Busy = Happiness

It's a known fact that people are happier when they are busy. Being idle or waiting for something makes people frustrated, impatient, and generally unhappy.

We all know what it's like to wait around for something to load on our computer, and how it feels to just have to sit there and wait. If we have something to do while we are waiting the time seems to go by faster making us in a better mood. I don't even mind waiting on the phone for a customer service person, as long as I can be online or play a game on my phone. My mood would be different if I had to wait 15 minutes with nothing to do.

Over the last 15 years of doing shows I have had many different show setup situations. Some shows give you a couple of hours to set up. I usually get all my stuff set up and have 15 to 30 minutes before the show starts to sit around and wait for people to show up.

Last year I did a show where we had one hour to set up, and had to rush through everything to get it all done. As soon as I finished I had people already checking thing out in my booth.

The show where I had to sit around and wait made me tense with anticipation.  I was ready and I wanted people to start showing up.

Shows with a tight schedule, seem to be better shows for me. I am ready and looking forward to engaging with the customers. With this type of show I tend to be happier and in a selling mood.

Do you agree, does being busy make you happier?
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Be Inspired - Mosaics

Words to Inspire

“Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.”
 Stanley Horowitz

Idea to Inspire

Mosaic art has been inspiring artists for thousands of years, check out a variety of mosaic art pieces and let it inspire you. Need more visuals this website features a variety of artists.

Photos to Inspire

Mosaic art is a showcase of color, texture, and shapes. Enjoy!

Source: google.com via Twila on Pinterest

Source: google.co.nz via Vivien on Pinterest

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Create for a friend

“A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.”

Need a creative boost? Try stepping away from your work and take a day off creating what you have to create, and use your time to create something for a friend.

Take a few minutes to reflect on a friend you have not seen or talk to in awhile and create something just for them! You want the piece to reflects their likes, color choices, and style.

Once you complete their piece, give them a call and set up a date for you to meet and give them the piece you created, and enjoy your time together.

When you step away from a project and create a something from the heart, it's a great way to recharge your creative spirit.

When was the last time you created something for a friend?

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Motivation Monday

                            Source: observando.net via Valerie on Pinterest

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Blogging Journal

One inch 3 ring Oil Cloth Covered Binders by rbtbags
Yesterday was the last day of Inspired Success Week, and it was a week full of ideas to create a better blog. Today I want to encourage you to keep a blogging journal.

I use a 3 ring binder with a blogging calendar, my weekly blog plan, and some lined paper to jot down my ideas. I have learned that if I don't write my ideas down right away it's forgotten forever. So when I read something or see something that I want to share on my blog it goes in my blogging journal.

Three Ring Planner Covers set of two linen blue by CrownBindery
Having the ideas written down gives me the opportunity to expand on my ideas, research as needed, and create an outline for my posts.

Sometimes all I have to do is page through my notes and a word or sentence will inspire me and I can sit and write a post off the top of my head.

Chalkboard Notebook & Chalk Binder Notebook by ArtisanPost

Keeping my blogging journal has really helped me save time with the blogging process. Writing a post 5 - 6 days a week can be challenging. My journal is what I use so the process of writing a blog is more of a pleasure then a pain.

Start a blogging journal and see how much time it will save you in your blogging process.

Do you have a blogging journal?

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Your Creative Space - Inspiration Boards

Inspiration is an important part of our creative process. When we create we want to have inspiration around us to keep us inspired.

One of the best ways to stay inspired is to have an inspiration board in your creative space. Creating an inspiration board is easy. It can be as simple as pinning your sources of inspiration to your wall or a board, or you can get creative. Check out these unique ideas for creating an inspiration board in you space.

A cork board painted to match your space.

Source: flickr.com via - SAND on Pinterest

Wire stretched across your wall. You can use clips or mini cloths pins to display your items.

Burlap covered cork or foam core with a wood frame.

Use an old window and fill each pane with chalk board, cork board, magnet board, or pin board.

Source: gussysews.com via Carol on Pinterest

Wire wrap a frame to create space to clip on your inspiration.

Source: soc.li via Candace on Pinterest

Use clip boards to hold your inspiration. This is a easy way to change your inspiration often.

Use a large cork board sectioned off with different papers. Each section can be for different ideas or projects.

Source: bhg.com via Ashley on Pinterest

A piece of household tin can be a magnet inspiration board.

You can also keep your ideas in a notebook or put together mini inspiration boards for new ideas and blog post ideas. Click the document to print out mini inspiration boards.

Click here 
It does not matter the size of your space you can always find a way to keep what inspires you close.

Do you have an inspiration board?
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An Interview with Sonya Kanelstrand

I have been a follower of Sonya's blog since early 2011. I was surprised to find out that she started her blog in March of 2011 and has built a thriving blog community  so quickly. Sonya's Blog is an inspiring mix of eco-friendly and simple living posts, two important things in my life making it easy to be a regular reader of her blog. 

Sonya is not only a great writer and blogger, she is an amazing artist. Her Etsy shop is filled with dreamy photographs that are inspiring and creative. She is also the editor of The Studio Magazine. A magazine that is filled with a beautifully curated collection of eco-friendly art.

I am thrilled Sonya was able to take the time to share with us a little about her passion for living green and building a thriving blog community. 

1. As a long time follower of your blog, I am always inspired by the information you share about living simply and eco friendly. Could you please share why you are so passionate about this way of life.

Thank you, Valerie. Knowing that you, as a regular reader of Kanelstrand and the greatest motivator I know, find inspiration in my words is a great motivation for me!

Thanks to my family I was brought up to respect the riches of the land. My grandfather taught by example, which I believe is the only way to teach. Although he was a dentist from the city, he learned from his mother-in-law (my great grand mother) how to take care of the garden and started building upon this knowledge to reach a level of feeding 3 families with his produce. Of course, we children were always there to help in the summers.

My grandmother knitted my winter sweaters, hats and scarves and although she never requested acquiring this ability from me, there came the time when I naturally turned to knitting myself.

My mother is the perfect cook (whose mother isn't!) and we have never (believe it or not) had pre-fabricated food at home. Apart from that, she is a one-man-orchestra, basically doing everything by herself, which taught me to be a handy person myself, paying attention to detail and a perfectionist at times.

Family and surroundings play a very important role for the forming of a young mind and I grew up to become a "slow" and deliberate person, who appreciates nature and the depth of the human soul. I live simply thanks to that stable, nature-inspired foundation I was exposed to in my childhood and that is the way I feel comfortable living. I wouldn't change it for anything because it is an integral part of how I view the world.

My passion to discuss simple and eco-friendly living appeared when I realized that unlike so many people out there bragging about their eco-achievements or getting tired of being green, I actually lived a pretty simple and green life without any outer forces and norms telling me to do so. At that moment, when I compared myself to the wide world I knew I had some things to share with it.

Surreal Fine Art Photography Print Girls Room 
2. You started your blog a year ago, and have built a thriving community of readers. What did you do to build your community so quickly?

When I started the Kanelstrand blog I knew I needed it to promote my etsy business but was in the dark as to what I should write about. The only clear idea I had was that this blog would have to be successful.

I read a lot, I educate myself constantly and I give the Kanelstrand blog 150% of myself. That is the secret behind it, I am fully devoted to creating a intelligent, informational and inspiring place for anyone interested in simplifying their life or simply making it easier on the planet and themselves.

As an added bonus I have this amazing green community of readers who not only support me but also inspire me daily. And I really mean that! I am a curious person, and although I have more than 1000 GFC followers I still find time to check every new follower's blog. There is so much talent out there!

One thing I have noticed is that whatever you create with love and devotion, be it a shop, a school or a blog, it gets the power to attract like-minded people and this is what I see happening daily on the Kanelstrand blog. People drop by and if they are in the same vibe, or feel the need to take something from the vibe, they keep coming back. My job is to make them feel welcome and to keep offering amazing and thought-provoking information.

In that line of thoughts, I recently stumbled upon a precious thought by Jonathan Fields that holds in itself the secret to success: "Forget about what you want to sell. It’s not about you or it. It’s about who you serve and how you remove their pain."

Fjord Landscape Norway Photography Light Blue 
3. Your Etsy shop is filled with beautiful photos and handcrafted felted bracelets, what inspires your creative collection?

I like the line which I use so often, saying that my inspiration comes from the pine forest by the sea, in which I happen to live. I use that phrase because it is so true! My major inspiration in life, ever since I remember myself has been nature - the colors, the aromas, the sounds and shapes - they all hide so many details that still attract my attention and I keep re-discovering them with every new season, and every sunrise.

Photography, poetry, hand-work have been with me for decades and are my preferred way to express myself. I am very proud with my felted bracelets because they are unique, I had to combine crafts and invent methods in order to fulfill this dream of mine and they carry the Scandinavian spirit not only because they are made with Norwegian and Icelandic wools, here in a Norwegian forest, but because they have that emblematic simplicity about them.

The photography prints that can be found in my etsy shop are also very much Scandinavian. Most of the surreal ones are inspired by the Old Norse Mythology and the idea of Middle Earth. A curious fact about them is that they take about 24 hours of work to create, after the click of the camera shutter. The crystal clear landscapes present colorful Scandinavia in all its dreamy gorgeousness.

I love what I do!

Sun Rays in the Forest Fine Art Photography
4. You mention on you blog that you live in a pine forest by the Sea in Scandinavia. I can only imagine the view out of your window must be very inspiring. When you are working how do you keep your space inspiring?

You are right, the view is magnificent! I see the pine forest, which is frequented by a family of deers, and hundreds of birds. Because we live some 200 feet from the beach I can also hear the waves.

You got me thinking though, where exactly is my working space? As a photographer, I spend hours outside, as a nature lover I try to transfer as many activities out too. I often write or knit on the beach but my online life starts from my desk which happens to be (you) guessed it) in front of said window. I don't have much inspirational stuff on the walls, just a big calendar to keep track of my online commitments, a photo printer on the desk, and a notebook to write down ideas and schedules. With all that beauty behind the window, I can hardly get more inspired!

Do All Things With Love 8x10 Typography Print
5. How do you stay motivated on a daily basis to create and write your blog posts?

I have found out that waiting for inspiration is never helpful. That is why I like to provoke it by simple scheduling. Ever since I started my blog I have stuck to a weekly routine, which has proven lucrative and prompts my mind to be productive in the right time.

I recently opened my blog for regular contributors, all bloggers I respect and admire, who add their wisdom to the Kanelstrand experience. This big step is another great motivator for me - now it is not just me behind the blog, but I work with this talented team of writers who I want to be proud of contributing to a fabulous blog, so I am beyond motivated to keep the standard high.

But my greatest blogging motivation is the feedback I receive from my readers. The thing I like most about blogging is that it is a work in progress that has a life of its own, because there are so many minds involved. Your cleverness and originality become unimportant if you don't have an audience. That is why I thank all my readers for always being my rock!

Thank you so much Sonya, for sharing your amazing story!

Connect with Sonya ~ Blog ~ Etsy ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Google+ ~ The Studio Magazine

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Be Inspired - Links for your Blog

Words to Inspire

"A blog is in many ways a continuing conversation"
 Andrew Sullivan

Ideas to Inspire

There is so much information about blogging online. Today I have a few of my favorite blogging resources that are full of tips and ideas to help you with your blog.

Blog posts
How to Develop a Good Blog and Bring in Traffic
15 Inspiring examples of blogs run by a little biz
Your Blog Promotion Checklist
40 Tips to a Better Craft  Blog

31 Days to a Better Blog - I purchased this book when it first came out and the revised addition this year. It is full of information about starting, planning, and marketing your blog. Loads of ideas for getting your blog seen.

52 weeks of Blogging - This e-book has info to help you craft a mission statement, engage your readers, organize your blog, plus 52 blog prompts, and a planning calendar. A great resource for blog post ideas.

Making a great Blog - Written by a creative person for the creative community. Lots of tips and ideas for creating your blog content, photographs, and blogging goals.

The Little Big E-book about Blogging - How to create a blog that attracts visitors, reaches the right audience, and 40 traffic generating tips. A quick and easy read.

Blogs about Blogging
Successful Blogging
Think Traffic

Blogging your Way
Better Blogging Kick Start - A free e-course

This is just a short list of some of my favorite resources. I read something everyday to stay on top of what's new in the blogging community. The more you know the better you blog. I hope one or two of these links is just what you need to inspire you and your blog.

Do you have a favorite link that is your go to resource about blogging?
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Blog Post Planning

Blogging gives you the opportunity to engage with your customers, would-be customers, and other like minded creatives.

Keeping your readers coming back is the challenge with blogging, and having good content is why they visit, comment, and share your blog posts.

Knowing your blogs target market is the key to having a focused blog with readers that keep coming back, and to keep the ideas flowing so it's easier to create posts.

We here this all the time "who's your target market?" and when it comes to your blog it is important to know who is reading your posts. Here are a couple of links for discovering your blog (and shops) target market:

How to Determine Your Target Market
How to find your true target market so yu can finally grow your business
5 Simple Ways to Discover What people are Dying to Read

Once you know your target market, you will be able to focus on the content of your blog knowing exactly what your readers want to read.

Some content ideas include:
Sharing your story, process, and products
Talking about your medium, trends, tools, and new products
Share what inspires you
Events you participate in
Talk about your favorite artist
Other shops you love
Show lots of photos
Start a series
Ask questions
Engage your community

This is just a short list to get you started, but you get the idea.

I read a lot of books, magazines, and blog post for ideas for my blog. Finding and sharing good content is important to me so I spend a little time planning what kind of posts I am going to have on my blog.

Planning makes blogging easier to stay motivated and keeping your content fresh. Below find a blogging form that will make it easy to keep track of your ideas, and plan your weekly blogging schedule.

click here
Blogging should be an enjoyable part of your business. Sharing interesting content to your target market, gives them a chance to get to know you and your business. Review your blog, is it conveying the message you want to share with your readers? 

Do you enjoy blogging?

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Monday Motivation

Blogging can be challenging, and it can be difficult to stay motivated when you are trying to balance your home life and your business.

Creating and maintaining your blog can be time consuming, and it's hard to stay motivated when you are felling stressed about the upkeep of your blog.

There are a few simple ways to stay motivated through your blogging process and have the time you need for your family and business.

Plan ahead - Create a blogging calendar to keep track of your ideas. Having a list of ideas ready makes blogging easier. (More ideas to plan for your blog tomorrow 5/23)

Write short posts - They say you only get 1 minute to attract someones attention and if it takes more then 3 minutes to read a post they will move on. Sometimes a posts with few words or just photos is all you need.

Mix it up - Plan a variety of topics. Keep your readers coming back with something new each week.

Create regular features - Having regular features makes it easier to schedule your posts. I have two regular features Motivation Monday and Be Inspired making my blog planning easier.

Pre-publish - Write your posts a few at a time, and schedule them to post throughout the week. I usually write posts on Sunday for the entire week, then I don't have to worry about my blog for week.

It's easy to stay motivated about your blog when you don't have to worry about what you are going to post.
What is one thing that you find challenging about blogging?

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Inspired Success Week

Inspired Success week is a monthly series till the end of 2012. The week will be filled with ideas to stay motivated, lots of tips, product suggestions, and highlighted with an interview from a leader in the handmade community.

Inspired Success Week starts tomorrow.

What you can expect:
Monday -  Motivation tip
Tuesday - Business tip
Wednesday - Be Inspired Business Products
Thursday -  Featured Interview
Friday - Your Home Office / Studio

This week (5/24), I am thrilled to have Sonya Kanelstrand, a photographer and writer of the blog Kanelstrand. Sonya has created a popular blog about green and simple living with a thriving community in less then a year. Stop by Thursday to see how she achieved her success.   

Join me All week for inspired ideas for your online business!

Share Inspired success Week your blog community. Add this button to you blog today.

Inspired Success Week
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If you have any ideas, thoughts, or suggestions of people you would like me to interview contact me at additionsstyleblog@gamil.com

Lots of good stuff stop by everyday!
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DIY Friday - Vases

Flowers are the perfect way to add a touch of spring to your home. A unique handcrafted vase will make them even more special. Check out these simple DIY ideas for creating vases that have your own personal touch.

Painted Glass Vases
Coil Wrapper Vase
Twig Vase
Tape Vase
Glass and paper Vase
PVC pipe vase
How do you like to display flowers in your home?

Inspired Success week is back! Starts Monday.

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Five Questions

I have had an enormous amount of work lately. Working around the clock on wholesale orders, Etsy sales, and future shows. It has been very challenging to keep up all my regular activities, (that includes commenting on all my favorite blogs) but I hope to be back on track soon.

Through this process I realized that I can't do everything, and that I needed to scale back on a few of my online activities and re-evaluate my the overall plan and vision for my business.

To figure things out I asked myself these five questions:

What is your vision?

What do you enjoy working on?

Are you exploring too many new directions? (list all your ideas)

What habits are you clinging to? (make a list)

Do you take more pleasure in having the idea or making that idea a reality?

Going through each question made me think about what I really wanted to achieve in my business and what was not really working. I knew I had to let a few things go, but until I saw everything written down on paper it was hard to decide what was not actually helping me and my business.

Click here to print a copy

Print out the form with the five questions. Take some time to evaluate your business, to see what is working and what needs to be changed. When your done with your form, create a new plan getting rid of actives that are time consuming and not working.

You could use this form once a quarter, to help you stay on track. As well as at the end of the year for creating your new year plan.

We are already busy, why not make sure the work you are doing is going to help you achieve the success you desire.

Do you need to let go of a few actives that are not helping your business?

Inspired Success Week is back May 21 - 25

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Be Inspired - The Moon

Words to Inspire

“Clouds may come, but clouds must go, and they all have a silver lining. For behind each cloud you know, the sun, or moon, is shining.”

Idea to Inspire

The moon is one of the few things in nature that is close to being a perfect circle. Be inspired by the moon today use circles in your work today.

Photos to Inspired

I love sitting outside at night to view the every changing moon. These photos of the moon from Pinterest show the amazing colors, and textures of the moon.

Source: art.com via Hil on Pinterest

Source: snopes.com via LoLo on Pinterest

Source: ciracar.com via Erin on Pinterest

Source: tumblr.com via Michelle on Pinterest

Inspired Success Week is back May 21 - 25

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Artist to Know

I enjoy finding inspiring art in unexpected mediums.Today's Artist to Know, Gesine Marwedel, uses the human body as her canvas and create unique pieces of one of a kind art.

Gesine Marwedel

Gesine Marwedel was born in Eckernförde, Germany 1987. After leaving school in 2005, she worked in an Indian orphanage for some months.

The experiences she made there, predetermined her future education as a physician. While in India, Gesine met with the skill of painting with henna. The Indians have centuries of experience in drawing on the body.

Since 2009 she had been working as a speech-therapist. In Addition she continues to work as an artist, doing bodypainting, hennapainting, wallpaining and paintings on canvas.

As you will notice, her style is mostly realistic or surrealistic. Despite the relatively good level of works for her art in all its forms, remains a hobby. We hope you will enjoy Gesine’s work as much as we do!

If you wish to see more of Gesine’s work, check out her personal website: Gesine-marwedel.de

Inspired success Week is back May 21 - 25

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DIY Friday

I love to make cards during the holidays and for gifts. When you make cards yourself you can personalize them and make them look exactly as you want. Here are a few tutorials for creating your own cards and envelopes. These idea are perfect for personalized Mothers Day cards.

gift cards and envelopes
Pop up Cards
Watercolor card ideas
This link has lots of great ideas
What is your favorite type of card to make?
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