Many people craft or sew as a hobby. Since sewing and designing (and teaching about sewing and designing) is my job, I have a couple of other hobbies that I love. One of those is board games. I play with friends as a regularly scheduled event once a month and my husband and I play once a week or so in the evening. We aren’t big tv junkies. I often post a “game night” photo on my Instagram feed when we are playing and I noticed that those posts always get lots of questions and comments, more than my art posts. So I decided that in addition to my regular art content, I am going to start a new series of posts here on my blog talking about board games. These won’t be critical reviews or tutorials, but posts about how you play, what kind of players the game would appeal to, and some of my favorite clever elements so you can see a little what it’s like to play before you jump in. I think board games are a fun way to unplug and do something with friends that uses your brain in a different way.
I won’t talk about games like Monopoly or Scrabble, but instead more “euro-style” games you might not have heard of. You can find them at your local board games store. (My favorite in the Minneapolis area is The Source.) Just do a google search to find one near you or one that can ship to you. I will also include an Amazon link.
I’m going to launch the series with a game called Everdell by Starling Games.
Everdell is a game for up to 4 players. I’ve played with 2 and 4 and it works well with both. The theme of the game […]
These are fabrics designed by students in my workshops at the Museum of Russian Art this week. I added a few detail photos from the work in the exhibition so you can see some of the shapes and colors that were our inspiration. I’ll be making an installation of origami dresses from these designs to display at TMORA along with with the exhibition so that people can see modern fabric interpretations of traditional designs. The students in my classes at TMORA were so much fun and I can’t wait to see all of these fabrics in person.
I’m teaching a class today about opening an Etsy shop and I wanted to create a quick reference handout that had clickable links. That’s hard to do with a paper handout. So I decided to create it as a blog post and even if you aren’t in my class, this reference might be helpful to you as well.
I always recommend that new potential Etsy sellers take some time to read the Etsy Seller Handbook, but it can be really overwhelming to get started. It has a lot of information. So here are my 10 favorite articles to help you make decisions as you are opening up your shop and trying to decide what features to use.
- This beginners guide to selling on Etsy has a whole lot of links to some of the most frequently used features and is kind of like a checklist of the steps you should take to set up.
- Tips for choosing your shop name.
- This article on Communicating your Brand has great advice and links about creating shop policies and FAQs.
- How to add variations (color, size, style) and photos of those variations to your listings.
- 7 types of product photos. This is a really good checklist of what kinds of photos to include to communicate everything about your item.
Getting Found in Search.
- Seriously, read this one. The ultimate guide to Etsy Search.
- I also learned things listening to the podcast that is linked in this “Your Search Questions Answered” article.
- Understanding the somewhat controversial new free shipping initiative.
- The ultimate guide to shipping has links to all of the current Etsy advice about being strategic about shipping costs.
- Once you have set […]
This spring I flew to DC and taught a weekend of classes for two different fiber art guilds there. I had time before my talk to chat with some of the members and they showed me a project they had been working on. A group of about 8 of them had gotten together one weekend and made Sydney Bags by Swoon Patterns. It’s a pretty cool crossbody bag with lots of practical pockets, nice details and ways to use combinations of different fabrics. We talked about how it would be fun to sew in some Spoonflower fabrics since that was what I was there to talk about. When I came home, I bought and downloaded the pattern but I didn’t get a chance to sew one until now.
I decided to make mine on a whim, so I used scraps and things from my stash. The print is one of my designs called Sara. I had some scraps of eco canvas left over from another project. (That design is available in my Spoonflower shop.) The contrast is a remnant of orange velveteen I bought because I liked the color. I had some metal zippers in my stash and I lined it in a deep blue dotty cotton print. It’s bold. I will admit that. But I love it.
The pattern was superb. The ladies that I talked to from the quilt guild said it was the hardest thing that they had ever made. I don’t think it was hard in the “I don’t have the skills to do this” sense, I think it was hard in the “wow this is complex and I have to pay attention” sense. It was hard, but the fun kind of hard.
The bag has tons of details. […]
Spoonflower recently rolled out some cool new changes to their website and the ways you can look at designs. Instead of only seeing a swatch or a fat quarter, you can now see your designs mocked up as sheets, curtains, pillows, tablecloths and more. And it’s now built in to the site; you just have to know where to click. I made this mini video tutorial (10 min) to show you two ways you can look at these new mockups, both as a shopper and as a designer. I think they are both great ways to help you visualize the scale and impact of your designs. If you don’t see the video thumbnail here, click Read More > below.
Want to learn more about designing fabrics for Spoonflower? Try out my online intro class! It’s free and will walk you through a design from idea to upload.
I spend a lot of time applying for things: grants, scholarships, projects, exhibitions, sales, training sessions, residencies. As an independent artist, I don’t work unless I find the opportunities, so I am always on the look out for something. About half the time (at least) you apply and get a “no thank you”. That’s pretty much expected.
This summer, I had a lot of “no thank yous” that all happened at once. It’s not anything that I am failing at, it just happened that the things I was proposing and the things that appealed to the grantors/jurors/evaluators weren’t on the same page. Evaluation panels are funny that way and really change with the personality of the people sitting on the panel and what fires up their excitement and enthusiasm.
I try not to overbook myself by applying to too many things that overlap, because you never know when you will have the opposite problem – a whole lot of YES – and there is only one of me to go around. So that meant that I had a whole lot of time on my hands this summer set aside for projects that weren’t going to happen.
So I decided to learn something new.
I started by brushing up my origami skills. This is related to one of the things-i-applied-to-but-didn’t-get. I subscribed to a YouTube channel of a designer I like who writes great tutorials and I practiced. I’ve talked about my long love of origami before on the blog, but I don’t practice enough. So I’m trying to fold something new at least once a week and trying to memorize a few simple ones.