Keeping things Fun!

So, it was just about a year ago now that I listed my first item over on Etsy.

From there the whole operation sort of snowballed.

I came up with more designs.

Then I decided I wanted colored shirts. Dye them myself, oh yes!

And more designs.

And in-person shows.

And, now, I’ve got a pretty good set. I’ve got designs I’m happy with (though always brainstorming new ones), I’ve got colors I’m happy with (both dye and ink). I’ve got a pretty cohesive look.

But, well, I’m a little bored. (crazy, right?!)

It’s all become a little more production-y than I would like.

I dye the same orange. And I print the same brick red on that same rust orange. Because it works. And, I do the same with my other colors. And, well, it works.

But in the interest of keeping things interesting and fresh, a few things are going to change. Mostly, I’m going to start playing (again) with colors.

I’m really happy with the colors and tones that I have. Earthy shades, rich colors, good contrasts. I’m happy that the colors I’ve done can really work on boys and girls. Those things will stay the same, but I’m going to start doing some more color-mixing and limited dye runs. You’ll see more color. Different color. New combinations.

And the shop will be filled with more truly one-of-a-kind shirts. And it’ll be fun.

Oh, and have I mentioned that there will be more designs, new designs.

Bugs? Can’t decide if this is really a direction I want to go. Thoughts?

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Boredom and Building Roads

First, let me preface this by saying that we have been in our home since Sunday (aside from a very brief trip to the post office). In our home. Within these walls. For five days.

As much as I like my home, and I do, this has been a little much.

We started the week with a sick baby. Then it took down Ewan. We’ve had fevers and croup and a whole bunch of runny noses. We’ve had a big one saying, “I’m happy, but I’m not so good.” We’ve had lots of cuddles and stories and lying around. We’ve also had a bit of boredom.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I think boredom is good. I think it is important. I think boredom forces us to come up with new plans, new ideas. Boredom gives us the space to dream.

After all, were it not for the boredom, I wouldn’t have the worlds largest masking tape highway running through our entire home right now.

What started as a simple undertaking with a roll of masking tape has taken on a life of its own. It reminds me of the “If you give a mouse a cookie” story.

If you build some roads, they are going to need some lines.

And then some parking lots.

And with all the traffic jams,

you’ll definitely need some stop signs (lights, too).

And it’s not over. Today we spent time painting buildings (a grocery store, an ice cream cone shop, and First Slice) that we’ll finish tomorrow.

Truth be told, I don’t know who is having the most fun with this whole project. I suppose that’s the best way.

I’ll keep you updated on our little town. I’m sure there will be much to show as it turns into a booming metropolis.

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Creativity, Imagination and Kids

I’m going to make a bold statement here. I think all people are creative.

There, I said it. Before you disagree, let’s talk this one through.

If we can’t necessarily agree about all adults being creative, perhaps we can start with the children. All children are creative, right?

From my current sample size of two and my years as a teacher I would say that yes. All children start out with a creative spirit.

Never have I noticed or tuned in as much as I have with my own small people though. I mean, seriously, Ewan’s creativity as a boy nearing age three, amazes me. He sets up the most elaborate playscapes and scenarios. Some based in reality, others purely imaginary. It’s extraordinary, really.

I mean, check this out:

Here we have a auto garage, mechanic, and a car (with a flat tire) up on blocks. And Ewan played with it for hours. Chatting, having conversations. It’s amazing, really, the amount of focus he can have.

So, if that’s where we start, it’s hard to imagine that that creativity just disappears. That creative kids turn into un-creative adults. Rather, I think that creativity continues to exist in each of us, but in some it just sits dormant, waiting for the opportunity to reemerge.

Right now, I am enjoying the re-emergence. The ideas. I feel like I am three. My mind bursting.

I think I am experiencing this burst in creativity, in part, because I am with these little ones full-time. When I am constantly surrounded by their joy and passion and imagination it it hard to not be inspired.

I also have the time, space, encouragement and support to not only have grand ideas but also act on them. Some may scoff. Time?! How?! Mama of two little ones?

Some days I’m not always sure that I do have the time. Some days it is hairy. But I do make making a priority. Creating comes a close second on the list, right after feeding my family.

And I think that’s just about right. I want to show these little ones that creativity needn’t go dormant as the responsibilities of adult life settle in. I want them to see me be passionate and excited, just like them.

How about you? Do you make creativity a priority? Do you think all adults are creative?

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Shop Update

Last month was an exciting month on the shop front. I had, what I would consider, my first successful show.

And I mean success in a variety of ways. There was, of course, conventional success. People bought my shirts. They bought my napkins. I went home with less inventory and more money. And that was nice, obviously.

But the success of the show was more than that. I got to talk to people. Real people. About my *art* (gasp!). I got to get honest reactions and feedback. I got to find out what people thought and liked. I got ideas…

Like this. I had already done the first two lyrics to the song, but a customer wanted all three. She was willing to get just the two and buy an elephant for the third kiddo, but I decided to work with her.

Because that’s the awesome thing about this gig. I get to make things that, hopefully, make people smile. And that’s pretty awesome.

And it doesn’t just stop there, or with that one woman. Over at my Etsy shop, I get frequent requests from customers who see something they like in the shop but want something just a bit different – different color print, different size, different sleeve length. And they ask.

And, most of the time, I get to say Yes! Yes, I can make that for you! (Just look at my Sold Items page, it is overwhelmed by my little Custom Order icon)

And then I do.

And I get to feel a bit like a magician.

Yup, this gig is pretty awesome.

The fact that I can do it while staying home with my little ones and loving on my dear “assistants,” major bonus!

(Oh, and there is still time if you’d like to place an order for the holidays. Just get in touch!)

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