Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Small Business Reading Materials

I'm always trying to learn more and improve all aspects of my handmade business. I read countless online articles, which I share in my weekly newsletter (sign up here) and of course books + magazines. Here are a few that I'm currently reading (because I can't just read one at a time >_<):


I've heard mixed reviews about this book, but mostly on the positive side. I find it interesting to read other people's stories. I'm about half-way through right now.

Mollie Makes Social Media Issue

I've read through this magazine a few times already, and many pages are dog-eared. Social media is always changing and always a challenge. This magazine has some great tips for each platform, examples, and favorite accounts to give you a good starting ground.

The Handmade Entrepreneur
I saw this book on Instagram through EtsyUSA, it's an ebook that was only a few dollars. I haven't had a chance to read through it yet, but I've been soaking up any knowledge about Etsy since switching over to the platform (permanently).

The Right Brain Business Plan
I got this at the beginning of the year and read through it, but now I need to implement it. I have a hard time with all the "business" stuff because I would rather spend my time creating...but I'm working on it :)

What business books have you read and taken away useful information? I've read so many! I need to take some time to review the ones I've finished.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Characters With My Favorite Fictional Fashion

Which fictional characters closet would I raid?

1. Willow + Buffy

Quirky chick + leather, why not have the best of both worlds? I'm also always wishing it was still the late '90s/early 2000s.

2. April from Parks & Rec

Her wardrobe was super cute + comfy, and looked like stuff I could actually go out and buy...plus she's one of my favorite characters.

3. Elle Woods from Leagally Blonde

All pastel and mostly pink, I could go for that!

4.  Jess from New Girl

Quirky, cute, polka dots + stripes...it's my dream wardrobe.

5. Suzy Bishop from Moonrise Kingdom

What's not to love?!

Whose closet would you raid?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Princess Mononoke

Recently I was digging through my old sketch books looking for blank sheets (sometimes I don't finish a sketch book), and I came across this old Princess Mononoke sketch.

If you are not familiar with the character, this sketch is based on the 1997 Japanese historical fantasy animated film by Hayao Miyazaki

Princess Mononoke is one of my husband's favorite Miyazaki films, but to be honest it took me several attempts to finish it. I am more into cutesy and happy films, and this one was too violent for my tastes. 

Eventually, I finished the movie and grew to enjoy the edgy story and visually intoxicating artwork. Miyazaki's devotion to detail is part of what makes his films magical to me. I found it interesting that he and his art crew spent 3 days soaking in the landscapes of the ancient forests and mountains in Japan for this movie. His style is unwavering, and you know right away that you are watching a Studio Ghibli film. 

Although my sketch doesn't portray any edginess, I feel it captures a whimsy of how a Miyazaki film makes me feel. I plan to sketch more characters from his films in the future. 
If you've never seen Princess Mononoke I recommend watching it.

What is your favorite Miyazaki film?

Friday, June 12, 2015

My Zoetrope: Father's Day Cards

This year I am determined to do as many special things for my husband for Father's Day. He works super hard to provide for us, and makes it possible for me to stay home with Amelia + make art.

I love finding the perfect card for every occasion. This year the card is super special because Amelia picked it out, and it's perfect.

We recently went on vacation to the Albuquerque Zoo, and Amelia knows all sorts of animal names these days (which is so cute). She is also always climbing on Clint and wanting to ride on his shoulders, so this card is perfect in so many ways! 

I love supporting other artists, and My Zoetrope is such a cute shop with amazing work! There are quirky cute cards for every occasion full of bright color and wit! 

Here are a few other Father's Day cards from Michelle's shop if you're looking for something extra special!

Have you picked out a card for Father's Day? Grabbed the perfect gift? I'm still working on the gift part! 

You can find My Zoetrope:

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Kimono Pigs at Hello Quirky Shop

I've recently discovered the cute world of teacup piglets. It started with the explore page on Instagram, and now I follow several kawaii piglet accounts. My favorites are: @pearlspigtails, @piggypetunia, and @prissy_pig. Sadly, my husband said I can't have a teacup piglet of my very own.

Kimono Pigs are inspired by the cute teacup piglets and my love for anime, particularly Rurouni Kenshin, since I've been watching the live action movies recently. I think kimonos are gorgeous, and I would love to attend a cherry blossom festival someday (and try some dango!).

Hazuki, Yuki, and Kaoru Pig come as colorful brooches to add a little flair to your denim vest or cardigan. You can also send the sticker pack to your pen pal as a kawaii surprise!

Thank you to everyone who has already adopted a Kimono Pig and for your support!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Writer: Sonya Cheney

Sonya Cheney is a writer and zinester from Western Massachusetts. I met Sonya through Twitter a couple years ago, and we hit it off like forever friends who have never met. Sonya was kind enough to answer a few questions for my new series interviewing creatives living prolific lives.

1. When did you begin writing? Did you always imagine you would grow up to be a writer? Or did you have other plans for yourself?

When I was in second grade, there was a distinct moment I remember sitting on my parents' bed with one of those black and white marbled composition notebooks, scribbling in my first short story. Maybe that wasn't the first time I wrote for myself, but that was definitely the beginning, the tragic, downward spiral that would become the life of a writer. Haha. Then in sixth grade I began my first novel--I wrote it in neon orange gel pen!!--which panned out to exactly nothing (or, rather, something like twelve handwritten pages of only notes and scenes), and that's when I could really tell I was in it for the long haul—writing a novel at eleven years old? What an optimist.

I tried to be a responsible adult through college, going for English and secondary education, but I eventually jumped that ship and finished with just an English degree, because some part of me always knew that writing is what I'm meant for, even if it's a damn hard trip.

2. What drives your decisions about how you spend your time?

There's a constant battle in my head between depression and productivity, and my days are frequently formulated around those two. I'll spend two weeks (if I'm lucky) sleeping when I'm not at work or aimlessly clicking around the internet, lucky if I can manage two poems in all that time. Other times, I'll go full bore for a few weeks and come out with five chapters of a novel started and a new zine project started and finished.

Most days, though, it's a little bit of both: I'll work on as much as I can, a poem or maybe a chapter of a current project, and then get worn out, so I go online to pump myself back up.

3. Can you walk us through your creative process?

(Yeah, sure, just let me find the trail markers first...)

Almost every project I work on starts with some kind of list, more often than not more than one. There's usually a to do list, an ideas/topics list (especially for zine essays or plotting out the basics of a new novel idea), and a loose schedule that I almost never stick to.

Then I get to writing, though I have no real schedule or process for that. I'm in the terrible habit of writing when I'm ~*inspired*~, so once I usually start a project it's slow going if it isn't something with a set deadline like my lit zines are. My goal right now is to actually come up with a real process, even if it's something as simple as lighting a nice candle and settling down at my desk to write, rather than nesting on the couch with my laptop.

4. Tell us about your chickens!

Oh, gosh, the chickens! The chickens are a byproduct of my life goal to someday have a farm. So far they've been more low maintenance than I expected; some days I forget they're out in the coop. We've had them for three weeks now, and it's amazing how quickly they've gone from these peeping little balls of fluff to creatures that actually resemble chickens. So far my favorite part is that when I go out to check on them, they'll run to the door of the coop when they see me. It makes me feel loved. Of course, the problem now is that I want even more animals. The challenge is to figure out what else we can fit on our little lot.

5. What are the major influences of your work? Are there any writers or movements you admire?

I'm really into works that are rough and have a little less class than you might expect. What I mean is something that doesn't really resemble the classics. When it comes to poetry especially I'm fascinated by anyone who can write about something dirty and gritty (gritty feels so cliché to use, but it's true) and turn it into this beautiful piece.  I'm kind of obsessed with Jessie Lynn McMains (Rust Belt Jessie), to be honest, which is funny to say because we're tumblr pals, but her writing is so inspiring to me. Her zines are exciting and emotional, and I can't recommend them enough.

I'm also really into Amber Tamblyn's poetry work right now. I saw her do a reading back in April and it was like some kind of religious experience; she is an absolute force, and if I can be half as amazing as she is when I grow up, I'll consider that a success.

In terms of novels, I'm all about YA. Every new novel project I come up with is young adult, probably because I am a perpetual teenager.

6. What projects are you working on now?

Oh, let's see. I just started a new perzine (personal zine) and released the first issue a week or so ago. I've been slowly piecing together some works for a chapbook of poetry and prose, with a rough release date of sometime in the fall.

And in an interesting turn of events, I've started working on a zine podcast. It's a case of wanting something that just doesn't seem to be out there and taking matters into my own hands. Whether or not it'll turn into something long term or not, I don't quite know yet. But I'm trying, so I'm giving myself credit for that much.

And, of course, I've always got other zines in the works, with the summer issue of my lit zine open for submissions, plus a one-shot Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanzine. I've basically got zine ideas pouring out of my ears.

7. Tell us about running a zine distro!

Starting a zine distro is probably the best project I've taken on all year. It's something I've wanted to do for about two years now. The best part is ordering so many different zines to read and consider stocking. Or maybe it's tabling at zine fests and finding people interested in what I'm doing. No, no, it's definitely giving people the opportunity to get their zines out there in a new way. Okay, there are a lot of best parts. The whole project is fabulous and I'm hoping that someday I can grow it into a physical shop, just something small but full of zines. For now, though, digital is working just fine.

8. What do you think is next? Is there something you haven’t had the opportunity to work on that you’ve been wanting to do?

The next thing on my list is actually blogging. I got really disillusioned with blogging over the last year or so, feeling conflicted and considering quitting (again) something like every other week. So it's on The List as something to buckle down and start really analyzing, figuring out where I'm at, where I want to go, and what I want my blog to look like, because I love blogging--I've loved blogging for the last ten years that I've done it--and I don't want the current atmosphere of a business-driven model to ruin that for me.

Thanks so much to the wonderful + amazing Sonya for answering all my questions. I am always stalking Sonya online checking out her cute house, garden, animals, and of course her life as a writer! I can't wait to see what original and exciting thing she will think up next.

You can follow along with Sonya and her adventures on:


**All photos taken by Sonya of her home, zines, and other cute things!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Donut Day

Today is National Donut Day! Truthfully I would've never known if the internet wasn't talking about this day for the past week or so. National Donut Day has been celebrated the first Friday of every June since 1938. The history behind the holiday is very touching and I'm glad to know that this little confection has been cheering people up through the decades.

Here's a round up of fun donut themed DIY's to get you in the holiday spirit:

This donut themed DIY is witty + cute! Check out how to make yours on Damask Love.
Print these free donut stickers by And We Play if you've eaten all your tasty treats and need something else donut-y to make your day fun!
I've been wanting to make this fun donut floppy hat DIY from Studio DIY since I saw it last year.  It looks like a super quick + easy tutorial, just searching for the perfect hat!

Are you celebrating with a donut or two today? What is your favorite kind of donut?

Follow me on Pinterest where I will be pinning cute donut themed items, DIYs, and recipes today!