An Indie Biz: Finding Balance

pierogi picnic finding balance Creating a healthy work/life balance is something we hear about all the time. “Making time for self,” “investing in you,” or my favorite, “taking time to breathe” are all fine and dandy – but how can we take the idea of maintaining time for your business, family and self a reality?

That’s a big question that I’ve been grappling with since the New Year. Pierogi Picnic is in the sixth year of rocking recycled duds and the opportunities to share what I’m doing are endless. Invites to take part in shows, magazines, and blogs are fairly routine these days. Would you consider that boastful? It’s not meant to be since I haven’t had the ability to take part in any of them – and it’s all thanks to being on the edge of burning out.

Attempting to balance a full time indie business with a full time (awesome but demanding!) job have stretched me thin these past couple of years and moonlighters fatigue is becoming more and more palpable. So what’s the solution? Is it a matter of setting a strict work schedule (oh to only have an eight hour work day!), designating sewing days, or creating a true resting day? Perhaps – but adhering to these kind of self-inflicted rules is only part of the solution. I often find myself sneaking in some photo editing while my husband roasts a batch of coffee beans – or saying “ooh – I’ll do some PR work while these potatoes boil!”

So the big question comes up again: How do you really, really create a healthy work/life balance without compromising your vision and quality of work? I asked this very question of my fellow maker friends via social media and here were some of the suggestions they shared: Continue reading

An Indie Biz: 2013 Planning Worksheet


DIY Biz Plan from Pierogi Picnic

I am a sentimental type, so I love reflecting back on all of the events of the previous year. Weddings, successes, trials and failures – you name it! There’s nothing like getting all sappy about the twists and turns of life.

But what I honestly enjoy more is the fresh start that the New Year brings. It’s a chance to look forward, to hope, to dream. It allows me to shove aside distraction and really contemplate next steps, both personal and those for my business. Continue reading

Pumpkin Frenzy!

Pumpkins pumpkins pumpkins everywhere! Whether they’re green heirlooms or the traditional bright orange globes we’re most familiar with, this glorious gourd is the icon of the season.

Whether you were raised in a first generation home like myself, or have deep American roots that go back to your great great grandmama, everyone gets on the pumpkin train this time of year!

But how can you take your squash-loving obsession to the next level? So glad you asked!

Whether for decor or dinner – there’s endless ways to make the most of this lovely gourd. I recently wrote up an article for Eco Etsy touting its many creative uses. And I’d love to gather more!

If you have a fun and unique way to use pumpkins – share them below!

Indie Biz: Revamping Vintage

One of my favorite design challenges is finding frumpy vintage clothing and re-imagining them into modern user-friendly pieces. What’s so satisfying about the process is that it’s completely spontaneous. I don’t pre-plan and go out to find fabric. The fabric finds me.

As I’m hunting down t-shirts, sweaters, lace, and other materials for my classic Pierogi Picnic designs I sometimes happen upon a 60s dress or 70s skirt that has an interesting shape or print. I immediately size it up, looking at the quality of the garment, and envision it in a new form.

Friends who have come along for my fabric hunting adventures always smirk in disbelief when I grab a pleated, floor length, shoulder pad-filled frock and pop it in my cart. Weeks later when they see the outcome they are amazed!

“How did you know?” – they ask

“It’s just me following my intuition” – I reply

Any indie handmade business owner knows that there’s only so many reproductions we can pump out before we become fatigued by our craft. That’s why having an outlet to let spontaneous creativity shine is so important! All of us need to take a step back, experiment, and enjoy the stream-of-consciousness process of just letting go and having fun with a creation.

So next time you’re in a creative rut and looking for a way out – grab some raw materials and start to enjoy your craft once more. Who knows – maybe you’ll find your own token eighties frock.

Learning the Biz: Craft Inc.

Mateo Ilasco's Site

When one of my friends decided to uproot to Morocco, one of her first ‘to-dos’ was unloading her plethora of books, crafts, and kitchen gadgets upon her eager friends. Besides the fantastic glass jars, stamps, and dehydrator, Irena saved me a read that she knew I would put to good use – Craft Inc. Entering into Pierogi Picnic’s third year, I hate to admit, I was a little cocky about the book’s premise at first. But then I needed a quick read for the  el, and began to pour through the pages when I realized that I was totally wrong! Continue reading