Biz Miss

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Biz Miss has Moved! (please update your bookmarks and readers) April 9, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — bizmiss @ 11:32 am

Dear Readers,

In an attempt to manage everything a little more centrally, Biz Miss has moved to my new site at laurenvenell.com.  The tags and categories still need to be worked out a little better, so some posts might not be where you remember seeing them last.  I promise this new organization will make MUCH more sense when it’s finished.

I’ve got some very exciting posts lined up, including the introduction of an awesome new conference for creative professionals, some progress photos of putting together BIG Mitch, and a new web hosting service specifically for artists from our friends at The Present Group.

So please update your links and bookmarks to : http://laurenvenell.com/category/blog/

and your RSS readers to: http://laurenvenell.com/feed/

because new posts will no longer appear on this site.  Don’t worry, you can still get to all of the older posts on the new site.  See you on the other side!

Lauren

 

Thing-A-Day 7: Tiny Animal Parts January 23, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — bizmiss @ 9:45 pm

Your instruction for today is: create a tiny animal (or animal parts) out of clay. Pics and such to come tomorrow. I’m goin’ out!

 

Palette October 30, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — bizmiss @ 4:54 pm
Tags: , ,

Oh man, I don’t know about you, but this is probably the most enticing palette I’ve ever had to work with.

stickerstash

I got them all today at the Pine Street Papery in Sausalito, which is actually on Caledonia Street.  I got about eight sets of each of these for $70 total.  Not a bad investment if you consider how many mandalas they will create.

The Mrs. Grossman’s site says I can only make fifty art pieces with their stickers.  Not that I intend to make more that, but it seems kind of bogus to market a product primarily as an art material and then limit the number of pieces your customers can make it.  I can’t think of any other example of this.

Hopefully the Bay Bridge will be open again by Monday, so I can go to the East Bay and pick up my little wooden bases.  Then I can really get down to business.  In the meantime I’ll work on making my own stickers so I have everything ready to go.  The anticipation is killing me!

 

Sweet Chronicle Books Sale–Through August 5th July 23, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — bizmiss @ 2:25 pm
Tags: , , ,

Via Craftzine.com: “Chronicle Books’ huge Friends & Family Summer Sale kicks off today with 35% off all titles, plus FREE shipping!”  Use code FRIENDS at checkout.

Chronicle has great craft how-tos, pattern libraries and my favorite business guide for creative professionals, Meg Mateo Ilasco’s Craft, Inc. I think Chronicle carries a lot of really useful and well-designed titles, and I’m not just saying that because there’s a mini Hambone in their Softies Kit.

 

Served October 17, 2008

I’m sitting in Room 307 of the San Francisco Superior Court.  When I got here, I was the only person in this bank of five seats, but as usual, my presence has managed to act as an asshole magnet.  To my immediate right are two women who have not stopped talking for literally one second since they got here.  Two seats to my left is a man providing running commentary on what he is listening to on his mp3 player.  “Not the day for Slayer!” he announces, a little too loudly.

I get called for jury service every year, but this is the first time I’ve made it as far as the oath-in-the-courtroom.  Jury duty never bothered me before, because as a teacher, I was always paid for the days I spent twiddling my thumbs in windowless rooms.  As a Biz Miss, however, being selected for a jury could do some serious harm to my business.  Never mind the hours of work I might lose right off the bat–I could be out of contact with customers and vendors for days, if not weeks.

So what’s a Biz Miss to do when she gets called for jury service?  What are the rules regarding compensation, or getting excused?  To begin with, you should know that according to the Superior Court web site, your employer does not have to pay you during your jury service, they just have to give you the time off.  If you give them “sufficient” notice of your impending jury service (which remains undefined), they can’t fire you, but you could potentially lose months worth of pay if you get assigned to a long trial.  If this is the case, or if you are self-employed, you can ask for an excuse based on “severe hardship.”  You write on your summons form exactly what sort of impact jury service will have on your financial situation, and then hope for the best.  In hindsight, I sort of wish I had done this, but it seemed dishonest to claim “severe financial hardship” given my ability to run most of my business outside of court hours.  The judge for our case made sure to emphasize that “serious inconvenience” does not equal “severe hardship,” and while having no free time for two weeks is definitely a serious inconvenience, it wouldn’t keep me from being able to pay the rent.

If you end up having to spend more than one day at jury duty you are entitled to compensation.  In San Francisco, if you are a government employee you can only claim a $2.50 “mileage fee” for any days you appear at the courthouse after the first.  If you are not a government employee you can also claim an additional $15 per day “jury fee” from the second day forward.  It’s not much, but at least it covers lunch and public transportation.

What about tax deductions?  Can you deduct meals and travel during jury service?  Sadly, no.  The only jury-related tax deduction I could find occurs if your employer forces you to hand over your jury fees to help them compensate for your lost time.  In that case, you can deduct the total of your jury fees from your gross income.  Otherwise, no dice.

In short, jury duty almost always sucks, but at least there are a few saving graces.  Firstly, we get three breaks a day, including a 90-minute lunch, during which I can both eat and conduct a little business.  Secondly, the courthouse has free wireless, which works with even my ancient 7-year-old laptop.  And finally, there is a lot of downtime during jury duty, in which I can write blog posts, do my bookkeeping, or knit Christmas presents.  Just don’t try to bring a pair of three-inch sewing snips into the courthouse.  They will tell you to “put them outside somewhere,” which actually means “try to hide them in a bush when none of the bums are looking.”

 

Park(ing) Day September 19th September 8, 2008

Next Friday, September 19th, is National Park(ing) Day!  Begun just three years ago by San Francisco art collective, Rebar, and supported by the Trust for Public Land, Park(ing) Day now occurs in over 50 cities worldwide.

Here’s the gist: you and your friends cordon off a metered parking space in your neighborhood and turn it into a public park for the day (while feeding the meter, of course).  Some people lay out rolls of sod or astroturf, while others use kiddie pools to create “water parks.”  Rebar has put together a very easy and detailed “How-To Guide” for putting together your Park(ing) space, so there’s really no excuse.

Many small businesses use Park(ing) Day as a way to draw traffic to their stores.  The shopkeepers in my local merchants’ association in Hayes Valley are commandeering at least three spaces for the event. When you think about it, participating in Park(ing) Day makes perfect sense from a business perspective.  Not only do you create a crowd-drawing spectacle right in front of your store, you are encouraging people to linger there, sometimes for hours.  And in the long term, anything that discourages driving and encourages walking (and therefore, window-shopping) swings the pendulum away from big boxes and back towards neighborhood institutions.

I’m looking forward to spending some time in my neighborhood’s “parks” next Friday.  If my friends weren’t all working, I might even put together a space myself. To get an idea of what to expect, check out these photos.

One note: Park(ing) Day and all of its accoutrements are protected by a Creative Commons Non-Commercial Attribution license, which means: 1) You cannot use your Park(ing) Space to directly sell or promote your business’s products or services (i.e. you can set it up in front of your store, but you cannot label it with your company’s logo or offer free samples) and 2) any signage, web site or other written materials on or referencing your Park(ing) Space must say “Original concept by REBAR.  http://www.rebargroup.org.”