ahhhh… an organized workspace!

I was a very organized person before I had children, and I had a really clean house. But those things have taken a backseat to raising children and have especially fallen by the wayside since I started my business.

For example, this table behind my desk was getting to be a complete disaster, covered with seven different kinds of paper and labels that I’ve been using in the past few weeks. It was driving me nuts, but it never even occured to me to do something about it until I was at an office supply store yesterday, and I saw these wall files… oh my gosh, what have I been thinking?!
My husband put them up last night, and I can’t even tell you how delighted I am. Wall files may seem like the most simple, mundane thing, but I feel like the old me is fighting her way through this fog I’ve been in for the past 4 1/2 years and coming back a tiny little bit at a time!

on the road

Caroline of Little Cupcakes Company had an idea a couple of weeks ago to display Sarah & Abraham products alongside her children’s clothing line at a home show she attended. Not only did she pass along a couple of orders, but she also shared this great picture with me:
It’s so interesting to see a nice little display of my products like this set up by someone else!

greeting cards

Of course I have several other things that I should be working on, but a customer emailed me this morning asking about a gender-neutral silhouette for a baby shower invitation, and that got me thinking about the little doll carriage that one of my silhouette girls is pushing and wouldn’t that be cute on a greeting card
What do you think? I really like how these turned out, but isn’t this one just screaming out for a pretty chartreuse envelope?

Silhouette Blue

I can’t remember when I first came across fellow Chicago-area Etsy seller Megan Nutley of Silhouette Blue, but I love her designs (surprise, surprise), and when I contacted her with a couple of questions this evening she couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful! Here are a few examples of her greeting cards:
I love the envelopes she uses – these pictures make me think I should use more colorful envelopes to coordinate with my note cards. She also creates gorgeous wedding invitations. But what I’m most inspired by is her beautiful website, which she created herself!

large sticker and favor tag photos

I had a hard time finding bakery cookies yesterday, but I did end up getting some really cute treats from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for my large sticker photos, which I was finally able to take this morning:

And as long as I had these party favor treats I took some more pictures of my gift tags, and I just love how they turned out! I can’t believe the difference between the screen captures I was initially using for my listings (on the left), and the pictures I posted today! Here are some before and after pictures.

Gift tags without ribbon:
Gift tags with ribbon:
Wow! What a difference taking real pictures like this makes, and especially pictures showing how the product can be used. Sarah of Sarah Jane Studios recently suggested that I use more product photos like these, and it’s made such a huge difference in how my shop looks!

Also, I like these favor tags and stickers so much, I decided not to offer the gift tags with my old designs anymore (the ones that coordinate with my original prayer prints). So I’ve listed three sets of those that I already had printed in my 75% off section.

Personalized Stickers

I printed some 1.67″ circle stickers this morning that will go really nicely with my personalized notecards, invitations, and birth announcements. I just love how they turned out! I’ve been using evite for all of Jack & Emma’s parties, but now that I see how cute these are, I’ll definitely be sending out printed invitations for the next one!

This was such a good idea from Liz at Vintage Nursery Art!

75% off sale

I’ve been doing lots of house cleaning over at my Etsy shop, adding some new products (and lots of new pictures) and deleting others. I’m sure this will be an ongoing process, but the latest development is that I’ve decided to mostly do personalized or custom stationery products and party favor tags (in addition to my prints). It seems like most people who are shopping at Etsy want to be able to customize everything, which works out fine since I generally only print something when I receive an order for it.

I only have four of my listed products currently “in stock” (already printed and packaged), so I’ve marked them down 75% (one set of notecards and 3 sets of gift tags).

UPDATE: All four of those items have sold.

Also, I have several 8×8 prints that aren’t listed in my shop… please send me an email if you’re interested in any of the following, $3/print or $15 framed (maple or walnut) plus shipping ($2 print only, $5.50 framed).

I’m trying to keep the number of my listings down and better organized, so if you’d like one of these, I’ll create a reserved listing for you an email you the link.

James 1:17 (Every good gift…)
– soft pink/cream background
– pale green/cream background
– quilt-style border (pink, green, and cream) (2)
– nighttime sky (2 bunnies sitting in grass)

The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-8)
– soft pink/cream background
– pale green/cream background

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep
– pink scalloped border (2)
– blue scalloped border
– pale green/cream background

a little introspection

I just noticed I hadn’t posted anything yet today, so I figured I’d share a quick little story…

I was talking on the phone to a friend yesterday, and she asked me how my business was going. I started telling her about the latest developments, and she said, “Wow, you’re so passionate when you talk about your business, I wish I could find something that I felt that way about.”

This was such an interesting comment to me because it was only a few months ago that I, too, never thought I’d find something like this for myself. I spent my days hanging out with the kids and taking care of the house, and other than going to the gym, I wasn’t really doing anything just for myself – nothing creative or intellectually challenging.

I’ve had so many ideas over the years that I haven’t followed through on, and once I became a mom I wasn’t planning on ever going back to work. But now here I am, staying at home with my kids and also building a business that I’m really passionate about. So it’s been nice to step back a little and be grateful for that.

And as I’ve mentioned before, I hate to post without a picture, so here’s a picture I took this afternoon. We haven’t been going out much with all this cold weather, so Jack & Emma have been getting really good at using their imaginations and coming up with all kinds of silly games to play – so much like how we played when we were kids, I love it! (That’s a dog costume Emma’s wearing under her cape!)

artwork from Sarah Jane and Belle & Boo

When I first learned about Etsy and started to look around at children’s artwork I quickly developed two big “artist crushes” on Mandy of Belle and Boo and Sarah from Sarah Jane Studios.

In November I ordered these Belle and Boo prints for my daughter, Emma’s, bedroom, and she loves them! Even though Emma has wild, curly blonde hair, she’s always pointing at them and asking, “Is that me?”
And on Saturday three prints arrived in the mail from Sarah Jane, even more beautiful in person than I imagined they would be!
I can’t even put into words how much I love Mandy and Sarah’s artwork! I was planning on putting the first two of Sarah’s prints in my daughter’s bedroom and the third one in my son’s bedroom, but now I’m thinking about keeping them downstairs, at least for a while.

I’m so happy to have artwork from both of these talented artists in my house!