Musings on Muse Lines

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It’s been a while since I’ve had much to say to my little realm of fans and dutiful family and friends, but today I really do have some good news for you all!

I have been collaborating with Green Market Girl’s Susan Hilger by adding my painted designs to some of her beautiful EcoCuff bracelets, and thus the Muse Collection of cuffs is born! (It’s pretty brand new, but if you keep up with my Facebook page and follow @wlittlethings on Twitter you’ll be the first to know how to order one.) Susan unveiled our collaborative efforts last night at the South End Gallery Crawl, at The Boulevard at South End (a really neat little shop, if you’re ever on that side of town stop in for sure), along with some of her other gorgeous cuffs. I took a few pictures as I worked last week:

A whole pile of naked cuffs awaiting their adornment! Also, some great paint colors to work with (all eco-friendly, of course)

A few of the painted cuffs, ready to be varnished at Susan's shop.

The Muse Collection is in the middle there, on display for all the world to admire them. Or, a few people who wander by, at least.

A closer look (photo courtesy of http://www.facebook.com/GreenMarketGirl)

 

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Nutty Days and Eco Cuffs

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Hello friends! It’s been a nutty two or three weeks for me. I started graduate school, and thus have begun doing a lot of a) reading, and b) looking up words online that I don’t know. My keyboard has never before seen combinations of letters that look like “hermeneutic” and “epistemology.” I’m studying Organizational and Strategic Communication, in hopes that it can help me round out this seemingly useless graphic design degree. In the meantime, I have been working less on Wonderful Little Things, which is a crying shame. I promise to do better in the next few weeks, really I do! In the meantime a few new things have been happening, like better business cards:

Hooray!

And I have met with a new potential collaborator, Susan from the Charlotte-based Green Market Girl who makes gorgeous eco-friendly bracelets. She has her work for sale in various shops and nooks and crannies across the US, and is growing more and more. She likes my designs, and I like her product, so she’s given me two cuffs in various stages of completion to paint on and play with!

The bad news is the eco-friendly paint I bought online a couple of weeks ago has yet to arrive, so I’m waiting to get started because I want to stick to her admirable policy of eco-friendly materials across the board. It’s awesome to meet people like her who are creative and bold enough to take a chance on a newbie like me! I will keep you updated, but in the meantime, check out her shop and I’m sure you can imagine the potential for really fun Wonderful Little cuffs, right?

I found some neat new antiques to paint when I visited The Depot in Concord a couple of weeks ago with my friend Ellen. We rummaged for treasure for about three hours, and I found some lovely new items to paint, including this pitcher, tray, and dish (painted with extra love for Valentine’s Day):

So, that’s about all Wonderful Little Things has been up to lately. Back to the books now. Oh, and if anyone knows what “desiderata” is, can you go to class for me tonight?

Musings on Unemployment

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Being unemployed does funny things to you, friends. I was chatting with my significant other recently, about the various things I have been doing to fill my unemployed time at home. I said, “I really don’t like not working.” My boyfriend said, “I don’t like you not working, either.”

I paused. Stared. My eyes filled with stinging tears, and an enraged heat washed over me instantly.

“What does that mean? Am I lazy? Do you think I could be doing something more productive? It’s not like I stay in my pajamas all day, you know. Today I got dressed at like 11. Yesterday it was even 10:30. I do things. I do a lot of stuff, like unloading the dishwasher.” At least I think that’s something like what I said; I was too furious and humiliated by his implied accusations to keep accurate notes.

He waited until I had choked back the sobs and said, “I just meant that I can tell you’re happier when you’re working. You need to interact with people sometimes.”

Oh.

I calmed down, but I still thought he was a little off-base. I mean, let’s consider. I can stay up late painting Wonderful stuff to sell and not have to worry about waking up at 6 AM for a job where I sit, miserable, in a cubicle all day. I save a lot on gas by not battling other commuters for an hour and a half Monday through Friday. I don’t have to pretend anyone’s jokes are funny, muster the strength to avoid the cupcakes someone put in the break room, or deal with those awkward moments when someone in the next stall in the restroom wants to engage in small talk.

And the first few weeks of unemployed life were amazing. Sure, money was much tighter, but life was good! I spent a few hours each day painting or wood burning, and I was networking, job searching, reading, walking, and basically getting things done. I was up by 9, in bed around midnight. Even when I began to get discouraged about how difficult the job market is right now, I somehow remained positive. I was thinking, “I got this. I won’t be one of those guys who sits on the couch all the time.”

Really, I though I had this.

The other day, I watched three episodes of a documentary mini-series called The West. Six hours, guys. I woke up, saw that there were no new job postings online, cried for ten minutes, and then I sat from 9 Am until 3 PM learning about various Native American tribes, Sam Houston, and the Civil War. Glassy-eyed, vulnerable, huddled beneath my blanket, I absorbed the knowledge pouring forth from my television. I hardly moved, other than checking Etsy and Facebook on my phone, but that was only acceptable to me because my phone was within four inches of my hand. It was only when I began considering how I could get a food delivery person to physically bring the food into the apartment and to my couch that I stopped to reflect.

I realized that I have developed some of the dreaded unemployment disorders I’ve seen in others: Apathy, defensiveness, weepiness, fear of showering. I suppose that the first step is admitting you have a problem, right? I need to act quickly before this new week begins, so I’ve taken some positive steps. I dusted off my little notebook that (until recently) featured scores of daily lists of things that need doing, and made a plan for tomorrow. I also picked out some great new pieces to paint this week for the shop (stay tuned), cleaned up the apartment, and I even checked off my first to-do: write another frigging blog post, already. And hey, if I find this new path to be too strenuous by Wednesday or so, there’s always:

 

Nearly branded…

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Thanks for all who gave feedback on my branding ideas! I have worked with those initial ideas and have come up with new stuff that I think may just be (nearly?) final! This will be a quick post, but I wanted to show pics to see what you think.

First, the logo, in its complete state (in shades of brown) and a grayscale version:

I got rid of the odd paper texture that I was using before, since I don’t work with paper at all at this point… I chose to use a painted antique wood as a much more subtle texture instead, since I usually find old treasure and make it new again. I want to use the top version on most everything (I love it!).

And, thanks to some great friends’ advice, I will also have this alternate logo that I can use as a stamp or identifier in the appropriate situations:

And here again, there’s a more fleshed out, ideal version and a single-color or grayscale version.

What do you all think? Thanks again for your help! I promise to make a more reasonable and lengthy addition to my posts collection soon, by the way. 🙂

Mustache cup, reborn!

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Hello again, friends! Welcome to a very merry Christmas Eve blog post. I’ve been painting loads of new stuff for my store, which means I need to keep looking for more odds and ends to paint/woodburn/somehow make permanent designs on. I’m also branching out a little, to new types of things… switchplates, napkin rings, and I even got a request for some interesting little plates with a military seal and my designs on them (more on that next week!). So, yeah, I went treasure hunting at my very favorite treasure store, Sleepy Poet. This place has any oddity that you could possibly ever need (or need to giggle over). My friend Krista and I found random yearbooks from years and years ago, creepy Victorian-era baby dolls, awesome metal letters with no apparent function, a metal detector, and a bunch of gorgeous purply-blue glass bottles and cups that we decided we’d drink grape juice out of. Oh, and I found this stuff to paint!

Please ignore the terrible indoor lighting.

That is a very jaunty ceramic mug with a mustache guard (I kid you not), four mugs with lovely odd handles on them, a weird little vase, and two vintage spice shakers. I went on Wednesday and this is what I have done so far (to give you an idea how busy I’ve been!):

To prevent that pesky eggnog from getting in your 'stache

 

You may consider this a special Holiday Magic Preview if you like, since I don’t even have those last two listed on Etsy yet.

Have a safe and happy holiday weekend, everyone!

Gotta love a good day…

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Hi, everyone! I’ve had one of those really good Fridays when things go pretty well, and you find yourself in a good, positive mood. Part of the reason, I admit, is because I now own this:

My business license!

Finally, my business license! My only hiccup through the whole government office event was that I was told by the zoning lady that I need to have a permit to work out of my home. That’s correct: a one-time fee of $125 that has a list of rules attached to it, and some of them are pretty hilarious. I am promising not to hang signs for my business outside my house, not to operate loud machinery, not to secretly hire any Wonderful Little employees, and not to use more than 25% of my residence as my office/manufacturing space. Basically, I am paying Mecklenburg county to keep my apartment exactly the same and promising them I won’t be successful at all. I can’t imagine what the fee for actual success would be!

Also in the news, I was asked by a new trendy little store called Eco-Licious here in Charlotte to bring in some of my wares for them to sell in their store, so I stopped by today.

Proof that this happened today. Right? No, really. It did.

One of the owners, Fiona, was there when I brought by some of my ornaments. She said they’ve done very well sales-wise for the holidays, so maybe this could become a lasting relationship! If you live in Charlotte, be sure to check out some of the awesome local arts and crafts they have there, especially if you’re vegan (I saw lots of interesting vegan snacks around the store as I was browsing). I can say that I have bought a lot of my holiday gifts from local artists this year, and it’s an all-around great feeling to know you’re supporting the little guys in the world.

Thanks, as always, for keeping up with Wonderful Little Things!

Brand-age!

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I decided I needed some kind of official logo for Wonderful Little Things… something to stick on business cards, use on the Etsy store, rubber stamp onto price tags and gift bags for shows, and so on. Something simple and recognizable to attach to my store name.

I want something that doesn’t look very polished (because my pieces aren’t perfect at all), but also nothing too rough or sketched-looking, either. Something that looks hand-made, but presentable. I took a couple hours and I came up with some options:

First option. Simple W with circular design and a paper texture.

Second option - a little more styled and fun! I like this one. Too grungy for me, though?

Third option - I like this one a lot too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is just a start! I’m hoping to take some comments and suggestions and work on a new batch tomorrow. Feedbackers, let me have your worst. Well, not your worst worst. Medium worst.

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