One-Year Anniversary

Well, dear readers, it’s been one year since I started my creative business–Carrot Condo.


Some of you read about it here as it happened. Friends and family came to my launch party last November (pictures and stories are here) and supported me with gusto. I had four Storybooks You Can Color and one set of Cards You Can Color.

When I look back at this last year, I am inspired to keep plugging along and astounded at how many great things happened:

All four storybooks are nearly sold out! I need to decide if I’m going to do a second printing or let them be a first-edition only to make way for new projects.

I now have eight different Cards You Can Color. My favorite is AIE, the name we gave to this little yogi-dinosaur. She popped out of my sketchbook one day when I’d been attempting a Very Serious Drawing. At fist, I was mad about her cuteness when I’d been aiming for depth, but then, I fell in love with her pluck. Now I try to model her attitude.

img_2419At the one market I sold at last year, I met Lisa Coulson of Panda With Cookie. Now, not only has our dinosaur card-ornament collaboration sold out of the first set, I am grateful to claim her as both a mentor and friend. She has taught me a lot about running a creative business, has modeled what it means to take time to do your best work, and put total faith in me when we began our collaboration. Thanks to Lisa, my dinosaur cards with her ornament are also sold at Tender Loving Empire, a shop with three locations in Portland and an incredibly inspiring story (read it here).


Speaking of friends, I’d admired Amy Daileda of Vivid Element for years in our weekly yoga class, but I didn’t talk to her until about a year-and-a-half ago. In that one brief conversation, she offered to teach me all about selling on Etsy and help me with my business goals. Now I gratefully claim her as a friend, too. I admire her quiet strength and passion. Thanks to a bold moment when we agreed to try something new, we now go to a zumba class together once a week. Zumba! I know! We’re yogis swinging our hips around to ear-crushingly-loud music and strobe lights. It’s good for me–forces me to lighten up and let go.

In August my writing group did a goal-setting exercise. I said I wanted to get into three shows for Carrot Condo. That felt daunting at the time, but here I am! The first show has already happened and went well, except that I learned I cannot set up my folding table by myself. It worked on the carpet in our basement, but on the smooth gym floor, it slid out from under me…repeatedly. It was like wrestling a wet octopus. (Thanks guy with the nice beard who hid his laugh and offered to help!)


And while I still have much to learn, my website and Etsy shop are humming along, and my photos are getting better…not great, but better.

My big challenge now is to figure out what’s next. I have tons of ideas, but which ones should I pursue first? As you know from earlier posts. I’m learning how to set goals and project deadlines for creative work. It’s been difficult; as a teacher, I just followed the college’s calendar and had automatic deadlines and breaks, and I knew how long prepping and grading would take. Now, I get an idea, and I have to think through a lot of details and unknowns. (Actually, one lesson I recently learned: just assume it’s going to take twice as long as you expect the first time around.)

If you’d like to follow along, I blog about my projects at  “All But The Kitchen Sink” is a more personal space, and some of you have been visiting me here for years, so I wanted to share here to say thank you. Carrot Condo is still tiny, and I have much work to do, but I would NEVER have gotten this far without all the encouragement and enthusiasm from you.


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6 Responses to One-Year Anniversary

  1. heather seattle says:

    This post is so great! It answered a lot of questions I had recently and just generally was SO nice to hear an update on everything that is going on with Carrot Condo and you! I’m so very happy about all of this and thrilled your storybooks are sold out – that is awesome!!! You’re incredibly inspirational!!!!!! Two other loves: your note re zumba (that concept very much needs to be applied to my life but i’m not sure I’m that brave) and also love the just assume note re timing – i keep trying to get CCC to realize that… it’s not him, it’s the unknown! 🙂

    • TRISTA says:

      Thanks, Heather! Sorry for the slow reply, as you know, we all got really sick for the month of December. Blah. Your support for my creative goals from day one has be awesome. I bet you’d like zumba … I felt ridiculous at first, like I was too mature and cool for such goofy dance aerobics, but that stiff-thinking is exactly what needed to go. The last time I went to class, I was stomping and swinging my hips as if I might actually look good doing it! (Thank GAWD there are no mirrors there!!)

  2. rose l. says:

    It sounds like your dream is progressing along. I have not been so pushing with my photo cards. Sigh! Wish I could get that going. Good luck and carry on. Or should I saw Carrot on! LOL

    • TRISTA says:

      Yes, Rose, “progressing along.” I like that phrase. Until I looked back at the first year, I actually felt pretty low, like I wasn’t doing enough fast enough. But then I saw all that I’ve learned and who I’ve met, and I realized–I’ve got to judge my work by different standards. I can’t apply capitalistic thinking to this, like how much money I am losing or want to make or how fast I can “produce.” That’s not my personality, but that kind of thinking was in my head anyway. I keep coming back to my carrot logo–carrots, in my experience, grow super slowly but steadily. So, that’s my new realization: slow and steady. You’ve got years of practice and amazing results for your photography. I bet you could put a show together or a booth at a summer sidewalk fair in a matter of hours!

  3. Solveig says:

    Dear Trista,
    I have sort of fallen of the blogging planet lately, so it’s great to do some catching up! One year! Congratulations!

    I am currently hosting my annual advent calendar (2nd edition) and well I really need some contributors, I should have reached out to you earlier… Would you be interested in participating? Here are the guidelines, ok I need posts for tomorrow and most of next week… ahhh!!

    many hugs,


    • TRISTA says:

      Hi, Solveig! I didn’t get a chance to take part in the advent calendar. Are you doing “April A-to-Z” this year? I’m thinking of doing it at my Carrot Condo site … maybe a daily drawing. You draw and paint–want to do something visual too? Just a thought. Great to hear from you!!

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