How Tidying and Life Goals Go Together

About a month before the KonMari craze, my husband picked up the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. At first I was confused by his choice, since our apartment is so small, we already have to be tidy by necessity. How could we be any more tidy?

I strongly encourage you to read it (watching the TV series doesn’t count!). Because her book is so succinct and free of clutter, it is hard to summarize how magical it is. You’ll just have to trust me on this 🙂

After going through everything in my apartment, I had 6 grocery bags of stuff to donate. SIX BAGS. That may not sound like much, but our apartment space is at a premium. We could fit a few extra people in our apartment for 6 bags worth of stuff!

It was so liberating to purge the clothes that plagued me- ones I bought on sale that were just a little off such as shoes that were just a little too tight. and pants that were a little too short. Yes I paid money for them, and for the longest time I held on to them because of that. But now, I am not haunted by my clothes. They were still invaluable because they taught me a lesson: don’t buy things you don’t really want just because they’re on sale

And now we’re getting to the part where it actually relates to my Etsy store: the items I was collecting without realizing I had a collection. Who knew I had a penchant for toothbrushes, tea tins, beads, and… pencil cases??

“No duh, Deidre,” you may think to yourself. We all know you are a 6 year old princess at heart who loves collecting shiny things. Yes, I love unicorns. Yes, I love cats. And about 50% of my clothes are a shade of pink. And now that I know myself, I can embrace it. Looking at all my stuff made me realize, “huh, so this is who I am,” and gave me so much self awareness. I love things that not only make me smile, but are also functional! (Such as toothbrushes, and you guessed it- pencil cases)

As you may have noticed, I now have a kawaii themed Etsy store with functional items. I absolutely love it! Who doesn’t feel happy after looking at a cute animal? Who doesn’t want accessories that express themselves? Which is why I do what I do now- functional cuteness. When you have limited space, you need to make everything you own count 🙂

Have you tried the KonMari method? What did you discover?

April Update

Who doesn’t love a snowy April? Are any of us in Minnesota surprised? I was hoping I could give you more exciting updates other than “watched Netflix while it snowed”. Since I first drafted this post, the snow has melted and we’ve had a few 70 degree days! But again, as us Minnesotans know, that doesn’t mean anything 🙂

If you were hoping for more excitement, I did go to Boston and New York in March! It was only 30 degrees in Boston, but heck, that was 30 degrees warmer than Minneapolis.

It was downright balmy!

We stayed in Chinatown and basically our New York trip became a noodle tour. We had all the noodles.

Plus, I discovered boba ice cream (why does this not exist in Minneapolis??)

Dare I say it was better than bubble tea?

Other adventures include buying Torchic from the Nintendo store, ordering cocktails from the boujie Death&Company, and bagels upon bagels.

I’ve also started a new project! Trying my hand at Kickstarter for enamel pins, inspired by classic RPG character classes. In cat form, of course. It runs until May 26th, check it out here!

I’ve had several other projects on the burner as well: my spring collection, summer collection, and even my winter collection! I’ve been playing around with ideas while I’m still cooped up, because good luck getting anything done while it’s summer 🙂 everyone in Minnesota goes into a frenzy to cram as many summer activities as possible in the few months of decent weather we have. If you have anything you’d like to see in a future collection, let me know!

In other news, my one year marriage anniversary is coming up in May! My husband and I are going glamping. What are your summer plans?

How to Design a Collection

Deidre, how do you come up with your designs?

Good question!

For my first collection, Galactic Confections, I thought of what would define me and my store. What is the thing I love most? Cats. The second most? My husband. Third? Unicorns.

Next, I doodled different versions. Outline or no outline? Winking or eyes open? Mouth or no mouth? I tried different things until I liked the end result, and asked my friends to vote on which style they preferred

Once I had the main elements down, I was looking for more cohesive drawings that would fit with the theme. What goes with unicorns? Space, clearly. So I drew stars and moons. What is as sweet as cats? Cupcakes, obviously. And once I drew the unicorns, I was like, why can’t my cats have wings too? And boom, my caticorn was born.

I also thought very hard about the color scheme- I started with my favorite color teal, plunked it into a color generator, and kept clicking until it came up with a combination of colors I liked.

I typically draw more elements than I need. For galactic confections, I had ribbons, ribbons with wings, hearts with wings, hearts upon hearts, and even an evil caticorn (gasp!). I move the elements around and copy and paste until they fit into a nice little puzzle. During this process, I find that some of the things I drew don’t fit (like evil caticorn) but that’s okay, because they may make an appearance further down the line, or they inspire new ideas and combinations.

What does your creative process look like?

So what’s in a name?

Video games. Sparkles. Cats. What do they all have in common? (do they even have anything in common??)

I love glitter, princess, unicorns, and… video games. And I know I’m not the only one who does. I really struggled to convey these seemingly different things in a one little store name. I tossed around names such as Cutest Loot, Cute Loot, and Cute Castle- though none of those captured the warm fuzzy feeling of Japanese Kawaii and the adventurous spirit of well, questing, as much as Quest for Cute did. The challenge came from combining all these seemingly different things, though as I wrestled to capture my idea in the perfect words, I realized that overly cute and the competitiveness of video gaming really do go well together. Kawaii is the rebellion against expectations of what grown adult women should like, while gaming is typically thought to be a more competitive and male dominated hobby. Both are rejecting social norms. Who says people can’t like cute things once we grow up? Who says women can’t be competitive? Who says people can’t be cute and competitive

A little bit about my background

I was playing in Pokemon card tournaments when I was 10 against guys who were 18. If you know me really well, you know that my most prized possession is the Happy Birthday Pikachu I won in that tournament. #winner

My beloved Happy Birthday Pikachu, complete with 10 year old Deidre’s handwriting.

If you know me really well, you also know that I have been playing MMOs since I was 8. My first character was a high elf wizard named Truly Sweet in the game EverQuest. I literally ran out of the computer room because I was too scared to fight the orcs in Crushbone.

When I was 13, I discovered the very aesthetically pleasing universe of World of Warcraft. This time I created a night elf druid (also named Truly) because druids could turn into cats (everything in my life comes back to cats =^.^=). I was a tank for my raiding guild (whoa) and I was a 13 year old girl (double whoa) which is one of my proudest achievements. Can I put that on my resume?

So, to tie this all in a neat little package, you could say there are two sides of me: the one that is drawn to the girl’s toy section in Target (uh, hello glittery princess everything) and the one that is a closet nerd who spent hours of her youth PVPing (player vs player, and if that still doesn’t make sense to you, just know I kicked other player’s booties). For a long time I wondered how I could have such ‘conflicting’ interests, until I started wrestling for the perfect name for the store. That is when I realized the underlying themes: happiness and rebellion. Do what makes you happy, like what you like, and it doesn’t matter if it makes sense to anyone else.

Anyone want to reminisce with me about EverQuest or WoW? <3

What is my inspiration? You’ll never guess! =^.^=

This post is all about cats. Because I FREAKING LOVE CATS. And it’s very important to my origin story and inspiration for my business.

About 19 years ago, my grandma died. About 18 years and 10 months ago, my grandma took in a black kitten that was shivering by her garage. Grandma named her Cleo.

Cleo and I had an instant bond. She was affectionate, quiet, and nervous, not unlike the 8 year old me. She didn’t bite, and she let me hold her. She was totes my best friend. I begged to go to grandma’s house so I could eat Lucky Charms cereal (which she secretly kept stocked) and play with Cleo.

When grandma died, Cleo came to live with my family. By losing one best friend, I gained another.

Not all cats live forever, and Cleo died on New Year’s Eve as I hailed in 2012. Not the best way to start my year.

Fast forward to 2016. I graduated college, finished AmeriCorps, and was wondering how I could have a cat but also not pay for a cat (student loans lol) when one of my friends told me about fostering!

I have fostered two cats and six kittens since then. They’ve had eye infections, UTIs, URIs, and ear mites. My husband and I nursed them all back to health!

So end of story, I LOVE CATS. Look at my little angels below!

Sleepy little kitty baby
A purrrfect specimen
Another sleepy kitty

How did I get started?

Everyone has an origin story- and everyone loves an origin story!

So what is MY origin story? So glad you asked!

I will spare you the soul sucking details of working a job you really don’t like. I am still searching for my ‘job charming’!

So instead of waiting for job charming, I decided to start an Etsy store. That was back in 2014. I sold paper crane garlands. They were really pretty!

Origami Crane Garlands

But… they took me so long to make, and I only made about $12 off each one for hours of work. Ah! Not the way to run a business.

What does everyone love at craft sales? Candles! Soaps! Yes!

I tried my hand at candles- they were too heavy to ship. And breakable. So I tried my hand at soap. Soap takes a month to cure- and also you have to use lye. For the hypochondriac in me, that wasn’t something I wanted to do long term.

Then I made mugs! They were nerdy, and people seem to like them. But I couldn’t connect with the audience as well as I thought I could. I like D&D, but I don’t necessarily live and breathe it. Ask me one question about stats or items and my eyes glaze over.

ONE FATEFUL DAY, I was tidying my apartment and going through my things. And what did I see? Pink. Cats. Unicorns. Polka dots. Ribbons. Explosions of color everywhere. Glitter.

AHA! I thought to myself. So this is what I really love, and this is who I really am (did that come as a surprise to anyone other than myself? I don’t think so haha)

And thus, Quest for Cute was born with the idea of creating cute accessories to add whimsy to your everyday life. If you have an office job, you certainly need some whimsy to get through the week! I plan to keep creating cute things that I love. Stay tuned for more accessories in the next couple of months!