Posts made in April, 2014

Welcome to #ThinkCreateReflect! Every Friday we take a moment to post a prompt that will inspire your creativity or your business to move forward. We’re so glad you’re here with us!

TCR button


This week, take out your journal (of the art or standard variety) and respond to the following prompt:

Step 1: At the top of a page, write down one thing you’ve always wanted to try in business (or life). What’s something you haven’t yet dared to do, but the thought of accomplishing it makes your heart sing? Write it down!

Under that, draw or cut/paste pictures and write words or quotes that inspire you to accomplish that goal. Hang this page up or refer to it often to help you get closer to daring that dream.

We hope you’ll share your inspiration pages with us – post a photo on Instagram or Twitter with the tag #ThinkCreateReflect. We’ll see you there!

Read More
#MakersWednesday: Anime Quilt

#MakersWednesday: Anime Quilt

Posted By on Apr 16, 2014

Welcome back for another round of #MakersWednesday, where we’re turning Hump Day into the best day of the week by sharing the creative juices in order to keep ’em flowing!

MakersWednesday button


This week I’ve got another quilt to share! I can’t really explain it, but my quilting mojo has been on fire lately, and I figure I’d better keep going with that enthusiasm before it gives out on me. Quilts for everyone, huzzah!

At this point in my quilting “career,” I have made quilts for each of my three children and a handful of other friends and relatives. But my poor husband has been left out, which was quite the oversight on my part. When I finally got around to the idea of making him a quilt, I asked him what he wanted. His answer? An anime-themed quilt.

I think my response was something along teh lines of: Uhhhh, okay?

But I’m not one to let these things get me down, so I started thinking about the elements I could incorporate into a quilt and make it anime-themed:

  • school uniforms (colors and patterns)
  • ninja stuff
  • fabrics that might be able to tie into the theme of anime and/or Japanese culture
  • quotes and symbols from his favorite anime shows

So I got to work! And this is what I came up with:

Mike anime quilt top


At this point it was just the top of a quilt, but rest assured by now it has been quilted, bound and finished. I incorporated the plaid, blue, green, black and cream that dominates so many of the school uniforms of the shows my husband prefers. I even included two blocks that look like school uniform blazers. Then I made a few friendship star blocks that – to me – look close enough to be ninja star blocks (featuring an awesome anime-esque otter print I got from an awesome friend). The black and white framed polka dot blocks contain printable fabric full of quotes and images from Hubby’s favorite shows. The majority of the fabrics are flannel and it’s backed in flannel as well, so as to keep him nice and cozy.

He must like it, because he snuggles up in it every night and carries it all over the house with him to stay warm during these chilly months of early Spring!

So, now it’s your turn – what are YOU making this week?

We’d love to see! Share your pictures on Instagram or Twitter and tag ’em #MakersWednesday so we can find you!

Read More

If you own your own business, there are a lot of balls to juggle on a regular basis. It can be overwhelming just to keep up with the day-to-day operations that keep your biz going every week. We totally understand that. But if you’re only doing what you need to do in order to prepare for – and survive – the week (or the month, or even the year), then you’re doing yourself a major disservice.

photo credit: oregonmildep via photopin cc

photo credit: oregonmildep via photopin cc

Retirement Savings

Are you preparing for the future of your business? Do you plan to keep working until the day you die, or would you like to one day retire? Guilty confession time: I don’t have a retirement savings plan in place, except for what my husband puts away from his job. I’m lucky to have that – and him – but it won’t help me if Lady Luck runs out on me like a thief in the night (which we all know she really enjoys doing). As a self-employed person, you don’t have an employer putting away retirement savings for you as part of your paycheck – so it’s your responsibility to do it for yourself.

This post on Create & Thrive is a great place to start – a simple retirement plan for the self-employed. You don’t have to be a financial expert; you just have to take ACTION. Start saving now, and build on it as you can, so you won’t be left empty-handed in your later years.

In Case of Emergency

Having a savings plan in place is a great start, but there may be other things you need to do in order to prepare for an emergency in your life that hits you before retirement. If something happened to you, would your spouse or significant other know how to close down your business? To alert your current customers or clients? Maybe it’s time you put together an emergency file in your filing cabinet or laptop to help someone else know what to do if you become incapable of working for your business. Even if it’s a short-term emergency, like a car accident, you may one day need someone else to step behind the curtain for a while.

What if a bigger disaster strikes? What if your home town is hit by a natural disaster, or worse? Etsy has put together a list of resources for your small biz if disaster strikes. It includes everything from insuring your business property to communicating with your customers about shipping delays; they really have thought of almost everything.

Sometimes the emergency might be slightly shorter-term. Maybe you have a funeral to go to, or you get hit with a nasty bout of the Flu, and you just need to take a little time off from your business. Have you built that flexibility into your life and biz, or would your entire business crumble around you if you stopped working for a week? Tara Swiger has two great posts on this subject – one on how to make your business sustainable from the hard times out and one on building snow days into your business.

What about you? Is your business ready for anything? Are you? Share your tips for preparing for the unknown future in the comments below – we’d love to hear them!

Read More

Welcome to another edition of #ThinkCreateReflect, where we pause during a busy week of making and selling in order to respond to a creative or thought-provoking prompt!

TCR button



This week’s prompt:

¬†Close your eyes and imagine yourself five years into the future of your business. Describe it – how much are you earning? What does your working day look like? How do you spend your time? How wide is your audience base/reach? Now think about where you were five years ago and take time to reflect on how far you’ve come already.
We hope you’ll join us in our reflections! Hop on over to Twitter or Instagram and share part of your response with the tag #ThinkCreateReflect. We’ll see you there!
Read More

Welcome to #MakersWednesday, where we take a break mid-week to celebrate the maker in all of us!

MakersWednesday button


This week I’ve got a hand-knit pair of socks to share! Well, really, it’s the toe portion of one of those socks (the other one is finished but not pictured). I’m designing this pattern and having lots of fun doing it! The leafy motif reminds me that Spring is on the way!

What are YOU making this week? We’d love to see! Share your photos on Instagram or Twitter with the tag #MakersWednesday!

Read More