introducing something significant

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Last week I caught up with the lovely ladies that I have been completing the Blogging with Pip course with for an online chat. As usual there were a tonne of ideas shared, tea drunk and feedback given.

Following a question posed about whether anyone is or will be considering writing posts based around a daily/weekly/monthly type projects, I piped up and mentioned that I was hoping I could make a ‘significant something’ each month that forces me to brush up on skills I have lost or new skills I want to learn, especially in support of my ethical fashion pledge for 2014 (more on that later).

And so here it is – a significant something will start in February!

At the start of the month I will talk about what it is I am attempting to make, challenges and concerns and the bits I look forward to the most. You will be able to follow the progress on instagram (@stuffbyrenee) and I’ll provide a wrap-up on the blog at the end of each month hopefully with the completes something.

This will be challenging but thanks to the support of the Blogging with Pip community I looked forward to giving it a go. Enjoy!

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interwoven :: make : thread : craft : art is back!!!

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Early last year I undertook the first ‘hands-on’ course I have undertaken since probably leaving school – interwoven :: make : thread : craft : art. From the moment I signed up I was completely hooked (literally – yes, crochet was one component). Two super-dooper talented ladies – Lisa Solomon and Katrina Rodabaugh – whipped a bunch of us in the creating action.

I shocked myself by just how much I could learn, absorb and create in such short bursts of time. I attribute undertaking all the other courses I have been discussing lately to feeling the creative sense of achievement I did when I completed this course.

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It has influenced how I undertake some of my design work – yes I have hand-stitched ‘love’ into 60 invitations and hand painted 760 love hearts that were individually sewn onto cards for another invitation. Some say ‘crazy’ (well mostly my hubby) but I have loved it! My first thought with every project now is what part of this can I create by hand.

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But the sweetest part about this is these lovely ladies have decided to do it all again – yay! You should have seen the excitement from those of us that had completed the course last year – I admit I thought I might wet my pants when I saw the news – and many have signed on again (not a bad recommendation I think!).

So now I am sharing the news and even more splendid news that they are offering all my special friends a discount – simply enter the promo code SPECIALFRIENDS at the checkout for 10% off. Enjoy! (I know I will be as I have just signed up again!)

 

*I have been asked  if these posts about ‘learning’ are sponsored posts – these are not. I am simply sharing my experiences on this little journey of learning I have embarked on because they have all offered me something as a creative that may or may not appeal to you also.

learning about branding

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My journey moved on from Braid Creative and a few months ago I discovered this other cute looking online course happening over at creativebug.

If making and creating appeal to you and you haven’t heard of creativebug then I highly recommend you immediately drop everything and check it out (but please come back and finish reading this).

When you subscribe to the site you are exposed to an unlimited library of video tutorials on everything – knitting to sewing to paper making to drawing to quilting to jewellery to floral arranging to lampshade making … you get the idea. The quality of the videos is superb and the instructors are leaders in their craft.

So when they offered this neat little five week dive into branding and creative business the temptation was too much.

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It was presented as a series of discussions that featured a live chat each week with one of the contributors (again an early morning rise for me as this was based in the US) as well as a course notes that reaffirmed concepts discussed and provided additional links and avenues for further discovery.

The contributors are complete experts in their chosen fields. They included Lisa Congdon (illustrator), Liesl and Todd Gibson (Oliver + S), Heather Ross (illustrator and textile designer), Melanie Falick (publishing director of STC Craft/Melanie Falick Books) and Christine Schmidt (Yellow Owl Workshop).

Their wealth of experience (good and bad) was shared with us all. They called it like it was, warned you of pitfalls and rejoiced in successes.

Todd and Liesl’s practical advice about how to approach creative business was super. As a creative you often forget the ‘working on your business’ side of things and how necessary that is to allow you to build, develop or evolve. I just wish (along with every other participant in the course I think) I had a ‘Todd’ working for me!

As always, Lisa Congdon was insightful and genuine. I have admired her work for many years because of the honest portrayal of her subject matter (oh and the ‘pink’). So to hear about her experiences as an illustrator in business was a special little insight that made me all warm and fuzzy inside.

For my business it has revitalised a sense of determination. I appreciate that set-backs happen and the attitude and approach used to deal with these determines your success. It highlighted to me the fact that I do want to publish something. And, most enlightening, if my passion is to create, make a healthy living from being creative, share my creativity and evolve as a creative then really there is no excuse not to (as long as I have a business plan to do it – hey Todd?). Enjoy!

*I was asked earlier this week if these posts about ‘learning’ are sponsored posts – these are not. I am simply sharing my experiences on this little journey of learning I have embarked on because they have all offered me something as a creative that may or may not appeal to you also.

learning with braid creative

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About six months ago I stumbled across a couple of dashing young ladies from Braid Creative that have changed so many things about me – my work, creating, how I think and the list goes on. In hindsight it feels as though Kathleen and Tara have swooped in and spring-cleaned my creative business drive.

Six months ago I was feeling unsettled. I felt like I was on the verge of ‘something’ (this was the itch I was talking about in my last post). I didn’t know what and I had no idea how to know or learn what this ‘something’ was to be.

The more I read about Kathleen and Tara – how they started their business, the challenges and celebrations they experienced as creatives, women and business owners – the more I identified with these feelings and circumstances. But the big difference was these ladies appeared to have their shit in order! All I was doing was floundering about.

My first Braid experience was six weeks of one-on-one business coaching with Kathleen. For one hour every week (early Saturday morning for me/late Friday arvo for Kathleen – you see she is in Oklahoma) we would talk … just talk.

At the start I thought I had it all figured out. I thought I knew what I wanted to achieve from the coaching. Huh! That was out the window in about 20 minutes. This wasn’t a bad thing, it was more a ‘knock-myself over-with-excitement-of-possibility’ good thing.

Throughout the sessions I felt uneasy and confused – and boy oh boy did I do some thinking!  The main thing I learned about myself is that I am my biggest hurdle. I am the critic, the thinker, the judge – I am my everybody.

Kathleen is the ultimate guide. She gave me tools and exposed me to concepts that allowed me to identify where I am. Not just my physical position but where my headspace is, where my dreams are, what my desires are and of course where my needs lie. By knowing and having an awareness of these things I can open the door and continue my journey to where I need/want to move next.

Each week you complete activities, some are fun, others revealing and one in particular is simply a little whoo whoo. Right before the last weeks session all the jigsaw pieces that I had been accumulating fell into place. I always felt challenged and excited after each session but right at the end I was filled with a consuming sense of confidence. Every doubt seemed less significant (or at least able to be overcome) and my ambitions have become my absolute focus and have remained so.

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Whilst working with Kathleen I learnt about other Braid offerings and of course with my new sense of empowerment I jumped at the chance to soak these up. So I have undertaken two Braid Creative e-courses – ‘Shape up your content’ and ‘Personal Branding: Blending who you are with what you do’. And I am about to start the last course ‘Dream Customer Catching: Embrace your expertise and attract what you track’.

The e-courses are delivered similarly to the coaching and activities and videos add to the content provided. I admit I do miss the conversations with Kathleen, but both Tara and Kathleen are available during the e-courses for feedback and commenting and Emily keeps all the techy stuff on track.

I struggled with shaping up my content but after I completed the personal branding course this made a load more sense. It goes to show that you need to know yourself before you can tell people about you.

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I am super excited to be starting the last course in just a few days – if you want to check it out and register click here and because Braid Creative a ‘super-special’ people you can sign up here for the bargain price of US$50 if you use this code BRAIDECOURSE50 at the checkout.

Once I have completed all the e-courses I might just share a little about what I have done as a result of these courses.

If e-courses aren’t your thing, no sweat their website if choc-full of scrumptious insights and creative business goodness so just go and have a browse and I hope you love these ladies as much as I do. Enjoy!

learn, learn and learn some more…

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About six months ago I developed an itch – not in a physical way but more in a creative sense.

Perhaps you are familiar with the feeling? From the outside your life is pretty much awesome but from the inside there is this ‘deep-inside-you-can’t-quite-put-your-finger-on’ feeling (aka the itch). And no matter what you do or how you try to ignore it there is simply no way to scratch it.

So in an attempt to sooth the ‘itch’ I have embarked on an insanely demanding creative journey. I have completed or am in the process of completing six courses (all creative/inspiration/design/making/crafting/blogging based) and I threw in a little creative business coaching as well.

It has been an insane rollercoaster but what I have learnt has been boggling. And not one to keep a secret I want to share some of my insights with the world (well my small little blog world I love). So hold on tight (I am completing two more courses right this second) as I will be sharing some the insights I have found invaluable.

taking time to create

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Recently I had a free afternoon and not being the type of person to sit still, I found myself tinkering. I discovered a blank canvas in my studio and thought bingo!

However, a large blank canvas can be quite overwhelming. Well at least I have found them to be for the past few years. But on this particular afternoon I simply just started.

If you ask my husband every little bit of the artwork that evolved was completely planned and thought through, but in reality it wasn’t. I just did it. No plan.

It’s no masterpiece. Nor will it win any awards. And it’s probably not loved by many except my two year old and I. But it was fun. It has found a nice home for the time being. And I find myself desperately wanting to do more. Talk about the year of creating! Enjoy!