Linwood Avenue


craft wars and disappointments

business, crafttiffin mills4 Comments
so last week, on twitter, tori spelling (yes, i follow her :) tweeted about a new show on tlc that she was hosting called "craft wars" which is due out this summer. and that is when my heart stopped. literally, i think it skipped a few beats, and then my mouth hung open in disbelief and the disappointment hit me.

i make a rule never to post things on this blog about what might be or could possibly be happening to me because i firmly (and irrationally) believe that announcing it will jinx the whatever. sort of how you are never supposed to tell what you wish for when you blow out your birthday candles or your wish won't come true. but since this wish does not seem like it is going to happen, here goes...

back in december, i saw a few tweets about a casting agency looking for crafters for a new show tentatively titled "ultimate craft throwdown" which would be similar to the food network show "cupcake wars". no more brief than that, no producer name, no network name, it was very vague. i am not a center of attention kind of person and i never thought in a million years i would ever do a reality show (even though i am obsessed with all reality tv), but the crafter in me squealed loudly in delight. i thought "i can totally do this, and i can definitely win" seriously, confidence overflowing. because if there is one thing i am not modest about, it is my art.

i went to work designing a crazy cute one sheeter explaining why i would be perfect for the show. and guess what? i wanted something that would stand out from a plain email with jpgs attached. it worked, i got noticed and when i got a CALL from the casting director, the inner crafter in me squealed again, only louder this time! in this day and age of emails and texting, i thought a phone call was huge - she probably just wanted to see that i wasn't some loon. in fact, i think she even said to me, you seem totally normal :) next i was asked to find an assistant for the show if i was chosen and shoot a video outlining our personal styles and what we make, which would be 3-5 minutes long. i picked jenni as my assistant because she has mad styling and crafting skills and i know her enthusiasm for life would shine through on tv. i had never made a video before, but we tacked it on a sunday, and i think it turned out really cute, especially since i am a complete amateur with video editing.

after the video was submitted, i went through a few more rounds of giving information to the casting director and then jenni and i had to sign a ton of release forms for our submission video and then the waiting happened. i knew they were hoping to shoot sometime in february, and i figured they had a ton of submissions to weed through and that was why i wasn't hearing anything, but i still felt really confident that we would be picked. it was that eerie kind of calm confidence too which totally threw me off.

at this point, i still did not know which network wanted this show or who was involved. so that brings you up to last week when i read the tweet and my heart stopped. the show tori was tweeting about is called "craft wars" but in my gut, i knew it was the same show i auditioned for and never heard back from. i still don't know 100%, but i did some snooping and found a press release which talks about the show and references the same casting agency i was working with. such a bummer! so that's it, that's my story.

it would have been such a super cool thing to be part of and now that i know who is involved - oh, forgot to mention michaels is the sponsor as well, i am just so sad about the missed opportunity. being on a reality show for my crafting is something i never gave much thought to, but now that the opportunity was in my view for a short time, i want it so much. i want to be able to show the viewing audience what i can create and my point of view. i think that i have such fresh, new ideas and i would have loved the opportunity to stand out from the crowd.

did any of you apply to the show? do you know who is going to be on it? i figure in this small craft/blogging world that we exist in, we are bound to be familiar with some of the contestants. 

the moral of this novel? every time you read online about this person getting a book contract, or that person getting a licensing contract, or this person being picked to be on a craft reality show, they too have a past filled with rejections that they just aren't talking about.

color and canvases

crafttiffin mills1 Comment
is this not one of the most beautiful pieces of tatting you have ever seen?

i am not biased at all because  a) i did not make it and b) i don't even own it.

my artsy friend, jenni horne bought it a few weeks ago and i had to borrow it to drool over for a little while. if i can't own it myself, i can at least photograph it, right?

learning to tat has been on my wish list for many, many years now. at one point in time, i even checked out an ancient how to book from the library, but it sat on my studio table for 2 weeks without the spine even being cracked and then it was time for it to go back to the library. then when i was home over thanksgiving, my mom and i were going through her art supplies and she showed me a bunch of tatting needles from my grandmother and that sparked my interest once again. i have a feeling 2012 is my year to learn to tat... at least it sounds good in march, someone check back with me in december.

speaking of my friend jenni, she is starting a really lovely blog project here. click through to read all the details, but the short of it is she turned 40 on monday and is dedicating her entire 40th year to painting a canvas a week. at the end she will have 52 canvas and a gallery show to show for all her hard work.

confessions and label reading

crafttiffin mills5 Comments

while i was working in the oilcloth addict booth a few weeks ago, kirsten and i were talking about crafting. she was selling these sweet headbands that included flowers like the ones in the photo above and i asked her how she does it without burning her fingers. these have been floating around the internet for a while now and i know they shouldn't be super hard to make, but after 2, i was done. or i should say, my fingers were done as in burned to a crisp. all i wondered was "is everyone enduring this pain???"

she then asked me very sweetly if i was using a lo-temp glue gun. a what? this is so embarrassing to say, but i am not much of a package reader. when they stopped selling the oval glue gun sticks that were needed for my college glue gun, i went to the store and picked up another one.

the large navy glue gun on the left is the one i picked. i remember reasoning that i should have a heavy duty as it would be better and last me many more years. i just thought that the larger ones were for more serious crafters - not for hotter glue. haha!

so the other day, i went to the craft store, and sure enough, lo-temp glue guns really exist. seriously, what rock have i been living under? i have been laughing about my stupidity for a few weeks now. i put the small aqua gun to work and no burned fingers, that's all it took.

now i just have to find the time to go back to the store to return the package of glow in the dark glue sticks i bought by mistake because i didn't read the package well enough :)

sleeping and dreaming

business, craft, embroidery, flowertiffin mills2 Comments

i haven't been sleeping very well lately. i try to go to bed early, but then before i know it, 2 hours have passed and i am still awake. thinking is my problem, i can't seem to tell my brain to be quiet!

for a while now, i have felt like i am on the right path in my life, but that maybe, maybe i haven't found that one bitty step that is missing. like i am almost to a place where my art can be recognizably mine. where someone can see something on a blog or at a show and know that it is something that i have created. but what is that one little step? what have i been missing? these are the questions i ponder.

during one 2 hour stretch of sleeplessness, i listed in my head all the things i am drawn to. at the top of this list was...

1. flowers
2. colored pencils
3. fabric
4. buttons
5. embroidery
6. graphic design
7. bright vibrant colors
8. ribbon
9. milk glass (of which i have a huge collection)
10. black ink drawing pens

that's it, this is what i think about at night when i can't sleep. i ran through many different creative ideas and think i have finally settled on something which has me so excited. it is something that incorporates all of my loves above which means i won't get as bored with a technique as i usually do. you see, i don't want to create one product and mass produce only that one product. i never want to take the creating part out of the equation.

i feel like my studio has been a little testing space all week. i cannot wait to get started in the morning and hate to stop in the afternoon. i am even pulling out paints, which if you know me, you know that is a rare thing. i am working on finishing my first idea and then i will put it out in the world and cross my fingers that you all will love it as much as i do. because i really do, and i can see it taking me far, far down my path :)

felt and roses

craft, flowertiffin mills1 Comment

idle hands just don't happen at my house. i simply cannot sit around without my hands crafting something. sometimes it is really, really annoying! my latest project are these trendy felt roses. i have seen them everywhere and once i learned how to make them, i knew why. they are so easy!

you can find instructions all over the internet, but for a quick tutorial, all you do is start with a 2 - 3 inch circle of felt. then you cut a spiral into the felt, just going around and around in a circle until you reach the center. starting with the outer end, begin curling towards the center. when you finish, you have a small circle of felt that can be glued to the back to hold everything into place. i then took brightly colored head pins and stuck them through the center. best of all is it's a great way to use up all those felt scraps you have lying around the house.

rocking and rolling

business, craft, festivals, gifts, sewingtiffin mills1 Comment

with the start of school, i feel like summer is winding down. which means i need to stop rocking my days away and get in the fast lane. with my new found free time, i am so motivated to finish up projects with loose ends and start knocking out new items on my to do list. among other things, this is what i have in store for the weeks ahead...

  • finish my brothers quilt (enough already, his birthday is just a few weeks away!)
  • start my love quilt (which i have been dreaming about daily)
  • string ties onto my new bookmarks (i bought this brightly colored bakers twine which is going to be perfect!)
  • source stores to wholesale my botanical prints to (so exciting)
  • whip up some festive holiday items for my show in october (think silver pipe cleaners and tree bark)
  • start searching for patterns and fabric for the munchkins halloween costumes (not sure i can beat the knight costumes i made a few years back)
i am sure many more items will be added, but i need to get through my tivo list before i can begin to add anything else :)

friends and business

business, crafttiffin mills7 Comments

recently, i have formed a great little safety net of artistic friends around me. there is a painter, a jewelry designer, a photographer, and me, kind of an all-around-crafter (in a good way). a huge road block about working from home is the lack of creative input and interaction, and we all have been feeling it. to fix this dilemma, we decided to start having monthly "business meetings" and let me tell you, the ideas flying around the room are indispensable. today was our second meeting and the topic was our blogs. each one of us is in a different stage of our artistic career path and we all have ideas and input on different topics. i am kind of the tech geek and bring my design skills to layout. another is great at integrating social media such as twitter and facebook into their blogs. and it goes on from there. every person has invaluable input that we never would never have thought of as individuals. it is an atmosphere free of competition and judging and i just love the energy!

do you ever feel challenged and unsure about what products you are putting out into the world? if so, focus on creative friends around you, because i bet they are feeling the same way. try getting together once a month and only talk about your art - no kid chatter, no recipe chatter, only art. you will be amazed how many business building items creep onto your to-do list once you leave!

goals and dreams

business, crafttiffin mills7 Comments

kelly rae roberts' taking flight ecourse began yesterday and i am quickly realizing that i need to outline goals for my creative business in order to move forward and get the most from the class. so here they are…

small goals:
  • be published in a national magazine by the end of the year
  • create a calendar with my botanical drawings and find a publisher for it. month to month in flowers, but with a modern, youthful twist
  • purchase linwood avenue embroidered labels for my products regardless of cost
  • become a much better product photographer
  • keep my etsy shop update regularly
  • save money to attend an art retreat

big goals:
  • enter the world of licensing. would love to design and reproduce vintage inspired lamps
  • expand linwood avenue so it overshadows my graphic design business

blog goals:
  • have my blog become a place of creative inspiration for readers
  • build my blog followers
  • have a larger tutorial section

all of these goals have been cataloged in my brain for quite some time and i have been taking steps to achieve many of them. however, for these goals to happen, one thing i must realize and truly believe is that my path of creativity is no less artistic than a traditional painter or sculpture. this is something i have struggled with for many years and i guess my creative doubt has held me back at times. "crafting" has more or less always been a four letter word to me. why? i really have no idea, it is just a "truth" i have made up and have chosen to believe. today, i am going to make a conscious effort to change this negative thinking!

as i put my goals out into the universe, i ask for your help. if you find something inspiring here at my online linwood avenue home, "follow" me, blog about my content, tell your friends about me and in return, i will try my best to post more tutorials and come up with fresh creative inspiration on a day to day basis.

now, what are your creative goals???

ecourse and inspiration

craft, ttvtiffin mills2 Comments
i took the plunge and signed up for kelly rae roberts' ecourse today. the course outlines all aspects of running a creative business and i am looking forward to a ton of inspiration! since i am sure there will be a lot of items added to my to do list, i am going to work double time this weekend to check off what i already have to do. first up on the list is to update this blog. stay tuned for some changes, hopefully good!