Monday, December 29, 2014

Is Fear Keeping You From Teaching Your Craft?


I had to muster up some chutzpah to teach my first class.  Even though I have been teaching in many forms for years, teaching for myself-for my own business, was really scary.  I did not have a team or an agency or a boss to go to for support.  Just me. 

When you teach for yourself, the success of your class depends on you to plan it, market it and teach it.  That can create a teeny bit of anxiety-yes indeed.

You may feel like you're not ready to teach yet.  Like you don't know enough, you don't have the technical skills, people might ask questions you don't know, things could break down and you'll look less than the prepared, competent creative that you are. 

You may feel like you're not a good enough artist or maker or that people wouldn't be interested in what you have to share.

These are all very common fears and I still have them all time, as do many of the artist and makers I know, even the ones that make it all look so easy. 

After the first jewelry making class I taught, I completely panicked. I couldn't believe I had signed up to teach 2 more sessions and had no idea how I would go back again. I felt I was in way over my head and I needed to figure out something fast which turned out to be the magic fear antidote.

I invited another jewelry maker to come to the second class with me and I was instantly cured of my fear.  Having another jewelry maker in the room just put me at ease.  Getting her input and ideas made the class stronger. I knew she was there if I stumbled and would keep me from any potential disaster.

Collaborative teaching is my favorite kind and a great place to begin. Having someone else along  benefits your students by creating an even more interactive dynamic. Your students get more input, more ideas and more support in creating.  

When you collaborate with others, there are many perks.  You have someone to share the planning, the expense, the technical details and the clean-up with. You each bring different strengths and skill sets that ideally complement each other. I see it as a benefit to everyone involved, as long as you have a partner that's a good fit for you and your teaching style. 

You see collaborations all over the art world.  Wisdom circles, Retreats, Lifebook and 21 Secrets style classes that bring many artists together to share.  These online collaborations also have the added bonus of reaching thousands more people than you could reach alone.  And don't forget the amazing energy that comes from bringing creatives together in the same space.

If you don't know of any other artists you could co-teach with, consider bringing a trusted friend to your first class or two.  I have done this with my kids classes because I was concerned about the extra support kids sometimes need.  My friend (who also happens to be an elementary school teacher) helped with distributing supplies and encouraging the kids.  She also gave me useful feedback for the next session.

If fear is keeping you from moving forward with your teaching plans, co-teaching may be just the boost you need to get started.  It can give you the confidence to continue on your own and to stretch into even more challenges. 



Sunday, December 14, 2014

Thinking About Teaching a Wine and Paint Class?


Teach Your Own Wine and Paint Class
Have you ever been to a wine and paint class and thought, I could teach these? This looks like a great way to make a living?

Teaching wine and paint classes is both fun and profitable. You can earn between $200-$700 per class depending on the class size and your pricing structure and have a blast doing it.

So, how do you get started?

1. I always recommend that you start with the art. Create sample paintings of your work that can be shared with potential customers, venues and on your website. A good place to start with deciding what to teach is Pinterest. Search for wine and paint classes and create an inspiration board.

Some wine and paint classes teach the classics like Picasso, Van Gogh and Monet.  Others teach their own style.  Whatever you decide to teach, you will want to prepare a sample painting that will entice your target people to join

2. Speaking of which, who are the people you want to teach? Couples? Bachelorettes? Ladies on a Night Out? Red Hat Societies? Seniors? Restaurant Patrons? People who are serious about art making? College students, non-profits or a combination of these groups?

When you're planning your classes, figuring out who you want to teach is important in marketing your classes and getting them filled up with happy students. You will want to target certain groups and promote your classes to those people.  

If you want to teach wedding parties or Bachelorette Parties, then teaming up to promote your classes in Bridal Stores and Bridal Shows would be a great way to reach that group.

If you want to connect with non-profits, looking to host fundraisers, then contacting them and determining places where you connect with them will be very different than bachelorettes.

3. Once you know who you want to teach, you can find  venues that cater to those groups. Approach places you'd like to teach with a sample of your work and emphasize the benefit your class will bring to them

Will it give them more exposure, sell more wine, bring in potential shoppers? Focusing on what they can gain will help when contacting sites in your community.  Remember, many business owners are looking for unique experiences to offer their customers so you may be just what they were waiting for.
 
4. About the wine part... States can get funny about serving alcohol to people. You'll want to check the laws around alcohol service and consumption in your State. If you are holding the class in a bar or restaurant that has a liquor license they will cover this for you. If you're holding the class in a boutique or similar setting, you'll want to check on what the law allows in your State or region.

5. Charging for your classes. Comparison shop what the prices are in your area. In Central New York, prices range from $30-$45.00 per person with higher prices typically charged for smaller class size or longer duration classes. You may want to consider setting a minimum number for the group (to make it worth your time) and a maximum based on the space and what you can handle.  You'll also want to really keep expenses low and consider buying in larger quantities to make the most of the time you'll put in. 

Here's a breakdown of some of prices in my area if you want to see what others are doing:

Paint, Drink and Be Merry
Locations Vary. Up to 32 people, $38.00 per person, locations vary

Paint Nite Syracuse
Locations vary, up to 40 people, $45.00 per person

Painting With a Twist
Has two studios where they host classes, one holds up to 40, the other up to 20 guests
2 hour classes $35.00, 3 hour classes $45.00, family friendly classes $25.00

I charge $35.00 per person for a 2 hour class and offer discounts for non-profit agencies.
 
Ready to start teaching sip and paint classes of your very own? Grab the Free Worksheet to get your first class booked in the next 30 days.


 

For more posts on teaching wine and paint classes, you may want to check out:
Create Your Own Classroom
Where to Buy Supplies for Your Classes   

 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Is Teaching in Your 2015 Plan?



As much as I keep pushing it away, teaching keeps boomeranging back to me as something I feel called to do. I'm a perpetual student-in love with learning.  Teaching is one of the best ways I know to truly push your own learning to new and deeper levels. 

When you share what you love, you have the opportunity to genuinely empower others with tools they can use to create and even build a source of income. These two things are vital to me: sharing my enthusiasm and giving women real power they can use to change their lives if they choose.

I recently had a chat with another artist who was noticing that many artists who are building sustainable businesses, teach. Offering classes is a great way to build consistent income over time, if you can pull all of the pieces together well.

So, my artsy friends, what is stopping you from teaching your craft? Are you ready to include teaching in your plan for 2015?

I've been teaching over the past two years and I would love to help you get started, so here is where we'll begin.  Over the next few weeks, we'll dive into these topics on the blog:
  • How to design classes that are a perfect match for you
  • How to find and land places to teach
  • One of the biggest mistakes new teachers make and how to avoid it
  • Nervous about teaching?  I'll share a secret to make it much easier.
If you're teaching in 2015, you won't want to miss any of these, so sign up for my email list below and you'll get them right in your inbox.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Preparing for a Show at the Last Minute


I have a show coming up on Friday in my hometown of Ithaca, NY that I decided to do only 3 weeks ago, so I've been frantically creating jewelry with my daughter to get ready. My to-do list is getting shorter, but more pressing as it's only a couple of days away...

I still work full-time and have a family so I'm really stretching the minutes I have available.  Here are some things that have helped when time gets squishy:

I shop for supplies on my lunch hour.  I make a list the night before so that I know where I need to go and what exactly I need to get.  That way, I don't get sucked into browsing and take too long.  I also use this time for mailing orders (there is a post office right down the street from my office) and sometimes replacing inventory in stores.

I recruit my daughter to help.  She's 13 and she has things that she likes to do.  Making jewelry is actually at the bottom of her list unless it involves a torch.  Her favorite things are pricing/labeling the jewelry, taking inventory and helping me with income and expense entries.  I LOVE her for doing these things (and well, just in general).

I maximize my weekends.  By "maximize" I mean I do little else but make jewelry.  I actually have calluses on my hands from the Thanksgiving-break-making-frenzy.  I pretty much neglect things like vacuuming or anything resembling cleaning. My family joins in or at least visits me at the dining room table, so I don't miss too much.

I added a "Build Your Own Bracelet" offering for the show.  I think this will work well as I can make jewelry right there.  I can demonstrate what I do and give people a customized piece before they leave.  I don't have to take as many pre-made items with me, so less to do ahead of time and I won't have as much down time at the show if I'm making while I'm there.   

I've made a conscious decision to just get done what I can. I could stress out and stay up until 3am every night, but I'm not going to.  I'm choosing how I want to live as I build this business and "stressed out" is not on the list.  I did set goals for how much I wanted to bring and I made them in the realm of what I knew I could reasonably do in the time that I have.

Every night I review what I accomplished and I take some time to appreciate all that I was able to get done-even with a very busy life.  I write down what I was able to do and I just take a few minutes to celebrate it.  I do this a lot and sometimes I look back at all that I have done, especially when I feel like things are moving too slowly and it makes me feel better to see it all in the pages.

I focused on slowing down and keeping the creative joy alive. In my evening reflection/celebration, one thing I noticed is how much I really love making my new mixed media bracelet (like the one in the photo above.)  I use different types of materials in each bracelet.  Crystals, metal, stone, charms...whatever calls me and I am totally loving them.  This style takes me much longer to make because I keep mixing and matching to get them to a happy place.  One of my customers said they have "good energy" which is what I'm feeling for when I assemble and re-assemble them. One of the stores said "Oh yes!  Bring me more of those" so I think I'm on the right track.

Happy Handmade Holiday!

ps: If you're doing your first show this holiday season and need help with what to bring, email me and I'll send you a free list of what I always bring with me. You can also check out Kari Chapin's Book, The Handmade Marketplace for the chapter on selling at craft shows as a great place to start.

 




Sunday, October 26, 2014

Up your Etsy Game



Over the course of starting a crafty business, I have made some mistakes.

Selling my work online has been one.

I focused my efforts on local stores and I threw up (good analogy!) an Etsy page because I wanted to have an online shop, but then I left it to wilt and didn't do anything to even tell people it was there.

To be honest, I didn't want to take the time to take photos, write the descriptions and post them.  I just wanted to get my jewelry into people's hands and doing all of those extra steps, took time away from making the actual jewelry.

A few things have happened that have changed my mind and decide to put real effort into an online shop:

When I post my photos online, people ask where they can buy them.  Now, as a person building a thriving business, you never want your potential customers to wonder and have to ask where they can buy from you.  You want to make it blatantly obvious and as easy as possible for them to buy from you. 

Your local community is finite.  There are only a limited number of people who live where you live and shop in the stores that feature your work locally.  If you want to reach more people (and you may not, which is perfectly fine too) putting your work online can help you get in front of the most people.

When you sell online, you have direct interaction with your customers.  You get to hear their questions and feedback, which helps you improve your product and your descriptions.  You can also do more custom work based on their specific interests and requests.

When you sell direct to your customers, you cut out the expense of the middle man.  Yes, you will have Etsy and Paypal fees, but they will be significantly less than the percentage that a store may charge.  You can charge the retail price for your work, rather than the wholesale price that you will get from stores (of course you are paying for the stores to do the selling for you, so they justifiably should be paid for their efforts.)  If you do the work of selling, you get the profit.

I truly believe you get out what you put in.  There is no "build it and they will come."  You have to build it and keep on telling people about it.  Then, you need to keep building it better.  Posting better photos, writing better descriptions based on what your customers are telling you.


So, this week I freshened up  my Etsy page, by taking new photos and really spending some love there.  Of course, my camera batteries died and I had to venture forth to the drug store and leave the comfort of my pajamas...I so love working in my pajamas.  They're paint smeared and have reindeer on them and I threaten my daughter that I'm going to start walking the dog in them...but I digress.

Part of building a business is you get to decide where you are going to focus your limited time, energy and resources. 

Where will you spend your energy today to build your business?  

p.s. 
I would love if you stopped by to visit my updated online shop and let me know what you think.





Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Irresistible Art


Art Journal Cover

Art making is irresistibly fun, especially when you approach it with childlike wonder.

When you let yourself play with paints and sprays and inks.  

You splash and fling paint without caring in the least where it's going to land.

You stamp and stencil.

You scrape and make marks with whatever you can find.

It's full of color and it's an active, messy process.

It pulls kids away from the TV and video games.  It makes them curious to see what you're up to.  


But beware, once you travel down this road, you may not be able to get them out of your art supplies...

The Art Journal Cover above began with layering sheets from my daughter's old band music.  I applied it with a gel medium (I like Golden's but you can also use Mod Podge or a glue stick).

You then cover up the plain old white paper with whatever color paint you like.  You can use spray inks (Dylusions and Heidi Klapp make fun sprays) and basic craft paints in colors you like.

I like mixing inks and paints to see what happens and then I keep building layers by stamping, stenciling, dripping, scratching, smearing paint and having a grand time. 

Each painting is a little experiment. I never plan out what it will look like-I just keep happily building the layers until I feel done.  Which is why it's perfect for kids.

The one "rule" to avoid making mud is to keep your cool colors like blues and greens (the colors of winter) away from your warm, summer colors of orange, yellows and reds.  I usually work in layers of cools and let it dry-then do a layer of warm colors.

We have painting parties when friends and kids come over to get their hands in some paint. There is no pressure and no instruction.  Just get some paint, something to paint on and begin!



Monday, June 2, 2014

Primal Painting

A Student's Intuitive Painting in Process

My kind of painting is "intuitive".  Whenever I say that, people have no idea what I'm talking about.

It makes me feel a little woo-woo sometimes when I try to describe it.  That I don't paint pictures to sell.  That I paint to know myself more, to see my own patterns.  And sometimes what comes out is pleasing to other people as well (and I have sold them) but that's not the point.

And I can't exactly name "the point" in ways that will make sense.  Maybe it's because there isn't a point in the way that people look for reasons or points (and I do and have done this too).

As I type this it occurs to me that painting is Primal.  It's tactile.  It's ancient.  When it's intuitive, its like an umbilical cord between your brush and creativity itself.  It comes from the place that instinct comes from.

Sometimes it's easier to say what it is not.  It's not about painting a picture to hang on your wall (although I sometimes do) or perfecting your techniques (I still love learning techniques even if I don't use them all the time).  It's not about critique or perfectionism, more about quieting those tendencies and voices in your head.  It's not about painting realistically or even abstractly.  For me it's not a process filled with angst.  I approach it as a curious observer to see what happens and I LOVE it (even when it gets hard and I want to quit.)

I don't always make time to paint. My nagging inner critic is telling me of all the other things I should be doing instead, like making jewelry for the new co-op that I will be starting in on Tuesday or or doing laundry or writing a newsletter....

But my soul is reminding me that it's time to paint.  I'm noticing it's whisper in subtle ways.  When I haven't painted in awhile, I start to lose the urge to create anything. I don't want to do any of the other things that keep my business moving forward.

I just want to crawl into bed.  Or sit by the pool and drink good wine.  Every night.

I also get edgy and emotional when I haven't painted for awhile. Little things bother me more.  Perceived slights seem bigger.  This is how I begin to notice that all is not right with me.

It used to be that writing healed these cracks when they arose, but lately it's been painting.  Writing is cerebral, painting is primal. It comes from a place beyond thinking.

I get my mind out of the way and just let it flow. Crank up the music, pull out whatever brushes and colors call to me and dive in. 

Experiment, let go, trust that even if it doesn't look exactly as I want it to at the moment, that it will come with time.  That no matter what comes, I will be better for it.





Monday, May 12, 2014

What Do You Love?


I have found that I LOVE making jewelry, but it took a while!

Do what you love!  Have an amazing life!  What happens if you don't even know what you like, never mind what you love?

You only know that you don't particularly care for what you're doing right now and you're feeling restless.  A part of you that believes you have the potential to do much bigger things.

You were born to share your gifts, if only you could put your finger on exactly what those are...

How do you find your strengths?  How do you figure out what your dreams are?

Here is how I began to get clear on what I really want to have in my life.

I started by really paying attention to what I was doing and breaking it down.  I started noticing when something pulled me in.  What exactly I was doing when time passed quickly and when it dragged.

If I found something online that made me want to know more I paid attention to what is was exactly that intrigued me and I wrote it down in my journal (this is how I found art journaling!)

I started noticing what sections of the bookstore I gravitated to.  What was I always looking at? (Business, Creative Stuff, Interior Design.)

I started examining what the favorite parts of my job were (understanding what motivates people and future planning) and what really made my eye start to twitch (I will hold my tongue because my grandmother taught me to.)

I made cards about the people I most admire and the qualities they had, things like "positive energy", "generous", "they talk about things I find interesting" and "kind." This helped me to know what kind of people I want to surround myself with. The type of people I wanted to draw into my life.

I began trying things that interested me even if I thought I wasn't good at them.  Like painting and making jewelry.  Like teaching kids.  Like designing a web page.  If it sparked an interest for me, I tried it and gave myself permission to do it wrong or badly, which really took the pressure off.

I also started making a list of things that I no longer wanted to have in my life.  Things I was ready to release and be done with.  The challenging part here was that many of the things I wanted to let go of, were intricately tangled around me in ways that made them difficult to release.

It has become a process of loosening the threads, one by one, like cutting gum out of a little gir'ls hair.  You want to chop out the wad all at once, but it's better in the long run if you go slowly and try to preserve the good things, while getting rid of the sticky-icky mess.

I encourage you to start paying attention and noticing what pulls you in.  Right now, in the next hour, throughout your day.  You will start to see where you most like to explore and where time disappears. 

Following this path will lead you back to what you truly want.  What is it you love?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Where Does the Money Come From?



I love it when bloggers share how they make money from their businesses.  You can see how having different sources of income really adds up to a living and how people build successful products and services.

Here are two of my favorites:

Writer Extraordinaire, Alexandra Franzen gives a glimpse inside the guts of her business in this blog post.  She includes the services she offers, her go to tools and how she gets paid.

Jewelry maker and marketer Lisa Jacobs shows her various income streams for 2014 and how she makes money from her Etsy Sales and online business. She compares it to what she might make in a traditional job.  I celebrate her courage in honestly posting good months and not so good months.  She also pays attention to why sales decreased and where she could do better, which we can all learn from doing as well.

These women teach me that making a living from doing what you love is possible.  They've built systems and they pay attention to both what is working and also what they most enjoy doing.  They follow what they're most enthusiastic about and that energy is tangible.

You may be in the process of setting up your business and looking at what you enjoy and how you might make money while also making a difference in the world.  There is much to sort out, but that's what we're here for.  To begin figuring it all out. 

To begin building a life that is perfectly designed for you, by you.






Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Creative Giveaway Celebration!

Drawing Friday, May 2nd!

Today I went down to the County Office Building and registered Have All This as a real, official business!

And guess what?  The woman who processed my paperwork at the Clerk's office got really excited over the bracelet I was wearing (one of my Wonderwraps) and bought it right off my arm! (And she wants me to come back with a display case so she can pick more out!)

Sometimes the Universe lets you know you're heading in the right direction. 

To celebrate the official launch of my business, I'm giving away the Wonderwrap above to one subscriber on my e-mail list (I love giving gifts so more to come for lucky subscribers!)
I hope it will delight you as much as the woman who purchased mine today!

You can sign up here:

 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Learn Something New

I love learning new techniques and as soon as I learn them, I want to teach them.

I want everyone to get as excited as I do about what you can bring into being with your own two hands and 1500 degrees of heat.

Painted Enamel Pennies


I made these enameled discs out of pennies during a class at the Philly Bead Fest.  I went down just for this class, but I really want to go back again in August to soak in as much as I can.

These are made by first enameling the copper penny (made prior to 1981 when they were still made of copper) with a base coat-here we used white enamel. After you have the white base,  you then paint with acrylic enamels and water to get the beautiful patterns.  No two ever look exactly alike, which I love about them.

You use a torch when enameling these and although it can be a little intimidating at first, it's really very fun once you get used to it.  You just need to have constant vigilance so as not to scald yourself...

If you're interested in learning more about enameling, my most excellent teacher was Stephen James and he has a great video tutorial on enameling here.

I know this is something I will have to teach others-I need people to play with!





Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Getting Things Done When You Work Full Time


Like many things in my life lately, the Philadelphia Bead Fest this past weekend was a lot to take in.  So many booths filled with color, so much to look at and see...



Sometimes when I have too much in front of me, I start to feel overwhelmed.  Thoughts begin to swirl...What should I do first?  Where should I begin, how will I get through all of this?  It happens at work (which issue should I tackle first?), at home (laundry? dishes?  mopping? putting clothes away?  making dinner?) and in my business (I need to redesign my website and there are so many options, where do I begin? Should I do it myself or hire someone?  I need an online shopping cart and a space to host online classes...how hard could it be to set up my own Wordpress site?)  

Then I just want to lay down and take a nap.  

There is so much to do that I want to do exactly NOTHING.

I have to continually remind myself that what always works best for me is to do what is in front of me to do next.  The important things first of course and then, just whatever is next.

It's simple.

It GETS THINGS DONE.

I often jot down lists because they help me stay focused.  I'm pretty loose about them. I don't put  them in order.  I just dump out the tasks onto paper so that I can get them out of my head and remember to do them.

Here is a sample from today.  Keep in mind I work full-time, so this is my after 5pm. or on my lunch hour list for my business and home life.


Over the next couple of days:


Send personal thank you notes to people who bought from me at the Heritage Wholesale Show I participated in this week (My first one-a huge risk for me, but I'm so glad I did it.  I ended up having a 50-unit sale of my Wonderwrap bracelets and making connections with a couple of different store owners!) I think it is so important to send a personal, hand-written thank you note to show how much you appreciate their business.

Register my daughter for summer camp

Go grocery shopping for food for the week

Stop by the antique store for more jewelry display ideas

Stop by Michaels' for some wire (I think I can do this on my lunch hour today)

Set up dates for upcoming classes

Email the students on my class list the dates of upcoming classes 

Work on creating a calendar for my blog posts and newsletters

Catch up on B-school Trainings and watch the Wordpress tutorial again

Facebook people in my jewelry groups regarding my new idea to create jewelry displays from antique or re-purposed items to see if there is a demand

Fold laundry and put it away

Celebrate the successes of my week (had great sales at the wholesale show, learned a new jewelry making skill, toured the country's first penitentiary in Philadelphia, got to spend some time in the sunshine, listening to a band play in Philly, spent good times with my family!)

I know it can seem like there isn't time to accomplish all that you want to do, but I encourage you to just begin doing one thing at a time and you will see the momentum start to build. Momentum is that beautiful thing that keeps you moving and motivated.

Be gentle on yourself if you don't get it all done. It's really ok if we have only 83 bracelets for the upcoming whole sale show instead of the 100 we hoped to have ready.  It's ok if you take a night off from your list to just do something fun and juicy.

Celebrate what you are able to accomplish. Look back over the past few days and spend some time complimenting yourself for the things you did-many may not have even been on the list, but they moved you forward just the same.








Tuesday, January 21, 2014

It's Time to Make Room for the Good Stuff


In times of transition, I have a fierce need to clear my space.  

Not just my physical space, but a widespread sweep of all the clutter that is glomming up my days.  Too much junk mail in my inbox, noise, time spent in ways that I resent...and right now, I am so ready to cut the cord. 

Are you ready for a shift?  And not just a shift in trying to find the positive, the good, the gratitude that you're wrangling out of moments that result from choosing what you don't want. I mean, are you ready to clear some internal and external space to allow for transition to occur?

If you're ready, it's time to seriously take an industrial-sized Swiffer to your life. To seek out every little nook where you are holding that which needs to be let go. To be uncompromisingly (yes-this is not a time for compromise!) ruthless in setting free what you no longer want to be a part of your life.

Do you have a house mostly full of things you don't want but feel obligated to keep?  If you're like me, you have walls that aren't the colors you chose but can't find time to paint.  The furniture is mostly from family members or former houses and just don't work now.  The closets are stuffed full sentiment or that which you feel guilty to let go of.

And then there are the things we might use someday, when we have the lake house or that garage sale or that might work perfectly in that next art project.

It's time to declare Enough!  To send what we do not love to a new place with someone that will receive joy from having it.  

You need to be ruthless with weeding out whatever it is that is cluttering both your mind and your physical space and the reason is this:  You want to make room to invite the good things in.  

It sounds simple, but think of this:

If your inbox is full of junk mail, will you miss the important invitation to join something you've been dreaming of?

If your mind is cluttered with thoughts of the past are you missing what's happening right now?

If you are settling for Aunt Margaret's hand me down furniture, will you have space for that fabulous piece you just spied at the Antique Fair?

Keeping what you don't really want (no matter what it is) actually drives away or holds at bay something you really do want.

It's time to release and here is my challenge:

Everyday, find at least 3 things to clear or cleanse from your mental or physical space. 

Need ideas?

I recommend choosing a small area to attack:
  • Go through your bathroom cabinets (the bane of my existence!) and toss old makeup, mostly empty bottles of gunk, hair spray from the 80's...you only have to get rid of 3 things, but once you get going, who knows what might happen?
  • Ransack your inbox and unsubscribe to sites you're no longer interested in (except this one of course...)
  • Say "no" when they ask you at stores for your email address.  I do this with no explanation and it delights me.  Here is practice for you:  Store: "Can I have your email address?" You:  "No" 
  • Put yourself on the "Do Not Send Junk Mail" list (you can find the contact at the bottom of any credit card advertisement)
  • Tackle small spaces in your art studio and get rid of old projects, dried up paints and use up stuff you thought you might one day work in somewhere (we all have them, it's a dirty little artist secret) Don't go for the gold and try and do the whole room in one day.  Just pick one little area to start with like that box of collage items...
  • Give yourself a few minutes of quiet meditation each morning before you dive in to your day.  Like sit on your bed and listen to your breath for 5 minutes. 
My goal is to have an actual space for everything I own that isn't the kitchen island, dining room table or any other flat surface I can find.  Splitting it up into tiny, little chunks works for me.

So here is the mantra:  "Declutter!  Purge!  Set it Free!  And open the door for all good things to come."