Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Square Up

This is my iPhone's newest playmate--the Square.  I have recently published an article in the SAQA Journal about my experience with a smartphone app called GoPayment.  It is a credit card processor that makes your phone a terminal.  I knew about the $20 a month charge for GoPayment, but missed the additional $20 in minimum fees, so I had to quickly suspend my connection.  

Then a couple of weeks ago a friend told me about Square Up.  It is also makes your smartphone a credit card machine, but this one is free!  The only fees are a transaction fee of $.15 and a percentage fee based if the card holder is present or not--2.5%-3.5%.  Not the cheapest, but certainly not the the most expensive fees I've seen either.

Its intended user is personal and low-volume small business users.  The story around how it got started was the guy that invented it was always getting stuck with the bill at restaurants with his fellow diners saying they would square up with him later.  So, he invented a tool where it was cost-effective for people to square up with cashless people right then and there.

One of the reasons it is for a low volume business is there are currently limits on the amount of money you can get back--$1000 per week.  If you go over that, you have to wait 30 days to get your money.  They are still working out the kinks to avoid fraudulent use of the device.

But for my art quilt business, it seems like the perfect match.  It is available for the casual studio visitor as well as major open studio events like the one planned for December 11, 2010 from noon to 8 pm.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Studio Progress - Blinds

With some design help of my friend, Jill Becker, I created a very functional solution for my windows in the new studio.  This is a minimal sewing project--only a tube to hold the upper slat of wood.  I used two layers acrylic felt to make blinds that block the intensity of the afternoon sun, but not all of the light.  

I drilled holes in each end of the slat and the middle.  I strung twine through each end and then the middle, knotted it and ran it through the loop on the window and another loop handily provided in my wall or a pipe before tieing it off on a hook to the side.  

The bottom is stapled to a little heftier piece of wood and gravity keeps it in place.

The blinds look like sails on a ship when they are being raised!  And even though they are attached to the handy loops at the top of the windows, I can have them up with the windows open, too.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

New Studio Neighbor

This weekend I had the pleasure to meet my newest neighbor in the Studios at 1100 Broadway--Anna Luna.  

She is a the owner of Crafty Girls Workshop and will soon be offering fun classes in the 1400 square foott Suite 311.  

She has a lot of ideas and enthusiasm plus great fabrics.  

Anna is also very technology savvy--I hope to learn a thing or two from her.

Two textile people in the same building!  How wonderful is that?!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Abundant Choices - Hiring a Life Coach

Abundance, 2007 24" x 24"
About a week ago, my husband and I were taking a walk and talking about our day together.  I was explaining to him that I felt so close to where I wanted to go with my life (and art business), but I felt blocked from actually making that last little critical step of actually making it.

His response was that I should hire a coach.  My reflex, even though I used to be a coach myself, was that I don't need help.  I can do it myself.  I didn't even have time to think before these ideas flooded into my brain.  

Because when I did take a mere second to think, I thought this is the time like no other that I could really use a coach.  I am so ready for to accept the goodness of the Universe, which sounds a little flip, but actually I've put a lot of work into that part.  Having help in removing the obstacles that I place in front of myself, might be a really good idea.

And then the second reflex occurred, which is I don't have any money to pay a coach and the money that I don't have yet, I've already spent on new studio space.  And who would I hire anyway?  It would have to be a co-active coach.  And then the beautiful face of my dear friend Sue Vittner popped in my brain.  She is a life coach, who is mostly doing massage therapy because marketing coaching isn't the easiest thing to do in the world--I can relate to that!  She collected Abundance a couple of years ago and had recently inquired about Three Waters, shown below. 
Three Waters, 2010

So, my next actual thought was I may be cash poor right now, but I am art rich!  So, I met with her the next day, as she was in town, and we came to a pretty straight forward arrangement of her coaching me in exchange for Three Waters.

I can tell you that I immediately felt energized and hopeful again that I can accomplish the goals and milestones that I have for myself.  I have witnessed the power of coaching first hand and know what life-altering affects that it can have.  And I have allowed myself this "help" at a critical juncture in my life.  I am allowing Abundance.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Spaciousness, c2010, 24"x30"

I rediscovered spaciousness in the studio this week.  I have always been attracted to small spaces.  I think it may have something to do with the organizational challenge of making it functional.  

I have recently moved into a new space in my building.  I was trying to solve some of the weather challenges of my current space and thought that it was going to be a this OR that choice.  But it ended up being a this AND that choice.  

The new space on the 2nd floor is my dry studio.  I have moved my sewing machine, cutting, ironing, and painting stations.  As well as carved out a space for an office.  The new space has amazing light (except for a couple of hours in the late afternoon when it is a little too amazing--but I've got a solution for that!) and is well air-conditioned.  

The old space on the 3rd floor is my wet studio that I use for dying fabric, storage, frame-making preparing food and coffee, and journaling.  As I used the big empty spot yesterday to work with my dyes, I marveled at how it felt to be in spaciousness.

This week, I've also felt spacious with my time.  My metronome schedule with my day job has changed as my carpooling schedule with my husband's new contract has changed.  Instead of working Monday, Wednesday, and Friday--were I was always one day from the studio and helped me a lot to be more present--I'm working 10 hours each on Wednesday and Thursday.  

The new schedule gives me a lot more time consecutively which makes dying fabric easier and it feels like I have more time in the studio.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Me, Myself, and I and Her and She and Them

I was having a conversation last night with my DH about my alter egos.  Two of them have cute names--Stinkerina and Babycita. 

Milagros (Stinkerina)
Stinkerina is playful, demanding, and likes to tease.  She can be a little mean sometimes.  She doesn't mean to be mean, but it does happen.  She can get really competitive when playing games, too.

Babycita is the sweet, patient, loving, calm, happy one.  She showed up when I started doing art full-time.  I really didn't know that she existed until then.  Chuck fell in love with Stinkerina, but Babycita got a lot of positive reinforcement when she came on the scene.

So, I was thinking of who else is out there. 

Well, there is Adventure Girl.  I had forgotten all about her until she showed up last weekend in the studio.  I like Adventure Girl a lot and am going to invite her over more often.  She can be a little reckless.  She doesn't plan or think about things--she just does things.  She is very experiential and brave.
Child's Play
(The Organizer and Artista)

Chuck reminded me of The Organizer.  Of course, how could I have forgotten her.  I wish she had a better name, but I haven't thought of one yet.  I'm pretty sure everyone in my life has met The Organizer.  She comes by at least once a month to organize or re-organize something--more often if she is really needed.

I really do know that Chuck fell in love with Stinkerina with her devilish eyes, but when a dear friend asked early in our relationship what he loved about me, what blurted from his lips was, "She is so organized!"  I guess even The Organizer can be endearing....in that special methodical way.

Line Study 1
(Artista and Simplicity)  
 The Organizer has a twin;  she is Simplicity.  Simplicity is shy.  She has a lot to say, but she doesn't use words.  You can feel where she has been, though.  She is the one that you see out of the corner of your eye and she is gone if you actually try and focus on her.  The Organizer does her best to make space for her quiet twin.

And then there is Artista.  She has been around forever and likes to play with everybody and everything.  She is very social and likes to share what she is learning with all of her friends.

She is just happy to be creative and have a "canvas," even if that canvas is spreadsheet on a computer screen.  She regularly has play dates in the studio with The Organizer, Babycita, and Stinkerina, and has even hooked up once or twice with Simplicity.

I know there are more of me out there, but Artista is begging me to go to the studio that The Organizer was so kind as to clean up last night.