Monday, September 19, 2011

True Ruby

Today's team member interview features Ruby, of TrueRuby.

1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm an introvert gladly surviving the chaos & noise of a houseful of children...a wife to the best man for the job...a daughter & sister & friend to a lovely bunch of people...a Christian trying to deepen my own faith & impart that to my family...a lover of creating, singing, music, & the written word...a woman trying to find the highly sought after balance of being all these things in one person. Many days it's an epic failure, sometimes I get it right...Most of the time I'm somewhere in between!

2. How did you begin working in your craft and how did it develop into a business?
My craft is really a mix of a few different crafts I love: painting & crochet. I've done both off & on in the past, often setting them aside for the next baby born or a particularly busy season of life. I really began toying with the thought of opening an Etsy shop when one of my friends opened hers & was having some success. It was easy & inexpensive to get one started, I had more than enough supplies to get going, & most of all I felt I would benefit from a more consistent creative outlet. As a single-income home educating family, any extra money would be appreciated & useful, too, of course! So I began to try to think of something unique that I could offer to the Etsy community. What came to mind is what ended up being the main focus of my shop, TrueRubyDesigns: Modern Crochet Wall Art.

Lime and Aqua Bird Crochet Wall Art

3. What is one of your favorite homeschool memories thus far?

My favorite moments are usually the times that my kids have had a real breakthrough in something they've struggled with. In particular, I have one child who really struggled to learn to read & spell due to various obstacles (vision problems & possible learning disabilities). When it became clear to me that the methods I'd used before weren't a good fit for him, I trusted my instincts & backed off of all formal instruction in those areas. I didn't want reading to become a hated chore! Instead of the usual route, all I required was that he read to me from any book he chose for 15 minutes daily. We kept at it in that fashion for nearly a year & a half! I distinctly remember the first time my son sat reading a book just for fun. Not just looking at the pictures, but actually reading a chapter book just because he wanted to! I even took a picture! That has to be my most fulfilling that moment I realized that I really did know what was best for my own children. I gained a lot of confidence in my homeschooling, enough that now I don't fear going "off book", so to speak. I am not chained to the instructor's guide or to any particular curriculum. I pick & choose what works best for each of my children, & I realize that that will be different for each one.

Custom Name Artwork

4. What advice would you give to other homeschool families who are also trying to run a home business?
My best advice would be to keep your priorities in order! I've had to pray for help in this area myself, as I tend to get wrapped up in a project & want to focus all my time & energy on that goal. I never want my children or my husband to feel that they play second fiddle to my shop! My ideal way of keeping my priorities in order is to set aside a specific time for creating & for working on the computer. I also try to snatch up any lulls in my day, but I have to be flexible, knowing that the kids needs could call me away. The majority of my work has been custom pieces, which require a lot of communication with the buyer & a lot of time to create unique designs. Before, I was working non-stop & shipping an order in a few days! I've just begun to tell buyers to allow a week for completion of a custom item, so that I can schedule time to create without it taking over my schedule completely.

Crochet Wall Art Rainbow Snail

5. Where do you find inspiration for your pieces?
Some of the items I've created have been inspired by the colors I it says in my shop profile, I love using color to make ordinary things extraordinary! A lot of my ideas come to me as I'm falling asleep...I often make note of an idea by the light of my iPhone at night, so I don't forget it by the morning! As for my custom items, I ask the buyer for images of items they have or love & I use those as a springboard for a distinctive design. For example, several of my custom signs have been inspired by the children's bedding! I try to make an item feel like it belongs in a room while still making it one-of-a-kind & unique.

Turquoise Crocheted Handbag

6. Do you have specific goals for your business or for your homeschooling? Would you share some of those with us?
I'd love for TrueRuby to become a reliable source of income to our family...I feel blessed to be able to earn money doing something I love while still being able to be home & present with my children. My short-term goals for the business include getting some more items in my shop that are ready-to-ship, & also learning how to make the most of my time & effort in promoting my shop.

My homeschooling goals this year...I'd love to actually make it through the entire stack of books! I'm excited for this year's studies, even though I'll have more little ones than ever before. Our materials this year are more eclectic than ever, but I feel confident that we've got a great year ahead of us. My goal for myself as a teacher is to read aloud to my children every day. As for the kids...I've got a 7th grader who needs to step up to another level of study in preparation for high school & college level academics; a 5th grader who is also making a jump in his level of study & comprehension of more complex ideas; a beginning reader who I hope to help transition into a fluent reader; a 4 year old bundle of energy to guide & occupy; a 2 year old who will be learning how to quietly play during school; & a baby who will be on my lap as I do it all. I can hardly wait to begin! Just don't ask me to be as enthusiastic in February... :)

Ruby blogs about her business and some of her favorite Etsy finds on her blog called True Ruby Designs.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Nursery Chairs

One of the chairs is South America
One of the chairs is a ship at sea,
One is a cage for a great big lion,
And one is a chair for me.
~~A. A. Milne

Find these and other
Handmade Accessories at
Baruch's Lullaby

Monday, September 5, 2011

Team Member Interview - Kelly - The Handmaden

Today we get to meet an active member of our team. Kelly is active in our team forum. She often writes for the team blog and also stops by often to comment on various blog posts here. So today we will meet the woman behind The Handmaden.


Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I'm a Catholic Australian homeschooling Mother to 4 children aged 11, 5, 4 and 2. I love and practice a wide variety of crafts including embroidery, sewing, dyeing, quilting, decoupage.. should I go on?!

How did you begin working in your craft and how did it develop into a business?
Many years ago my mother in law gave me an old biscuit tin full of embroidery threads and cloths that she never had time to complete. The tin sat around and followed me from place to place until finally, after the birth of my second child I decided to give it a try.
My etsy shop came about as an attempt to earn some pocket money to keep crafting!

Fabric Flower Barrette

What is one of your favorite homeschool memories thus far?
The magic of a child who discovers they can read is always a highlight for me.

What advise would you give to other homeschool families who are also trying to run a home business?

I may not be one to give advice as I certainly don't have the balance right yet, but I always make our faith and homeschooling the priority.

Toddler Size Mandala Skirt

Where do you find inspiration for your pieces?
Sometimes I think the world is too inspiring!! Inspiration is absolutely everywhere but I do have a great love of books and nature.

Tell us a little about yourself.
Lil' Mim and Tiny Mim

Do you have specific goals for your business or for your homeschooling? Would you share some of those with us?

One of my business goals is to somehow, one day be able to make a living from what I do and to be self supporting. My specific homeschooling goal is to have happy, holy and healthy children.

Thank you for reading about me and my family!

You can find Kelly on line at
~ The Handmaden on Etsy
~ The Handmaden on Facebook

~All photos and information in this post are used by permission.
Thanks, VeryVerdant