Thursday, November 11, 2010

A little whimsy I always say!

Hi Everyone.
I’m Holly Mabutas, artist and general overseer of whimsy at Eat Cake Graphics (a rubber stamp and quilt pattern company).

Madamme Samm asked if I would write a little post about how I manage creativity, running a business and life in between. I have a stash, mine comes in the form of ideas, deadlines, stamps and pattern design (and of course fabric - which I can never get enough of).

Well, let me be the first to admit that some days I manage things splendidly...and then there are those days that I really need a crash course in time management because good grief, where did the day go.

For me, creativity comes in waves and I need to be conscious of those times as much as possible. I’ll go on a drawing streak and ideas just seem to flow from my pencil to the blank pages of my sketchbook. I am sure you know what I am talking about. You are probably one of those quilters who will be inspired for days and then you wake one day and nothing. You don't even want to walk into your sewing room. Anybody have their hands up?
I hear you.

For me and maybe for you too, your sketchbooks, notes on napkins, whatever you use to get what's in your head out on paper contain ideas in all forms – from totally complete to scribbled thoughts not fully formed. So there is always something to go back and look at, maybe spark something when the creative well isn't overflowing. I enjoy these times and I don’t think anything can replace actually holding a pencil in hand and sketching, doodling or just writing. And there's absolutely nothing that can replace getting on a roll at retreats! No cooking, no mail, no phones (ok well, maybe no phones). You can just quilt on a marathon. I get it. You are in the zone per say.

Then there’s the part of actually running a business. We are all managing some kind of business, maybe not income based, but running a thought process, figuring out which quilt you are going to make, which one will have you place binding on today, or sending off to a long armer (quilting-by-check as they say), we all are always managing something right?

I started small, so managing it wasn’t very time consuming. But then things grew and I now have an online shopping cart and maintain (try to anyway) two blogs. I bet many of you are in the same boat. I know Madame Samm manages two blogs, don't know how she does it all but she does it all. And there are many of you who manage kids, work, quilting and side jobs. We are women, that is our lot in life. Managing.


I branched out into quilting, adding appliqué patterns in 2006 (before that my business was strictly rubber stamps). So while the drawings overlap in both, that’s pretty much where it ends. Some days I’m out working in the garage making rubber stamps – pressing rubber, cutting wood for mounts, wiping sawdust off my clothes and then at other times I’m printing patterns. With patterns most everything is done on the computer, aside from actually sewing the quilt. I’ll have both printers going and papers all over the place waiting to be collated into a finished pattern order.

Managing a business, especially a “one person show” means you have to be ALL things – design, production, shipping, customer service, marketing… Much like quilt blogging, I know it can take over your life too. Some days you spend more time blog hopping than you do anything else. You have to be a good photographer, you have to have the right words to comment, you have to add photos to your blogs because who isn't visual these days! You don’t necessarily have to be an expert at all these things, but you have to be open to trying things, sticking with things that work and letting go of the things that don’t. Believe me, even after 10 years I’m still learning all the time.

And last, but certainly not least, there is family, making time for my husband, pets and the household. Some days the dishes are in the sink or “hmmm where did that layer of dust come from?” My husband works full-time so I do try to leave weekends, or at least one weekend day open as much as possible. Right now that’s been a little more challenging because I’ve added going to school to the mix – hoping one day, in the not too distant future, to design fabric.
So I guess when it comes to managing it all – creativity, blogging, business, life – it’s truly a balancing act and realizing that sometimes getting out of balance is just the nature of it all. It’s making sure we don’t stay that way and remembering what’s important that matters most.
How do you do it all? Short of just wanting more time that is. :)

Thank you so much for having me as a guest!  Leave a comment here - And...if you stop on over at my blog Sprinkles of Thought there's a free pattern giveaway - yahoo!
Toodles!
Holly
=^..^=

24 comments:

  1. You really said it right.... We are managers! So little time, and so much to do! I think that by doing something I love..like quilting, it helps me to stay happy. Being creative and making quilts has given me something to do for myself, but also something I can share with those I love. Sometimes I just want to yell out: "I'm not wonderwoman" because I'm overwhelmed with all my responsibilities. Then I grab a little hand stitching project and stitch to calm myself and relax. It's my therapy!! LOL!! Thanks for the wonderful post! Maybe we are all wonderwomen!! Who knows!! But we all need to give ourselves a pat on the back for all the hard work we do!! Hugs Ariane

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  2. What a great post - yes we are the managers. Ariane - wonderwomen? I would look terrible in a Brass Bra - or is it hysterical? Well to subject - loved browsing your site and your patterns have such a delightful touch - I will visit often.

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  3. Good Morning Holly...There is nothing as welcoming as a morning smile. I sit here cradling my coffee cup and pondering how unique us "wonderwomen" really are. WE ALL do sew much. And I think as creative women, ( which quilters, pattern makers and stamp designers are) our most amazing spirit reflects from one another. I am sew darn honored to say this morning that I share my world with the likeness of you. Of course anyone who can make funny graphic ladies, is my soul sister through and through. A delightful post this was, and for you to take the time to entertain us this morning, well I raise my cup to you dear...and say WELL MANAGED. Hugs and more ...

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  4. I was just over at your blog and stamp company. I never heard about you till now. You manage it all so well. Thank you for a great visit this morning. Thanks to Stash Manicure and Samm for finding you. xxxx

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  5. A great post...thank you for sharing. I agree with you about the cats being quilt magnets. As soon as I spread fabric out on the table Lestat is up there in the middle of it!

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  6. I was happy to be introduced to you and your blog! Thanks - love your patterns!

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  7. Life does sometimes feel like a juggling act, doesn't it? You're a very talented juggler! I took a peek at your patterns on your website--very cute and bookmarked for future reference! Enjoyed your post and your photos. Especially the cat! :)

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  8. Thanks for sharing. I love your quote about quilts being cat magnets.
    Happy days.
    Bev.xoxo

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  9. I'm so glad to have found you. Where oh where can I find your rubber stamp designs? :)

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  10. While we are trying to be wonderwomen we drain our batteries... Sometimes it is nice just to relax and recoup with something to enjoy. Thankyou for sharing.

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  11. Thank you for your comments. Balance is always hard but I really appreciated your insight on it :)

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  12. Wow what a great post! We do have to balance a lot of things. But it's great that we can multi-task. Ever ask you hubby a question when he is in the middle of doing something?? What? Huh?? Yep we manage lots of things. Thanks for sharing.

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  13. Funny....sometimes we don't realize how many different things we juggle. Just the other day the lady I did the BBQC swap with asked me if I did other online swaps or BOM's. I said no, that I didn't have time. Then I listed all the things I do participate in. There's the 3 quilt groups, the part time job, the unpaid job working for my husbands business, the school committees and the school volunteering. Whew! No wonder I'm worn out!! Need to go on a retreat!~oh yeah, that's right. That's next week; 3 of us are going on a shop hop round Maine and NH.Yippee, better (but maybe not cheaper) than therapy!

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  14. Love the post! I think it is great to look at things from a managerial point of view, even if our craft isn't meant to be income producing for us. We need to take our art, our needs, and our lives more seriously and dive in!

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  15. Great post...in my next life I'm going to "manage"...right now THINGS are managing ME!

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  16. I love your post...you have a great stash and thanks for all the great ideas to manage your stash. The cat "magnet" is so cute.

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  17. Hi Holly, I truly feel what you are going through and yes we women definitely need to manage things on this planet, this is our job whether paid or not lol. I love your pictures especially the one of the cats truly funny :) Thanks for giving insights too on how easily things are go array lol it happens to all of us.
    Thanks so much for posting :)
    Valerie

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  18. Thank you for your thoughts on this post. They are great. I need to find a book or something to help me learn how to manage my time. But I will not have the time to read it. LOL!!

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  19. Holly just reading about all you do made me tired and more than glad I'm now retired and get to spend more time sewing. :) But even at this advanced age there are days when I'm feeling downright chaotic...company coming, laundry to do, cook ahead, Bible study lesson to prepare, bathrooms to clean, a quilt to get the binding on, a BOM not done and the next one's due, grandchildren sick and need babysitting, well you get the picture. My time management skills are pretty well in place but I do find that making lists are the best thing going for me! When we women learn not to beat ourselves up for things we don't get done and instead pat ourselves on the back for what we do, we'll all benefit. Thanks for a great post. :) blessings, marlene

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  20. Holly, you are always an inspiration to me. Juggling our lives is what we women do best. I don't think our Husbands know or realize it at all. I try to be like the duck: Calm and serene above the water and paddling like hell underneath. See you soon.

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  21. Thanks for an interesting post. It's interesting how other people go about their crafty business.

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  22. Hi Holly you sound as a very busy bee.
    But as long as you enjoy what you do I don't think it matters being too busy.
    You make gorgeous quilts, cards ,stamps,drawings.

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  23. I enjoyed your blogs, both here and on your other blog. You do some pretty cute work!

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  24. Holy COW!! I love your patterns!! I have Carrot Top but have not made it yet. I own 5 cats and love your cat patterns too. Your designs are so inspiring!!

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