Beauty in the Blooming

Image from Melissa at Print Therapy

Image from Melissa at Print Therapy

In the summer of 2011, I lost the office job I had for over five years. Knowing that I did not want to get back into the world of workers’ compensation claims, I headed back to school to concentrate on my first and true love: writing. But as a writer, it’s hard to find decent pay, especially while you are still in school. So I started crafting more, hoping to make something that would sell. I was so focused on selling stuff in order to make a living, that I wasn’t fully involved in what I was making. Needless to say, it didn’t work out. The passion just wasn’t there.

So I got a little job at a local boutique and put crafting/selling on the back burner. After I found out I was pregnant in the spring of 2012, I left my boutique job and moved to Stockton, where I was introduced to the life of a stay-at-home-mom. I continued to going to school online, but I was also determined to make my own money. So I started selling anything I could, took on several freelance writing jobs and it was around this time that I started this blog.

I was falling behind in school because I was so busy trying to do a million things at once, and I ended up having to drop a lot of my gigs because I didn’t want to have to drop out of school. It’s funny, in every job I’ve had and in every resume I’ve filled out, your ability to multitask is not only a bonus, it’s almost necessary. But I found that in my real life, outside of the office, trying to multitask a bunch of things at once was not working for me.

A little while after my daughter was born, I enrolled in the Graphic Design program at Academy of Arts. I had watched the print industry decline further and further, and I saw the quality in writing decrease. I went to school for Journalism because of my love for writing, but I was finding myself falling out of love. So, before I quit it altogether, I changed my path to Graphic Design.

Still trying to make my own money, I picked up some more freelance writing jobs, somewhat started an art collective and started business with my friend. Apparently I did not learn my lesson about multitasking. With school and raising a baby taking up all of my time, I decided to let things go and focus on what I needed to in the moment. I decided to stop worrying so much on the future and just worry about the present. It’s hard, but it had to happen. My baby was growing before my eyes, and I wanted to be there. Not just around, but there.

So, I stuck with my school and my blog to still keep my hand in the writing game. And I could feel the difference in my attitude, and even saw an improvement in my relationship with my daughter. I was a lot more patient. I wasn’t constantly rushing around the house, and I was enjoying life a lot more. Except for when I was doing homework. Nobody enjoys that.

SONY DSCI found out I was pregnant again during the last week of school, so I while I was exhausted, my morning (aka all day) sickness did not come on till later, so I was able to finish school an even brought my grades up! I thought I would have all this time to beef up my blog, work on our house projects and get started on my business again, but my all day sickness hit me hard, and my baby was getting sick more often. This is when I ultimately decided to just focus on my health and the health of my family. To get as much rest as I could, and to use the couple of months I have on break to spend with my daughter.

Because a month after my next semester is done, our second baby will be born, and I will be back in school a couple weeks after that. So while I’m not writing as much, or doing everything I wanted to during vacation, I’m completely fine with just being a mom right now. With visiting family and watching my daughter learn how to say words and explore our backyard. With hanging out with my boyfriend on his days off, and not just asking him to watch her.

When I was pregnant with Cecilia, everything was so rushed and I was so worried about getting everything done on time. And now, I just want everything to go in slow motion. I’m taking my time on working on little projects for Cecilia’s room and waiting for the last minute to move my office/craft room to the space in the back. I’m decorating and working on our house when I can, and I’m crafting and making stuff when I get a chance. And I feel so much better than when I was trying to get everything done at once, and to be honest, I’m probably getting more stuff done. Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?

SONY DSCThis post was part of the Beauty in the Blooming blog tour that was created by the beautiful Melissa at Print Therapy. You can check out her post here and you can find the blog tour on the Print Therapy site tomorrow. Are you taking some time out to focus on the present? Finding beauty in the blooming? Share in the comments and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google + and Pinterest!

Homemade for the Holidays: Sales!

As I have said before, part of my Creative Business Journey is to share stories of people who have started their own businesses and inspire me to keep doing what I’m doing. With that in mind, this week’s My Creative Business Journey post is interrupted by a listing of all the small businesses I know that will be hosting sales online this weekend! I know that sometimes buying from handmade/small businesses can be tough because it usually means spending a little more, so this list might help lighten the load a little.

The Petit Cadeau – Free shipping on everything | Code: HOLIDAY

Photo from Alison Butler

Photo from Alison Butler

I recently wrote about Alison for my Yo Momma Monday series and have felt so inspired by her slow gifting manifesto. She sells handmade heirloom celebration countdowns, all made in her home studio. She sources most of her items and packaging from independent/local businesses.

Ink and Dirt Designs – 20% off everything | Code: OHMYHOLIDAY

Photo from Ink and Dirt Designs

Photo from Ink and Dirt Designs

Karen Jansen is a crafty mama who creates typography art, subway art, word art, original and custom designs. She came up with the name Ink and Dirt because she not only makes beautiful prints, she also likes to work on landscape design projects!

Lix Hewett Photography/ Design – 20% off everything | HANGIT/ BRANDIT

Photo from Lix Hewitt

Photo from Lix Hewitt

Not only is Lix a wonderful photographer, she recently opened her graphic design shop on Etsy! She offers not only beautiful prints, but iphone cases and custom branding as well. Spoil yourself with a custom branding package and get a print for your friend. Done and done!

Sam Osborne – 25% off all orders over £5 | Code: HOHOHO13

Photo from Sam Osborn

Photo from Sam Osborne

As an aspiring illustrator and graphic designer, Sam is such an inspiration. I love her work and how seamlessly it goes from print to products. The moment you see something of hers, you know who it belongs to and all of her work is so bright and fun, it immediately puts me in a good mood.

Lu & Ed – 30% off everything except Team Lu & Ed merch | Code: StorenvyFlash30

Photo from Sam Osborn

Photo from Lu & Ed

I wrote about the wonderful Cody for Yo Momma Monday last week and shared all the awesome stuff she does with her business. She organized a 50-store Store Evny sale and you can view all the stores here. Sale is on Cyber Monday only.

Kitty’s Curiosity – 25% everything in store, including sale items (BONUS!) | Code: HOORAY13

Photo from Kitty's Curiosity

Photo from Kitty’s Curiosity

Genevieve makes both reclaimed and hand-dyed yarn in a smoke, pet and allergen free home. I virtually met in her the Oh My Handmade forums and she is always so very welcoming and helpful! Her yarn is absolutely beautiful and if I ever get into knitting again – I know where I’m headed!

Print Therapy – 20% off everything | Code: GetYoShopOn

Photo from Print Therapy

Photo from Print Therapy

Let me just say, best coupon code I have ever seen. Ever. Melissa and Nicholas discovered a mutual love for handmade paper items after planning their wedding. How freaking cute is that? They have a lot of meaningful cards for all the occasions, like this sweet anniversary card. I can’t wait to share their full story in my Meet the Maker series soon!

dylbug – Free shipping

Photo from dylbug

Photo from dylbug

Leslie started this company after her first son was born and she wanted some hip clothes for him with a personal touch. Now a mama of three, she is always working on adorable new graphics. I was just introduced to this shop through Facebook, and I think I might be in love.

Home Grown Books20% off entire site | Code: shopsmall

Photo from Home Grown Books

Photo from Home Grown Books

My little one loves books. She likes to flip through them, and mostly to eat them. Home Grown Books are all art-based and eco-friendly books, made through an entirely green process. The paper is recycled and sturdy (good for those inquisitive mouths) and the books are 5.5″ by 6.25″ – perfect for little ones! There are seven books in a set, and the artist of each set is spotlighted on the website – which I think is amazing, and unfortunately isn’t done enough.

Simply Mad Jewelry15% off entire order | Code: SPARKLE15

Photo from Simply Mad Jewelry

Photo from Simply Mad Jewelry

I have come to the realization that I won’t be wearing jewelry for a long time. At least until my daughter stops pulling at literally everything I wear. Not that I wore too much jewelry in the first place, but I do have a special place in my heart for fabric rings like the one above! Madeline makes all of her jewelry by hand, and she takes custom orders. 

You can also find a listing of shops with holiday sales on Omiyage – a crafty blog featuring the amazing Washi tape. I actually went on to Oh My Handmade to announce I was going to compile this list so people could promote their sales, when I found out that she was doing the same thing! A lot of these lovely people are from that community so there may be the same shops on her list. I’m going to head over there as well, to see if there are any sales I missed out on!

If you are hosting a sale this weekend, or you know an awesome shop that is and I didn’t know about it, please leave a link in the comments and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #shopsmallsales. You can also find more holiday sales on my Pinterest. If anything, I hope this inspires you to shop small and handmade this holiday season.

Fridays are for Favorites

fridays are for favorites

As hard as it may be to swallow, I have accepted that my little baby girl, who I swore I just gave birth to last month, is going to be one in less than two months. It has also recently occurred to me that a birthday party is probably in order. And I would be the one to plan it. I’m still getting used to this whole parenting thing. We have decided to hold it at a bowling alley, since it’s not like she can do a whole lot right now anyways. That, and bowling is a lot of fun.

Since this will officially be the first time I plan a child’s birthday, I thought I would share my experience with you. And maybe even get some advice. First thing is first: we need invitations. Sticking to the homemade theme, I have found some lovely invitations on Etsy and wanted to share them. Keep in mind…these can be used for anything, not just first birthdays.

Image belongs to bee's KNEES design shop

Image belongs to bee’s KNEES design shop

Circus themed birthday invites from bee’s KNEES design shop – I was already planning on going with a “life’s a circus” theme, since I feel like my life is literally a circus. So this invitation would be perfect! This shop is owned by Misty Chaote, who designs everything by hand. No clip art is used, and she emails you the digital version within 24-48 hours of receiving payment.

Image belongs to Longfellow Designs

Image belongs to Longfellow Designs

Baby firsts birthday invitation from Longfellow Designs – I like the chalkboard look to this (of course) and I also like that it lists all the baby firsts. Although, I fear that it will just say “I like to eat paper and destroy the house” on there. This shop is owned by Lisa Longfellow, who is a graphic designer and painter, and makes everything by hand.

Image belongs to oodles and doodles

Image belongs to oodles and doodles

Polka Dots Owl Girl’s Birthday Party Package from oodles and doodles – After going to the party store for my friend’s daughter’s first birthday (you know who you are, friend), the idea of purchasing a party package and not having to frantically search Party Crazyland or whatever it’s called for decorations that may or may not match sounds pretty amazing. I know that I could probably make all of her decorations at home, but as a student, mom and business owner, I would rather support someone else who is running their own business…and can do all that for me. And Cecilia’s baby shower theme was owls, so this would be a good fit. This shop is owned by Bridget, who started it after she had trouble finding what she wanted for her son’s first birthday. Good idea, Bridget. Good idea.

Image belongs to Pink Dahlia Paper

Image belongs to Pink Dahlia Paper

Girl birthday invitation from Pink Dahlia Paper – I love how simple and clean this design is. And I love cupcakes. Everything in this shop is made by hand, and it’s all made to order. You will get your first proof within 48 hours and there are some additional charges for design changes.

So which one was your favorite? I still haven’t decided. Please keep small and handmade shops in mind when planning a party, or anything else, for that matter. The market is so open that you could literally find something for any event. The price is not really that different, it’s made just for you, and you don’t have to write the same information on every single card. But most of all, you are supporting someone and their business. You get to know the person you are purchasing from, and you know that your money is going to someone’s family, not to some large corporation.

Do you have an awesome print shop in mind that specializes in birthday invitations like this? Please let me know! You can post in the comments and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #handmadebirthday. Find more first birthday inspiration on my Pinterest!

Fridays are for Favorites

fridays are for favorites

I’ve had my blog for over a year now, and it has been through a lot of design changes. Some were made public, and some just didn’t make the cut. The blog design I have right now is by far my most favorite design. I think it’s super cute and extremely user-friendly. However, I want a more personalized design. At some point, I want to design my own blog and websites, but for now…I need to leave the creativity in someone else’s hands.

Anytime I see a cute blog that I like, I always look up the theme and/or designer, if the blogger employed one. I used to keep a list, but that list has since disappeared. So, I did what any sane person would do, and looked up blog design on Pinterest. It’s kind of insane all the stuff that’s out there. I’ll be talking about blog design more in the future, but for now…these are some of my favorite designers.

Image belongs to Maiedae

Image belongs to Maiedae

Maiedae was founded in 2010 by Jenny Highsmith and Savannah Wallace and became a co-ownership in 2011. They are best friends who met in college and ultimately decided to start their small business together. At first, they offered handmade items, but decided to go the design route, and now they offer web design, blog design and branding packages. They recently launched the Maiedae mixer – a networking event in the southeast region – and The Brand Market – a workshop for creative entrepreneurs. I think I love them.

Image belongs to Deluxemodern

Image belongs to Deluxemodern

Deluxemodern is the beautiful brainchild of Christine, who had this to say about starting her own design company: “if you’re not obsessed, forget it.” I think that can be said about anything that takes a lot of hard work and dedication, but is totally worth it if you love it. She offers both one-of-a-kind and starter logos, branding, blog kits, social media kits, backgrounds and kits. So, basically anything you want.

Image belongs to Smitten Blog Designs

Image belongs to Smitten Blog Designs

Smitten Blog Designs is out of Portland, OR and is comprised of seven lovely ladies who all happen to be designers. They started offering free blogger templates in 2008, and after receiving so many custom requests, they started designing custom blogs. They not only offer templates for both wordpress and blogger, but they also offer logos, print design and even free printables. Right now, they have a special going where returning customers get $5 off their purchase of $50 or more. You can follow their blog for more specials and updates.

Image belongs to The Weaver House

Image belongs to The Weaver House

The Weaver House was founded by twin sisters Kelty and Hannah. So, here is everything they offer, from what I can tell. I’m kind of information overload right now. They have an online shop where they sell vintage shoes, jewelry, paper and dresses. I think they make the prints by hand from vintage magazines and images they have found. They also offer photography and graphic design services, where they will either create the entire graphic design project for you, or do small custom projects, whichever you fancy. In their off time (as if they have “off time”), Kelty runs Working Theory Farms with her husband and Hannah makes funny holiday videos with her husband. Got all that?

To say that this little journey has been inspirational would be a huge understatement. The way I felt looking through all of the portfolios has proven to me that I took the right step in attending design school, and that blogging is what I am supposed to be doing. I’m so amazed that there are some many creative people out there, and that a lot of them live in Portland, apparently. I’ve been wanting to visit Portland for so long, and now I feel like it’s a necessity. But for now, I’m going to take a nap. Do you have an amazing blog design that you want to share? Perhaps you’re a blog designer and want to show off your portfolio? Post in the comments and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #blogdesigns. You can find more of the blogs that inspire through Pinterest.

Fridays are for Favorites

fridays are for favorites

I’ve always been one to be a little late to jump on the bandwagon. And my newest obsession is no different. ARROWS! Oh, I love them so much. When I searched for them on Pinterest, I realized that again…I was late. It seems like everyone on the interwebs is also loving this neat design. Whether they’re on jewelry, clothing, skin, or a digital design, arrows are everywhere right now. And while I might be late to this party, I’m totally staying for a while. Here are some of my favorite arrow things…

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Image belongs to Shh! Maker Design

Arrows & Stars seamless pattern from Shh! Maker Design – Ah, seamless patterns. I can’t wait until I finally feel comfortable making something like that. Amanda Shoemaker, who owns this Etsy store, has loads of cute designs for good prices. These 12 seamless patterns are going for $7 right now. And you can use them for both digital and print. I also liked her vintage flower designs so I’ll be checking out that shop more.

il_570xN.461839997_2imh

Photo belongs to Ivie Baby

Fitted crib sheet from Ivie Baby – As a new mom on a budget (and I mean, a big budget), it made me gasp a little to see that these sheets were $55. But then I thought about it, and they’re made by hand. Can’t say the same for the sheets I got from Babies R Us. And we wash our sheets plenty, so we have yet to return to the store to get any more. So, if they are well-maintained, they could last a while. And they’re so very cute! There’s a lot of other cute baby stuff in her store, and all of it is gender-neutral. Even boppy covers!

ARROWhello_1024x1024

Image belongs to hello apparel

Arrows t-shirt by hello apparel: I’ve seen that “hello” logo around a lot lately, but I never knew what it was about. So when I saw this shirt on Pinterest, I followed the link to see if I could learn more. Turns out, hello is an independent outlets for artists to make and sell their merch while on tour, without signing any crazy contracts. Pretty cool, eh? This specific shirt has the “fit, feel and durability of a vintage shirt, in a brand new version.”

il_570xN.362622999_pr4a

Image belongs to Frosted Willow

Arrow bangle bracelet from Frosted Willow – As someone who has always dreamed of making jewelry (even though I hardly ever wear it), I look up to anyone who can do it. Katrin, who owns this shop, said that the bracelet is themed after Hunger Games, and even though I’ve never seen Hunger Games, I’m still really attracted to the bracelet. She makes everything by hand and custom orders are available.

Do you have any favorite arrow themed stuff that you want to share? Post in the comments or share on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the the hashtag #arrowsisarose and follow more of my arrow inspiration on Pinterest!