I’m hoping my hiatus is over and I can get back into doing what I love, crafting and designing things for wonderful people! We’ve had a busy time.

I’m finally done with college, so that means I’m a big kid now and have to get a job. NOOO! Well, it’s actually pretty nice. So far most of my work has been with small local businesses that need help with branding. I love that I have the experience from running our shop, and seeing what successful shops do to be able to help others. I’m thinking of getting my portfolio together and opening a website just for freelance work. More on that to come…

We bought our forever home. Well, I think it’s our forever home. I love my community, and we’re really close to the lake. It’s a gorgeous home with more than enough room for all our hobbies. Mike wishes the garage was bigger… but to make him content we would have had to buy a house with a 4 bay garage. Speaking of hobbies…

We bought and assembled a 3d printer! So far we’re printing things for the kids and I for around the house, and Mike is printing things to make the machines at work run better. I’ll post more about that later, with pictures!

And finally I have some designs that I’m working on for the shop. Keep an eye out in the next week or two! https://www.etsy.com/shop/nightowlcraftworks

So now that I’ve caught you up, how are all of my friends doing?

Leave me a comment and let me know!

 

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Let summer begin!!!

OK… so it’s still chilly & mucky outside, but I’m ready to relax.  I’m not totally done with classes for the year yet.  My college offers a May term, which is one concentrated course over 3 weeks.  I’ll be taking portfolio prep.  It’s one of those classes that is fun and nerve wracking.  I’m going to have to compile all the artwork I’ve done so far.  I’m hoping I have enough solid work to create a good portfolio.  Time will tell!

And how did my year go?  So glad you asked!  I’m very proud of myself.  I know I’ve let my Etsy shop go a bit and haven’t written on the blog or done any shows or kept in contact on Facebook, but it’s all paid off.  My first semester I managed a 3.4 GPA.  That’s impressive for me, especially because I am raising 3 girls and Mike travels so much!  If it wasn’t for my mom moving out here to help I’d be lost.  Last month he was home one week, gone the other three.  It was amazing to me when I got an invitation to apply to Mortar Board, senior national honors society.  They choose 100 people from campus with a high GPA and ask them to submit an application.  I didn’t actually expect to get in.  I was a horrible student in high school.  I did my best when I was in college the first time around, but honestly it was all just a blur because I was trying to figure out how to be a young single mom.  I was accepted, along with 12 other females.  They explained that they upped the requirements this year, so I was that much more flattered and excited!  It was the icing on this past year.  It’s been a long year, but I’m so proud of myself for finally doing something I thought I’d never have the courage to do.

 

I didn’t fall off the face of the earth.  Yet.

Just in college.

I miss you all!  Maybe I’ll start posting some of my assignments I’ve been working on.  Would you like that?

OK… here’s a bike pile.  I’m learning… I definitely have a lot to learn, but I’m enjoying it all the same…

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I guess we really can’t get enough of the stuff.  Mike & I went to Madison today to check out the Engineering program.  He’s been wanting to go back since we got together 10 years ago.  It’s just never been “the right time”.  I suppose we’ve both decided now is as good a time as any.  He’s in the beginning stages of figuring it all out now.  Which college, who offers online courses, what are his requirements as a transfer student.  Fun, fun, fun.  He’ll still have to work full time, but we think work will be a little flexible as long as he doesn’t slack there.  He’ll be a part time student, and work full time, along with being a great dad & husband.  Yep… he’s that awesome!

An update on my college stuff?  Oh, just the exciting stuff.  TB test.  Paperwork.  I can’t wait until the classes actually start (remind me I said that in December).  I’m getting further along on my portfolio for my scholarship.  I’ve done a few pencil drawings & some photography.  I really need to be better about remembering the camera when we go out.  I could have gotten some beautiful shots around the UW campus & the capitol building.  I’ll just have to remember it on our girl’s weekend out there at the end of July!  Going to with my buddy FudgiePickles to spend the night in Madison, then going to Summer Craftacular Sunday morning (as a customer this time).  We’re going to hopefully get to spend some time with PangeaHandmade, maybe help her set up for the show.  And JennasAttic if she’s not working her buns off!  Going to be fabulous!!!

Here’s a photograph of a barn we pass by when we head to the next town.  I absolutely love the old door!  “Eat ice cream for daily happiness”…  AMEN!  Mike literally whipped the car to the side of the road for me to get a quick photo… he’s a nut like that :)

Now go eat ice cream!!!

 

Have a safe & happy 4th.  Enjoy friends & family & food.

 

It’s been a long, long, long while since I’ve blogged. A lot has happened. Mostly busy with the kids & getting situated in our new environments. It’s a sad thing to not have a studio. I didn’t realize how much time we’d spent being crafty. At the same time I never quite realized how much the old place took up our time… cleaning & mowing & just general living in a humongous home! It’s been a welcome relief to only have one bathtub to clean. Our yard takes about 20 minutes to mow. We’ll miss the quiet & being far away from the road and cars, but we have the most wonderful neighbors. It seems like with every sad thing we think of there’s a happy thing right behind it.

Window over the built-in’s.

Old door hardware. Love <3

So what have we been up to? Mike’s had to fill his time with a new project… a motorcycle! He bought a 79′ Suzuki for a few hundred dollars to fix up. I won’t tell you how much has gone into it, but Mike is going to know the bike inside & out! It is turning out to be a pretty nice project.

The carbs need to be put in… waiting on parts.

Our thoughts are always with our new studio. We went from having a gas kiln & wood kiln to needing an electric kiln to get back to production. Here in town an electric kiln is going to be the way to go. We might actually have a lead on a kiln. We’re hoping the price is reasonable. We will see! We are selling our stock in the meantime to help with kiln costs.

I think the kids like the new place…

I also have some exciting news… I’m going back to college! So far I have an Associates in Early Childhood Education. I really wish someone had told me then that I would make less being a preschool teacher than if I worked at McDonalds. Oh, well. That degree did give me credits toward my next adventure. I’m going back for graphic design. I think I’m equally nervous & excited. I’ll {hopefully} be applying what I learn to the blog as I go, so look for some new exciting updates this fall! As for me going to a 4 year school, refer back to our shop to support my crazy adventure. I have a feeling I’ll need to upgrade my laptop soon ;)

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The end of the month is almost here. It’s so sad to count down the days that the kids walk the driveway from the bus trip home. They enjoy having that time to talk about their day and always come in the door giggling about something. We are excited about not having to take the bus & living closer to school. The hour that it took to get home will be well spent snacking & having extra cuddle time. It’s all so bittersweet. I’ll miss my morning coffee with the sun shining in on me from our big windows.
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In the spirit of making every day count we decided in all the insanity we’d do one last wood firing. It’ll be a long time before we get the opportunity again. Mike has thrown some great pieces. Hopefully this firing will be just as good, or better than the last. I think I’ll post some video of this one. I’ll definitely get some of us unloading it.

Until then… We’ll be having a sale in the shop! Check it out, and don’t forget to use the coupon code! (check the shop banner for the current sale). We’re trying to get rid of stock & get enough money scraped together for an electric kiln that we can use to start our business again somewhere else. We thank everyone who has supported us so far! We appreciate it more than you know.

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We’ve been laying low through the holidays.  We’re still house hunting.  I’m not sure we’ll be making any big decisions soon.  We’re looking at a rental property for now.  We are trying to re-establish our credit, which shouldn’t take too long as Mike has already completely cleaned up our credit reports.  HOWEVER, it doesn’t seem as if we’ll have that accomplished in time to buy a home.  So, rentals here we come.  Again.  We’re trying to make the best of it.  But as it’s probably pretty apparent with my lack of posts I’ve become a tad depressed.  I’m hoping once we’re settled in wherever we’re going to be I’ll get a little energy back.  Until then I’ll be trying to post some more & keep my spirits up.  I have a feeling in the end things will work out the best for everyone!  2012 may not be our year for our business, but our family is going to be very well taken care of and happy!

(Sorry no pictures this time… next time I promise!)

 

Mike and I have always had a dream to buy a house on enough property to build little cabins and start a little artists retreat.  Something with a little of everything so people could go on a vacation and work on their art or craft.

When I started selling on Etsy we lived in townhouse apartments.  We had very little space.  All my craft supplies lived in a small Harry Potter closet (the coolest thing about the whole place) under the stairs.  It was a nightmare to try to get in and out of with supplies.  I had to set up on the kitchen table & clear it off as soon as I was interrupted.  It wasn’t all horrible, but it’s much nicer to have a studio with a dedicated space.

We had a miracle drop in our laps.  A coworker of Mike’s was moving to Spain and was willing to rent to us our dream house.  A four bedroom, three bathroom house on 7 acres of land with a pottery studio all ready on site.   The owner used to be a potter but had to quit after it bothered his back too much.  The plan was to build the pottery back up, pay down our debts, and buy the house.  We were being very optimistic.  Very.

Mike was happy to have a studio again.  It had been years since he was able work on his pottery.  We had a small studio back in NY.  Here we have a nice big studio with two wheels, a wood kiln, a small electric kiln, and we’ve built a gas kiln.  With Mike working full time, and having three girls to look after it’s been challenging to get the studio time we need to produce efficiently.

I’ve learned so much in the past two years.  I’ve gotten better at photographing our work.  Mike and I are getting better at working together well.  We have started to branch out doing craft shows.  We are finally getting a good following and some great products.  We are selling at a gallery and doing very well.

Unfortunately it’s not enough to have great product.  I know we still have a long long way to go.  We need to polish our image, story, and get the word out there on blogs and articles.

Here comes the really depressing part… the owners are visiting this October to clean out the rest of their things to sell the house.  We didn’t anticipate how much extra costs would be.  We are paying a lot more for heating, paying for snow plowing to get out of our driveway in the winter, and just general upkeep.  Every time we think we’re having a good month something unexpected comes up.  There is no way we could ever afford it realistically.  We have already cut every possible corner.

We aren’t going to give up.  We are going to look for a home that’s more affordable with space to (hopefully) build up the pottery again.  It will take time though.  In the meantime we will continue to list what we have in stock & I’ll keep making and listing journals.  Our dream is changing a bit, but we’ll never give up on it.

An extra special huge thank you to our customers who have made it possible for us to live our dream so far.  We appreciate you more than you know!

 

 

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