Etsy Take Five Tuesday

I was trying to figure out a theme for this weeks take five column but honestly nothing came to mind. Brick wall. So I just started clicking on images and saving them. Only after I opened the folder later did I see a definite theme surface --  in color choice. Funny how this happens, right? Which further leads me to believe that good things truly do come when not forced. Sometimes you simply can't allow your mind to take the wheel. Just sit back, explore, expect nothing... and often this leads to the greatest things in life. Of course, planning is good and I'm not encouraging irresponsibility but when it comes to creative things I find that when I don't try to force ideas, concepts, words, etc. I usually have greater success and see a more authentic vision. Do you find this to? More on that after these Etsy finds so stay with me.... this week I'm featuring 5 sellers + a bonus find!

First up we have the charming illustrations of artist Ana Raimundo of in sunny Portugal.

Next, brilliant finger puppets from London-based paper artist Flor Panichelli of , which means "paper" in Lunfardo, the slang of Buenos Aires. I adore these and can easily see someone become a collector.

Now let us consider some darling paper garlands, perfect for wrapping around a present or displaying on a wall. These are handmade from found papers by in Hartford, CT.

Ready for a 4th? Sure you are. What about these lovely and folksy papier mache decorative objects from North Carolina-based talent ?

And almost last on today's list is from Austin, Texas who creates the most gorgeous handbags and manbags, love these and the man candy model isn't all that bad either. :) LOL.

And here is the a bonus 6th seller, who I've featured before but she has some terrific new prints that may make you swoon. Yay to foxes and cats and ships a sailing!

Okay so back to my earlier words about letting go and allowing creativity to flow. I once had a close family member suffer and struggle with alcoholism. I would attend AA meetings to help me to make sense of it all, I didn't know how to handle someone else's battle but with alcoholism you have to learn because their disease becomes your battle too. I remember, "Let Go and Let God" very, very clearly because the group leader said this weekly with such conviction and everyone would nod and usually offer up some experience to serve as confirmation of that statement.

Some in the group were agnostic, others atheists, and still others from both eastern and western religions so the idea of what "God" meant was different to each individual. But the point was clear to me... to simply let go of what you cannot control. I don't think that you can always control artistic expression and creativity, but in many examples I can think of in the workplace where you are constantly asked to do so. And it can be frustrating right? Pretend for a moment that you are a professional photographer hired by a vodka company to shoot a martini ad. You need to shoot the bottle against a graphite background and you must do so perfectly. Of course, your work is flawless since you are a pro, but it may be more vision than your own. Often your personal portfolio is much more dynamic and a true example of who you are as an artist. When clients are involved, you cannot always let go of the wheel, you must drive it until the project is complete and your client is happy. In your spare time you are out shooting weddings because wedding photographer gives you more creative freedom and this fuels your passion further for photography. If you had to shoot martini ads all day, you just may die of boredom. Balance is how a creative mind handles their business. There is an outlet to plug into where creative freedom is allowed, and this keeps the passion for photography fueled.

In some cases when a client is not involved and you are simply producing something for your customers or are given a writing assignment that allows you a lot of freedom, it's a good idea to do what comes naturally, not forced, as down the road this will lead to work that is your own, enjoyable, and not driven by money or something that won't motivate you long term.

I hope I'm making sense. I'm making sense in my own head but often trying to convey these thoughts through words is quite a challenge.

So! I was sitting in a cafe recently noticing the massive cafe culture here in Germany - people love to go out and eat + drink. Places are full nearly every night of the week. It's common in my city. I told the person with whom I was dining that if anyone wanted to make a ton of money in Hannover and become quite successful here, they should open a cafe, a fabulous restaurant, a cupcake bakery, a really hip lounge... this city loves to eat! And so I thought that coming from a family of small business owners (my parents once owned two restaurants), that perhaps I should be the one to open a cupcake bakery or some type of amazingly unusual eatery here. It's a city with many international guests who come for the large trade shows held monthly, so there is no shortage of businessman with credit cards to pay for good meals. Well this friend knows me so well and said, "Holly... you have to have more passion for the food industry then you currently do to enjoy that type of business -- money isn't going to be motivator enough for you". And you know what? This couldn't be more true.

Money itself does not motivate me but often it is what money can give me  -- travel and the enjoyment of certain things in my life that DO motivate and inspire me. Money in this scenario (restaurant ownership) would take away the travel and the other things that do motivate me so I'd have to LOVE the food industry to make up for the things I would leave behind (free time, opportunity to jump on a train whenever, etc.). I thought long and hard about this and realized that I still need to pursue my dreams to someday open a shop. And so again the point of how essential passion is and how it needs to be the core foundation in whatever we do was driven home. And passion cannot be forced. A natural drive is either there or it is not there. Interesting to ponder, isn't it?

Sometimes you simply cannot allow yourself to force something, whether it be your next career or your current new product idea, often the most organic "of the heart" things are those that bring you the utmost success. You win, your wallet wins, your heart wins, your customers win. If you force something to work out, often you're drained, your wallet is fat, your heart feels like it may burst from stress, and your customers may be happy for a short while but if they sense you're not happy, you may ultimately lose them. People are attracted to those who have a natural passion for their life and the things that they are doing. Right? If Oprah wasn't passionate, would you tune in? If Jamie wasn't in love with food would you watch? If Nigella didn't lick every single finger would you be as interested? Forcing a square peg into a round hole is wasting ones time in an area where there is not natural fit, and it's deflating and demotivating with often unsuccessful results. That is what I'm learning currently like never before. Living here is teaching me the value in licking every finger with passion, and slurping up every bit of gravy with the thickest cut homemade bread possible. I am learning that the best things in life come organically and not to force fit a single thing in life. If it is meant to work, it will work. If not, it won't. Move on. Let go.

So! That was my little essay for the day. Ha ha! I'm writing a lot more on my blog lately and I hope you don't mind... I've had a lot of a-ha! moments since relocating and there is freedom and pleasure in sharing them with you as I go along. Maybe you will take away a tiny something in my words from time-to-time. If not my words, then my finds...

(images: linked to their sources above)