January DIY + business book club – 2015

dear handmade life diy, craft and business book clubOn the last night of 2014 I sat in my studio with my husband and sister-in-law drinking cocktails and crafting New Year’s Eve hats from card stock, pom-pom balls, glitter and copious amounts of washi tape. Neither of them are crafters like me but they both agreed to summon their inner DIYness and make wacky hats. I was expecting them to ask me lots of questions like which glue to use for the pom pom balls or what shape they should make their hats in but they just sat down and started making. They figured everything out on their own and their hats ended up being way more creative than mine.

January is a time when many people sit down and write lengthy lists of goals for the next year – like be more creative, get in shape, start writing, spend more time being present in the moment or take that big leap and finally start or grow a business. For many of us, at least some of these goals go unfulfilled and at the end of the year we write a new list of resolutions that we swear we’ll try our very best to accomplish. One of the things that can stop you from working towards these goals is… starting. There are tons of excuses on why you can’t start right now, like — I want to start a business BUT I can’t because I don’t know anything about running a business or I want to be more creative BUT I can’t because I’ve never made anything before. There’s always going to be a BUT, an excuse of why you can’t do something. The trick is to start doing it despite the BUT.

When I asked my husband and sister-in-law if they wanted to make New Years’ Eve hats they could have easily let the BUT get the best of them and said something like, “I’m not creative enough to make a hat or what if it turns out ugly.” BUT they didn’t! They jumped in full force and figured it out. If you wait until all the BUT’s are gone from something you want to accomplish you’ll never even start.

This year as look at your list of goals for 2015, remember that you’ll never be fully prepared unless you begin preparing. If you want to start a business, take that first step and start doing some research. If you want to be more creative, you don’t have to wait until you have the money to buy fancy art supplies, check out our DIY boards on Pinterest. There are tons of ideas there for creative projects that you can make from things you probably already have. If starting or building your business or tapping into your creativity is on your 2015 list of things to accomplish, our Dear Handmade Life book club is a great place to start. Every month we feature titles to help you tap into your artistic side and build your business skills. This month is no exception. We’re even going to help you get a head start because we’re giving away four of these books to one lucky reader. So, get out there and MAKE IT HAPPEN!

-Nicole S.

To enter the contest:

If you want to win five of these books Art, Inc., Clearing the Clutter, The Making of a Rag Doll, Tiny World Terrariums, and Origami Master Class Flowers, just leave a comment on this post letting us know one of your goals for 2015. Post your comment by February 4th at midnight to be entered to win. Make sure to include your email address so we can get your address and ship you some lovely things to read.

The Contest is now closed.

1. Clear the Clutter, find Happiness by Donna Smallin

2. Art, Inc. by Lisa Congdon

3. The Making of a Rag Doll by Jess Brown

4. Tiny World Terrariums by Michelle Inciarrano & Katy Maslow

5. Origami Master Class Flowers by Marcio Noguchi

dear handmade life diy, craft and business book clubdear handmade life diy, craft and business book club

dear handmade life diy, craft and business book club



  1. My personal goals have been to work out 3 times a week and draw 1 thing every day. I am proud to say that I’ve been sticking with it. The days that I’m too sleepy to draw, I have made up for that day the next. It’s been an awesome feeling.

    In my business, my goal is to have 100 Etsy sales by the end of 2015. I’ve got 65 so far so I’m making great progress.

    1. We have until midnight tonight to enter yet. Is midnight pacific standard time? I just received an email today at 9am from dear handmade life inviting us all to enter.

  2. One of my goals is to somehow figure out how to start a business or at least get into the crafty field and leave my customer service job behind. Crafting makes me happy, no matter what it is. Right now I’m obsessing over crochet. I just dont know how to focus all the creative energy into something that I can make money at doing.

  3. I absolutely love that you’re doing this contest! Thank you so much! My email address is lawilliams17@gmail.com and one of my goals for 2015 is to build up my (small) personal training business Lu’s Lifestyle Fitness based out of Long Beach, CA.

  4. One of my goals: to finally do something cool with all of those picture frames I got at the thrift shop last year!

  5. Thank you for doing this! My goal for 2015 is to build up my personal training business Lu’s Lifestyle Fitness!

  6. One of my goals is to read more! I have a tendency to start a book and never finish it. Last year for the first time in YEARS I finished a book! It was The Art of Nonconformity by Chris Guillebeau and it was great. Currently I am reading Art Inc and Getting Things Done.

    On a non-book note, another goal is to crank out more/better/fabulous cross stitch patterns!

  7. One of my goals this year is to take a silversmithing class and a watercolor class at my local art school. I’m also made a firm resolution to make sure that I’m giving myself time to have awesome lady-dates (coffee, yoga, indie movies, fresh flowers at the Greenmarket) because my friends and I can get really hung up over long workweeks. It’s always refreshing to touch base and carve out time to catch up with my lovely ladies.

  8. Hi! One of my goals for 2015 is to connect with other people who want to make the most of their creative vision. I’m always inspired by other people’s talents and skills. I’m looking forward to attending Craftcation for the first time this year – very excited for all the wonderful people I’ll meet and new skills I’ll learn!

  9. My goal of this year is to really focus and improve my Etsy store and the crafts I sell. I want to expand my inventory. I also need to surround myself with other creative people that inspire and support me!

  10. One of my goals is to focus more on the important stuff and leave the rest behind. It’s too easy to get caught up in unimportant issues and I want to avoid that. Time is too short, I want to make it count!

  11. One of my goals for 2015 is to try to balance work and play more effectively this year… I’m really thinking about demands on my time before I commit to anything and building REST into my calendar… so far, so good!! Would love these books!! Thanks for the chance to win!

  12. Dear 2015,
    I see you’ve gotten off to a great start, a birthday and even a job! Congratulations on all of that, but there’s one more thing I don’t want you to forget about.. I don’t want you to forget about making and crafting the things that make you happy. My goal for you, dear 2015, is to push the limits of your creativity and make MORE. Make everything you can fathom and if it doesn’t work out then at least you learned from the attempt. You’ve done a great job with cards so far, especially those glittery valentine’s cards you got started with early, but I know there’s more in you. Your ceramics are getting better, but you tend to settle with what you get, instead of trying to refine and really make the shape you want. More sketching outdoor landscapes, drawing people, and finally, reading what inspires you to be creative. Good luck, I believe in you!

  13. My word for 2015 is MOXIE and I plan on expanding my Etsy shop from just vintage dress to include vintage accessories and home decor! I hope to add advertisements to my marketing plan and I’m rebranding a little. I’m also starting a lifestyle blog with my BFF and I’d like to do style consultations & photo shoots of ladies modeling my vintage dresses!

  14. A goal I set for myself is to wear earrings and eye makeup more often. Basic yes. Although something I didn’t do often. I happen to find a pair of earrings that don’t irritate my ears, are flattering and quite often compliment what I’m wearing. The result has been that I feel just a little happier, more outgoing, and positive in general, which leads to what feels like an increase in accomplishing more. Ultimately this little “doable” change is having a larger positive impact and it feels good 🙂

  15. My biggest goal of 2015 is to de-clutter my house. Get rid of things (papers/clothes/long forgotten stuff) I don’t need.

  16. My goal is to pick a direction with my creative life; stick with hobby or really go into business. Dabbled in teaching workshops and selling at fairs. Reading lots of resources about the business side right now to focus my goal more specifically. My goal is shorter than by the end of the year. My plan is focussed on starting a business by the end of March if that is the right direction.

  17. Trying one more time (I can’t tell if my comment has submitted or not 🙂

    My big goal is to stop standing in my own way, and to keep doing the hard work.

  18. I want to get rid of the excess stuff in my house. Although I haven’t started yet, I plan to try to do one little de-cluttering project a day.

  19. Hey Nicole, I’m also a list maker! At the end of 2014 I started a list of all the small organizational projects that I need to do. Everything from arranging my sock drawer, to tackling the fabric stash to cleaning out the refrigerator. My resolution is to pick an item off the list every Monday and get it done during the week. I’d love to get a copy “Clear the Clutter, Find Happiness”. I think that is this year’s mantra!

    1. That’s a great goal! Think of it as clearing out some room for new clothes for the “season” your body is in right now! And then go have fun filling in that gap!

  20. My goal for 2015 is to get involved with crafting groups. I am a stay at home mom but used to work in Silicon Valley before kids. The past five years my “hobbie” was growing a group of mobile app makers. Although it was rewarding, the time spent in front of a computer became less inspiring (i.e., I didn’t want my kids to see me staring at a computer so much!). I’ve always enjoyed crafting but hadn’t yet blogged or networked about it. So, I signed up for Craftcation 2015 and will be going in March. Ventura is my hometown, so the trip is a double bonus! Thanks for the great content and I look forward to starting a new chapter with craft-minded folks in 2015.

  21. I, like Jenni, just got the e-mail about this contest and appreciate that you’ve extended the deadline to this morning. One of my goals for 2015 is to spend more time with family and friends. Last year, my sister almost died and I hadn’t seen her in while before she landed in ER. It reminded me how important it is to spend quality time with the people you love.

  22. My big goal this year is to FOCUS my efforts in my business and store. First opportunity is to design a “collection” and also to expand my designs to include other mediums such as fiber/textile pieces.

    I know I missed the deadline for books-just wanted to get my goal on the record. Thank you all!

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