The Importance of Time Off!

Some doodles I have wanted to turn into real works for a WHILE now! Giving myself a break brought these projects back into my mind.

Hello Friends!  I have had myself a very nice break from Etsy.  I have a few takeaways from this much-needed breather that I would like to share here…If for nothing else, my own reference.  If this encourages any of you out there who may also be Entrepreneurs or work from home Moms or even if you are in the workforce and have ever felt guilty for taking a break, then this might be for you too.  Sometimes it is easy to convince myself that I haven’t quite worked hard enough to take that break yet.  My problem was that I was forever moving the carrot a little further and further out from myself in an effort to trick myself into getting more and more done, but never could seem to actually take the break that I was striving so hard to “earn”…I am here to tell you TAKE THE BREAK!  In the last 3-4 weeks that my Etsy shop has been on vacation, nothing has fallen apart.  None of my Etsy followers contacted me to yell at me for my ill-timed vacation or to vow never to shop with me again because I failed to be there when they needed me.  No one called me out for being lazy, no one blamed me for needing a break.  My Etsy shop did not disappear  into a nameless void and I didn’t lose all of my momentum and enthusiasm for work.  QUITE THE OPPOSITE.  If anything, I am actually enjoying this surge of creativity and passion for my work so much that I don’t really want to go back to my online business just yet.  I have taken a step back in order to ask myself some hard questions, such as where am I now compared to where I want to be with my business?  Do I enjoy making the things I offer to my customers? Is my aesthetic still current and modern in the face of all the copy cats out there in the retail world?  How hard to I want to work and what do I hope to gain in the end with all of those late nights and swallowed tears?  Let’s face it…Momming is hard!  Working from home is hard!  Entrepreneuring is HARD!  Balancing it all while still staying connected and in love with what you do is not just hard, but like the Cat in the Hat juggling all of those things whilst atop a circus ball.  If any one part gets out of balance, you can bet you are going down.  There is even a Ted Talk called The Power of Time Off that I really love.  It comes back to me out of the blue every now and then when I am really needing that break to center myself and my work.  You can see that Ted Talk by clicking the link above.  I have actually opened my Etsy shop Kari Goodwin Quilts with all of my quilts, pillows, and a few other random things, but am trying out the shop without the baby items in it at this time…Maybe I will write a short blog post about that decision soon as well.  Folks Linen, The Tree House Kid, and Joshua Treeworks are also live and open for business.  Together the four of us make up Goodwin’s Custom Crafts.  We all thank you for reading and for all of your support!!  Until Next Time!

Dreamy Nursery Pics!

I would love to have the pleasure and anticipation of a new arrival (and let’s be honest, a nursery to decorate with beautiful creations!) but in leu of that, I have to surrender to my fate as an older mother with teenagers and kids who are quickly growing to look me eye to eye and depend entirely on shared customer pictures for crib shots these days.  I have considered getting a booth at the local artist market JUST to have a place to set up a crib and take collection photographs.  I have contacted local businesses that sell cribs and asked if I can come in and use them to take pictures, I have tried to rope in all of my mommy friends into letting me come manipulate their sacred spaces in order to take some product photos and let me tell you, all aforementioned routes are a LOT HARDER than you would think.  I have new dreams emerging in my life and a new direction I would like to take my business and included in that blueprint is a photography studio where I can set up and display multiple items at once that all coordinate and go together.  Nearly everything I make is intended to go together in some way, but that is a hard thing to capture when items are sold individually… I say all this to impress upon you the genuine LOVE I have for people who share their photos with me because they are giving me something I can not (currently) give myself.  I was so enamored with this nursery set up from fellow Etsy seller at Coastal Maine Creations when I saw it that I knew I would do a blog post about it.  She bought my constellation blanket with organic cotton sateen on one side and organic cotton fleece on the   back side, with a dreamy satin border as you can see in the pictures, as well as a Navy Constellation Map crib sheet.  I got in touch with her to see who made that AMAZING mobile with the keys because it reminds me of the part of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone where he has to ride the broom and catch the key to get into the dungeon, right?!  Especially since it is the 20th Anniversary of the first edition of Harry Potter being released in the UK this past week, Harry Potter has been fresh on my mind and I wanted to include it in my blog post.  So I asked her where she got it from and she told me she made it herself!  She is a master leather worker and carved the little wings herself and put this together for her own nursery.  Isn’t it amazing?!  I can only imagine what sweet little dreams this kid will have of flying through the stars and making magic happen every day!  The take away?  Send me your amazing nursery pictures and I will feature them on my blog with a link back to your shop or your instagram and will be forever grateful! 🙂  See this print and more of my work at Kari Goodwin Quilts, and know that I am always open to custom order requests like her Satin Edged Constellation Blanket.  I love custom orders!!

I Don’t Know How to Name A Blog Post…

Hello everyone!  Kari here.  Its been one heck of a week, to say the least.  I was out-of-town for the testimony of Comey, and only heard bits and pieces of it on NPR while I was driving, so those are my hot Friday night plans…To watch the hearing on YouTube tonight and babysit my fermenting pickles…(Oooh, pickles would make a really cute fabric!…Saving that idea for later!)  We have just wrapped up our first round of summer camp for the little ones and it was awesome and exhausting and the kids are currently dug in under covers in their jammies doing what they do when they chill, aka Netflix and Minecraft.

Anyway, back to my first point here.  I would like to begin by giving a quick shout out to my sister, who is doing a great job of running The Tree House Kid and to my Mom who is running Folks Linen!  If it weren’t for those talented and loyal ladies, I would not be able to do what I do.  That is to say, that I wouldn’t be able to focus so much time and attention to what I truly love to do, which is to design, quilt, and be an entrepreneur.  With them running those shops, it gives me the time and mental space to really focus all of my attention (what is left of it anyway), to my quilts.  Please take a moment and visit their shops on Etsy, bookmark the site, and go back and share some love!!  We offer really unique gifts for kids and adults alike,      depending on who or what occasion you are shopping for.  The links can be seen above in the text, on the opening page of my blog, or by following the link at the top of our blog that says “Find Us Elsewhere”.  As I am not making those items myself anymore, it is rare that I have my hands on them to take pictures, share them on Facebook, Instagram, or blog about them, but they are still an important part of Goodwin’s Custom Crafts!!

Now, on to what I wanted to share with you!  Today, I had a change of heart about my quilts.  I know they are lovely and pretty and took a lot of time and money to make.  I know they are worth more to me than I can reasonably sell them for.  I know Etsy is not a fine art Gallery, although you can definitely find fine art there.  I know that most of my quilts are small and will be used with messy kids, on the floor, or out in the yard for picnics…As such, I can NOT charge what I might like to for my quilts because folks who are buying them know that they will end up getting spilled on, pooped on, or curled up on by the family four leggeds.  This is something that I just have to accept!  I have tried to follow the advice of folks from the “charge what you think it’s worth, then double it because your time is valuable” school of thought, I have tried to charge what I would like for my quilts to sell for in a perfect world, where everyone has more than enough money to invest in the arts and pretty stuff, and I have tried at times to charge what they might be worth if they were on the level of fine art hanging in a gallery.  The truth is that when I started this, I liked that my work was affordable and attainable to normal folks with normal cash flow.  I have always offered payment plans for items that were a little more of an investment, and that won’t change, but I want to revisit a time in my life when the art of making quilts was not so much about how much money they could bring in, but in the simple act of making the thing itself.  The process, the journey, the end result.  It is a little harder for me to keep my prices low and competitive because I ONLY use organic cotton in everything I make, so I know my quilts will always be more than the next quilter who uses regular cottons.  I mean, I wish it wasn’t true, but the simple fact is that organic cotton is more expensive than non organic choices…but the old saying of “You get what you pay for ” comes to mind here. Ok, why am I saying all of this?….  

Oh yeah!  I remember.  The good news is that I went through my shop and marked ALL of the quilts down 15%.  That is a starting point.  I only want to make enough money to support my quilting and have a little extra spending money for stuff the family and I like to do.  Nothing too extravagant, just the simple joys of an adventurous life.  So I have marked them down, permanently.  I hope to sell a few this month and clear out some space for some new up and coming projects that I have in the works.  I love to sell my work…it is so exciting each time something sells!  The Etsy app on my phone literally makes a “CA- CHING!” sound like an old cash register every time I make a sale and everyone in my house cheers and takes guesses as to what has just sold!  (Kinda nerdy, I know, but that’s us!)  I want to make it easier for you to own quilts yourself and to keep us playing our favorite guessing game!  Please stop by my store on Etsy, Kari Goodwin Quilts, bookmark the site, check in with the shop at least once a week to see newly listed items, and mostly, check out those quilts!  If you have had your eye on one lately, it might be a good time to snag it!  My quilts usually don’t last for more than a year in my shop, which is a pretty good turnover in my opinion.  If you missed the first announcement, you may also want to know that I am working on a new, stand alone website, called (surprise!) Kari Goodwin Quilts that you can check out as well.  I am still tweaking the listings and making adjustments to the website, as it is only a few days old, but I will keep you posted.  Until then, happy shopping friends!!  Please subscribe to the blog if you haven’t already, and bookmark our site to make it easy to find us again!  Enjoy your weekend!!

Memorial Day ~

To all of those who gave their lives in service to this country, its values, its grand vision of liberty and justice for all, we thank you for your ultimate sacrifdownload (5)ice.  Today through Wednesday, I would like to extend a special Thank you to the servicemen and women of our country with a special 20% off at Kari Goodwin Quilts, today through Wednesday with the coupon code REMEMBER17.  Enjoy the holiday in remembrance of the Fallen, and I hope peace is with you all today.  <3

Also, just to keep my loyal followers “in the know”, I am working on a new website where you can shop directly from Me without having to go through Etsy.  I would love it if you would go take a look at www.karigoodwinquilts.com and bookmark the site so you can keep up with my progress!  I hope to soon link this site with that one, but I am still trying to work out the particulars.  More details to come!

Green Tea or Coffee?…

I really do appreciate that folks regularly check in with the website to see the new specials and deals!  Each visit to the website confirms my mission, which is to grow my business and gain the trust and support of a loyal following of customers, who come back to shop with us at all of our various shops, including The Tree House Kid, Folks Linen, and Kari Goodwin Quilts, depending on what special person you are shopping for!  Together, we all form the family business of Goodwin’s Custom Crafts.  This week, I would like to offer a special deal to get free Domestic Shipping with ANY purchase from Kari Goodwin Quilts.  The coupon code is GREENTEA and will be good through Friday, May 26th.  To get future deals and coupon codes, make sure you are subscribed to the site and get email notifications so that we can stay in touch!!  Please feel free to contact me here for questions or just to say hello!  Now, if you are wondering why this was called Green tea or coffee, I will tell you…As summer rolls around, and the Georgia heat is already threatening its suppressive power, I turn from the comfort of hot drinks to iced.  I guess you can figure out which way I am leaning today! il_fullxfull-1031818914_jsxk

Big Sea, Little Fish

Lately, it seems like every time I turn around there is some new blog post or sponsored link on facebook or instagram or a new delivery in my email about how to make your business stand out, how to create a perfect funnel for your business, how to be the one in a million who can make six figures in a hand-made profession. There are strategy upon strategy to help people just like ME get to that Holy Grail of the business world, but none of it is (no matter what they tell you!) for free. I signed up for a webinar recently that promised to share for free her strategy for creating a great business, only four simple steps to follow, and somehow it ended with thousands of dollars for this strategy that she was just “giving away” at a great discount…But it’s still enough money for her to base her business on and be the great white shark who is making six figures in a single month…Yeah, you know why? It’s because all of us are dying to break ahead in the market so desperately that we are willing to pay just about anything to be given the tools that will give us that one little advantage…Go that one extra step that maybe no one else is willing to go. It struck me in that moment that what that person has built is not a business, but a scheme, and it is thriving because so many of us are not. Does that make her a great business woman? Maybe. Is it the kind of business I want for myself? Nah, not really. Do I think that *if* I could afford her fee, her plan might actually help my business? Probably. And there’s the clincher. We are vulnerable. We are in need of that one lucky break, and we are willing to throw caution to the wind for a chance at a “Maybe.”

I think staying current and in touch with the business side of things is pretty important. I confess I do not invest enough time into market research or consumer trends before just diving off into the direction that my creative heart tells me to go. I am the hopeless romantic that believes that if I just stay true to myself and not follow trends, I will sustain a more consistent business. But among all of this talk about trends, market value, SEO, metadata, tags, social media, outreach, I confess that I 100% lose my focus. I lose the part of me that loves to make things. I stop being led by what inspires me and I fall prey to the trap which is another media trick, telling us that we all deserve MORE! We all can be a big fish in a little pond! We all can strike it rich! The very essence of these promises contradicts the nature of creativity. Of standing alone where you are with your talents and being proud perhaps not of how many figures you generate in a year, but with how authentic are you being to yourself and how is your work making an impact? How is comparing yourself to others constantly NOT a distraction? How is spending every free moment on blogs and reading and listening to people who’ve made in happen their way, not distracting me from figuring out how to do it my OWN way? It may work for some people, and I am not hanging up my self-education on the market trends all together, but I refuse to let myself be the market that drives the success of other businesses telling me my own place in the market is disappearing. Instead, I am going to devote more of my time and energy to the pursuit of that purest form of creativity, and hopefully my time will come. If it doesn’t, at least I will know I haven’t sold out in the process.

Go Within And Enjoy New Beginnings!

I have “Commitment” issues.  I have “Schedule” issues.  I have “Discipline” issues.  All those goals I set for myself, to do this at this certain time every day, each Monday, each Friday, every fiber of my being rebels against those most basic rules I try to establish for myself.  WHY?!  I figure it is probably a sign of lingering immaturity and nothing can be done to “fix” it.  Life and living gets in the way of work and I get distracted.  Distracted like the four-month old kittens we are fostering at the moment, who couldn’t stay on a straight path unless it was a B-line to a crinkling potato chip bag or the smell of chicken cooking in the kitchen.  Distracted like a kids jumping on a trampoline.  Distracted like a 38-year-old Mom of three who works from home.  Yeah, that is totally Me!  I try to set timers for myself, to diffuse “focus” oils to help me stay on track, I take my vitamins, get exercise, and drink plenty of water, get    plenty of sleep, but nothing seems to help.  I will inevitably find myself wandering through the house looking for a stray sock, just so I can put it in its proper place and it makes me feel crazy!  Like C.R.A.Z.Y.!  Too much to do to worry about socks, but somehow, I can’t make myself focus.  Two weekends ago we were a part of a Native American Cultural Festival and I had SO much time to think and reflect and I think I got a lot of answers I have been looking for my dilemma.  They were subtle and quiet and whispered ever so faintly to me while the drums pounded and the voices rose up and the people mingled in a gentle and cohesive fellowship.  The answers that came told me told me to learn from the mistakes I’ve made, in seasons of life where I not only burned the candle from both ends, but from every direction like the arrows of a compass…All converging to one central point in my mind, heart, and soul to burn me up.  The breath and the oxygen that it requires to keep burning is no small thing!  It is easy to forget the importance of this, but it can’t be ignored for long, and it seems that only by slowing down (just a little!) and knowing when to go inward and recharge can mean the difference between sustaining that crazy pace that life demands of us sometimes and completely burning ourselves out.  JUST like the spring plants in fall, who stop growing in order to come back bigger and better the next season, I too need to go inward to recharge.  The contradictory part of that is that Fall is the big retail season, so it is really hard to find time to slow down and recharge amidst all of the jobs that being a business owner entails…Not just the retail season (which I must admit, I do find wildly exciting!) but also the family holiday season that comes with its own special kind of charged excitement.  After my 6th year working for myself, i can safely say that it is inevitable that I will hit this wall, where not one more project can be started, and not one more stitch thrown into anything, before I take adequate time to recharge, go within, and ask myself the most basic and meaningful questions.  Am I still on the right path?  Am I still doing what I love and living a life of meaning and passion?  Do I still “like” and feel proud of what I putting out to the world?  So until then Friends, I wish you a Happy New Year!  Be safe and keep asking yourself the hard questions.  Take time to truly listen to yourself and find the answers.  If we don’t do this, we will burn ourselves out before our time.  Imagine if a tree didn’t lose its dying, colored leaves in the fall!  Imagine if it held on, no matter what to all those things trying to cast off  to make room for new growth.  We are like that too, when we don’t honor the need for rest and restoration.  I think it is less about the “Lingering Immaturity” as I mused early, and more about the need for this rest and restoration.

Holiday Shipping Updates~

Hi, Hello, and Greetings from the Goodwin’s Custom Crafts team!  The elves are busy working, I assure you!  The Tree House Kid has had another amazing season full of wonderful return customers, as well of plenty of new ones.  Items are currently in production and will be shipping out in time for Christmas!  Folks Linen is happily plugging through all of
the holiday napkin orders, so thank you to everyone who gave the gift of eco-friendly re-usable linen napkins this year, as well as the various other gifts from Folks Linen!  We couldn’t have made it without you all!  To my Kari Goodwin Quilts customers, thank you as well for making this THE most productive year to date for Kari Goodwin Quilts.  Ya’ll are ALL so loved, I promise you that!  The Tree House Kid is closed for orders, but Folks Linen and Kari Goodwin Quilts are still open for holiday gifts with a nice selection of Ready to Ship items.  In fact, nearly HALF of my KGQ shop is Ready to Ship, and I am offering same day shipping for all orders now through December 20th.  There are a variety of shipping options to choose from during checkout, so the closer we get to the 20th, the more I would recommend choosing the “Priority” shipping options.  It is a couple of dollars more in some cases, but it will be well worth it to have your packages in hand sooner.  I have made a new shop section and moved it to the very top of the list for visibility with all of my Ready to Ship items in Kari Goodwin Quilts.  Among them are quilts, baby gift sets, pillows, and wall hangings.  You can see them by clicking this link.  Thanks so much and Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Goodwin’s Custom Crafts!

Thanksgiving Rock, A Goodwin Tradition

This very well may be my MOST favorite post I’ve ever composed.  Work is work right now, it is that season for me where I push through because I have to, but I long for a break from it with the kids home from school, hiking in the crunchy fall leaves, and making long trips to visit farmer friends and pet the piggies just because.  So instead of focusing on work today on the blog, I am going to share something of a much more personal nature.  We started this Thanksgiving tradition years ago in 2009.  I had three kids who, when confined in closed spaces, tended to draw on every single element of chaos available to them.  My Grandmother, their Great-grandmother, at the time, would make a big, BIG day out of Thanksgiving, inviting all of the extended family to her house for the day.  There could be upwards of 40 people in her intimate house at once.  My kids, who spent a great deal of time at their Great-grandmother’s house on a very regular basis, because she has always helped to babysit and raise my kids, were VERY overwhelmed with all these people in their familiar environment.  So one year we decided to opt out of the big family gathering and instead go to Pine Mountain for a hike.  I think we tried to take a “Thanksgiving picnic” the first year, but that was so much trouble that it didn’t survive the first year to become part of the tradition. The hiking did, however, as did taking family pictures on this ONE particular rock, which we have named Thanksgiving Rock.  The first year, it was just a happy coincidence because we had stopped at this beautiful overlook point and the kids, all tiny at the time, all crawled on top of this rock.  They played king of the rock for a while, and eventually just came to all sit on top of it together.  We have been back there each year since that time to hike and take pictures on Thanksgiving Rock.  Here is a compilation through the years.  Enjoy!

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YEAR ONE – 2009

YEAR TWO - 2010

YEAR TWO – 2010

YEAR THREE - 2011

YEAR THREE – 2011

YEAR THREE - 2011

YEAR FOUR – 2012

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YEAR FIVE – 2013

YEAR FIVE - 2013

YEAR SIX – 2014

YEAR SIX - 2015

YEAR SEVEN – 2015

YEAR SEVEN - 2016

YEAR EIGHT – 2016

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