Learning by Trying New Things

Learning by Trying New Things

I’m trying something new this month. I’m sure we all are as we have been in this unique time in our lives. Actually i’ve been doing a lot of new things or picking up “old things” that I haven’t done in a long time. 

Getting My Hands Dirty

I picked up a paint brush and oil paints for the first time in over a decade. My results may have looked more like Picasso than Monet, but it felt good to paint again and get over that initial trepidation when facing a blank canvas.
 
I got my hands dirty in other ways too. I ordered flower and veggie tubers and veggie, herbs, and annual seeds. I gave up growing vegetables years ago after setting up summer buffets for the deer, possum and raccoon populations of our town. I stuck to container gardening with herbs and growing a nice crop of blackberries and rhubarb each year. But I’ve found during this quarantine that we really go through a TON of veggies each week, so I’m trying asparagus, lettuces, spinach and onions. When the soil warms up enough this month, I have a whole host of herbs that I’ll be planting from seed. That’s new for me too, since I normally just buy the plants ready to go. It’ll be great to have so much more fresh basil, cilantro and parsley to cook with along with my perennial oregano, chives and mint that take over my garden each year. And great inspiration to draw from once they all grow!    

Trying New Things

I am keeping my hands busy in other ways too this month. I’ve actually started writing. I’m writing a workbook that has become so long it may actually become an e-book. I really can’t believe it. I knew I still needed to be productive with my business during this slow time, so I started formulating and outlining and eventually writing how to sell products at wholesale to stores. I’ve learned a lot about the subject over the past 7 years and when I started I felt I was reinventing the wheel since I couldn’t find much information out there about how to run this kind of business. I finally cobbled information from mentors and retailers and bits and pieces across the web, but never could find a good comprehensive guide for a small maker like me to launch into a wholesale business. It’s been so fun to share what I’ve learned, my mistakes and processes, and I hope to help teach and encourage others as they grow their businesses too!

Not in Our Comfort Zone

This strange time we are in really is the perfect time to try something new. We are all already outside of our comfort zones in so many ways (it is still so strange to only go out in public for groceries twice a month and wear a mask and gloves and even weirder to not be able to smile at people or feel you have to keep your distance). So since we are, I figure it’s a great time to stay outside our comfort zones and try new things and maybe we will fail.
 
But that's okay.
 
Failures are just opportunities to learn. So I now have learned that painting textures with oil paint isn’t as easy as it looks; that I may have planted all of my veggies and fruits way too close; and my e-book may or may not be a rousing success. But I have enjoyed myself along the way, and hope the gift of my paintings to a friend, the sharing of my garden bounty this summer, and the workbook for other makers will be an encouragement and help in these days ahead, whether they are strange times or not.
Jennifer Smelker

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