Tuesday, March 23, 2010

a little bird told me

The first "official" (even though I haven't signed all the paperwork yet) week  of not being a dog trainer (or you could say the first week of being a full-time artist!)  is going well. The shop is very busy, I'm on par with my financial goal for the month, things look good.

Yesterday a little bird hung out on the doorknob of the french doors leading from my bedroom/office out to the back yard. It was so funny. He'd go off and do his little bird chores for a minute or two, then he'd come back to the doorknob and sort of peck at it. He was there all day! Was he trying to tell me every little thing's gonna be alright?

Okay, must get up and start carving.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

new interview

I woke up this morning to discover that try handmade posted an interview with me! I'd done it several weeks ago - they have a "DIY interview" feature in which you respond to their questions, submit photos and then wait to see if they approve and post it. I didn't know it was approved - thank goodness for Google Alert. Hehehe! Anyway, check it out, they did a really nice job. It was a happy way to wake up.

In other business news, I've officially quit my dog training job. I'm taking the steps (and oh, there are MANY) to close down the business and turn it back over to the franchiser. I'm a little sad - I'll miss the other trainers I've met and the great people in the home office. I'll especially miss the dogs. But I won't miss waking up most nights with my brain churning, panicking about the business costing me more money than it was making me. It was a really interesting chapter in my life, but I'm happy to be jumping into my stamp business with both feet now.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

cover girl

My work has found its way onto another album cover produced by Perhaps Transparent Records! This cover is for the band United Bible Studies . Click the link to see the cover. I probably didn't need to provide instructions, you know how the link thing works. ;)

This was quite an undertaking - text is always tough to carve, and the image itself was very detailed. I like how it came out. These cd cover projects are a fun departure from my usual work. Not that I don't love my usual work!

The shop's been a little slow this week, which is the first time in a while. I should be glad for the time to catch up on orders, but I worry whenever things slow down. I'm just about ready to take the leap to making this my "only" job. My dog training business is pretty much dead and I don't have the marketing skills/time/desire to try to bring it back to life. It's costing me far more money to own and run it than it's making for me. I'm going to be talking to the CEO today and more than likely will be turning the franchise over to the corporation. I think it's time. It's scary, though. This means I'm totally dependent on the success of my stamp business, or it's job-hunting time. And we all know what the job market is like these days. Not to mention the thought of having an office job again makes me want to swallow caustic chemicals. I just don't think I could do it again. Seventeen years was more than enough.
Another hurdle to getting back into the mainstream job market is my tattoo collection. With a half sleeve on one arm, tattoos on both forearms and now one on my left hand (one of my best friends, Billy, is visiting - he's the one who did my sleeve and the swallows on my hips - and I couldn't resist letting him mark me up a little more), I'm a less-than-desireable candidate for a traditional office job. That was actually calculated on my part - when I lost my Verizon job, I decided to continue being tattooed for two reasons: 1.) because I love tattoos and 2.) because I knew that being more tattooed would force me to pursue alternative career options. It was a way of reminding me to be true to myself.
Hopefully it doesn't backfire, but I think it's all in the attitude. I'm going to make it, doing what I love, because I have to and I want to.
So there.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

new stuff

I've been too busy to write lately! The shop is still busy (yay!!) and I've added a new line of ink pads. I've been a huge fan of Colorbox ink for as long as I've been carving stamps (about 14 years now), so I'm really excited to have been able to start carrying their products. So far I've just added small ink pads and a couple paintboxes (multiple-pad ink pads), but I plan to add more when I get a feel for what sells the best.
My dog training franchise has reached the point where it's costing me more money to run it than it's making. It's pretty depressing. I've put the franchise up for sale, but the odds of it selling are pretty slim. I may wind up being forced to just give it up.
SO...it's a time of reckoning for my Etsy business. I have to get really serious about it and keep growing it to make up for the income I'm NOT making training dogs.
We're still waiting to see if our mortgage loan will be approved for a modification so that we can keep our house. Things have been so incredibly stressful for us financially for so long now that if it ever lets up, I won't know what to do with myself! Seriously, what will I do with all the space in my brain presently reserved for constant worry about money?? I really hope I'm in a position to find out very soon.
Oh - I experienced a first on Saturday: I met one of my customers in person. I was making a hand painted sign for her and there was a bit of a misunderstanding between us about payment/shipping times. Luckily she lives nearby and we were able to meet up so I could deliver the sign. She was really sweet and I would have liked to spend more time talking with her, but Jim and I were in a hurry. In a text exchange with her a bit later, she mentioned that she felt a bit like a kid in Kindergarten and I knew exactly what she meant! There was this awkwardness - we'd had so many email exchanges online, yet we didn't seem to know what to do with ourselves in person. I don't know why it's so easy for me to communicate in writing but not in person when I meet someone new.
Ugh...nothing I'm trying to say is coming across the way I want it to right now. Not a good idea to write when I first wake up, I guess - and I'd better get up and start working now.
Maybe I'll be able to write something more articulate soon.

About Me

Hippieville, CA, United States
This is the story of life after losing the "real" job and the house, trying to find the middle ground between making a living and actually living.