Putting a name to it

When I applied for my business license the other day, I had to fill out a very generic application - there were more rules and regulations listed than information I had to give - and compose a 'letter of intent', outlining what my potential business is going to be.

I wasn't worried too much about the letter of intent. I spent more time on researching what the format was of a letter of intent than actually writing it. I'm sure that using a business letter-layout won't be what decides the approval of my application, but still... when I have to do things like this, I like to do them right. I think it comes from being an ex-editor and journalist.  Or it could be that I'm anal retentive.

Anyway, so I wrote my letter, spell-checked it (I wish people still did this like it was second-nature, not a chore) and got Keith to check it over to make sure it was coherent. Whenever I have to write important letters or emails, I tend to get way, way to formal and come across kind of snobbish, something I'm certainly not; Keith makes sure I not only make sense, but it's actually something I would write, not a letter an aristocratic old woman would.

The application... that was another story. As simple as it looked, the 'Type of Home-base Business' question was more of a challenge than I expected. The letter of intent wasn't really of any help to me, because based on what I want to do (handiwork/sewing/design) and what the city has available in their list of businesses, there wasn't anything for me to choose. So I wrote down 'crafter', which will likely cause me more headaches than anything during the application process. The license I'm going for is $200/year and pretty free-flowing in terms of what you can and can't do; crafters have to abide by some more stringent rules and pay only $45/year. While I'd like to pay less than $200, I'm not willing to work within the rules for official crafters.

I'm hoping to hear back from the city this week about my application. I'm aiming for a March 1 launch of my Etsy store, and would really like to be fully licensed and not running the risk of being fined because I don't have the paperwork done. But it's in their hands; the website says 1-5 days for approval, so, in theory, I should have my license by this Friday. I'm almost willing to bet it will be at least 10 days, but there's no point in being pessimistic at this point.

The two logos I've included in this post are for my business - nisse.works. The top one is the first one I designed. It's grown old, boring and mundane. It doesn't say what I want it too at all anymore, probably because it was designed when my intentions for this business were different (more graphic designing than anything); the bottom logo is the new one. I like it. A lot. I'm sure it'll be tweeked a bit, but it says more about what my business is and even who I am than the first one did. Give me a few more months, though, and I'll probably change it. Again.


It has to get better

You know that feeling you get when you think you're making progress, and then you find out that no, in fact, you're actually just digging a deep, deep hole that you may never get out of?

That's how I've been feeling for the majority of this week. I thought I was going to be able to start listing my finished product on Etsy this week, but no. No, I have to get working on my business license application for the city before I get nailed with a massive fine. I'm kind of okay with this because it gives me a bit more time to finish up my work, perhaps even throw together a few more things, and get properly organized. On the other hand, grrr... we're a one-income household right now and the sooner I put stuff out there to sell, *hopefully* the sooner I can bring in some extra money.

We're (Keith and I) are trying to see this little/somewhat big setback as a positive. Extra time means better product. Or, at least, I hope so.

On a much happier, organized note, I've been a fairly faithful and regular visitor to craftgawker for the last few months. I like ending my day on the computer with their daily updates, seeing if anything can inspire me to create. I especially love to see the photos people have submitted; as an amatuer photographer who is still learning how to use her camera, I like looking at photos that not only inspire me, but also make me happy, for lack of a better term. Maybe not happy in the traditional sense, but a kind of glowy. Yeah, that doesn't really make sense, but you get what I mean.

I'm going to try to take advantage of some of my newly found free time this week and try to set up some kind of easy-to-follow schedule for what I'm trying to do. I know with a 13.5 month old schedules are pretty risky, but I've got a pretty helpful partner in Keith and he wants me to succeed (and be happy) so maybe I will be able to set aside some time every week to filter through overflowing folders and scattered scraps of paper and fabric.

Or not. We'll see.


Sketching the outline

It's been quite a week. Taking care of my daughter, alone for the most part, because Keith was out of town at the Select until late Sunday, was quite the challenge. I've gone through 2-years worth of bonspiels taking care of Maddy, even one last month, but this week was by far the most challenging. She's almost 14 months old and getting into everything... which means I can't leave her alone for more than the few minutes it takes to grab a quick cup of coffee or to run to the washroom. And Saturday, she started to climb over the furniture. Joy.

But this isn't a mommyblog, it's a place where I want to highlight my design inspiration finds and my ongoing attempts at being a designer - graphic or otherwise. I've come around to being borderline-obsessed with design in the last year or so. Even with my close-to-15-years of graphic design, I've never really been analytical towards design. Sure, I know the basics - what the eye likes/dislikes, what looks 'good', simple, easy, basic theory.

But when I was put on medical leave from my job 4 months before i had my daughter, I had a lot of time on my hands. And I put that time to what is now apparently 'good' use by watching a lot of interior design shows. That's where I discovered what I liked and, more importantly - I think, didn't like.

I know I don't like all-white rooms. Or rooms where they take a bizarre joy in painting over beautiful hardwoods. I don't know if it's because I'm the mom of a very active toddler, but I've come to hate any designer who does up a room - knowing there's a small child in the house - full of sharp edges and glass tables. Or white furniture. Or $8,000 rugs.

But beyond that, I've come to really appreciate art deco. I'm a big fan of the cleanliness of the work - using simple geometric shapes and lines, along with strong, simple - but effective - colours. So beautiful. 

(artwork via Art Deco Style)

I've tried working with art deco images in a few projects, but have failed miserably. I don't know if it's a lack of training or if I've just been way too inundated with modern day design (cluttered, clumsy and just bad), but I'd almost rather not attempt to design anything deco-related and make it look like a three-toed-sloth did it (nothing against three-toed sloths).

Over the next few days, I'm hoping to post a lot more frequently - perhaps to make up for missing almost 2 weeks of posts - focusing on what inspires me and what I've done with that inspiration, as limited as I am. Not having formal training or access to a lot of the things that do inspire me - outside of online galleries and resources - makes it slightly difficult to do anything productive with the inspiration I do find. But we all have to work past roadblocks at some point, right? Living in the armpit of Canada is mine :)


I'm still here!

I'm the only parent at home right now (Keith's away until late Sunday/early Monday), so posting here falls pretty low on the list.

But come Monday... oh, then I'll have a few posts. Perhaps even a photo (or dozen) of what I've been working on. If - and that's a big 'if' - I get them done.


Setting the table

One of the things I want to use this blog to do is highlight 'finds' - blogs, collections, photo galleries, individual pieces of creativity - that I come across. I have an iPod Touch (16GB) that rarely leaves my side. I've also got a 13-month old who I'm quite fond of and like to spend a lot of time with, but - and I'm not ashamed to admit this - when Handy Manny's on, I tend to drift away and use my iPod to check email, Facebook and check my favourite sites.

So, in keeping with the plan to post links to things I 'find', here's the first - AIGA Design Archives. I've come across collections from AIGA quite a lot over the years (thank you, StumbleUpon), but this is the first time I've seen their design archives. Astounding to say the least. I used to be (am still?) a graphic designer, working mainly in newsprint, building ads. This collection - Print Ads of the Year - is, by far, my favourite, if only because it shows how advertising has evolved so much in 30 years. And I'm a sucker for text-heavy ads.

I'm also reading The Age of Persuasion, by Terry O'Reilly and Mike Tennant, the two men behind the CBC radio show of the same name. Keith got it for Christmas, but I stole it almost immediately and have been chipping away at it, page by page, for a month or so now. It's an interesting look at the world of advertising and how it affects our lives (and influences) on a day-to-day basis. Great pull-quotes and info boxes sprinkled throughout, too.

I'm not sure how frequently I'll be able to post new 'finds' or even post anything, but I'm aiming for at least once a day. But I am a habitual procrastinator with a 13-month old and attempting to get a business off the ground... or maybe this blog will be one of those ways I can take a mental break and help spread the word about some amazing designs and works. Guess we'll find out ;)


Dipping my toes

This blog will soon be home to more design/work-related posts than my other blog, Brave Attempts At Coherence.  Or at least I hope so. I mean, there are only so many hours in a day... I couldn't possibly find any more things to do with them than I do now.

With that, welcome :)