Sunday, June 29, 2008

! Macramae ! My Creative Start

So, I've been doing a lot of soul searching lately - especially since I will turn 40 on July 10! I still can't believe it, even as I type in that number. I am at a pivotal point in my life from a career standpoint, but an exciting one to boot. You could say I have the best of both worlds going on right now and probably could not have said that 10 years ago. I guess it's not such a bad thing - turning 40 after all! I am at the top of my game for my day job, plus I now have an outlet for my creative drive in my new business - Inkspot Workshop.

I listen to talk radio all the time and finding your "passion" seems to be the topic du juor these days. As a professional sales person {most of my adult life} I can honestly say I have a passion for selling. I have sold everything from makeup, copiers, food to medical devices. I got the fever in 6th grade when we had to sell Malley's candy bars, door-to-door {they were different times} in order to pay for a class trip. Trekking over 5 miles through the snow, I sold more than anyone else in my class and even paid for another kid's trip. That was also my first political lesson in wealth redistribution:) and became a registered Republican the next day, or at least 6 years later.
Many experts say in order to find your true passion, think about what you enjoyed doing as a kid or what you would do for free, because you enjoyed it so much. Well, for me that was easy, I was an avid colorer so it's not a big stretch that I now make and design stationery! But making crafts, all sorts of them in the 1970's was all sorts of fun for me. I was heavily into the Shrinky Dink movement and Latch Hook rug association, but moved Mrs. Gdovin across the street and my creative start was truly ignited!

To take you back, turn on some 1970's music {xm radio on my computer is currently tuned in to channel 70} and have visions of bell bottoms, trans ams and feathered back hair. Speaking of hair, every one's smelled like Agree or Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific and drowned themselves in Charlie! remember?? OK, is everyone with me now?

I was an inquisitive 8 year old in 1976 and never met a stranger. Mrs. Gdovin had 2 sons my age at the time and was the coolest person I had ever met in my 8 young years, living in the blue-collar suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio. She had a New Jersey accent and that alone made her cool and different, plus she "frosted" her hair, something we call highlights today and wore the best bell bottoms ever, a real girly-girl! She was probably in her late '20's and since she only had boys, she always made time for me.

What made Mrs. Gdovin {Bonnie} even more famous to me was that she too was crafty, in fact so crafty she taught Macrame classes right in her own basement! She was a local Macramaeing legend back then. Weekly I would see parked cars lined up on our street and women making their macrame pilgrimage to the Gdovin's basement. She always had her board and T-pins with her, working on some new project. I can remember her fingertips were always rough and cracked from the coarse jute she used to make plant hangers, wall hangings and then the piece-de-re stance - highly coveted - hanging table! For those of you not familiar with macramae or sometimes spelled macrame - it's the art of "braiding" - like, or knotting of string/rope into objects d'art and became popular in the 1960's and '70's.

Once Mrs. Gdovin caught onto my crafting passion, she took me under her wing and taught me all her macrame techniques. I thought I had died and gone to heaven, my own personal craft coach, if you will. She taught me how to make necklaces/chokers with a few simple knots, plus how to incorporate beads into my little designs. She even took me to my first ever craft store at the mall, it was like going to the candy store for most other kids. I quickly fell in love with all the colorful beads and soon had a growing surplus. I had my own macrame board, t-pins {to hold the project onto the board securely} different colored waxed strings and was knotting my little head off.

During this same time my father was into target shooting with his border-line illegal supply of guns. His bullets came in these handy little see-through yellow lucite square boxes with slide tops, I can still see them in my mind's eye today! Both Mrs. Gdovin and I started using these handy bullet boxes for all our beads. I wonder if bullets still come in these boxes? I googled everywhere and could not find any pictures. We were way ahead of The Container Store, for our macrame organizational solutions, at the time.

I must admit, for an 8 year old, my perfectly aligned knots and lovely combinations of colored flosses and beads, rivaled any macramae veteran's finished products. The true affirmation of my new crafty skill came when people were willing to pay me for my little chokers! Can you believe this? I found I could crank out one choker per hour, so my inventory quickly grew. I was selling them for $10.00 a piece - which was much more than my weekly allowance, which was $0. This went on for a few years, but then Mrs. Gdovin and family moved away {sadly} and we lost touch. I continued to make and sell necklaces, but then eventually moved into my teen years and lost interest. You would think this obsession with making chokers would have materialized into me being a jewelry designer? instead, once I learned I could make shapes and colors with a computer, jewelry making went out the window and I got back to my true coloring roots!! so to speak. There are plenty of people currently keeping the macrame movement alive, one such place to see this for yourself is the blog Macramenia. God bless 'em:)

Getting back to my original thought for this post, I have been expressing my creative side through crafts my entire life. If you do what you love for a living, you will never work a day in your life {not my original quote}. People are always saying to me "you are so creative, why are you selling medical devices?" The truth is that I not only enjoy implementing my creative side into my {day job} with different promotions, etc.. but I really do enjoy selling, almost just as much as making things. Did I forget to mention that I also have a Culinary degree? Which is why at 40 I have now come full-circle and am able to combine the best of both worlds {making things and selling them} through Inkspot Workshop. This eventually will become both my day and night job as my business continuously grows. What a great position to be in at this point in my life. I figure... I've done pretty well for myself selling "other people's stuff" why not make and sell my own "stuff" now?

Mrs. Gdovin, if you are out there somewhere I want to say THANK YOU! for giving me my macrame start and just taking a basic interest in this little girl's creative side and encouraging it:) I will forever be grateful to you and remember you fondly!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Winners Winners Everywhere!!

Drum roll please....... with the help of my trusty 2 year old assistant, we have selected 2 winners for Inkspot Workshop's first ever FREE LUNCH!. They are...

Angela of the blog "Sometimes there is no why..." she picked the Pinwheel Flowers set

and TanyBug of the blog "Inspired By Hand" and she picked the Chandelier Thank You set.

Stay tuned for future FREE LUNCH give aways from Inkspot Workshop.

I also had a promotion running on the great blog "Bloggy Giveaways" where the 2 winners each received gift certificates to use in my shop. There was close to 400 posts, so a big THANK YOU to everyone who participated and stopped by. The 2 winners were...

Allison Parker - she chose the Preppy Argyle Personalized set

Tiffany Blue Scroll Monogram Set
and Personalized Mini Notes

Sally Wess - she chose Starburst Personalized Note Card Set and Mums

I will be busy getting every one's sets made and shipped this weekend.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Fall/Winter 2008

OK, I know, it's barely even summer and here I am posting something about Fall and Winter already, right? Well, over here in my workshop, I've been doing a LOT of thinking about what colors to offer in my lineup for fall and winter. God only knows how I love my bright, lively sherbet colors, but {just like mother nature} I will have to tone them down, just a bit - once our days start getting short again.
I've been doing some research as to what colors are predicted to be hot in both home furnishings and clothing and the results are in and pictured above. These are just my inspiration starting points and once my creative juices start to flow {like lava} I will use various shades of these colors.
New York's Fashion Week, this past February, showcased all the latest in fashion trends and they dubbed this Fall to be the "Season of Change". Reason being that typically fall and winter colors are subdued, but for 2008 we will see a shift towards cool hues with bright undertones. That's right up my alley! NO NEUTRALS for this girl!
Well, what do you think?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Bloggy Giveaways!

There is a really fun blog called {appropriately} Bloggy Giveaways and is run by Melanie. Just about every day or so she spotlights different companies, both large and small, trying to get a "buzz" about their products by giving cool stuff away - absolutely FREE.

Starting today, yours truly is featured right on the front page! Hurry over there and post a comment and you will be entered to win a $40.00 gift certificate to be used in my shop; Inkspot Workshop. There will be 2 lucky winners drawn on June 24th, so hurry! Open to all residents of the USA and Canada.
While you are there, check out all the other neat things that are being given away, I'm headed there right now:) Happy Posting!!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Paper Everywhere! - Keeping It Organized

As my office is starting to take in more and more supplies {inventory} for my shop, I strive to find a balance between storing my medical supplies {day job} and ever growing paper stash. The garage is already overflowing with stuff for my day job, so my husband has placed me on restriction from placing even one more object in it.

My on going quest for organization lead me to The Container Store, where I visit monthly {at least} for inspiration - so lucky to have this store less than 4 miles from my house! This trip, in particular, was more inspiring than others because I discovered the niftiest invention ever! It's simply called "Stationery Organizer" how cool is that? Especially since this is precisely what I was looking to organize!! What makes it different from other "tray" style organizers is that the design has some style to it and it doesn't look like the basic items you find at every office supplies store.
The company who makes my latest love is called livingbox, based in Taiwan. Leave it to East Asia, to come up with some of the best storage solutions out there. I guess when you live in a country where real estate {space} in general is a premium and your living quarters mimic that of a cruise ship cabin, necessity really is the mother of invention.

My new stationery organizer has three trays measuring 12.5x9 inches and they are stack able. You can choose to have your drawers pull out either landscape or portrait orientation. I chose landscape {sideways} and it holds my A9 {5x7} paper perfectly!!

Check out these other fresh, colorful items from livingbox's young designer, Yira Wu, Jr.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy "Gluten Free" Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day!
It's another nice, quiet, lovely Sunday morning here in the South and instead of jazz, I'm in the mood for some classic rock, getting back to my Cleveland roots:) As always I have my cup-o-joe, laptop and scissors to keep me company as I get some blogging and order filling underway before my energetic toddler awakens.

When my husband wakes up he will find 11 (not 12 because I ate one:+) fabulously tasty, gluten free, coconut cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Can't you just taste them? OK, I had to sneak one because how else could I give you my honest opinion of these fab finds from Sugar Dreams Bakery?

A few years ago my husband was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, which is a gluten {protein found in wheat}/wheat allergy. The key ingredient in flour is wheat so it's imperative to find a baker that has recipes using "wheat free" flours that develop a product that is moist and not dry. Gluten is what gives bread and cakes their supple consistency. This disease {doctor's say} is hereditary and manifests itself in several ways and as a result is severely misdiagnosed as IBS {irritable bowel syndrome} in the US.

My tall, dark and handsome husband lost approx 30 pounds and was experiencing some not so pleasant bowel issues, all during the time of our wedding. I was positive he had gotten a tape worm somewhere and based upon his sudden weight loss I secretly wanted one myself, after all I had to look good in my wedding dress:) After a couple doctor's visits and everyone saying "it's just IBS" my friend suggested a "younger" doctor and Viola, he hit the nail on the head "it's celiac." The only way to be 100% positive was to do a "scope and snip" of his small intestine. Sure enough, the "villi" were missing, as gluten literally obliterates these finger like jobbies in your small intestine which allow you to absorb nutrients from food. My husband was literally starving, as the food was not getting absorbed, just passing right through. The simple fix was to not eat anything made with wheat/gluten. The tricky part is wheat/gluten is not simply listed this way, for example malt vinegar and a few other vinegars are made with barley {wheat family}. The FDA is doing a much better job of labeling for all food allergies these days. My husband does not have to go without, trust me he has gained all his weight back and is his usual studly self. Thank goodness for Whole Foods {Whole Paychecks}, as they have an amazing gluten free selection. Our accountant said to keep receipts because we get some sort of tax relief! wonderful.

So.... on my search for the perfect father's day gift I found fellow Etsy seller Stacie of Sugar Dreams Bakery, located here in Atlanta. The best news is that she ships all over the US!! Has ice packs and everything to make sure your baked goods arrive in tact, during the hot summer heat. Check out the way she packaged my cupcakes just for the car drive - love that attention to detail!Gluten free was not her specialty, but it sure is now! She was eager to help me and so pleasant to work with. Check out these gems she currently has listed in her shop...

Gluten Free Nutz For Coconut Cuppie

Chocolately Oreo Smiles

Tuxedo Cuppie
All I can say is WOWIE! these are the moistest, tastiest cupcakes ever! You would never know they were gluten free. Now I wish I had gotten her "Cuppies" which are larger versions, layered with even more frosting!! I will be contacting her to see if she can make us a coconut cake.

My 2 year old has started dabbling in card making, just like his mommy. Check out his cute Father's Day card he made at school. I don't know what's more touching the hand prints, knowing they will never be that small again - or the wonderful words.
But for now, I need to finish a custom gift box order {below} and start of a few others for my shop. Just got in my new envelope and paper shipment, aren't they gorgeous? They make my office even more colorful, plus they just make me happy to look at. How's that for a paper addict?

Have a wonderful Sunday and I hope you get a chance to spend time with your friends and family!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

I've Been Tagged: Favorite Songs

I’ve been tagged by Annette at Swanky Tables. It's a "Tag with a Twist": Favorite Songs that you hate to admit:

Here are the new rules!

1. Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share 5 songs you are embarrassed to admit to others you like and tell why.
3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Here is my list:
1. Stroke Me - Billy Squier - I am a product of MTV in the '80's, when they actually played music videos.
2. I Can't Tell You Why - Eagles - COUPLE's SKATE!
3. Edmund Fitzgerald - Gordon Lightfoot - I know it's a depressing song about a ship sinking, but I think I fell in love with it when I was a kid and they mentioned "Lake Erie" and since I grew up on that lake, I thought "how cool, a song that actually mentions Lake Erie" We need more Gordon!!!
4. Ventura Highway - America - yes, I know most of their songs sound the same, but they were awesome! I was born way late!
5. More Than This - Bryan Ferry - I'm not one bit embarassed to admit this one, he is an amazing singer and timeless!

I am now tagging:
Jenny of icraft
Aharon of Truly Madly Deeply
Sara of SarahandAbraham
Kristin of Life Stories Books
Lara of Artful Memories
Sally of Polka Dot Mom
Elizabeth of A Breath of French Air

Friday, June 13, 2008


That's right,
just for you special readers!
June 13 - 27

Simply post a comment telling me which set of stationery set you would like to win {see photos} and how you found Inkspot Workshop Blog.
Not 1 but 2 lucky winners will receive a free set of their choice! That's it, no strings attached. Now go tell your friends...there really is such a thing as a free lunch:*

You don't have to have a blog to win, just make sure to leave your email so I may contact you. If you win a personalized set, I will contact you for your printing specifics. Winners will be chosen at random by my 2 year old son.

Thanks and GOOD LUCK!
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