Friday, February 21, 2014

A Girl and Her Dog

These two.  Watching their relationship evolve is such a gift.  She refers to him as 'BomBO' (which she is doing next to me as I write this) and is currently obsessed with giving him hug after hug and laying all of her bibs on his back.  He's always the first in her room when she wakes up and is right beside her when it's snack time, although that may be due to the shared cheese they both receive.  Their greetings to each other when the other comes home is priceless.  They're a dear duo.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Workspace Sneak Peeks

I am DYING to do a tour of my workspace but still have a bit of tweaking left to do before I'm ready for a proper reveal.  In the meantime, I thought I would tease you with a few photos from a sunny morning last week and a reminder of what this space looked like two years ago when we first decided to combine my workspace and office.  It's come a long way and it's become a very inspiring place for me to get creatively down and dirty.  It's also crazy functional, even with the addition of ungodly amounts of fabric (which I'm likely going to acquire more of in a few weeks!).  Until later!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Rio Style: The Wrangler Vest

Before I had a kid, I never really 'got' what was so special about children's clothes.  I mean, they're just small clothes.  Well, then Rio came into our world and I GOT it.  They're small clothes!  The cutest small clothes you ever did see!  I'm sure you can only imagine by how much I enjoy dressing myself that I LOVE to dress this kid.  We haven't bought *much* new but instead have been given so many greatly-appreciated hand-me-downs, bought second hand, searched for some vintage pieces and, of course, I've tried my hand at making clothes here and there.  I thought that it may be fitting to bring about a new feature with the tiniest little model:  Rio Style.  This *may* take place of my quarterly Rio updates.  Maybe.
Now, after that whole introduction, you're probably expecting some grand outfit.  Well, I didn't even dress her this day!  This was 99% dad and it was adorable.  I added the vest once we ventured outside, but more on that in a minute. 

Up until a few weeks ago, Rio wouldn't do shoes.  Like would FREAK out when we would attempt to put them on her and then freak out even more once they were on.  Then one day, she was fine with them!  This meant more time outside, less time for me to freak out about her keeping warm and one more accessory to add to her little ensembles.  This particular pair of shoes is the only pair she's cool with at the moment and I'm cool with that.  They were a very sweet birthday present from a very sweet friend.
 
Let's get to the heart of this post now.  The vest.  The Wrangler vest.  Would you believe that that was once mine?!  True story!  My mom had packed away some of my childhood outfits and recently pulled them out.  I have no recollection of some of them but I did come across some toddling photos of myself in this vest not too long ago!  Since we've had this beautiful (and I'm sure short-lived) break in the weather, this vest has been perfection.  And it makes all of her outfits aw-worthy.  At least in this mom's opinion ;)
 
The rest of this little look is comprised of a Gap clearance shirt complete with a kitty that says 'purrrrfect', leggings from a gifted set, Carter's sunglasses (she loves them) and a little Target hair clip (they are by far my favorite hair clips for thin, baby hair thus far). 

There ya go!  Rio Style No. 1 done!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Goals, Changes and Big Stuff

Instead of throwing out a few random goals at the beginning of the year, I needed some time to figure out the direction I want my creative life to head this year.  A month later, I finally put some goals on paper and took active steps to begin achieving those goals.  I decided to share all of this with you.
First, the big stuff.  There will be no more Alliday.  Yeah, I know.  That's kind of huge.  I love, love, love the show and everything surrounding it but there's no escaping how much work it is.  And I do it all.  While I believe last year was the best yet, it was also the hardest yet for me.  I spoke a little about this a while back.  When I started to assess how to make it not so hard for me in the future, I started to reevaluate whether or not it should remain in my life right now.  When I looked at the time spent on the show and the money made from it, I just couldn't justify continuing.  It should be said though that money is NOT the reason I have ever done the show but it is, naturally, a factor.  In addition to that, I didn't feel like I'd be able to give it my all this year and if you know me, when I put my mind to something, I go full throttle.  It's not in me to do anything half-assed.  There were many other factors contributing to my decision as well.  Making the decision to not continue the show was NOT an easy one for me but once I first said it out loud, a wave of relief came over me and I knew it was right.  I don't know what the future holds for the show but I know for now, it is what had to be done.

I also stepped away from Make Tulsa this week.  Another ridiculously difficult decision.  Just a few weeks ago I was running around in the woods with my fellow makers, talking about the future of the group.  Why in the world would I leave?  Well, I had a bit of an epiphany that weekend.  I realized that I was wanting to stay because of the friends I had made within the group.  Then I realized that those friendships can and will continue without my membership to a group.  My creative time has been so divided among MT and Alliday that Bifftastica was getting my leftover, creative energy.  I have spent SO much time coordinating others and appeasing others that I've ignored my own creative business and this year, I want to focus on that, as selfish as that may sound to some.  I want, and need, a break from trying to organize and appease so many other people. 
 
Narrowing down my commitments will naturally allow me to be more present in my family and to focus my energy on them, teaching and creating for my own business.  These were changes that needed to happen, easy or not.

All of that being said, I sat down the other night and wrote out goals for my creative business.  I've never done that before.  I believe that by sharing them publicly, it will hold me more accountable for achieving those goals.  I really want to focus on improving my online shop.  I have been very encouraged over the past few months by random people buying my stuff online!  This has motivated me to up my game and triple my online sales this year.  Right now I have 14 sales (I know, small, small potatoes for some but that's where I am and I'm proud of it!) so by the end of the year, I hope to have at least 56 sales.  You can see some of my newest listings in this post.  In order to meet this goal, I have many mini goals - I will do a treasury a month on Etsy (I'm behind a month but I'll make up for it!) to be more involved in that community.  I will also up my game in the product photography department.  I want to photograph some of my creations outside of our home/backyard.  For new product (and old jewelry that I have been rephotographing and listing) I have already changed my shooting set up and am LOVING the outcomes. 
 
In regards to shows, I do want to continue participating in shows and I plan on doing at least three GOOD shows.  I have already begun a list of shows to apply to and am excited to share new products with a renewed sense of my creative self.  Right now, I have product in only one store.  This year, I want to add a store (or two!) to that list.  I already have some feelers out on that which is very encouraging!  The next goal is just something I'm toying with:  renting a booth space.  I have SO many vintage goods and random creations that won't sell themselves sitting in our garage or that I don't foresee myself getting on Etsy anytime soon so I've been toying with renting a small booth space.  I'm not 100% sure I definitely want to do this but it's been a thought, so I wanted to add it here.

Finally, I want to learn to use my darn darning foot!  Brent bought me one for Christmas several years ago and I have NEVER even messed with it once!  This is the year.  
It's been a bit of an emotional week for me coming out with all of this.  It's also been a huge weight lifted for me.  I'm relieved to be relinquishing so many of my commitments and am rejuvenated to be narrowing down my focuses to my family, my creations and my time in the classroom.  To those of you who have offered your support to me this week, I appreciate it more than you know.  Cheers to the future!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Cincinnati Apartment

I'm a memory-lane type person.  I love going back through old photos to reminisce and can easily get lost in them for hours upon hours.  And if you can't tell, I'm a storyteller.  So couple that trait with old photos and you've got me blubbering on forever about days passed.  Welcome to one of those moments.

Once upon a time, I lived in a fantasy apartment.  Let's go back a decade or so....
 
2004.  I had been back in Tulsa for a few years, living in a cute (but dilapidated) apartment within walking distance of Cherry Street with Pimmy and Vera.  My dearest Dawn (remember my friend who went on the fabric run with me?!) was also living with her two kitties not too far from my place and we hung out all of the time.  One random day, while accompanying a friend to see a potentially new apartment, we found the place that we would share for the next several years.
 
While our friend was busy looking at his new digs, the landlord casually mentioned how upstairs was recently vacated and was awaiting some touch ups before it was ready for new tenants.  Think about this - downstairs housed three super cute apartments while the entire upstairs was one amazing apartment.  This place was bigger than our current home is now.  The folks who had just left had been there for almost ten years.  The landlord (who was QUITE the character.  I'll never, ever forget his laugh.) took us up to view the place and Dawn and I looked at each other with wide eyes.  It was amazing.  Neither of us were sure that we wanted to live with roommates again but after pros and cons lists (yes, we really did that) and many conversations, we decided that we couldn't pass this place up.  We promptly staked our claim and waited for the place to be fixed up.
 
 
At the time, it did need a touch up here and there but that ended up being a blessing in disguise.  The landlord let us choose whatever paint colors that we wanted and painted it all himself.  He was a great, great, great landlord.  I believe that we had three or four rooms painted to our likings, if I remember correctly.  Even the laundry room got a rainbow makeover!  Many of the already-colorful rooms stayed the same.
 
So there we were, living in this unbelievably huge (bedrooms big enough to include couches!) and colorful apartment within walking distance of 18th & Boston and my work (and later Dawn's work too!) for pennies.  It only took a short while for our kitties to become a herd of four and we all lived famously well together for almost four years.
It was a great time all around.  For about half of the time we lived together, we also worked together!  I was a secretary at an architecture firm for five years and Dawn was/is an interior designer.  In fact now that I think of it, EVERYONE that I have ever lived with extensively, I have also worked with!  Strange!  We totally rode and walked to work together everyday.  We had epically memorable parties, spent many beautiful evenings on our front porch and lived above some of our closest friends.  Oh, did I mention that?  When we moved in, we knew every single one of our downstairs neighbors.  Later when one of our friends moved out, I discovered that the woman who moved in his spot was my Mimi's best friend's (Dottie's) daughter!  That place was special.  I still drive past it occasionally when I'm in the area and wonder who inhabits the space now. 
 
When I first thought of writing about the Cincinnati apartment, I sure didn't plan to write a novel.  But once I started to look back and reflect on that time in my life, it just came flooding.  It wasn't just a place where I slept and shared a fridge with a person.  It was an era in my life that I look back so fondly on.  It was a place where a friendship turned into family.  It was a dream with ill-fitting pants, vivacious kitties, Mexican tiling, locust jokes, plentiful windows, overflowing trash cans, wasp-filled sunrooms, two staircases and two private bathrooms.  Who could ask for more?  
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