So, I’m a cat person! I’m the first to admit that I don’t really *get* dogs…they confuse me with their constant approval seeking and well all that barking. So, we have cats. Two cats in fact, Fern and George. Fern was a dumpster kitty that came to us when we lived in St. Louis and George came to me when I lived in Indiana. Before, I go further I must say that George is a girl and no, it isn’t Georgina and yes, I knew she was girl before she was named George.
I honestly believe there couldn’t be two more dissimilar pets than these two. Life with Fern and George is like living with a tortoiseshell dust mop and the Tasmanian Devil from Looney Toons! George’s favorite pastimes alternate between seeing how many hairballs she can vomit on the middle of my bed in a week and secretly surfing the internet when no one is looking as she loves to sit on the computer keyboard. I’m sure she is just working on entering my Visa number into Amazon.com so to buy cat trees and a self flushing litter box!
Fern on the other hand would be nearly invisible except for one very obvious trait. Fern is fat. Very fat in fact. It sounds like the kids are dropping 12lb bowling balls from the top of the refrigerator when she jumps off the couch! She is not only large, she likes to be held and carried about the house. You cannot sit on the couch without Fern sprawling on top of your chest and wrapping both paws around your neck while headbutting you in the forehead….just in case you missed her wanting your attention! You. Pet. Me. Now. is exactly what she is thinking!
So back to my original question…why do they think they are superior to us and walk about in that somewhat disdainful way most of the time? Well, why not…..we feed them, we brush them, we scoop their litter boxes and the last time I checked…no one wanted to flush the toilet for me! I think they may be on to something there…….
This week’s question posed on Flaming Hot is how do you promote yourself and your work?
I must admit that this has been one of the most difficult parts of running my own business. First, I have had a hard time not being humble (to the point of detrimental) about my work, so to talk up my work was an exercise in sheer torture for several years. Finally, I’m to a place of acceptance and dare, I say it pride in my work. I may not be the most inventive beadmaker…I may not be on the cutting edge of glasswork, but I put out a quality product that I’m proud to call my own!
So in promoting, I have done several things lately that I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing a couple of years ago. I post in several forums frequently, including Lampwork Etc., the Etsy forums, Indie Public and Posh Mama. I also am part of the KC Etsy Street Team and post pics of my work on Flickr . I’ve been part of an advertising collective which has put out quite a few ads in Bead and Button and Step by Step Beads that have garnered quite a bit of traffic. I’m also part of an online juried promotion site called Trunkt that is marketed toward the boutique industry. All that in addition to my regular website and now this blog, both of which I am now selling advertising space on through Project Wonderful, which I also advertise through on craft sites, though not necessarily bead sites.
I have found diversity in promoting my work has helped immensely. It is easy to reach other bead people, by sheer interest, but it has been much more helpful and profitable to look further and target a more diverse audience that is interested in buying locally or handmade.
So I was thinking how lucky our family has been this year! Usually we are sick from the moment school starts until summer break, 9 months later. In the past two years, various members of the family (mostly me) have had the had the following:
- chicken pox (I don’t even want to talk about how much I enjoyed this…not really)
- pneumonia (which was a fun four day vacation in the smallest hospital ever for me)
- fifth disease (painful)
- hand, foot and mouth disease
- a nasty rotovirus (twice) (yet another delightful trip to the er)
- strep (twice)
- ear infection
- weird jaw thing (Little A talked so much he sprained his jaw)
- sprained chest wall
- sudden onset highly allergic reaction to NSAIDS (I hope I don’t have a headache)
I had even begun to contemplate last year how I could create some sort of germ barrier involving a tray of lysol at every entrance like some level 4 biohazard decontamination booth!
So really I felt very fortunate that other than James, the rest of us had barely had a sniffle all winter…until Monday. Monday was a sad and bleak day as Gabe hopped off the bus and said he didn’t feel so good. Now, I’ve been trapped in the house with 1 sick kid and another that can’t understand that if Gabe is sick we are all stuck at home.
So, we’ve painted, read stories, watched movies, sang songs, danced, cooked, napped and I’m just wrung out! I’m out of ideas to keep them entertained and happy while retaining my sanity and good humor! I swear I will never ever again take for granted our good fortune of health! I’ve learned my lesson! I’m knocking on wood. I’m finding my lucky 4-leaf clover and I’m buying a bathtub sized vat of hand sanitizer the next time I’m out in that germ filled world.
Today, a question was posed on a forum that I frequent as to why we blog when there are so many (in the eyes of the person posing the question) better things one could do with their time than reading or writing a blog. While the way the question was phrased seriously bothered me, I did stop and think about why I write a blog and why I read several blogs with some regularity, so maybe that was the lesson I was supposed to take from just what seemed to be an irritating question.
First, I write a blog because I enjoy putting my thoughts down on albeit electronic paper. There is something that makes a goal more worth striving for, if you can see it in print rather than just in your head. It makes those successes more real if you can look back and see the struggle to get there and the final achievement and feel the exhilaration of finally attaining your goal! Hopefully the folks that my chance upon my blog will take something from my experiences and writings and be able to relate or be amused or know they are not alone in the world in their successes and failures…that we all have them!
Second, I write a blog because it helps me be a better writer, which in turn helps me be more creative and that ultimately helps me be a better beadmaker. Sometimes, if we unlock one area of creativity, it can help unlock others areas. That is what writing does for me. It helps me be a better lampworker, dreamer, thinker, mom, wife, friend, daugher and woman even if I’m just writing about how I have nothing to write about!
Third, I write a blog because it can just be plain fun! Just like some people get their kicks hang gliding or rebuilding their lawnmower, I write because it amuses me!
Some blogs I frequent with some regularity are: Dooce, because darn it, if you have kids, pets and husbands, you can relate!!!! Other favorites are, Wickedly Chic, because once upon a time I was pretty stylish in the pre-kid days and my beady babes over at Flaming Hot. Check them out and be sure to send me some of your fave blogs, because everyone has a story to tell!
You fall asleep and think you are dreaming. But really, you have just traveled through time forward 5 years. What does your glass world look like? Blog it!
That was the latest question posed on Flaming Hot by Susan Sheehan and it started me thinking about not only where I wanted to be artistically in five years, but where I was five years ago and how my glass world has changed!
In looking back five years, I had a brand new baby and was searching searching searching for some kind of creative outlet. I had discovered Ebay and was completely enthralled at the fact anyone could sell just about anything online! With that I had started making and selling beaded ID holders, but wasn’t happy with the beads I was finding locally and somehow I stumbled across a lampwork bead listing on Ebay and from there I was completely hooked! I spent days and days researching lampworking online through WetCanvas and then articles in Bead and Button and Lapidary Journal. Finally, months and months after I had first run across our unique art form, I informed my dear sweet kind husband that I needed part of the garage as I was going to set up a torch and play with glass and fire!
Those first beads were pretty sad and wonky! In fact, they looked like little chewed up lumps of used gum or something you might scrape off the bottom of your shoe, but I didn’t give up, but kept reading, learning, practicing and persevering! That is what I am still doing today and in five years I can almost bet I will still be trying to grow and learn as an artist. My hope is to work bigger, to gain more technical ability that only time can give a person, and to find a more consistent “voice” in my glass work. In five years though I am sure that I still will love working with glass as passionately as I dreamed about glass five years ago!