Wednesday, May 31, 2017

FAQ // Craftrepreneur 101 // part 1

A little while back a friend asked me to coffee to ask some questions as she set out on her own creative business journey.  She knows I do a lot, lots of creative community work, and she was curious about my time, my experience and what advice I might have for her.  It was actually really interesting to see what she had in mind and what I learned about myself, I asked her to send the questions over so I could type out a more thoughtful response after our coffee date, because I felt like I actually might have left a lot out.  So here's a look at some of my frequently asked questions about my business(es)...

What kind of projects are you working on? What all do you do?
Currently, I'm working on henna, photography, apparel, food blog and essential oils.  I'm also trying to be a functioning wife and mother.  The latter is definitely more difficult.  As far as henna goes, that's been my best business to date, people are excited about it and it's a fun creative process that's extremely therapeutic and I might enjoy this the most of my endeavours.  Photography is challenging creatively because it can be so easy to compare yourself to someone else and what they're creating.  I'm still trying to find my voice with my photography, I think I know what it looks like, just a matter of mastering lightroom to ensure the images do what I want them to! (does anyone have tutorial links for lightroom? I learned photoshop first so lightroom is frustrating sometimes).  My apparel is slowly shifting to more designing, while I love silk screening this is the business I'm stepping back from the most, it's really challenging to carry an inventory and predict what people are going to buy, I still love making witty tees for me and my friends but I don't have the desire to turn it into a big company so it will probably just remain a side project.  The oils are one of the easiest business I've ever been involved in because I already use the product and when friends and family are interested I help them order theirs and make a commission off that, and when it comes to running a blog and affiliate and residual income I can create to reinvest into this space is really exciting.

Which are your most successful projects/businesses?
Henna.  For sure this one is the one that has been most successful.  I'd say photography is probably second.  which totally makes sense when you think about these are the two I'm most invested in emotionally, they're the things that I've personally created and curated.

How do you maintain the work/family balance?
Sometimes I don't.  or at least it doesn't feel like it.  My house is usually a mess.  Right now, I have a sink of dishes and my floors need to be swept but it will be waiting for me when I'm done with everything else.  My kids are definitely the most challenging to accommodate, I have to step back and remind myself that the reason I chose to be a community creative and craftrepreneur was so I could be available for them, to pick them up from school and stay home with them during the summer.  I really have to plan time for my husband, and make lots of lists to stay on track, I've found bullet journaling to be the most helpful aspect of my time management, and google calendars which I share with everyone, I have calendars color coded for kids, each business and family activities.

What does a typical day/week look like for you?
Monday is actually one of my favorite days because it's my catch up day after the weekend, I don't work a conventional job on Mondays so I'm able to catch up on laundry, dishes, housework and home projects.  I also ship my henna on Mondays, so I make a fresh batch every Monday morning.
Tuesday, I work an office job in the mornings and teach in the afternoons.  It's a long day of working for other people but both jobs bring in a consistent paycheck which helps cover bills that inconsistent income can make really stressful.
Wednesday, is my Bitches Food Club meeting day. I take time on Wednesdays to meet with contributors and collaborators. I actually schedule all meetings on Wednesday and have mom obligations in the afternoons.  Wednesday is also my silk screening an apparel day, I will often make tees or new designs on Wednesday, it's probably one of my most business oriented days. I've also noticed lots of media dinners are hosted on Wednesdays so I rarely plan anything personal for Wednesday nights.
Thursday, is another conventional day spent in an office setting.  I get nothing done around the house on Thursdays and often find myself at media events or taking naps in the evening.
Friday, I teach art and Friday mornings I share a quick facebook life tutorial on my Natural Living group so people can learn quick tips and tricks for natural health and lifestyles.
Saturday, is usually a wedding day, I second shoot for PMA Photography and if we're not at a wedding, I'm booking family sessions or camping with the fam.
Sunday, is my yoga day, a day for me to relax and rest and restore.  I try not to plan anything for Sundays, but usually end up doing henna in the afternoons or meeting up with family.
I have to keep my weeks flexible and organized. I book out most of my life months in advance, which is really hard for family and friends, but you can ask me what I'm doing in 6 months and I'll usually have an answer, but on the contrary I have to be able to go with the flow and move around my life to accommodate last minute work and scheduling conflicts. I always write in my planner in pencil until the event passes and its another reason I love google calendar because I can move events around so easily.

Whew. That was more than I remember answering the first time around but that's what my world looks like and for those out there trying to figure out how to fit in their creative work, the answer is well... you need to be creative.  As in create time to do the things you want, in between the jobs and housework, you find the energy and flow to make things happen.  And as your business grows so does you income, meaning you can cut back hours at a job your're not passionate about and focus on your goals.  

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Guest Bedroom Reveal {featuring Modern Map Art}

I'm so excited, to finally have completed our proper guest room.  And thanks to Modern Map Art for sending us the perfect PHOENIX map for our guest room! This was our former master bedroom, and then we had friends living with us for about six months and they painted it this beautiful navy blue.  When they moved out, we decided to stay in our new larger bedroom, but I wasn't sure what to do with this space.  I knew if I used it as an office or studio (I had to down size drastically and am currently working outside), it would get cluttered and out of control, so I opted for a minimalist guest room, we're listing the house on airbnb (use this code for $40 off your first booking) to help finance more travel and Husband going back to school this fall (he took a few years off before going back to medical school but as life has changed and we want to focus on our kiddos, he decided nursing would be a better investment - I'm so excited for him to start his nursing program this fall but more on that in another post!)  Anyway, here's a look at our minimalist master guest bedroom:
 I love this bed frame, I wanted a vintage one, but was totally overwhelmed by the options or lack there of so when I found this one on wayfair (use promo code: AC4D24814B40 for $10 off your first $50 order) I knew it was a perfect compromise.  I spent a week ripping the 90s tile out of this room to reveal this beautiful red stained concrete hiding underneath, we didn't even need to stain or seal the concrete it's just that perfect and beautiful.  
This room has a newly partially renovated bathroom which I'll share in another post but it used to have a pocket door which we hate so we used a curtain instead and it makes the room feel a little more open and air-y.  The PHOENIX map is one of the few pieces of art in the room - I have a tendency to over decorate a space, so just this and a few weaving by local artists are on these walls.  This one is actually by Sonora Handmade (Jenny actually donated this one to my classroom fora weaving unit I though my art students, but during the summer I take it home for safe keeping). 
Isn't this map perfect for a guest room, I love vintage maps and new cities!
And of course I couldn't have a guest room without some greenery, Sonja picked out this plant with these contrasting leaves. 
And we moved Husband's Record Player is in here, this is a super calming space so we can just relax in here when we don't have people staying with us.  
What albums should I add to our collection?
What do you think? am I missing anything? What do you look for in a guest room?

My biggest requirements when staying somewhere are, in this order, clean, especially crisp fresh sheets, a beautiful bathroom - I promise that's the next home tour, and the more plants and art the better.

Thanks Modern Map Art for the free poster, it's the perfect addition to our guest room, and I wouldn't share this product with you all if I didn't think it was awesome.  

Monday, April 24, 2017

How We Upcycle Old Candles into New Candles {did someone say cheap and easy D.I.Y. gifts?!}

I love essential oils and diffusing them, but there's something romantic and classic about an open flame {even though I have to be extra careful with kids and pets}, I just really love the sensory experience with the flicker of the flame.  And since I love to make things, I make my own candles.  I do this probably once a year.  It's not because it's too much work, it's a little bit of effort but something fun to do.  No the reason I do this once a year, is because I like to save the scraps from old candles and upcycle them into the prettiest of my jars.

You do have to be careful, because some wicks and candles can contain lead, but my mom sells partylite and she's always giving me seasonal soy based candles and unscented tea lights {I'm super sensitive to 'fragrance' - which is where my essential oils come in, later}.  So throughout the year, I burn those, and sometimes people buy me candles as gifts.  I save the scraps in a drawer in the bottom of my hutch with extra wicks, damaged beeswax candles kids got a hold of, the bottom of a jar you just can't seem to burn.  And I take all those and melt them down and repour them with new wicks...
here's my current stash of otherwise trash or recyclables.
//kids please stop biting my bees wax candles {don't worry I moved them to a new spot- even though my kids are old enough to know better} // oh yes, that's henna on my hand, no cause for alarm.
this is my candle making pan, wax is hard to clean and I don't want to cook in the same container I melt wax in so I keep this one just for this project, specifically.
I use a double broiler method to melt any unusable candles {where the wick is too damaged to light} and I add it to the pan.
this part can be a little dangerous because it's so hot, I suggest gloves and long sleeve shirts just in case something splatters.
dip the new wick in the wax and let it set up and cool off to act as glue before pouring in a bit more wax.
I do my candles in layers so that it has time to set up a bit while the other scraps are melting down.
I tried adding rocks to this one to make a cool effect but they're hidden by the wax so that was a waste. 
those gross old wicks just get scooped out once the wax is melted. 
these are left over from a skin care recipe, and since this is my favorite wax I used some of this for my green candles {I honestly don't even know what scent they were, probably unscented - I hope}. 
For this candle I wanted to use my favorite anti bug blend to put outside this summer.  Essential oils are best diffused for their therapeutic properties {because they degrade with heat}, but if you're after the scent of the oils you can totally use them in candles.  I'll let you know how this one worked after I test it, but I think TerraShield smells like marshmallows so I'm not going to complain if all I get is the scent. 
remember all that trash from the first photo? this is all that's left, everything else was recycled or upcycled back into the new candles.

// finished product.  I'm still waiting for them to cool but too excited to wait to share.

do you love candles? what's your favorite scent? and what's your favorite way to reduce waste and upcycle? tell me all the things?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Another Arizona Adventure.

//wild flowers blooming off the 1-17 near flagstaff at sunset. 
//we stopped overnight in flagstaff to eat dinner, because we left late on friday night.  we got there so late and after dinner, husband set up the tent at 10pm while the girls and I slept uncomfortably but slightly warmer in the car.  we woke up to breakfast burritos and a campfire.

 "Radioactive pollution kills, it's time to clean up the mines" it's time we stop ignoring native people and their requests for environmental respect.
//texture. + found.
 sure.  I ask him to take a photo of me, doesn't happen, pretty mountain get's his attention tho.
 same sonja.  same.
this should be a flowing river but a dam is upstream restricting wildlife and flooding a beautiful canyon we'll never see again, you might know it as lake powell.  you can educate yourself on dams and their destruction here
 once we were in the wilderness, we went for a walk.
 my six year old needs her own camera.
 here she is in awe of the tiny canyon that welcomed us.
  I think this is Hedysarum boreale, does anyone know for sure? 
 after our hike, we finally found our home away from home.
and there were even bones around our site, this appears to be the lower jaw of a cow broken in half.  I was shocked to see the tooth still in place.
"When I found the beautiful white bones in the desert I picked them up and took them home too...I have used these things to say what is to me the wideness and wonder of the world as I live in it."
-Georgia O'Keeffe 
we settled in for the night, I'm forever cold and this campfire was barely handling it.  I always need feet warmers and feel like a camping failure, any tips on how to increase your tolerance to cooler temperatures?
//sunrise from inside our tent.
warming up with freshly brewed cowboy coffee.
after loading up the car and finishing breakfast we set off on our hike to our intended designation (as some of you know I've stopped disclosing dispersed camping sites as a way to encourage your own adventures, you won't find this site on website or google maps, if you want to find places like it you'll need a good old fashion map with hiking trails and you'll need a four wheel drive vehicle, and two working legs to get to most places worth seeing, at least the places worth seeing without a bunch of other tourists in the background).
//hawks circling and blue skies.
 another moment captured though my daughter's eyes. {unedited, like all the images shared on this post}
 it's pretty impressive what a million years will do to the earth.
she came up with this all on her own; sand fairies {childhood mostly unplugged will create some wonderful memories - i hope.} and they kept calling it magic sand. I wonder what the canyons were telling them.
nature's sculpture.
until our next adventure, thanks for reading along, if you have any questions feel free to email me at {but no, I won't tell you exactly where this place is.}

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