Get a Hobby

I’ve been cranking out cards and paper products for Wit & Whistle for almost 8 years. 8 YEARS. At this point, running Wit & Whistle feels like work. It’s work I absolutely love doing, but it’s still work. Deadlines, payroll, invoicing, marketing, customer service, accounting, shipping… you get the gist. There are a lot of non-creative aspects of running a creative business.

The time I get to spend coming up with new products has been enough to satisfy my creative urges for a long time, but lately I’ve needed a new challenge. Something fresh, fun, and creative that isn’t work related.

Thanks to my Cary Arts Center pottery studio pass, I’ve been regularly playing with clay. The ability to switch between pen and ink and clay is flexing my creativity in new ways, and I’m having a blast with it. When I grab my sketchbook and get back to work after a clay break, I feel refreshed and inspiration seems to strike so effortlessly. Who knew investing time in an unrelated hobby would benefit my business?

I’m not an amazing potter, but I don’t suck as badly as I did in the beginning! I feel like I have good ideas but still lack the technical skills to make what I’m envisioning. Sometimes my pottery turns out exactly like I planned though, like this little pencil cup dude…

wit & whistle pottery hobby

…these plates…

wit & whistle pottery hobby

…and this mug.

wit & whistle pottery hobby

Other times the glaze turns out splotchy and weird for no apparent reason, like these three dud mugs.

wit & whistle pottery hobby

I loved the way my happy cactus spoon rest looked until I glazed it. Now, not so much. It’s a learning process.

wit & whistle pottery hobby

On the other hand my studded, speckled planter turned out just right. I see more planters in my future.

wit & whistle pottery hobby

wit & whistle pottery hobby

Do those of you who do creative work find that you also need a creative outlet on the side? If so, is your hobby completely different than your work or is it similar?

Design Process: Sketchbook 1.23.17

It has been ages since I posted my sketchbook pages here on the blog! I released new cards this month, and here they are with some of the original pen and ink illustrations from my sketchbook.

Here are the finished cards…

wit & whistle sketchbook design process

wit & whistle sketchbook design process

And here are some of the initial sketches…

wit & whistle sketchbook design process

wit & whistle sketchbook design process

wit & whistle sketchbook design process

wit & whistle sketchbook design process

And this is what it looks like when you need to hurry up and take the photo because the baby monster is coming to terrorize your sketchbook…

wit & whistle sketchbook design process

Mystery Blooms

Ok fellow plant people, who knows what kind of cactus this is? I’ve had it for years, and I just noticed that it’s blooming for the first time. I didn’t even know it could bloom! Whatever it is, it’s so easy to care for. I have it hanging in the window, and whether I overwater or underwater it just keeps growing. If you see one for sale somewhere, snatch it up!

cactus blooms

cactus blooms

cactus blooms

cactus blooms

Homemade Suet for Birds

We got some wintery weather over the weekend, and I loved every minute! It wasn’t the 5-8 inches of snow the weather man promised, but I’ll take whatever I can get.

DIY suet for wild birds

DIY suet for wild birds

The temperatures have been in the single digits the last few nights, and when it gets that cold I start worrying about the wild birds. You Do It Suet was kind enough to give me one of their suet molds, and I figured the birds would appreciate a treat today.

The mold came with a book of recipes, and I tweaked one of them to use what I had on hand. I stirred together 5 tablespoons of dried mealworms, 5 tablespoons of Quick Oats, 5 tablespoons of whole wheat flour, and 3 tablespoons of peanut butter.

Yes, I had mealworms on hand. I’m not a total weirdo—my chickens love them. It was incredibly strange to measure worms into a mixing bowl though. You can use sunflower seeds in place of worms if you’re squeamish.

DIY suet for wild birds

I reheated my saved bacon grease, stirred it into the dry ingredients, and poured everything into the mold. Umm… yum? Daniel came into the kitchen smelling bacon and squealed when he saw my bowl full of worm soup.

DIY suet for wild birds

I put the mold in the freezer for a while, and then popped the suet out. I left it in the freezer for about 45 minutes. If I had left it longer the “You Do it Suet” logo would’ve turned out perfectly, but I was itching to feed my feathered friends. (They can’t read anyway!)

DIY suet for wild birds

DIY suet for wild birds

I haven’t put bird food out for at least 6 months, but within 1 minute of hanging the suet outside birds flocked around it and started chowing down!

DIY suet for wild birds

Fern seemed to love watching the birds with me for a few minutes. Then she started screaming and thrashing around, because nap time.

DIY suet for wild birds

Definitely consider the You Do It Suet mold if you want to try making your own suet, or if you need a thoughtful gift for a bird lover. It’s a great product and a nice way to put leftover cooking grease to use (or any leftover worms you may have sitting around your kitchen). You can also use it to make suet for your pet chickens, so you know I’m trying that next. Fat happy chickens, here we come!

First Birthday

I still can’t believe I have a baby, and I really can’t believe she just turned one! We had a sweet little celebration with family. Fern’s cake turned out cute—perfectly imperfect. She had no qualms about tearing into it and chowing down. Honestly I still feel like I have no idea what I’m doing as a mother, but somehow Fern keeps growing bigger and getting smarter every day!

first birthday cake

first birthday cake

first birthday cake

first birthday cake

By the way, I used this cake recipe and this frosting recipe. So good! To make the smaller “smash cake” I poured some of the batter into ramekins and baked and frosted it separately.