In the making

In my head, and on my camera, I already have some photos to share. Right now, I want to simply share this little list as to not forget my good intentions to document the things I make. A new diaper pouch. Little pants for a growing boy. A birthday calendar. (And yes, Lisa, I’m still busy knitting!)

The Friday Project continues

merry christmas card – snowflake detail

10 weeks (and more) have passed, the swim course is over, I have hummed and hawed and decided on the celebration tag books as my first product, worked on a wedding, a birthday and a baby tag book prototype both in German and English, entirely forgotten about the whole thing and have now picked something completely else to get things rolling. Oh, and we’ve just moved to a new home, too!

merry christmas

These typographic holiday cards were designed and silk screen printed by me in September 2008, using white ink on gray chipboard and white and golden ink on kraft cardstock. Nils and I sent them out to family and friends and used some as gift tags on Christmas Eve that year. Nonetheless, a pretty big stack of left-overs has been patiently waiting for a new purpose ever since. So my newly revised plan for the Friday Project is to stop mulling over creating something new for now and simply send off those pretty cards for other people to enjoy. Hurrah to common sense!

merry christmas card – white + gray + tape

merry christmas card – gold + kraft + tape

merry christmas card – white + kraft + tape

The design actually has an interesting background story. I had the idea to show the whole phrase along with some simple graphic snowflakes, but it looked a bit boring after I actually put it together in InDesign. I printed a PDF anyway – and ended up with a blown-up version due to a PDF printer error, which then inspired the final design. I love accidents like this. That’s why I treasure the whole technical process of printing by hand, too: lots of opportunities for unexpected twists and turns to break up my often very clean designs.

merry christmas card – type detail

The typeface I chose is Bree by TypeTogether, I had just acquired it for a university project and was madly in love with it’s round letter shapes. I actually appliquéd the Bree ampersand on a pillow case for Nils’ birthday that summer (and never got over the finished motive’s resemblance to the post horn logo of the postal services here in Germany).

The Friday Project continues

On my agenda

  1. Packaging. Pack a ready-to-send sample package for a card + envelope. Create a small thank-you note / contact card.
  2. Photos. Decide wether my first photo shoot (on our old balcony) is sufficient or wether I want to take the opportunity of taping up the cards on a new-to-me gray wall in Max’ room. Choose and process the best shots.
  3. Pricing. So far, I’ve done about seven minutes of research, looking up prices for other silk screened cards on Etsy. Maybe 3,50 EUR for a single card plus a reduced price for a set of four? Calculate actual material cost and Etsy fees. Decide on price(s).
  4. Shipping. I have a love-hate relationship with the German postal service (this might be linked to my love of sending unusual sized and addressed letters) so I better figure this out properly. Calculate correct postage and packaging costs.
  5. Description. Research how other sellers deal with more than one language. Decide on English only, an English and a German listing or both languages in one listing. Write descriptions for the three different card variations. Going for a short and sweet description paired with clear product facts (size, material, color etc.) and ideas for use.
  6. Set up Etsy. Design a shop banner. Write a welcome message. Write a shop policy or whatever else I need.
  7. Figure out PayPal. I already have a business account, but don’t know what else it takes to prepare for a first sale.
  8. List cards. Exciting! Find out what difference it makes to have only one or, say, 4 available of each card. List.
  9. Something extra. Decide wether to offer custom addressed envelopes. Repeat steps 1 to 5 and 8 if applicable.

Checked

I was unsure about what legal status changes might occur, now that I actually want to sell something to a customer via an online shop that was made by myself in advance instead of billing a custom project I created especially for my client. Long story short, I called my tax advisors (which I can contact as often as I need to without paying for every call thanks to being a member of the Alliance of German Designers and covering the costs with my yearly fee – I bet I’m their best client indeed!) (okay, long story long after all) and have green light to continue with my current set-up. Great!

German insert: Ich werde nicht extra ein Gewerbe anmelden und diese Karten einfach im Rahmen meiner bisherigen freiberuflichen Tätigkeit als Gestalterin verkaufen.

Go go go!

Christmas cards are meant for Christmas – so I better plow ahead!

up + down + straight ahead

Norderney - Himmel

a blink of Norderney, one of the East Frisian Islands in the North Sea, Germany.

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Norderney – Füße im Sand

Norderney – Oststrand

The Friday Project

Friday project - garden session

Three weeks ago, Nils and Max started a baby swim course, and for the first time in 9 months, I find myself with a regular afternoon of alone time at home. What to do with two glorious hours for ten weeks in a row? Tackle the Friday Project, of course!

When combining the urge to create with my hands / the need for creative play / the wish to start an Etsy shop / the desire to turn an idea into reality, I came up with this:

10 weeks time to

So here goes week 1 + 2 + part of week 3, too:

The things I do

Instead of fantasizing about could-be-interesting product ideas that never lead to any action (as I have done in the past), I compiled a list of crafty things I have actually created during the last 1.5 years or so as a starting point for realistic, authentic product ideas. Here it is, together with a couple of photos I had already taken, notes on materials and other things I want to remember:

The Friday Project

celebration tag book - inside

celebration tag books as modular guest books for wishes, memories, anecdotes (stamped or printed paper tags + ring) {GREAT feedback. People asked me where they could buy this + asked if they could copy the idea. Sure!}

Glück & Leben cantucci tags

Glück & Leben (luck & life) cantucci jars for weddings + birthdays (glass jars + tags + handwriting + cookies) {GREAT feedback. We even received this as a gift in return on our own wedding.}

designbakery bag + packaging

paper favor bags + stamped label

paper bags + handwriting

designbakery + other paper bags (screenprinting + labels + handwriting + tape) {GREAT feedback, especially the designbakery bags.}

care package + address label

gift parcels (address labels + packaging)

altered postcard - back

altered postcards (old cards + handwriting + stamps + bits) {LOVE writing + sending letters and cards.}

addressed envelope

Einladung Sommerhochzeitsfest – adressierter Umschlag

addressed envelopes (handwriting + stamps + tape) {writing addresses = FUN.}

soother clip + flag tag

soother clips + baby scarf (fabric + labels)

summer wedding party paper suite

(top + bottom left photo: Sandra Schade Fotografie)

summer wedding party paper suite invitation + envelopes, escort cards, menu + table number cards, place cards, recipe cards + favor bags, thank you cards (typography + handwriting + stamping + stamps + tape) {This was a BIG paper project but extremely rewarding. Would absolutely love to work on suites for other celebrations!}

birth announcements

birth announcements (photo + handwriting + professionaly printed)

pretty little cards for loved ones / with quotes (paper + stamping + handwriting)

Love-You-Post-Its (handwriting) {just had to include these :) }

Some observations: Most of these items were presents – seems it is easier for me to craft for others than for myself (at least paper crafts, that is). Most of these items were pretty small, a label here, a bit of tape there – I love details. Half of these items didn’t get a lot of thought and time – I get caught up on thoughts, so the big ideas often just don’t happen. Most of these items feel quite natural and a bit “normal” to me – they are my finger exercises.

Note to self: This is what I do – so I should simply stick to one or two of these listed items for an easy start. Things can always evolve, if I want to continue down this track. Don’t make this complicated, Johanna – just make it happen.

(The course actually started 6 weeks ago, but Nils + Max + I missed out on our Friday activities 3 times out of these 6 due to various colds and field trips. Lucky enough, the boys (and I!) can catch up for it next term.)