Categories
Blog Tutorial

Fun and Easy Crackle Finish Technique

Everyone is getting their Easter craft on right about now and I’ve seen some pretty cool thing. My crafty hero, Mark Montano, posted a tutorial for these adorable “Matryoshka” eggs.  I have also seen a couple of tutorials for crackle finish eggs using a special crackle finish medium. I am super 90s so crackle finish is near and dear to me. When we bought our house in ’98, we painted our bedroom with a crackle finish. Ralph Lauren had just come out with a line of fancy faux finish paints like Suede and River Rock and Crackle Finish for about $40 a gallon. Yikes! Regular paint was like ten bucks a gallon way back then, but we wanted our first home to be super fancy so we went for it. Our room is still painted blood red crackle finish over a grey base coat and because it’s still the 90s in my heart, I love it.

But you don’t really need special paint to get to get this look. All you need is white glue. Regular old Elmer’s.

Here’s how:

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.

 

Flower pots and crackle finish are a match made in heaven. If you plan to actually put a plant in your pot, i recommend sealing it with a couple coats of latex paint. Acrylic will also work, but ould house paint is perfect for this. Paint on two coats of the base color and let it dry. The top color needs to be a little on the thin side. Not watery, but thin enough that it will spread very easily. I would say the consistency should be like ranch dressing. Also, the paint brushes you use are important. I would recommend a stiff brush for applying the glue and a soft fluffy brush for the top coat. The base coat doesn’t matter.

 

Alright, you ready? You have to work kind of fast, so squirt a good amount of glue onto your project. You need a thick even coat, but not like dripping off.

redscorpiomade crackle finish

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.

 

Then immediately float the top coat on over the glue. I don’t know if that’s a real painting term but I mean gently apply it over the glue, do not put any pressure on the brush. You don’t want to blend the two layers. Wait and watch as the cracks materialize before your very eyes.

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.

 

See? So simple! I bet you will be crackling your little hearts out now. Let me know how it works for you in the comments.

Categories
Blog Red Scorpio Diaries

“It’s Never Too Late” is a Story We Tell Ourselves

I saw my first sunrise this past year at the age of 49. “How can this be?” you might be asking. Well, I usually like to be asleep when that is happening. Living on the West coast my whole life, I’ve seen hundreds of gorgeous sunsets. I’ve even seen the elusive green flash once. But never a sunrise. Of course, there have been a few times when I had to be out of bed before dawn, so I’d witnessed the creeping orange light pushing the darkness out of the early morning sky. But this year, from a picture window in a rented flat in San Francisco, I saw the sun peek up over the horizon and rise, slowly turning from deep red to bright yellow and changing night into day. I hadn’t planned on taking that trip. It didn’t make sense to do it, but I did. And I saw the sunrise.

IMG_4791

In 1997, Greg and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. We thought it was such a big deal. We planned an epic Vegas vow renewal and invited our family to join us. Everyone was super pumped to party in Vegas. About a week before the big celebration, we got a phone call. It was after 10pm when the phone rang, and my Grandmother had been very ill, so I immediately thought the worst. No, I guess I thought something bad, but what I actually heard was the worst. My cousin Brandon had been in an accident and was in a coma. Traumatic brain injury. Sometimes people recover from it, sometimes they don’t. Brandon passed away the day before my birthday. You don’t think that 23 is going to be too late, but sometimes it is.

IMG_1762

 

That changed my life in a way that cannot be unchanged. Even when my life was seriously disrupted in 2009 because Greg and I both lost our jobs, and everything we had worked for, all of the careful plans we made and the feeling of comfort and security vanished, we had the most important thing. As long as you are alive, it’s not too late. We thought that.

 

About three months after losing our entire way of life, we got more bad news. My dad Bob was diagnosed with lung cancer. We were pretty much like “WTF, Universe?” But we had hope. Bob’s treatment was a success, and he was in remission. He looked pretty good, he felt pretty good, his test were great. He had time. Then, in another WTF twist of fate, he was severely disabled by a medical procedure gone wrong. Everything changed, again. He would never recover from it; he could not. He would forever need to use oxygen. He could never fly again, or go on a cruise, or walk very far. He was fragile. When Greg and my brother Justin were planning their trip to Mt. Whitney this past summer, it was bittersweet. Bob was so excited to hear them talking about it, and bonding over it, but deep down he was sad that he couldn’t join them. If they had done this ten years ago, would he have wanted to go? I bet he would not have, because ten years ago, we didn’t know that it would soon be too late.

Bob - 32

And now he’s gone, sooner than we expected, even though we knew all along what was happening. I am tormented by the questions I didn’t ask. Greg and I were planning to take drawing and painting lessons from him, but this summer it was way too hot to be in his studio, so we thought we could start in the new year. And now, it’s too late.

IMG_5527

That is the thing about “too late”, you hardly ever know when it’s coming. Bob knew something that most of us don’t know – too late would be too soon for him. But most of us don’t want to know that too late can happen at any time. “Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today,” is a quote people like to throw around. If I thought I was going to die today, you can sure as hell bet that nothing constructive would get done. I wouldn’t be standing here typing this, guaranteed. My day would be mostly eating, and spending time hugging my loved ones and telling them all of the things before it was too late. So how about we dream as if  we’ll die today and live as if we will die sooner than we want to. Let’s not put off telling people we love them. Let’s not wait until the stars align to get going. Let’s not wait until everything is perfect because it never will be. Do not wait to try something, to do something. To be something. Even though, or maybe because he knew his time was short, Bob still tried new things. He was a Master Lithographer, but he had never tried linocuts until this year. Of course, he was awesome at it.

linocut

When Brandon died, my life and the way I saw things changed. I had allowed fear to control my life under the guise of safety, and when I realized that none of us is 100% safe, it was freeing and a little scary. I’d already begun to move away from materialism and this just sealed the deal. Experiences were what I now craved. Nobody wants to hear the story of how you scored a set of dishes on sale. They want to know the story of your one-day whirlwind trip to Paris while on vacation in London, and how you dashed through the city so you could see the Mona Lisa, Notre Dame, and the Eiffel Tower in a matter of hours. I was terrified to fly (and oddly, of airplanes in general), but I wanted to get over it. I had to, before it was too late.

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.

So here is the deal. I am 50. A lot of soul-searching has been going on around here lately. I am living the years of my life where, barring any unforeseen circumstances, it is not yet too late. I cannot allow this time to just pass. I quit my job in 2012 to become a full-time maker. The plan was for me to get my thing going, then Greg would be able to quit his job and live his dream of traveling our beautiful country and taking gorgeous pictures. It hasn’t panned out. Maybe because what I really want to be is an artist and not a jewelry maker. Maybe my heart just isn’t in it. Maybe there really isn’t a market for what I make, or I’m just bad at business. Maybe I am still more afraid than I’d like to admit. I don’t know. I only know that I can’t wait any longer. We are moving forward with the plan. I confessed to Greg that I’ve been afraid to take this next big step because I didn’t want to ruin our lives, but ruining your life one drip at a time is no better than going all in and seeing what happens. It is time to go all in, before it’s too late.

In 2016, we will begin our Legacy Project. It’s not just enough to have experiences. You have to document and share them. Going through Bob’s childhood photo albums after his passing made me realize how much I didn’t even know I didn’t know. It made me wonder if my kids would remember that trip to Paris. They’ve seen pictures from our journeys and heard stories, but nothing is written down. Could it be lost forever? Very likely. Will it be too late someday? Without a doubt.

My word for 2016 is “fearless”. Will I still feel afraid? Of course. But I am going to do my best to act fearlessly, because fear is an illusion that is supposed to keep us safe, but too often it’s used as an excuse.

[Tweet “Usually what we’re afraid of isn’t disaster but discomfort, and that is bullshit.”]

No more of that. We are taking a trip, and hopefully leaving a legacy. I want to see Old Faithful, gaze in wonder at the Northern Lights, feel the mist of Niagara Falls, and dip my toes in the Atlantic Ocean before it’s too late. I have no idea what will happen. And truth be told, we rarely ever do.

Categories
Blog

“Less Stuff, More Quality’ is My Passion. Here’s Why.

[Tweet “Buy less. Choose well. Make it last.”]

The trend towards hyper consumerism is almost inescapable. Things are just so darn cheap nowadays. Wal-Mart is everywhere, and dollar stores are so common that books and websites for crafting with stuff that you buy at the dollar store exist. Our town didn’t get its first Wal-Mart until the late 90s, and within a few years there were two more like 5 minutes away from my house. There are currently 22 Wal-Mart stores within a 30 mile radius in San Diego county. I’m picking on Wal-Mart, but they’re not the only guilty party. Cheap stuff is everywhere.

Have you heard of “retail therapy”? It’s kind of a joke to describe that feeling you get when you buy stuff, but in reality, it’s more sad than funny. When that first Wal-Mart opened in my neighborhood I fell under its spell of super cheap crap. Saturday mornings, I’d head over to see what was new and get a little alone time. I could literally spend two hours in there wandering the aisles and filling my cart with housewares, gadgets, trinkets. We were running out of room to put it all, and even though it was cheap, it wasn’t like it was free. I’m not sure what broke the spell. Maybe Greg questioning whether we really needed another red plastic mixing bowl, or maybe I’d just had enough. Like too much fast food, it wasn’t truly satisfying no matter how much I consumed, and eventually I got sick of it. Even though I love fast food, I don’t want to eat it every day. 

And I started to question the statement I was making, because how you spend your hard-earned money is one of the most powerful statements you can make. Not to bum you out too much, but super cheap stuff has a cost that someone, somewhere is somehow paying. Maybe it’s horrible working conditions, maybe it’s gross environmental practices. Sometimes it’s slavery.

Our family made a decision to choose better when handing over our money in exchange for goods and services, starting with buying less. There’s pretty much always going to be a tiny place in my life for discount stores because sometimes you do need that plastic bowl, but we really try hard to support local small businesses. This means, when we buy gifts, we try to choose local handmade whenever possible, or at least a local “mom and pop” retailer. When we eat out, we usually go to a locally owned restaurant vs a chain restaurant. And when we the only choice is a big corporate shop, we do our best to choose one that takes care of its workers and gives back to the community.

I totally get how capitalism works, but I also know that I feel better when the person who is making the stuff I buy can take care of their family. Not everyone can afford to make a statement every time they shop, but if we could all just try to see the bigger picture and spend our money a little more meaningfully, it would make an impact. And understand that you don’t have to cave to the pressure to “buy buy buy”.

And so dear friends, that is the story of my great big why. I hope I’ve made my case that more isn’t always better, but mindful is better; Meaningful is better. And I think that you will see that better stuff is better.

Also, check out this episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver where he talks about the real cost of “Fast Fashion”.  Warning: lots of swears.

Categories
Blog Tutorial

Super Quick Shrink Plastic Tutorial

All of my writing mojo was exhausted earlier this week when I had to write six paragraphs for my Martha Stewart’s American Made nomination, so I am cheating and posting a video I made on Periscope. Have you guys tried Periscope? It’s so fun! Even if you don’t ‘scope yourself (what the kids are calling it), it’s super cool to watch other people’s’ scopes. Check it out here.

 

And here’s the tutorial. Sorry for the poor audio quality. I had a fan on because it’s hot hot hot in my house, and also the plastic smells when you heat it.

 

Categories
Blog Creativity

My #1 Tip For Crushing Creative Blocks

 

 

Tweet: My number on tip for crushing creative blocks is simple: My number one tip for crushing creative blocks is simple:

“Do Something. Anything.”

 

 

Simple, sure, but it’s not always easy.

I hit a block last week, prepping for my SF trip. If you hadn’t already heard me say a dozen or so times, I am going to be in the studio audience for Megan Auman’s CreativeLive course, How To Make a Living Selling What You Make. CreativeLive asked us to bring a few pieces to the studio, and even though I have many, many pieces already made, I wanted to make something special. Problem was, I totally hit a creative wall. Not surprising, since I had a pretty ambitious work schedule for myself the past several weeks, but I just couldn’t think of anything interesting to make.

 

When that happens, when I get hung up and kind of too in my head, the only thing that works for me is to do something different from my every day work. I decided I would start to make a beaded snake. I’d already planned to make a snake at some point this year, so I had all of the supplies and everything, and it was so wonderful and freeing to work on it. Bead weaving is meditative for me because there’s no choices to make, just follow the pattern and turn out the work. I only got about a third of the way done before I had to set it aside to finish getting ready for my trip, but the project is getting packed into my suitcase, and if I get a chance I’d love to finish it in San Francisco.

 

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Your ‘something’ doesn’t have to be as elaborate as a bead weaving project. It could be as simple as coloring a picture in a coloring book. Adult coloring books are pretty trendy right now, but I love coloring books for kids just as much. Of course I have a couple of Hello Kitty coloring books in my stash for when I need a no brainer project to bust through my block.

 

 

HK - 1

 

 

What if you don’t have anything? I bet you have at least a piece of paper and a pencil, but let’s say you don’t. Let’s say all you have is a computer. Check out PicMonkey, where you can take a photo and mess around with it til it’s completely ridiculous. If all you have is your phone, you can goof around with pics on Snapchat, make a totally dorky video on Sock Puppets, or play around with myriad other apps. I’m saying there’s no excuse.

 

 

Playing around with PicMonkey
Playing around with PicMonkey

 

 

So when you hit a block, crush it with whatever you’ve got on hand. Give yourself a few minutes to do something creative and totally pointless, because that is pretty much the point. And when you do, share your block crushing endeavors with me on IG with the hashtag #creativesmash.

 

 

 

Categories
Blog

Halftime Tune-Up: What’s working and what isn’t

Day 3: How did you get this far?

“You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” Have you heard that one before? It makes perfect sense. How do you know if you’re making progress if you’re not keeping track of what’s happening? How do you know how you got where you are if you don’t know what efforts are paying off and which ones are just a waste of your time?

 

After you get your numbers straightened out, check out your key performance indicators to figure out what is working and what is not. Entrepreneurs these days feel like they need to do everything and be everywhere on social media, but the fact of the matter is you only need to do what works. So, although it may take a little effort to figure out what is working and what is not, in the long run, you’ll save time by not doing things that aren’t moving you forward.

 

If you aren’t tracking your KPIs, it’s time to get started. If you sell on Etsy, you probably know that it keeps track of your stats. Did you also know Etsy has some amazing articles to help you grow your business? Google analytics is another amazing tool, and they have a free Analytics Academy to help you get the most out of it. If you have a WordPress blog, you can install plugins to track your analytics. Nathalie Lussier’s “30 Day List Building Challenge” explains how to build your list by using analytics, and she even walks you through the steps to set them up for your WP site.

 

You might be surprised how things ‘magically’ start to grow when you make the effort to measure their progress. Here is a list of resources to help you better understand what KPIs are and how to build your business. Please share your experiences in the comments!

 

 

Categories
Blog

Is “Crafter” a Dirty Word?

[Tweet “Crafter, maker, artist, artisan… what do you call yourself?”]
 

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.

 

All things being equal, I would prefer to call myself a crafter, because I craft things. As in, I take raw materials and I make stuff with my two hands. But when my sister recently referred to me as a crafter on Facebook, I cringed. I don’t call myself a crafter, and many other crafters eschew that term. Why is that? I guess because when I think of “crafter” it’s more a gender neutral way of saying craftsman, but when most people hear “crafter” they tend to think of someone who uses hot glue and pompons. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

 

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.

 

 

I tried out “artisan” for a while, because that seems respectable and a little easier to say with confidence than “artist” which, having no formal art education, can kind of stick in my throat. It just seems to confuse people though. “Maker” is the term a lot of people use because it’s versatile and carries the same esteem as “artisan”, but it’s a little more 21st century. When people ask what I do, I tell them I’m a maker. It seems to be the most fitting description. Aside from crafter.

 

 

Categories
Blog

The Peculiar Thrill of Waiting Until the Last Minute

“If you wait til the last minute, it only takes a minute” ~ K.S.

 

Back in early April, I accepted a DIY challenge from Jenna of promoanalyzer.com. It’s pretty cool. Jenna sends you some promo swag,you get all crazy crafty with it, and then share your results. And I, as you must know by now, am always up for a challenge. So Jenna sent the bag o’swag to me with a deadline of May 30. Of course I made the deadline. I’m not a flake. The DIY challenge was #1 on the schedule for May 29th and it got done. A day early, even.

 

Why did I wait til the last minute? Well, I am still riding the roller coaster that I hopped on back in April when I traveled to San Francisco to be a part of Tara Gentiles’s boot camp at CreativeLive. I am still assimilating to the new world which Tara has opened up to me. So much good stuff. Right after that came the Arts Festival, where I only had a month to prepare because they forgot to notify me of my acceptance. (Side note: sometimes you gotta read the signs.)

 

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.

 

Also, I was slightly over-scheduled, common among entrepreneurs who have to make hay while the sun shines. I had three deadlines on the same day: the DIY challenge; my San Diego Fair entry; and my daughter’s 25th birthday party. The Fair entry was a piece of cake, since my collection of vintage travel bars was ready to go. Mainly because a logistics failure prevented me from entering them the year prior and they’d been cleaned up, wrapped up, and sitting in a box for the past twelve months just waiting for their chance to be on display and, hopefully, win a ribbon.

 

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.

 

 

In the midst of this, something very unexpected threw off my whole schedule. For several days, my life was solely focused on this top priority (and for now secret) surprise. Luckily, the disruption didn’t last long and I was able to get back on track.

Pretty much. I knew I had to turn something in to Jenna by the 30th, so I scheduled completing the challenge in my planner as the top priority for the 29th and outlined the process in my “Big Project Planner”, so even though I still had no what I was going to make, I had a plan laid out. That way, I wouldn’t forget to do stuff like take pictures of each step. Thankfully, when I opened up the bag that day, I somehow had a bunch of cool ideas, and I had a blast making the projects. I sent Jenna the pictures & the copy as promised, one day before the deadline. Winning!

 

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.

 

Then there was the party. I love to throw rad parties, and I have a few hugely popular “party food” recipes in my arsenal. But my daughter is a vegetarian and my family has some picky eaters. And most of my rad party food is meat-centric. So that was rough. But the biggest problem was that I hadn’t properly planned. Not sure how it happened, but the day before the party I realized I hadn’t written out a plan and as a result, there wasn’t going to be enough food. Luckily, it was not too late to meet with my team (husband and son), make a plan and act. The party was a success, I got lots of compliments on the menu and, most importantly, the birthday girl had a lovely time.

 

red scorpio party Collage

 

The moral of the story is to make plans. Even if you think you got it figured out. Even if you’ve done it so many times, it’s a no brainer. Even if the plan is just “Do this, then this, then this” on a scrap of paper you stick on the fridge.

And also, some of the best work is done at the last minute.

If you don’t already have a copy of my “Big Project Planner”, get one now by signing up below. 

Categories
Blog Business

How To Reframe Failure

This weekend I participated in a local arts festival. It was something I had been looking forward to for a few weeks. I haven’t done many fairs or festivals. Jewelry is historically the section that fills up the quickest, so I’ve been rejected a bunch of times, and the one farmers’ market I was able to get into was not very lucrative. But I’ve been looking for a new way to get my super cool rock star jewelry in front of a new audience, so I applied to sell at this local fest.

 

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.

 

And, instead of waiting until the last day to register like I usually do, I turned my app in right away and lo and behold, it was accepted. Yay!

 

Lesson 1: Act early.

 

 

Unfortunately, the organizer forgot to notify me that I had been accepted. I was bummed, assuming that I had been rejected once again, but I decided to follow up just to be sure and to ask if perhaps there was a wait list. That is how I found out, five weeks before the event, that I had in fact been accepted.

Lesson 2: Follow up.

 

My expectations were high. I’d heard legends about makers who didn’t bring enough product and sold completely out halfway through a fair. Another more realistic statistic I’d heard somewhere said that most vendors sell about 30% of their stock on hand. So I set two goals for myself: One, to design three new products I could make quickly and sell at a lower price point; and two, make 100 of these new pieces. That’s a lot of pieces. And if you know anything about me, you know I am all about quality. I wasn’t going to slap something together and put my name on it. Hell no. So I tweaked my process slightly to make it a little quicker but still high quality, and I designed a necklace that could be made much faster than stringing strands of beads or labor intensive cuff bracelets, and this is what I created.

 

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.

 

I then used my “Big Project Planner” to reverse engineer my goal. I set a schedule for making the jewelry, designing and creating the display and the packaging, developing a marketing strategy, and planning the logistics. Boom. Mission accomplished.

Lesson 3: Have a detailed plan of action and work it.

 

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.
so, just go down this alley…

 

Unfortunately, the festival was not financially successful. I sold nowhere near 30% of my pieces. Closer to 3% if we’re keeping it real. It wasn’t just me, but the other sellers I spoke to also had pitiful sales. My neighbor, who was selling gorgeous handbags and accessories, told me that the previous two times she had participated in the market, the hand-made marketplace was on the main drag with the food vendors and music stages. This time, we were off in an adjacent alley that didn’t get as much foot traffic. Also, we were literally across from the trash cans, and homeless people kept coming by and rooting through the bins for recyclables. On top of that, in my opinion, the publicity for the festival focused mainly on the Craft Beer Block & selling tickets to that versus the handmade marketplace.

 

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.
Cool mural, not so cool trash cans…

 

Lesson 4: You can control some things, but not everything.

Friday night, I was super pumped. I set a goal and totally rocked it. Saturday, I was devastated. I had high hopes and they were crushed. Sunday, I woke up feeling invigorated to put everything I learned the previous day into an action plan. Besides the lessons highlighted above, I learned some pretty major stuff. I have a much deeper insight into my ideal customers’ perspective. I also learned that many women prefer to wear shorter necklaces, would probably buy earrings, and are most likely to spend $5-$10 at a festival like this one. I also realized I was offering way too many choices, creating overwhelm for shoppers.

 

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.
My vision, brought to life

 

Lesson 5: There is always a lesson to be learned.

Although I would have very much loved to have sold out of jewelry, or even sold 30% of the pieces on hand, I don’t consider my experience a failure. I am still proud of reaching my production goal. I am super happy that the display I imagined turned out so well in real life. I connected with some really cool makers, and I am taking away a wealth of knowledge that I can use to make my next experience better and more successful.

 

 

 

 

Categories
Blog Business

How Taking the “Design Your Process Challenge” Changed My Writing

I’ve been writing pretty much my whole adult life. Confession: I was a terrible student who found school to be quite boring, so I spent a lot of class time writing hilarious notes to my friends. Back in the day when i worked in an office, part of my job was to handle business correspondence. I also wrote the training and procedural manuals we used.

When I started my blog, it was mostly DIY tutorials, which worked out ok because I am pretty darn good at technical writing. But I really wanted my blog to be more than just craft tutorials. so I took April Bowles-Olin’s course, “Build a Successful Creative Blog” and learned a ton about creating engaging content. More importantly, April’s course gave me permission to write a more authentic blog, full of what makes me uniquely me.

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Good Times

But something major was still missing. Sometimes my writing would flow and I’d put out a terrific article. Mostly, I struggled with writing a decent post. I’d get an idea and just start randomly writing. Sometimes I’d make my point. Sometimes I’d miss.

 

My friend Kris is an amazing writing coach. She tried to convince me so many times that what I needed was a process for my writing. And I totally knew she was right because she is super smart and she lays it out in a way I completely understand. But even with her wise insight, I resisted because I always felt “too busy” to do the writing prep and instead continued to stumble through by just writing posts off the top of my head. Don’t judge. Everyone knows stuff they should be doing but don’t do it for one BS reason or another.

 

This week, I’ve been watching and following along with Kris’ awesome “Design Your Process” challenge. In the course, Kris explains how to improve your content and make it more engaging by using a process to make your writing more powerful and effective. So I decided to write this post by working through this process, beginning with pre-writing and then moving on to drafting, revising, editing and publishing.

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I would never dream of writing a tutorial without an outline, but when it came to blogging, I generally would jump from the idea & research step straight into drafting. My drafts were sort of like free writing, where I’d spill everything onto the paper (or screen) and then go back and edit for clarity, spelling, grammar, and such. Then I’d hit publish and cross my fingers that the post would resonate with my audience.

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.

Using the process Kris describes in the DYP challenge made writing this post a breeze. When I worked through the process of pre-writing, drafting, revising & editing, I was able to articulate my thoughts in a cohesive way.  [Tweet “After much resistance, I think I’ve finally seen the light. http://www.withakcourses.com/design-your-voice/”] Thank you Kris!

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.

If you struggle with creating consistently engaging content, or labor over writing articles that should be easy to write, it’s likely that you need learn and apply the process to your writing. Don’t fight it, it’s good for you. You had better hurry though! “Design Your Process” is going away May 18th! Did I mention it’s free?

 

I’m participating in a Blog Link-up with Kris (With a K) from www.withakwriting.com, because she wants to hear about the role writing plays in our businesses.

Kris is giving a Writing Workshop for entrepreneurs and bloggers, starting May 25th, and she wants to give away a scholarship to one of the lovely bloggers who participate in this link up. You can participate and get a chance to win too.

Just copy and paste this piece of text into the introduction of your blog post answering the question, “How has writing been beneficial to your business, and what do you want to Craft with your Voice next?” Link back to this post, so any of your friends who are entering will be able to find it for more info.

Finally, go back to Kris’s blog on or after May 12th to add your link to the link-up party there, and you could win a scholarship to her new course: Craft Your Voice. She’ll be drawing a name on the 18th of May for a full scholarship to the 6 week writing course, so you can write and link-up your post any time before then.