What do I do when it's a day off and I have a camera and a beautiful niece with nothing better to do than spend an afternoon with her aunt? I messaged her with "Hey, wanna go get thrown out of Hobby Lobby with me?" and a link to this video. I shouldn't have been surprised when she agreed, so I charged my camera batteries, packed extra SD cards, and off we went to complete the Hobby Lobby Challenge!
What is the Hobby Lobby Challenge, you ask? It's basically taking staged photos inside your local Hobby Lobby (or any craft store.... any store at all for that matter). Both of my nieces are always game to help me add new photos to my website, and are always (seemingly) keen to wear my jewelry for a bit and earn a little modeling fee, or free lunches, or both.
shelving units, tags and posts visible between the vines and flowers, so most of these images required a rather intensive amount of post-editing. But I used free software with Photoscape and Snapseed, and it's easy to get a good basis for some great life-style shots this way. Plus, the weather was uncooperative with a light but steady rain, so an indoor location like this was an ideal exercise in photographic creativity.
Tarissa was such a sport! She chose her own outfit for the shoot, which worked out beautifully with the greenery of the floral department, and she was never too shy to sit on the floor, sit on shelving units, tuck herself behind fake ferns and generally just rock it!
"Just go stand next to those random lamps."
One of the first things I learned as a home-based business owner was that the saying "you have to invest in yourself before anyone else will" (I have no idea who coined that phrase) was entirely accurate. BUT, I also learned that there are things you can utilize to propel your business forward that wont require the black-market sale of a kidney. Or both kidneys.
So I'd like to share with you some more resources I've used in my business practices.
ACCOUNTING, TAX PREP, INVENTORY MANAGEMENT: First, one of the most popular and prolific questions I'm asked regards accounting, tax preparation and inventory management. I am not a tax professional and encourage everyone to talk to a tax professional before instituting any accounting, tax or inventory software or processes. But, if you'd like to get your feet wet with some research, this invaluable resource was introduced to me last month that is a rather comprehensive list of resources to suit the needs of this category. Check out THIS RESOURCE (click here) from Cloudwards for a thorough walk-through of some of the most popular accounting, tax and inventory solutions.
PHOTOGRAPHY: If you've followed me for a hot minute, you'll know I'm a photography enthusiast. While, as a hobbyist, I have invested in pro-sumer camera equipment, those beginning to build their home-based business can use free, inexpensive or on-hand resources to create stellar marketing and sales photography.
WEBSITE AND ONLINE PRESENCE: I've said it before and I'll say it over and over again. I no longer have any affiliation with them, but if you're looking to build your business from the ground-up and finances are tight (we've all been there, may still be there, may find ourselves there again....), try Storenvy. It's free. It's customizable. You can link a free Blogger, Wordpress or Weebly blog to it, create static pages for a gallery of past work, an About page, a policies page, for a complete online presence. For the price (you know... free), it's an absolutely amazing option.
These are my most-used or most-referenced resources in the running of my business, or have been in its beginning stages. I hope you have fun giving them a go!
Stay creative, folks!
Wow. Just.... wow.
The entries I received for this design challenge were all out of this world, and completely, unabashedly unique. I'm so tickled to see such a level of uniqueness derived from the same beginning steps, the same materials and tools. The magic factor here is, of course, the imagination, talent and creativity of those who entered... who managed to blow us all away!
If you haven't already seen the GALLERY OF ENTRIES please CLICK HERE. Note: It's best to click from a laptop of desktop. For some reason, I've failed at technology and social media this month, or Pinterest changed their platform, or perhaps a combination of both, but apparently folks had trouble accessing the album and, from a phone, the link was sending you to the Pinterest main page. So... I'll probably rethink things a bit for the next one! It's a learning experience for me too!
Still, we had a total of 68 beautiful entries and each one deserves a round of applause. From these 68 entries, the participants placed a vote for their favorite and the highest vote won the honor of "Group Favorite". A panel of seven judges, consisting of both consumers and jewelry artists, came together to pick a "Judged Favorite". As in previous challenges, the winner of the Group Favorite vote wins my completed version of the project as well as 10 tutorials of their choice. The Judged Favorite also wins 10 tutorials of their choice.
And... get this... we had our first ever TIE! That's right... a tie for "Group Favorite"! This is the first time I've ever had the extremely difficult tie-breaker job! There were a few votes that were not qualified (cast by non-participants), so posting the winners took a bit longer than anticipated as I cross-checked votes with participants.
So let me introduce you to the two participants who tied for GROUP FAVORITE!
These were both incredible designs, showcasing a load of originality and daring, each with a mountain of movement and character. Ultimately... as they say in Highlander.... there can be only one. I will emphatically state that choosing one over the other in no way implies one is actually BETTER than the other. However, I had to go with where my spirit called me.
And the winner of GROUP FAVORITE is.... LOIS DEMERS! Lois wins my completed project as well as 10 Nicole Hanna tutorials of her choice.
However, I would like to also offer Caroline Louise her choice of 10 Nicole Hanna tutorials as well, because she made a stellar piece of art!
And as if these two pieces aren't enough to wet your creative whistle, let me introduce to you the JUDGED FAVORITE!
First of all, manipulating that 14 gauge wire is a BEAST, but she also managed to make the leaves flow effortlessly, creating a truly cohesive flow that moved seamlessly with the required steps. Really beautiful work. Angelina wins 10 Nicole Hanna tutorials of her choice.
But you know what. I wanted to offer up an HONORABLE MENTION as well, because it's my design challenge and I wasn't NOT going to mention this piece......
I mean... come on.... Not only is that an example of the most meticulous weaving I've ever seen (sure... I may be a little jealous), but the symmetry is SPOT ON and the photography is natural and inspired, and she received her fair share of the votes as well. I can only say I wish I'd designed this first. Lovely. So, with that said, I'd also like to offer Donna 10 Nicole Hanna tutorials of her choice.
And that, my friends, brings to close another amazing "Finish It!" Design Challenge. Please give these winners a huge round of applause and congrats. They deserve it, as do all the entrants who took the time to challenge themselves and complete and submit their entries.
Thank you so much everyone for participating, for encouraging the participants, and for your patience during my social media/Pinterest kerfuffle. Hopefully I'll have things a little more clear for the next run. And there will definitely be a next run, so keep your eyes peeled and check back often!
View the GALLERY OF ENTRIES here (please view from desktop or laptop as the link is proving finicky from phones and tablets)
Imagination... that creative spark we ALL have, is really the driving force behind these "Finish It!" Design Challenges. There were a beautiful handful of tutorials I've learned from over the years and, during that time, I've heard others refer to the use of tutorials as a "crutch", that everyone should "design for themselves" (and I have blog posts arguing against that idea for a variety of very valid reasons). This contest proves that tutorials can be a jumping-off point, the spring board from which these 67 entrants launched themselves and their creativity. And I'm so thankful they did. Every day, I was truly gifted with these entries flowing into my email inbox, inspired by them, motivated by them, and awed by them. I hope you will find them all equally amazing.
(Please note: I received 66 emails and responded to each, as well as one Facebook submission, totaling 67 entries. I checked my spam folder daily to make sure I didn't miss a single entry. If you attempted to enter and do not see your entry in the gallery, please send me an email ASAP. I will add your entry to the gallery as quickly as I'm able.)
The gallery of entries will be available for viewing… well… indefinitely or, at the very least, until Pinterest falls into the dark abyss of the internet, at which point the images will (hopefully) be moved to another file sharing system. In the meantime, click the link above to view the wonderful creations.
The gallery of entries will be available for VOTING, however, through May 20th, 2018. Voting is open only to those who participated in the contest. To vote:
A note to non-participating viewers and commentators…. please reserve the term “VOTED” for participants only, to avoid confusion during the judging process, but do feel free to comment as a show of appreciation for the beautiful work submitted. These entries are worthy of the recognition they receive and then some.
On May 21st, votes will be tallied and the “Group Favorite” (most voted by participants) will win my completed version of this project and any ten tutorials of their choice. In the case of a tie, I will place the deciding vote.
Also, a “Judged Favorite”, chosen by a panel of four jewelry artists and three “consumers” (who are not participating in the contest), will also receive any ten tutorials of their choice.
Every contestant should receive the finished version of this tutorial as a thank you for his or her participation. This tutorial has already been sent as a reply to all the participants, so if you haven't received it yet, please check your spam folder or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you all so much!
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