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!

CYBER MONDAY SALE~

To say THANK YOU to everyone, everywhere, to all the customers from day one, who have been amazing, presented challenges for me to rise to, who have left feedback that has literally left me in tears, I say THANK YOU.  Today you can get 25% off your total purchase at Kari Goodwin Quilts with the coupon code CYBER2016.  Links to my Etsy shop, as well as The Tree House Kid and Folks Linen can be seen here.

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Black Friday Sale, Going on Now at Kari Goodwin Quilts

It is a little funny for me to promote a Black Friday Sale at my shop because I do not EVER get out and shop on Black Friday.  I am an avid avoider of crowds if at all possible, but guess what!?  You do not have to go through any crowds to get to my Black Friday Sale unless your kids are playing Minecraft (like mine have been this morning) on your computer, then you might have to wait in line a little, but HEY!  It’s a pretty day outside, so kick them off the games and do some early shopping with a Small Business before the madness starts to hit after Thanksgiving.  I am offering Free Shipping on all domestic orders, (including APO addresses too!) now through Sunday, November 27th.  The coupon will end Sunday at midnight, and a new Cyber Monday Sale will activate, so check back with me here, or on Instagram to see what special offers will be coming your way next week!  Until then, my friends, have fun and rock on.   **Hint, Hint, Quilts are heavy, pillows are bulky, and buying lots of things at once costs SO much to ship!!  You could save $20, $30, $40 in shipping!  Just saying…**  Head over to my Etsy shop, Kari Goodwin Quilts by clicking the picture below!  Happy Shopping!  Oh, I guess you might want the coupon code?  I got so excited, I almost forgot.  It is BLACKFRIDAY2016 .

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Click Me and I will take you directly to Kari Goodwin Quilts on Etsy!

 

 

Featured Item of the Week! Indigo Bonus Quilt

Yesterday, instead of doing a “Featured Item of the Week” post, I had this big idea about putting together a blog post that was a compilation of all of my favorite purchases from Etsy.  It is a great idea, a fun story to tell, and a lot of love to share for fellow Etsy sellers!…So why, instead am I sharing my own newest quilt addition?  Because I am not organized dsc_0243-1enough to put something like that together on the fly.  Apparently, there is this big wide world called the “blogosphere” that I have yet to break into where people do things like that all the time, but for this old gal, it is still a new trick.  The key word(s) being “on the fly”, meaning I will work on putting this post of mine together, but until then, I am going to have to stick to what I know.  SO, on that note, take a look at my pretty new quilt!  I have been working on this one for a while, meaning I spent time on it, got it ready to quilt, then let it sit there while I was distracted with what felt like an dsc_0257-1infinite number of other things while it sat patiently, calling my name ever so softly.  Then one day, it got impatient with me and I could no longer put off the inevitable or ignore its beakoning call.  I am glad it came together in its own time, though, and wasn’t one of those projects I was inclined to rush through.  It feels like one of those special pieces that I will never really forget, and will always (to a small extent) regret dsc_0284-1selling.  It is an improvisational plus sign design, made from old blue jeans that
were too ripped up to pass on, and some red vintage linen that I inherited from my Grandmother’s fabric stash.  Other than the vintage and recycled fabric, it is 100% organic.  The back is my Navy Constellation Map print on GOTS organic cotton sateen, which is also the binding.  It is quilted in a free motion herringbone design with unbleached cotton thread.  I had fun with this one.  See the full listing on Etsy by clicking this link.  dsc_0248-2

Featured Item of the Day! Hand Dyed, Organic Cotton Blankets

This is my new favorite color!  It is so rich and has so much depth.  The first yellow dyed I purchased was a dusty sort of muted yellow, which was fine until they discontinued it.  At first, I thought this wouldn’t work because it was so bright, but I have come to really love this color!  I make the blanket first from unbleached, all natural, GOTS certified organic cotton, then dye it in five gallon buckets outside in my front yard.  Each batch is different, and I don’t even try to get it perfectly, evenly dyed because I like it that way.  It makes for a very unique and one of a kind hand dyed fabric.  dsc_0234-1I only use organic cotton, as you might already know, because regular cotton that is not grown organically has SO many pesticides and chemicals used in the growing and production phases;  chemicals which are known carcinogens.  From the standpoint of the Earth and what we are pumping into it, as well as the endless amount of dust created from using fabrics in my home ALL the time, I do not want the exposure to these chemicals for myself and my family.  Working with any kind of cotton releases a lot of dust into the air, whether you are opening it for the first time, washing and drying it, ironing it, cutting it, sewing it, it is a very dusty process when you do it every day.  As we all live in the space where I work, I feel like it’s an important choice for my family.  Offering it to my customers is really a secondary bonus!!  That is why, even though it might be cheaper to use regular cotton, I dsc_0451-1choose not to, and adhere to a pretty strict “organic only” rule when it comes to the materials I use for work.  This can be limiting, but with limitations comes creativity and the push to break through those limits.  That is why I started hand dying cotton in the first place.  I was very unsatisfied with the kinds of colors available in organic cotton.  This was a few years ago, and I am sure you can find much more nowadays than you could when I first started, but I still find the selection to be very limited.  I love the depth and variety I get from dying my own fabrics, and I love that it is done only using organic cottons.  Most of the fabric I buy is also milled and/or grown in the USA as well, which I find to be another layer of investment that is well worth the price, as it supports local farmers here in the US.  So Happy Monday Folks!  I am off to quilt a luscious organic quilt, which should be making its debut this week!  In the meantime, enjoy a look around my Etsy shop, Kari Goodwin Quilts!

Today’s Featured Item! Organic Stained Glass Quilt

Today’s featured item of the day is this lovely stained glass quilt.  It is a generous crib sized quilt, measuring 34 x 54 and is made from organic cotton materials.  The top is a print from our latest series of fabrics.  Picture this.  My oldest son was on a campout, dsc_0300-1the youngest son was spending the night with his Grandparents, and the girl and I had the house to ourselves. We hosted a takeover of the living room, put two large yard sale tables together and brought out every dormant paint brush, colored pencil, marker, and turned on the cheesiest movie from my 80’s childhood, Sixteen Candles.  Then we started playing.  Taking chances with color and designs, because amongst the movie and snacks and hanging out together, the last thing either of us was concerned with was creating overly careful designs.  We just wanted to enjoy the process and we did.  It’s like the unicorn of parenting, a night like that. This was one of my daughter’s designs.  We named it Stained Glass Window, because obviously…it resembles a stained glass window.  Aren’t we so clever.  It is made from 100% organic cotton on the top, and 100% organic cotton on the back which has been hand dyed a pretty sky blue, which also serves as the binding.  It was wrapped around from the back of the quilt to the front and machine stitched to the quilt.  I have a feeling this will continue to be one of my favorite prints for a long time.
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Featured Item of the Day (And this week’s special deal too!)

DSC_0644 (1)You get two for the price of one this week!  Today’s message will share the Featured Item of the Day as well as the special deal of the week.  As predicted, I slipped from my goal to do two posts a week.  Anyone who knows me even a little bit would not be surprised at all by this, especially since I always bring up what a challenge it is for me to be consistent in almost every post.  Just consider it a growing pain of a very awkward blogger and we will all get along just fine!  Back to the Featured Item of the Day!  DSC_0563 (2)This quilt.  Just take a long look at this quilt.   This is the organic cotton equivalent of cloud gazing.  You could look at this and see all sorts of fun illusions.  For instance, I see the reflection of a dragon flying over a lake, insects, and a bony pelvis…Ok, you get the idea.  There is a lot to see!  These are hand dyed from organic cotton, including the coordinating backing material.  I have a goal to do more of these soon, in larger sizes up to a twin sized quilt, so keep an eye out for those.  The rusty-red color was made from spontaneously combining two different dyes, so it is unique and one of a kind.

NOW, for the coupon code you’ve ALL been waiting for!  This week’s deal is extended through NEXT Friday, September 9th.  It is a free organic cotton bunting (also known as the triangle flag banners…) with any $100 purchase.  Pretty sweet, right?!  They make any room feel like the occupants might just break out into dance, or singing, or other party-related behaviors.  All you have to do to take full advantage of this offer is choose the triangle bunting you want from the Clearance Section (<— Live link) of my shop and add it to your cart with the rest of your purchase.  As long as your total before shipping is $100 or more, you can get a $19 discount during checkout absolutely free.  This is the cost of the bunting, so it will discount your entire order for that amount.  Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!  The coupon code to enter during checkout is FREEBUNTING19 .   See you next time!

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Featured Item of the Day – Organic Cotton Knit Blankets

It’s Monday, so that means it’s time for sharing a new product for the week!  This makes two weeks in a row that I have actually nailed this little goal of mine, which actually makes this THE most “pulled together” time of my entire life.  No kidding.  I thrive off order and chaos in equal measure, and see the balancing of entropies as the ultimate “LEVELING UP” of life.  DSC_0388To have a little chaos, a little order, and a constant flowing dance between the two.  Anyway, I distract myself.  The featured item of the day is a simple product, but a brand new one for Kari Goodwin Quilts.  These organic cotton knit blankets are great for a lot of reasons.  Here are a few:

  1. Four different sizes available!  From newborn baby to kid off to college with their first dorm room, there is a size for everyone.  The material is fairly stretchy and lightweight, and would make a good swaddling blanket.  In the larger sizes, the material is heavyweight enough to make a good throw style blanket.
  2. Made from the only material I use, GOTS certified organic cotton.
  3. These are printed in the USA with my own exclusive designs, made by me and my kids, which my favorite activity with my kids, so the purchase of this item actually encourages and supports art in my household! (not kidding.)
  4. With this product I strived to bring the best materials for the LEAST about of cost to you.  As such, these blankets are simply serged around the edges, which is great for the stretchy material, and they go together very quickly.  DSC_0163 (1)This allows me to pass on the savings to you, while still offering a great product, full of creativity and uniqueness.

That is all, back to work for me!   Happy Monday Ya’ll!  Here are links to my Etsy shop karigoodwinquilts.etsy.com and my website karigoodwinquilts.com .   Be on the lookout for these new items to hit the shops soon! DSC_0324 (3)