Things I am learning…

… in the design world:

The hard work you do for a client doesn’t automatically mean they’ll love it. The hard work you do for a client sometimes – often times – will not end up being used. And if it does get used, it has been poked and pulled and squashed to fit what they wanted it to be, taped and stapled into that shape, and then pulled apart by everything from tweezers to sledgehammers, until it barely resembles the beautiful product of all your blood, sweat, tears and pride it once was.

Most of the time, the hard work you do for a client gets tossed aside (or completely ignored, like.. without even the decency to say no thanks, we changed our mind?) to gather dust somewhere in the miserable land of What Could Have Been, the land your Brain Children have nightmares about.

#endrant

I love the work I do. I love the variety of projects I get to work on, from the mundane to the challenging. It’s just disappointing to watch things get so close and then trip at the finish line. Such is the design life.

I Made It! Market – 2015

Well, I officially survived my first time selling at an arts festival!

I nearly chickened out. I arrived on Friday to set up and felt immediately overwhelmed by all of the elaborate booths that the surrounding shops were set up. I had one small desk-sized table, a square shelf, and a little side table to hold a chalkboard sign of my shop name and some business cards. I felt severely unprepared and unprofessional, and I almost packed up and went home.

BUT. I am glad I didn’t. I only survived Friday by the good grace of my friends and my husband, who kept me company for the 5 hours I had to be open. I made no sales, although I had some good conversations with customers and some interest in custom orders. I accepted that this would probably be the norm for the weekend, and after I slept on it, I decided I would be okay with that.

Then, Saturday went infinitely better! I made a decent amount of sales early in the day, much to my surprise, and a LOT of interest in custom orders. The rest of the day sort of dropped off (12-10 is such a long time to sit in a booth on a hot summer day…), but I was happy with the results of the day. Sunday went just as well, and I ended up making back what I paid to be there, PLUS some. So in the end it was worth it, if not for the exposure and experience alone.

I definitely learned a few things:

1. My procrastination is a serious, serious issue. I am lucky that I had no sales Friday and slow sales Saturday, or I would not have had any product to show for the weekend. I really need to best this horrible habit.

2. One day festival would be better. Three days is just such a long time if you don’t have a ton of variety in product to set up for people to browse.

3. Closer to Christmas would be better. I had a handful of people pick up my items and comment that they needed to keep it in mind for Christmas.

4. Don’t drink so much wine when sitting at your booth. Both days.

5. Don’t drink so much beer after you have left your booth. Both nights. Go home, drink tea and call it an early night. Otherwise, you will hate your life.

6. Definitely, definitely have friends committed to sit with you all weekend. I would have been peeing in a bucket in the back of my tent, if not for them.

The verdict?

I would do it again, in the future. But this time, I will not procrastinate.

……………………….

Maybe.

boothMe at my booth!

figuresSome of my figures.

I’m not dead!

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I have been a very busy lady lately, but I am here to say… I’m not dead!

I have been slaving away trying to get stuff ready for the art market I will be selling my Etsy wares at this weekend! I rebranded my shop (and this blog), ordered new business cards, and have been working on new product.. here’s a sneak peak at some Harry Potter themed buttons!

Once I get through this weekend, I will be putting a bunch of new product up for sale on my Etsy, so keep posted.

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What’s in a shape?

It’s that time of year again when everyone is trying to get into their best “beach” or “bikini” bod shape.

I’m seeing/hearing a lot of talk about getting into shape, but I’m also seeing a lot of what that ideal shape is being challenged. I am happy to see a lot of websites I follow, like Buzzfeed or Hello Giggles, posting articles that promote acceptance of women (and men) of all shapes and sizes. My love-hate relationship with Buzzfeed aside, I’ve been pretty happy with their posts recently – including one I saw today about the best places to buy swimwear, and there was a variety of bodies represented in the list.

I have always struggled with my weight, I’ve fluctuated my whole life, but I’ve struggled even more with accepting whatever weight I was at – whether at my highest or my lowest, I was not accepting of myself.

Even though it’s been nearly a month, pictures from my wedding are still popping in people’s feeds. My initial reaction is to always smile and feel all warm and happy inside at the memory, and then my immediate reaction after that is to cringe, and wonder: “Am I really that fat?”

But I’m trying to adopt a healthier mentality. When I catch myself thinking that, I first remind myself about how beautiful I felt that day, and more importantly, how HAPPY I was that day. I think what the extreme happiness I felt shows in every single picture I’ve seen, and to me, that should be more important that how wide I looked or how many lumps I had. If I still have trouble accepting that thought when looking at a particularly unflattering picture, I just close the picture. I will open it again later, with that first initial happy reaction, and I will keep working until I can look at it without critiquing my own appearance.

I am no stranger to wanting to get into “shape” for summer. I’m not currently happy with my weight (no surprise there), and I want to feel better about myself. But I’m going to take my time, and I’m going to do it the healthy way – both physically and mentally. I’ll make better decisions about my health but I will not deny myself an enjoyable ice cream date here and there. Although I’d love to ideally lose a bit of weight, I’m determined to enjoy my summer regardless.

In actuality, the only real goal I want is to find enough confidence to wear a swimsuit that shows my stomach scar and not be ashamed of it. It was my goal last summer, and I shamed myself out of ever reaching it. I don’t want to do that again this year. And the reality is that I should be able to find that confidence regardless of whether I lose weight or not.

If there’s anything the internet is teaching me, it’s that we’re seeing a shift in what is the “acceptable” body shape at which to feel beautiful. We should all be free to feel beautiful, no matter what size, shape, color or gender. It’ll take time, there will always be close-minded trolls, but I think we’re on a positive path and I’m determined to take part in that movement by accepting my own body first.

That’s my two-cents on this sticky summer afternoon.

Now here’s a picture of my cat, who is also big and beautiful.

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Good news!

I received an e-mail yesterday confirming that I was accepted as a vendor at one of the largest Summer art markets that takes place here in Pittsburgh!

I am very excited to have a booth, which means I have a lot of work ahead of me for the next few months making up large quantities of product and also adding more to my shop in order to have enough product available for the entire weekend!

Keep posted for pictures of new items to come! I can’t wait.

I got married last Saturday, May 2nd.

I didn’t think, after 7 years of dating and 6 1/2 years of living together, that much would change. But I was so unbelievably happy to finally be marrying him that I haven’t stopped smiling since. I have a light, content feeling in my heart (complete with little butterflies in the stomach) and I feel like a silly little girl who just started dating this cute boy. There’s undeniably a new level of closeness, now that we’re married. I haven’t quite adjusted to friends and family teasingly calling me, “Mrs.” but there’s that warm feeling when he slips his newly adorned hand into mine and says, “I want to take a walk with my wife.”

The wedding was absolutely perfect. The day before, not so much (I would never recommend moving the day before your wedding), but the day of was beautiful and nothing else mattered. I cried a lot, I smiled more. I was reminded why I chose this person to be my partner for the rest of my life. There was dancing with groups of friends and family and there were intimate moments with individuals who have been by my side for most of, if not my whole, life. We wrote our own vows and they couldn’t have been more perfect in expressing the mutual respect and adoration we have for each other. We’ve been through a lot together and taking this step felt like a reward for staying so devoted to each other through it all. It truly was a celebration.

My dad probably managed to make me cry the most, when during our father/daughter dance to a song he wrote for me, he said that the most he could ever hope for for any of his children is that they find what Sean and I have in each other.

It reminded me that, as I said in my vows, I know that what we have is not guaranteed. So I am eternally grateful that in a world of 7 billion people, we found each other.

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Photo by: Kyna Damewood and Mindi Harkless