Wednesday, April 30, 2008

first day back

so it's my first day back to work (real-world work, not etsy) after maternity leave. it's been kinda fun... didn't really skip too much of a beat. it's been nice to be back around adults and have conversations with full sentences. i do miss my little girl, but she's in good hands.

today was the last day for my packaging survey. i'll try and get the data collected and sorted for monday... that's my goal at least!

and here's a little sneak peak of my latest design adventure.

i have multiple ideas brewing with this, so i'm hoping at least one pans out. this is also part of a series i began way back when but haven't been able to debut because i'm one design short for said series- ugh. i'll work it out. i just don't want to throw something out for the sake of getting it out into the world! i need to play with the elements more and get my thoughts worked out... they're a bit tired these days. :-)

short post, but be back tomorrow... tomorrow debuts the blog calendar!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

have you hugged a tree?

i know i'm a day late, but... did you hug a tree? i wouldn't say that i literally hugged the maple in the back yard, but i have been trying to clean up my act this year and i'm proud of what i've done to be a little greener...

• i use totes when i go to the grocery... and they give me 5cents off my bill for every bag i bring! win win situation

• i have my compost bin in the backyard and i must say that if the dogs don't get it, the compost bin does. big marv loves him some veggies, so i can't say our scraps make it to the bin, but stale bread, banana peels and old fruit makes it in there. i just recently learned you can put your shredded paper in there, so looks like all those bills have somewhere to go!

• i recycle every possible thing i can. i have a bag that hangs on a cabinet door that we shove aluminum cans, boxes, magazines, etc into and when it fills up (i can fill up a bag in 1-2 days) i take it out to the recycling bin. i started separating my recyclables, but when i saw the recycle man take the bin and just dump it into a big truck, i gave up on that.

• i've been making my own laundry detergent for the past 6 months or so. i've saved money and though the hubz mentioned today that he wished it smelled like something, i think the homemade detergent is working just as well as the expensive stuff. unfortunately, i buy the nugget's detergent that they recommend, but i'll switch her over soon.

• as soon as we get our gutters fixed, we're going to install a rain collection barrel. i don't know that we'll see a huge difference moneywise by doing this, but if we have the same kind of summer that we did last year, it might help us save our lawn. it sucks we weren't able to get the barrel installed before the nugget because she was born during the "2008 flood" (a term i use lightly) and all that water would have been great to collect.

• i save all the bubble wrap and boxes from orders i purchase. i use them for my own shipping when possible.

• i have 3 bills that i'm not able to pay online, but all the other 500 million i have i do automatic bill pay- LOVE IT!

• we've switched all our lightbulbs, i use as few lights as possible and we keep the thermostat at 67 or below when possible.

i'm hoping to switch to homemade cleaning products soon- i have the recipes, it's just a matter of using up what we have now before i implement the take over!

once the nugget is a bit bigger (and we go thru all the diapers grandma bought us), we're going to switch to cloth diapers. it will take a bit to get used to, especially since by the time we switch nugget will be crawling, but we owe it to our budget and the nugget to try it.

this summer i also plan on going to farmer's markets for our fruits and veggies. we have an incredible market here in cincinnati called findlay market where all sorts of farmers from all over the area come to sell their products- veggies to meat to seafood- so i'm really excited to go... i've been here 3 years and i've never been!

we've also decided that every year the nugget will adopt an animal from the WWF website. for $50 she will contribute to saving an endangered animal and in return, she gets a stuffed animal of the animal she adopts, a certificate and we teach her the importance of wildlife and preservation.

in terms of my business, i plan to make my blog calendar and a mini day planner using scrap prints. i rarely throw away paper i've printed on as it is, but before i left for maternity leave at my day job, i began saving all the prints i had made so i have a ton of scrap paper to work with... which excites me!

so i hope everyone had a great earth day yesterday. i've found incorporating all these changes into our everyday life has been extremely easy and the hubz has taken very well to the changes as well. yay!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

what do i have to show for my time off?

not much.

so i'm a jerk and it took me awhile to get back to my blurbs on the april favorites. miss charlotte has figured out that if you stay up more during the day, you get more attention, so i had to attend to her needs. plus, i go back to work next week, so i've been trying to get our affairs (i.e. figuring out hospital bills) in order so that i don't go scatter brained!

however, i've been able to make a few observations about my business and a few things i need/want to do to make it work this time.

a blog calendar:: yes it sounds a bit silly, but another etsian, dancingmooney, has one and from what she says, it helps her not only have ideas to keep her her blog interesting, but it helps keep her thoughts in order. if she thinks of something she wants to blog about, she can either add it to the calendar with a similar topic or she can make it happen on it's own day. i may even try "pre blogging" in case i have one of those just-hit-me topics, but have a few days filled up already. i think it will help me organize posts so that i have a flow and a focus.

what do i want to do when i grow up:: i was up late one nite with the nugget and watched an older oprah show that featured a "career expert". he offers a course on itunes that is supposed to help you figure out what your strengths are so that you can guide your career toward those strengths. i'm going to give this little workshop a whirl and see what i come up with- i'm not the biggest oprah follower, but if this guy can help me find my calling in life i'll give it a whirl. i have a few ideas already as to what my strengths are outside of design so i think having all that information in once place will help me figure out not only if i'm going in the right direction, but how i can incorporate all of those strengths in to one job (or the job i have right now).

i do know, though, that my goal in my career is that my next job is working for myself. when people ask, "where do you see yourself in x years?" my vision in my head is this... i'm working out of the house i live in now (why, i'm not sure, but go with it), but the house has been redecorated as a studio space-- we have another house somewhere else (quite possibly one the hubz designed, which means it will take 5 years to build because we will be any builders' nightmare... architect and designer building a house only spells headache). i'm in what is now the nugget's room sitting behind a desk designing some sort of stationery collection. i have a lovely intern/assistant that is set up in the now dining room. my lovely intern/assistant makes her own schedule- she has a cap on how many hours a week she works, but she comes in when she wants and goes home when she wants. upstairs has been converted into a playroom for the nugget so that if she's not in school yet, i can just bring her to work and if she is in school, then she has somewhere to go after school while i finish up for the day. the dogs come with me to work if i don't have meetings and instead of a coffee machine in the kitchen, i serve fountain soda. it's always been a dream of mine to own a fountain soda machine... can soda works, but there's nothing like a refreshing fountain soda. so there you have it. where i want to be in x years. i just wish i knew what the x was in this equation.

Monday, April 14, 2008

April favorites!

ok so it's time for the april favorites (whoo hoo!) i've decided to keep it close to home and Shop Local on etsy for my picks this month! so, if you're from the cincinnati area take a look and see what people are creating around town...

as usual... starting at the top left, going across to the right and down to the next row

1. maillemystique :: these earrings are beautiful and i think the photograph is what makes them that much more glamourous. the beads (if that's what they really are- i don't know much about the jewelry world!) look expensive and classy... something i love!

2. MMSIs :: this is just fun- my first internship was with a local paper company and in making all the gift bags that we did, i always loved the bright, fun colors. it's vibrant, playful and nicely done

3. chunkymcmonkey :: how comfy cozy! i've found myself looking more and more at children's items. i love the cherry pattern... i'm not sure you can go wrong with a cherry pattern (at least i haven't seen anything yet to disprove that statement, though i'm sure it exists somewhere... but not here!)

4. heatherknitz :: soft, sophisticated and appropriate for a child, a career woman or just someone wanting to feel "springy"

5. daphnephotostudio :: i love the contrast of soft and hard with the sky and the building. i love the texture on the building itself and i have a strong love of intricate architecture... very ornate and classic architecture

6. marriageofmetal :: my love of clovers takes over...

7. nancygamon :: can't wait to order one of these curling iron pouches! i'm still drawn to animal prints done nicely- which i think nancy's done... can't you see this pattern lined in bright pinks, oranges, blues and greens!? how fun would that be? on a side note, i have a headband from nancy (she made it from one of my hubz old ties) and i heart it!!

8. supergirlsstickers :: i love love love polka dots... so round stickers with polka dots make my heart sing

9. polymer :: i'm dying to use wall decals SOMEWHERE in my house, but i can't find anything appropriate for charlotte's room just yet. but, i love me some elephants and who can resist a whole train of them?

10. zephi :: i love the texture and contrast in this painting. i love how it seems as if the frog was painted and then moved to show white space... the painting wouldn't have the same effect without that white space

11. skydreams :: i dream of the day i buy a skydream piece of jewelry. again, the photo captures the beauty of the beads and chains

12. morninglori :: don't you love this little guy! it reminds me of a gremlin- love him!

13. luvkt :: he looks so sad, but nothing a good hug couldn't cure! i love the extreme length of his arms... i'm very into exaggerated extremities, be it arms, legs or ears on stuffed animals

14. odannysgirl :: what i couldn't show was how this thing folds up for easy travel. i love this thing and will order one once my little one is old enough to do some damage with utensils!

15. arthappens :: love the antiqued look of this pendant and the gold tint of not only the pearls but the crystal... beautiful

16. qpucel :: how retro! but with a twist. i love it and i really appreciate the careful placement of the dirty light blue.

17. ndeurshoes :: LOVE SHOES! what girl doesn't love shoes? i love this whole concept and i WILL own a pair of these one day. i love how from far away, the bubble pattern could read as lace, so you could wear them out on the town or in a formal setting

18. ovenfriedbeads :: this takes me back to my own bead making days. the time and care that goes into "babysitting" this little guys to make sure they turn out superbly is the true test of a bead maker, i think

19. orangewillow :: the simplicity of this painting drew me in... especially since i've seen this artist create much more complicated pieces. poppies are always a popular choice, but i like how they aren't as easily recognizable

20. retiredrecords :: loooooove this! taking something so industrial and making it into something so elegant- this would be perfect in a modern kitchen or bathroom... or even repurposed into a candy dish or remote control holder in a living room

21. lawatson :: i love the elegant nature of this teapot. the colors and the handle design are absolutely lovely and i like how it's not perfectly shaped as well. it gives it a weathered look that only vintage can inspire. plus it doesn't feel mass produced (yay!) and the imperfections give it that handmade feel

22. visualingual :: vine street! this makes me miss working downtown (but not the job that was downtown!). i love how the actual design is a bit of a secret- that you would never know it was vine street in downtown cincinnati unless you, duh, read the description

23. gazzu :: this is just so pretty. vintagey and pretty. simplistic and pretty. love it.

24. abbydid :: how fun is this little guy! a great way to keep track of the remote control or anything else that may find its way onto the couch. this would be great in a children's playroom or even a bedroom and is a great way to teach little ones how to put things away!

sorry it took so long to get my thoughts down... i know you were all losing sleep over not knowing why i chose everything! :-)

Monday, April 7, 2008

getting used to this "mommy" thing

i'm attempting to write this with a 6lb lump of sleepiness on my right arm, so hopefully i can finish before nite-fall. poor little thing gets bubbles in the tummy after she eats and gets burped (and can this girl burp!), so she tends to like to lay on my shoulder so i can pat or rub her back when the bubbles start.
unfortunately i haven't been able to do as much work as i wished to do before charlotte popped up. i'm painfully behind on my shower thank you notes (yikes- sorry family/friends that read this!) and- as usual- my house is still a construction zone. BUT, hubz painted the bathroom this weekend and I LOVE IT! it's a mustardy/marigold color. i've managed to get a list compiled of shops in the stationery biz that i would like research for my reopening, but that's about as far as i've gotten. i'm thinking i probably won't be able to open again until the holiday sales start up... i have a feeling i'm going to have to use the summer/early fall to build my new designs and put all my research to use... probably best because i know i have one wedding coming up.
the survey (Click Here to take survey) is going pretty well. i would love to get about 25 more people to take it, but i haven't had time to bump my thread in the forums lately. i did get one comment that honestly upset me a bit. the person said i was getting "caught up in all this box stuff". the way i look at it is that paper is my product. and no one enjoys a card that looks like it's been thru the ringer- especially if they still need to give that card to someone else. i have to do everything i can to ensure that my product arrives as intended- un-creased, un-smudged and as perfect as possible. so, maybe to some i AM over-thinking "all this box stuff" but i would rather over think it than under think it and, really, i think as a stationery designer i have to look at all possible ways to deliver my product.
alright, my lump has rendered my right arm un-usable so more to come later... hopefully before i go back to work!