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What Do Judges Look For?

 

You have just finished your latest piece of art — your quilt. You are proud of your accomplishment and want to show it off. You first share it with your family, then with your small quilting “bee” and finally take it to show and tell at your next guild meeting.

For some quilters, this is enough. For others, it is not.

Many quilters and fiber artists want to see how their work stacks up against the competition, whether that is hanging it in a local, non-judged show or entering it in a major juried and judged competition. In addition to gaining recognition for your quilts, you also educate other quilters and the general public about quilting and its standards. For local guild shows, this is often a primary reason for holding a show.

Additionally, if your quilt is entered in a judged show, you can set goals for improvement based on feedback from the judges or your own comparison with winning quilts. And, of course, you might just win a prize, either a ribbon, cash, or merchandise.

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Say No to Busy

 

Have you ever been rushing around trying to get things done and at the end of the day realized you didn’t accomplish what you really needed to accomplish?

Yes, it felt great to check those things off your to-do list. Your studio was clean, you posted on Facebook and Instagram multiple times, and you felt like you got so much done. After all the list was full of check marks or crossed-off items. It was proof.

But did you really accomplish the important things that would move your business or your life forward?

In all likelihood the answer is no. You got caught up in “busy.” Working on things you think might make a difference.

The problem is when you get caught up in busy, it’s because you said yes to too much. You said yes without thinking.

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Toot your own horn!

 

Do you toot your own horn? Or are you like many women – yes, it’s mostly women – who are reluctant to talk about their successes and talents? You probably don’t have any problem talking about the success of your loved ones. Why is it that we have that problem with ourselves?

This came up in a conversation with someone in our ICAP Members’ Studio. Beth felt uncomfortable about promoting herself. And she’s not alone.

When I ran a program called “When it absolutely, positively had to be done in 30 days,” most of the participants wanted help putting themselves out there. They felt a great deal of  discomfort about promoting themselves, whether that was in person, on the blog, Facebook, or Instagram.

It’s clearly okay to talk about others and share their successes, but you tend to downplay your own. Why? I think it is because you are not ready to step into your own power.

How do you get beyond this? Here are a few ideas.

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Set Your Business GPS!

biz-gps

 

Recently on my way to Maryland’s Eastern Shore, I got caught in a mass of slow traffic. Anyone from these parts knows we only have one way to reach the beach, and that’s using the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Annapolis. Its two spans date to 1952 and 1973 and can’t handle today’s traffic. Slow-downs and waits are a normal occurrence, particularly during the summer, so I try to time my trip to avoid them. Despite my best efforts, I was stopped.

Because of the nature of the journey, my GPS isn’t of much use. It can’t re-route me across the water! As I edged along, I thought about the GPS you set for your business.

The beginning and end points

Your car’s GPS won’t work without a starting and ending point. It’s the same in your business. You need to know where you are now and where you want to go.

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Creating white space

 

As artists, we understand the need for white space. White space is the space between design elements and also the space inside the design elements. Without white space, which truly doesn’t have to be “white,” everything would run together. Imagine if there was no white space in this type. It would all run together and be confusing, to say the least.

The amount of white space you include varies based on your design decisions. Your goal should be to balance design elements, organize the content for ease of use, and to allow a place for the eye to rest.

You also need white space in your life, space that allows you to rest and reconnect. Once you appreciate what it does in the art you create and the art you view, you can appreciate its value in your business and life.

Imagine if your life or business calendar was jam packed with no relief. You would end up overwhelmed, frustrated and stressed. You could become resentful about what tugs at your life.

If you go back to the goal of white space in design work and think about the concept in your life and business, it would balance your life, organize your days, and let you have rest.

Here are some ways you can create and use more white space in your life.

Schedule it

You can’t have more white space if you don’t allow for it purposefully. It’s so easy to fill your calendar with things to do that you don’t have any time left to rest or for yourself. Get out your calendar and block that space off. You need to make you a priority. If you don’t, chances are that you will find yourself overworked and overwhelmed.

An important note: you need to schedule your white space first rather then work it around your other commitments. Chances are if you try to fit it around everything else, it will fall by the wayside.

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Moving Past Stuckedness

stuckedness

Have you ever had so much on your plate that you’re stuck with where to start? I know I have. Last week I started thinking about all the ideas I have to grow ICAP. There is the weekly blog/ezine, the monthly coaching and interview calls, and some content that is already planned to write. Then there is book in progress, the podcast in the works, and the work I want to have happen in our Facebook groups. Wait, I forgot about the webinar I am creating. I know I can look at the my projects and figure out which to pick first, so overwhelm is not the problem.

It really is about uncertainty and where to start or how to move forward on the one project. And, if you are like me, having so much to sort through can keep you stuck. You end up studying the issue to death, over-thinking it, over-revising it, and, yes, staying stuck. I think a good term for this in my case might be analysis-paralysis.

Does this sound familiar? What is the solution?

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Are You Juggling Too Many Balls?

 

 

One of my clients recently commented that with all her responsibilities she felt like she was juggling a lot of balls in the air — managing the shop, its employees and its inventory, her charitable obligations and her responsibilities with two young kids at home plus her husband.

Can you picture yourself there?

I certainly can. At any given time I have content to write or deliver related to ICAP and our Members’ Studio, lectures and workshops to prepare for events where I am speaking, coaching calls with clients, planning for upcoming events or launches, not to mention the various balls I am juggling as a wife, sister, aunt, friend, and homeowner or any other volunteer position I might have. It truly could make you dizzy.

And, I know your life is not any different than mine or Beth, my client. How do I, and you, manage to juggle these responsibilities and not succumb to the falling balls? Here are some tips.

Outline your responsibilities

You have to get a handle on what you are responsible for in your life, so start writing. Create a list of your responsibilities and relationships.

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7 Ways to Get More Work Done This Summer

 

We are about halfway through the summer. Are you doing anything special during your summer vacation? I fit in a mini-family reunion and spent time at our home on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. I also took a sketching and watercolor class.

Even with those fun elements, I still kept up a busy work schedule. One of the things I’ve tried to work on for the last few years is working smarter and using my time more efficiently. The key to that is knowing how I am working currently. Here are some tips I have been using to put the sizzle back in my creative arts business.

Track how you spend your time.

At the end of each day and at the end of each week compare the percentage of your time used toward fulfilling your mission and achieving your goals with time spent elsewhere. It is easy to get sidetracked and not pay attention to the task at hand. It is also easy to do the effortless work and not really tackle what you should be getting done.

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Should you be blogging?

 

 

Do you have a blog? I have been blogging consistently since early 2007. First my blog posts were monthly with an occasional extra post. Within 18 months I went to twice a month, and then another 18 months later, I went to weekly posts. Occasionally, I’ve posted more than once a week, but in all that time I have not missed a week.

Blogging can be fun and creative. It can add to your business growth and lets you connect with your tribe. Blogging lets you be seen as an expert with a viable business. Blogging lets you create lasting relationships. And when people know, like, and trust you, they are more likely to become your customers.

Get intentional

Before you start blogging or if you want to take a look into building your existing blog, consider what your intention is for your blog. It doesn’t matter what it is, you just need to be clear about it. Perhaps you are looking for a way to share your art or you want to share your artistic journey. Maybe you want to teach others how to make art. Maybe you want to be a voice for a crafting lifestyle. Maybe you want to connect with like-minded creatives. Maybe you are hoping to drive sales.

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How Do You Treat Your Ideal Customer?

 

One of my favorite shops to visit when I am at my home in St. Michaels, Md., is called Take Me Home. It’s in a charming old house and filled with the most wonderful items.

It is quite a challenge, and one I cannot meet, to leave without a little something.

Recently I picked up some cute cards for my sisters and myself. The cards had our dog breeds on them — a golden retriever, a greyhound, and a havanese. I also got the best napkins to use when I host my book club. They have a “wine stain,” and say “My book club can drink your book club under the table.” We are a serious discussion book club, and we do enjoy a glass of wine with our conversation. 

One of the joys of shopping here is the shopping experience.

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