Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Changes Afoot

Today I am nervous and a little excited. Yes, it's a day of jumbled feelings, a moment of fear coupled with a lot o' happy. I feel like I'm at a turning point and I'm glad you're here because I want to talk with you about this.

So here's the thing. I'm just going to put it out there straight as an arrow, okay?

I would like to turn my love of blogging and creating into an income. The financial goal: make enough to pay for my crafting supplies. Big dreams.

(Me at 3 years old in the pretty, and very very dirty, beige dress. With my family.)

Here's some backstory. For the past 7 months, I have been jobless. In June 2010, I left a position I'd held for many years. It was a lucrative job with lovely co-workers, but I was very unhappy with the work. That's an understatement. I was miserable. One evening my husband looked me straight in the eye and said firmly: "Michele, you have to quit your job. It's not worth it." Obviously, my husband lived and shared my unhappiness everyday. So I gave my notice, and after the allotted weeks, I left. At the time, I decided it would be best for me to lay low for a while. I wasn't ready to look for work. I needed time to think things through. I needed to figure out what it is I wanted to do "with my life". So that's what I've been doing. Figuring. I've spent the last 7 months figuring.

(Me, 9 years old)

I knew when I started this blog, that it would be good for me. Having a place to collect my thoughts, a place to post and organize my projects, that could only be a good thing. I didn't realize what a significant impact it would have on me. It has really helped to motivate me and focus my energy. Through the blog I've flexed and stretched my creative muscle. I've gained some insights into who I am and what I need to do to be happy. I have also come to realize that the blog isn't just mine. True, I am the main contributor, and sure, it's named after me. But, were it not for you, this little experiment would be long over. The show-and-tell aspect of the blog, the sharing, the teaching, the receiving of feedback, that cannot be underplayed in my case. It is very important to me that you are here and participating.

Other conclusions that I've come to in the past little while include the likes of these:
  • I am multi-craftural. I like to bounce from one type of crafting to another. It keeps me interested and challenged.
  • I relish design and invention. I get a kick out of the whole process of coming up with new ideas using a range of materials.
  • I love to recycle. Obvious.
  • I don't want to open an Etsy shop. I couldn't create 100 flamingoes or 17 plastic wreaths or a dozen toilet roll ornaments. I don't have the stamina nor the mental focus.
  • I don't want to fill my blog with advertisements.
(Me, 19 years old)

Having said that, I am ready to kick it up a notch. I am ready to once again make a contribution to my family's income. If I could pay for my supplies through the blog, then my husband wouldn't have to, and that would be so great, I think. But am I being realistic? Is this goal within the realm of possibilities?

And that's where you come in. I'd like to enlist your help. May I get your most blunt and honest answers and advice? I'm very serious about this: I want you to be as frank and forthright as possible. Here are my questions:
  1. Where do you think I should go from here? In other words, if you were me, what would be your next step?
  2. Why do you visit this blog?
  3. If I started selling tutorials or patterns, would you buy them?
  4. If I installed a tip jar on my sidebar, would you contribute?
You may wish to comment anonymously this time. To do that, go to the "Comment As" drop down menu below the "Post A Comment" box and select "Anonymous". That way you can let me have it honest-to-goodness.

(Me, now)

If you have any other comments or suggestions, I am ALL ears. I value your opinion, and I am so grateful for your help. I truly look forward to reading what you have to say.

Thanks so much and have a lovely lovely day! ♥


  1. I hear you Michele. I've been trying to figure out the same thing here. I too am no good at creating the same item over and over again. But having an Etsy shop doesn't mean that either. Make what you like, offer it up as a one of a kind and move on. Patterns do seem to sell well for people. I am not the type to spend money on a pattern (I'd rather figure it out on my own or make something I came up with) but I think that there are LOTS of people who prefer to buy a pattern or instructions and follow them. I think that could definitely work. When you figure this all out, let me know ok? Ha! That bottom photo of you is wonderful!

  2. Lovely pictures Michele!

    It feels like I’m reading a post I would have loved to write myself. I’m not jobless, but being an independent graphic designer I have to deal with less orders from clients, which means less income and more time to craf. Like you say, there’s money needed to buy the supplies and in my case the fabrics.

    I find it hard to give advice, as I have been contemplating myself about starting an etsy shop, selling patterns, making stuff, but either I don’t have enough guts or I’m afraid I can’t live up to the expectations of the production of it all. But... i’m still indecisive!

    1.+ 2. I think you are a very talented writer, I love to read your posts. Being non native English I’m impressed by your style of writing. Did you ever consider to write a book about recycling materials? Cause that’s the 2nd reason I love to visit your blog. Your so ingenious. I look at a lot of stuff we normally throw away in a totally different way.
    3. Would I buy your patterns? I try to buy less, but it depends on what patterns you’re talking about.
    4. A tip jar, hee hee, I think blogreading is fun cause it’s free. I don’t think I would leave a tip, just for the sake of it.

    Well, that’s a long comment, I hope there’s something useful in it!

  3. I have SO been in the unhappy job position but it wasn't until I met my husband that I realized how much that job was negatively affecting me. Now, I do what I love :)

    I think you can totally do etsy! I make one of a kind items and I do it! (bifftastica)

    I am a big fan of how you think outside the box and show us the fun things you make out of unconventional items. So I suppose that means that your tutorials are my favorite :)

    Best of luck to you!

  4. Phew Michele - hard questions.... I am just closing down for the night and thought I would quickly read a couple of blogs....
    I am in a similar situation - but not worked for a longer period.... and I really don't know the way forward (or I'd be doing it myself).. but you have great ideas... what about a book? or sponsorship from some of these 'green' companies doing recycling?? I am throwing out guesses here.....
    I visit your blog because I am intrigued with how your mind works and what you create... it fascinates me....
    Selling or buying tutorials... I might occasionally but as I am not flush with money it would be more likely that I didn't ... same with the tip jar... as much as I would love to ...
    when I make my millions from whatever... that could well change!
    All the best with your big decision...
    PS - I loved the pictures...

  5. Hmm... I would most likely purchase a crocheted tutorial as that is my first love. I started visiting your blog because someone linked to it with a pattern and I have enjoyed it since then.

    Realistically, I would not donate to the tip jar unless I took one of your designs and was able to create something and generate quite a bit of money out of it. So that's just me...

    Not sure how else to monetize the blog without ads on it. I know you can sell sponsorships to other crafters who appear on the sides of your blog as sponsors. Not sure if you are opposed to that. (Check out to see what I mean)

    Good Luck with your quest!

  6. Michele,

    I like the book idea - there are definitely people to whom I would give the book as a gift.

    What about magazines? Are there magazines that you could sell tutorials to?

  7. you asked for honesty and since I am a very new reader of this blog I don't feel emotionally attached to you or it (YET, I see that changing because I do enjoy it) this will easier for me. I will answer your questions numerically as you asked them.

    1. I don't know what makes you think etsy is not a good idea....opening a shop and then a second shop on etsy was the BEST thing I ever did...and I assure you...I do not make 50 or 100 of anything....and if I make something I don't enjoy making, I never make it again. Etsy is a great way to make money doing what you love and by doing it at your own pace.
    2. I just found your blog yesterday....can't recall how...a link to a link to a link I am sure.....but I bookmarked you so I'll be back.
    3. No I probably would not buy tutorials and patterns...but I know TONS Of people who do...and this leads me to the answer to your 4th question......
    4. I would consider tipping if the tutorials and patterns were free.....BECAUSE....I know this seems crazy...but I would not want to pay for a tutorial or pattern to try in my shop and then it not work out....but if I got one for free that worked for me I would love to tip...also..there are many many many tutorials and patterns out there and chances are there would be some similar to your for free somewhere out there.

    hope this advice is helpful...I know it's a trying time, trying to decide which way to go....but you are creative and fun I can see that and I think you should go for the etsy shop without a doubt !!

    have a happy day

  8. I first found your blog Michele through Totally Tutorials and immediately became a follower. I continue to visit your blog because it's quite simply always a pleasure and I love all your tutorials. I feel mean admitting that I probably wouldn't want to buy your patterns or tutorials, nor would I contribute - partly because I do not work and rely on my husband to fund my craft addiction too - and the fun of blogging is that it is free and we can all share - although you of course do share a lot more than many others - myself included!

    I think one of the commentors above had a brilliant idea - why don't you write a book with your ideas and tutorials? Now, a book I would buy and your writing is always entertaining and clear and your photos brilliant!

    Good luck with whatever you decide - and if you do write a book, you must use that photo of you aged 19 - it's stunning!

  9. OK, so honesty?
    I would also love to know where you go from here, I too dream of making a living from craft, but it is destined never to be.
    I'm afraid I wouldn't buy your patterns or add to your tip jar, not because I don't like your work or think you're talented, but because I don't have a penny to share. The recession hit me and my husband hard (he lost his job and had to start again) and we are massively in debt so helping other crafters out is just not possible for me. I can never make a career from my crafts as I couldn't possibly afford to give up my job, we can't even afford for me to take maternity leave so we can't have a baby even though I'm in my mid thirties and running out of time.

  10. Oh Michele, this is the question of our time! I bet half the people reading this post are wondering the same. Here is what I think, you feel free to take it our leave it because Lord knows, I am in no position to give advice.
    To answer your questions;
    * I visit your blog because I never come away empty handed. Your stuff is gorgeous and you are one of the most generous bloggers when it comes to sharing your ideas and your process. That said, if you turned those gifts into a commodity, I would certainly continue coming, although, to be honest, I don’t know if I would have started coming to your site on a regular basis to begin with. There are a lot of great online magazines that charge for information (in various ways) and even though I know they are good, I just figure I can hunt around and find that info elsewhere for free. Harsh, but true.
    * As random example, I can report I have never purchased a solo tutorial, although I have purchased patterns for under $10 and have paid up to $50 for an online class (like series of tutorials strung out over a month, teaching me a new skill or building on a particular theme. You could put them on a private/password protected blog. Video is esp helpful, but not ness. I have also given a class as a gift. One time someone gave me a quilting tutorial as a gift. It was nifty.
    * Tip jars are awkward. A good idea, but awkward. I remember when they were popular years ago and I rarely tipped even when I wanted to because I felt like maybe the recipient would think I was being cheap.

    OK, I am rambling again and the only perspective I am sharing here is my own, and your audience is a lot bigger than just me, me, me! Bottom line is, I think there are a whole lot of us out here who are happy to support and contribute toward your creative process, you just need to tell us how :)

  11. PS: Those pictures are ADORABLE. esp love the one of y'all in the kitchen. Is that you in the polka dots? Too cute!
    PPS: Now it's been ten minutes since I sent my earlier comment and I'm still thinking so I am going to write you an email. Holy cats do I know how to ramble!

  12. Wow! What helpful and super-honest comments! I love this topic, so happy you got it out there, Michele. Clearly, many bloggy people feel exactly the same way. Happily I am not in the position of NEEDING income from the crafting - but when I do sell my jewelry to word-of-mouth clients as I have done for a while, it sure feels good. And it's totally as you said: I love paying for art supplies from money I earned making art.

    I understand and honor your feeling about not having ads on the blog. On the other hand, I wonder if you could try it for a while and see how it goes? In my opinion, ads on a blog don't bother me at all, as long as the content is the same. To be a little more specific, I don't love it when a blogger does paid reviews or sponsored posts, and I simply don't read those posts, even when I adore the blog otherwise. But I understand they are making that choice with great intentions (nothing wrong with working hard to make an income by using the audience they have built by being talented and crafty and wonderful).

    You have created such a fabulous work of art in your blog - and gained so many followers. I bet the ads off to one side wouldn't deter a single fan. Commenters, what do you think?

    Re the Etsy: hmmm, that's a whole other can o worms. I did open my shoppe a few weeks ago, and have been pleasantly surprised. Not because I have sold any pieces - I haven't. :) But because in exploring Etsy and how it works, I discovered a cool community of artists, so diverse, and the shops can be in ANY style you like. Tons of people have just a few items for sale, and do well. Do you know the blog Daily Coyote? (I read her daily and have done from the beginning.) I love how she created an Etsy shop with just a handful of characteristic, charming items that relate to her life and philosophy - and her blog is so strong and popular, her fans go to the shop and buy them. I can see that happening for you. Check her out and you'll see what I mean.

    Whew! Long comment! So much to say on this topic. I will match the honesty of the previous peeps by saying, I personally wouldn't buy a pattern or tute, I do adore the freeeeee of the Interwebs.

    I agree the book is a natural idea, but there's probably mucho competition and little money available. I think it is INEVITABLE that you will write books. But maybe counting on it for income isn't realistic. It will happen, though!

    Okay, better stop now. I will check back and read more of the comments - thanks for being so open , my dear. And OMG, your pictures are the cutest!

    Muti-craftural: the best new word evah.

  13. There are a lot of people who covert their blogs into books, and then their blogs seems to shrivel away. I would prefer that you become a professional blogger like Cathe Holden ( - your writing and Ideas are good enough that I bet you could get hired by the right people, and get a REAL income.

    I don't think you need etsy to sell your stuff, either, as you get plenty of hits here. Just put whatever you want to sell in your sidebar with a paypal link.

  14. My 2 cents- I totally think you could do Etsy - it's fun and very reasonable to list things, it is so not about making 50 of the same items. I buy on there so I can get a one of a kind item. I too would not pay for patterns or tutorials as there is no much free stuff out there.
    I'll keep coming back here no matter what you do, 'cause you are smart, funny and have great ideas and wild horses couldn't keep me away.

  15. First, I am sorry but I have no real advice to offer because am in a similar position not having a job. Second, thanks for putting up the question because I have learne a lot!! Ok, some blogs I follow post tuts or patterns for a specific time frame for free and then list them for sale. :)

  16. Michele, I have been following your blog for a while because I like your creativity and it inspires me. I have two suggestions: 1. Sell your crafts online rather than selling tutorials. selling on etsy doesn't mean mass production. Sell whatever you make. 2. Find a career as a craft tutor in schools, or kindergartens. Or simply start a crafting class for kids yourself. You have the look and the ideas. You'll be great in that.
    My best wishes for you dear.

  17. Oh wow Michele you have the best answers above...i buy from Esty and love the stuff i get and i think this could be the way forward for you....i know someone who has just started selling Tutorials on there blog which i think is quite alot of money....especially when you can normally go to youtube or google search and someone would have done one which you wouldnt have to pay for.....
    Love your photos through the years too.

  18. Hi Michele!! Wow, love all the comments you are getting on this post. I like the idea of a book, but you already know that. I'm not sure the tip jar idea is the way to go. I know I wouldn't use one. I think you could sell some of your unique items in an etsy shop. I don't think you need to produce a lot of items. I like the idea of every item being unique. I think that some people would buy tutorials or patterns, but you would have to continue to share some for free. That's keeps people coming back. I love all that you share on your blog. You are so creative. It is scary to put yourself out there and try to make money with your craft. But if anyone can do it, it's you. Hugs Ariane

  19. Hi!

    I've only recently come across your blog a few weeks ago (I don't even remember what brought be here... because your blog eclipsed my original quest completely, apparently). But lately I've been having the same dream of making money by doing what I love, experimenting and trying new crafts.

    It might be worth it to open an etsy store anyway and sell only what you make as one-of-a-kind items. Like limited edition things :) An etsy listing comes down once it's out of stock, so if you list 1 plastic bottle wreath, you would only sell the one and nobody could make a purchase on another one.... unless you made another one :)

    I personally would not donate to a tip jar, but I'm sure you would get some contributions... my brother made the free android app called "WW Dairy", and while it is free he does make some decent pocket money from people who donate out of gratitude. This, I guess, is just me repeating the suggestion of not charging for patterns, but suggesting that we donate if we find success in using them.

    Good luck! I am rooting for you :)

  20. I'm not sure if all of your post I understood, especially when it comes to your former job. Why not create a place where guests can find to creatively develop. Here where I live is a lot of community centers where the courses are organized - from learning to dance, play instruments, and pottery:)

  21. I come to your blog to get inspiration and learn. I also enjoy how you let your personality shine through. You're lovely.

    One idea -- you left me a comment the other day suggesting that I check out a book on crochet in order to advance my skills. Why not have a resources page?

    For example, Kristen at (awesome blog) has a resources page. Every time someone clicks over to a resource and makes a purchase, she gets a little bit of cash. And, bonus, a resources page is tucked away, so it wouldn't be in your readers' faces.

  22. Michele, I enjoy reading your blog and learning how your take something simple, recycle it and create something new. In this "green" world, that is good. I agree with others that a book or contributing to a magazine may be in your future. People are really interested in how to re-use items, not throw them away. You have that down!

    Of course, selling what you have created is another way to go. Either with the Etsy or as someone else suggested, with a listing on the side of your blog with paypal. Some of us may want to buy what you make instead of making it ourselves - yours will probably look better than what we attempt anyway...

    I usually do not buy patterns or tutorials, I look for them in books or other free sources. As for a tip jar, I don't know. If you don't have one, you won't get anything. If you do, there might be a possibility, like Mary said. So, that is up in the air. You could always link that with happiness....and hope.

    I'm glad you have found happiness. That is important. And thank you for sharing some of that happiness with us. I enjoy your stories and seeing what you create.

  23. I understand where you are coming from, and why you think it might be a good idea to charge for your expertise. However, I think we all give to each other here and we all come out for the better, and it's all fair. All evens out is what I am trying to say. I don't like advertisements on blogs. I canceled my Google Ads. Blogging is for all the reasons you's therapy for me, a joy and enjoyment like no other. I am turned off by the commercial type blogs, those who seem only to blog for profit. I don't really want an etsy shop either and those blogs that push theirs are not ones that I frequent. I will still come to your blog, it's peaceful here:-) and I love your ideas. I will help you in anyway I can, but I think it will take away from your blog if you start charging or have a tip jar. I wish you the best in which ever way you are lead.

  24. Dear Michele, I think quitting your job was a good thing to do. Being unhappy with the work one has to do is simply awful.

    I read your blog because I love your ideas, and your style both in crafts and writing. Also I believe you are a nice person like somone I'd like to spend my time with in realitiy. I stop reading blogs when I don't like the people who are writing them, even if the blogs are interesting. ;-)

    I'm sorry, but honestly I don't know how you can make money with your blog. I think I wouldn't buy patterns or tutorials - just because there's so much free stuff all around.
    Sometimes I buy books or magazines but not on regular terms.
    I don't buy much DIY stuff either. That's because I usually believe that I can make items I like by myself. Even if I can't.
    But this is just me - I actually know people who are buying patterns or DIY stuff. So maybe you should just try something and see how it works?

    I'm afraid I wasn't that much help, huh?
    I'd like you to know that I'm wishing you the very best!

  25. If I had more than 2 followers on my blog I would think about selling our things in my sidebar. I'm a little nervous about starting an Etsy shop too. I know I can sell one of a kind items (that's what we create) but still a little weary about it.
    Your blog is one of the first blogs I started following. I love all the things you create and love your writing style.

  26. LOVE the pics-Thanks! Good questions.

    I come by because you are sweet and funny and super creative with ideas that I would never ever think of. I love to see what you can create out of recycled stuff.

    I think if you are up for it, etsy is worth a try. It is a pretty cool community, just like blogging. And, like others have said, you are the boss-you can make whatever you want!

    Tips-Like many mentioned, I prob wouldn't, b/c funds are crazy tight, and I never know what is a decent amount, or if the person would think it is not enough, etc.

    If it was a project I wanted to do, I would def buy a pattern. I don't buy too many b/c of funds situation, but I definitely buy some, and want to support other artists and creators. Also, would buy finished products that I love & can afford, to support other artists.

    Good luck in your search and your endeavors. You have done great so far and inspired a zillion people, so I am sure that you will continue to do so, hopefully in a way to bring in some crafting cash!

    Thank you,

  27. Dear Michele and all you crafters,
    Firstly, I find all of you bloggers absolutely amazing: creative, generous, time-and-family-managing whizzes! I appreciate how you like the therapy of blogging just as I like the therapy of sharing in all this amazing brilliance all over the internet. I found Michele's blog along with many others from One Pretty Thing.

    I am an anomaly here: I don't blog, I craft only a little, I do buy the occasional tutorial, e-book, etsy/dawanda product. I would tip because I appreciate amazing things! (I also do lots of volunteer work and a lot of fund-raising.) I am quite ignorant here, so am being honest and opening up cans of worms for many of you.

    So, what to do for cash? (Here come the worms...)
    1. My first reaction is Band Together! If you make a super tutorial that someone else uses, wouldn't you all like a photo and then, say $1-2, as 'Thanks' money (i.e. a tip)? Why don't you ALL do this? You take a lot of time to craft something really cool then you take more time to make a clear, beautiful tutorial. I have bookmarked so many fantastic tutorials and you all deserve a lot more than a smiley face. If you ALL start doing tipping, then it WON'T be strange (just as people 'tip' for shareware that they like and use) AND you'll make a little very-welcome cash. The old 'scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.'
    For this you'd need to know what it costs to implement and maintain tipping. The first year may not be worth it, but if you make this a standard, it will turn into profits.

    2. Reach out beyond the craft-blogging community!
    * Promote your tutorials as something to be used for fund-raising (for schools, churches, local fire dept...). I know this one really goes against the grain, but so many of your products would be lovely for just that small-town let's-make-it-then-sell-it-together raffle or school fair. I could list hundreds of your crafts that I would LOVE to do this with! Why don't you let me? Again, have people like me - who don't come up with ideas - PAY for your expertise. So, I'm suggesting two options on your blogs: free if for private use (to keep or give as a present…) or pay/tip for the tutorial ($5? $10?) for selling locally (not for going into business and not for selling on the internet). Please note: there is really no difference between doing this and putting all of your tutorials together in a book for sale.

    * Make and maintain a special website or blog called something like 'Crafts for Fund Raising' where you all join together to sell your good-for-fund-raising craft tutorials (thematically ordered, of course) and anyone can find you through Google! Good possibilities for this market: Christmas items, pincushions, little dolls, wallets, small purses, bookmarks, fridge magnets, bags, notepads, hairbands, recycled anything! Lots of groups need to make money; make it easy for them to find you.

    * Produce e-books bringing together tutorials of a certain theme--this should cost the purchaser much less than buying each of your tutorials individually.

    * Etsy/Dawanda- If the costs are low to sell here and there are no unpleasant restrictions, then why not?

    3. I don't like ads, unless you have a company that you wish to advertise because you use them all the time. A previous person mentioned how 'peaceful' your blog is, Michele, and that is true not just because of your gentle yet enthusiastic writing style but also because the blog is easy to read and has a clean and uncluttered flow.

    Michele, I wish you the best of luck. I have enjoyed your vivid imagination immensely and I look forward to following your blog and supporting you if the chance arises.

  28. Strange enough , I discovered your blog almost at its beginning, and have been a regular visitor since .... I lived almost the same story, except that being a bit older than you are, the situation is a bit different ... I love your blog , and I can imagine that you could sometimes sell some of your ideas , and indeed make a book or contribute to a magazine .... Don't you have local authorities involved in recycling ? You could contribute a page in a local paper ...You would do wonders organizing workshops for kids ( maybe I say that because it is something I have contemplated , and I am happy and lucky to be able to do it with my grand kids and niece )
    I also understand how you feel about publicity, but .... Considering the huge number of visitors , it might be an idea ... I don't know how intrusive it might be .... But it is less pollution than real paper in the mail box .... Would you find a way to recycle or revamp that too ???
    I would definitely buy a book by Michèle of Michele made me .... Something called : Les idées de Michèle ????

  29. Hey dear...i say your pics & feel are sweety hearty girl...lovely to see your childhood,adult,young & ages...
    well I am just a student,& a part time crafter..whenever get time from my tough studies i love to share arty crafty tutorials..well I am not a successful blogger,how i can suggest or advice you something...(Although i want to write something,but...)so i just wish you lots & lots of happiness & good happy my smart as ever...we love your blog & stuff...stay coooooool

  30. Wow what lovely comments you've got on this subject. As you can see you are not alone in this situation. I understand you not wanting to make a lot of the same stuff to sell and I think a lot a of crafters are like that, me included. I still think your best option is an Etsy shop just making the things you enjoy, and one of a kind things are what people like. Also a book sounds likea perfect idea for you! You are very good at writing and I think that's one of the reason's your blog is so popular along with your honesty and sense of humour. Not sure where to start witha book but maybe getting your tutorials published in a magazine is a start. You have lots of food for thought!
    Looking forward to seeing which path you take next.

  31. Jeez, I totally missed this post yesterday! My first thought, like many others is book. I have no idea if you actually make any money off writing craft books, but yours needs to be uniquely Michele and focus on the incredible recycling ideas you have - I don't see anything of the calibre you create in craft books that focus on recycling. Nothing even close. What you do is so original!

    Tip jar - never heard of that on blogs! I'd probably be so busy filling everyone else's I'd go broke.

    Etsy - not for me. I make stuff to sell at my guild's bi-annual quilt show, but with the price of quilt-shop quality cotton in Canada, I never make much more than $5/hr on my time. Ugh.

    Here's my idea that has been hit on a few times above. I make money on my retreat business. I run 13 hour day retreats about every 6 weeks for 24 people. I cater all the food and set it all up and get door prizes and goodie bags from the wholesaler. This is a great business that pays for my fabric addiction and also brings like-minded women together in an extremely creative atmosphere that is LOVED. Now, you may take a slightly different angle, offering workshops, 'how-to's' ...etc. My retreats are UFO, bring your own stuff and just work while I take care of you type days.

    I'm not sure if you enjoy teaching kids, but on your blog you come across as infinitely patient and I could see a creative b'day party business, or community workshop idea for you as well. I do make a little bit of money teaching workshops, but by the time you account for sample-making and all the time it takes to write up patterns, it's not a whole lot per hour - for me it's more for the love of sharing and supporting other women who want to expand their quilting skills.

    So, to recap: book, retreats, workshops. I'm happy to chat/email more anytime!! Good luck! Once you put yourself out there, like you've done with this post, things start happening. Just you wait and see!

  32. I am a little late here, but I would like to throw my two cents in. I think you need to get a dry erase board and think BIG, MIchele. Write all your different options under one umbrella. Then start branching out from there. There is nothing to prevent you from doing Etsy and other things at the same time. You can sell both a finished item and patterns (tutorials) for that item on etsy, all the while having a few freebies for your blog people. I don't really care for advertising on your blog, I feel like it clutters it up. Having said that, your questions are about increasing your income while remaining your own boss. You can redesign your blog look so that their advertising is put to one side in a separate column. Make the companies you showcase relevant to your projects. Don't entertain offers from "ugly" advertising or those that flash or move. Instead of a tip jar, raffle off some of your best pieces in local fundraisers, let them know you have a minimum that must be met. Rather than doing classes locally, or selling tutorials through your blog, why not go to the big dogs. I would contact Scott Paper Co. and ask them if they would purchase one of your tutorials on toilet paper roll projects that they can print directly on their plastic packaging. Do the same for other companies, if not on their packaging, then in their advertising or on their websites. You provide a photo and a link for a fee. Why not provide installation art work for their home offices? Blogs are the new magazines, offer a contributing post to other blogs that have a lot of traffic. I have many more ideas, if you want them let me know. Carolina

  33. Thinking some more about this, while most people would not pay for a tutorial, I think a lot of people would pay for an e-course if it had a few projects showcased in it and they could interact with you. Just another idea :)

  34. You have an amazing talent for drawing-- I'd love to see some of your sketches, paintings or pics for sale. Making a living doing craft stuff is hard-- maybe some sort of lessons, or even volunteer work. Doing volunteer work gives you a place to hand out business cards w/o feeling guilty too. (I do photo work for a foodbank, but taking pics at events allows me to hand out cards to doners who have spare cash. Wish you success *smiles* you deserve it.

  35. Hi Michelle - I just found my way to your blog today, but I felt I needed to comment on this post. I too found myself in a job I enjoyed - and for the first time felt I was good at - but it was eating me up inside. I was so unhappy and unhealthy as a result. I left my job the end of March 2009. I'm still not working. We have a son who is in his last semester of college and is out of money. I can't buy the fabric I might want to or new clothes or. . . well, you know. The list goes on. But what I can say is I'm so much more at ease. I am happier. I have time to create. I have time to really think about what I truly need vs want. There is a huge difference. Taking the time to realize needs and savoring all that I do have has been a gift. I hope you find a path that allows you to earn some money and create and share and feed your soul. I know your family will reap many rewards it you can - not all financial - but much more meaningful. Some day I hope to follow in your footsteps and find a way to earn as well, but until then, I'm doing o.k. So glad I found your blog~

  36. Have you thought about this?
    That way you don't need a tip jar directly on your blog. Good luck!

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