book is all about discovering your unique abilities so that you can focus on that and live in your Zone of Genius, where you will be most content and serving your purpose for the world to benefit.  Look at your body of work and recognize what it is that you do that is different from everybody else and just celebrate it and adore it for a while.  Let it sink in.  Each of us is one of a kind in this whole universe – our experiences, relationships, talents and interests all come together in this luscious soup of uniqueness that no one else can replicate.  And the art that comes from your hands is representative of that uniqueness.  Cherish it.

  • Realize that there is an endless amount of abundance in this world.  The more we create, the more there is, and that benefits everyone.

In a book I read recently called The Art of Earning, this message of abundance was described through nature.  A deer drinks from a stream and lives and thrives.  It passes on and other deer are born and drink from that same stream and the circle continues.  The stream continues to flow.  Success in business works the same way.  There is room for everyone who wants to partake in the offerings of the Universe.  You just need to ask for it, work for it, and be ready to receive it.  Just because there are other people getting 2000 sales on Etsy doesn’t mean that you won’t or can’t get 2000 sales on Etsy.  It may not be easy, but it’s certainly not impossible.

Have any of you grappled with similar psych-out thoughts?  If so, how have you dealt with them?   

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Where To Find The Hudson Valley Etsy Team This Weekend

We've all been waiting for it and it's here again - it's craft fair time!

Elena Rosenberg has been working hard for the last few months preparing for the prestigious American Craft Council Show 2013 and is travelling all the way to the Baltimore Convention Center at One West Pratt Street in Baltimore, Maryland.
I went and visited Elena's booth at a fair a couple of months ago and got to try on all of her beautiful creations. I tried on that capelet and only put it back down because I knew Santa was bringing me a gorgeous gift from her.
The show is open Friday, February 22, from 10AM-8PM, Saturday, February 23, from 10AM-6PM and Sunday, February 24 from 11AM-5PM.
Elena Rosenberg
Elena Rosenberg
Amber H Lynn is keeping it more local and will be selling her work at NonCon 2013 at Vassar College in the Main Building, 124 Raymond Avenue in Poughkeepsie on Friday, February 22, 5PM-11PM, Saturday, February 23, 9AM-11PM and Sunday, February 24, 9AM-5PM. She will also be running a panel about selling on Etsy, at craft fairs etc. on Sunday from 10-11AM.
Amber H Lynn
Amber H Lynn
  Happy shopping!

Monday, February 18, 2013

A New Type Of Work Environment: BEAHIVE!

As Hudson Valley Etsy continues to branch out and network with other local organizations, we'd like to let you in on a great place that provides work/meeting space in the Hudson Valley.

Inspired in part by the coworking movement, BEAHIVE is a new kind of collaborative space for work and community, the only of its kind in the Hudson Valley. At the most basic level, we provide a shared, creative work environment for entrepreneurs, the creative class, microbusinesses and consultants.

Quite simply, coworking is a new way to work. It’s a growing worldwide movement in collaboration, where people work in a shared space, alone and together.

We’re more than a shared office space — and more than a space to work. BEAHIVE is a community, a community of members from diverse backgrounds with a range of talents and a desire to improve our professional and personal lives and our community. We have a few levels of membership so you can be a part of the community at the commitment level that works for you.

Ultimately we’re supporting a Local Living Economy, one that is vibrant, sustainable, locally rooted and human-scale.

Why is BEAHIVE spelled funny? It’s a cute reference to Beacon (BEA-HIVE, Bea-con…). Scott Tillitt opened the original BEAHIVE in May 2009 right in the heart of Beacon’s Main Street in an artisan-renovated 1907 Bell Telephone building. We added a second in Kingston later that winter (closed in spring 2012) and a third hive in Downtown Albany in early 2012.

Follow Beahive's upcoming news and events on Twitter and Facebook

Friday, February 15, 2013

Where To Find The Hudson Valley Team

Well, looks like next week craft fair season is starting up again but here is one more brick and mortar segment (don't worry, we have plenty more to go in the coming weeks.)

Merry Alchemy
Merry Alchemy sells her jewelry through two shops, one local and one for your next Boston trip:

Merry Alchemy
Dream in Plastic at 177 Main Street in Beacon (which has to one of the most fun shops in the Hudson Valley)


Bewitched in Salem at 180 Essex Street in Salem, Massachusetts

Meerwiibli by Sarah-Maria
Yours truly, Meerwiibli by Sarah-Maria, has a special stop for your next trip to Philadelphia.

Meerwiibli by Sarah-Maria
Art Star Gallery and Boutique in the Northern Liberties neighborhood of Philadelphia is located at 623 North 2nd Street, Philadelphia, PA, and in addition to having a great selection of Meerwiibli clothes they also sell handmade artwork, gifts and clothing.

Happy shopping!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Signposts and Guides for the Creative Life

I'm reading Maya Angelou's The Heart of a Woman for a book club.  (This is the fourth volume of her six volume autobiography)  What a life she has led!  She has done everything!  She's seen highs and lows, has suffered and danced.  She admits that she's not the best at some of the things she's done:  she sang and danced for a living and some people said she wasn't the greatest singer.  But people came to see her - she was such an entertainer.  She is often remembered for her poetry - yet she doesn't get great acclaim from "professional" poetry circles.  She took over for Bayard Rustin as the northern coordinator of the SCLC to assist Martin Luther King's efforts.  She had no experience in this kind of thing, but she used her talent for  organizing and her personal charisma to do work that she felt strongly committed to.

This quote of hers made me laugh:  in  talking about what she does to write, she said " I also wear a hat or a very tightly pulled head tie when I write.  I suppose by doing that I will keep my brains from seeping out of my scalp and running great gray blobs down my neck, into my ears and over my face."

I imagine when you've got so many ideas, you're balancing so many activities, that that's about what it feels like when you sit down to concentrate.  And to actually do implement a physical reminder to focus could be useful.

If you've never read any of her works, I would recommend picking one up - she's an engaging writer, who has a good story, an earthy woman you'd like to meet.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tuesday Treasuries

Treasuries are a great way to check out many of our items at once. See more of our February treasuries on Etsy.

'I Sit in the Shadows' by handjstarcreations

Sebastian's boat // soft ship toy for babies - mimiandlu
Sebastian's boat //...
Mousy Critter Monster OOAK doll eco friendly upcycled wool sweater Grey blue stripes soft stocking stuffer collectors item - bubyNoa
Mousy Critter Monster O...
SALE Antique Garter Belt Advertisement, Original Paper Ephemera, Vintage Women's Underwear Ad, Pantyhose Supporter, FULL PAGE, 1901 - YesterdaysSilhouette
SALE Antique Garter Bel...
Minimalist Nature Photography 8x8, Ombre Water Wall Decor, Circle Lake House Decor, Round Blue Gray Ocean Photograph, Beach Print - PureNaturePhotos
Minimalist Nature Photo...
20% off Blank APRIL SHOWERS Greeting Card - JerseysFreshest
20% off Blank APRIL SHO...
Gourmet 100% Pure Garlic Powder, Garlic Dust - 6 oz - RockerboxGarlic
Gourmet 100% Pure Garli...
3 three upcycled denim bracelets - repurposed jean bangles - made to order in your size and thread colors - amberhlynn
3 three upcycled denim ...
Snood Knitting Pattern - Genevieve Cowl Neckwarmer Scarf - Infinity Scarf - PDF Electronic Delivery - AtelierTPK
Snood Knitting Pattern ...
vintage paper shooting target: RARE large 1970's secret service target poster - LegalMissSunshine
vintage paper shooting ...
Pyrite Tiny Boulder Earrings - LaurenRoseJewlers
Pyrite Tiny Boulder Ear...
Hidden Away, winter snow grey squirrel, Original Fabric on Wood art block - shellieartist
Hidden Away, winter sno...
Elephant Necklace, Shrink Plastic Necklace, Sparkle, Cloudy Blue, Sparkle, Freshwater Pearls, Wearable Art - PeriwinkleNuthatch
Elephant Necklace, Shri...
BARN pendant lamp    Hang in the kitchen or dining room and enjoy the Edison bulb warmth - HawkAndStone
BARN pendant lamp Ha...
Male Head 02 - roughfusion
Male Head 02
tic tac toe - pilosale
tic tac toe
Paris rooftops photo, dreamy pastel, soft, 8x10, romance, city view, travel photo, wall decor, Montmartre, holiday gifts - AngsanaSeeds
Paris rooftops photo, d...

Treasury tool by StylishHome.

'Breakfast in bed.' by mimiandlu

Gift ideas for moms, grandmas, sisters, friends, girlfriends, wives. x

Porcelain Wood Grain Cheese Board - LandMstudio
Porcelain Wood Grain Ch...
White Stripes Napkins SET of 4 - Ivory Striped Cloth Napkins - Table Decor - Kitchen Food Napkins - SewnNatural
White Stripes Napkins S...
Beige Crochet Slippers with Vanilla Felted Embellishment - WhiteNoiseMaker
Beige Crochet Slippers ...
Snood Knitting Pattern - Genevieve Cowl Neckwarmer Scarf - Infinity Scarf - PDF Electronic Delivery - AtelierTPK
Snood Knitting Pattern ...
16 in Square Throw Pillow - Light Gray with Grid print in white - wickedmint
16 in Square Throw Pill...
Antique Louis Sherry Candy Tin  - 1930s - Vintage - shavingkitsuppplies
Antique Louis Sherry Ca...
Dandelion Seeds Necklace Mother's Day hand embroidered silk ribbon - bstudio
Dandelion Seeds Necklac...
White tea pot with cane handle - Ceruleanblue
White tea pot with cane...
handwoven organic linen towel in earth tones, house, kitchen decor from natural materials with rough texture and surface - WovenLife
handwoven organic linen...
Antique Owl Treasure Box - Personalized Gift - Heirloom Quality Porcelain - MilestoneDecalArt
Antique Owl Treasure Bo...
Vintage Inspired Notebook - The Accountant's Mistake - archivioGotico
Vintage Inspired Notebo...
Butterfly, Black butterfly, Gray butterfly, Grey pendant, Dark feather pendant, Feather butterfly, Black feather necklace - LittleAmber
Butterfly, Black butter...
Bracelet Stacking Stretch Bangle Amazonite Baby Blue Sterling Silver:  Ocean Foam - Thebracelettree
Bracelet Stacking Stret...
Original Bird Painting, Gray Catbird Illustration, Nature Wall Art, Original Wildlife Painting, Bird Art, Grey and Green, Gouache 8" X 10" - ABFoleyArtworks
Original Bird Painting,...
Vintage Style Post Card - Completely Unique Ring Bearer Pillow - Italian Romantic Post Card - LittleWeeShop
Vintage Style Post Card...
SALE Antique Tiffany & Co. Advertisement, ORIGINAL Vintage Tiffany's Silver Tableware Full Page Ad, 1931, RARE - YesterdaysSilhouette
SALE Antique Tiffany & ...

Treasury tool by StylishHome.

'chocolate & denim' by landmstudio

Tails - Hand Silk Screened Note Cards - DeweyHoward
Tails - Hand Silk Scree...
Butterfly Photography - wings still life photo print - brown aqua blue yellow cream white beige nature wall art modern - 8x8 Photograph - CarolynCochrane
Butterfly Photography -...
Abstract - Modern - Landscape Photography - Fine Art Print - Blue - Brown - Light Blue - DiLuce
Abstract - Modern - Lan...
sailor // soft nautical doll for babies and kids - mimiandlu
sailor // soft nautical...
16 in Square Throw Pillow - Light Blue with Modern Grid print in white ink - wickedmint
16 in Square Throw Pill...
Southern Jasmine Soap Handmade Soap Floral Soap - ComfortandJoySoapCo
Southern Jasmine Soap H...
Lone copper colored evergreen with stand of pines on reclaimed lumber - 2of2
Lone copper colored eve...
blue green hand knit merino wool hat - beaconknits
blue green hand knit me...
Horse Photograph - wild horses on beach, ocean sand summer nature animal, 12x12 - Wild Ones - SherriConley
Horse Photograph - wild...
Made to order - Experimental cup set, six pottery tumblers, horizon cup, if you are feeling adventuous. - juliapaulpottery
Made to order - Experim...
3 three upcycled denim bracelets - repurposed jean bangles - made to order in your size and thread colors - amberhlynn
3 three upcycled denim ...
Linen and  recycled burlap. Big Throw Pillow Ooak  28" x 20" ..  Ethnic moment /  FRAGMENTS - AffairesNomades
Linen and recycled bur...
Zen Mug - Blue - KoideStudio
Zen Mug - Blue
Iolite Strand Necklace - Modern - Square Beads - Sterling Silver Beads - Denim Blue - BellaBeadsOriginals
Iolite Strand Necklace ...
Modern Table Runner, Marimekko and linen, reversible mid century design - nellgleason
Modern Table Runner, Ma...
Handbag Purse Navy blue French  shoulderbag with dots TRES CHIC - madebynanna
Handbag Purse Navy blue...

Treasury tool by StylishHome.