Zero to Hero – Day 22 Join a Blogging Event

So after looking through many of the artistic blogging events I have decided to take part in ‘time out for art‘ by Zeebra Designs and Destinations.  This event occurs every Thursday and asks us to…

“Take a timeout; turn off your telephone, turn off your television and tune into yourself!  Pick up a leaf and sketch it;  go outside and draw a tree trunk!  Stay inside and scribble, cross hatch, draw tornadoes or triangles.  After ten minutes, you’ll find a shift in attention.  Don’t stop, keep drawing, and your creative side will awaken.  Consider this an exercise!   Your lines will get softer, more expressive, and your pulse slows!”

I must admit, I have got out of the habit of drawing regularly, I tend to go through phases and although at the moment I keep thinking about putting pen/pencil to paper I just have not got round to committing myself recently so I am hoping that by joining this even it will kick start me back into drawing again.

Whether I can sustain every week, is another thing, therefore I am going to aim for every fortnight and if I can manage every week then it can only be a bonus!  I will be posting the results here on this blog.  Hopefully I will eventually need to create a page for the work I create for the event!

In the meantime here is a fairly recent rockabilly inspired skull drawing I created using felt tips.


Rockabilly skull

Zero to Hero Day 20 – New Page

So I’ve been falling a little bit behind with some of the challenges.  For yesterday’s challenge I have now added an “Artwork” page which showcases some of the original drawings by Steve or myself.

I have only had time to add four drawings, all of which have been inspired by Rockabilly Day of the Dead.

Love Day of the Dead? Then check out my treasury …

I plan to slowly update this page with more examples of our artwork so watch this space.

Zero to Hero Day 21 – Reflect on Day 19

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On day 19 I tried out the photo post format to post this photo of an example of one our handmade jewellery pieces.  This was to primarily to promote it as a valentines gift idea.

This post details how we make them.

Up-cycled

In todays throw away society we love the idea of reusing existing or redundant items and transforming them into something new.  We are not always able to reuse materials, but fortunately for these necklaces we were.

Each necklace has been made out of hand cut and painted wooden canvas stretchers.  To add colour we have used either left over emulsion or acrylic paint using two different colours that have been layered up and the top coat sanded down slightly to achieve a deliberately weathered and distressed effect.

The copper wire is also reclaimed and has been transformed into the copper links holding the wooden pieces together.  The decorative coils have been shaped by hand adding further detail and a purposefully made clasp.

Other Materials

To complete the necklace we used pre-bought  leather cord and wooden beads.  In future I would like to source a reclaimed equivalent so that these necklaces be made from one hundred percent up-cycled materials.

Features

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The handmade clasp allows the length of the chord to be easily adjusted to the desired length.  The wooden bead acts as  stopper to prevent the cord passing through the clasp.

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Each necklace is first wrapped in tissue paper and comes packaged in one of our custom-made Vaudeville Hippie jewellery boxes.

Please visit our Etsy store to see the full range.

Zero to Hero Day 16 – Reputations

Writing prompts can be a blogger’s best friend: on days when inspiration levels are low. Today’s assignment: publish a post based on your own, personalised take on today’s Daily Prompt.

What is a reputation?

For me the word reputation is the impression others form about a person, company, product etc in response to what they do, act or behave.

Why are reputations important?

They are important because depending on the situation a reputation could have either a positive or negative impact.  I am considering this question because whilst developing our Etsy shop, it is important that we build a good reputation with our customers in order for the business to become well known and successful.

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The reputation I would like to build for Vaudeville Hippie:

  • Unique products
  • Quality products
  • Diverse product range
  • Excellent customer service

We are still at the beginning of our journey and therefore have a lot to learn and develop as regards to our reputation, but I hope that by maintaining a regular blog and becoming a part of the blogging community we will be able to grow our reputation within the online handmade market.

Zero to Hero TASK 12: FROM COMMENT TO BLOG POST — BE INSPIRED BY THE COMMUNITY

So today I am going to focus on a page I read today from Dennis Cardiff’s blog ‘Gotta Find a Home’ titled ‘How it all Began‘.  This is not really related to the overall theme of my blog, but it struck such a chord, I chose to write a post about it for this task.

Dennis describes how on a very cold, uninspiring walk to work one morning he noticed a homeless woman sitting in the cold and snow.  Despite the cold, he was struck by her smile and drew upon a time in his own life where money was tight and prospect were bad.  At this point Dennis did something different.  Rather than walking past with the stereotypical mindset that homeless people spend any begging money on alcohol he offered to buy her breakfast.  Naturally the woman took Dennis up on his offer.

The story does not end here and this is what I particularly liked.  Dennis repeated this every day, so that a couple of years down the line he is still offering the lady breakfast and a friendship how grown out of what is otherwise less than fortunate circumstance.

By reading this post it has reminded me of the times I have walked past a homeless person, but not really sure what to do to help.  I have sometimes thought about offering food, but have not had the courage to see it through, which sounds so silly because if it was me in that situation I would appreciate being noticed.  This act of kindness has inspired me to think again about how we view homelessness.

Without wanting to sound too cliched we get so caught up in our own day to day circumstances that we forget that other people deserve a bit of kindness in their lives, if anything to give a little bit of hope.  I am sure there are other people out there like Dennis supporting people through difficult times, it just got me thinking the effect it could have if more of us took a moment out of our busy day to help someone out.

Dennis says ‘I can’t do much for these people except to show them love, compassion, an ear to listen, perhaps a breakfast sandwich and a coffee. I would like to do more. To know them is to love them. What has been seen cannot be unseen. I have started to write an account of their daily lives. I intend to turn this into a book and have it published. That is my goal.’  I think he is doing a great job.  If you get a moment to check out the rest of his blog please do and help spread the word.

Zero to Hero DAY 9: HEAD A LITTLE DEEPER INTO THE BLOGOSPHERE

I wanted to add some comments to explain why I have chosen to follow each of these blogs for this task, unfortunately I am short of time today so I will just leave you the links and you can check them out for yourselves!

The five blogs I have chosen to follow are:

http://captureyouphotography.com/

http://imawallflower.com/

http://knitthehellout.com/

http://californiapixie.com/

http://smallestforest.net/about/

What I will mention quickly is that all five blogs had stunning photography, which caught my attention and made me want to read the content.  Something I definitely want to explore with my own blog.  This was my attempt back in the summer…

https://vaudevillehippie.wordpress.com/2013/07/13/vaudeville-hippies-last-two-weeks-in-photos/

Zero to Hero DAY 6: PUBLISH A POST THAT INCLUDES A NEW ELEMENT

I must admit, I was beginning to struggle with this one.  After two days back at work with full teaching days on both I am starting to have what has been described before as a ‘brain fart’.  I am not very good at being put on the spot at the best of times so when I read that today’s task was to upload a ‘new element’ like an image or video my mind did its usual thing of going blank straight away.

After an uninspiring trawl through my iPhoto collection I decided to head over to Youtube where I was initially going to look back through some of my old hooping videos for inspiration.

Then I had a brainwave!  I suddenly remembered my drive to work this morning.  Now it has probably not escaped your attention that we are experiencing some dire weather here in the UK at the moment.  And for the second day running, at about the same time and point in my journey, Christchurch, the town I work in, has been hit by the most torrential downpour I think I have ever been in.  So there I was in pouring rain, stuck in traffic whilst listening to The Doors ‘L.A. Woman’ album not going very far because up ahead the town’s main roundabout was blocked with traffic.  I could only conclude that must have been an accident somewhere else causing the traffic to back up. This happens a lot.

Now prior to the heavens opening and becoming stuck in traffic, I had been up until that point happily driving along the coast road from Bournemouth, through Southbourne as I do every morning.   Now I must add here that I am not really a Doors fan, however, when their song ‘Riders on the Storm’ came on it just seemed so appropriate for the mood of my journey this morning.

The song also gave me a little bit of a nostalgic moment because it reminded me a of holiday I had with my mum, auntie and cousins one summer holiday.  We ere travelling up to see my grandparents in Sunderland.  My Auntie and cousins loved this song and I just remember it being in played in the car quite a lot and seemingly cruising around town in their old Rover on a hot sunny day with the windows down and the breeze coming in.  I had not thought about holiday for ages but it  put a smile on my face because this song always reminds me of that particular moment in time.  It was also my first introduction to The Doors.

I am sure ‘Riders on the Storm’ means many different things to many different people.  I would love to hear what you connection with the song is.

So here it is, The Doors with ‘Riders on the Storm’ accompanied by a video compilation by Youtube user Zaradur.

Zero to Hero Day 4 – Explore the neighbourhood

DAY 4: EXPLORE THE NEIGHBORHOOD

Blogging is a communal experience; if you didn’t want anyone to read your posts or interact with you, you’d keep a private diary. That means publishing posts is just one piece of blogging — you also need to engage with the community. Today, you begin the process of engaging with the blogging community, a key step of building an audience.

Today’s assignment: follow five new topics in the Reader, and begin finding blogs (and bloggers) you love.

I have chosen to follow these topics in the WordPress reader:

Vintage

Drawing

Thoughts

Dreams

Home Decor

For now I have opted to follow subjects that I already have an interest in.  This task has certainly encouraged me to review my reader topics list and to question whether I needed some of the topics on there.  Needless to say I deleted a few to make space for my new topics.

 

Zero to Hero Day 3 – What’s On Your Mind?

Context

There were a number of reasons for starting this blog.  The primary instigator was the fact that at some stage I wanted to set up an Etsy store, which I have since done as a joint venture with my partner Steve and after reading various articles and blogs I discovered that most people recommend setting up a craft blog, which if successful, would drive traffic to the shop.

I have always enjoyed writing, however, I was a bit hesitant to do this because for me it meant putting my own personal thoughts and opinions out there.  Quite a daunting problem for a relatively shy person.  A chapter about blogging in Etsy guru Timothy Adam’s book ‘How to Make Money Using Etsy’ finally convinced me to give it a go. Timothy described how he started up a blog with very little experience or knowledge and yet the blog grew in success and exposure over time.  Timothy’s explanation made the prospect of setting up a blog accessible and took some of the mystery (to a complete newbie) out of blogging.

Timothy now runs the successful blog Handmadeology that provides Etsy sellers and the online crafting community with practical tips and tools to support crafters to be successful sellers.  Tools include Promotesy and Fanpageoloy.

My Blogging Intentions

Initially I think I was a bit too ambitious.  I literally had visions of my blog having separate pages; one for our Etsy work: Vaudeville Hippie art and craft, inspiration, bohemian living, healthy living, circus arts and maybe one day this could still happen.  Naturally, this was difficult to sustain and I should explain that I also have a full time teaching job.  Therefore, the posts that I did write sort of fitted into these categories but I felt that I was not quite creating the type of posts I really wanted to write.  As a result I could not keep up with the pressure I put on myself to maintain a regular blogging slot, which in turn affected the development of the blog.  This is why I was so pleased to come across the Zero to Hero Challenge and take part.

Development

As I described in my post for task 1 I have evaluated what is most important for me right now, which is promoting our shop and what we do.  This is why, for now, I plan to focus upon sharing and reviewing items of a similar theme and finds that inspire me in my ‘Treasury Time’ posts.  I guess my hope and intention is that I my blog demonstrates knowledge about our area of the bohemian aesthetic, subcultures related to vaudeville culture and costuming.

I think this more concise approach will provide my blog with more structure and a specific purpose.  Once I have successfully established this aspect of the blog, only then will I consider including some of the other aspects I have mentioned.

I am looking forward to reviewing this at the end of the 30 day Zero to Hero challenge.

Zero to Hero Day 2 – What’s Your Name? Updated

Tagline

This simple task helped me to refocus on my title and tagline.  I already had these in place, however, since completing this task, I feel that the new tagline is more suitable and it has made me aware that this is something I should review from time to time.

Widget’s

I have also learnt a little bit more about using widgets.  I now feel that I actually understand how to use them and I am really pleased the task has taught me about the text widget.  This has allowed me to put a simple description about my blog in clear view of potential readers, which I did not know you could do.

Looking forward to task 3.

Update

In my haste to put something out there yesterday for the Zero to Hero task 2: ‘What’s your name?’ I completely forgot to mention that I am pleased with the name ‘Vaudeville Hippie’ which is also our Etsy shop name.

I have already written a two part blog that explains why I choose this name so if you would like to read more please see the following links:

‘Naming Our Shop Part 1’

‘Naming Our Shop Part 2’