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All Business

What brought me here today:

Business brings me here today! To be specific, my small business! Halloween and Day of the Dead are both fast approaching. To guarantee delivery of any order by 31 October, orders should be placed before the 17 October. I’d like to thank all of the people who have already purchased Halloween and Day of the Dead themed artwork from me in the past month too!

Another reason why I’m creating this “businessing the business” post is because I need to get into the habit of writing posts like these. The kinds of posts in which I actually come out and say, “I would like it if you would purchase some o my one-of-a-kind original artwork. Because I am running a business and I would like to make some money.” (WHEW!) There! I said it!

(Sounds of me breathing into a paper sack here.)

New Items in Shop:

The seven imp dolls turned out pretty cute, even though I do say so myself. I placed wire inside the arms, legs, and tails of these dolls so that they can be posed. I thought it would add to their mischievous impish natures to be able to pose them as if they’re being caught in the act of pulling a prank!

I’ve gotten a little attached to a few of these dolls. It will be hard to say goodbye to them. But I like the idea that they will be going to homes where they will be loved and looked after. Medora, Ginny, Lucia, Flavia, Novalee, Miranda, and Portia are all looking forward to being adopted soon!

Remaining Halloween items in the shop:

I have other Halloween and Day of the Dead themed work in my online shop. Minerva, Lorena, Xochitl, Ginger, and Saffron are all still looking for a home. Just to name a few. There are also skull pins available. I will be taking any remaining Halloween and Day of the Dead items out of my online shop during the first week of November. If there is anything that you’ve been looking at, but not purchased yet, now is the time to do it.

Card table:

I will be participating in a series of holiday pop-up sales at a local venue here in Wilmington. It’s a great opportunity for me! I’ll be offering lots of dolls, pins, and other original art. I’ve been working on holiday themed plans for items I would like to add to my online shop. The series of pop-up sales will be a good chance for me to meet some new people, and introduce my artwork into the wider art-buying market.

I’ve not participated in any kind of face to face sales in several years. Part of me is tremendously excited about it. There’s another part of me is terrified. And yet another part of me is running through all the logistics of packing up and displaying my work. I am so glad I work small and light weight right now.

The venue isn’t large, so a small table with a a chair or two will be more than enough. I’ve started looking at buying a folding card table. I actually need another table anyway. There are several tables that I’ve found online that aren’t expensive at all. The table can be shipped to me too.

So now what?

I forge ahead with new plans and creations! And hopefully package-up some Halloween and Day of the Dead themed artwork to ship off to some customers!

Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you again next Friday,

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Trade Off

What brought me here today:

I’ve been thinking a lot about employment lately. I’m a licensed visual art teacher (Ages 5-18) with ten years of experience teaching at the elementary school level. But I’m not teaching art at any school right now. I’m working for myself instead. My husband is my business partner. He runs his own small business Dancing Lights Press.

We both work from home. Each of us have our own work areas in the apartment. There are daily work hours. Sometimes these are extended for me. Because sometimes I just get on a roll and want/need to finish a piece. The same goes for my husband.

There are definite benefits to working for yourself. It’s not for everyone. There are trade-offs that sometimes need to be made. It’s important to know what these trade-offs are. And how to negotiate them. Being a small business is not something I ever thought I would do. Thanks to free programs like Tyobileet, my mind was changed.

First things first:

You’ve got to have some kind of business plan. My husband has a degree in business. With the help of Tyobileet, I discovered so much about myself and how I wanted to work. Tyobileet did so much to help me figure out all of the diverse ways I could take my art business. I felt as though I had within me so many different options to choose from. This also helped me feel as though I wouldn’t be narrowly defining what my art business would be.

Then the pandemic started. All my plans for teaching art workshops went completely sideways. I had to change around my business plan. A friend I made at Tyobileet suggested that I open up an online shop. Her advice was amazingly precise. She helped me to decide how I wanted to show myself and my work online with WooCommerce.

My husband’s first hand knowledge of running his own small business has been endlessly helpful to me. He might roll his eyes and say I don’t pay attention to him. But I do. Thanks to him, we each have long-form, fully fleshed-out business plans. The pandemic is still playing mary-hob with some of my plans. But that’s okay. I have plenty that I can do to work around it.

Road less traveled:

I thought that I would have more agita about this part of having my own small business. The path that my life and my art business have taken seem out of character for me as an individual. At least when they are compared to the trajectory my life was on prior to moving to Finland. That path was a well-trodden one. Teach art in the public schools. Do my “own art” during the summer. Sometimes sell my work at craft fairs. Retire from teaching when I’m 67-70. Then make art in my old age. And sometimes sell my work at a craft fair.

After living for seven years in FInland the aforementioned path just did not look inviting to me at all. The idea of going back to teaching art full time again in the US public school system was not something I wanted to do. I love teaching art. Being ground-down, mentally, emotionally and physically by the job of teaching is just not worth it to me. I have some borderline PTSD as a result of some of the things that happened to me as an art teacher. Things that I never want to go through ever again.

One of the trade-offs of having my own small art business instead of teaching art in the public schools is the regularity of a paycheck. For me, it’s the least easy of the trade-offs. There is security in knowing every two weeks there will be money in the bank. But when looked at from another angle, it’s trading off my mental, emotional, and physical well-being for a state-dictated amount of money.

Breathing room:

I’m an intrinsicly motivated person. Art has always been one of the central interests of my life. I need little prodding to begin my work day creating artwork. If it weren’t for my husband, I would work straight through meals and late into the night. This intrinsic motivation is great for being an artist. It tended to make my life as an art teacher complicated in a very bad way.

When working for myself, I keep to a daily work schedule. Much like I did as an art teacher. The biggest difference between the two (besides all of the children) is that I’m completely in charge of my own work schedule. My work schedule is flexible. I don’t have to teach three classes of art before I can walk across the hall and pee.

This morning, I had planned on finishing this blog post. My plan was to proof read it. Then finish writing a few additions. Then publish it. Instead, my husband and I walked to the grocery store for a few much needed items. While walking, I took some pictures for the Go Marielle Instagrm account I post to daily. The two of us talked about future plans and growing our businesses. We both enjoyed the walk, even though it did rain a little.

Adjustments:

I have the flexibility to adjust my work schedule like this as a small business owner. There are all kinds of small shifts and adjustments done to my work schedule throughout the week. I know what needs to be done. And by what time. The way in which I get to those points is up to me. As long as the tasks are completed well, and on time, I’m happy.

The other side of these kinds of adjustments are when I get a piece started and don’t want to stop. I have to stop and think about what tasks can be moved around so I can continue creating art. Some tasks like processing pictures, having to work on the not-so-fun parts of website and online shop maintenance, can be moved around.

Some tasks, like writing copy for items in the shop, or blog posts are done a little bit at a time. I’ll fill in time between other tasks by outlining a couple weeks of blog posts. Or setting up Instagram posts and Insta Story posts in Canva. The same can be said of designing and writing my Go Marielle posts. I have half an hour before my husband says lunch will be ready? Okay. I’ll drop in all the faces for a series of Go Marielle posts.

Off time:

There isn’t any. Well, that’s not completely true. My husband and I both work an eight-hour plus day each week. But that includes most of the weekend, and well past 18;00 as well. That walk to the store earlier? I always have Marielle with me, so I can take pictures for Go Marielle. I got work done, even though it wasn’t the work I had planned on for this morning.

The flexibility to schedule my own pace for work production means that I’m working many more hours than I did as a public school art teacher. But I enjoy what I’m doing. I’m creating my own artwork and selling it to people who are willing to give me money for it. And I don’t have a principal attempting to convince me that my fellow teachers all hate my guts while doing it.

Stuff:

Some of the things that I don’t have, don’t bother me. We live in an apartment we can comfortably afford. There’s no car to fuss and worry about. Our wardrobes are probably much smaller that most of our friends. None of those things bother me. We’ve made the decision to live in a rather frugal, John Wesley kind of manner. The items we do buy must have a positive purpose in our lives.

It may look as though I don’t have a lot. And that fact must make me unhappy. Nope. Not at all. I have a studio to work in, art supplies, and a crap-tonne of ideas. Plus the time in which to bring those ideas into the physical world. Oh yeah, and a husband who loves me unconsitionally and is a true partner in all of our endeavours.  Life may not be perfect, but I’m content.

Cost benefit analysis:

What I gave up was making me miserable in exchange for a steady paycheck. Adding to that misery, was the fact that I love teaching art. And yes, working for yourself can be a lot of feast or famine. My husband does an amazing job making sure that the famine parts of this inevitable cycle don’t suck as much as they could. And yeah, we have to do more planning when we want to go to Target, or the grocery store. But for me, I don’t have to worry about a car. The walk is nice and the bus ride not incredibly long.

These are the trade offs I’m willing to make so that I can live a relatively simple life of being my own boss as a small business owner. Perhaps it’s the way that I’m looking at these “trade-offs”. Some people may think that part of a trade off is puttin up with going without the thing your want, until you can somehow attain it. As if it’s a temporary time of unhappiness until…you get or buy what you want? (Car? House? Job? Significant Other?)

I look at my life as a small art business owner more like, “What do I have and what can I do with it?” So, I suppose this could be interpreted as a glass half-full kind of outlook? Perhaps. I sometimes think I’m far too sarcastic for that.

So, now what?

It should be noted that our current living and working situations will inevitably change in the future. Neither one of us knows what may happen in the next few years. I do love teaching art. And would love to begin teaching workshops again. I’ve ruled nothing out and prefer to keep my options open.

My small art business isn’t where I want it to be. But I’m working every day to get it there. I’m building up a body of creative work, along with my dolls and Go Marielle. These things not only allow me to hone my creativity, but show people what I’m capable of. Even when there isn’t a guaranteed paycheck at the end of every two week pay period.

And now, back to work!

Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you again next Tuesday!

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Specifically to Sell

What brought me here today:

Most of the artwork that I’ve been creating over the past few weeks seems to be centered on a holiday theme: Halloween. I’ve not created much artwork with this specific theme. Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) is a much more common theme in my artwork. Some of the very first dolls that I created were influenced by this amazing celebration. A good example of this influence is currently available in my online shop, Cielo.

Day of the Dead became a favourite celebration of mine while I was living in New Mexico. It’s a beautiful mixture of Central American indigenous culture and religion, parts of Catholicism, as well as Spanish cultural influences. In Albuquerque, there were parades and public gatherings. The National Hispanic Cultural Center was a wealth of information and education for me as well. You can check out there website here.

Skull pins:

A few days ago, I created a simple pattern for a sugar skull pin and made a few trial run pieces. I have a metric tonne of pin backs from a delivery blunder a month or so ago. Creating sugar skull pins would use up at least a few of those pin backs. I purchaced some felt specifically for the creation of these sugar skull pins the day before creating the pattern. I spent about $14 (11.85 Euros) on all the materials at Michaels.

Once I figured out the most expedient way of cutting the felt. And what created the dimensional effects I liked, cutting them out went quickly. Adding the embroidery work to the skulls is akin to working on a very tiny needlework sampler. The pin backs are easy to attach to the back of the pin, along with the backing felt.  I can create quite a few of these pins per working day.

I also thought that it would be cute to add names across the forehead as well. This takes a little more concentration, as names can get long and complicated. These pins aren’t incredibly large. The pins measure about 2 x 2.5 inches (6.5 x 5.5 cm). The addition of names to the forehead would be in line with the sugar skulls that are given to people during Day of the Dead.

What’s the plan?

These skull pins are being created specifically to sell in my online shop. There’s no doubt that I’ll wear one of these pins myself. Just like there’s no doubt that some of the dolls I make I keep for myself. For me, there is a very distinct difference in these skull pins and some of the other pieces of artwork I create and then place for sale.

I sell my dolls, but rarely do I specifically set out at the beginning of a doll and think “YEP! This doll is going to be for sale!” It’s more creatively organic than that. There is an intrinsic need/want to create a doll. So I make the doll. It’s after the doll is completed that I make the decision as to whether or not it will be offered for sale. The three headed green witch doll with big boots will not be making an appearance in my online shop.

These skull pins were concieved of as items that would be specifically offered for sale. The materials were were purchased specifically for the creation of these pins. And the materials purchased, as well as the personal labour required to make them, have aided me in deciding on the pricepoint in which they will be sold.

Crappy custom experience:

I had an incredibly horrible custom order experience about twelve or so years ago. The client was from out of town, so the majority of our communications were by phone and email. I made sure that she okay’d every single choice I made for her doll. It was important for me to have her sign-off on every single design aspect of the doll.

When the day for pick-up arrived, she rejected the doll. She told me that it wasn’t anything like she wanted. Then she pointed to a doll that I had made for another client and said, “I want one exactly like that one!” So, I started all over again and created a doll for her that was as close to exact as I could get to another doll that I had created. Oh. And she needed it in like a week for some reason.

There was $300 dollars on the table. I was a poor artist and art teacher. So I made the replica doll and got my money. The doll that she rejected had crippled my hands because of the amount of embroidery work on it’s face and limbs, as well as clothing. The amount of work I had put into it far exceeded the price we had agreed on. Now I was stuck with it, and no buyer. I gave it away to a friend because I couldn’t stand having it in my presence.

Custom order pond:

A friend of mine suggested that I look into creating custom orders as a means of obtaining more sales. After the aforementioned custom order incident, I haven’t attempted any further custom orders. The whole series of events affected me so negatively that even the thought of offering a custom order made me sick to my stomach.

The skull pins offer me a chance to dip my toe back into the greater pond of custom orders without becoming overwhelmed. The only part of the skull pin to be customised is the name/wording across the forehead and the colour of embroidery thread the customer wishes to be used. A cutomer wants their initials “HPL” stitched on the forehead in red thread. No problem. Another customer wants “LOVE!” stitched in purple? Again, no problem.

What’s the difference?

Well, for one, I’m in no way emotionally invested in the finished piece of artwork. The second reason is that even though I’m offering a customisable piece of artwork, it’s limited. The space in which the customisation takes place is small. Most of the creative parts of the artwork have already been completed. Basically, the customer is picking a ‘blank’ and having me add in a few stitches.

So, now what?

As always, I can get back to work. I had originally thought that I would have enough pieces ready to add to my shop today. Tuesday the 14th of September seems like a much more attainable date to have these items in my online shop. I also suspect that Junia, Lenore, and Elena will also be added to the shop on the same day. Bat wings, black cats, pumpkins and all!

Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you again next Friday,

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My Circus; My Monkeys

What brought me here today:

Last Friday’s Blog Post, Showing My Butt is why I’m here typing today. I knew as soon as I published my blog last Friday that I was going to need to do a follow-up blog post. There were several points that needed to be addressed. That blog post was an incredibly petulant diatribe! But I think I needed to get it all out before it started doing too much internal damage.

After spewing out Showing My Butt, I did feel quite a bit better. Not completely a-okay, but better. I had some good conversations with a few people who had read the post too. They helped to make me feel that I was not alone, while simultaneously jerking a knot in my tail at the same time.

How do I feel now?

I do feel better, but it’s not because the jealousy and envy magically went away. Feeling better has more to do with getting my feelings out. Most people don’t do that sort of thing so publicly. Simply put, I’m the sort of person who will tell my life story to the person sitting next to me on the bus. Admitting to being jealous and envious of other artists and artisans that are making more money than I am, is something I had to do so I could get past it.

In talking about it, I’m not embarrassed about it anymore. The shame of having those emotions no longer has control of me. Those twin beasties Jealousy and Envy have been cut down to a much, much more manageable size. Instead of being huge and scary, they’re small and annoying.

I can no say to them, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. You’re there. I know. Go back to your cage. I have things to do.” instead of letting them run all over  my mind, getting sticky, stinky, little foot prints on everything they come into contact with. Making everything they come into contact with stink. With me, trying frantically to get them back into their cages before my whole brain is coated with them and their nasty smell.

Things are not as they would seem:

Another thing that I had to remind myself of is the fact that much of what I see isn’t real. Just because those artists and artisans have lots of likes, or thumbs up, or an Etsy shop doesn’t mean that they’re achieving the success that you think they are. Or for that matter, the success that the artists and artisans want to achieve for themselves! Nothing that we see, hear, or read online is real. It’s what the artist and artisan wants you so see.

No artist is going to show themselves three-days unbathed, hair sticking up, wearing ripped and stained sweatpants, no bra, working at a desk that looks like a goat exploded on. It’s not what a potential customer wants to see. They want to see a happy, successful looking artist. Sitting in an immaculately clean studio space with light and flowers. Hair done. Make-up on. Waiting for inspiration from some kind of mythical muse.

Yeah. That’s not how this works. Not at all. And we all know it.

Possible solutions:

A friend who read the previous Friday blog post gave me some excellent advice about potential customer groups.  I had never thought of any of these groups before. Getting my work to be attractive to these groups won’t require a huge amount of change of my small doll work as well. There would simply be different contexts in which the dolls would be presented. It won’t take a tremendous amount of change either. I can broaden my customer base. While still allowing me to be as creative as I want with other pieces, like Elodia and Daria.

Another friend made a suggestion that I have been wanting to do; stickers. I’ve been looking for a place that can print stickers of of my doll work for a month or so. I’d like to have a local print shop create them. Hopefully those will be coming before the end of the year. Along with stickers, I’ve been thinking about other peripherals like postcards, and downloadable and printable things.

So, now what?

As always, getting back to work. I’m seeing how I can plug-in the aforementioned good suggestions into my “Big Plan”, which includes Patreon. I think that part of my jealousy and envy is that I’m having to wait to move on some of these plans until some other things (out of my immediate control) happen. I’m not terribly good at sitting-tight until all the pieces are in place either. This doesn’t matter much, because I have to just…wait. (Dammit.)

Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you again next Friday.

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Showing My Butt

What brought me here today:

A large part of my on-going attention to my mental health, is identifying the emotions I’m feeling. That might sound odd to some, but for me, it keeps me on top of regulating my emotions. Anything that feels odd or out of place is scrutinized closely, so it doesn’t snow-ball into something potentially scarier and harder to deal with further down the road.

Another reason I do this ’emotional pin-pointing’ is so that I don’t become, what my husband calls, ‘axel wrapped’, i.e., completely immobilized by my emotional states. When I get axel wrapped, everything I do more or less comes to a screeching halt. Nothing gets done until I tease apart what has gotten me so twisted up inside my head.

Lately, I’ve been feeling dogged by intense feelings of envy, or perhaps jealously regarding my lack of success. Success being interpreted as: followers on social media platforms, sales, traffic to my website, and people reading my blog. I do not like feeling this way. So I need to take a closer look at my emotions.

Defining the emotion:

A lifetime of being a middle child has securely tamped-down most of my feelings of jealousy. There’s a part of me that kind of shakes it off and says, “Yeah. That’s just the way it is.” and I move on. But then there are the rare times in which I can’t seem to just shake it off and keep moving. Something works it’s way in and starts to irritate me.

Initially, during this most recent emotional irritation, I more or less ignored it. Figuring it would go away on it’s own. But the more I ignored it, the more insistent the irritation became. I wrote about this, in part, earlier this year. However, this post was more about the doubts I have about my own creative worth as an artist. And only peripherally about being jealous of other creators perceived success.

What’s in a word?

I thought that what I was feeling was jealousy. But upon closer inspection, and a bit of lateral reading on the internet, a more accurate description would be envy. In American English, jealousy and envy have become interchangeable. In fact, they’re two very different emotions, rooted in the same base emotion of fear.

I’m experiencing a little of jealousy and envy to be honest. Feelings of low self esteem are not an uncommon occurrence for me. Part of me is feeling incredibly uncertainty about the future of my business. Jealousy seems to be tied more to interpersonal relations. I have no fears my husband will leave me. What I’m feeling seems to tick off more indicators on the envy checklist.

Intense feelings of inferiority (creative and intellectual), sadness towards other’s (i.e.; artists that are much more successful than I am) accomplishments, as well as some resentment regarding my own status within the larger arts community (being seen as a ‘crafty person’ and not an artist).

Not a little, a lot:

Okay. I’ll be honest. I’m more or less rolling around in the poison that my envy of other artists and creators have stirred in me right now. Even when I know, I KNOW, that what I’m doing as an artist is in many ways different from the much more successful artists and creators I know/or follow. It’s the success part that’s just sticking in my throat right now.

I do not sell enough work to be profitable. Not in any way, shape or form. I need to be able to contribute to the household expenses. It’s incredibly embarrassing to be such an absolute failure at being able to sell my art. And don’t try to placate me by saying things like, “You’ll be so famous after you die!” Well, at least I don’t have to pay rent, or go to the doctor, or eat anymore after I’m dead. So, yeah. I’ll have that going for me.

Sorry. Envy makes me pissy and more sarcastic than usual. Buckle-up for the next section. It’s gonna get worse before it gets better.

Possible solutions:

Last night, while I was working on three new tiny dolls I started running a simulation in my mind. To make more money, I need to sell more work. Maybe I should just design a doll that I can make over and over again. You know, make them as exactly the same. Give the group of a dozen or so identical dolls the same name. Then, put them in my online store for like, $5 each.

I could eliminate a lot of embroidery work too. I could just draw the simple faces on the dolls with fabric markers. And instead of sewing the hair onto each of the dolls heads, I could just do a quick glue job instead. Braids take a while to create, especially the braided buns, so those will have to be dropped. I’ll use the cheaper 100% acrylic felt to save money. No more boots either. The same goes for the stands. I could stop wiring the arms and legs so they are posable. All three take too much time.

That would make me around $60 if I sold all twelve of the dolls for $5 each. This is before shipping though. Maybe I could just offer free shipping too? So, out of that $60, I might have to eat around $30 in shipping charges. But that’s only if I send them the cheapest letter rate. Which means the dolls have to stay small enough to be shipped that way. So if I just stick with a super-stripped-down doll, I might make a small profit.

Did I lie?

Sorry for the pissy, whiny, sarcastic rant, but I needed to get it out. I know that no one owes me anything. People either like my work and purchase it, or they don’t. There’s nothing I can do about that. I sometimes am just so insanely envious of those who can take one or two ideas and turn it into a fabulous, money making creative business.

I’d been told, way in the past, by someone I didn’t like a whole lot, that I needed to lower my prices because I was an “unknown entity”. Translated art-speak: I wasn’t famous enough yet to command $50 for a piece of my artwork. The gallery owner declined to show my work. It kind of felt similar to those job listings that are listed as entry level, but demand ten years of experience and two advanced degrees just to apply.

So now what?

You tell me. I’m putting together a Patreon, but I am so fearful that it will fail. The traffic on my website is flatlining. And, don’t forget, creating art is my therapy. So…when I feel like crap about my artwork not selling I can always, uh…go make more artwork that won’t sell either. Yeah. I guess I’m still being incredibly pissy, whiny and sarcastic.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you again next Friday.

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Time for Changes

What brought me here today:

I wanted to talk about making new artwork today. But I can’t. Because I’m up to my rear-end in Instagram problems. These problems are highlighting other problems that I’ve needed to work on for some time. So, let’s just get down to brass tacks, shall we?

More like brass knuckles:

Like I said, I wanted to talk about making art. But the business end of my entrepreneurial efforts are just smacking the crap out of me around right now. Those of you who are regular readers of my blog know that I’m very active on Instagram. I post there every day in two separate accounts; Katie_Kinsman_Artist and Go_Marielle_Go.

My Marielle posts range from a single panel, to as many as twenty panels. Today, I have an eighteen panel story that I want to post. The post has to be divided into smaller posts. Which is no big deal. However, over the past few days, Instagram has simply not allowed me to post anything in my regular feed for my personal account or my Marielle account. The account just hangs.

I did manage to get five panels of the eighteen panel story posted to the Marielle account. But directly after posting them, I wasn’t able to post anything else. I resorted to posting eight of the eighteen panels on Marielle’s Twitter account, @Go_Marielle_GO_11. Don’t EVEN get me started with the insanities of my Twitter problems as regarding Marielle.

Control:

Many of the problems I’m encountering with Instagram and Twitter, as well as my online shop, are highlighting the lack of control that I have regarding my sales and marketing. At any time, Instagram and Twitter can keep me from posting. Either by blocking me completely. Or by having an algorithm keep my posts from showing up in feeds.

Part of me thinks that the reason with the shadowy monkey-wrenching of my Instagram accounts has to do with Instagram wanting me to pay them to promote my work. And I don’t have any intensions of doing that. When I discovered that I was shadow-banned due to the hashtags I was using, I simply stopped using them. And my views increased.

Money-Talks-A-Lot:

What I know is that there is nothing I can do to get Instagram, or Twitter, or any other social media platform to work in my personal best interests. Lesson number 1 in using social media platforms: if they’re free, then you are the commodity that is being bought and sold. The only thing Instagram and Twitter are interested in is how much money I can make for them. That’s either by paying them to promote my artwork, or by selling my data.

I don’t want to pay Instagram to promote my artwork. It’s not worth the money. All of the frustrations that Instagram is causing me right now are just pushing me further towards Patreon. They will take a cut of what I make. But when balanced with the level of control I will receive. I don’t think it’s a bad deal.

Art creation:

Okay, there’s a little bit in this post about creating new artwork! My order from Benzie arrived yesterday, via UPS. I’m very excited to use the felt I ordered on Elodia and Daria! Part of the reason I ordered from Benzie is because I wanted to order from a small business. The other reason was the prices. Having the option to ship UPS was also a bonus. Our USPS isn’t great at delivering packages correctly, or on time.

New items in shop:

I’ve also added six new items to my online shop! Kaṭṭippiṭi, Klem, Kyssa, Suudella, Penelope, and Ystävä Tyttö are now listed in my shop! Go and check them out! They are incredibly cute, even though I say it myself. While you’re there, take a look at the Teensie Doll Brooches! They come in three sizes!

Remember, when you buy artwork from a one horse business like me, I do the dance of happiness!

So, now what?

I have so much planning to do for so many different businessy-type things. They are all things that are a long-time coming. But I’m confident that they will be beneficial to my continued entrepreneurial success.

Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you again next Friday.

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New Routines

What brought me here today:

One of the things that there is just no way of getting around is that the move to Delaware has turned my regular work schedule inside out and upside down. All of the routines that I had when living and working in Finland are gone. POOF! New routines for work have to be created. Establishing those new routines is going to take some time and planning.

During the two weeks leading up to the actual move, and then the (I had to look and count) month since we’ve moved into our new apartment, my daily schedule has just been all over the place. I find it incredibly disorienting both mentally and physically. Presently, I’m only set-up to work on my computer. And with social media platforms I use to promote my artwork. I’ve not been able to create any kind of artwork yet.

To begin reestablishing my work routines, I’m starting with my daily journal and the re-opening of my online shop.

Daily journal:

A big part of how I stay organized is my daily journal. I’ve written about it before here. The current daily journal that I’m using will be finished at the end of July. Prior to moving, I found a larger format bullet journal at Flying Tiger. I’ve never used a bullet journal before because I found them too small for my personal liking. I decided to give the larger format bullet journal a try.

I was so pleased with the larger format bullet journal that I purchased a second one. That may sound odd to some. My daily journal has become such an integral part of how I work, plan, organize, and record the track of my small business. I wanted to have an extra on hand so there wouldn’t be an scrambling to find a new daily journal.

I begin my work day with my daily journal. There are specific tasks that I have noted for each day, as well as specific days. Checking things off on my lists of regular tasks helps me get into the groove of my work day. Right now, all of the work that I’m doing is centered around what I can do on computer. Writing blog posts, taking photos, doing research, and creating Go Marielle posts are what I’m currently set-up to accomplish right now.

Online shop:

I re-opened my online shop just a few days ago on the 19th of July. Now that we’re living in the US again, I’ve had to update the shipping for all items in my shop. This isn’t easy, whether your working in Finnish or English. It’s a lot of incredibly un-fun monotonous computer entry-type work. Point. Click. Find. Change. Save. Repeat ad nauseam.

For any customers within North America, shipping will cost less. My European customers will be paying a little more. I’m researching boxes for shipping my artwork, a postal scale, and how to print my own shipping labels to streamline my entire shipping process too. I will start with US domestic shipping first. Then add North America, Europe and the rest of the world.

This whole process may take some time. Your patience is greatly appreciated! As always, if you have any questions about an item(s) in my shop, shipping, etc., please contact me through my website Contact form. I’m still in the process of deciding what pieces I will return to my shop. There’s also a lot of planning going on for what new pieces I want to create for the shop in the upcoming weeks.

So, now what?

Working without a proper desk, chair, and lamp can be severely limiting. At the time I’m writing this post, some of the new equipment, furniture and other items have been purchased, or are in the process of being delivered. There seems to be quite a few of our new neighbors that have deliveries from all kinds of different stores. My hopes are that our shipments will go smoothly too. Until then, I will just be patient, and do what work I can, with the set-up I currently have.

Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you again next Friday.

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Shop Open!

Open shop!

This is just a short post announcing that my online shop is once again open! There are presently a limited items currently available for purchase. I’m still making decisions regarding what items will be returning to the shop, and which items will be permanently removed.

Currently, I am only able to ship purchased items domestically within the United States. During the next week, I will be adding more shipping options so that I may ship internationally again as soon as possible!

All of the downloadable patterns I have listed are available for purchase from my shop. You can look through the online patterns here.

New items:

I’m slowly getting my new studio organized so that I can begin creating all the new artwork I’ve been wanting to start. The new items will begin appearing in the shop in the next few weeks. To see what I’m working on, make sure that you’re following me on Instagram @Katie_Kinsman_Artist and on Twitter @KatieKinsmanArt.

If you have any questions, please contact me here!

Thank you for visiting my website!

 

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Last Art Workshop and More Dolls

What brought me here today:

I taught my final art workshop before me we move. It went extremely well, even though I say it myself. The students enjoyed themselves. They participated a lot in the presentation conversation. And they made some incredible artwork. I don’t think I could have asked for anything more.

Well, I did ask for a little more. I asked if they would like some donated art materials. The answer was an enthusiastic “JOO!” I left my wheeled suitcase that I used for art workshop tool and material traveling, fully packed with materials and supplies. One of the directors will also be dropping by our apartment to pick up the rest of the art-related things I’m donating. YAY!

One of the reasons this makes me happy is that I know that the supplies and materials I donate will be used by young people to make art. And through making that art, they will learn more about themselves and who they want to be in the future. Win-win-win!

Teaching art:

I honestly did not think I would enjoy teaching students older than elementary school aged. Teaching art workshops here has made me change my mind completely. Putting my finger on what changed my mind has proved difficult. But I think it has something to do with working with people who have a bit more life experience, and their own creative wants, needs, and goals.

Small children are fun to teach because in many cases, I was introducing them to an art supply, tool, material, or technique that was a completely new experience for them. Getting to see them learn and grow is amazingly gratifying as an art teacher. It’s as if you’re in the instant in which a child (perhaps) forms a long-term memory. And in a way, become a small part in their unique life story.

Will I teach in the future?

I hope to teach art workshops once we’ve become more settled in the new apartment, and surrounding city. I’ve already begun looking for community programs that an art teacher like myself might work. Teaching art workshops would allow me to continue teaching, while at the same time continue to create my own artwork. And grown my art business.

More moving stuff!

A few days ago, I was looking for a specific doll that I had made several years ago. I looked everywhere in our apartment, and found nothing. While expressing my exasperation, my husband said, “Have you checked the storage unit downstairs?” I looked at him like he was nuts. I got the keys and tromped downstairs to the storage unit. Guess what? There were four large-ish boxes of dolls.

Needless to say, there was quite a lot of cursing done as I carted the boxes upstairs. GAH! When did I create so many dolls!? Long story longer, I spent part of yesterday evening going through every single doll and sorting them into different categories. Keep, Give-Away, and Donate.

I’ve not touched the dolls again today. I was too busy. I’ll go through the piles again, to make sure that they’re going to the best place for them. My husband, many weeks ago made the suggestion that I use a lot of small dolls as packing for the larger, paper mâché dolls that I’m shipping through the post.

Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you again on Friday.

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Tick Tock Tick

What has brought me here today:

Doo doo doo doo!

This is getting close to the end of our time here. The move will be completed before the end of this month! The second hand place is scheduled to come to make a pick up of what we aren’t taking with us. A wonderful picnic with our close friends has been planned for this weekend. The last of my shop orders will be sent this coming Monday. My tools, materials, and large finished pieces of art are getting packed up to be sent on ahead of us as well.

It’s getting a little messy and rather nutty around here! There is so much going on. My husband has said that he feels as though he’s floating around in a weird place. Existing in several different places all at once. This is understandable. As midsummer approaches, 21:00 feels more like 16:00. The only reminder that it’s late is the fact that we’re tired!

Blog Posting:

I’m going to post my last regular, biweekly blog post here on 18 June. There is just so much going on with the move that I don’t think that I will be able to write anything that makes much sense at all! If I do post, it will be sporadic. I will resume my regular biweekly blog posts by Tuesday, 6 July 2021.

This gives me some time to get settled into the new living space. As well as getting my studio set up and running again. My online shop will re-open on 19 July 2021. It’s at this time that I will be able to send out orders. Just writing that makes my head swim a bit! I have so, so, so many things to do before then. At the same time, it seems so, so, so far away in the future!

And now for something you’ll really like:

We have found a new place to live and work! The lease has been signed and we will get the keys the day after we land. My husband and I are incredibly grateful to have found this specific location in which to rent. It’s exactly what we have been searching so hard for over the last few months.

We had become a bit disheartened. Most of the rental properties that we looked at were just not what we were looking for. We’re both creative people. Living in a wall-to-wall carpeted beige box just made us so sad. Those types of rentals are perfectly okay. They just aren’t to my personal taste.

The new residence has so much character and ready access to public transit. Multiple green parks are within an amazingly short walk too! I’ll have a small studio space with a door that closes so I won’t disturb my husband so much while working. There’s also a laundry on site. A small grocery, and multiple restaurants, coffee shops and a library are all within walking and bus distance. I love not having to worry and fret about a car!

So, what now?

Well, we’re down to the wire. Packing is still on-going. I’m sending out the last of the orders from my online shop on 15 June 2021. Today is actually a ‘chill out day’ for my husband, He has been doing huge, immense, Godzilla-sized work on our end getting the new place secured, as well as all of the budgeting for our expenses.

Money always makes me nervous. I start to freeze-up mentally and emotionally. He loves accounting and budgets and the like. I’m in constant awe of his saving and budgeting abilities! This move is going as smoothly as it is due in great part to his hard work. You can read his work here.

Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you again next Friday.