The April List
Updated: Apr 3, 2021
Taking advantage of more daylight over the past few weeks, I've picked up steam making new pieces both at home and in the studio. Though the majority of this work has gone toward fulfilling existing orders, a small portion of it is available as part of a modest shop restock, particularly of Cactus Ring Dishes, Twiggy Spoons, and Mona Scoops. March also ended on a very high note with a dream feature in a campaign by Etsy in partnership with Sarah Samuel Sherman, the interior design guru.
On the shop front, I've made a few vases available as made-to-order items now that I've established a post-baby production rhythm. I look forward to making these favorite pieces again along with exploring new ideas that I've dreamed up these past few months. At this time, made-to-order designs include the Arch Vase, the Small Arch Vase, and the Lana Vase.
Now that we're in the midst of spring, I'm looking forward to spending more time outdoors in this sweet spot of the year before the mosquitos return. Gardening, grilling, and walking around in the sunshine are all on the list. I'll even welcome the April showers which will nourish my garden and grass. I'll roll my windows down on my drives to the studio. Iced coffee season is back, my sunglasses are ready to go, and my straw hats are waiting in the wings.
Here are some other plans and goals for this month.
Jazzy's 100 Day Celebration
In Chinese culture, a baby's 100th day of life is a cause for celebration, with friends and family gathering for a meal, and symbolic presents for the baby to mark the occasion. This celebration is also called the Red Egg and Ginger party.
Jazz's 100 days falls on April 18th, and though we won't be having a get-together, we'll celebrate the day in our household with a splash of red, FaceTiming with family, and a special meal for mom & dad (which he'll enjoy later in the form of breastmilk!).
It's incredible to think that Jazz will be 3 months old in April. He's growing and changing so quickly, and we're growing and learning right along with him. We're still very new parents, but it feels like we've come such a long way since those first dreamy, hazy weeks with our newborn. We came home with a tiny peanut and now we have a smiling, happy baby whose personality is starting to emerge. We're so lucky to have been home with him all of this time. Fortunately, my maternity leave extends until the end of May (20 weeks since I work for a European bank) so I'll have several more weeks of this precious time with him at the center of my days.
Accounting for my time
Pricing my pieces has always been tricky for me. I, like many maker-owned small businesses, have a habit of undervaluing my time. In my desire to sell and move pieces, I often end up pricing them lower than I know I should, thereby not paying myself fairly for the time I spent making them. I know when this is the case if I get a feeling in the pit of my stomach when the sale alert comes in - it feels like disappointment, almost regret, at having let that item go at that price. My gut is speaking to me loudly and clearly: I need to value my time, labor, design work, and vision.
This month, I'm going to listen to that inner voice, and start taking notes. I'll be keeping a record of how much time it takes me to make pieces, adding up the minutes and, because I work in batches, dividing them between the various pieces that I make. This data will be a huge help in my pricing equation going forward.
Returning to the library
My local library is currently in operation, but on a request-only basis. That's okay by me since I have a wishlist of books to read, and pick-up/drop-off is very easy. Last month, I read The Montessori Toddler, since I was interested in understanding the Montessori method after Kev's parents gifted Jazzy a subscription to Lovevery, a subscription of Montessori-inspired play kits. Some other books on my reading list include books on pottery, home/cooking/gardening books, and more parenting books. I'm hungry to learn, and I'm using the library as a resource for education and research. I'm so happy to live within walking distance of my local branch.
Taking more pictures
I know I'll want to remember these days. Pictures from this phase of life, even the blurry, unflattering ones, will be cherished in the future. I have a camera that I don't use nearly enough, and I want to keep it out, close at hand, and at the ready for pictures of family, mundane activities, pottery... anything and nearly everything. My goal for April is to take a few pictures with my camera every day of the month.
Tending our garden
After taking steps to start my spring garden in March, I'm excited to continue to cultivate it this month. It's amazing how quickly the earth bursts to life in what feels like mere days as soon as spring arrives. Shoots are coming out of our trees, our bulbs, and our hedges. I already see daffodils nearly ready to blossom. This month, many of our seedlings that are currently in newspaper cups will be ready for planting. I start more seeds than we need as insurance, and I like to give extra plants to family members. As of writing this post, my basil, cherry tomato, parsley, thyme, and rosemary seedlings are doing well (fingers crossed). I've already planted my cosmos and chamomile into the front yard garden and those are still alive so far as well. There are several more seeds I'm waiting on... let's see how they do this month.
I'm posting updates on Instagram to document and share my novice gardening. If you can't tell, I'm really excited for this planting season. Here's to a greener thumb.