Unless you are wealthy, you will need to have a day-job if not for a part, then for all of your art career. It is just a fact of life for creative entrepreneurs, and you are an “entrepreneur” if you are trying to make a living from your creative abilities.

The ideal day job is one that has health insurance, retirement, paid vacation and sick leave. It also needs to not mentally or physically drained, so you still have the energy to create when not on the job. Even better is one with the flexible hours. Cream on the top is one that does not drain you but enriches your creativity.

There are plusses and minuses to having a day job. If can drain you as mentioned above, but it can also give you the financial freedom to explore creative areas you may be hesitant to look into if not for the security of knowing the necessary bills paid.

I currently have a day job, in a small rural public library. It forces me to step away from my house and out into the world of humans. If I did not have it, I’m not so sure I would step out of my home office/studio nearly as often as I do. My plan initially was to work there for one year. That was roughly fifteen years ago.

One of my coworkers retired over the weekend. It has made me stop and REALLY look at where I am in my work. Honestly, I am not where I want to be at all. There have been some personal hiccups the last few years I could use an excuse. But, the fact is I have not been giving it the attention it needs to thrive.

So what do I do?

  • I look at where I am right now, with open and honest eyes. I need to ask myself where are things are going and what do I need to change? This is continually happening if you are in charge of creating your own income.
  • What new skills do I need to obtain to get things back on track? Where can I receive them to fit my budget and schedule? This is somewhere where my day job is aligned almost perfectly with my side hustle. Many things I can use for one, I can use for the other. There are those sweet times where I get paid to learn something that benefits both.
    Day-job for creatives

    Inservice for day-job meant getting in on a Skype conversation with the Managing Editor of Snopes.com

What makes the perfect day-job for a creative entrepreneur, from your perspective?

Blocking Knits eBook Progress:

Blocking knits shawl in progress

The goal is to have an ebook on blocking your knits available by November the 7th, 2017. All swatches are made, and a rough draft created. As some of you might recall, I initially started this ebook about a year ago. Life and other priorities caused it to be put on the back burner, so I am anxious to get it completed and up on the site ASAP.

Of course, I need a full-size shawl to also block as an example. It’s October, our local school district colors are orange and black, so it’s not difficult to guess the color of yarn I chose to use.

Artist Alley 2017

The passing of September here in southeast Kansas also means that we JUST enjoyed Artist Alley in Chanute, Kansas. I can’t help but also include a few images of some of my favorite pieces and a short video.

http://www.humemarbleco.com

Dew Baskets on Facebook

BTW by purchasing a local artist work, I was able to publically say: “He’ll be dropping my pot off later,” and not worry a person in uniform would show up at my Kansas doorstep. I should also note that living in a small town has its perks: I can plot a murder mystery while out to dinner together with hubby, and know that if anyone overhears me, they would not be concerned for someone’s safety.

Bob Cross on Facebook

Road to Disovery

A task of discovery

I am usually a very analytical minded person. So, I make lists and plan. This weekend I am off four days in a row from my day job. Instead of checking things off my to-do list I am hiding out in my office and writing as much as I can. I am working on a novel. It is semi-autobiographical, and I can’t tell you what it is about exactly. Because well I am not sure I know. I started it over ten years ago and at the moment I going back through all my notes to deepen what I already began.

I am usually a very analytical minded person. So, I make lists and plan. This weekend I am off four days in a row from my day job. Instead of checking things off my to-do list I am hiding out in my office and writing as much as I can. I am working on a novel. It is semi-autobiographical, and I can’t tell you what it is about exactly. Because well I am not sure I know. I started it over ten years ago, and at the moment I am going back through all my notes to deepen what I had.

I want a good solid draft from beginning to end, so I don’t have a deadline at the moment. Right now I am relishing the freedom to see where it takes me and enjoying the challenge.

For those that do not know me personally, I see myself as very socially awkward. I am much more at home in front of a project, alone. Even marketing is taking a back seat for now.

Knitting?

For right now I am only working on knitting projects that for me to work on while thinking. So charted, or more challenging projects are not a priority. Garter stitch is truly my friend. Expect to see some basic shawls and scarfs by the end of the year.

Other projects?

In the last few days, I dug out all of my older nonfiction ebooks. The ones I have been saying need rewritten for several years now? I have each one ready to proof and comb through. The analytical side of me has time set aside for just that type of work. But for today….I am relishing in the process of discovery.

 

The goal this weekend was to spring clean my side hustle. I watched a video by Secret Blogger, suggesting every so often we need to dig in and get those necessary mundane tasks completed. Doing so will help our workflow better the rest of the year. Labor Day is the perfect time to do this since I want to dive back into this thing head first

side hustle

I work a part-time day job elsewhere, and my work schedule there changes when we go to Winter hours. I know, it’s Kansas, Labor Day, and not Winter, but that’s what we call it. (Summer/Winter)

So anyway, I decided to use her tips as a guide as to what to accomplish this weekend.

To paraphrase:

  • Physically declutter the workspace. File everything that needs to be presented, clean EVERYTHING off the actual desktop and clean up the digital files on your computer. Then decide if your space need a lift. Does it need a new plant? Does it need Inspirational quotes, etc…

Mine could need all of the above. The wine helped. Don’t judge.

  • Clean up your routine and systematize two or three tasks. Create checklist(s), for each task.

Working on those items, I feel better just knowing, I now know for sure what I need to systematize.

  • Spring clean business commitments. Get rid of tasks you realllllyyy don’t want to do, or that just don’t serve you.

This one was easy. I have gotten very good at saying “No.” It has taken me a lot of years. No need to explain why I can’t.

Just, “No.”

Next!

  • Spring clean those little business tasks that you need to finish that you keep putting off for another day.

That day is today. Sort through those papers, make those phone calls, and FIND that phone number you need to complete that task.

My goal is to have these spring cleaning business tasks done by the end of the day. I can then start the week hitting the ground running. BTW this blog post was one of those things I needed to complete.

Side hustleOn another note:

I have wanted to find somewhere I can locally take my laptop and get work done, outside of the house. Monday’s and Tuesdays are the tricky days. As much as I love my hubby, his schedule has him home those days, and I find I get less done when he is home.

This is one reason why I am SOOO happy to see a new pizza restaurant open on the local town square. It is within walking distance, reasonably priced, and the hours they are open work perfect for me. I live in a town of less than 2K, so when the Public Library is not open, my options are limited.

We must have gotten there today before the other locals discovered it was open. An hour later most all tables were full.

So, the unofficial fall has begun. Let’s kick its booty!

Writing in KansasWriting in Rural Kansas

Last month (June 2017) my mother would have been 82, she passed in February.

Here is the thing, life is short.

I have first drafts completed of more novels than I care to mention, and screenplays. They are all rough; nothing edited. At this point, I would NEVER actually show any of it to anyone.

Growing up in rural Kansas I did not know anyone that wrote for a living, or even just for fun. Writing? It wasn’t on my radar.

For many reasons, I eventually put things I wrote for my art students, and I found it sold. I still did not think of myself as a “Writer.” I told myself that nonfiction is “practical,” it is not like fiction, which seemed so self-indulgent.

I did not pay much attention in my English classes. Why would I need English? After all, I was going to paint!

(I at this moment I formally apologize to all my former English instructors.)

You probably know where this is going, huh?

I expect things to be a bit wobbly and uncertain for me in the coming months. Natalie Goldberg says to give yourself at least two years of practice writing. Take that time to find your voice and discover what matters to you. I am impatient and hesitant to say I can wait two years. But whatever journey I am on, I am telling myself I am now officially taking the first REAL steps. Be that two years, or twenty. Wherever it takes me, I’m game.

Note: When organizing this weekend I came across the item shown above. If you are not familiar, Nancy Pickard is a respected Kansas author. At some point in the journey of wanting to write, we crossed paths. Sadly I can’t say for sure when, or where it happened. But I do know, this weekend the inscription above was just what I wanted/needed to read!

Basic Color Theory

The following information is a basic understanding of color theory for creatives.

Color Theory For Creatives

Basic Color Wheel

Primary Colors – Red, Yellow and Blue are the basics of color mixing. They can not be made by themselves. From these three colors, all the other colors are created.

Secondary Colors – Violet, Green, and Orange, are the colors that are produced secondly by mixing the primary colors.

Color Theory For Creatives

Examples of  – Subtractive Color Theory  / Additive Color Theory

Subtractive Color – If you add its three primaries (Red, Green, Blue), the result is white.

Additive Color – When the primaries cyan, magenta and yellow are mixed the end result is black. This is the color theory we are using here.

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Color Schemes

Color Theory For Creatives
Complementary Colors –  Opposite each other on the color wheel. For instance, the compliment of Blue is Orange, the compliment of Red is Green, etc…

Color Theory For Creatives

Split Complementary –  Made by using a color AND the two colors next to its compliment. Such as by using Red, and then using Yellow and Blue.

Color Theory For Creatives

Triadic Color – Schemes are made by any three colors that appear an equal distance from each other on the color wheel, such as Red, Yellow, and Blue.

Color Theory For Creatives

Analogous – Color Scheme is made by colors next to each other on the color wheel.

Color Theory For Creatives

Monochromatic – Color Scheme is made from one color or hue with multiple values and intensities.

Color Theory For Creatives
Warm colors – Represent a feeling of warmth or heat such as Red, Orange, and Yellow.

Color Theory For Creatives

Cool Colors – Represent a feeling of coolness and chill, such as blue, blue-green and violet.
Color Theory For Creatives

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Value Scale – The amount of light and dark that is shown. The less value the lighter it is.

Color Theory For Creatives Color Theory For Creatives

Contrast – The difference in values. The strongest contrast can be seen by placing the two extremes next to each other. When two lesser extremes are next to each other, they are said to have low contrast. The closer they are in value, the lower they are in contrast.

Color Theory For Creatives

Tints – Created by adding White to a value. In the case of hand-coloring, printing the white would be added by using the paper and having a transparent color wash.

Color Theory For Creatives
Tones – Created by adding Black to a value. In the case of hand-coloring the artist will either add a bit of black to the color or use the existing shades of grey already in the image.

Elements of Design

Originally posted in July 2013.

Blacksmithing Art How To

Why blacksmiths? If you had a weekend to learn anything creative, what would you want to learn?

I asked this question on our Facebook group a few months back and was surprised by the answers. I assumed, and wrongly that most people would put “drawing,” “painting,” “knitting,””and so forth. But no, what I saw were things like “blacksmith,” “glass blowing,” and “welding”. Things that I have been curious about but haven’t pursued.

I decided to begin a search, to find these people in our area of the country. The ones that use materials not always associated with the arts.

This past weekend such an opportunity dropped right into my lap. A group of blacksmiths was doing a demonstration in my small community of Humboldt, KS. Because I needed to work my day job, my husband was kind enough to take some images and video for me. Admittedly, it took some coaxing to convince him to take time out of his day off, to take a few pics of the demo. When stating my case, I told him it wouldn’t take more than “thirty minutes to an hour tops!”. It wound up becoming more like a couple of hours. Not because they were slow, or he was pokey. It was that he simply found watching them incredibly exciting.

As the opportunities arise, I will share images and videos of other topics that people said they would like to see. If you know of any glassblowers, weavers, bookmakers, etc.. in the area, please drop me a line through this webpage, social media, or just email.

To start things off, I would like to share with you a few images from Saturday afternoon with the “Free State Blacksmith Club”. https://www.facebook.com/freestateblacksmithclub

Blacksmiths Art How To

Artist How To Blacksmithing

Artist How To Blacksmithing

Lace SwatchesYou make swatches right? For every project? I know, I know… It seems like SUCH a hassle. And really what difference does blocking make? Well if you what to improve the appearance of your knitting, it can make a BIG difference.

If you don’t make swatches already, today is a great time to start! You want to make your swatch out of the same fiber you plan for your final project. This will help you see any possible problems ahead of time. Like BEFORE you invest days or weeks of time, and your hard earned money creating your gorgeous masterpiece.

Although it may seem annoying to create a swatch or sample, it can save you a great deal of time and frustration down the road.

Benefits of making a swatch:

  • It will tell you how the fiber works with your planned stitch.
  • You get an idea of the drape of the knit fabric.
  • Tells you if the fiber will hold up for its intended purpose.

Simply knit a square at least 4 inches in the same stitch pattern you intend to use. Because stockinette stitch can curl on its own, it helps to add a border of the garter or seed stitch. If you are using cables, lace, etc… in addition to stockinette or garter, include them. The point is to do a sample of the stitches used in your final project.

You will then block it by using the appropriate method. Be sure to check the yarn’s ball band for care information.

Benefits of blocking a swatch:

  • Tells you if the color in fiber will run.
  • You get to witness the drape and feel of the knitted fabric.
  • Tells you if fibers will shrink or stretch out of shape.

Basic methods of blocking:

  1. Spray Blocking – Gentlest of all the methods and works well for more delicate fibers. Pin swatch into shape and gently use a spray bottle to add moisture to the fibers.
  2. Wet Blocking/Immersion – Soaking your item in water, shaping, then allowing to dry. Works well with animal fibers, especially when using a lace stitch.
  3. Steam – Shape and add moisture to your item with steam from an iron or steamer. Cotton work well with this method. Do not use on human-made fibers. Do not touch your iron directly to the fiber, instead float the steam just above the surface allowing it soak into the fibers.

Blocking swatchesOnce you know the method you will try:

  • Select a surface to apply the blocked item, one that is appropriate to pin the item down and allowed to dry. Blocking mats, furniture, carpeted floor, or a quilted surface often work well.
  • Enough stainless steel pins to shape the swatch.
  • A clean, dry, safe location to leave the item to air dry for approximately 24 hours.

This post discusses just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to blocking. Test things out and see what methods work best for you and your knitting needs.

If you want to be informed when our eBook on “Blocking Your Knits” becomes available, or updates on our other projects, please sign up here.

Yarn stash colors inspiresAs I planned for 2017, I asked the question “Who, living or dead, imaginary or real, inspires you? Who would I have as my board of adviser’s?”. Who inspires you to take it to the next level? When thinking about setting out on this adventure, the following people came to the forefront. (In no particular order)

Mark Lipinski http://marklipinski.com/

Mark Lipinksi, everyone’s favorite “Cupcake”! Although he is not a knitter, he is still important. As he says, “My life is just a series of awkward and humiliating moments separated by snacks.” He is a joy to hear and often says what I wish I had the nerve to say. He would be the one to tell me to be authentic, stop worrying what others thought, and eat the frosting first.

Marly Bird http://www.marlybird.com/

Marly is the national spokesperson for RedHeart yarn. I was not familiar with her until her grandmother and aunt told me about her in my day job (Library). Creatives are told about a cousin, brother, or family member that also create in a said medium.  In this case, I only wish I had heard of her sooner. Her podcast brightens my day, makes me laugh and motivates me to continue creating.

Alice Starmore https://www.virtualyarns.com/

She was masterful. Her work beyond compare. Amazing. I can only aspire to be half the fiber artist she personifies.

Meg Swanson and Elizabeth Zimmermann http://www.schoolhousepress.com/

Meg Swanson and Elizabeth Zimmermann. Mother and daughter knitting heroes. Elizabeth is considered the American guru of knitting. She took something she instinctively knew how to do, made it accessible and shared it with the masses. Her daughter and granddaughter continue that legacy today.

Kaffee Fassett http://www.kaffefassett.com/

One word: “Color.”

Mary Walker Phillips http://cprhw.tt/p/2AukR/

Mary Walker Phillips helped take knitting into the world of fine art. She showed that it was possible to be creative and expressive with simple needles and yarn. That it simply was “more.”

So there you have it. Seven people that help keep my creative juices flowing. Who would be on your list?

Bullet journal created and goals set. It’s time to get this year going!

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