Monday, January 19, 2009

The Content of His Character

Today, the direction of the United States will change forever.

We will have a new President. One who, I believe, listens to the collective voice of the American people. One who is not there for his own personal gain, or to fight for the wealthy. One who has selected a cabinet of advisers who are wise and smart, and know many aspects of the workings of the world. One who placed a former opponent in a key position, because she was the right person for the job.

As I watched Barack Obama and Joe Biden during their train ride to Washington for the Inauguration, I was struck by how they got off the train at various stops and went straight into the crowds, Talking to people, hugging them, connecting with them.

I know I might have readers who supported the other ticket. And I have readers in other countries who couldn't vote in our election. But today is a day for the majority, and a banner day for people who look in the mirror and never before saw no hope of ever becoming the leader of anything, let alone the free world. We all have that hope today.

The true voice of the American people was heard in this election. I am struck by the incredible grassroots movement that brought us to this era of change. This is a team that understands the power of the new media - blogs and Twitter and Facebook and blackberries and texting. They reached out, often asking for just a $5.00 contribution to make it all possible.

Welcome to Washington, President Obama and Vice President Biden. Welcome to the new Administration to all the new Cabinet members, and all of the members of Congress. Welcome, celebrate and savor the moment. The truly difficult task of restoring our country starts now.

I have a DREAM Today!

I have lived in the Atlanta area for over four years. I always meant to go and see the King Center, but it was my six year old niece who got me there.

When she heard I would be moving, she wanted to come back and sleep in her room again, and she specifically requested to see Dr. King's house.

Her teacher had come here last year, and shared photos with the class. Of course we took her.

As we toured the Center and his childhood home, hearing the stories of his family from our wonderful guide, Marty (on the right), Dr. King's famous words kept echoing inside me.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

Thank you, Dr. King, for your insight and valor. Thank you for your courage to stand up, and to lead others to do so as well. Thank you for your commitment. For not giving up when you were jailed. Thank you, sir, for your sacrifice.

For a full text of the "I Have a Dream speech, please go to American Rhethoric. For many years I have read the speech on his birthday. What a wonderful inspiration it is!

If you have a holiday today, please remember it is a day on and not a day off. Do something to help another person. And remember this great man and all he stood for.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Marketing Tip Monday. . . .A Little Delayed

Who's Talking About You?

As a matter of routine, you should know who on the web is mentioning your business.

Google(tm) has a free service available for this. Through their main page, you can set up a tracker to get once a day updates (don't get them as they happen - your email can get bombarded) .

Head over to Google. On the upper left-hand side of the page, click "more." Follow the pop-up to "even more." This will bring up a page with a wide variety of options, but you want the first one - "alerts."

Put in the word or phrase you want to track. Set it for how often you want the alerts sent to your email account or your feed. You will then be automatically notified if someone blogs about you. Remember, you can set this for more than one alert. For example, I have it set to track "FunkyQuail" and also "Funky Quail."

You may also find that some of the things you say on the web show up here! That can be very good to know.

Once you know who is chatting about you, it's easier to make a plan to get more good things said about your business. More on that later!

photo courtesy of

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Knit it up for the Little Ones

Baby Knitting Rocks!

If one of my friends has had a baby in the last few years since I took up this hobby, chances are I made them one of these adorable sweaters.

Babies are fun to knit for. They are tiny, and their little hats and sweaters don't take much time. Their clothing, toys, blankies are automatically cute, especially when made by hand.

Cute, cute, cute!

And yay, Amber is having a baby, so guess who gets to cast on another project tomorrow?

I can hardly wait!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Awesome Artist of the Week - Une Petite Etoile

Talent in Design and Sad Statement about the CPSIA

Seeing the beautiful creations for babies and young children that come out of the studio of Une Petite Etoile is very inspiring for me.

You see, when you sell handmade clothing, you can't just run down to the store and buy a pattern and just start sewing. That's not legal! No, you must make your own patterns.

So imagine, you want to make a dress. You have to draft the pattern and make it in a variety of sizes. This requires MATH.* And trial and error. What if the sleeves are set too high? Or under the arms is cut wrong? You have to start over!

Then you make mock-ups. Is the pattern correct? Will it work in every size?

After that, you have to choose fabrics that work with the pattern. And if multiple fabrics are involved, make sure the colors and patterns go well together.

The beautiful renderings for children that come out of Une Petite Etoile's studio are gorgeous, fun, and colorful. They are the kind of clothing babies would want to wear, if they could express an opinion. I just know that.

Check them out, but check them out soon. I am not an authority on this topic, but I do know that if the CPSIA goes through as written in February 2009, don't expect to see these fashions, or many other handmade kid items available to you. Unless the items go through expensive testing for lead, they will not be able to be sold.

The total effect of this law was clearly not thought out well. I know many people are working to change it. Let's hope so. I am completely for child safety, but also believe in individual responsibility. And the last time I checked the manufacturer-supplied content labels, fabric and thread does not contain lead. Let the manufacturers of the supplies give the artists the assurance they need on their products, and with that, forget the requirement of having the end product tested.

Meanwhile, take a look at this beautiful piece! Perfect for the next baby shower you have to go to!

*really, I have a graduate degree, but no MATH was required. Thankfully.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Marketing Tip Monday

Consistency in Your Business Brand Image

With the new year, many of us who sell on-line are looking at our Marketing Plans and reviewing 2008, and making plans for 2009.

Your first start should be a review of your logo. Are you consistent? Do you have a shop on Etsy and one on ArtFire? Are the names the same? Do you own your webname?

Example: - we own it and it currently re-directs to the Etsy shop named Then on Artfire, we also sell the knitting shirts and some of Becky's painted shirts and that name is

I am a member at Ravelry (an on-line knitting community. My user name? Funky Quail, of course.

Then I am on Twitter. My Twitter name? FunkyQuail!

Oh, and looking for my Flickr page?

This is all a deliberate effort in branding.

Consistency is the key.

Now is a great time to review your branding. If your Flickr page is one name, your Etsy shop another, and ArtFire yet another, it's time to consider if that is the best strategy for you.

If you have different names, perhaps that is best for your business. Maybe you carry very divergent stock in your different shops, or perhaps one is for supplies and the other for paintings and another for ceramics. But it should be a conscious decision and not one ever done without really thinking about how you want your customers to perceive your business.

And of course, you *do* own your own URL, don't you? NO???? Then get to and buy it, before some nefarious person snatches it right out from under you!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Becky was Owly before Owly was Cool

Owls are the New Black. . . .

But Becky was there first. She's liked them for at least as long as I have been married into the family (and probably longer).

So WHO better than her to draw owls.

This beleaguered guy is Geoff. To quote from her shop,"the Geoff Owl is the distant cousin of another challenging bird, the Henry. Much like the Henry its attributes are poor judgment, frequent memory loss and a vacant expression. As this specimen shows, much to hubris’ chagrin, it has forgotten that it is eating a mouse’s tale and also forgotten that it should not eat mice as it is a Herbivore. Cousin Geoff simply doesn’t know any better."

He's 5" x7" on illustration board and has real plastic googly eyes.

The technique used is gouache, which is a technique of painting with opaque watercolors prepared with gum. I had to look that up! So writing about what Becky does is highly educational for me.

(Becky, to refresh your memory, is my step-daughter who also created the art for our knitting shirts. She can draw and paint and all that fun stuff and has a BFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design. I can't draw a decent stick figure. It is not fair, but I am learning to get over it.)

You can check out her blog at or peruse her Etsy shop at