Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Good News / Bad News

From the outset of this blog I made the decision that I'd always focus on the positive. Even when I'm really stressed and things are a bit heavy I try to stick to subject matter that's all rosy. Friends, family, and fabulous things. It's not that I'm hiding the bad stuff...or being less than genuine. I'm not trying to pretend that my world is free of life's pitfalls and drama. It's just that I respect you guys and I don't think you deserve to be exposed to one iota more of the dark side of things. You get plenty on the tv, in newspapers, magazines, political blogs don't need me to join the black parade. Like the age old cliche: "whaddaya want to hear first?...the good news or the bad news?" Well...I just give you the good news first and last. You'll have to go somewhere else for the bad. And I'm not unique...ALL of my favorite blogs follow this unspoken rule. From posie gets cozy to My Minutia to Inspire Co. to Inside a Black Apple . All these gals spoil us with lightness and faith and inspiration and generosity... I can remember specific times throughout the years when I felt like these Blogging Beauties literally saved my life. These blogs and the many others on my blog roll are like safe zones. You can browse and browse and feel assured that you'll only encounter great heartwarming stuff. It's almost like the Disney seal of approval...but I mean that in the best way. Not like these blogs are hokie, rated G, schmaltzy, hug parties. NOT AT ALL. They are real and they exist in a decidedly positive reality. We choose to see the bright side and in turn we share our stories of life on the bright side. Nobody is faking it.
BUT...even though we all may try our darndest to only share the good stuff...the stuff that makes us smile....well, sometimes it's just not possible to be so disciplined. Sometimes life brings bad news and sometimes the bad news is just way too big to gloss over. We'd have to try really really hard to pretend like everything is rosy. Those favorite "all positive", life saving bloggers I spoke of up above...well, they also have had their share of bad experiences that they just had to share with us. And all in all I think all of us readers benefit from their honesty. We get the chance to be there for them. As readers it's our opportunity to give back. And also, even though we don't really need any more reality in our lives...these instances of bad news do serve as reality checks...but positive reality checks. Because we all have troubles and when we share our troubles we feel less alone in the big big world. I was just about to mention as examples, a handful of bad news blog posts from the archives of some of my favorite blogs. But I think to take them out of context is to trivialize and simplify them. And they deserve more than that. Anyway, if you read a lot of blogs I'm sure you know what I mean.
Ok, so let me get to it. I have a ton of good news...lots of positive...lots of hope. But I also have some crummy stuff that I simply can't ignore and I think if I left out the info I'd be dishonest to all of you guys. So as much as I hate to be a wet blanket just keep in mind that me and Aaron have got our eyes on the sky and we're facing the sunny horizon. We're staying positive and this post will certainly finish with a flourish of inspiration.
Alright, the number one bad thing on my mind is this: After much heartbreaking and teary deliberation, me and Aar have come to the conclusion that we simply cannot go to Silver Bella. There are so so many reasons why. It's almost been a perfect storm of unfortunate circumstances. First, me and Aar support ourselves with our art. This is the only source of income. And as of late, that income has been not so hot. In our studio we often keep on any one of the cable news channels while we work...since our favorite talk radio station doesn't come in so well at our new address, we now use cable news as our talk radio...since our eyes are on our work we can't watch the tv, we can only listen. And right around September it became very difficult to listen to. Ever since the word "Economy" started to sound like a curse word. Newscasters just love to be harbingers of doom, and they love nothing more than to flippantly tell us that we're on the verge of a second Great Depression. Me and Aar work away in our studio and every time the bad economy and/or the crashing stock market are mentioned we CRINGE. News like this directly correlates to a monster drop in sales for us. These news guys are telling us all to cut the fat...tighten our belts...stash the cash under our mattresses. And so what do you think cut the fat means? I think it means: "you don't need to buy a painting of a cupcake" and "you don't need a mural in your daughter's room" or "you should wait 'til the financial storm clears before you have Aaron and Jenny come in to your home to do some awesome finishes on those bookcases etc etc..." And that's exactly what's been going on. I wonder if these news guys know how powerful they really are. The worst part is that they don't necessarily even believe what they're telling us. They say it because it gets our attention. Fear is an excellent attention getter. Fear will keep you tuning in each day. They use it as a tool and it's just so very inconsiderate, irresponsible, and careless of them. Anyway...I know it's so unbelievably tacky to talk about money and I'm super embarrassed to even bring it up but I think I needed to.
There are other reasons besides cold cash why we can't go to Silver Bella but the expense is a big one. Sure, we were going there to be vendors...we were going there to sell our stuff. And last year teaching classes there was so awesome and we did great on vendor night. But this year we were to be driving there...a 2 day journey there and a 2 day journey back. That means, counting Omaha, we'd be staying in 3 hotels. We'd be gone from our studio for 7 or more days just to set up shop for roughly 2 hours. Don't get me wrong...we knew this going in...we knew this when we paid for our tables and reserved a room in the hotel. And we were more than thrilled to do it. The drive would be an adventure and Silver Bella would be an amazing 4 day party with the bonus of getting to actually set up shop and offer our artwork to some of our favorite people in the world...and to BUY stuff from my favorite artists in the world...I sorta planned on redistributing whatever we made at our table to all the other tables at vendor night ; )( This is actually really really hard for me to write about but I want to stay objective just so I can express myself clearly without getting too emotional...but I keep tearing up every time that I pause and picture all the faces I was looking forward to seeing....I swear, if you're reading this, you gals, my friends, just know that your faces seem to be painted inside my eyelids...I'm gonna miss you all so much!!!) BUT...I have to just make this point and move on. With our big drop in sales over the past 2 months the light of Silver Bella grew dimmer and dimmer. If business was booming it would be no problem at all...the trip to Omaha wasn't just for business. Our motivation was more social than business. We couldn't wait to see all of our dear friends that we don't get to see in real life. We woulda been ok with breaking even or even a slight loss on our expenses. But with the way things are's just impossible.
Don't worry, I'm going to change the subject real soon. I hate that I'm talking about such crummy stuff! I guess I need to get this off my chest because I feel so guilty. Guilt is a big big thing with me. I feel guilty because Teresa is going to have an empty table on vendor night. I feel guilty because me and Aaron were in the advertising for SB. I feel guilty because we are letting down anybody who was looking forward to seeing us there. And my guilt spans further than Silver Bella. I feel guilty now for letting you guys know that business hasn't been good. Because I hate to tarnish your idea of where our artwork comes from. In our art we try to give you all the lightness and whimsy that we possess. I don't want you to think that we're feeling down while we're creating.
I swear, I will change the tone of this post very soon but there's one more thing I need to air out. It has to do with the way we work. Me and Aar are both cursed with artist brains. These are the brains that are opposite of business brains. Although we've had lots of success I think that we probably work much harder than we should. We know that success should come easier and that we shouldn't have to work 'til 3 am, 7 days a week to get our orders out...but we continue to repeat this behavior. And what's worse is that when sales drop we'll often make compromises with how we work. We'll set ourselves up to do way more physical labor than we're capable of doing, in a time frame that is simply unrealistic. The result is that we are constantly struggling to stay on schedule and we often have to make amends to some of our most valued customers. The only upside to this is that we LOVE giving gifts and making free artwork for our customers (there goes that artist brain again : ) )
So...that's why we're changing how we work. We will no longer offer 50-60 different versions of handmade stuff. We can't keep that much stuff in stock and doing it made-to-order keeps us locked away in the studio 24/7...really. We'll now only offer a couple things as made-to-order and we'll be switching to selling artwork that is already made and ready to go. We've been dying to do it this way. We'll be able to work like crazy on BRAND NEW stuff and then announce a shop update...maybe every 2 weeks. All new art...lots of one-of-a-kinds. We've been asked a million times if we offer original paintings. And now we finally will. Work for us has been: "time to make the donuts"...and we have to change that. We have to be artists...ever evolving...ever expanding. (*note: ever since I made the switch to Blogger and I've added the world map to my blog which shows where in the world my blog readers are coming from...I think I owe it to my international readers to explain some exclusively American this case: "time to make the donuts" refers to a Dunkin Donuts commercial from the 1980's featuring a chubby little mustachioed donut maker who wakes up each morning to make the donuts and he mutters to himself "time to make the donuts, time to make the donuts..."...over and over...repeating the same in, day out....I hope that explains it!)

Wow, this is a long post and if you're still reading at this point...thanks! Now I must move on to the good news. New stuff! We regularly present our artwork on 3/4 inch thick wooden boards. We distress the edges, apply washes...I think the feel of well worn wood melds nicely with our artwork. But we recently tried out some of our paintings in a more "dressed up" presentation and I think the result is a big step up. Charlotte, The Well Read Raven, Cupcake Girls, Celebrate Everyday, The Recital... now will come set in a sleek 16 x 20 mat, signed, titled, and ready to be framed. We took some pics of them framed above our mantle and each painting seemed to be reborn in this new format. The images measure 11 x 14 but with the 16 x 20 mat and frame the artwork becomes a great decor focal point. And these prints are just the beginning. We'll be matting up a lot of our classic Cake Art at 11 x 14 and 8 x 10. The 8 x 10's come in a mat that measures 11 x 14. We're also going to be painting some new classics...cupcakes, layer cakes, a new pink mixer, and a couple super fab holiday images...can't wait to debut them!!! We took our own private refresher course on matting and now we're all set up to be matting machines over here. It's a thrill to see our artwork all pristine and slipped into their individual cellophane sleeves. And the best part is...they're all in stock and ready to ship!!! As a kick off for these we're gonna have a big sale... Buy one print and get your second print or any other item in our shop of equal or lesser value for half price!!!

*We will be adding more prints daily! Holiday designs and cupcakes coming over the next day or two!

More new stuff!!! We're doing tons or ornaments...sold individually and in stock! We hope you'll see new ones in our shop every few days. We've got some cool ones...our classic green mixer, a vintage sifter, cupcakes dressed in a spectrum of buttercream frosting, cake slices, full cakes, and a couple retro pin up gals with some 3D adornments...all are made of sturdy mat board and expertly cut by hand (and man are our hands sore!!! but we love doing these!) The backs are finished with some of our favorite patterned papers...polka dots, stripes, florals well as some bits of vintage ephemera like recipe book clippings etc...All are signed and they hang by a bit of classic bakery twine. Each will come in their own little cellophane sleeve...awesome little gifts, ready to ship and they ship cheap in a sturdy cardboard envelope. Also, our postcard packs are super fab stocking stuffers! Those are ready to go as well. The matted prints, ornaments, and postcards are some of the stuff we were gonna have at our Silver Bella table.

I got so many nice Birthday comments and emails!! It's just too too kind of you all. You guys really warm my heart. Thank you...really....thank you!! We've been so bound by work that I had to put my birthday plans on hold 'til we had some free time. Also, there's a bit of rough family stuff going on that needs to clear up. I like to celebrate with everybody in my family and at present it's just not possible. I'm willing to wait 'til we can all get together. Aaron's parents and Grandmother sent me the sweetest cards and his brother and wife, (the parents of that adorable nephew you've seen pictured on this blog and on my Flickr page)...well they sent over flowers, a balloon, a nice!!! And Ana, my sweet, funny as heck pal who is the best flea marketer and snail mailer in the business sent me a happy little envelope with a vintage card and this sweet rick rack and birthday seal!
And my sister Missy, who lives behind me and you'd be utterly shocked at how little I see her! She got me some really fun stuff...I absolutely adore this bottle of perfume from the Harajuku Lovers sweet!

It's funny when the 4th wall is broken. I recently made an Etsy purchase from my online friend Mary. Well, like most online friends, I've never met Mary in person. But unlike most online friends...Mary lives like 15 minutes away from me. So she hand delivered my nice of her! Aaron came outside and it was discreetly left on the railing of my steps, wrapped like a gift! Happiest mini aqua ornament stems...amazing pink, aqua, and silver trim...and some fab appliques! Love this stuff!!

Lastly, I'm thrilled at the results of the Presidential election. I know it's an issue that can be divisive and I'm not here to espouse my politics...I'm just happy with the choice America made. In the scope of America it's way bigger than that first step we took on the moon. I had tears in my they were streaming down my face...when the declaration was made. Aaron was at the post office today and there was a poster in the lobby with a big picture of was an ad that a local person put up who is setting up a charter bus trip to the inuaguration. When was the last time Americans were so excited and such a part of Washington politics? I imagine there will be charter busses coming from all over the country. It's so exciting...the idea of people coming together like that...for America...for a President. It's such a worthy and noble cause. It's funny, this choice of President is such a forward thinking, twenty first century event but at the same time there's a feeling of going back in time. A reclamation of national pride. It's been a long time since this many people even cared who won or lost. We've definitely made a huge step in the right direction and I'm proud to be a part of it.

Alright, I've taken up enough of your time. I have to get back to work. I'm super super sad that I'm not in a van right now driving to Omaha. We were already scheduled to leave. I definitely have more tears coming. But the decision to not go really wasn't a decision at all...staying home and working was in fact our only option. I'll really miss everybody so much and I can only look forward to next year. For now, thanks to all of you guys for being there for me. Me and Aaron are working hard to get things on track so we can really be there for all of you guys.
xoxo, Jenny


  1. Jenny, I bet that was hard to share news with such a depressed note. I do know what you mean things here in Calif. are real tuff right now my husband and I sell Real Estate so I guess enough said. We had a photography and graphics Studio for years decided to switch our careers and wow we only got our feet wet for 2 1/2 years and bam this crazy economy. We need to think lean see how we can all save and get smarter in our business endeavors. Your new sales ideas look smart, your pictures look great framed. There will be many more Silver Bellas you two are young, loads of good stuff ahead of you and with our "NEW PRESIDENT" (: things just might get better. Your blog was and still is an inspiration to me. Make it a PINK Christmas...
    Hugs, Diane

  2. Sending you a big hug, just because : )

  3. Oh dear Jenny I'm really very sorry for you and Aaron that you can't go to Silver Bella, although it was already planned, I can imagine how sad that must be for you, but you are right the times are hard and I'm sure you did the right decision. I so would have wished to go to SB too this year, but I simply can't afford it. We feel the bad world economy very strong here in Germany too and on top for us buying stuff from the US get's more and more expensive because the Dollar is getting stronger in relation to the Euro.

    And yes the vote of Obama was a great sign in these tough times. We Europeans set high hopes in him too and are all more than happy about his victory.

    I hope it has helped you to feel a bit better getting this all of your chest now and I cross my fingers for you that sales will go back up very soon!!!! If I could I would love to buy a lot of your beautiful art. I'm totally in love with your new Charlotte Christmas ornaments right now!
    Sending you a huge virtual hug!
    xox Carol from Boxwood Cottage

    P.S: Thanks for explaining the donkey saying btw!

  4. Hi Jenny, the times they are a changin'. I think your new selling format will be great and I will do my part to bolster your economy! It's all for the good, everyone needs time to readjust but it will all come out in the wash I'm sure of it and everyone will make this new day ahead work for them. Yes we can! xo, suzy

  5. Oh honey! You and Aar made the right choice. You wouldn't have enjoyed yourself in Omaha. There will be other years. I adore your new creations, and had to have your FAB new Christmas art---LOVE IT! I can't wait to see it, my friend--always a treat! You keep on creating. Go eat a cupcake or three, and hug your dear Aar. I'm sending you a virtual hug!~~~XXOO, Beth

  6. wow! Jenny.. I read it all! you know that old term.. "struggling artist" I know a few girls who do make their total living on their art work (ones a doll maker and the other paints murals in restaurants and on buildings).. and it is often a struggle and then they reap huge rewards too. thats too bad about silver bella.. It is a huge expense. I would have liked to go myslef, but couldnt see a way to afford it this year. I wish there was something like silver bella on our side of the states! like here in ny somewhere!! Who can we get to put something like that together for us!!??
    I'm sure everyone can understand your reasons for not going, so dont feel so bad. Stay home and relax and create!

  7. How disappointed you must be but there's always next year!

    I'm just waiting on pay day and then I'll be adding some more of your work to my collection!

    Victoria xx

  8. Jenny, this post made me tear up! I am so sorry you arent going to Silver Bella. I think you are the SWEETEST person!! You are so smart and you know what? SO MANY people would not be as smart as you and Aaron! You recognize that you shouldnt go and you arent going to put yourself in debt for it. I commend you both for that. I know it must have been such a hard decision! I am sending you both big hugs.

    I want to thank you both so much for all the smiles you have brought into my life. Every time I see your work, I cant help but smile! I am ecstatic to be getting some of your pieces for my sweet shoppe kitchen! And the new ornaments ROCK!! Would you possible do one more wooden print, custom????? I want one of your prints that says Sweet Shoppe on it. I KNOW you are switching things up but I really "need" (lol) it!

    I totally understand what you mean about the economy. I have seen such a change and I am so terrified of what is to come. But we all still need a little happiness in our lives. And for me, it is your artwork :)

    I love you both and I thank you both! Big Hugs,

  9. Jenny, I think you stated what so many of us are thinking and going thru at this time. I too don't like to post the bad stuff, but you know that is life and we all have the bad along with the good. Many of us are in the same situation and we all need to keep Positive and look to the future. I agree the media really stirs of fears in people. I watched it with the election for a year now the economy. I am guilty i watch all day long feeling worried all the time. Best of Luck to you both for a successful holiday season, your work is beautiful. Jamie, thanks for your honesty too..

  10. Jenny big hugs to you and A! Hang in there. I'm sad I'm missing SB this year too. Love all your new art. The ornaments are too cute!

  11. hi jenny !!! just wanted to first give you a giant hug!!! i too am not attending this year but am going to miss it tremendously , you are not alone ... i agree with you about the news i no longer ever have my tv on because i don't want all the negativity , the media i believe is a big problem for the economy itself .. people listen and believe ...but i think there will be soo many good things to come in the next couple years and lots of change so we in the meantime have to be think of "creative" ways to change too.. and i think you and aaron are soo on the right track !! well friend ... thanks so much for sharing your sweet sentiments , it okay to share are not so good times too - wish i could give you a huge hug , you brought tears to my eyes too as i can only imagine how hard this was for you , i am thinking of you !!!

  12. ooh sweet kitten first let me say your post was raw and true...thank you for sharing your heart i am so very sad you will not be at silver so deserve to be there you are so talented

    ...but now they will just be in such need... to see your amazing art...everyone will need to pop over and grab a new creation of sweet goodness

    ...myself included...i have been waiting but now i feel this is the purrrrrrfect time to purchase some sweet cupcake goodness

    ...i hope that my tiny purse will bless you and aron...i know your art blesses this kitten with sugary goodness & sweey eye candy!!!! huggs cat~

  13. jenny you sweet sassy kitten... i wanted to know if the reto homemaker pulling out wonderful cupcakes in the pink oven is still available on wood? i know that i read they will be prints now but was wondering if you had any left? thanks cat

  14. Dear Jenny, What a heartfelt post. From one artbrain to another, I think it is just the way we are put together that our creative brains are stronger than our business brains. As artists, I think we express what's on the inside which wants to burst forth the way perhaps a writer or orator expresses what's on the inside with their words. We don't want to create. We NEED to create. I think your framed pieces are so lovely. I struggled with whether or not I wanted to make the investment to offer prints of my originals. I didn't want them to 'cheapen' (is that a word??) the original for those who own them. I've received so many emails from people who just can't spend the money on originals just now and how happy they are to have an easier to afford alternative. Someday they hope to get an original. But, art is for everyone. Not just who can afford it. We live in the greatest country in the world. I have faith that things will pick up economically. Have faith with me. Be happy. Now, in the words of an awesome artist I know, "keep calm and have a cupcake!" ((((big hugs))) xo Cat ^..^

  15. Hi Jenny,
    First let me say that there is absolutely nothing wrong with sharing some of the bad. You are right in that there is so much bad and reading blogs (esp. those you mentioned) are a great way to bring a smile and inspiration but reading about the occassional bad thing can be very inspiring too. It reminds us that life is not perfect and that others go through the same trials we are.

    My husband was laid off twice last year and his new company is facing a round of layoffs this month. I know what you mean about the economy. We were pretty secure for a while but things certainly changed quick. This is the main reason I'm not at Silver Bella. I've never been and had hoped to get there this year but the extra $ just isn't there. I try to look at things - the good and the bad - with a level of acceptance. I cannot change I can only accept and move forward. Try not to be too sad this weekend and do something fun like make some popcorn and watch some great old films. Take a night off!

    I think it sounds like you and Aaron are making some good decisions about your business. Certainly having your own business means many crazy hours but you should also be able to carve out some time for yourself.

    In terms of the products you will be offering - are you going to have anymore of the adorable little cake and cupcake wall hooks? I was so hoping to get a few for the nursery we are planning for our baby girl (coming in March!).

    Hang in there my friend - the economy may be down but it always goes back up!


  16. Oh gosh, Jenny. Where to start. I couldn't even read all the reasons why you can't go ("tis no one's business side of my brain), I just know that you probably really wanted to and I really know you hate to disappoint people, but times are tough! Between me and you, I'll bet some gals are going to SB that can in no way afford it, other than to add to their mountain of debt, so I'm proud of you for being honest. Hey--next year will probably be much better. (YaY ObAmA!!!)
    I like the "art brain" concept. I'll KNOW I should be working on such and such, to make money, ya know; and I'll get an idea for a quilt and there ya go--that's all I've been working on for three weeks! Yeah--I'll call myself an "art brain" from now on. Much better than the 'crafters ADD" I've been referring to. ;-)
    I LOVE your art framed. Yes, you were crazy to be offering so many one-of-a-kind pieces. Can't be such a people pleaser AND make any money!! A hard lesson for most of us to learn (she says, as she babysits grandkids for free all day every day and gets NOTHING made for Christmas sales!)
    Big hugs to you. Things are looking up! Just tell yourself that EVERY DAY.
    Heading over to etsy now to pick me up some of your holiday cheer. :-)

  17. Hi Jenny,

    Sorry to hear about Silver Bella, Im sure there will be so many more years there and you definitely made the right decision for you. I know its not one you wanted to make, but I admire the fact that you made such a hard choice and instead are taking care of things and regrouping...I feel for you. We all have to cut back a little on things, but it can be agonizing to do sometimes, I know.

    On the bright side, you both have such fabulous talents and gifts to be thankful for, what an Inspiration you are!! I still remember the first time I saw your art, it was like going to "decorating heaven"!! it evokes such feelings and emotion, you found a way to create emotion through the Vintage feel and that's a gift. And to know that your artwork graces so many homes should be a comfort at this time! It reminds of my childhood and it also makes me smile every time I see it. I have 4 of your signs in my Kitchen and not one day goes by that I dont say " Ahhhhhh, isnt that the prettiest sign ever?" Thats the amazing thing about being an Artist, it gives gifts to others every single day.

    So with that said, I read your whole post and just wanted to let you know to keep your head and heart high, Your talents and love for what you do will bring you through! and on another note: Go Obama :) Im so thrilled, and hope he can make some much needed change too ;)

    ok, im off to your shop! I need some xmas ornaments! :)Thanks so much for being so REAL!!

    ~ Hugs ~ Cynthia

  18. Its ok Jenny, you do what you have to do and sometimes it means going without (like Silver Bella) and all your Bella friends will understand and appreciate your honesty. Ditch the guilt even though it does confirm what a nice person you are. Take Care, Rachaelxo

  19. hi Jenny!!
    Big hugs to you sweetie!! Soo sorry that you can't go to Silverbella! I know it means a lot to you!! I am not going either. Believe me I can totally sympathize about the money thing(I am a Stay at home mom and my hubby is working,but going to school full time. money is tight to say the least. lol) love all the new things you are selling!! love the purfume bottle from your sis. (I know what you mean about that too. My sis lives with us right now and i almost never see her because she works and goes to school)
    I hope you have a fabulous day!! hugs! Britt :-)

  20. You're the best, Jenny! We ALL know that you are not a negative person. But you are REAL and we love you for it! You pour your heart into your blog and your art and we see it and it makes us want to see more. You are blogland's sweetheart!
    I am so sorry you had to make such a tough decision. I really, really wanted to go this year (i've never been), but couldn't do it without going into debt. I hope that you will be blessed 1000 times over for making such a hard decision.
    Your new framed prints are as genious as they are BEAUTIFUL!!! God bless you guys!

  21. Jenny...please believe me that these things happen for a reason...I so know what you are going through, we are quite similar you and I.

    I have not blogged about so much that is happening in my life right now, as with a name like 'Happy' I do not want to burst the bubble! but there is alot of Sh*t happening out there at the moment and i fully respect and sympathize with you...things will get better and we will look back and smile - I promise xx

    luv Happy

  22. To cheer you up jenny - I am tagging you...its just a bit of fun ;)

    stop by my blog to check out the rules - love H xx

    Thinking of you xx

  23. Hello Jenny and Aaron :)
    We ALL have to get things off our chests or the weight, well it would be very unhealthy. I am the oldest daughter in my family (older brother and 4 younger sisters :) ONCE i had my first dentist visit. My Dad had just received dental benefits. The dentist, Dr Sugars (yes that was his real name!) asked if I would like novocaine... hmmm mary thinks, more money on the bill, "no thank you" says little mary. ahahah, I made it thru 3 cavities. the next visit Dr. Sugars asked if i would like novocaine , it does not cost anything mary. So I said "YES PLEASE!" Well, this was meant to make you laugh, it is a true story.

    note: mary did not have any more cavities, except one tiny one as an adult.
    Please feel better soon, we all know you and Aaron have wonderful integrity, and we all love you "too bits" to use one of my favorite quotes of YOURS :)
    We listen to talk radio also... now I have to make the switch back to my old station. When I listen to that I FEEL Better. I will be mixing in Christmas music any day now... while I carefully figure out what will sell.
    I dream of the day when I own an original Jenny and Aaron piece,(piece of cake! ehehehe)
    I wish you blessings,

  24. Jenny,
    I'm sorry for you guys that you are missing Silver Bella! But I am happy for you that you have figured out a direction in your business that will allow you to be more creative and hopefully free up more time.
    I used to do Art fairs with my friend Robin and it is tough lugging around everything, unloading, decorating and loading back up. I loved being right there with the customer but it was too much and never consistant as far as sales...You will be happy with your new change and the fact that you will be creating and selling more one of a kind items will make them more desireable and more fun for you to make!
    I am thinking good thoughts for you two! Hugs! karen (your S&S partner)
    PS. I still haven't taken down my halloween, keeping it up for my neices two boys to see on Thanksgiving....crazy huh???

  25. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed

    reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  26. Jenny,
    A very brave and inspiring post. I really think it will be validation to so many readers currently going through the same disappointments.
    So sweet of you to include a pic of your purchases from my shop. I'm glad you love them, they have your name written ALL over them! Hoping we can get together eventually. Maybe hot chocolate and cupcakes....

  27. if i didn't love you enough cup over-runneth. I am always afraid of being completely honest with blog readers too about the state of my business. I am so touched by your post - you tell it like it is and that is really refreshing!!!! I am right there with ya. I was trying to go to SB and it just wasn't happening. By the time i got there and back and sold my stuff i would have been in the hole. There's always next year - always - and i hope we can both go and have a blast! You and Aaron are in my thoughts as i plan my "new sales strategy" or 2009 lol! Have a wonderful weekend and every time you wish you were in Omaha...just think of me cleaning my house and wishing the same. :-) God, why aren't we neighbors???!!!!!

  28. Hello, sweet jenny and aaron...we miss you guys so much and everyone was so disappointed to hear you weren't making it. BUT we all understand completely.

    Before you do another thing, switch off that tv. It's poison. Get some books on tape from the library instead.

    And I can't wait to see all this new stuff you're making. It's definitely the way to go. I know from experience that everyone wants the newest thing...especially when production is limited.

    I'm sending you so much love. Please call me anytime.

    Love to you,

    p.s. Go see your sister.

  29. Your art is amazing! This is a weird time in the 'economy' (boo! Hiss!) to be an artist, but you just gotta ride through. LOVE what you've created here, I remember reading about you in Somerset Studio-- magical!~

  30. Oh, I'm so sorry you had to cancel your trip to Silver Bella. This economy is effecting so many of us.

    I hope the new business plan will give you both a chance to catch your breath and enjoy creating new items.
    Best wishes and a friendly hug.
    Kimberly :)

  31. I so wanted to go to SB too, but just could not justify the cost. So many blog friends and real life friends will be there...This was such a sweet honest, and moving post! It's a sign of the times and everyone is living it! I don't think I've ever commented before, but love coming here and know that NOBODY will think less of you for your decision. Rest knowing you did what was right for YOU.

  32. I think you made a wise business decision, and coming from a family full of artists, I know how hard that can be. Chin up! The economy sounds all gloom and doom but the bright side is I think people will be more thoughtful with their purchases and gift giving this year, looking for something personal and handmade. This too shall pass.

  33. Hang in there Jenny! There will be other Silver Bellas and you made the right decision to miss this one. Sending you glittery hugs...

  34. Jenny, you know that I totally understand how we often keep our blogging lives on the positive note. I've never talked about my daughter's struggles or how that often makes me struggle on my blog. So I totally understand how hard this was for you to post. I'm so sorry, and just want to give you a big hug!!
    I too, understand how the news is affecting sales and I believe it's really influencing the economy more than anything. Causing panic, etc. I hear every day how people aren't spending money, slowest sales season since 1929 etc...However it takes me 15 minutes to find a parking spot at Target, and forget the mall traffic....
    Hopefully, things will improve soon. I'm so sorry you had to miss Silver Bella.
    Hugs to you my friend, take care of each other!

  35. Hi there Jenny! After reading your post I just wanted to send you masses of hugs and support. I am so with you on the media thing. These newscasters only make things worse. But I am very optimistic, especially given the upcoming change in our Administration (wooohooo! We were thrilled and crying with joy on election night too). We'll all hang in there together. Keep creating beautiful things, it's "what the world needs now", to quote that wonderful song. I know things are going to get better! ((((hugs))))-

  36. Good luck with everything :) I'm sorry you had to share such sad news... but I finished your card! I hope it cheers you up at least a little.

    I'm also soooooo tired of hearing the word "economy"! My husband works for an investment company - bah!

  37. Sweet, sweet Jenny,

    I feel so badly, that you feel badly. I don't think anyone needs to explain a change in plans these days. Things are bad all around this great country of ours, and it would be irresponsible for any of us to do things that aren't good for us, simply out of guilt or obligation. I think there are many of us from last year that didn't go to SB this year, it's all about choices. We can't do every event, and sometimes we can't do any of them. But we're all in this together, and I think we all understand.

    I too am soooo happy with the outcome of the presidential election. While we all know Barack won't be able to get us out of this mess overnight, at least we are headed in the right direction.

    take care sweet Jenny,

  38. loved your post!~ you are best when you are honest~ I recently took my etsy shop down for money reasons~ making crafts/art costs money and with the holidays coming up-what I was spending on making things(that weren't selling!) was just too costly- so now I am kinda deciding what to do~ I'm not really sure.
    Anyhoo- totally random and unrelated- I am LOVING your songlists- it all started with that song Academia that you had as your "opener" ~ I hadn't heard it before and I just loved it~ I have the CD its on on my amazon wishlist for Christmas!!!
    Anyhoo- I am totally hooked on the whole thing- every time I spend any kind of lengthy time online, I leave your blog open just for the tunes~ you have great taste in everything else you do :)
    Hang in there...

  39. Jenny,

    Thank you for sharing your story.

    I can relate 100 percent to being a working artist and the struggle to find "fun" time to explore creatively or to step out and enjoy a movie. I feel as if I'm never "off" since work is home and home is work...BUT I'm thrilled and inspired by your insight to rework how the two of you work. I've been needing to do that myself for a lonnng time and you've motivated me to stop procrastinating and develop a plan to work as smart as possible in the business sense which is extremely hard to do with artist brain syndrome! hee hee...

    Sending blessings and love! Keep believing in the magic the two of you create! Both of you are blessed artistic souls!!!


  40. Jenny- While I do not know you well and I was pulled into the same blogging cirle only this past February, I want to tell you that as a blogger of 7 long years I know what it is like to spill your guts on the internet and find the most amazing people to be there for you! I am sorry you will not attend Silver Bella. I found I cannot either, but more because my husband is super ill. I NEVER talk about it on my creative blog, I have my personal invite only blog for that as It keeps my creative blog light and airy and outlet!

    I think your things are fun and I would not sell yourself short on the news reportings as fortunes are actually made in recessions. My husband is a financial planner and I cannot tell you how many people are making it big...just keep networking. Your talent will sell itself!

    I will link you on my blog and check in to give you positive thoughts! I too have been a starving artist when I danced professionally and it is stressful! Head High....keep painting :)

    xo Molly

  41. Hi Jenny, it sounds like you and Aaron have made some good decisions for yourselves. Even though all of us want to please everyone, sometimes it's just best to please ourselves, because then we'll be happier and more productive. I hope things go well with your new way of working, and that business picks up as a result! :)

  42. Bravo Jenny! You made the right decision. I think this post was not only refreshing, but honest and realistic!!! Let's face it, times are tough for most of us and it's nice to hear that sometimes it's "not just me"! Well, keep in mind Danielle's boutique on December 12th...I'm going and I would love for you to join me...let me know. XOXO Jennifer

  43. hi Jenny-
    I don't even know you but I saw that you are a new follower to my blog and wanted to say thanks for following it! I just read your latest post and I really feel for you-I think things are going to get better-MUCH better-within the next few months. I have to believe that...I think all the signs are there.
    I LOVE your work and your blog-keep it up-and I'll keep reading!
    Tammy Smith
    homemade circus

  44. Hi Jenny!

    I sent you an Etsy convo. I am not a stalker, I promise, lol!


  45. Hi Jenny! First, I was sitting in the airport when I got your email about you not going and I covered my mouth with my hands and gasped.
    I missed you sooooooo much! I really was looking forward to being with you and shopping and seriously, not to lay a trip on you, I spent sooooo much time by myself.
    I don't think Silver Bella is the kind of event you experience the way I did--but--you should read my blog post and I'll also tell you some stuff later.
    Secondly, I really, really appreciate your choice to not go. If you can't go--you can't go and sucking it up and spending money you don't think you have is just not a happy/good feeling. So I respect the whole thought process you put into it and then putting it out there to share it with us is admirable and sweet.
    Second Chance was amazing--I thought of you the whole time.
    You were missed and you should have seen Jessi's face when I told her you weren't coming. It's because you're that, flippin' desirable!
    HUGS to you and Aaron--I love you guys and we'll hang out soon enough!
    Your new ornaments are smashing!
    ~Sadie Lou

  46. Jenny and Aaron,
    It was a hard for you to share this down time with the crazy economy. I wish you all the best in your new 'studio process'. I always love taking peeks at your art and blog...such inspiration!
    There is always next year for SB.
    Hugs, Sharon

  47. Oh Jenny! I did miss meeting you and Aaron at Silver Bella, but I totally understand. Ditto to a whole bunch of what you said! I love that you guys are willing to make the changes you see necessary to continue to not only survive as artists, but to thrive and excel! Congratulations on staying strong while making it through a tough time with so much going on.

    Best wishes through this holiday season and Everyday!!!!
    SMILES and love...

  48. Jenny, Thank you so much for explaining "time to make the donuts" I'm a New zealander and was just thinking 'what the heck does that mean' when your explanation appeared. The web is such a wonderful way to surf the world!
    Financially things are just the same down here in NZ. I've just had my first craft sale in years and it was very disappointing.
    I'm happy to see your Christmas cupcake ornaments can be mailed in an envelope, postage costs make such a big difference when I order things from down here.
    By the way, your switching to blogger was one thing that finally made me think starting a blog might not be that difficult after all. So thanks!
    I absolutely love your blog! Keep those cupcakes coming!

  49. Jenny,

    Oh honey I wish I could give you a BIG ((HUG))!!! We totally MISSED you guys at Silver Bella. When Jessi told me the news I was shocked and SO SAD!!!! I had money in hand ready to shop your vendor table. Sweetie, as hard as it was you made the right choice. Perhaps next year things will be a bit more positive in the economy and with your new selling structure you guys can try again for next year. Im really looking forward to seeing more of your one of a kind pieces. I just know they will be flying off the shelves!!!
    Thank you Jenny for being so real with us. We love and support you guys 100%!!!! XOXO,Jenn

  50. Hi Jenny, wow...lots of thoughts. I so love your honesty! Everything you wrote is so heartfelt. There are so many others out there who can relate to you on the business aspect. Even I, as I'm just beginning on this journey! I get so scared when they keep talking about the economy, but I keep pushing forward. I'm not letting that fear paralize me, and no one else should either! :) I dream of attending Silver Bella one day, and I imagine you and Aaron will be well missed this year. - Your art is beautiful!! You have to do what you have to do - what's best for you and your business. As time moves on, things will improve, they always do...even if it takes a while. Just remember, the sun always shines again...! Someday.

    Aw...I'm sending you a huge hug!! Keep your chin up! :)

    ~ Jennifer

  51. Typing too fast. ;) Meant to write that I'm sure you 'were missed'!

  52. First and foremost, times are hard for most everyone right now, and I think people understand that. I wouldn't feel guilty about doing what you have to do.

    I make no claims about being a "lightness and air" blogger, but there is something carthartic about just getting it out there, whatever it is. In addition, I believe it is what allows you to truly make friendships with the people behind the screen, to form a bond if you will that goes beyond, I love that!

    (But, then again, I guess it depends on why you blog.) :-)

    I hope the new creative method gives you some breathing space and much success.

  53. and Aaron keep making your beautiful artwork. I really do think that the "economy" is going to get better now. One of these days, my ship will come in and I'll have to buy everything in your shop for my kitchen. I hope this holiday season you and Aaron will be blessed with lots of "luck and prosperity".

  54. Hugs and support coming your way. I can relate. All the very very best to you. LindaSonia

  55. Jenny!!! I so *get* everythign you wrote! I think you made the responsibile decision and guess what - GOOD FOR YOU! Yes, we missed your crazy smiling faces, but dangit! I think you made a brave and good choice AND I totally agree with your new business plans! MAKES SENSE!

    I wish you abundant success!!

  56. Jenny, I don't visit your blog often, but always amazed at you and Aaron's artwork. I quit doing craft shows because people have tightened their belts. I have to say that you are a very smart couple and think before you do things. I am hoping that I can soon get one of your pieces but medicine comes first. Big hugs to you both and remember there is always next year. Pat

  57. Jenny!! I love your work! I love you!! It is all going to be ok!! Love your blog!

  58. I have to comment about the election. Even though I voted for McCain, I am so proud of America and our new president. I kept wanting to vote for Obama, but I disagreed with some of his views.
    And that is OK. But, ever since the election, I have been so happy and excited about him taking office. That is really a good feeling. Even though my candidate of choice did not win, I feel like our country won in other ways.
    I am so proud.

  59. Jenny, you were truly missed, but don't feel is all so understandable. This is YOUR blog- say whatever the heck you want. It's the honesty that is appreciated anyway. I think many of us can really understand money issues these's nothing to feel sorry about- you didn't let anyone down- we only missed your beautiful face! hope all is well! xox natalea

  60. jenny,

    you and aaron were soooo missed at sb, but remember that you are sooooooooo loved!! much more important (: ,don't you think? (i hadn't heard before vendor night that you weren't coming and i began to wonder if it was a connecting flight thing again!) i'm glad you're all okay, and this too shall pass!



  62. Oh you two....I'm so sad I didn't get to see you at Silver Bella. I even brought cheese for Aaron so you'll have to email me your new address. I totally understand why you couldn't make the trip. I'm so sick of watching the news and reading the paper. I'm more. I think all the rhetoric makes things even worse. Know I'm thinking of you two and I'll be placing my cupcake order shortly!!!!


  63. I really love & respect your philosophy. I just blogged about something negative and caught myself and wrote a follow up post right away. Your items and presentation are gorgeous, such a talented artist! So glad I stumbled onto your blog!

  64. Hi Jenny~!!
    SO sorry you can't go to Silver Bella this year. It really stinks! I would love to go someday, but wow it is an expensive trip and I have little ones to take care of. I'm very sad I cannot make a trip also- to see my parents for Christmas this year. It will be the very first Christmas I have not had with them. But on a much happier note~
    HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY, GIRLY!!! Sorry I missed it, but I have not been in Blogland much lately. Looks like you got some cute presents! Loving the way your artwork looks in those black frames and the new Christmas ornaments are adorable!!
    Michelle xoxo

  65. Jenny,

    This was my 1st year attending Silver Bella. I told my roomie months ago that your table was the only one I "really" wanted to shop. Plus I was hoping to get a photo with you. :)

    But things happen. You shouldn't feel guilty for not attending. And you most definitely shouldn't feel guilty for having to write this post. I'm sure everyone appreciates your honesty. Besides, there is always tomorrow! :)

    I had a couple of items picked out for vendor night... I'll be putting a order in soon. Just not sure if I should purchase for myself or leave hints for the hubby. Original artwork from Jenny & Aaron would be FAB to wake up too on Christmas morning. :)

    A big fan,

  66. I found you! I have recently gotten back into blogging and discovered that I had lost so many of my fave places to visit!
    So sorry and i understand. my hubs lost his job in Aug. and just started back last monday . He took a position in Ohio(we live in Dallas) and will be working remotely with LOTS of travel.Scary times,but I believe things will get better with our new incoming Prez!
    I have felt the same about making my blog a fun place to visit and recently could not hold back my "Bare my soul " post. I am back posting about happy things.
    I have always loved the delicious eyecandy I find at your place and wish you and your sweet hubs the best!

  67. Miss Jenny,

    I think your honesty is really something to admire. And being real is sharing bits of life, just like you did. Good or bad.

    The economy does in fact stink, I don't even have cable at my little home and studio in the country. I can't handle listening to it. It tends to get me down, and then I can't paint of be very creative. Scary how it seeps in.

    Oh, and I totally agree with you about how the media just uses it to get a reaction and keep people addicted to their words. Whilst keeping everyone scared.

    If the entire media circuit went on tomorrow and said, everything is 100% good, and the economy is going back to good times, I dare say, I think it would...

    This is really silly, but there is this part in this movie, I want to say it was Apocalytpo (not something I would normally watch ;). But, there is a part of the movie that deals with fear, and how fear destroys people. That always stuck with me...

    Another thing about blogging and talking about not so happy stuff stuff, is that, it is important when we read blogs, not to think that that one thing a person is writing about and sharing, defines them.

    My interpretation is, things are good in your life, and although times are tough in the economy as a whole, and it does affect you, you guys are still busily painting, and enjoying it, and looking at ways to redefine your art process and restructure things and the way you offer your art, for the goodness of it all.

    I think again, that is all very admirable. I hear ya, and I get it totally.

    You are sweet and such a joy. Your artwork is just wonderful!!

    Many smiles and winks, Vanessa

  68. oh sweetie
    i SO get this
    honestly i do
    thank you for being open
    and trusting everyone with your honesty
    i decided not to go this year too
    and it was a hard decision to make

    and your new shop plan sounds fab!
    nothing better than limited editions
    and the real thing
    i love having the real thing on my walls!!
    sending hugs & love!

  69. Hello Jenny, this is the first time I jave visted your blog and Im so glad I found you. What a wonderful post and so well written. I hope and pray that business does improve for you. If I were you, I would not listen to the "news" anymore. We stopped awhile ago. I check the occasional headlines on the net and just leave the rest. The media does say stuff just to keep people buying their papares and listening to them solely to keep making money and yes, many people are afraid which is most likely whats happened with your sales. However, this too will pass. Im so glad too about Obama, couldnt have been happier. Wish I was home in the US to feel the vibe but proud anyway, where ever i am.

  70. Good luck with all your plans. The media sure is driving us all into despair, we are all feeling the pinch and even a poke.

    As in your last post about hope, we need to focus on doing good things and spreading some sunshine along the way.

    Have always been a fan of your work and will continue to do so.

  71. Jenny......Thank you for sharing a very heart-felt story! You are not alone, I think everyone is hurting (as artists) due to the doom and gloom state of the economy. This post did make you more real to me....not that the bright side isn't wonderful as well:D Thank you for your honesty. You make me feel like I am not alone in the financial struggle to stay afloat. I have always loved your work and will continue to drool as I check out your shop, but I probably will not purchase until things turn around:( You have made some hard choices and I respect you for them. Life isn't always easy:D Hugs from the Midwest......Linda

  72. Jenny, I read this post while I was visting Karla in Kansas... and we were all saying how much we were going to miss meeting you at Silver Bella. I know that I got to go this year by the skin of my teeth so I COMPLETELY understand what you and Aaron are going through. I just keep holding on to the HOPE for our future and somehow we will come out stronger as a nation. We just have to keep taking one step in front of the other to get to the other side.

    Sending you and Aaron warmest wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving. Hugs to you, Heather Kowalski

  73. Hi Jen, i'm sorry you didn't get to go on your fun trip :( I hate the media too. We restore vintage mustangs and usually in times like these, the toys are the first things to go, but you know what, we have so much work right now! God always takes care of us and gives us what we need. We may not be rich, but we are doing what we want to do, and we are making it...

  74. Aahhh hunny, I'm sorry I'm a little late but I just want to send you a big squishy hug and lots of love.
    love Alison

  75. Hi Jenny, bless you for sharing your heart, that was very brave. It sounds like many of us who wanted to go to Silver Bella couldn't this year, me included, so I'm saying a prayer that things will turn around for all of us and next year we'll all meet up at Silver Bella! God bless you, Laura

  76. I'm so sorry you guys didn't get to go to Silver Bella this year! :(
    I didn't get to go either, though I wanted to SO badly!!! Hopefully things will start to turn around in this country soon!
    I hope we'll be able to meet at a future Silver Bella someday! :)

    Hugs to you!

  77. Because you did espouse your political views many people, like me can no longer support your work. I have told many people in the past about your work and blog but not any more. I am proud that we as a nation no longer look at race in making political decisions but I am not sure that this is the man for the job. That may be why you are having trouble with money.


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xo Jenny & Aaron