Country Romantic Fabric Quilted Tote Bag

Creative Improvement Through Practice

I’ll admit that creative improvement has not been high on my priority list. 

A tote bag from my Etsy shop
These tote bags keep getting better the more I make.

Whenever I sit down to sew, there’s the voice that reminds me that I need to get more done for my Etsy site. I don’t have nearly enough products up. My pictures need improvement. Have I looked over my descriptions? What about tags? What about engaging in social media? The list is endless.

So every chance I get, I construct a tote bag, stitch a quilt together, or design journal covers. I have limited time, and I need to use every moment I can to make my Etsy shop better.

However, by skipping the practice, even with the quilting and sewing experience I have, I am doing myself a disservice. I do spend a lot of time watching videos and taking classes to learn new techniques. What I don’t do is set aside time to practice them.

‘But you don’t have time.’ I hear that inner voice whine.

Perhaps not. I need to make time. To achieve that creative improvement goal I have a few ideas…

Schedule time. This is a counter intuitive option for me. As soon as I declare I’m going to sew at a specific time, I don’t. I think my mind rebels at the thought of being restricted, and I will find anything else to do but what I had intended to. Laundry, cleaning, reading…doesn’t matter what the distraction is, I find it. When I say schedule, what I prefer to do is fit in a couple half hour blocks dedicated to practice. Sometimes fifteen minutes. Sometimes five. Depending on how crazy life is that week. By being flexible, I am free to practice more. Instead of saying ‘I must’, change the view ‘I get to’.

Prep ahead of time. This is even more important than scheduling. If I make it easy, I’ll do it. Setting up a practice quilt sandwich (top, batting, backing) to try out a free motion quilt design works well. I’ll tell myself just to do a corner or a line and usually end up finishing the entire piece.

Remember it’s just practice. I have a challenging time when things aren’t just so, especially with my quilting. Which is why it’s even more important to practice. I have to remember that the more I practice, the better my Etsy items are going to be. It’s worth the time.

Immediately try new techniques. I’m great at needing to replay things in my head to get them right before I do them. Which means I don’t do them because I end up psyching myself out before I even start. My new attempt will be watching a new skill and trying it out shortly thereafter.

Will these new techniques assist me with creative improvement and becoming a better artist? I have no idea, but I hope so. I’ll certainly report back. What about you? Are there techniques you use to practice your art? Tell me about them by commenting below or posting on social media. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

New to Heart of Autumn? Sign up for my email newsletter (right hand navigation) where you can get discounts, previews of Etsy products, and sneak peeks of works in progress.

Country Romantic Fabric Quilted Tote Bag

rainbowofcrazy on Etsy

Hello all! Because I love Etsy and handmade artists, I’ve decided to post up my favorite shop of the week. Here’s week #1 featuring rainbowofcrazy and she has some lovely items. She has lovely art, including Tarot cards! My favorites below are just in time for Halloween!

black cat moon
Black Cat Print by rainbowofcrazy

full moon necklace
Full Moon Necklace by rainbowofcrazy

Country Romantic Fabric Quilted Tote Bag

Transitioning Focus

Dear friends,

I have closed my Etsy shop and decided to focus on my writing. After working with my most excellent life coach, I’ve finally realized that what I yearn for most is to have my stories come to life. I’m finally giving them the space and time that they deserve, and I do mean that literally. I’m transitioning Heart of Autumn to reflect this renewed venture, and would love to have you join me as I meander about the story pathways.

Crafting and art quilts will always be a large part of my life. I’ll be posting my creations here too, so Etsy friends, I’d love to have you stick around if you choose.

I’m excited to be here and have this new direction. It feels authentic and right for me. Off to find the magic within.
Bright Blessings.

Country Romantic Fabric Quilted Tote Bag

Time Travelers Extravaganza!

Please note! This most excellent group of artisans, the Time Travelers Team on Etsy, is having a sale! The shops listed below are all offering a surprise savings when using the coupon code EXTRAVAGANZA! Visit these fabulous shops, and fall in love with their creations! Sale runs through June 8th! We’re here – http://www.etsy.com/teams/9087/time-travelers-team

1. Moonspell www.etsy.com/shop/MoonspellCrafts
2. AgentofChaos www.etsy.com/shop/AgentOfChaos
3. DemBones www.etsy.com/shop/dembones
4. Scarletrabbit www.etsy.com/shop/Scarletrabbit
5. ZojjaUniquelyYou www.etsy.com/shop/Zojjauniquelyyou
6. GothAndGeekery www.etsy.com/shop/GothAndGeekery
7. Lizzesbeautifulart www.etsy.com/shop/LizzesBeautifulArt
8. RomanticaNocturnis www.etsy.com/shop/RomanticaNocturnis
9. Dovanna www.etsy.com/shop/Dovanna
10. RavensCrafts www.etsy.com/shop/RavensCrafts
11. StephaniePayan www.etsy.com/shop/StephaniePayan
12. TheWhisperingWorld www.etsy.com/shop/TheWhisperingWorld
13. Boitifole www.etsy.com/shop/Boitifole
14. Caitlinjohns www.etsy.com/shop/caitlinjohns
15.EquineAnnihilation www.etsy.com/shop/EquineAnnihilation
16.chrisoscreations www.etsy.com/shop/ChrisOsCreations
17 BeaPearson0626 www.etsy.com/shop/BeaPearson0626
18. FyreShadow www.etsy.com/shop/FyreShadow
19. balmyatticarts www.etsy.com/shop/balmyatticarts
20. MadScientistsDesigns www.etsy.com/shop/MadScientistsDesigns
21. JupitersHaven www.etsy.com/shop/JupitersHaven
22. TimelessAvenue www.etsy.com/shop/TimelessAvenue
24. Creaturosity www.etsy.com/shop/Creaturosity
25. Jansbeads www.etsy.com/shop/jansbeads
26. DarkBeautyBoutique www.etsy.com/shop/DarkBeautyBoutique
27. Biagreen www.etsy.com/shop/Biagreen
28. kindredimages www.etsy.com/shop/KindredImages
29. heartofautumn www.etsy.com/shop/heartofautumn
30. prettyandshiny www.etsy.com/shop/prettyandshiny
31. deepmidnightperfumes www.etsy.com/shop/deepmidnightperfumes

Country Romantic Fabric Quilted Tote Bag

When the Doors Open

With the opening of my Etsy shop, I’ve been cautiously hoping that I can make enough from selling my crafts online to pay for the cost of leasing a horse, which I started doing in May. That’s been my entire goal at this point, though I secretly hope to make my crafts (and writing!) even more viable in my life than they are now. One step at the time though; getting ahead of myself is something I’m really good at doing. Luckily I have a husband who gently keeps me in check with reality.

Yet I’ve been sending out energy into the cosmos with the intention of being able to at least make up for the cost of my lease horse. I know I have so much more to do with building my Etsy site into a viable storefront, but if directing energy that way could do it all, it would be a profitable business already. My thought has always been if something is meant to be, the doors will open (or maybe a window) that will lead the way.

I’m thrilled to say that the door opened for me – a local gift shop has asked to carry my items in their shop. Completely unexpected, but I will say that having my shop on Etsy and the connections I’ve made with fellow Mainers there helped create that opportunity. Now that the gates have decided to open, I have to take that step through the door. I’m excited, and nervous, and in the back of my head wondering what I’m getting myself into. I asked for this though, and I’m ready.

My hubby is there to keep me tethered to the earth so I don’t hit my head on the door jamb floating through the doorway.