Apr 26, 2016

It's spring !!





Finally the weather is starting to feel like spring here in Baltimore. I've been making like crazy getting ready for some spring shows. My favorite new item are my totes with a freehand machine stitch bird and a complementary home decor fabric . Totes are made from up cycled curtain fabric. The tall basic totes are perfect project bags that the ladies at Woolworks have been buying and giving me a sweet wholesale account! Others have pockets inside for more versatility. Here are some of my latest designs! 








Mar 8, 2016

Business Notes

     I've been taking a business for Artist class at MICA and it's making me seriously see my jennyjen future! I've been working so hard on growing and finding its path. I have been waiting a bit for the end of my teaching career to come close and this is year 29! So this is the time to focus, plan, refine.... Ready, set, go!!!!



So it's time !  Growth  I have seen so far: doubling my profits and marketing strategies , more wholesale accounts,as well as some pertinent accolades : finalist status in Martha Stewart's American Made Contest two years in a row ! (More on that  in a later post.)



  On my walk yesterday I worked out, what I thought was a problem, two sides/ aesthetics of my products: felt appliqué that illustrates my sense of color and shape, and freehand machine stitch drawings that highlight my sense of line, detail and rendered form. 

    My walks are my thinking time, my time to visit my inner thoughts and memories. As a kid I loved my time playing in the woods and walking my favorite paths and trails. They knew my stories and secrets then, and now. My childhood self and my adult self. And both are major influences on my art. I had a "that's it" moment yesterday. And made these visual notes. 



So, felt appliqué for my inner kid, and freehand drawn for my skilled adult self. 


  Both make sense and connect to how I operate everyday. The felt appliqué shapes started as a memory of cutting out shapes from construction paper to make art. The drawn lines became more sophiscated and refined as I grew up as an artist. Combining the two are the happy marriage in most of my work. Therefore my problem really isn't a problem but a solution. I am my art. As it should be! 



Mar 2, 2016

Color Matching with the 50's


I've been working on a new way of color selection for new pillow and wall hangings. I bought this great book on the history of color schemes and Pantone colors. Of course I'm starting with the 50's. I'm matching felt colors with each scheme. Can't wait to see where this goes!! 






Feb 16, 2016

Charley Harper, how I love you!

Ok, I'm late to the table here. I just discovered the Charley Harper web site. Maybe that's a good thing for my wallet. I bought my family Charley Harper puzzles for Christmas this year; I bought myself pairs of smart wool Charley Harper socks and now, as jennyjen, I discovered Charley Harper fabric! I bought the fat corner sample. They are perfect for coaster sets that I needed to stock up on. I actually ran out over the holidays and have needed some motivation to revamp my design. Here they are! With new hand printed packaging ! Come shop in my etsy store! 











Feb 13, 2016

Music in the Baggage Claim?

                                    


We went to see Jenn Wasner played yesterday evening in one of more bizarre places : baggage claim #5 at the BWI airport.  This is another free concert series created by Towson University's radio station WTMD. Chairs were set up in front of a off section by one of the exit doors of the arrival floor. The squeaking of the belts of the bag carriers hummed in the background along with some periodic notifications over the loud speakers. The crowd was a collection of travelers and Jenn / Wye Oak fans. Perhaps the strange weather advisory and freezing cold temps may have deterred some of the fans. I was imaging a larger group, doing five bombs off the baggage carrier.  But that's my punk rock imagination. Jenn Wasner played a combination of new songs she had been working on for a solo album, a new Wye Oak song and very special covers. My favorite was one from Kate Bush's Hounds of Live album. Check out this Wye Oak cover of another Kate Bush song here:
We went to see and had a fun pretending game of let's pretend we're going on a trip to someplace warm! I'd like to know how WTMD came up with this idea, it's kinda bizarre and kinda genius at the same time. 

Feb 11, 2016

Stitched Bird Tea Towel Day

Want to brush up on your bird identification while drying up your dishes?





 I know, how crazy that sounds! Who would even think of that? Well, this gal did, that's who! I absolutely love this vintage inspired towling fabric. Not only does it remind me of the days of drying my grandma's dishes with her, but this fabric really does the job! 



freehand each bird with my sewing machine on one side and then freehand the name of the bird. A great new item to collect! Machine washable! 


Have a favorite bird you want? Just convo me through my etsy shop! Happy collecting

Feb 10, 2016

Spring Craft Season...Here I Come!!!!




  What is your favorite Spring Craft Show you like to attend? What are you looking for when shopping for crafts during this time of the year? If its before Mother's Day, then most people have a mission. I've been feeling like spring craft shows can be a hit or miss depending on the crowd, the weather, the timing. Winter Holiday shopping is a major focus once we hit November, but even early fall shows can lack the motivation of many shoppers. Lots of Lookers become the phrase of the vendors along with the funny faces made at each other when a show has turned into a ghost town.



I like to use spring for my trying out craft show time. I have made some horrible choices that I will not do again. Like one that took place in the neighborhood where I grew up, that was behind a strip mall on a grubby old parking lot. Won't tell you what we did there when I was a young lad! SO you learn your lesson and don't do shows because you are curious about your childhood memories! Through many years of trial and error I am hoping that this spring will not be a bust. I am confident and hopeful for a busy and productive spring! I will post shows as I (hopefully) get into them! Look for jennyjen in a new state this season...always a goal for me!






Feb 9, 2016

Feb 8, 2016

Newness in the Shop...let's Think Spring



I have noticed this somewhat backward method of thinking that I need to make sure I have enough inventory for an upcoming craft show that I tend to not stock up my Etsy shop.  And then I wonder why I'm not selling anything on line.  I've been concentrating on making this jennyjen buisness work. I have a goal to retire and do this full time.



 I love being in my "sweatshop" and I absolutely love making! So I'm posting and using as much social media to get people to look at my wares. The "looks" are improving... Now I just need the sales to improve. 




This time of year is a slow one for any retail. The weather has been crazy snowstorms to lots of rain to a warm day here and there. So getting people to think about spring should not be too much of a challenge, so that is my goal. New spring colors and cheery birdie birds. Give a look and see what you think. 



Feb 7, 2016

Three year anniversary in the sweatshop!



Today's photo is pretty self explanatory:


Three years ago: just moved in! 



 

What it looks like today!! 


Think that's called progress!!!


Feb 6, 2016

Ready to Work


On my walk to my studio/sweatshop this morning I had this brilliant idea to actual document my making routines. I've been taking a buisness for artist class at MICA and it's making me focus on the buisness side of jennyjen42, so that I can grow this to a full time career that I love! Mind you, I do love teaching, but in this day and age, I am losing steam and enthusiasm for a fast pace, let's just try this, put more and more on the teacher strategies that , let's face it , I'm getting too old for as well as out of that generation of thinking. I'll have my 30 years in before I know it and will be able to retire with benefits at the age of 54! Retire to my full time jennyjen gig. You know I like to travel, and eat well, and drink good wine periodically. I still want to do that! So here goes, I've learned that people want to hear your story. They want to know what inspires you, in hopes that it inspires them to buy from you and continue to support you .

Sweatshop story today is a simple photo documentary of my sweatshop routine in the winter time. I stole this from Mr. Rogers : 




Jan 10, 2016

Wiltshire, the Middle of our Trip

Our trip was amazing. We rented a car and drove down to Chippenham to stay at a pretty awesome Airbnb that was a converted stable from an old Georgian style mansion. It was perfect for traveling around Wiltshire where we could see a couple of White Horses, Avery Circle and Stonehenge. What a magical land, even in the rain. I highly recommend the trip. 



There is a new visitor center and route to see Stonehenge. Not just stopping off on the highway anymore. We got off the bus and walked up after visiting the burrows   We actually got to catch the morning sun as well. 


This was the first white horse we saw that was a bit disappointing since it was actually concreted over. I guess the upkeep on chalk engravings is a bit daunting. 




Avery Circle and Sidbury Hill are very close to each other and be walked to, through and around. It's part of a lovely village that thankfully has a lovely pub to escape to from the rain. 




Loading up the Shop



This weekends goal has been cleaning and organizing my sweatshop and listing new items in my shop. Did you not get what you wanted for Xmas? Need a little pick me up for the dreading winter blues? Well stop on by the shop! Use coupon code FREESHIPPING for just that!!! www.jennyjen42.etsy.com 





Dec 27, 2015

Walking tour of Bungay


   
      It's been a very lazy day. Spending most of the day finding the wifi password at my mum-in-law's place and catching up with the rest of the world as well as waiting for the rain to end. We ventured out to find some good photo shots and perhaps a pint or two. We shot first then found a good pub to drink and edit our photos. Got to love snapseed and modern technology for letting us do this at our finger tips. Here it is, our photo tour of Bungay on a late rainy afternoon. 










Happy Holidays from the UK


We arrived after a red-eyed flight on British Air, to a cloudy Chritmas Eve in London. Just enough time to do a little more Chritmas shopping before taking the train to Diss from Liverpool station. My mum-in-law lives in Ditchenham,  just a stone's throw away from Bungay. We spent most of Chritmas with family drinking plenty of champagne and mulled wine, and ate amazing food untill we screamed Uncle. We had A nice walk through the mud and an afternoon attempting to solve some tricky 3D wooden puzzles. 



     Today begins our third day of resting, eating and walking through this beautiful countryside and drinking in pubs. 





Tomorrow we travel to Norwich for my first Norwich Canary game in real life! Followed by a stay in Norwich until we pick up our car to travel to Chippenham. Will post more as our travels continue. Hoping everyone had a pleasant Xmas and time with their love ones . cheers!