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Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

Book Review: Sweet and Simple Sewing

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

Sweet and Simple Sewing

Sweet and SimpleSewing
Jessi Jung, Carrie Jung and Lauren Jung
Martingale; $24.99

Do you have spring fever? I certainly do and a look at this book by a mother-and-two- daughters team certainly has lots of inspiration to get thinking spring. The book includes 13 simple and cheery projects. I thought the luggage tag was charming, and the “Celebrations Quilt,” with its ice cream cones, balloons, candy apples and pinwheels is perfect for a child’s birthday party. You’ll find some unexpected projects, including the appliqué dragonfly mounted on canvas and the hand-bound journal.

Is It More Important That You Do It or That It Gets Done?

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

chaos am arbeitsplatzI had a conversation with one of my clients last week about her massive to-do list. She was so busy doing things like shipping and answering emails that she could not work in her brilliance. For her this is designing. And, I can tell you she was frustrated, and her business was suffering from this.

Not delegating for some of us is really about giving up control. It is hard when we know how to do everything correctly. (Do we really?)

And, we think that by the time we show someone how to do it, we could have done it ourselves. Yes, it does take time initially. The end result is worth it.

For others it is not knowing where to start — what to delegate, who to delegate to, and where to find this person.

Here is a system that has worked for me and my clients.

  1. For the next couple of weeks, write down all the tasks you are doing. And, I mean all the tasks. Even personal tasks.
  2. Go back and identify the tasks as Entrepreneurial/Managerial (tasks you must do) or Administrative/Technical (tasks that could be done by someone else). You might even find tasks that are really unnecessary and should be deleted.
  3. Next to those that are Administrative/Technical and assign a dollar amount that you think you could pay someone for doing these tasks.
  4. Sort the tasks by category. You might find some related to your website, some to social media marketing, some to personal items, some to bookkeeping. This will help you identify the type of person — their qualifications — you need to hire.
  5. Identify potential resources where you might find help. Possibilities include assistu.com; ivva.org; odesk.com; elance.com; craigslist.com; your church; your neighborhood; the local shelter; arts groups or guilds you belong to. Once you start thinking in this direction, you will come up with other ideas.
  6. Start with the lowest cost items first or the ones that are most frustrating to you. For many people, bookkeeping is the first task they delegate. Set up expectations for the task, create trainings/procedures for the person you hire, and develop a system to be sure that things get done.

Yes, this takes time, and should be something to revisit on a periodic basis. It is easy to slip back into doing it yourself instead of teaching someone else to do it, especially if the hire does not work out as you expected.

So what should you be delegating that you are not? Who are you going to hire? And, when? Share what one item you are willing to let go of.

If you have taken steps to delegate, or have more questions regarding delegation, please feel free to leave a reply below or on the ICAP Fan Club Facebook page.

 

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE?

Please do! Just use it in its entirety and be sure to include the blurb below:

Morna McEver is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals where creative arts entrepreneurs craft business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a FREE subscription at http://www.creativeartsprofessional.com.

 

 

Are You Practicing The 3 R’s?

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

medium_11236539783What are the 3 R’s, you ask? Recycle, reuse, repurpose. How much of what you create just needs to be spiffed up or re-slanted to make it new? We see it all the time in other areas. Disney is a prime example. They often issue re-releases or special editions of their classics. They recreate the excitement, find additional audiences, and make more sales. How can you do this as a creative arts professional? We are all artists and continually look for something new. Here are some ideas:

  1. If you are a pattern designer, go back to some of your older designs and remake them using different fabrics. Try a really traditional design in contemporary fabrics. Sometimes a fresh or modern look is all that is needed. Now you can re-issue and promote the pattern as a special or anniversary edition.
  2. If you are a teacher, take a look at those classes you have been teaching. Do you need brighter samples to post with the descriptions? Could the class titles be jazzed up a bit? Do you have some faster methods you are now using? The new class, with the jazzed-up title is now Completely Revised or Now With Speed Sewing Techniques. This made me think of food manufacturers with the “new, improved” signs on their products. If it works for them, it will work for you.
  3. If you are a longarm quilter, look at your samples? Are they dated? Try making a set of sample strips using some of those new threads you purchased. You can add them to existing samples, making it all look new again.
  4. If you are a shop owner, repurposing is easy and it is something you are probably doing on a regular basis. When was the last time you redid your displays to give a new look to your shop? Just moving your existing displays can make a difference.
  5. If you make and sell a product or notion, what can you do to update it? For example, if you sell hand-dyed fabrics, perhaps you can tweak the formula just a bit, and add a new color in a limited edition. Or take an existing color and rename it.
  6. For those of us who write and share our work through our newsletters, we can reuse it by posting it on our blogs or on Facebook or other social media.

I am sure you have lots of ideas about how to recycle, reuse, or repurpose your existing product line. Please share them below.

photo credit: Ines Seidel via photopin cc

Book Review: Quotes Illustrated

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

 

Quotes Illustrated
Lesley Riley
Artist Success Press; $22.95

I love art, and I love quotes. Lesley Riley has celebrated both in this collection of 101 works of art inspired by quotes. The art – quilts, mixed-media, photography, watercolor, and more – is inspiring enough. I loved looking at the variety and detail in each work. Add to that the power of words, and you have a winning combination. It included many of my favorite quotes and some that were new to me. Just as soon as I had picked a favorite, I turned the page and found another. Treat yourself to this book; I picked it up as my Thanksgiving gift and use it as I planned to, opening it each morning randomly and letting it set the tone for my day.

Look for the book at your favorite book retailer. Here’s a link to www.Amazon.com if you would like to learn more about the book.

  

Book Review: Imagine

Sunday, October 13th, 2013

Imagine
Jonah Lehrer
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; $26.00

I’m going to start this review with a caveat: the book has been withdrawn from publication because the author fabricated quotes included therein. I was reluctant to include this review because of that, though once I finished the book, which had been recommended by a friend, I could see that it had something to offer this audience. The author, a neuroscientist, takes a look at how creativity works in a variety of situations. He looks at the science and explains it through anecdotes, making it accessible to many who would get bogged down otherwise. Some of what I got from the book: how we solve problems through insight vs analytically; why a relaxed mind is important for creativity; why the morning is better for solving problems when insight is involved; and how the unconcealing process works in creativity. The book has a lot to recommend it, so if you can find it at your local library, it would be worth reading. Just don’t rely on the quotes.

Look for the book at your favorite book retailer. Here’s a link to www.Amazon.com if you would like to learn more about the book.

Book Review: Fabulous Feathers & Fillers

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

Fabulous Feathers & Fillers
Sue Nickels
American Quilter’s Society
$24.95

Award-winning quilter Sue Nickels is known for her outstanding domestic machine quilting and has been teaching machine techniques for more than 22 years. Her goal in Feathers & Fillers is to teach you her technique for creating a shaded wholecloth feather-type motif in any size, shape or style that suits you. She shares all the supplies you need along with her experiences using them. I appreciated her discussion of the sewing room along with pictures of herself quilting, so I could see how she manages the quilt. The conversational tone of the book was great and you felt like you were with her in her studio as she explained how to accomplish what she had. The overwhelming majority of the book focuses on technique so you can really learn. This is followed with nine projects of wholecloth feather designs to use your new found skills. If feathers are your thing, or you want to learn feathers, this is a great resource.

Look for the book at your favorite book retailer. Here’s a link to www.Amazon.com if you would like to learn more about the book.

 

Book Review: Cutting Edge Art Quilts

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

Cutting Edge Art Quilts

Cutting Edge Art Quilts

Mary W. Kerr

Schiffer; $34.99

As Mary Kerr says in the introduction, “There has never been a more exciting time to be a quilter or a lover of beautiful quilts.” The diversity in technique, color, and style abounds and regardless of where you fit in the quilt world, you can find something to capture your interest and inspire you. Mary shares the work of 51 contemporary quiltmakers with more than 260 color images. She has divided the book into six distinct design processes: color play, alternative fibers, thread work, special techniques, 3-D designs and embellishments, and art quilts inspired by photography. Each quilter’s work is accompanied by an artist’s statement, which discusses their inspiration, techniques and dreams. Many of the artists go on to discuss in more detail the specifics as to their techniques and processes. You’ll also find some bonus creative tips included in places. I enjoyed seeing the work of artists I didn’t know as well as revisiting the work of those I did. So grab a glass of iced tea, curl up on the porch and get lost in this book.

Look for the book at your favorite book retailer. Here’s a link to Amazon if you would like to learn more about the book.

Book Review: Quilts from El’s Kitchen

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

Quilts From El's Kitchen-fixed

Quilts from El’s Kitchen
Eleanor Burns
Quilt in a Day; $27.95

Eleanor Burns hosts a year-long block party that is available via livestream on her website. This book is the collection of the patterns plus from 2012. When Eleanor was considering the topic for 2012, someone suggested she create blocks named after food. That was followed by a suggestion that she add in a cooking lesson. You’ll find 6″ and 12″ blocks for Melon Patch and Broken Dishes among others, as well as a 20″ block for Cherry Basket. Of course, they’ll all combine into a large sampler quilt. If a sampler isn’t your choice, you’ll find direction for lots of full-size quilts and wall hangings from the blocks. In addition to the quilt blocks, you can enjoy the recipes that inspired each. The book includes a wire binding so it can lay flat and lots of full-color illustrations to ensure success with your project.

Book Review: Print With Collage and Stitch

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

Print With Collage

Print with Collage and Stitch: Techniques for Mixed-Media Printmaking

Val Holmes
Interweave; $26.95

I loved my printmaking class in college and still have the plates I made. They were all relief printing. In this book well-known teacher and embroiderer Val Holmes shares everything you need to know to use collagraphy in your textile work. Collagraphy uses a plate for printing, only elements are added to the plate rather than taken away yielding exciting and unexpected results. She goes into great depth about how to make a plate and add elements, including stitching, to it. Once you’ve created the plate, you need to make the print, and you aren’t limited to a traditional press. She discusses burnishing, printing with a roller or a flower press, even using your car tires as a press. I found her summary of materials table of what can be added to a plate and how it can be printed useful. And, if you want to use a simple press, Val gives you outlines for building a flower press, a screw-down hand press and an etching press. I found this book to be filled with exciting possibilities.

 

Look for the book at your favorite quilt or book retailer. Here’s a link to Amazon if you would like to learn more about the book.

 

Book Review: Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail Movement

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

BarnQuiltsandtheAmericanQuiltTrailMovement

Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail Movement

by Suzi Parron with Donna Sue Groves
Swallow Press; $29.95

The American Quilt Trail, large colorful quilt blocks painted and mounted on barns, is truly a grassroots public arts movement. In this book, Suzi Parron travels across 25 states and Canada to visit the barn artists and barn owners to learn more about the movement, which started with Donna Sue Groves’ project in 2001 to paint barns in Adams County, Ohio. From those humble beginnings designed to honor Groves’ mother and draw economic attention to one part of Ohio, the quilt trail now encompasses 45 states and more than 3,000 “quilts.” The stories are fascinating, and the quilts are just fun to see. I was fond of a Grandmother’s Fan that wrapped around the side of a barn in Ohio and the trompe l’oeil Lone Star quilt on a barn in Illinois. Recommended.

Look for the book at your favorite quilt or book retailer. Here’s a link to Amazon if you would like to learn more about the book.

 

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