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Maker’s Talk with Munga Vision

One of my favorite parts about creating House Fenway is connecting with other artists, learning about their craft and their artistic process.  This week I’m sharing an interview I did with one of my maker friends, Kristen, owner of Munga Vision. She is a wonderfully talented artist, mother and boss babe!

Tell us what Munga Vision is and how it started?

The current vision of Munga Vision actually began a little less than 2 years ago. Before that, I was using my website as a portfolio page for contract work as a webmaster and designer for small businesses. I did stationery on the side just for fun, but it was slowly evolving with requests and I really fell in love with the more artistic things I was producing. When our 2nd child was about 6 months old I realized I was spread too thin trying to get the art stuff that I wanted to do in, kids and family life, and all my contract work. While I miss the steady paycheck of contracts over retail, I am happier than ever with the decision to change my work life and make a go at that crazy dream. Luckily my hub’s is super supportive and thought to scale back with contract obligations was a good idea to see how it pans out too. I’m sure most adults can relate at some point in time to the balancing act of life and feeling a constant time strain with things you don’t particularly enjoy doing. Thus, I phased out my corporate gigs over a couple months and let the art take center stage.

What is the meaning behind the name Munga Vision?

Munga is actually my family nickname for me. In college, I had to come up with a website name and fictitious company for one of my classes. I went with that name and in the end, just stuck. I think I was married a couple years before my mother in law realized it was a nickname when she heard my dad calling me that!

 

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What is your favorite part of the creative process and why?

Coming up with the ideas is so much fun to me. Over the past two years, I have tried to streamline my brain and channel those ideas into a series to release to make the marketing and projects more cohesive. I do love, in the end, seeing it come together, but honestly, I often get impatient during the ACTUAL PROCESS. I am always 10 steps at a time kind of personality and so it’s hard for me to slow it down and enjoy the ride of each design. I really try to get myself to focus on one project series at a time now rather than starting a dozen different things at once and taking a year to finish them all. The first collection I focused on to help my branding was The Spring in Country poster line and since then I continue to release things in series. The truth though, sometimes I still end up with a dozen different things going, custom orders, and will still piece in one-off projects to sell too.

You have a vast array of product. Which product do you enjoy making the most?

Currently, it’s been painting. I don’t actually do it as often as I’d like because it’s easier to work on the computer in short increments of time and projects, but I love layering and piecing stuff together. Even when I used to do things in the dark room it was always fun to crop and blur and angle stuff to me. Painting is one of those things too that you don’t have to be really good at it to me to create something you love. A lot of time incredible painters are clearly talented, but it’s not something I’d ever hang on my walls. Then you get a kid who throws around some of their favorite colors with no rules and you get this piece of sunshine that just makes you happy. I think painting is one of the only mediums where that happens too. I definitely am not the greatest painter, but I balance that with my digital expertise and usually bring it into the digital world after to tweak and add text and make something that while not technically unique in the brush strokes is something totally different that will maybe strike someone as the perfect piece for their home. 

 

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You have your own online shop. Do you find you enjoy it more than your original shop on the Etsy platform?

Urgh, it’s tough. I actually still really love Etsy and you can find my stuff on there, but that’s because I get more random traffic still from Etsy. I am trying really hard to bring up that dreaded “SEO” for my site this year and am seeing improvements, but I don’t see myself ever fully leaving Etsy and all the great clients I meet through there.  Etsy is really special as a platform because it’s very intentional with the people who use it to shop small and handmade. That’s really a quality that is easily lost in all the options today. I do love working my own site though because of the flexibility. If you visit my site you don’t drift off to 100 other cool and similar products like you do on Etsy and I can state my message and be more streamlined too. Eventually, the goal is to significantly bring more traffic to my own website www.mungavision.com and I dedicate most of my time to focusing on that development. Loading new products is sort of an afterthought now and I tend to keep more of the stationery and stuff that sells well on it from previous years rather than adding everything that’s new.

Do you do Munga Vision as a full-time job?

Munga Vision is officially my full-time gig now though I wouldn’t say I am making a living of it yet as I have found costs of a small business are high and am working to find that better balance to consider myself successful at running a small business. I was much more successful when I was still doing contracts as my company then only retail!  I am very fortunate that my husband has great benefits though so we have health care through him. It really is hard not to compare yourself to other small shops and where you’d like to be, but I try to remind myself of all that I’ve grown in less than 2 years time and hope that by the time our youngest is of school age I am far enough along to warrant keeping the gig as my full-time position!

How often do you do markets and shows? And do you enjoy doing them?

Love doing shows and hate doing shows. Does that make any sense?! They are a TON of work even if not a big one and often you don’t make any money. It’s really hard to predict. However, there is no better way to put yourself out there, get feedback on new products, potentially make a great income for the day and get new customers. I started doing shows with a giveaway by collecting email addresses and now that is usually a good goal for me. Even if I don’t sell much that day I may still collect 100 new emails sometimes at a small fair and potentially make a lifetime customer down the line. With young kids at home and them always being on the weekend though I tend to only do a handful a year. I also live in NC and have had to decline some big summer shows because my products get ruined in the heat with the packaging melting. I am looking for some great additional fairs though to add in the fall or any INDOOR summer fairs if people reading know of any for the summer months in the Raleigh area.

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What is your favorite art medium and why?

Probably my favorite art medium is one that I can’t/don’t do ever…watercolor! It’s soooo versatile and pretty on your walls to your invitations, but I am too impatient. With acrylic or oils or digitally I love that I can layer and if I mess up try again without completely throwing out the whole piece, but with watercolor, it’s like you mess up and have to trash it. I just don’t have the patience for it and admire all the artists in my life who produce beautiful pieces. I do play with watercolors in the digital world either on the iPad now or more often altering stock images I like to piece together into something brewing in my mind. I think of it as collage art when I use stock and taking something from a bank that exists, but cutting it and putting it together with other elements to get something new. 

Where do you see Munga Vision in 3-5 years?

I don’t have million dollar dreams for Munga Vision but hopefully realistic. I’d like to make a decent salary AFTER COSTS to warrant continue working for myself and the fun and flexibility it allows me. Right now with young kids and the schedules that go along with it that aspect buys me time to lay the foundation. I hope over the next 3 years to grow my online sales and store presence and find that magic formula that at the end of the year I am making an average graphic designer salary that I would make working for someone else. For me personally, I don’t want to grow so big that I need full-time employees or have to give up the design aspect. I love creating and enjoy the hours I get to spend in doing so and really just want to get to that point where I can do so comfortably and plan a little for retirement and reality.  I just read #GIRLBOSS and it was interesting to hear her talk about how she recently stepped down from CEO because she had to give up so much of the other aspects of why she started Nasty Girl in the first place. It reminded me that while chasing dreams, it’s important to remember who’s dream I am running toward and nobody ever looks quite the same.

What is one important lesson you have learned while owning your own business that you could pass onto other makers?

Take time to do it right when you know it needs to be done, but don’t overthink taking the leap if you don’t know yet. Learning as you go is an amazing way to learn how to do something right. Things are always changing, especially in retail, and often you never quite know anything until you go for it. I am not telling you to be lazy in implementation and ignore things to rush and put something out there, but I just mean don’t get caught up in your head over thinking it to perfection. Perfection is subjective in this world and maybe it’s learning the hard way, but I think just doing it is how you learn it right. I am sure I’ve looked like an idiot plenty of times in this business, but each time I hopefully get a little better. 

 

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House Fenway Market

There is no denying it, I love to create! As long as I can remember, I have always gravitated towards art. Paper and pencil, markers, chalk, canvas, computer, you name it, I’ve used it as a creative outlet. This blog is a prime example. Not traditional art mind you, but art constructed with feelings and words. I wanted to share with you today my creations. They are a melt of my art and my love for home decor. Attached to this blog, I have a small shop. It’s a little piece of me, my art and my step to share my creations with the world (because my house can only hold so much!). Here are a couple of the prints  available to purchase. I’m so honored to be able to share them and continue to improve and grow my craft. Enjoy!

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Love Block Print
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Love Black Print – Black

 

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Coffee Botanical Print

 

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Tea Botanical Print

 

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Farmhouse Hen Print

 

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Farmhouse Sheep Print

 

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She Shed Print
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Hen House Print

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Innovative Interior Inspiration for a Happier Home during the Holidays

Your home should be bursting with Christmas cheer and holiday spirit by this point in the year. Whether you’re putting up your Christmas tree or having a good clear out before all of the presents arrive, there are so many preparations you can make right now. You might want to start by brightening up your home interior or changing up your overall color scheme within your home. There are an abundance of exciting things you can do in order to create a happier home during the holidays. If you’re not quite sure where to start then consider some of the following ideas to get you started on your innovative journey. Make sure you do everything possible to create a vibrant, festive, safe and practical space within your awesome abode this holiday season.

Savvy Security

Not everybody chooses to stay at home during the festive season; in fact it is becoming more and more popular to spend the holidays abroad or with distant family. If you’re worried about leaving your house for long periods of time, you might want to update your home security systems. You should click here and find out how you can watch your home from anywhere, no matter where you may be. In the future it will also come in really handy as you can check in on your pets whilst you’re out. With this high tech security system you will be able to have ultimate peace of mind that your home is safe and sound.

Declutter and Cleanse

Before Christmas comes around it is so important to get rid of all the unwanted clutter in your home before you are inundated with presents! Clear out your closets, empty overflowing drawers and throw out any useless items you no longer need in your house. You could even sell some of your unwanted items online just to get a little head start with your holiday cash. Starting the holidays with a fresh and decluttered home is the ultimate way to begin the festivities. You won’t have to worry about making room for guests, food and presents throughout your home if you take the time to have a much needed clear out.

Deep Clean

If you haven’t put up your Christmas tree yet, then now would be the perfect time to give your home the deep clean it needs. Even if you have decorated already, there is no better way to prepare for the holidays than a good old fashioned cleaning session. When it comes to deep cleaning your home, it really couldn’t be easier. Just focus on the finer details that you might usually brush over and you will have peace of mind that you have carried out a very thorough clean throughout your home. You could hire a carpet steam cleaner if you’re really ready to get into the deep cleaning spirit!

Furniture Rearranging

If you are the happy host for Christmas day, then you might need to make some practical rearrangements to cater for your guests. It can often be a problem finding enough seating to allow your guests to sit down, so think about this before the big day rolls around. If you have got little ones visiting you might want to tidy away your breakables so that your precious items aren’t in any danger. Count up how many guests you might be expecting in your home and bring down some extra seating from upstairs if you need to. Getting all of these preparations sorted beforehand will help to reduce your stresses hugely on the day.

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Festive Touches

It’s time to think about the fun and enjoyable elements of organizing your home for Christmas day and family parties. Adding your own festive touches to your dreamy dwelling will bring out the festive cheer by the bucket load. Whether you’re dressing a delicate and demure tree or you’re draping twinkling fairy lights over your mantelpiece, there are so many special touches you can make to your home right now. Choose a theme for your decorations, whether it’s red and gold, pastel pinks or deep green and silver; you are bound to put your own special touches on your Christmas décor this year.

Cool Color Schemes

Experiment with an array of festive palettes this Christmas and change up the entire décor of your home if you fancy a big change. Some people see the holidays as the perfect chance to redecorate your entire home as it symbolizes a fresh start for the New Year. Repaint your living room or invest in new sparkling accessories to suit the winter season. Changing up your color scheme can be the greatest indicator of the festive season so embrace the changes and enjoy trying out new palettes.

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Stunning Scents

One of the most exciting finishing touches you can make to your festive home this year involves choosing your signature winter scent. When your guests walk through the door they need to be hit with an amazing aroma that represents Christmas time through and through. Head out to your local candle or incense store and discover some of the most delicious tastes you will ever come across. Whether you’ve got a soft spot for sweet gingerbread or you absolutely love the smell of cinnamon, there are so many stunning scents to choose from. Enjoy the process of selecting your festive aroma and spread the smell throughout your entire home; your guests won’t want to leave!

So however you choose to spruce up your home this festive season, make sure it is practical, stylish and fun. If you’re going away, you might find it useful to boost your security; if you’re staying at home you could rearrange your furniture to make everything much more practical for your guests. Changing up the décor, style and special features in your home is just perfect for this time of year, as it makes you feel like you’re starting afresh.  Hopefully you will have been able to grab some innovative interior inspiration for a happier home during the holidays.

 

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Simple Home Improvements for a Cute and Cozy Christmas

When you wake up in the morning a light, delicate frost covers your window panes and there is a festive chill in the air. You might not have picked the perfect time to move house, but you’re ready to make it cosy and cute for Christmas. Whilst you’re learning to love a new home, you also need to think about certain practicalities especially at this time of year. When the temperature drops outside you need to make sure your home is fully prepared with everything it needs to survive the winter chill. Check out the following ideas to make your home full of festive cheer ready for the most wonderful time of the year.

Snug as a Bug

You can’t get through a chilly winter without an adequate heating system in place throughout your home. When you have just moved into a new place it can be very difficult to judge what you need to fix, repair or maintain. You need a reliable and sturdy HVAC system that will suit your budget and keep your snug as a bug throughout the cold winter months. With a reputable system in place you can be sure that you aren’t wasting money on energy or harming the environment.

Terrific Tree and Divine Decor

As soon as you move into a new home at this time of year it is essential to get your tree and decor in place. Once all of these elements are firmly up you will start to feel warm and cosy in your new delightful dwelling. Invest in twinkling fairy lights to drape across your mantle piece for a classic Christmas look or head to your local florist and pick up a handmade wreath for your front door. Putting these homely touches in place will help you to feel right at home in no time.

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Super Scents

Every home needs to have a signature scent, no matter how new it may be. As soon as your guests walk through the door they should be struck with a gentle and welcoming fragrance that is unique to your perfect property. At this time of year it might be fitting to choose a sweet smelling gingerbread candle or even a cinnamon incense. Choose a smell that matches your personality and this will soon become your festive home fragrance.

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Cute Comforts

All that needs to be added to your home now are those cute finishing touches that make the world of difference. Whether it’s a cosy red blanket draped over your new sofa or it’s a snuggly cushion on your beautiful bed, you need to add those cute comforts that make you feel at ease. Once all of these added extras are in place your new home will be ready for Christmas Day straight away.

So take the stress out of moving into a new home at this time of year and consider all of these festive favorites. This Christmas you are bound to be warm and welcomed into your new amazing abode.

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Step into Christmas: Is Your Home Ready For Festive Guests?

One of the best things about being an adult, is having your own home that you can entertain your loved ones in and make memories. There’s nothing better than getting everyone together and enjoying good food, drink and conversation- and at Christmas you have every excuse to do so. When you know you’re going to have guests visiting, chances are you’ll want your home in order and looking its best, and so there are a few jobs you could tackle before the 1st December. Here are some ideas!

Finish any repairs and unfinished jobs

We’ve all got those little jobs around the home that we mean to get around to, but somehow never do. Scuffed paintwork that needs touching up, a wobbly toilet seat or a lightbulb that needs replacing. They’re not a huge deal but they are annoying, and most of the time don’t take a lot of effort to put right. Over Christmas you’ll have guests in your home, and will want to make sure everything is up to scratch. Write a list of everything that needs doing, and work your way through it ticking things off as you go. Hit the DIY store for any supplies you’ll need, and spend the day getting these annoying jobs out of the way. You’ll feel far better for it once it’s all done!

Have your heating system tested

The really cold weather has well and truly set in, and chances are you’ve been enjoying cranking up your heating and enjoying getting cozy in the evenings. So imagine what a nightmare it would be if something went wrong and you were stuck with no hot water or heat.  The best way to avoid this is by having an annual boiler service, where an engineer can check everything over and make sure it’s running the way it should. If you haven’t already, sign up for boiler insurance so you don’t end up out of pocket if something goes wrong. If your home is heated using another source, make sure you have enough fuel. Firewood for your wood burning stove for example can be stockpiled, and companies like Quarles propane and oil heat can refill your tank if you use either of these as your fuel source. Get organized so that you don’t run out unexpectedly.

Have a deep clean

Before putting up your Christmas decorations, it’s worth giving the house a good deep clean first. Again, it gets it looking nice in time for guests, but it’s also easier to do when you don’t have a Christmas tree and decorations dominating the room. You could refresh carpets and rugs by hiring a Rug Doctor and get the whole home feeling and smelling fresh. You could go through cupboards, drawers and wardrobes getting rid of things you don’t need. This clears space for new things coming into the house at Christmas, and if you donate to charity then you can help those in need too. Not only can those on a lower income buy the items, but the money made goes towards helping a charity too- everyone wins.

Kit out your guest room

If you’re having guests stay with you at Christmas (or there’s a chance people might stay over unexpectedly) then you’ll need a place for them to stay. If your spare room is usually full of boxes and junk, now would be a good time to work through it and get it all in order. Give it a clean, empty the wardrobe so guests have somewhere to hang their clothes and put fresh sheets and bedding on. You could go a step further and add a wireless phone charger (these are suitable for all newer models, regardless of the brand) and a card with the code to the wifi written on. You’ll want to make your guests stay as comfortable as possible!

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Put up the decorations and make it cozy

Once the house is in order, you can get busy putting up the decorations! If you want to keep it simple, go with a tree (that’s the right size for your room) and one or two smaller decorations. It’s tempting to want to go crazy, but you can always add festive ambience in other ways. Purchase some Christmas scented candles, and replace your cushion covers and bedding with festive variations. Invest in a couple of cozy blankets which are perfect for sitting together with loved ones and watching movies throughout December. Things like draught excluders can make all the difference, until you’re in a position to upgrade your windows and doors! If your heating system works with smart home, this can be a great way to keep your home cozy. You can easily adjust the temperature for different times of day, and can always turn it up or down if needed using your phone or voice activated speaker. For example, if you have it set to twenty one degrees during the evening, but you’re out one evening you’re not wasting fuel as you can turn it off from your phone even when you’re away from the house.

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Stock up on food and drinks

Having friends over means keeping them fed and watered, and so it’s worth having a few drinks and snacks on hand just in case. If you invest in a couple of bottles of spirits and mixers you can make a range of different cocktails. And then some wines, beers and cider will ensure that everyone has something to drink. You might already have a backlog of wines and prosecco, if you host regular dinner parties people tend to bring these over and they don’t always get used. You could bring them out and utilize them over the festive period. Having a tin of nice biscuits or chocolates that you can offer to guests is a smart move too, keep these for when visitors drop by. If they’re stored properly they’ll stay good for over the festive period.