Sunday, June 27, 2010

Busy, Busy, BUSY! ;)

Sorry for being an "absent blogger"...I've missed you!!! 

When I started this blog a couple of months ago, I posted about the journey the Lord has taken me on in my work life, and my desires to be a stay at home mom...on a budget, of course! ;)

Well, I'm pleased to report that we have taken the proverbial "plunge"!  As of last week, I spoke with my amazing boss, and told her that I would not be returning to teach in the fall.  This took so much prayer, faith, and courage...especially on the part of my dear husband.  I cannot tell you how liberating this decision has been for me!  And, because the Lord is sooo faithful, I have had the most amazing month selling my handmade items!  Never, did I ever imagine that I would be so busy!  I know it will ebb and flow, but it's seriously incredible to me how everything has transpired!  I want to yell a big ol' SHOUT OUT to all of my awesome, amazing friends and family who have helped this business to grow...thank you, thank you, from the very bottom of my heart!

One thing I'm finding, though, is that I could in some senses, be just as busy with my own little business, than I could be with a job outside the home.  It's been a challenge to schedule my time and my priorities so that I make sure my time with my kiddos, husband, and the Lord doesn't suffer because of my "busyness"! ;)  I'm still working on being organized, and trying, for the most part, to get all of my work done at night after the kids are in bed.  But, how does a mama do this without getting really, really tired, and therefore really, really grumpy???  Someone suggested scheduling "blocks" of time, and I love that idea!  I'm going to try it!

I am sooo excited that I get to spend my days at home!  I'm so glad that we've made this decision, and ever so grateful to the Lord for allowing this to happen.  It might be tight at times, and sacrifices are definitely being made, but, I have total faith and confidence in Him, and know that He has lead us through this journey for a reason, and every single step has had a purpose. 

Hope you all have had a wonderful weekend. And, if anyone has any suggestions about how to plan your day so that you can do it all (and I mean, ALL) ;), please, please, comment, and let me know!!!!


Liz ;)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Come Back Tomorrow! ;)

Hate to leave ya hanging, but I have sooo much to say, and I'm waaaay tooo tired to say it tonight.  So come back tomorrow!  I'm working on a new post! ;0)

Blessings to you all!



Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cool Weather Inspires Creativity! ;)

It's cool and misty up at the lake.  I adore our cottage.  My grandparents built this knotty pine place in 1963.  Sitting a top of a birch-lined hill looking over the rippling water, one cannot help but to totally relax, and find the Lord's peace, and joy.  I'm so thankful to Him for blessing us with such a place!  I've been so thankful to be able to create at night when the kiddos are in inspiring!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Lilly of the valley...

Lilly of the Valley Bib Necklace
I think I might be having waaaay too much fun with this awesome fabric!

The kiddos and I are headed north to my family's lake cottage for a few days, and I'm so excited! I'm bringing all my ribbon, and hope to get some great beach photos and be wonderfully inspired while there! Fourth of July bows coming soon.....

xoxo and many blessings!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Our 'Big' Back Yard....

We had the very best night tonight, my sweet family and I!  Both kiddos took naps today (which is rare for the 4.5 year old wonder boy who fell asleep holding the remote control while playing "Madagascar" on the Wii ;), so, at 8:00 when we'd normally start heading in for bed, they were still rarin' to go! ;)  Instead of calling it a night, we played in the back yard with wonderful neighbor friends who were strolling by on a walk, and enjoyed running around, and hitting the baseball in the warm, humid, JUNE air!  Did I mention I love, love, love, love, love this time of year? ;)

I commented as I saw the first star pop out, and wonder boy was oh, so excited!  Normally, he's in bed before it's dark so he doesn't get to see the stars!  So, after popping those silly little white popper things that the kids love so much, and lighting a couple of intense and colorful sparklers in the back yard, we decided to go inside, grab a blanket, spread it out on the hill behind our house, and watch the stars come out!  Daddy found the coolest app. on my phone that maps out the sky as you hold it in different directions and tells you which stars you are looking at...fascinating!  It was so much fun, watching the fireflies glowing in the treeswhile heat lightning was illuminating the sky behind us.  Perfect...(with the small exception of the heavy cloud cover, that allowed us only to see a few stars ;).

I love the night sky, and I love thinking about all of those who've gone before me, and gazed at these same stars.  Amazing.  It's so captivating.  It was so cool to watch the kids chase the fireflies and experience that wave of nostalgia remembering all the summer nights I spent doing the same, exact thing.  What a blessing.  Sometimes, it's the little things...the simple things...the things that no amount of money can by.  A night sky, three of my lovliest loves to share it with.  *Sigh* doesn't get much better than this! :)

The Wisest Woman I Know...

My beautiful, wonderful, amazing, God-fearing, pro-active, kind, loving, hard-working, mother, has to be the wisest woman I know.  Years of studying the word of God, trial and error, and I'm sure, in her description "flying by the seat of her pants" has taught her wisdom beyond belief!:)  She has dedicated years of her life to teaching college students to grow in their faith, and is a go-to person for so many, who just need a little guidance and a listening ear!

Well, she has a blog, too!!!!!  "A Wise Woman Builds" comes straight from the heart, and I love reading her analogies (which cracks me up, as I used to get reallllly tired of these as a teenager ;), and her words of wisdom! 

I love ya, Mama, and thank you for all the wisdom you've shown me over the years.  You're truly an amazing woman, and an inspiration to me, and so many others!


Friday, June 11, 2010

A Couple of 'Etsy' Tips from a Novice...take 'em, or leave 'em! ;)

So, I've only been selling on etsy for a few months now, and while I'm not one of those amazing sellers that has thousands of sales under their belt, and 25+ orders to ship every day, I am gaining knowledge little by little, and have figured a few things out over the last couple of months!  Just thought I'd share, since I know a lot of us Mamas would love to be able to put our creative talents from the good Lord to use, and craft for a "living"! ;)
Here are a few things I've learned:
1. TAGGING your items...

Etsy gives each seller the option to use 14 tags per item.  At first, I would tag an item with maybe three or four words, i.e. "hair bow", "hair clip", "child", "pink", etc., etc.
Then, I read on the forums a tip from one of those "great" sellers, that you must take advantage of every one of those 14 options to tag.  Why?  Because each tag that you include gives you more exposure, and more chances for buyers to come across your item using search words.  More exposure = more sales!


Okay, this could get a little tricky, as it's time consuming, and does require equipment that could be expensive.  But, spend some time searching the etsy categories for items similar to yours, and you'll notice right away which ones you automatically gravitate towards...the ones with the gorgeous "thumbnail" photographs.  This is your one shot to stand out, and be noticed among many like items!  So, take the time to take a great photo with a great background.  Spend time editing each photo--I use it's totally free, and is great for "fixing" photographs.  I have just recently started spending time on my photographs and have definitely noticed more traffic to my shop and views to my items!


This is so much fun!  I could spend hours pouncing!  You have the option to look at shops that are "undiscovered" and have not yet had a sale, as well as shops who just recently sold something.  Find the link, here. I spend a great deal of time looking at various sellers and their items, and this has really helped me make my shop better!


I had never heard of the CPSIA Act until I visited the forums.  A wealth of knowledge can be found here, as well as info. from artists who are selling, and even a place to offer and receive critiques.  What a great way to meet other etsians and to gain exposure!  Find the link to the forums here.


First of all, this is sooo much fun!  I could spend hours creating treasuries!  All you need to do is think of a "theme" of sorts, and browsing items.  For instance, if you wanted to curate a treasury based on sepia tones, you could enter the key word "sepia" in the search box, and see what you find!  Mark the items you love as favorites (and <3 the shop too, if you'd like :), and add each URL to your treasury.  Be sure to convo each seller to let them know that you included their item.  This is also a great way to gain exposure, and to promote other artists!  The love will come back, and one day your item will be included in a treasury, too!  Your treasury could even be selected by etsy admins. to be featured on the front page!!!!!!!  Talk about exposure!  Find the link to treasury east, here.


Use those free social networking services, like FB and Twitter (I just set up a twitter account and have yet to tweet my first tweet, but I know it works wonders for others!).  This is a great way to gain exposure and let friends and fans know what you're up to!


If you're reading this, chances are, you already do it!  Again, it's free, and it's a great way to have a chance to talk about ideas, the process, and the final product!  I, for one, love to read about what all you crafty ladies are up're an inspiration to me!!!!  (Thank you for that, by the way!) xoxo

Well, there you have it.  A few tips from this very new to etsy, novice, (might we say "obsessed" ;) etsy seller, and lover of her glue gun!  You already know how I feel about ribbon, so I won't even go there!  Hopefully as I learn more of the ins and outs, I'll be able to share even more fun tricks of the trade! ;)

xoxo and may the Lord bless each and every one of you and your creative endeavours!


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Lilly for the Little Ones..

My friend Margaret asked if I could please make the Lilly rosettes on an alligator clip so that our little girls could wear them, too!  Brilliant!!!  Thank you Margaret for the inspiration!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"Miserly" Mom took a VACATION....

I just returned from Southern California from an amazing, fun-filled, sunny, beautiful, glorious vacation with amazing friends, food, drinks, and everything a girl could want!  One of my dear friends from high school got married here (click to see a gallery of photographs)....incredible!

It was my first weekend away sans kids...four whole days!!!!  Daddy was in charge (with a *little* help from his in-laws and parents ;), and let me just say he admitted to baking a batch of cookies at 9:00am on Saturday morning, so the kids had fun!  I missed them to pieces,!  I knew I fact, I cried before I left many, many times.  It amazes me how once you are a mother, how hard it is to turn over the reigns, (so to speak), and let go of your duties.  These duties are day-in, and day-out....what do you do when you have no one else to take care of except for yourself?  As awesome as it sounds some days, being away (even on the most incredibly amazing vacation ever), reaffirmed my beliefs that being a mama and wife are my most favorite roles the Lord has ever blessed me with!

I was so blessed to be able to spend four whole days with my dearest (dare I say oldest?) friends! ;)  It felt as if we had reverted back 15 years, and time had stood still.  We were missing a few of our wonderful peeps, but they were with us in spirit! ;)

So, the budget was blown...I spent waaay too much money!  Three meals a day, plus a little shopping, drinking, beaching, tipping shuttle drivers, buying presents for kiddos....not looking forward to getting the bills from the weekend.  But, it was 100% worth it! And, I'm back on track, now!

Thank the Lord for wonderful friends, time away with them, gorgeous scenery, a family that will ALLOW me to have a little time for myself, and then greet me with the most open, loving arms upon my return.  I am so blessed and I thank the good Lord for each and every friend he has blessed me with (wonderful friends are few and far between, and we all need to cherish these friendships ;), and my incredible family.  Love you all!


Liz ;)