awsome.

do you know dallas clayton?he’s a pretty awesome guy who has some pretty awesome things to say to kids all over the world.

he’s doing some pretty awesome things for kids too, like touring the U.S. to “champion children’s literacy, raise awareness for issues dealing with global nutrition and inspire kids of all ages to dream big”.

THAT is awesome!

have you read an awesome book?

it’s awesome.

photo courtesy of smaller magazine

and you can read it herefor free!!

(see…totally awesome, right?!)

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home studio.

the other day i ran into our sweet old neighbors at the grocery store. we don’t see each other often, but when we do we always share updates and tid-bits about out lives. i have never seen them “in public” before, so the dynamic was slightly off and a little awkward (why is that?). the first thing they asked was “so, kid, when ya goin back to work, huh?” they must know i don’t leave the house often, because my car is almost always in the driveway. i replied by saying “oh! i do work! i just work from home!” i tried to explain what i do, how i spend my days, but they seemed confused. “so, you make crafts….? but when will you go back to work?”

i struggled with this for a long time- feeling like i wasn’t doing enough to justify staying at home to work. i don’t feel like that anymore. i am BUSY! i work everyday, all day- often too long! i do sometimes wish for a studio outside of home, only because it would justify my “job” somehow. it would also force be to be home when my work-day was over. working from home is challenging- not only the part where you have to convince people you actually are working your butt off, even though you don’t leave the house- but also the organization of your day, ignoring the distractions, prioritizing, and giving yourself a break!
i’m finally settling into some sort of routine, after a year of operating Opposite of Far from my little studio down the hall. there are some key “rules” i have set up for myself to keep me on track, because working from home is hard! it’s distracting- it can sometimes be really hard to say no to that couch calling my name!

my tips for working from home:

*my tips/rules may not work for everyone, but they work for me!*

1. set a schedule

– i started with a really specific and structured schedule and realized (after 1 week) that wasn’t going to work for me. i have played with several different types of schedules- doing specific things on the same days each week (didn’t work), allotting time blocks for certain tasks (didn’t work). then i realized having rules, but not being strict with the layout of my day was key. rules such as- shower before 10, get dressed in real clothes, no tv unless my hands are busy, house chores can wait until i’m “off”. this is a schedule i can work with! i need rules, but also flexibility!

2. get dressed. every day.

-for me this is KEY! i make sure i am showered everyday before 10 (giving me time in the morning to have a little breakfast, check my e-mail, etsy shop, facebook and catch up on bogs while still feeling cozy and relaxed).

once i’m showered, i restrict myself from wearing sweats or pajamas. most days i just wear my favorite jeans and a tank or t-shirt but some days i wear a dress or skirt (if i’m feelin’ fancy)! i also put my hair up (or at least brush it!) and wear a little make up and some jewelry. this makes me feel more “work ready”, as if i were leaving the house to go to work. i try to pretend my studio is in the outside world, and so i must get dressed to go to work! this greatly helps my mood and motivation.

3. take breaks.

-just like if i were at a workplace, i take breaks. this could be a break to chat on the phone with a friend, check my e-mail/instagram/facebook/etsy, to sit outside and read a chapter of my book, to stretch or get a snack. sometimes i even use these breaks to wash the dishes or start a load of laundry because sometimes those things wear on me if i know they need to be done. doing them during my breaks allows me to feel relaxed about the house chores without detracting me from work. breaks are important because they keep you going! my fried swears by the pomodora technique.

4. EAT!

it can be easy to stuff your face all day long in order to avoid work, but it’s also easy to forget to eat if you’re on a roll! i have a full 24oz bottle of water on my work table at all times-staying hydrated keeps the headaches and drowsiness at bay. it also keeps me from stuffing my face all day long! 🙂 i often take time to prepare a mindful lunch for myself, i find this to be very important for my personal productivity. i stock the house with things that are quick and healthy to prepare and  snack on so i don’t spend 20 minutes trying to talk myself out of a not-so-great snack or lunch.

*want some lunch & snack suggestions? i’d love to hear yours too! send me a message so we can share!*

5. pick an end time and try to stick to it.

this is hard for me. once i start working it is really difficult for me to stop, especially if i have a stack of orders to finish. sometimes i’m guilty of making a quick dinner then running right back to my studio to work until midnight! these last couple weeks, though, i have been trying to reserve the evenings for relaxing and spending time with mike. i try to wrap up my work by the time he gets home so we can visit, cook dinner, then spend the evening together.

6. keep your area clean & organized!

i have made it a habit to pick up/put away/clean my area every day when i’m finished working. this makes it so much easier to start working in the morning! it also keeps the energy in the room open and creative rather than hectic and restrained. for me this includes being stocked up on all my supplies. if i am running low on something, i put it on my list and purchase it as soon as possible, even if it isn’t something i will need immediately. having what you need on hand keeps your work flowing! i also thrive in “pretty” spaces…or at least spaces filled with inspiration. i love my studio- the light, the colors, the organization, and the inspiration surrounding me! i often take pictures while i’m working because i love my space so much! keep your space beautiful, it’ll make you want to create!

…and some things i need to work on

*i need to get better at treating this as a “real job”…i know, i demand others see this as my real job, but sometimes i talk down to myself and don’t respect my work enough. i’ll have to work on that!

*saying “no” to daily adventures with friends because i really should be working! it’s so hard though, i mean i have the freedom so why not? i just need to moderate the weekly outings a bit better!

*internet distraction. i can spend SO MUCH time “taking a break” without even realizing it! yikes….

*still working on the working 15 hours a day issue…sometimes i just have to!

*****

if you work from home, i hope this helps you! or maybe you already have an incredible balance…how do you do it? any tips you’d like to share with me would be most welcome!

most of all i feel incredibly lucky to be able to do the work i love from the comfort of my home. how cool is that? it was literally a “dream” just 2 years ago, and here i am now, typing this blog post from my couch, in my pajamas! and when i sign off, i’m headed to my little studio down the hall to make masks- lots of them- because people from all over the world want them! pinch me!

panda baby!

did you hear? the panda, mei xiang, at the national zoo had a cub on sunday!

here’s a video of the mama and cub, you can’t see the cub yet, but you can sure hear it! you can watch them LIVE on panda cam via the national zoo website!

and to celebrate the new panda cub, you can dress yourself and your baby or kiddo as a pandas!

opposite of far panda mask

update: panda mama, mei xiang lost her cub. it was a sad day at the zoo.

flying out the door!

As Halloween gets closer & closer the masks & tails fly faster & faster through my sewing machine and out the door! It’s crazy busy over here in the OoF studio, but it’s the best possible busy I could ask for! Stores are being stocked, orders are being shipped, connections are being made…here’s what’s new:

I am making a very special delivery tomorrow!

…little Zeke is getting a new friend! Zeke’s parents, Amanda & Neal run Homespun in Indianapolis and they really wanted their little guy to have a special doll made just for him, so I did just that!

(look for a big ol’ “making of the doll” post coming soon!)

**would you like a custom one-of-a-kind doll like this for your special little one? contact me at oppositeoffar@gmail.com for more details!**

The Green Nursery!

TGN in Bloomington is now *officially* carrying Opposite of Far Masks, Dolls & Wee Owls!

BabyCenter.com L.O.V.E.

The Raccoon Mask by Opposite of Far is featured on the Baby Center website today as one of 14 simple & adorable masks & hats for Halloween! Check it out!

and speaking of babies…

*NEW* Baby-sized Super Hero Masks!

Kids as superheroes are adorable…but babies? oh me, oh my! every baby should have an Opposite of Far Super Hero Mask,don’t cha think?

…and did you hear…

Opposite of Far is in Fargo, ND?!?

If only I could go all the places my masks go!

Unglued– has already sold through their first batch of OoF masks and will soon be getting their first re-stock! Thanks for loving my work, Fargo!

and speaking of going places

Opposite of Far is going to Paris!

(not me, just the masks…but I’m still SO excited!)

La Truite Enchantee, check out Ines’ blog, or just pop in if you happen to be in the neighborhood!

(dream.come.true.)

New Friends of Opposite of Far!

I received this sweet photo of a little birthday girl “Ruby Riding Hood” & her mama from Queensland, Australia!

You know, I LOVE getting photos of kids & adults wearing Opposite of Far masks!

Do you have some photos you could send my way? It would sure make my day, if you did!

and last but not least…

don’t forget to order your mask + tail from opposite of far for Halloween!!!

not only can you get a FOX tail (in any color you want), you can also order mask + tail sets for: raccoons, skunks, beavers, kitties, and more!

***

And in other news…

I’m LOVING this Fall weather and all that a change of season brings to the table! What are you doing to enjoy this new season? I’ll share more about my Fall soon!