Journal entry: Triple thanks!

Mi amor.

Wow, we made it through October! What a month. So much went down and we are still standing. Here are just a few of the things we juggled last month: The Target orders (yes, we are still making more bracelets and necklaces! I don’t want to share the link anymore!), Day of the Dead orders, sales presentation meetings, my craft column, local appearances, my sewing book, Spanish classes, birthday parties, vending at festivals, coordinating the chica lit blog tour, writing a ghost story, traveling, my full-time DAY JOB!

Dang, peeps, this mommy is dizzy!

Would you think I’m weird if I said I’m savoring all of it? I’m a project-oriented person, and everyday I write a new to-do list. I can’t go to sleep at night until at least 3/4’s of the items are crossed off. I type it up the night before, and use fun fonts and graphics, so when I look at it, I’ll be in good spirits and ready to rock.

Patrick reminded me that I’ve been clocking in 16 hours at least 3-4 days each week. Oh yah, he should talk. He played the first of four gigs starting last night and then on through the weekend. He has been pulling 10 hours days between making art and practicing his music. We are career junkies!

We seriously could use a mini-staff to answer phones and emails, deliver orders, basecoat flower pots, get me mochas! But alas, we do not have a mini-staff, so there is three weeks worth of laundry piled up, we have more varnish than milk in the house at the moment – but at least the kids are off to school on time and are fed and loved.

Thursday night Patrick MADE me go to bed right after Ugly Betty (that night’s episode ROCKED, no?). It felt so deliciously wonderful to konk out before the nightly news and wake up bright and cheery at 6. I needed that break. Now that it is Saturday, I can look back and say that this has been the most surreal week EVER.

Sunday I wrote my contribution to the Chica Lit Ghost Story Blog Tour and it felt so good to step away from the art table and do something like write about a haunted dresser. I am so proud to have been in that project with the chica lit authors! The ghost story blog tour went over so well that we are going to do something for the holidays. Tuesday this blog had the second highest amount of hits in Crafty Chica history – 116,000! The biggest was back in January after the NPR story ran, that day I had 280,000 hits! If you missed any of the ghost stories, just scroll down.

Speaking of writing – I want to send a high five to all of your who are particpating in National Novel Writing Month! I joined in 2004 and wrote the first draft to my book, Love Shine, that sold in a two book deal this summer. Marcela even wrote about it in her newsletter! If you are part of NaNoWriMo this year, you should not even be reading this – you should be writing! Go on, scoot! go increase your word count right now!

More book stuff: This week I also had a meeting with my agent and book editors about my upcoming sewing book. I learned I’m not as far along as I could be, but I was assured that that is not a bad thing. Quality comes first. Do you know all that goes into putting a craft book together? This is just the skin and bones of it.

1. You get an idea and put together a 30 page proposal, complete with a detailed outline, photos and a sample intro and chapter.
2. You pitch it to ditors and hope one bites.
3. If so, you rework the projects so you and your editor are clinking champagne glasses in excited agreement.
4. You buy all the supplies, make all the projects.
5. You hire a pro-photographer to shoot all the projects in the most glamorous light ever.
6. You write step-by-step instructions, write the entire manuscript, hire a copy editor to check your grammar and typos, and hire an illustrator.

All the while, you send snapshots of everything to your editor so the two of you will still want to clink champagne glasses in excited agreement. I hope that gives you new respect when you go to a book store and pick up a craft title. Us crafty authors put a lot of love into our work!

BTW: My friend Susan Beal has a new beading book coming out that I contributed a project to – it is called “Bead Simple”. I made the project this time last year, and I scoured all of Manhattan to find the perfect charms and beads. you’ll have to wait until the book comes out to see it! Oh!!! I’m also a guest designer in an upcoming Chronicle title too, but that’s waaay down the road, but still very cool, and you know I’ll keep you posted!

Anyhoo, let me steer back from that detour. My sewing book. Potter Craft has a team of crafty superheroes who are guiding me through the process with intense TLC. It’s more work than I’ve ever done for any book before, kinda like late night crafty boot camp, but it’s good for me, I’m learning a lot because the bar has been raised. 1/3 of the projects are clothing items, and I’ve never designed fashion type items before. I was freaked and 100% intimidated, but at a recent photo shoot, tears welled up in my eyes seeing the model twirl around in a dress I designed – and then begged me to let her keep it. I just remember thinking, “I can’t believe I made that!” I’m building creative and critical thinking muscles I didn’t know I had. The projects are amazing, super clever stuff that I guarantee you have not seen before. All the while, my sweet and powerful Janome 11000 is serving me well (yes, I’m keeping my fingers out of the way of the needle!). Sewing is fun, people! Give it a try!!!

For Duncan, I’ve been working on prototypes of Crafty Chica kits for next year. This is a really wild, exciting process because you make multiple versions and mock them up like they will look on store shelves. From scratch! Extreme visualization! Again, I’m telling you – these are supa cool things you have not seen in a craft store before!

The down side of all this is that Patrick and I have not been able to get our art orders out in our usual timely fashion. I had to close the store last week just so we could catch up. I felt bad turning customers away. Two frantic people offered to pay double just so we could Fed Ex their order, but it isn’t about money, it is about time. Some people didn’t get their merchandise by this week, but were very sweet and understanding about it, and I appreciate that so much. I put free magnets in everyone’s boxes to make up for the delay!

Last week we had our Desert Botanical Garden muertos event and even at 95 degrees, we loved every second. The place was crawling with happy people in all kinds of skeleton attire. Here is our booth. Scarce, but at least we had a few things for sale! And then my friends Nancy and Carmen, aren’t they cute? Carmen kept trying to get me to dance with her!

It’s also been a week of growing pains. Patrick and I have operated as a tag team for so long and are always amazed at what we have accomplished. Granted, now everything is at a waaay higher level. We realized today everything as we know it is changing. There are a lot more people involved with what we are doing, so much at stake. We are getting directions from all different angles. On our art, his music, my books. We have to come through with shining colors, no matter what! Patrick likened it to being pregnant for the first time. Everyone and their uncle tells you what you should do and how to do it, all with good intention. There is the fear of the unknown. The internal reminders to keep the faith. Keep your integrity. Swollen feet (serisouly!). At the end, there is a shiny happy addition to your life that you cannot live without, and you laugh at how much time you spent worrying for no reason.

Well, the baby has not come out yet. I cracked this week and cried a couple times. Not sniffles, I’m talking hardcore Boo-hoo!-Not-Even-Godiva-Will-Help! cries.

Everything is happening at the same time: the books, the filming of the webisodes, the product line. I want it all to be perfect. I’m working with experts and soaking up all the knowledge I can. It’s a blessing to have that. The challenge for me is not to throw away everything I’ve learned on my own. My first instinct is to say “I surrender everything to you, you know best!!” It’s good to do that the same way it is good for American Idol wannabees to take Simon’s advice and work with it. He knows his stuff. But sometimes though, a little voice inside me says “Kathy, value your own expertise, that’s what got you this far!”

My goal with EVERYTHING is to always break new ground, go the non-traditonal route. If I had followed the traditional route, I would not be typing this right now, I would be working for a 9-5 traffic court job for the City of Phoenix!

There are so many workshops and lectures on how to reach your goals and dreams. There should be one on how to handle things when it all happens. How to be polished and professional without losing who you are or your convictions. Paging Nancy Marmolejo!

All that stressing, and then I get an email like this that reminds me of the bottom line, and why I do what I do – to inspire people far and wide by any means neccessary!

“I’ve been a huge fan of yours forever (which is a long time in internet lightyears 🙂 ) and just wanted to drop you a note about how much I’m enjoying your podcasts! I know that with your busy schedule you haven’t been able to do any more for a while so I’ve downloaded all the past ones and am slowly savoring them, trying to make them last like the last few pieces left in a box of precious chocolates. 🙂 I just listened to your story about the office cake and was alternately laughing and then saying “pobrecita”. Were you to ask me to relate a similar story I’d be stumped – I think that I must have had selective amnesia and blocked it out but it’s funny how I can still totally feel my face burning and a sinking cringing feeling in my stomach. Ah, good times, good times. 🙂 Anyway, it’s always a delight to switch on the TV and catch you demoing a craft or to open a magazine and read about your most recent endeavors. I heard you speak last year at the CHA expo in Anaheim and thoroughly enjoyed your talk about Hispanic trends in crafting. You are so inspiring and a real champion for creativity. You go girl! 🙂 I wish you much continued success and lots of crafty goodness this holiday season!!!”

*Wipes tears*

For that, I say triple thanks!! Not just for that email, but for all the others like it. Even though I may not have time to answer each and every one, my daughter reads them to me while I’m working in the art room and we both shakes our heads in amazement. Thank you for coming here, for reading this, for being so nice, for liking crafts! And a big thanks to all the fabulous companies that have put their faith in me and the Crafty Chica concept, I will not let you down!

Well, I’m off to make art and then find time to have fun. Next weekend is our biggest event of the year, Spanish Market.

Until then, make this new Mary J. Blige track your theme song!! Everything is gonna be just fine!!! Man, no one throws it down like Mary J!!

Love & light,

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Kathy Cano-Murillo

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Hi, I’m Kathy, The Crafty Chica! My specialty is creative motivation. I’m an artist, author, and speaker and this is where I share my craft tutorials, artwork, articles, books, product lines, and workshops!

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