Giveaway Winner Announced and more!

Giveaway WinnerA winner has been chosen from our Giveaway: Catalina Torre! The Giveaway was created through Rafflecopter, and the winner was chosen at random. I had a lot of fun doing this Giveaway and I loved working with Lilia Vanini! The scarfs were so beautiful that I wanted to enter the Giveaway myself but I knew that would probably be frowned upon, so I will just have to wait until I can purchase one!

If you are planning on hosting a Giveaway, I would definitely suggest going through Rafflecopter. I did opt for the Blogger membership, which is $8 a month, but I feel like it was worth it if you are planning on hosting several giveaways. They made it super easy for me to start it, and updated me when it was almost over, and again when it was over. Unfortunately, I couldn’t embed the giveaway on my blog, but there was a Facebook app which made it easy.

book writingAnd I have some exciting news to share…I am writing my very first book! It’s in the super-beginning stages right now. It will focus on people who have successfully started their own businesses after losing their jobs. So, if you have started your own business after losing your job (laid off or fired), and you want to share your story, I would love to write about it!

I would interview you and any family members or friends that could help add your story and I would either meet you to take a few pictures of you (if you live in the area), or you could simply send some photos that best describe your life and business to me. I haven’t decided if I am going to take it to a publisher, or if I will publish it myself, but all of the writing and design will be done by me.

Writing was my first love, and it will always be my biggest passion. This book will be an exploration into the lives of people who have made something wonderful out of a negative experience. I have started a few projects since I lost my job, but I have yet to find much success from them, so it will be so amazing to hear all of these stories. I will be posting updates, profiles, photos and more during this book writing journey.

Please let me know if you would like to share your story. You can either post a comment, write me an e-mail or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you would like to host a giveaway with me, collaboration and sponsorship opportunities are available. I do all the work, you just let me know what product you want to share!

Thank you for hanging with me on this crazy and wild, yet totally amazing, journey.

Interview with Ziggy Hanaor from Cicada Books


Image belongs to Cicada Books

Remember when I wrote about all of the awesome arts and crafts books that I found a couple weeks back? Well, I felt so inspired from visiting the Cicada Publishing site, that I wanted to learn more about how it got started. What I learned is that the publishing company is a one-woman show, run by Ziggy Hanaor, 35, who lives in London. I contacted Ziggy to learn more about how she started her own publishing business, and this is what she had to say.

After working for book publishing companies, what inspired you to start your own?

I had my older daughter, and wanted to work flexible hours. A friend of mine came to me with a great idea (for Graphic Europe), and after a bit of research, I realised it wouldn’t be that complicated to do it on my own. I tiptoed into it with one book a year for the first couple years, and once I got a bit of confidence (and space in my life) I stepped it up a notch.

What is the best and scariest part of starting your own business?

It took a lot longer and a lot more money than I initally expected to make it into a functioning business. There were definitely moments when it felt like a pointless and fairly stressful moneypit! The best thing  is being my own boss and not having to compromise on the way I think a book should come together!

What made you choose the art and design genre?
I sort of fell into this genre. I started out working as a script editor in television, and wasn’t happy. I decided to make a career shift, and got an internship in Black Dog Publishing, an art and design publisher. As soon as i got there I realised it was what I had been waiting for. I’ve always been surrounded by visual people – all my friends went to art school, I’ve always felt comfortable in the art world –  but I’ve always been a words person. This brought together my two primary interests.

How many clients do you have? Did they come to you or did you seek them out?

I don’t really have clients, per se. Occasionally if a book idea interests me, but I don’t think it will sell strongly enough, I’ll partner with someone financially on a project, and in those circumstances it’s more of a client relationship. But usually I find people (or they approach me) with ideas, and it’s more of a collaborative relationship – working the book up together in as equal partners. In these instances I would say it’s about 50/50 – half the time people approach me, half the time I think of an idea and approach people who I think would be appropriate.

What books are you reading right now?

To be honest between looking after my kids and running my company I don’t read that much. Mostly I read the New Yorker.

What motivates you every day?

Making beautiful books that I think will sell. Thinking up new ideas for books that I think will look beautiful.


Image belongs to Cicada Books

What are you working on next?

For some reason I’m going through an ‘illustration’ phase. I’ve got some awesome books lined up with some great illustrators – Fiona Biddington, Lucy Dalzell, Merlin Evans, Rebecca Elves and Annu Kilpelainen (all female – not deliberate but a happy coincidence). We’ve got some illustrated journals, a colouring book, an architectural wallchart…. it’s going to be great!

Where do you hope to see your company go?

 It’s quite lonely and stressful doing it all on my own, so I’d love to be in a position to employ a few more people to share the load, and take on more projects than I am currently able to do.

What do you do during your off time (if you have any)?

Look after my kids!

Who would be your dream client?

Oh I don’t know really…. I’d like to work with some big museums, and do some pure art books. I’d like to work with textile designers – I’m interested in textiles at the moment.

Image belongs to Cicada Books

Image belongs to Cicada Books

Do you do everything by yourself, or do you have people working for you?

I work with my designers, Studio April, and I have help on things like foreign rights, but for the most part it’s just me. Hopefully that will change in the next few months.

What advice do you have for people who are wanting to start their own company?

Make sure you have plenty of time to devote to it, and be patient. Sometimes it takes a while to make sense.

Has book publishing changed what you read or the way you read?

I read less. I read and edit all day, and find it hard to read as a means of entertainment (unless I’m on holiday and completely switched off work).

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Other books, exhibitions, popular culture…. anything can spark an idea.

What is a normal day for you? First thing you do when you get up?

Get the girls ready for school, go to the office, don’t quite manage to get through everything on my list, pick the girls up, take them to swimming or the heath or wherever, make them dinner, put them to bed, watch TV or work depending on how much I didn’t manage to get through earlier, go to bed. Pretty prosaic!

If you want to see what Ziggy Hanaor and Cicada Books are all about, feel free to visit their site and/or follow them on Facebook. I’m hoping to keep going with this and I would love to talk to some more inspiring and awesome people who have taken the big risk by starting their own company. If you know of anyone who fits this, please let me know. I would like to keep it along the lines of creative businesses, but I’m open to anything…as long as it’s legal…I’m a mom now. Check out more inspiring people on my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Fridays are for Favorites

fridays are for favorites

I’ve always been into arts and crafts, but I didn’t get seriously into it until I was pregnant and was left in an apartment with nothing to do and big ol craft closet just waiting to be torn apart. That’s around the time that I purchased my very first crafting book, Big Ass Book of Crafts by Mark Montano. After I realized all of the wonderful things I can do, my imagination went crazy.


Being a devout follower of A Beautiful Mess, I saw that Elsie and Emma, who run the site, have come out with a new book.

Image belongs to A Beautiful Mess

Image belongs to A Beautiful Mess

This got me thinking about all the other cool arts and crafts book that are out there, that I have just totally missed the boat on. Here are some of my favorites.


Photo belongs to Lauren Elise Donaldson

Mason Jar Crafts from Lauren Elise Donaldson – The only thing that I love more than finding a good book is finding a wonderful blog that is attached to it. Luckily, Lauren has come through with two blogs that are equally amazing. She has Lauren Elise Crafted, where she shares her crafts and love for design and styling. Her other blog, Cottage Journal, is more writings and photography about her home life.

Image belongs to Cicada Publishing

Image belongs to Cicada Publishing

State of Craft by Victoria Woodcock – This book is handled by Cicada Publishing, a publishing company that handles art, design and craft books. They also published the book You’re Awesome: 21 Crafts to Make You Happy by Abbey Hendrickson, which looks like an awesome read.

The last two books are from the Design*Sponge 2011 gift guide. Obviously, I’m a little behind in this craft book craze.

Image belongs to Paper & Cup

Image belongs to Paper & Cup

Paper + Craft by Minhee and Truman Cho – Minhee and Truman Cho are the creative minds behind Paper+Cup, and also co-wrote this awesome craft book. They are a stationary and design studio that was based in New York, but they recently moved to Paris and share all their inspiration in their online sketchbook.  If you haven’t checked them out yet, you definitely should.

Image belongs to Christine Schmidt

Image belongs to Christine Schmidt

Print Workshop by Christine Schmidt – Christine Schmidt also runs Yellow Owl Workshop, her brand that sells eco-friendly handmade goods, including greeting cards and stamps. She also offers a kit for carving your own stamps and she sells stamp sets that say “from the garden,” which I’m pretty sure I need. I think this site might get me in some trouble.

So, I’m feeling pretty good about this list of books. I would buy each and every one of these books, and chances are, I probably will sometime in the near future. If you know of any cool craft books that you feel need some attention, share them in the comments and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #craftbooks.