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national craft month

Crafty Must-Reads

For the last day of National Craft Month, I wanted to share my crafty resources.

These are the websites and podcasts that I go to when I'm in need of some inspiration. I read a lot of non-crafty blogs too, but this list is just the crafty!

Craft Sanity – interviews with crafty superstars

Crafty Pod – website + podcast about all things crafty

Kim Werker – writer, crocheter, thinker-of-deep-craft-world-thoughts

Cast-On – the first (of the still alive) and the best knitting podcast

ColorBOMB – Velma is my color hero

Pioneer Woman – Cooking + photography that pushes me to be better

The Yarn Harlot – Is there any knitter who doesn't already read the funniest of all possible blogs?

Posie Gets Cozy – Alicia creates a prettily be-flowered world I want live in

Make + Meaning – the most thoughtful musings on our creative community

Did I miss your favorite resource? Share it in the comments!

Contest: Have you seen Inside Crochet?

Ok, so in the next issue, the April issue, of Inside Crochet, is an article written by me.

This is my first published article and I'm ridiculously excited to see it!
But, even though the issue was published in the UK this week, it hasn't made it's way to the US yet.

I'm so anxious to see it that I've decided to hold a contest!

How to Enter:

  1. Find a copy of Inside Crochet (all over the UK and in Barnes + Nobles and some yarn shops in the USA)
  2. Snap a picture of my byline
  3. Post it online (flickr, your blog, wherever)
  4. Leave the link in the comments of this post, along with info on where you found it (town, shop, etc)

The winner will be chosen randomly on 5/10 and will win a FREE skein of hemp laceweight (or, if you don't want hemp laceweight, you can take $12 off your next BCB order!).

#craftsocial on Twitter

One of my favorite things about Twitter (and there are so many things I love about it) is the proximity it's brought to my favorite crafty superstars.

One of them, @sisterdiane, organizes a monthly chat for crafters. To join in, use the hashtag #craftsocial and follow along here. Every month it is full of fun conversation, wacky craft projects and links to everything crafty.

If you're not sure how to use hashtags (or what I'm even talking about), but you'd like to use Twitter to grow your crafty business, check out my class (starts tomorrow!) on De-Icking Twitter.

I’m celebrating National Craft Month by posting something crafty that catches my eye every weekday. Share your favorite crafty finds in the comments!

New Goats!

Ok, it has nothing to do with National Craft Month, but I just had to share.

Yesterday, the very first day of spring, my mom's dairy goat, Emily, gave birth to two sweet little babies:

Baby Goat!

We all went in to check on Emily in the midst of celebrating my little brother's 11th birthday. We had no idea that she had just given birth, until we saw sweet little brown kid standing there shivering:

Next to him was laying his little white brother, still, uh, shall we say, freshly born?
In the pen

Within 30 minutes they were both trying out their new legs, mumbling to their mama and searching for their first meal.

Milking!

Handmade Marketplace – book giveaway!

I have one copy of Handmade Marketplace to give away,
read to the bottom to learn how to win.

(photo from karichapin.com)

Oh, I can not tell you HOW excited I am about this book!

I was honored to be interviewed for it, to serve as part of the “Creative Collective” – the group of makers who contributed bits of our own experiences.

That was crazy exciting, but then I got the book in my hands.

And oh, I'm far beyond excited to be included in it, I'm thrilled that this book exists.
I'm thrilled I have something to recommend, as a complete resource, when someone asks “How do I start a crafty biz?”

It has everything a crafter needs to know/think about/plan for in selling their crafts. Craft shows, marketing, making their thing, wholesale, everything!

I have read a loooot of business books.
Most of them are geared to big businesses.
A few are aimed at truly tiny businesses (my favorite: The Boss of You)
Even fewer are about craft businesses (and the best, by Barbara Brabec are over 20 years old)

But this is the first book  for us.
Crafters who blog. And podcast. And sell online.

Obviously my review is wildly biased because the book is filled with people I adore (Kari! Kim! Diane!)…but my mom (who is totally out of the online-craft-world loop) called me last night to say “I can NOT put this book down! It's teaching me SO much!”

Thanks to the kind people at Storey, I have one book to give away to a commenter!

To enter: leave a comment with your business question and I'll choose one commenter randomly and announce the winner next Friday!

PS. I met the author (and everyone else mentioned in this post) on Twitter. Being a part of this book is just one of the fabulous side-effects of loving Twitter.

I’m not an expert

Really.

I don't think I am know I'm not.
In fact, even thinking that anyone expects me to be one freaks me out.

And yet.
People ask me questions.
I answer them.

But in my answering, I'm just saying this is what works for me.
Not I know the only right way.

I've been thinking about this expert-thing since reading this post about not being an expert. And while working on my Twitter class.

I am not an expert

I wasn't sure how to announce the class, because I keep getting hung up on I'm not an expert!

Morover, I think Twitter Experts are the problem!

They overwhelm us with information on what we should be doing.
Or they have all these rules that makes Twitter not-fun and frankly, sort-of-icky.

So why teach a class on Twitter?

Becaue,  in every one of my other classes for crafty businesses, someone (or several someones!) ask about Twitter.

How can I use it without being icky?
What's the right way?
Won't I seem spammy if I talk about my business?
What if no one is following me?
Am I doing it wrong?

And Oh! do I have answers. Lots of don't-be-icky, but-still-grow-your-business and have-lots-of-fun answers.

Not because I'm an expert.

But because I love Twitter.
I love making new friends.
I love getting to know people better.
I love sharing my business in a non-icky way.
I love the opportunities it provides (magazine articles, interviews in books!)

So, despite not being an expert, I'm going to answer your questions about taking the ick out of Twitter while rocking it and having a great time and not-being-at-all-sales-y in a week-long class, next week. You can read more about it here.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

HPIM0431

I've never really celebrated St. Patrick's Day, other than to forget to wear green and get pinched (ow!), but I love watching others celebrate it.

And since green's one of my most favorite colors, it isn't hard to find anytime-inspiration in the plethora of green-goodness across the web.

Here's the good green stuff I came across today:

Do you have a favorite craft or food you make at this time of the year?

Baking = Writing

Sure, it's National Craft Month, but I really spend most of my time on two non-crafty “crafts”:

Writing.
Business.

I love both, but sometimes combining them feels like…work.
I always want to avoid sales-y, ick-y business writing and sometimes even the NAME of a business sales-y thing grosses me out.

Like “launches”. Long ago, I started calling them “brunches”.
Because isn't brunching the most relaxing thing ever? No stress! No waiting! Just piles of tastiness and conversation!

Last week I was getting ready to write something business-y (for the brunch of my Twitter class) and I got stuck. On the word.

Sales Page.

A totally icky word for what is a pretty simple thing: a description of what you are offering.

But as much as I love writing and I love sharing my thing, I always put off writing sales pages.
It just sounds painful and icky and sales-y, you know?

So let's metaphor-mouse it (that's a Havi thing):

Current relationship (sales page =?)
-icky
-salesy
-convincing
-“persuasive writing” assignments in school
-explanatory
+sharing my thing
+putting words to an idea
-static
-work
-“should”
-certain technique that I'm not doing and therefore “LEAVING MONEY ON THE TABLE” (ugh, I hate that saying)
-sticky
-should should should

Reminds me Of..
writing that is a “should” – school assignments, homework, wondering if I'm doing it “right”

My ideal metaphor (X=?)
+ease
+fun
+putting words to ideas
+sharing what I love
+confidence
+not scary
+no “right” way
+extra doses of me-ness

What happens when…
What happens when there aren't any expectations of what I *should* be doing? What does that look like?

That feels like I'm dancing around in my kitchen, as an adult (ie, not a kid doing homework), putting my favorite ingredients together, confident in my skill.

*bing*

When sales page = homework:
I feel:
like a kid
worried of getting in trouble
trying to please…the big kids? the experts?

When sales page = my baking
I feel:
like an adult
responsible to myself
confident
free
I want to share all the tasty goodness!

Sales Page = Baking!

Do We Have Metaphor?
Yes!
For me, baking=sharing, fun, having a party, inviting everyone, woo!
Baking for someone is a lot more fun than trying to sell them something (ick!)

—–

Is there a word you don't like? Would finding a better metaphor make it more enjoyable?

My creative Mission

Reading this post, by Diane (of CraftyPod) on Make+Meaning about Creative Missions, sparked all sorts of crafty, hopey, changey thoughts.

She says

even the most compelling hobby, when it becomes your paycheck, can start to look an awful lot like work.

And I can tell you, this is SO true.

Which is why, each year I look at what I want my business to DO. Not just pay my bills (although that's a goal), but what I want it to do in my life and in the life of others and (this may be a little grand) what it's doing in the world.

  • What does it change?
  • How does it improve the people who interact with it, impact the environment, support the crafty world?

Reading the article, I was reminded that my business has a few Missions:

  1. Promote sustainable fibers, especially that of small farmers – through using only sustainable fiber in my own work, through explaining those choices to the crafty world in a non-judgey way, through bringing attention to environmental issues around fiber and providing information on making eco-friendly decisions (whether with my yarn or anyone elses
  2. Supporting the indie-yarn community – through A Novel Yarn, through providing information, through sharing what I've learned, through being available to answer questions one on one.
  3. Experimentation – with yarn-making, with business-growing, with class-teaching. My mission is to try new things, learn, synthesize and share the results.  This is really the heart of everything I do.

This is always something I'm working on and working with. The deeper I go on this creative mission, the more the mission changes, the more details I get, the more ideas are sparked, the more my life becomes authentic and the more I live what I truly love.

What is your Creative Mission? Are you still working on it?

My Non-Yarn Obsession

…is fabric.

And not just any fabric, but really really beautiful fabric.
And pouring over sewing patterns I'll never make.

My very favorite source of inspiration is Anna Maria Horner, designer extrodinaire.

Just look at this dress.

And this quilt.

Yum.

I’m celebrating National Craft Month by posting something crafty that catches my eye every weekday. Share your favorite crafty finds in the comments!

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