Spring Grand Opening in the Etsy Shop

It's the first day of spring, and I've been doing some early spring cleaning in the Etsy shop the past couple of weeks.  With the help of my friends, Annie (photography) and Jill (personal assistant, career coach, informal agent, cheerleader extraordinaire), I reopened today with a new collection of hanging prints, framed originals and some old favorites like my upcycled erasers and illustrated recipes for instant download.

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Internet service out here in the boonies flows about as fast as cold sorghum syrup, so you'll have to hop over to the shop to see more! 

I gotta say, I'm loving this day. Besides opening the shop, I also organized all of the Goodwill and resale donations, cleaned the stovetop, vacuumed the house, and folded a couple baskets of laundry, so I'm feeling pretty awesome. Now there's a storm brewing in the west, and I'm still in my fuzzy PJ's -- it's an introvert's dream. Life is good!

I'll be listing more items in the shop in the coming weeks, so keep an eye on my Instagram account for updates.  Happy Spring!

 

 

 


A New Online Shopping Option

Hi friends! It's been a while. If you're on my mailing list or following me on Instagram, you've been staying up to date with the latest developments in my studio (links to both in the sidebar). If not, I'm stopping in today to let you know about a new way to shop for my designs.

Hop on over to RedBubble.com to purchase my work on all kinds of great products like canvas prints, framed prints, notecards, pillows, mugs and more!  

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For artists, this format is known as "passive income." It's a way for me to make the most of some of my followers' favorite designs by simply uploading them to the site and making them available for everyone! Red Bubble promotes, manufactures and ships these products, and I just sit back and watch you smile! 

Currently, you won't find any prints in my portfolio if the original is still available. If the original is still in stock, you'll find the image on other items like phone cases, stationery and mugs. Hope that makes sense.

For a quick link to my RedBubble shop any time, just click on the "red bubble" in the sidebar.

You may have noticed that I'm doing some rearranging here. As my product line changes, I'm tweaking my branding to follow suit. I'm hoping to publish a new gallery page soon that will feature my latest work and give you deets on availability. This will be quicker to update than my Etsy shop, which is also long overdue for a remodel. Gah! So much to do! Hope to see you back here soon! <3 Jess


It's a Wonderful Market

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Friday and Saturday, December 9 & 10

Friday 5 - 9 pm  |  Saturday 10 am - 4 pm

Coppes Commons |  401 E. Market St., Nappanee, IN

Since my career switch [off] last spring, life has spun me around in a whirlwind of continued changes.  After quitting my job of 17 years as a Communications Specialist for a Library in May, I took on a few hours working at the antique mall inside the Coppes Commons shopping complex, where I have a booth. While there, I met a lovely co-worker named Chelsie with the most energetic go-getter attitude and a passion for event planning.  In June, she and I made plans to host a holiday handmade/vintage market together in the event spaces of the building. In July, I "inherited" leadership of a non-profit, for which I'd been serving as VP.  In September, the Media & Marketing Specialist at Coppes Commons decided to leave, and I was offered the part time job. I started the new position this week on the heels of an intense and harrowing three-month stint coordinating a big festival in my hometown with a bare bones crew of volunteers from the aforementioned non profit. Needless to say, my plans to make more art were not in the cards. Two weeks ago I took a trip to Aruba, and came back refreshed and ready to promote the holiday market, so here we go!!! . . . . Let's usher out this insane year with a bang!

Mark your calendars for It's a Wonderful Market on December 9 & 10! Chelsie and I have gathered a group of our favorite makers and curators to help you complete your Christmas shopping with thoughtfulness and products made with love. Shop from dozens of booths featuring paintings, fiber art, jewelry, home decor, baby items, all-natural soaps, unique antiques and much more. We are planning crafts for kids, darling photo ops and several giveaways. You'll want to come both days to make sure you take advantage of the amazing Open House events at Coppes Commons on Friday, which include a live nativity walk, tons of free refreshments, live music, and drawings for big bucks in Coppes Commons gift certificates.  Come back on Saturday to see even more vendors! Admission and parking are free, and you can stay up to date on all of the details on our Facebook Page

 


I Am an Artists

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This is me. I am an artist. Today it is more than a proclamation, because, today I punched the clock for the last time at a job I've held for over 17 years. Within a span of 24 hours two weeks ago, all of the arrows that had been inching toward this direction on my life's compass spun around and locked into place.

For so long my job title and professional identity was a "communications specialist," a one-woman public relations band for a public library. While I still identify with this title out here on my own, fresh off the payroll, I've realized that the next time I'm asked what I do, I will need to stand firmly on two feet and reply "I am an artist."  No mumbling, no rambling explanation of all the "crafty" stuff I like to "dabble" in, no looking back. It's time to live in and work out my calling, painting what inspires me and creating products that bring ideas to life for others.

Earlier this year a verse came to me that really helped motivate me. It comes from Zechariah:

"Do not despise these small beginnings,

for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin."

I feel like ever since January, I have been taking small steps to make more art, to just get pen to paper and brushes in the water.  All those steps, and others in totally unrelated areas of my life, have been paving the way to this point, and although I wouldn't have dreamed I would be sitting here writing this post even three weeks ago, He has a way of making everything so clear, so urgent.

A new verse, which I recently used in a project for a friend, has become so profound and inspiring to me:

"Behold, I am doing a new thing: now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."  Isaiah 43:19 

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I have so many more small beginnings to work on as I turn this new page today. Thank you, in advance, for your encouragement along the way and for valuing the particular beauty that the Lord has entrusted me to share. 


I Can Do Nothing

"Maybe success isn't in believing I can do anything but in knowing I can do nothing." -- Emily P.Freeman

I woke up this morning dizzy and aching, my expectations for myself gnawing at the glowing fringes of the day like a red-eyed rat. I have two days off each week to tackle volunteer duties for the grass-roots organizations I'm involved in, manage the house, and attempt to build a shiny, inspiring art business.

Once in a while I am undeniably convinced by the Holy Spirit that it's time for a re-alignment, a mini sabbatical day of doing nothing save for being still and making myself small before the Lord. I devoted myself to it mentally yesterday after I had a melt-down over the thought of losing an important receipt (which later surfaced from the trunk of the car). Later I found out my plans for secluding myself at home today were foiled. I had a 9:00 am meeting. Fail. Once I got home, I sent out a couple of emails and set off into the sunshine to take a walk and reset for the day. 

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I'm meditating now on Emily Freeman's writings in "Simply Tuesday," which I spent time in yesterday. I don't know about you, but those glittering handlettered graphics on Instagram and Facebook telling us "Your Network is Your Net Worth," "Work Until Your Idols Become Your Rivals," "Hustle," and "Nothing Will Make You Feel Better But Doing the Work," sometimes feel like a load of crap. What I am holding dear in my heart today are Emily's words on smallness instead:

"those things I wish were different about myself are perhaps not holding me back but are pointing me forward to pay attention to my small eight-foot assignment. . . here's to not letting our slowness boss us . . . let slow do what slow does best: nourish, strengthen, and hold. Here's to deep roots, strong ties, and slow art."

Savoring that phrase -- Slow Art -- doesn't that sound healing? I think I'll grab a brush and paint a little something just for the process today, take a cat nap in the sun, ignore a couple of emails, and maybe even skip that evening meeting. In the meantime, here's a new kind of graphic for all of my #girlboss friends out there battling the negative self-talk, the expectations we set for ourselves, playing the comparison game, etc.

 

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When we recognize our inability, we can acknowledge the work of Christ in us and focus on what His purpose is for us.

Be well, friends. Don't be afraid of small. Seek out your"eight-foot" assignment for the moment, and do it well in His ability. 

 


My Etsy Shop Birthday -- Gifts for You

Eight years ago this week, I cut the ribbon on my Etsy shop, and a few weeks later sold my first handmade item-- this little guy.   Flutter
I named him "Flutter," and was over the moon when a complete stranger decided to pay good money to have him shipped to her across the country. She was so kind to give me a glowing review, and I was hooked on this sewing thing. Back then, social media was practically non-existent and getting a sale on Etsy happened mostly from directing folks to your shop from your website, in person, or from organic searches within Etsy, so this felt like a huge accomplishment. 

Before I launched the Etsy shop, I had built a pretty nice following of collectors on Ebay, but then the art market tanked with the economic downturn of 2001, and fine art became a luxury.  Add to that, I had a two-year-old at home who did not mix well with the very time-consuming, detailed paintings I had trained myself to create. So, I fired up the sewing machine and started to use my stash of vintage fabrics to start making some more practical handmade items and keep my creative juices flowing. Enter the Amy Butler handbags stitched from vintage table cloths, stuffed blocks for babies and squishy birds with funky embroidered beaks. My shining moment on Etsy was when I found out one of my chalkboard erasers had made it to the front page (an unpaid feature we makers miss sorely). I took a screen shot of it before it quickly disappeared while I was at work, and it still hangs on my bulletin board in the studio. 

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Eight years later, it seems the world is ready to bring art back into their homes and budget, and my little baby is a ten-year old who is able to make a bowl of cereal once in a while and use the restroom on her own, so I can fill my shop with more paintings and drawings.

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She even makes some pretty cool artwork herself. Check out this darling Manga-style drawing she did a couple of weeks ago.

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To celebrate Eight years on Etsy, I'm "giving away" a grab bag of a variety of my handmade accessories worth over $30, starting Saturday morning. To "win," you need to search my shop for the special 10 cent listing and be the first one to click the "add to cart" button. That's it! It's like a fun scavenger hunt! Follow my Instagram feed for more details, and eat a cupcake for me wherever you are!

 


New Year, New Focus

IMG_20160118_100958It's a bitterly-cold morning here in Midwesterland, USA. I've turned the Christmas twinkle lights back on, made the third pot of coffee in 24 hours, and thrown on another sweatshirt. The furnace is blasting non-stop, and I'm looking forward to this day off of school cozied up in our little nest. I'm getting a little bit of a head start to my day here, so that I can fit in pancakes and dreamcatchers, coloring, reading and mini donut making later on after Nora wakes up.

I haven't traveled these parts much in the last few months, as you may have noticed. Since I launched my Instagram feed for Jessica Flores Design, I've been mini blogging there and having a great time meeting fellow makers and beauty seekers from all over the world. 

Today I'm popping in to let you know about my plans for my creative business in 2016.  As I mentioned in my latest newsletter, the sewing machine has been packed up and shelved for the time being, and my focus for the next year will be on my painting and illustration. I feel like this type of work is where I can be most expressive and really share a kind of artwork that is unique to the world -- no patterns, no files, no templates--just my imagination and experiences spilled out in pigment across the page. Today I begin a new class on telling your story with Jeanne Oliver, and I'm hoping it will be just the thing to make my work even more personal and one-of-a-kind. 

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Last week was a mental mess for me. I screwed up my schedule all over the place and felt frizzled out. I decided I needed a proper planner, but those fancy ones with all of the bells and whistles are so expensive! They even have user videos to go with them! What?! So, while we were shopping over the weekend, I picked up a cheap one at Walmart and blinged it out with one of those cute ribbon clips and a pocket in the back for notes. I just can't make that Google calendar work. This girl needs to jot it all down in ink to make it take root in my memory! 

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Every month I'm writing down new goals for my artwork and actually pencilling in time to blog! Some upcoming tasks include finishing up a secret project for a friend (wink wink), completing a couple of illustrated family recipes for clients, re-photographing art for the Etsy shop, getting my work into new galleries, and improving my branding and packaging. I'm also planning on doing fewer art fairs and instead moving into more online business and custom orders.

So, don't give up on me just yet, faithful reader. I'll be back soon with more pretty things to tickle your fancy and an inside look at my kitchen remodel! (I've met a lot of British friends on Instagram, hence all of the bits and bobs about popping and fancies.)


Calling All IG'ers!

Hi friends! Today I launched my brand new Instagram feed featuring my artwork exclusively! I hope you'll jump on over to my feed @jessica_flores_design to follow. It's my favorite place for mini-blogging, running fun "instasales" and pointing you to other talented makers, and as a thank you, I've got a special offer posted in my profile.  Go check it out! 

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My "Birthday Bag" in the Spotlight

I got an early birthday present this afternoon! Dan handed me a package from the day's mail delivery, and inside was a complimentary artist's copy of this:

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You know what that means: another appearance of my work inside!

How appropriate that it was my very own "birthday bag" arriving on shelves in September! 

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It's really been a wonderful afternoon, complete with perfect late-summer temperatures, a view of Nora's riding lesson from the garden swing, the taste of ever-bearing strawberries from Dad's patch and a fist full of flowers! September is sweet!

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Don't forget to comment on my last post for your chance to win tickets to the Madison Road Artisan Market in South Bend on October 3rd! I finished these fun coffee cup cozies yesterday. You'll find them there!

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Win Madison Road Artisan Market Tickets Here!!

I'm counting down to the next Madison Road Artisan Market! Only . . . . what?!! Less than three weeks left to stitch and paint and tag and bag! Oh my! 


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Last night as I was lying on the couch thinking about today, I began to fantasize about what would happen if I just snuggled up in a blanket with a book and a cup of coffee for the entire day. The dream continued this morning at 6:45 when the alarm went off. Luckily, I snapped myself back into reality and pulled myself out of the covers. Later today I found myself attempting to watch a webinar, frying potstickers, talking to my mom on the phone, and scribbling away at my to-do list simultaneously. That list, by the way, is holding all my crap together right now-- at least in my mind. I've got today, this week, this month, and long-range goals all mapped out and sorted by categories. I think I need an assistant, or maybe at least a massage. 

I've got a hunch you could use a day of pampering too! How about a trip to that Madison Road show?! I'm giving away two free tickets to the event (which this year requires an entrance fee of $6 each for adults 18 and over). Enter October 3rd into your Google calendar, text a favorite girlfriend, consult your Pinterest boards, and take that coffee can with your "I found it in the dryer drum" money to the bank! It's time for some shopping with your besties! All you need to do to enter is leave me a comment below on how you manage stress.  I'll draw a winner next Monday, September 21st.  Good luck!