Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Creative Habit

I’m currently reading the book “The Creative Habit” by Twyla Tharp. In this book she has provided a list of questions to get you thinking about your art, whether it be dance, writing, papercrafts, what have you. These questions got me thinking about my own craft, so I thought that you would appreciate the list of questions as they may serve to grease the wheels of your own creation.
Answer quickly and honestly. Don’t spend too much time on one question.  I have provided my answers. :)

Q:  What is the first creative moment you remember?
A:  I remember being in kindergarten and creating a Power Cookie for my Dad.  He still has it!

Q:  Was anyone there to witness or appreciate it?
A:  Yes, the other children.

Q:  What is the best idea you’ve ever had?
A:  Deciding to leave my job and go to work for an art store.

Q:  What made it great in your mind?
A:  It was great because it spurred my love of paper and rubber stamping.

Q:  What is the dumbest idea?
A:  Taking “art” in high school.

Q:  What made it stupid?
A:  The idea that a teacher can assign a grade to a piece of art. (Seriously pissed me off!)

Q:  Can you connect the dots that led you to this idea?
A:  I was forced to take an elective.  In retrospect I should have taken sculpture, but I’m not very good with clay.

Q:  What is your creative ambition?
A:  To express myself and preserve the art of handwritten correspondence in a fun way that people will appreciate.  To have fun and bring smiles and a bit of joy to people.  Ultimately I’d like to be able to support myself in some fashion with paper crafts, part time.


Q:  What are the obstacles to this ambition?
A:  I don’t know if I WANT to be so financially strapped - there are a lot of papercrafters and to rely on income from my art is risky.

Q:  What are the vital steps to achieving this ambition?
A:  Keep plugging away! Not giving up, keep constantly creating and growing my customer list and doing shows, donating to causes that I believe in and community events and outreach.

Q:  How do you begin your day?
A:  Slowly. Mornings are dedicated to waking up and getting moving to make it to work on time.

Q:  What are your habits? What patterns do you repeat?
A:  Work, read, move/exercise, education, view other’s art.

Q:  Describe your first successful creative act.
A:  I have no idea.

Q:  Describe your second successful creative act.
A:  I have no idea.

Q:  Compare them.
A:  This is a hard question because I consider ALL of my art successful.

Q:  What are your attitudes toward: money, power, praise, rivals, work, play?
A: Money: Its nice. Its a motivator when you don’t have it.
Power: Meh. It depends on what context you talk about - world domination? No.  The power to do what I want? Yes.
Praise: YES! Praise much and reward yourself for doing a good job. Its important to be good to yourself (or your employees) to cultivate the desired response and effect you want.
Rivals: Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Never underestimate them. Most importantly, LISTEN, WATCH and LEARN.
Work: Work hard and always have two projects going so you can switch between the two of them.
Play: Play harder than you work.


Q:  Which artists do you admire the most?
A:  Kahlo, Van Gogh, da Vinci, Monet, Dali, O’Keefe, Renoir, Waterhouse

Q:  Why are they your role models?
A:  Usually because they are interesting people with fascinating lives who created beautiful and lasting pieces of art with a subject I am interested in. Or because I admire their work or style, techniques, or manipulation in one way or another.

Q:  What do you and your role models have in common?
A:  Not a whole hell of a lot!

Q:  Does anyone in your life regularly inspire you?
A:  Nope.

Q:  Who is your muse?
A:  Mother Nature.

Q:  Define muse.
A:  Something that inspires you - something that fuels your fire to create.

Q:  When confronted with superior intelligence or talent, how do you respond?
A:  Ask as many questions as I can in order to learn and grow.

Q:  When faced with stupidity, hostility, intransigence, laziness, or indifference in others, how do you respond?
A:  I have learned that sticking your neck out for people usually just ends up hurting you, so I steer clear of these types of people at all costs.

Q:  When faced with impending success or the threat of failure, how do you respond?
A:  Keep on truckin’! (Celebrate or lick my wounds, but keep on keepin’ on.)

Q:  When at work, do you love the process or the result?
A:  A little bit of both. Its fun to work on a piece and see it come together, but it also gives me great pleasure to look at a completed piece.

Q:  At what moments do you feel your reach exceeds your grasp?
A:  Often times when I am stumped and nothing seems to be coming to me easily.

Q:  What is your ideal creative activity?
A:  Papercrafting, sketching or creating monoprints.

Q:  What is your greatest fear?
A:  Being alone. Being with someone and being locked into an unhappy marriage. Living a wasted life.

Q:  What is the likelihood of either of the answers to the previous questions happening?
A: I don’t know.

Q:  Which of your answers would you most like to change?
A:  My greatest fear. As John Wayne said, “Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway.”

Q:  What is your idea of mastery?
A:  Doing whatever the hell a person wants and still rocking the fuck out of it!

Q:  What is your greatest dream?
A:  To own my own art store and offer classes.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Little Trick for Correspondence

When I was little and I would go spend the day with my grandma, I remember getting into her filing cabinet. She kept scratch paper for me to draw on, but she also had a well-stocked box of greeting cards in that cabinet and her desk. All sorts, with beautiful pictures of flowers on a table, pictures of paintings and picturesque sunset.  So when she gave me the gift of beautiful pink stationary with a matching pen one year for Christmas, I fell in love with correspondence.

Carrying on Her Tradition
Today, I carry on her tradition (obviously - I design and create cards!) and always keep one of those plastic folding files in my desk. My folder has tabs with pockets on the inside and I’ve labeled each tab with the type of greeting card that pocket contains: Thinking of You, Love, Birthday, Anniversary, Get Well, Sympathy, etc. I fill those pockets with all of my different style of greeting cards.

A Little Trick
A great little trick to save time (and constantly running to the store, and possibly FORGETTING a card to go with a gift or as a gift) is to purchase greeting cards ahead of time. Get yourself a folder with pockets and fill the pockets with different styles of cards. Often times stores run sales such as buy three get one free, so this is the perfect time to stock up! You’ll always have a card to finish off a gift, or to send to a sick friend.

Plus a Bonus
I keep all of my addresses saved on my computer so I can easily update them if people move.  You can print all your addresses on a sheet of paper and slide it inside the folder with a book of forever stamps as well.  No mess, and you will have everything at your fingertips for all of your stationary or gift-giving needs.

So what do you think? What tips and tricks do you use to stay well-stocked? I’d love to hear from you! What has helped you? Leave a comment and let me know.

Monday, July 28, 2014

National Thinking of You Week!

I'm so excited to share this with you!

The Greeting Card Association has decided to create a National Thinking of You Week.


Which I think is freakin' awesome because of its goal: to create a wave of love, caring and happiness across the nation by sending and getting a card during the last week in September. And who doesn't like to get a little happy mail?!

I think that's the point of it.

Everyone loves to get something - big or small, its knowing that you are in someone else's thoughts that's the point. Writing a message just to say hello to a friend - life is so short, why WOULDN'T you tell someone that they are in your thoughts?

Besides, science has proven that receiving a card is good for everyone's wellbeing.  Its better to receive a handmade, handwritten note showing your love and appreciation for someone, which makes them feel much more special, than receiving texts, e-mails or facebook messages.  In fact, cognitive neuroscientist Dr. Lynda Shaw firmly believes that receiving cards helps to stave off feelings of loneliness and isolation, increases self-esteem and even helps to ward off the early stages of depression.

HALLELUJAH!! Count me in!! (But I'll still need that bottle of wine.)

So let's get HAPPY and show everyone you know just how much you care. Mark your calendars and start looking for the perfect card to send that special someone.

Now its your turn!
Check out my shop for some great cards and deals on beautiful handmade correspondence just for you.

Love it? Want More?
Subscribe to my e-mail list for more great info, tips and tricks and very special news that's only available to my subscribers! (At the top of this page, to the very right!)

Much Love!



Friday, June 20, 2014

How to Build Relationships by Sending Greeting Cards - Part 2!

We have already established in  part 1 that one very simple and cost-effective way of enhancing relationships is to send greeting cards to people. Sending a card expresses a deeper level of caring than an email, an e-card or even a phone call.  Follow the steps below to create awesome lasting relationships and ultimately boost your sales.

Enhancing Your Business

Whether you are a mom running a home-based business, a high-priced attorney or CEO, sending greeting cards are a great way to build relationships. As any good business person knows, a good friendship, trust and relationship in business leads to better results!  If someone has a solid relationship with you, they are more willing to purchase from you.


This extends to everyone you know and have dealings with: your doctor, dentist, attorney, your librarian, neighborhood friends, business contacts and more.  Let them know that they are in your thoughts.  



Dale Carnegy, in his classic book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” gives a few solid pieces of advice that have stuck with me over the years.



1.  Give Honest and Sincere Appreciation.

2.  Become genuinely interested in other people and let them talk!


During your initial encounter with the person whom you are going to be sending the card to, make sure to give honest and sincere appreciation for who they are and what they have done for you. Don’t fake it, don’t ply them with a shit-eating grin. Just smile and let them know that you honestly and genuinely appreciate their work.



Ask them how they are and what’s been going on in their lives. People love to talk about themselves, their happiness, their aggravations and their lives in general, so let them talk. Your job - because it will come up when you follow up with sending them a card later on - is to LISTEN. Really, truly, honestly LISTEN. Remember as many details about this encounter as you can. Don’t rush your conversation, but as soon as you have excused yourself, jot down as many notes about the conversation as you can so that you can refer to these notes later. (It helps to keep a small notepad and pen either in your car or purse.)


The Follow Up

Later, I like to wait about three or four days, clear time in your schedule to sit down and write a handwritten note on the inside of the perfect greeting card chosen especially for your recipient. Refer to your notes about the conversation. Make sure to enclose a business card with every card you send.


Make this a habit with everyone in your life - definitely business contacts, but your day-to-day contacts as well - and send greeting cards to let them know you are thinking about them. They will be touched that you remembered details about their lives.



Show Them You Care



So next time you want to show someone how much you care, send a greeting card in the mail. It’s fast, easy and its always fun to get something in the mail. Moreover, sending cards helps to keep the dying art of handwritten correspondence alive in today’s modern, technology-driven world. Its an unexpected gesture, will help build lasting interpersonal relationships, enhance your sales and your business and bring you closer to your goals.


Now try it yourself!

Your handmade card mission for today: go to my etsy shop, order your favorite cards, (or message me for some custom orders) and I will send you some of the most beautiful, cute and fun cards you have ever seen! Chat up some of your acquaintances, making sure to take a special interest in what is happening in their life, and once your cards arrive in the mail, take the time to sit down and write a thoughtful message to your friend. Send out your cards! Make this a habit and watch your business grow!

Want more?  Follow this Blog and Join our Newsletter for More Great Info!

I’ll make sure you’re the first to know about local events, special sales, and fun new designs from Rachael’s Handmade Designs, your best location for fun, cute and beautiful handmade cards!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Single Best Message for Dad

My Dad loves to reminisce about the things that happened when I was little - things that didn't mean much at the time but have become treasured memories as we both have grown older in life.

One of our favorite memories is trips to the pond to feed the ducks. The pond was a short car ride from our house and whenever we had then ends of bread, Dad would corral my brother and I, pile us into the car with the bread, hop in himself and we’d be off!

I told you that to tell you this.

If you're a little stumped on what to write to Dad in your card this year, maybe consider a few things: what does your Dad mean to you? Do you have a favorite story of the two of you? Maybe he has a wicked sense of humor? Or possibly he is your husband or a new father - experiencing Father's Day for the very first time as Dad himself? You could tell him that you know he's going to be a great father, or that he's doing a fantastic job already.

For a lot of people its easier to share laughter rather than sappy sentiments, quotes or even poems. After all, a sense of humor - smiles and memories- are the things that bind us, other than of course, family ties.

And still others share things like faith, gratitude and compliments with Dad.  These are all some great ideas for expressing your thoughts to Dad. But, whatever you choose to share with Dad, make it personal.  Make it loving, but really try to express what he has meant to you in the past, and what he continues to mean to you in the present and the future.

Let him know that you're thinking of him - that he is in your thoughts, even if you are yards, cities, miles or continents apart. Family can be very far away, and yet, still very close because we hold them near in our hearts and thoughts. Expressions of these thoughts in written form can be cherished for years to come.

And yet, after it all, sometimes the best things to say are the most simple things: "Dad, thank you for being there. I love you with all my heart."  To be short and concise, it doesn't really matter what you write to Dad, as long as its from the heart. That's the good thing about handmade cards - you can take the time to sit down and really express yourself.

As always, be kind to the ones you love and show them what they mean to you.

And if you liked this post leave me a comment and let me know.  If you have any good stories, tips or ideas to share on this topic, let ‘em rip below!

Friday, May 30, 2014

How to Build Relationships by Sending Greeting Cards

Sending Greeting Cards is Prissy, right?
That’s a good question!

Remember when you were a kid and your Great Aunt Gertrude sent you a card on every birthday and Christmas? Right up until the day of her death she sent you those cards. And they were really mushy with teddy bears, hearts and puppy dogs on them.
Remember them? Well, that’s not what I’m talking about.
Granted, some of those mushy greeting cards are fine, and I have to admit, even cute sometimes.


But perhaps, since you’re are a bit more practical, sophisticated and refined, you business owners might want to think twice about about sending a stylish, fun and thoughtful greeting card.
So, how much did Great Aunt Gertrude really care about you?
Life is all about building relationships, whether you are neighbors, new friends, business acquaintances or relatives.  The stronger our relationships, the closer we feel with our group. We have a better support group and can even ask for favors! But, I digress.

My point is that Great Aunt Gertrude sent you those greeting cards not out of obligation, but because she loved you and wanted to show you that you were in her thoughts. Think about it: a greeting card is a small gesture in itself, but when you take the time to pick out the perfect card, sit down, write out a thoughtful note, address an envelope, buy stamps and make a trip to the drop box - well, it doesn't become just a small gesture anymore. That small gesture has suddenly become something more, something personalized, and in some cases, cherished and saved for years to come.
How do you build a relationship and save time, and money too
Everyone loves to get a surprise in the mail. Its that happy little tickle in your belly, the smile across your face that you open the mailbox and there's a little gift inside with your name on it.

One very simple and cost-effective way of enhancing relationships is to send greeting cards to people. Sending a card expresses a deeper level of caring than an email, an e-card or even a phone call.
The latter because it takes some forward planning and you cannot do it on the day, because you only just thought of it, and hope to get away with it. Its instant gratification, just like shooting zombies on the xbox.
By taking the time to select the perfect greeting and writing your personalized message, this demonstrates a greater level of caring. And it is not apparent, but more an instinctive feeling people have. You had to have remembered, planned ahead and executed sending a card, and that gets the message across.
How important is it whether you show you care?
Apparently over 70% of people would send more greeting cards if it were easier than going to the store, and 60% if it were not so expensive.
So an average of 65% of people want an easy and cost effective way of sending cards. That’s quite a lot of people who want to show they care. And although they’d probably never tell you this, they’d like to be cared about and receive greeting cards themselves too.

So show the people in your life that you care! Send them a greeting card today. Your neighbors, new friends, business acquaintances or relatives will be pleasantly surprised and its a safe bet that your relationships will be enhanced as a result.


Find a great selection of stylish, fun and warm greeting cards here.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Come See Us at the Ballard Art Walk & Hangover Market!

Rachael's Handmade Designs will be vending at the Ballard Cupcake Royale for the May Saturday Ballard Art Walk on May 10th! Come take a leisurely stroll through Ballard and view some amazing artwork by some very talented artists.


Also, on Sunday, May 11th, join us at the newly remodeled Comet Tavern on Capitol Hill for The Hangover Flea Market!


I look forward to seeing you all there!
Cheers


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

How sending greeting cards can help your business

When we think about greeting cards, we think of birthday cards that melt our hearts, Christmas and holiday cards sent to everyone we know and Mother’s Day cards.
But business can and often do send greeting cards to their customers as small thank you’s for past business, invitations to upcoming events, or even to remind a customer or patient of an upcoming appointment.  Many card makers can provide all kinds of greeting cards required by a business and even personalize them to each customer.  They should be hand-signed (and we think hand-written!) by the owner of said business.  The recipient is surely to be touched, sharing your thoughtful card with their friends - your customer is sure to think fondly of the company who sent it and may be more likely to continue doing business with you! So, if you want to connect in a positive way with your customer (and really, who doesn’t!?) then pick out a few cards from my shop to send to a few of your most loyal customers!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Five Easy Ways to Get Inspired

When you're artistically stuck and feeling creatively drained here are five easy ways to get your groove back!

#1.  Make Creativity a Habit and a Way of Life.
Do something creative every day. Creativity is a way of life, a habit. Most creative people I know do something every day, even if its just a doodle, sketch or getting ideas and thoughts down on paper. No matter how small your creative something is, you should try and take a few minutes per day and do it. A great way to do this is to keep an art journal, sketch journal or the like.

#2.  Don’t force it
Not feeling very creative? Stuck? Happens to everyone! Leave your project, don’t try and force something that just is not working. Set your project aside! Do something that is completely different. Take a walk and get some fresh air. If you have a camera, a neat exercise is to challenge yourself to find something beautiful in everyday life. Listen to new music, or go to the art store and browse. These things usually work for me - I love to go to the art store and look at all the pretty papers! Everybody needs a break every now and then. You may even find inspiration where you are not even looking for it.

#3.  Stick Your Nose in a Book
Check out art books at your local library. There are some great ideas within these pages of knowledge (and some not-so-great ones) for you to try out and put your own spin on. Look at books on master artists, both in classical art and contemporary art in and out of your artistic field. Analyze the pieces - what do you like and why? What do you not like and why?  This is FREE ARTISTIC EDUCATION to further your creative endeavor!

#4.  Take a Class
Think of taking a class as extending your professional artistic education. Sure, you may have to pay for it, but in doing so it adds value to your art because you learn a new skill, meet people, and have a good time doing whatever it is that you’re doing. It’s a new challenge and gets you thinking outside of the box. You can take a single-day class, a week long class or a class at your community college.

#5.  Clean or Organize Your Crafty Space
There are few times that I feel more creatively inspired than when I’m faced with a clean craft desk! Tidying your space lets you prioritize your projects, see what you have, and, maybe not for you, but for me it generally makes me feel better, more collected and organized. Also, I have found that cleaning out my stash and donating things or selling them helps to cycle products that I have and make room for new creative flow. Try not to hold onto projects that you plan to do, but have not gotten around to, for too long. Excess items or projects can weigh you down and hold you back.

I hope you have a chance to give some of these easy tips a whirl! They really help me when I'm feeling defeated.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Back Bar Flea Market - April 11 from 3-7pm

Welcome!
Just a quick blog entry to let you know that Rachael's Handmade Designs will be at the Back Bar Flea Market (part of the Belltown Art Walk) on Friday, April 11th from 3-7pm  Located inside the Crocodile Back Bar in Belltown. All ages. Happy hour prices during the Artwalk (with ID.) So come right after work to enjoy a drink or two and see a room full of local artists, crafters, vintage merchants and representatives with unique, handmade, one-of-a-kind goodies and deals! 
There will be music videos, a photo booth, and of course, yummy drinks!
Can't wait to see you there!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spring Bazaar!

Spring is here! Rachael’s Handmade Designs will be in Mountlake Terrace, Washington attending Mountlake Terrace High School’s Spring Bazaar on May 3rd from 10-4pm. Come check it out! There will be food, a rummage sale, a car wash, a blood drive, sports and wellness fair, and you can even test drive a new ford vehicle!

Bazaar at
Mountlake Terrace High School
21801 44th Ave West, MLT

The Sport & Wellness and Spring Bazaar will be inside the School, just inside the front doors to the left. Some vendors will have the opportunity (weather permitting) to be outside if they wish. 
The Rummage Sale will be just inside the front doors to the right.
Car Wash will be in the upper parking lot near the main street.
Drive 4UR School (Ford Giving program) will be in the Music Parking lot, just tot he left of the front doors of the school.
BBQ will be outside near the circle/drop off, in the "plaza" like area near the front doors of the school.
Blood Drive - will be in the auxiliary gym - come through the front doors of the school and go to the right (past the Rummage Sale) and into the main gym. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Win a Free Greeting Card Set!

Wow, I've really fallen behind on bringing new cards to you! I have a TON of cards to share with you that are new in the shop - things and projects I have been working on! But first, a little housekeeping.

1.  There is a Spring Sale going on in the shop. Selected items are on sale for a short time only, so pop on by to see what's happening! Your next favorite card could be waiting!

2.  Its donation time again! About twice a year Rachael's Handmade Designs makes and donates a large quantity of greeting cards to send to our heros overseas. This helps our deployed heros keep in contact with home and supports Rachael's Handmade Design's mission of preserving the art of handwritten correspondence. Even if you don't support or agree with war, we can all support our brave people in the service. We encourage you to get involved! You may donate cards or participate in "AnyHero Mail" here!

3.  Contest Time! There is a contest happening right now on my Facebook Page - help me reach 300 Likes! Refer a friend and have them 'like' Rachael's Handmade Designs on Facebook.  Have them leave a comment telling me who referred them (you) and you will be entered to win a brand new set of greeting cards from my shop! The more people you refer, the more times your name goes into the hat to draw for the brand new set of free greeting cards!! Contest ends on May 21, 2014.

The studio has been very busy as I have been meeting and improving on my personal goal to be artistic and creative in some way, everyday. This is helping me to manage my time and live a more creative life - a very worthy goal.
















If you want to see more photos of my latest designs, go ahead and check the store for more detailed views!

Thanks for stopping by. If you like these cards, leave me a comment, let me know and get at me! :D

Have a good day!

Cheers

Sunday, March 23, 2014

FACEBOOK CONTEST TIME! Enter to Win a Free Prize!

FACEBOOK CONTEST TIME! Help me reach 300 likes! Refer a friend to "like" Rachael's Handmade Designs on Facebook! Tell your friend to leave a comment telling me who referred them (you) and you will be entered to win a brand new set of greeting cards from my shop! Your friend may also refer a friend to "like" and be entered to win as well. The more people you refer, the more times your name goes into the hat to draw for a brand new set of free greeting cards!! Contest ends on May 21st, 2014.
Goodluck!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Spring Sale

Spring Sale going on now in the shop on select pieces!

No Glue Tape? NO PROBLEM!

I love it when you're happily in the middle of creating a masterpiece and then....you run out of your [insert random art supply here]. It happened to me last night! I ran out of my ATG Glue tape and I thought I was going to have to set aside my masterpiece right when I was in the middle of my creative flow.

Luckily, I'm a crafty gal...and at times a bit absent-minded...But I digress. I got my first layer down with glue tape and decided to challenge myself to see how many different types of adhesive I could use on a card. This one turned out to be four different types! And I got to use my scraps! (It always makes me happy when I can use every last bit of my paper!)

I used foam squares (which I also ran out of the day before yesterday, but luckily I had forgotten that I had purchased "the wrong kind" of foam squares and had set the wrong ones aside) and washi tape, as well as gel medium and ATG Glue tape.  So that was pretty fun, not something that I've ever done before.

And I'm really tickled at how this card turned out! What do you think?

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