Sunday, February 27, 2011

It's resume time...and I think I am going to be sick...

It's that time of year again. It's the time of year when my palms get all sweaty, my head starts to ache, I get that nauseous feeling in the pit of my stomach , and I would much rather hide under the rug... it's resume and cover letter time!

Every spring, schools start posting their open positions for next year. I wade through hundreds of listings for math, language arts and special education to look for that coveted art position. This year, I am starting my search not only in Ohio, but Virginia, North and South Carolina and Georgia (I think it is time to move some where much warmer than Ohio). Eventually, the search will widen even further when very few opportunities arise. Let's just say, so far, the prospective positions can be counted on one hand with extra fingers to spare. It is still early in the year still, so surely more will pop up.

I don't know what it is about resumes and cover letters; I just freeze up. I don't know what to say or write about myself, even though I have have been me for the past 23 years. I know where I went to school, what I studied, how I learn, what I enjoy doing, how I like to operate, how I like to teach, what I think is important for students to know and learn, and how to help students learn. I know how to paint, draw, sculpt, sew, make jewelry, carve, etch, print, form, shape, and manipulate materials in other ways to create. I know how to display and exhibit student work in interesting ways.

I know all of these things, but to put it down on paper in a formal way that sounds appealing is really hard for me for some reason. It's not like my Etsy shop. Someone can't just mark me as a favorite because they like the way I explained how to use more highlights in a drawing to offset their deep shadowing or because I explained why one shade of purple works better than another in their painting. Instead, I have to sell myself through my resume and cover letter. A daunting task to say the least.

I will  now stop blogging about working on my resume and go work on it...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Maybe it's time...

So, I have been thinking, perhaps it is nearly time to do what I've always wanted to do... quit my day job and spend my time making and selling my creative concoctions. It's not that I hate my job by any means, it's just not what I where I am meant to be. It's not quite what I signed up for. I was signing up to work in a close knit environment, in a particular classroom, M-F on a set schedule, where we follow the licensing rules set by the state as to how a daycare should run. So far, nothing has held true. I could handle being over qualified, the low pay, the lack of benefits, constantly being conned into staying late or swapping rooms so others can go do whatever they want, working through the stomach flu, spending my evenings and weekends running all over for bogus "classes" without any compensation, having to get stuff for my toddlers out of pocket, and the general panic due to lack of organization or enforcement of policies. But... I think today marks the next-to-the-last straw... a mandatory, unpaid meeting on a Sunday morning... so much for 48 hours to myself. I think i should move into work permanently. Just live there. I wouldn't have to waste my gas for weekend meetings. Who in their right mind schedules SUNDAY meetings?! I always felt that Sundays are a day for family, quietness and relaxing a little before Monday and the crazy week returns. I sure won't be spending that day as one of those rare days off with my husband.

I work all day (I usually sew on my lunch break), and when I finally get home, I put in another 4-5 hours each weeknight on something related to my Etsy shop. Then, on Saturdays and Sundays, I get up early so I can catch the tiny amount of sunshine I may have so I can take my photographs. Since it is winter, and since my apartment faces the wrong way, I have about a 1-2 hour window of opportunity IF the weather is decent enough. Since I live in Ohio and it is always cruddy in the winter, I may go a week or two without good lighting. After all my photos are taken, THEN I can get to work with whatever I have slated for the day. Since it is the weekend and my only two days off work, I tend to slow down as Monday looms closer. I have to get the laundry done, catch up on the dusting and sweeping, go grocery shopping, etc. Somehow, I even find time to spend with my husband a couple nights a week.

It becomes physically exhausting chasing 12 toddlers around all day at work, coming home and doing the housework, and working on my Etsy shop. I am being brave and signed up for a craft show in May, so I have been working extra hard on getting everything organized and ready to go while creating enough to stock my shelves. I go, go, go all day from the time I get up until the time I go to bed. (Let's just say, I get about 6-7 hours of sleep on an early night.)

I am starting to wonder if it is time to stop dreaming big and start acting on those dreams.
I have a degree to teach K-12 Art, and would very much love to get a real teaching job in a public school. Last year provided me very few opportunities and zero interviews. I am hoping this year will turn up something. There is nothing like being in an art room full of students ready to learn and have fun! The art room is where I get to be who I truly am.
But, there is another idea...
I have always thought it would be really awesome to create and sell my stuff in a little shop of my own. And not just my stuff, but promote stuff other people have made. To have other people to work with and beside that have a creative spirit- people who can all feed off of each other's creative energy and positive vibes. Perhaps we have a little place where we can sit and have coffee while we discuss new ideas, give each other feedback and enjoy each other's company. Perhaps, we get together and collaborate on a big project here or there. Perhaps, we have a little studio space where we can each have our own corner to work in so we don't have to work on our living room floors in the dark by ourselves. Perhaps, we make our living using the talents given to us to make the world a more beautiful or informed place. Perhaps there is a sculptor, a painter, and drawer, a potter, a sewer, a knitter, a weaver, a designer, an illustrator, or a jewelry artist... and we all get along with out debating whether or not our vehicle of expression is art, a fine art, a craft or a type of hobby. Perhaps we all find value in each other's work and expressions without having to justify our work by whether or not it solves some social issue. Perhaps, at the end of the day it is about creating something that didn't exist that morning and having a place to share it... and maybe make a few bucks so that we can create something again tomorrow.

Yes, I have my Etsy shop, and I enjoy it (even though online sales are a little down this month- but I have had quite of few sales on the side so it's not sooo bad), but perhaps it is time to move to a physical place and establish a presence locally. I have been crunching the numbers to see about a semi-permanent spot at a local marketplace for at least the summer. I would need a lot of sales to make it worthwhile enough to leave my day job, and because of the days I would be committed to- there is no room for both. There are a lot of what-ifs. What if it flops? What if I grossly miscalculated? What if I have to go back to my day job? Can I? What if it takes off? What if I can't keep up enough inventory? What if I like it so much I never want to go back to a regular job? What if I can't do it on my own? What if I mess something up? What would happen at the end of the season? So far, my husband's main question is, "Can you confidently say you can make X amount of sales each month to make it pay off?" So far, I can't promise anything like that because there are too many variables, but isn't that the name of the game? "The life of the artist" so to speak? If a friend or two wanted to embark on such a journey with me, I could see it as completely do-able. I like to figure stuff out and create, so perhaps something like this is what I need to keep me happy and on my toes...

The only Sunday morning meetings I will schedule will be between me and my husband over a plate of homemade waffles and a cup of coffee.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dear Mother Nature

Dear Mother Nature,
I am tired of the snow and the cold.
Please make it stop and let the sun shine!
I am ready to see sun, green grass, and colorful flowers!
Thanks.
Love,
Me

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Since I am being snowed in again, I will get back to work :)

Over the weekend I was able to do a major inventory of my supplies and in-stock products.
I also got quite a few things started and/or finished!
In progress:

  • Felt sushi rolls (2 dozen each of: cali rolls 1& 2, boston rolls, raw fish)
  • Royal purple, teal, golden yellow octopuses
  • donuts (almost done with rounds, then on to the "eclairs"!)
  • Poppy Pins
  • pop tart pouches
  • Colorful elephants and monkeys

Finished:
  • 1 donut box
  • some donuts
  • 3 Poppy Pins (requested by a friend-working on more)
  • Some photographs
  • Inventory

Want to start:
  • More phone/kindle pouches in fun new designs- open for suggestions!  ;)
  • Sushi Take-out boxes
  • Donut boxes
  • New sushi pieces
  • Easter/spring chicks (baby pink, sky blue, spring green)
  • Fruit and veggies

Spring Gifts for Lovely Girls

My felt strawberries were included in the
Spring Gifts for Lovely Girls
treasury by Madebydolly on Etsy!

Good Enough To Eat Treasury

Today my Deluxe Sandwich Playset was included in a treasury on Etsy!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Monday, February 14, 2011

Crafting in Color (Etsy Team)



This week I was accepted onto the Crafting in Color Etsy team! 


Our goal is to keep Etsy bright & colorful, and show that bright colors are not just for summer!


Find us on:
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/groups/cicteam/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/cicteametsy
Tumblr: http://craftingincolor.tumblr.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/craftingincolor


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Deluxe Sandwich Lunch Playset

Today's menu includes a deluxe handmade sandwich: 
turkey
bologna
swiss cheese
American cheese
2 slices of bacon
lettuce
2 slices of tomato
4 pickles (or cucumbers depending on your taste or imagination)
ketchup
mustard 
...All between two hearty slices of white bread!
Your lunch bag also includes a bag of potato chips. 
If you don't care for this huge sandwich, peanut butter and jelly are also included!

Deluxe Sandwich Lunch Playset is made with eco-friendly felt and polyester fill (made from recycled materials in the USA). Is not recommended for children who may put pieces in their mouths.

Available soon at:
Live.Dream.Create.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I love my sketchbook!

Nothing makes me happier than the sight and smell a new box of crayons, or the smell of a new pack of construction paper... or opening up a brand new sketchbook for the first time!
Micheal's had a buy one get one free deal on Strathmore 400 series sketch books- my all time favorite because I like the way the paper feels and handles everything from pencil to pen to sharpies! I always get the green recycled ones too!

I love my sketchbooks and I find the 5.5 by 8.5 inch size perfect for taking along with me wherever I go. I sketch, draw, write, doodle, list, check, glue, staple, cut, tear, fold and mark down anything from inspiration, to random thoughts, to new ideas I can't wait to try! (Occasionally you can find my grocery list and weekly budgets scrawled on the backs of pages!) My sketchbooks are where I am able to get what is out of my brain out and recorded before I lose or forget whatever it is I am thinking. I always find it fun to flip through a sketchbook and see how my thoughts and ideas evolved over time. This week I flipped through my most recent sketchbook to find a TON of things I had forgotten about! The best part is, I am not at a place in time where I can bring those thoughts and ideas to life, and they are even better than when I first thought of them!

I <3 my sketchbooks! I couldn't live without them!

Eggbert

Which came first- the chicken or the egg? How about an egg shaped chicken to solve the problem?

This sunshine yellow baby chick will brighten up anyone's day!

Measures approximately 4 inches tall and 3 inches wide. Wing span of approximately 5.5 inches.

Other colors available upon request (please convo me so I can create a custom listing).

Eco-felt and polyester filling are made from recycled products and are products of the USA.

Handsewn.



Available in my Etsy shop!




Eggbert

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Follow my blog for up-to-date information on my Etsy shop, craft shows, coupons, and my creative noodlings in general!



Use coupon code followme10 in my Etsy shop for 10% off your total order*!
Live.Dream.Create - kklaus.etsy.com


*Coupon code applies to total sale in my Etsy shop only. Coupon does not apply to shipping and sales tax. It is customer's responsibility to enter coupon code during checkout, follow given prompts and links, and apply it completely during transaction. If you do not fully apply the coupon, you will not get your discount! If you are having trouble, please contact me prior to completing your transaction so that I can walk you through the steps.

Some fine tuning- Today's items: Felt Fortune Cookies

As I begin fine-tuning my Etsy shop and preparing for Oddmall, my biggest challenge is "tagging" my items with descriptive words that will make my items easier to find on Etsy. My second biggest challenge is getting enough natural lighting for my photographs. As I work through some of these issues, some of my item listings may appear slightly different than they did before.

Today's re-adjusted items: Felt Fortune Cookies!

3 Felt Fortune Cookies
6 Felt Fortune Cookies
1 Dozen Felt Fortune Cookies

Hopefully the new tags will be more appropriate and make them easier to find. When the sun shines next I will try to get new pictures!  Until then, hope you enjoy!    :)