Thursday, December 22, 2005

deal or train wreck?

i have a confession to make. i have been sucked into watching “deal or no deal”. this show is like a train wreck. you don’t want to watch, but you can’t help but take a peek. the people on there drive me nuts! come on people. you’re going to risk $275,000 to open another freaking case? your chances are next to nothing of actually winning the million dollars. just take the money and run already!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

christmas is on it's way!

christmas is almost here! the custom cards i mentioned in my last post have been completed and are out the door. they loved the concepts i came up with and actually chose the one i liked the best...which is always nice. i completed them over the weekend and dropped them off at their office by noon on monday. it was nice to work with them again. they really seemed to appreciate what i was doing.

speaking of christmas, i'm way more excited than usual. it's going to be the little dude's first real christmas. seeing that he was only 3 weeks old last year, we didn't really do gifts. i'm hoping that he has a ton of fun ripping his presents open....that is, if he actually touches them. at his birthday party he wanted nothing to do with his present and i ended up opening them all for him while he played with a box somewhere. maybe since it will only be the three of us he'll be more into it. there were just so many people here for his birthday that it was really distracting.

i've never really been a procrastinator, actually not at all. however, this year i feel proud of myself that i was even more on top of getting christmas gifts taken care of ahead of time. now, there's not a lot of last minute stress that drives me crazy. last minute stuff is, for me, like fingernails on a chalkboard. it drives me absolutely nuts! now i can just sit back and relax until saturday morning, while my hubby rushes around to get his gifts for me wrapped late friday night! love you honey! :) even though you're a procrastinator!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

the notice has left the building

i decided that instead of a big, ugly, glaring sign on my office door i would opt for a written notice to all of my employees about our "new" office hours. (see previous post) so today i sent out a very direct letter to each employee with their order. i ran it past my assistant who thought it was to the point without being too harsh. in her eyes (as well as mine) it's all common sense. if anyone is offended by it....they are the ones the letter was intended for. we'll see if i get any complaints about it.

on another's december 15th and i received two requests for custom holiday cards TODAY!!! hello people!!! first of all, it's not really what i do, but more than that, it's december 15th!!! i'm going to be helping out with one of them. they're a graphic design firm that i did my internship with in college. their plan A fell apart so they're relying on me (plan B) to save them. i'm actually kind of honored that they'd even ask me. i mean, they're all designers themselves. anyway, they're great people and i'd pretty much bend over backwards for them. so i better go limber up! they want them done by tuesday!

Friday, December 09, 2005

i'm the boss....and don't you forget it!

i need to start off by saying i am a horrible blogger lately and i'm very sorry for that.

so i have this employee that drives me totally, completely, utterly insane. i hired her because at the time i was desperate for help. i needed someone....anyone. now i'm paying for it. she just happens to be the mother of one of my other (good) employees. so now i can't exactly get rid of her.

first of all, she's old. not that i have anything against old people, but they're not exactly my target market, nor the people who typically enjoy working on glittery products. i'm not trying to be mean, but i'm not entirely sure that she's all there. she doesn't seem to understand basic concepts sometimes which make one wonder if there's a few brain cells missing somewhere. among many other annoyances revolving around her, my biggest problem is that she doesn't seem to understand the concept of business hours.

i really feel that i am super flexible with my employees and i've worked out solutions to help them all be able to work at their convenience. all of them work from their own homes with supplies that i provide for them. they each come to my office once or twice a week to pick up orders and drop off finished one. because some of them have other jobs, not everyone can make it to my office during typical business hours. i have also devised a solution for this. step 1. they call me and let me know when they'll be coming. step 2. i place a new order for them in a very large rubbermaid container right outside my back door. step 3. they come and take the order from the rubbermaid step 4. they then place the finished order in the same large rubbermaid container step 5. i pick up said order at my convenience. simple right? you would think so.

well little miss after hours calls me last night to tell me she's going to drop off her finished order at 7:30 this morning. great. i put a new order out in the rubbermaid for her and expect that when i go down to my office this morning that there will be a finished order in the rubbermaid waiting for me. well, as i'm getting undressed (sorry) and ready to hop in the shower at 7:30 this morning, the doorbell rings. twice. i know it's her. she's done this before. i'm not sure why she thinks i'm going to drag my ass downstairs to answer the doorbell at 7:30, but i'm not. the whole idea behind the rubbermaid is so that i don't have to deal with you if it's after (or before) regular business hours. i have a baby to take care of and get ready in the morning along with myself. i will not...i repeat...will not be ready to deal with you or anyone else before 8:30a.m.. that's just the rules. i'm the boss, and because of that, i get to make the rules. what i say goes!

oh yeah....and stop calling me at 8:00 at night to tell me you're coming at 7:00 the next morning! i'm trying to spend time with my family. i don't work at 8:00 at night. (at least not for you) now i have to drag myself down to my office to get an order ready for you so it can be outside at 7:00 in the freaking morning.

my office assistant is equally annoyed and told me i should hang an office hours sign on my back door with a little note that says: if you are here and it's not offie hours, don't ring my doorbell or call me from your cell phone to open the door for you. go home!

i think that sounds like a mighty fine idea!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

happy, happy birthday baby!

happy 1st birthday to my little dude! you have been the joy of my life over the past year. we waited and waited for you to join our family, and then the first year of your life just flew by. you bring a smile to my face each and every day with all of your cute little antics. mommy loves you very much.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

hitting the wall

tomorrow is dec. 1st. besides being the little dude's one year birthday (yeah!), it is also the date on which my new releases are supposed to be....well....released. i have however, hit the wall. yes, the i-can't-quite-figure-out-what-i-want-to-design wall. i have a few designs done, but i need at least two more to complete the release. then we have to make a ton of each to send out to all the reps. i'll be lucky to get them out by the end of december.

they're supposed to be birthday designs. i'm not sure why i have such a problem with birthday deisgns. probably because it feels like everything has been done already. i want the new stuff to stand out. for people to say "hey, i've never seen anything like this before". but i think that's nearly impossible. i find it much easier to design for other occasions/holidays. birthdays are just so hard. then when i feel like i have an original idea, i can't get the idea from my head onto paper or into illustrator. so frustrating. it's days like today where you just need to walk away and come back later to start over. however, the luxury of that time is not on my side.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

finding the time

man, it seems like i never have time to blog lately (although i find plenty of time to read them).

things are going well with the move. we have accomplished unpacking the entire downstairs and most of my office space. the whole upstairs is pretty much still in boxes. we really need to get moving on that because next weekend (the one after thanksgiving) we're having a big old bash here for the little dude's 1 year birthday party! i can't even believe he's going to be 1. it seems like yesterday. yes, i realize that's cliché, but it's so true.

i should really update you with all the things that he's learning (besides the word recognition that i mentioned previously). he’s such a big boy already. he’s getting into everything, climbing all over, and walking along furniture and climbing up the stairs like a pro. he’s waving, playing patty cakes, peek-a-boo, and can tell you stories like there’s no tomorrow. it's truly amazing all the stuff he can do.

so thanksgiving is in two days. we're heading over to my parents house on thanksgiving day and then to the hubby's family on saturday. it's going to be a busy weekend and i know i'll be thinking about my unpacked house while enjoying the company of family. i have a serious problem with relaxation. i admit it. maybe that will be my new year's resolution. i am proud of myself however. usually i would have 5 rooms re-painted by now. but i promised myself that i wouldn't repaint or tear down any wallpaper until after new years. so far, so good. i just need to hang in there a little while longer.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

word recognition

the little dude is getting so big. he's starting to put words together with objects. tonight daddy asked the little dude "where's your ball". and the little dude went and got his ball and rolled it over to daddy. it's amazing the little things that make you proud. i'm totally a sappy mom.

Monday, November 14, 2005

getting back to business

i feel so disconnected with what's going on with my business right now. things have been so hectic with the move and all that i feel like i have no idea what's happening.

i can't wait until my office is all organized so that we can be uber-productive. i have so many ideas and hopes for the space. i only hope i can pull them all off. soon. soon. soon. then nothing will hold us back! i have so many design ideas i want to get started on, but they're pretty much on hold until my office is ready for me. getting my office ready is the tough part. moving has taken a lot out of me. not only that, but it wreaks havoc on my schedule. i can't seem to get back on track and i feel like i don't get anything accomplished during the day. i just really need to buckle down and get back to business!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

home sweet home

well we're officially in our new home. things are crazy messy. i really hate this part of moving....the living out of boxes part. you can't find anything when you need it and nothing is ever where you think it is. i'm really glad that we moved this time of year though. i can't imagine doing it in september when we're swamped with holiday orders. at least this way i can take a few hours or days off without too much trauma. i still need to figure out when i'm going to fit in the december releases. it should be interesting.

Friday, November 04, 2005

moving weekend

so this weekend is the big move to the new house and office. we are so far away from being ready. i think i'm actually in a little bit of denial. it's one of those things where you're just so overwhelmed with everything that needs to be you just don't do anything. which is probably why i decided to blog. wish us luck!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

paperpreneurs back up!

if any of you are as out of the loop as i am, paperpreneurs is back up and running. you can find us here:

Saturday, October 29, 2005

i've been tagged!

i've been tagged by heels! so i need to share 20 things about myself that you might not know about and that i haven't blogged about before. here we go....

1. i have ALWAYS known that i wanted to be an artist. i never knew it would mean owning my own business, but i’m sure glad it ended up that way!

2. if i would have known i was going to own my own business i would have taken some business courses in college. something….anything. i feel like i know nothing about business and am just flying by the seat of my pants sometimes.

3. i never could understand how someone can grow up and not know what they want to be in life. for me, it was always so obvious. it’s hard to imagine it not being that way. (my husband happens to be one of the aforementioned people).

4. this weekend is the first time i’m away from the little dude for any length of time. it’s his first overnight trip. he’s spending the ENTIRE weekend with grandma & grandpa so that we can spend time at the new house getting my office ready for the big move next weekend. i’m a little surprised how well i’m doing. however, i have called 3 times to check on him today. he’s doing better than expected!

5. i secretly fear that i’m going to be one of those parents who can’t let go of their children. it’s amazing the immediate and intense love you have for them.

6. i worry that everyone else knows more than i do when it comes to owning a paper business and that they’re secretly laughing at me.

7. until i moved to minneapolis in 2000, i had no idea that things like pottery barn, louis vuitton, or neiman marcus existed. (not that it matters because i cannot afford any of them!)

8. i worry that because i am back in the world of “small-town-living”, i will lose sight of major trends and things like those mentioned in #7.

9. i am addicted to reading blogs, but i’m really bad at leaving comments. i’m sure 95% of people don’t know i read their blogs daily.

10. i was a major tomboy as a kid. we grew up in the country and our only neighbors had a boy a little older than me. it was me, my younger brother and the older neighbor boy….and they weren’t playing with barbie. i now think of myself as pretty girly.

11. speaking of barbie, i only had one and it rarely got attention. i was always jealous of all my friends who had gobs of barbies and all of their accessories.

12. i always wanted a real cabbage patch kid. never got one. i had a lame knock-off. i did however, collect garbage pail kid cards. i had a ton. still have them somewhere. (i can’t believe i just admitted that. hey….i was a kid who lived in the middle of nowhere!)

13. the little dude was an ivf baby. we spent several years and thousands and thousands of dollars to bring him into our family. he is worth every penny. (this is one of the reasons i still can’t afford anything in #7!)

14. my hubby and i only dated for about 4 months before moving in together. i was also away at college for 3 out of the 4 months finishing up my last semester. so in reality we were only together for about a month. looking back, it sounds kind of crazy.

15. i knew i was going to marry my hubby after our first date. i came home and told my mom that she better like him because he was going to be the man i married. (i think i actually knew before our date, but admitting that makes me sound a little crazy.)

16. i love pumpkin pie, pasta, chocolate chai tea, my grandma’s apple pie, rhubarb crisp, ice cream, panchetta, and asparagus. i’m not much of a meat eater. (but far from a vegetarian)

17. i can’t stand white walls. every wall in my home is or will be painted. i have a small obsession with color.

18. both my hubby and i come from italian families. (the del ponte’s and the maggi’s)

19. i often buy things because of the way they look and not because i need them or because they’re better. one of the downfalls of being an artsy type.

20. i have a major obsession with coats and purses. (although i never spend a lot on either. i’d rather have 10 cute inexpensive purses than 1 super expensive one)

and a freebie....

21. i have an issue with being a perfectionist and overachiever. if i’m not running around with too much to do, i’m not happy.

i tag claire from madame fancy pants, leslie from rubber sol, and ericka from aquamarine press

Friday, October 21, 2005

october sales

i'm happy to announce that october sales have already surpassed septemeber sales! and we still have 10 days to go!

i have started to see the slowdown of holiday orders which is kind of a relief since we're moving shortly. spring holiday sales have started to pour in, but luckily we have awhile to get those out.

i really need to get started on the december releases. i'm so far behind now because of the whole moving process. i'm not quite sure when i'm going to fit them in. hopefully my reps will understand if they're a little behind schedule. plus december is never a huge sales month anyway.

gotta run! later.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

ya gots'ta have some goals....

they always say that you need to have goals in life. at the beginning of this year, i set a sales goal for my business. being that i've been so busy, i hadn't checked my numbers lately. come to find out, i met my goal for the year already!

my goal was not a dollar amount, but instead, an order amount. my goal was to reach a certain number of orders for the year knowing that if they averaged out to equal my minimum order amount, i would be happy. after looking at quickbooks the other night i found that i actually hit that number on september 30th! not only that, but my average dollars per order were almost double my minimum! this all makes me very happy.

i did also have a secondary goal in mind. one that i felt was very lofty. it was one of those "big dream" goals. after looking at my books, i may actually have a chance at hitting that goal too! if i hit this secondary, lofty goal, i think there are going to be some major treats going on!

it has been one whirlwind of a year. so much has changed. 2004 was my first year doing this full-time. before that i was a moonlighter. i expected this year to be the real start of my business, and boy has it been. adding a new baby to the mix added a whole new level of excitement. i can only hope that things continue on the path on which they've been going.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

we're in!

we went and finalized our offer tonight. the latest news....they want us to close the 28th of october. yes, that's right, october! as in, just a couple weeks from now! we haven't even packed one box yet! so needless to say, we're going to be VERY busy here over the next couple weeks. i'm really not looking forward to the moving part of moving. i just wish you could flip a switch and have all your stuff in the new house. wouldn't that be grand?

Monday, October 10, 2005

new possibilities

the house is looking to be a go! my parents went through the house with me and the hubby last night. we got the thumbs up from my dad, which isn't the easiest thing in the world to get. i spoke with my realtor (who is also the owner of the house) today. we're making plans to meet and talk about an offer. i'm hoping we'll have everything finalized by the end of the week. then i guess we need to get packing, packing, packing! i am so completely excited about having a space to work and room to cook! yeah!!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

of business and home

i've been horrible about keeping up with my blog lately. september will do that to me. it has just been so busy around here. (not that i'm's a great thing!) september was my biggest month in history. YEAH!! and october is looking to be the same. after all my hard work, it's great to see that so many people are enjoying my products. it's a great time, but also challenging, as all periods of growth seem to be. it's a balancing act....needing to hire more people, while being able to find the money to pay them. so even though more money is coming in, it seems that just as much is going out. i think next year will be easier because i will have a better idea of what's coming. (i got quickbooks this year so all my tracking is going to be much easier to do.) i can just go back to this year's information and be able to predict what should be happening the same time next year.

on a personal note: i think we may have found our house! once i explain it, you may have the urge to call me the house has been in front of our face the entire time. you see, our realtor is one of my good friend's husband. they too, are selling their house. (which i have always admired) they have subtly, and not so subtly, hinted at us buying their house. we always just kind of blew it off because of the "weirdness" involved in buying a friend's home. any changes you make are kind of personal and could potentially be insulting to the previous owners (especially since they're friends). the hubby was more opposed to buying their house than i was. i would occasionally bring it up and suggest that we should take a walk through it. he always refused. so, for the past month or so, we've been looking elsewhere. then the other night i mentioned it again. there was no argument involved. he just said "ok". like it was a new option we hadn't discussed before. so, very long story short. we went through it and he was pleasantly surprised. he really liked it. tonight we're taking my parents through it to check it out and make sure we're not missing anything. (like the windows last time!) if everything looks good, i would assume we're going to make an offer in the next couple days! i'm very excited at the possibility! it has a very roomy kitchen which is a change from what we have now. and it has a big, dry basement which i could use to spread my business out! the idea of having a bigger office just gets me so excited. we are so cramped where we are right now.

so, call me crazy. (but happy!)

Sunday, October 02, 2005

you're kidding....right?

over the weekend i visited a local department store to find a pair of pants for our family portraits next weekend. while there, i overheard two women (one older and one younger) talking at a rack next to me. the older said to the younger: "hey, there are jean shirts over you like jean shirts?"

WHAT? are you kidding? i'm no fashion diva, but come on! jean shirts! i didn't even know they were allowed to make those anymore!

oh the joys of small town living!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

where i'm at

so much is happening in my life right now. much of it very good.

my new "apprentice" started last week and seems to be working out well. she isn't the cutting-edge-on-top-of-current-trends person i was hoping for. however, she is close in age to me. she doesn't talk incessantly. she isn't too quiet. she does well with the little dude. she is VERY on time. she cleans up after herself. she has been very responsible thus far. she seems dedicated to the job. she learns quickly. she doesn't complain. and most importantly, she's just plain nice. i am happy.

we got an offer on our house last week. it was quite low, so we countered their offer. since then, we have had counter offer after counter offer from them. it seems they want to squeeze every last penny out of us. it's been frustrating. today however, we signed what should hopefully be the last of them. yeah! now we just need to focus on finding a home for ourselves. it's not been easy. we've easily seen over 40 homes. none of them (except 1) have been close to what we want or need. the one that fit what we wanted already had an offer and was very high in our price range, so we have let that one go by. i am going tomorrow to see two more. our problem is finding something we like that also has enough room for my business. it seems to be either one or the other. never both in the same house. luckily the buyers for our house are flexible on their closing date so if it takes us a little while, they're willing to wait a bit.

the little dude has been pretty good lately. he's been getting his front two teeth for awhile now and that seems to be bothering him, but i think the worst part is behind us. he's been fighting his naps lately and we're lucky if we get one good one each day. he's really moving around now. you can't turn your back for a second. he's into everything! i really need a bigger office so that i can get everything up and off the floor. it's probably the least child-proof room in our home and the one he spends the most time in.

i sent the samples off to martha stewart living that they requested. i'm assuming that the decision making process will take some time. i'm going to try my best to be patient, but in the meantime, i'm going to have all my fingers and toes crossed! i will of course post as soon as i hear anything.

so i think that's about it for now. as if it isn't enough!

Friday, September 23, 2005

oh's my birthday!

hey, hey, it's my birthday!

i'm the big two-nine! my last year as a twenty-something!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

update on "a little bit of everything"

the office assistant: after the interview on monday i decided to hire the new girl. she seems like she's going to be a good worker and that's what matters most. she came in today for a couple hours just to get a feel for what we do. she did well, and didn't drive me crazy in the process, which is a bonus! i think the extra help is going to be great! maybe we'll even get caught up on our orders by the end of the year!

the house hunt: we just got a call from our realtor tonight that we have an offer on our house. yippee!!! we have NO, let me stress NO LEADS on a house for ourselves! man, what have we gotten ourselves into? i guess we're going to be looking at pretty much every new house that comes onto the market. usually selling your house is the stressful part. i never thought i'd be stressed out about finding one!

the good news: i got a phone call from martha stewart living magazine on friday! yes....THEY called ME!! it seems that someone in their office picked up my media kit at the national stationery show this year! the person i spoke with was looking for specific products for an upcoming editorial she was working on.....and she wanted to know if i had anything that fit! i didn't really have exactly what she was looking for, so i busted my butt this weekend to whip up some new designs to send off to her. she should have received them by today. i'm keeping every set of fingers and toes crossed that she liked something, anything, i sent. it would be such a huge opportunity for me to be featured in that magazine! let's hope!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

a little bit of everything

well, it looks like our little sleepy town is slowly but surely getting back to normal. there are still the sorry remains of the fallen trees and branches on the curbs, but it seems that everyone has power back which is a good thing!

the little dude is one unhappy little boy. he's finally getting his front two teeth (so no more snaggletooth!). he is cranky, cranky, cranky. he has all the unfortunate symptoms of teething. appetite....major diaper rash....runny nose. you name it....he's got it! poor little dude. hopefully it will all pass quickly. for both of our sake.

the house hunt is really sucking! we go to open houses every weekend and we find nothing but garbage. it seems that everything is either really cheap and crappy or really expensive and nice. there's nothing in the middle. even the really nice ones aren't that great because none of them are really our style and would still need some updates. so frustrating. i really hope we can find something soon. i don't especially want to move around christmas again. been there....done that.

on the work front. i am SO INCREDIBLY SWAMPED i can't even believe it. it's a good thing....a very good thing, but our orders are sitting around way longer than they should before they get out. i finally broke down and put an ad in the paper for an office assistant. i have a girl coming for an interview tomorrow. god, i hope she's cool. i could really use the help but i don't want to hire someone that i'm not crazy about especially since they will be working directly with me in my office. all my other employees work out of their own homes so it doesn't really matter if they're cool or not. she sounded really nice on the phone and is about the same age, so keep your fingers crossed. i really hope it works out.

i think that pretty much sums up my life right now. more than enough for me!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

it's no katrina but….

we had a massive thunder storm here last night (tuesday).

we just happened to have some friends of our over for dinner whom we hadn’t seen in forever. they drove quite a way to see us and ended up spending some time with us down in the basement!

it rained like i have never seen it rain before. the wind was unbelievable. they say it was between 60 and 70 miles per hour which is comparable to the wind of a mild hurricane. it looked just like those winds that they send those poor news anchors out into. we saw an electrical box explode right outside of our front window. then live wires were swinging all over throwing sparks into the air. i picked up the little dude and told everyone to head for the basement. we weren’t sure exactly what was happening since we had no power and it was already dark outside. so we spent about 15-20 minutes down there after the explosion. then it started to ease up.

we headed upstairs. by this time the fire trucks and police vehicles were already all outside our house. there were people lining the streets. we talked to some neighbors for awhile and got the scoop on what everyone knew. we heard stories of trees through rooftops throughout out little town. by this time it was about 8:00 and very dark since there was no power to the street lights.

we decided to walk our main street (on which we live) to see the damage that was being described. we got the stroller and put the little dude in it. i can only imagine what was going through his little mind! “a walk….at night….cool!” he must have thought we were crazy treking through the soaked and branch covered sidewalks.

we only made it about ½ block before seeing the first tree victim. the house on the corner had a majority of a large old tree on top of their roof and leaning against the side of their house. luckily i think it was just cosmetic damage. i didn’t see any actual holes in the roof. then about another ½ block down there was a girl standing outside talking on her cell phone while both of her cars were buried by trees. she didn’t have a camera to take photos of the damage and we just so happened to have ours along, so we let her borrow it. i burned a cd of the images for her and took it over to her this morning. there were many other large branches broken along the way as well as tons of leaves and smaller branches to clean up. we heard that there was another large tree uprooted about a block away from our house in the other direction. we never made it that way to check it out.

so the fire trucks and crew were outside of our house until 2:00 in the morning….with their flashing red lights spinning in circles on our bedroom walls…..and their chainsaws…. just before they left, our power came on. (which was a blessing because we were in desperate need of our room air conditioner and our ceiling fan)

we still didn’t have much of an idea of the damage that had been done because our cable still wasn’t working this morning. finally at about 8:30 a.m. it came back on and i was able to tune into the local news to see what had happened. it didn’t sound like there were any tornados, just crazy, crazy damaging wind. they said this is the 2nd biggest power outage wisconsin has ever had.

it turns out the explosion of the electrical box was caused by the neighbor’s tree snapping and breaking the top of the pole off along with all the wires.

we were actually out of power again tonight for a couple hours when they were trying to fix the power for everyone else. you don’t realize how horrible it is without power until it happens. it sucks. we are so reliant on t.v. and computers these days that even a few hours without them seems like torture. we’re actually still missing cable as i write this. it went out when the power went out for those couple hours. so i’ll hopefully be posting this when it comes back up.

there are still many, many people without power. tons of schools were closed today because they had no power. it’s expected that the kids will probably have tomorrow off too. our estimated time for having power back to the entire down isn’t until tomorrow at midnight. (thursday night/friday morning). part of the delay is that our crews are very limited because many are helping with the relief efforts in the south. i really hope the power comes back sooner than that for those still without. one of our neighbors is actually borrowing power from us just to run their freezer so that all of their food doesn’t go bad.

i feel bad even mentioning our “problems” with the devastation that is the south right now. we are by no means in a comparable situation. going through the few hours of disconnection from the outside world really makes me appreciate how much they must be going through down there. my heart goes out to all that are affected.

Monday, September 12, 2005

stamping ≠ graphic design

so the hubby tells me this story the other day about a new lady (read: wench) who started at his job. i think the story is going to be about her and how annoying she is. or something of that nature.

well, it turns out the story is about me. and how i'm still a stamper in everyone's eyes.

you see, the new lady came over to my hubby's desk to chat or ask him a question (i'm not sure). she commented on the little dude's baby pictures. one thing leads to another and the hubby is showing her the baby announcements i made for the little dude. i'm thinking, great! she's going to comment on how beautiful they are and about how much time it must have taken me to do them. etc. etc. etc. oh no. the very first thing out of her mouth before she even opens it is: "oh, she's a stamper!". the hubby was like: "no, she's a graphic designer." her response was "oh".

the hubby said it was like her saying: "oh, you're a garbage man" and him saying "no, i'm a waste management officer". to her there simply was no difference.

well, i'm here to tell you lady: THERE IS A DIFFERENCE!! a big difference.*

thank you very much! have a nice day!

*i just want to add that there is nothing wrong with stamping. and i'm sure that there are people who are both graphic designers AND stampers. however, they are not one in the same.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

with bated breath

i'm still swamped in a sea of orders so i don't have a ton of time to blog these days. however, there is a newsworthy event in our household that needs mentioning!

drumroll please.....

the little dude crawled for the first time last night! yup....that's right....the same kid who couldn't even flip himself over a couple weeks ago, is now crawling all over the place! funny how quickly stuff falls into place. and if i wasn't busy enough already, this should make getting work done all the more interesting!

Monday, September 05, 2005

how much is that money in the windows?

the house is off. yup...that's right. no more new house for me.

we were actually VERY lucky to get out of it. i took my mom and dad through it yesterday and it turns out all the windows in the entire house are garbage. being that it was an old house, the windows were not only many, but also large. the replacement costs would have put us in the poor house.

i didn't sleep much last night worrying about how we were going to get out of the accepted offer we already had. would we be stuck with a house we couldn't afford to fix? the thought made me sick. so i made many calls trying to get every angle i could on what we should do.

it turns out in the end that i just decided to call the owner and tell her what i was thinking. (the house is "for sale by owner") i called her and told her how devastated we were, but that i thought we would have to back out of the offer. she was nonetheless disappointed, but very understanding. i was very thankful. we went to the house again today to sign a cancellation of the offer and to get our earnest money back. so it's finished and i am very relieved. as much as we really liked the house, we just don't have the cash-flow to replace tens of thousands of dollars worth of windows.

thank goodness for daddies!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

you can never have enough color

here's another way cool color site i came across today. amazing design. check it out!

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

the joys of being a "boss"

i really hate that word. i don't know why. i guess because it has such negative connotations associated with it. i tell all of the people who work for me (notice i didn't use the word employees....i hate that word too) in their interviews to not refer to me as their "boss". it just makes me cringe.

anyway, that's not what my post is about today.

it's about tomorrow being the busiest shipping day of the year for me. it seems that september 1st is the magical date that everyone wants their holiday products. that way they can have them out right after labor day. i've been working my fingers to the bone lately trying to get everything ready. then....two of my most productive workers lay it on me that they're taking this week off!!

of course they gave me a couple weeks notice like you would do at any other job. oohhhhh noooooo. not here. one of them tells me about a week before and the other one tells me on friday of last week that she's going to be gone by wednesday (yesterday) of this week. how convenient!

i'm usually a pretty laid back boss, i think.
i try not to have a ton of rules.
i try to be flexible.
well....i guess this is what i get.
and i guess there will be a new rule in place when everyone gets back from their vacations! :)

so here i am....once again....a little worker bee. i thought those days were behind me! :( i guess it's a good reminder to me of what the good old days were like....and just how far i've come.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

weekend away

i'm hanging out in our hotel hallway with my hubby while the little dude sleeps in our room. (on benches...not just sitting on the floor) we are up in minneapolis for the weekend visiting old friends that we left almost 2 years ago to move back to small town wisconsin. it was out anniversary on thursday, so this is our gift to each other. we desperately miss it here. all the culture and things we don't have in our small towns. i would move back here in a millisecond if it weren't for my family.

now that we have the little dude, it's especially hard to be away from the grandparents. it's not like minneapolis is all that far away, but 6 hours is a long drive for the weekend. especially with a baby. by the time you get there, it seems that you have to turn back to head home again. you never get to sit and relax because there are a million people you want to see and a million things you want to do. we bat around the idea of moving back here someday, but i'm not sure if that will happen or not. if i could just get my family to move up here with me, we'd be all set! but for some reason, i don't see that happening. my dad is the kind of guy who would build his house in the middle of 100 acres just so that he wouldn't have any neighbors. he likes the quiet of the country.....not much of that in minneapolis.

for now....i guess we'll just have to keep it to visits and dream of someday coming back to "the big city" :(

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

ok, so scratch that

so....remember my last post where i talked about how busy i was? and how i wanted to get some things taken care of during the slow time this winter? well, forget i ever said that....

why you ask?

as you probably know, we've been remodeling our living room so that it's now a little bigger. in the process we took up some carpet and had the hardwood floors sanded to match the adjoining room. to save some cash, we decided to finish the floor ourselves. so, as i was applying my second coat of polyurethane to the floor this weekend, i decided that we should get out of the house while it was drying to avoid exposing the little dude to too many fumes.

so what do we decide to do you ask? we went to open houses! great idea! well, it might be if we were in the market for....let's see....a house!

the thing is....we ARE kind of in the market for a house. my office here is too small, and it's the largest room in the house. there's really no room for expansion. plus we'd really much rather live in a town nearby. (which is where we wanted to be in the first place.) however, we haven't even been in this house for 2 years yet, which means capital gains tax...not to mention all the sneers and smirks we're going to get from our neighbors. (that will have to be a future topic).

well, if you haven't figured it out already, we pretty much found the perfect house, in the perfect neighborhood, that is actually cheaper than our house now! plus is has a full walk-up attic that is ready to be refinished into my glorious office space. so with the already hectic schedule i have, i've spent the last couple days calling to be pre-approved for a new mortgage, calling a realtor to sell our house, and all the other crazy things that go into buying a new house.

so...all that time i thought i was going to have this winter.....well, it pretty much just flew out the window. of course non of this is guaranteed. if we can't sell our house relatively quickly, it's highly likely that someone else will get to buy and live in our newfound perfect house. :( all i have to say is....if i'm putting this much work into getting this house ready to sell....we better get that house!

oh yeah....and never mind all that remodeling we just did. i didn't want to enjoy it anyway!!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

not now....i don't have the time

it's been a couple days since i've had a chance to blog a little. things have been crazy-hectic here. business is really picking up. i'm not sure if it's the holiday season, or if all my new reps are really paying off. my only hope is that it continues.

that's the thing about owning your own business....not knowing when the money's coming! this time of year is usually pretty busy. eveyone wants their holiday cards now so they can have them displayed by labor day! (snicker, snicker) anyway, then comes december. you can pretty much hear the echo of your own breathing around here. everyone (meaning store-owners/buyers) is so busy with the holiday season, that they forget about little old me sitting here with nothing to do! last year sucked...i wasn't really prepared for that. this year however, i'm actually kind of looking forward to it. i have so much backlogged that i'm itching at the chance to have an opportunity to tackle some of it. so many ideas are floating around my little brain that i just want to get out there....but alas, i never have the time. so maybe now is the time to start thinking about all those things i want to accomplish during the cold, cold days of december in wisconsin....maybe i'll start a list....when i have a minute....

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

visual learner

ever been stumped while trying to find the perfect word for a poem...or in my case a greeting card? well, here's a tool that will help you with that very it's visually stimulating!

as a visual learner, i love tools that are specifically geared to my learning abilities. i found this site a long time ago but had forgotten about it until recently. it's a way cool visual thesaurus. you actually have to buy the program, but they have a spot on their homepage where you can try it out for free. just type any word into the box and it will give you a visual layout of all the synonyms for that word. you can then click on any of the synonyms to find words that pertain to it. it's a pretty cool design. whoever thought of it is a genius! give it a whirl!
visual thesaurus

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

mr. flapjack

when people refer to flapjacks after pregnancy, it's usually pertaining to certain body parts. in our family however, it's a completely different topic. when we refer to flapjack, it pertains to our the little dude. he has now claimed the official title of "mr. flapjack".

why you ask?

well the little dude is typically a very good sleeper. you can lay him down for a nap while he's still wide awake and he will fall asleep without much fuss. today was a different story. for some reason, the little dude flips himself over onto his tummy and then proceeds to scream his lungs out until you go in and flip him back over. you see...he hasn't quite figured out how get himself back over. yes, he's 8 months old and he should know how to do that by now....but he doesn' shut it. it's funny because i can tell immediately by the cry that he's landed himself on his tummy again. the i'm-on-my-tummy-come-save-me-cry is much different than the i-just-don't-want-to-sleep-cry.

so anyway, this is not the first day that this has happened. however, it is the first day that he did it over, and over, and over again. it pretty much went like this.....

mommy lays little dude down for nap.
5 minutes later little dude is screaming bloody murder.
mommy goes to find little dude on his tummy.
mommy flips little dude back over onto his back. comforts him and leaves the room.

rinse, repeat.......about 15 times!

finally after an hour and a half of this, we gave up on the afternoon nap. i just hope it doesn't become a regular occurrence or that he figures out how to flapjack himself back over. one can only hope.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

you stamp too? cool....

so i just went to my 10 year high school reunion last night. while it went much better than i expected, there is one thing that just drove me crazy.

the number one question people ask you at your high school reunion is "so, what are you doing now?" in work. while i'm very proud of what i have accomplished in my 10 years since high school, it just never seems to come off the way i want it to. when asked the question of what i do, i respond with "i own my own business". they then proceed to ask what my business is. to that i answer "it's a stationery company....we make greeting cards, announcements, invitations, etc". 9 times out of 10, the response to that is "oh! i make greeting cards too! i go to tons of stamping parties". while i respect that people have hobbies and they enjoy stamping at their parties, you just can't convey to someone the difference between their hobby and my business. as soon as they hear greeting cards, they automatically assume i do it in my free time and that i sell maybe 10 cards a year. therefore, they don't ask any more questions. they have no idea that i actually have employees, that i have reps that sell my products all over the country and that i sell thousands of cards every year. it's such a frustrating thing.

i was brought up in a family who believed in modesty. bragging was not highly thought of. so because of that, i'm not really the type of person to just start laying it all out there for them without being asked. i guess, in the end, it's my fault for not elaborating with them and explaining the successes i have accomplished.

it probably wouldn't make much of a difference anyway. i grew up in a very small town (72 kids in my graduating class), so my cards aren't sold anywhere near where many of these people still live because there are no cute gift shops or anything of the sort. i told one person the name of the nearest shop that they could buy my cards in (which is an hour from where they live) and her response was "i've never heard of it...all i really know is hallmark".

great. :(

Friday, August 12, 2005

see the new images!

ok, so i lied again! i worked hard last night and got all the new photos on the website. i really wish i could keep them at a higher resolution, but i wanted to keep the size of my site as small as possible for those who don't have speedy connections. so, when you have a chance, go check it out!

i can't wait to use the photos in my brochure where they can be high resolution to show all of their glory!

on to all my other projects!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

whirlwind week

it has been one heck of a week....hence the delay of a new post.

for some reason, a flood of asap orders have arrived from my reps. it's a great thing, but takes away from important things like updating my blog! :)

a re-cap of my week thus far:

i'm trying to get all of my new spring designs done so they can go to the printer by the end of august and be released to my reps the first week or so of september.

i met with my new printer yesterday to review the re-printing of my new imprintables. it's pretty exciting that i already need re-prints since i just got them printed in april! they have been selling really well. my rep at the new printer seems nice. she seems to understand my concerns and will hopefully be more detail-oriented than my last printer.

the auditor came today to review my payroll records for my unemployment insurance. fun times! it actually wasn't as painful as i expected. she did mentioned that this is a yearly thing...something i wasn't expecting. oh, how i'm looking forward to next time already!

i've started to do some concepts for my photographer's holiday cards. that's going to have to be top priority next week. hopefully i can think of something cool. he gave me his logo and wants it incorporated somehow. not an easy task.

i also started to incorporate my new photos in my, don't go and check....they're not there yet. i'm hoping to have that done by early next week also. i think it's going to be a working weekend. :(

i think that's about it. i'm sure i'm forgetting something. it's just been a whirlwind. i can't believe it's already friday tomorrow. i remember the days of corporate america where i used to wait for friday to come. now it seems like the weeks are too short. i guess that's a good thing.

ta ta!

Monday, August 08, 2005

my little motorbike

i thought i'd post a little up-date on the teething baby situation. it seems that the little dude, who was previously possessed by the teething devil, is finally coming around.

i was a little nervous because we had a visit from the in-laws this weekend. i was worried that the little devil would be a terror all weekend so that none of us could enjoy any quiet time together. i was pleasantly surprised! it seems that the worst is behind us. my sweet baby who loves making noises that sound like a little motorbike is back! he was a very good baby today and i enjoyed being a mommy again very much.

an interesting tidbit....
the little dude has 3 teeth on the bottom and has altogether skipped the two front uppers. instead he is moving onto his canines. how funny is that going to look when they grow in a little! my little snaggletooth!

another interesting tidbit....
the little dude now rambles on momma, mom ma ma, momma, mom ma ma.....
oh such a sweet sound! even if he doesn't realize what he's saying.

Friday, August 05, 2005

it's a good thing

well today was the seems like i've been waiting forever.

i finally have some professional pictures of my products!!!! yippee!! they're obviously not on my website yet or anything, but i'm dying to work with them. they look so much better than the ones i've had. we started out by doing some group beauty shots. so nothing individual yet. (that will be a big project when it happens) we did about 10 different shots of my main product categories to highlight on my website and in my catalog. it will be nice to have something that wasn't taken at home with a crappy digital camera! i'll definitely post when they're on my website and you can all go check them out.

i suddenly feel like my products are more's a good thing.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

to be, or not to artist

from the time i was VERY young, i knew i wanted to be "an artist". not that i wanted to be the starving artist on the street doing paintings of still-life, but i knew i wanted to do something involving art and creativity. i actually have a cassette tape (do you remember those?) of me at two years old talking with my mom about what i got for christmas. i named off a bunch of random things like a dolly, and some candy. but then....the present of all presents....i had gotten a coloring book AND a paintbrush!!! if you could only hear my excitement as i exclaimed those precious gifts into the microphone. forget all those expensive gifts mom and dad probably got me that year....i wanted the $2 coloring book and paintbrush!

i remember spending hours at grandma and grandpa's house coloring in coloring books on the floor of the living room when i was young. the pages always had to be properly signed and my age prominently displayed.

when i reached second grade, i was old enough to sign up to belong to the local 4-H club. (yes, i grew up in a small town and i belonged to the 4-h club...for 10 years!!) i remember sitting there with my mom going through the pamphlet that listed all the different projects i could sign up for. i of course wanted to sign up for "drawing and painting". my mom, on the other hand, thought that it might be better for me to wait. she said she thought it was for older boys and girls. i of course persisted and signed on the dotted line as soon as i could. i ended up taking 3 art pieces to the fair that year and received 2 blue ribbons (first places) and 1 red ribbon (second place). i was SO PROUD! and i remember thinking "i told you i could do it". that was probably the beginning of my drive to prove people wrong. if someone tells me it can't be done. i will do everything in my power to prove to them it can.

as a side college i was told you couldn't make a bird house out of glass. (don't ask!!) i promptly went back to my dorm room and proved everyone wrong. and of course aced the project.

so what am i getting at here? well, the point of this whole post was to talk about dreams. i'm not sure what my mom's purpose was in trying to tell me i wasn't old enough to be in "drawing and painting". maybe she was just looking out for me and didn't want me to be disappointed. maybe she secretly didn't want to encourage my love of art. either way....since i'm a parent now, i think about these things. i wonder what i will do if the little dude tells me he wants to be an artist someday....or a nfl football player....or an actor....or something equally "dream-like".

i know that i made the right decisions for me. i love what i do. i never thought twice about it. i actually have no idea what i would have been if it wasn't dealing with some sort of art. it worked out fine for me, but it could have been equally disappointing if it hadn't.

maybe he'll want to be an least that's more attainable!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

what to do....what to do....

one of the biggest obstacles in running a business is time management and prioritizing tasks. i have the horrible habit of thinking of something that needs to be done but not writing it down. then when i try to remember what it was, i can't remember. i end up losing valuable free moments of time because i simply can't remember what needs to be done. i've tried notepads and such, but i always end up misplacing them or not having them where, and when, i need them.

i was recently introduced to a website that will hopefully help with this situation.

this website allows you to make online lists that you can access anywhere! you can prioritize them, edit them, share them with others, and e-mail them. another can't misplace it! plus, the best of all! it's free! it's not the most extensive program ever and i haven't had the opportunity to use it extensively yet, but i think this might be a nice, simple solution to the ever present problems of the notepad and pencil list.

happy to-do-ing!

Monday, August 01, 2005

tired mommy

run a business....remodel the living room....take care of crabby little living room....clean house for inlaws coming this weekend....

i am one tired little momma! time for this mommy to hit the sack.

Friday, July 29, 2005

color, color everywhere

after having an e-mail conversation with one of my reps about color, i got inspired to write about the impact of color on design. color is a major element in any design. the same mediocre design can become a masterpiece just by changing the colors. are the colors new and fresh? or are the old and out of date? being on the cutting edge of color can be made much easier with some research. i have found a few great site that inspire me when it comes to color. here is a list of a few of them.

get inspire by paint colors. who says paint colors are just for walls? behr's online color selector is a great tool when looking for specific colors. you can fine tune colors, find coordinating colors and even view pre-selected coordinating colors. just click on the link below and then select the "color smart" palette. and play your little heart away! and don't forget, you can always go to your local paint store and pick up swatches for inspiration!
behr paint

this might be one of the greatest resources ever. have you ever wondered how designers know which colors are going to be the most popular this fall? well, it's all because of the people at this next site. they're called color forecasters. they are the people in charge of picking which colors are going to be saturated (pun intended!) throughout the marketplace. granted, their services are pricey, but if you're looking for colors that are sure to be a hit, this is your answer!
color association of the united states

this next one is fun. stuck on the color palette for your website? this site is aimed to help! of course you can take the same color palette and use for your specific application. just select a color from the colorwheel and you can match it with contrasting colors, find it's triads, view analogous colors, and much more!
well styled

hope this inspires you to all create something new with color!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

work it

one of the things i was always taught about the job market was network, network, network. it is also something i'm not so great at. since i now own my own business, i really try to work harder at it. you just never know who could get you in the door somewhere or who may have a job for you down the road. thus today's story:

first a little history....we recently tore a wall down in our house. it's an old house with beautiful maple floors. one of the room's floors was refinished while the other room had carpet. so we need to get the carpeted room's floor refinished to match the room it now joins. following me? so anyway, a guy came this morning to give me a quote on how much it would cost to sand down the floor. who would think that this could possibly lead to a design job? not me. well, it just might have!

we got to talking about what i do and he said "really?....well i've been thinking about a project i'd like to do." turns out he wants some custom thank you's for all their customers. each one would be unique to that customer. for instance he mentioned having a photo of their newly refinished floor included. it sounds like he wants something totally out of the box though; which is good. it also sounds cool because it would be a continuous job, not just a one-timer.

networking with the floor-sanding guy....who would have thunk!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

oh the refreshing goodness of a cherry coke!

ok, so today i have a little "off-topic" story to tell...

i took the little dude out for a walk this afternoon to the post office to mail out some samples . (so it kinda has to do with work) on the way home i decided to stop for a refreshing beverage out of a vending machine at the local car wash. i pull the stroller up to the machine and park the little dude while i dig through my wallet for some money. i get my $1 out and stick it in the machine. i press the button for my favorite beverage of all times....cherry coke. i'm anticipating it's refreshing goodness on the long and hot walk home. nothing happens. then i see the little light....sold out!! damn. so then i press the button for regular coke.....sold out!! i select the button for orange fanta....sold out!! what the heck!! there are only three options left. sprite, water, and diet coke. since i don't drink water unless it has something in lemon, i skip over that option. i really dislike diet soda, so diet coke isn't an option either. i head for my last resort....sprite. i push the button....oh the suspense....what comes out??? DIET COKE!!

not funny!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

a new day...

i'm happy to report that today seems to be a new day! although the little dude was quite cranky this morning, he went down for his morning nap with no fuss. plus i've gotten a ton of tips and tricks from my friends at paperpreneurs who also have kids and run a business from home. i'm going to try and implement some of them today. i might just get some work done after all! with that said, i'm going to go take advantage of the fact that he's napping.

Monday, July 25, 2005

can you say...teething baby?

trying to raise a 7 month old baby and run a business is....let me see....not easy. now don't get me wrong....i love my baby...more than i can even tell you...but today has been one of those days.

this has been the extent of my day starting at 11:30 p.m. last night: (with a baby who usually sleeps through the night)

11:30 p.m. - get up and comfort screaming baby. feed him, medicate him, put him back to bed.
12:00 a.m. - try to get some sleep.
4:30 a.m. - get up and comfort screaming baby. feed him, medicate him, put him back to bed.
5:00 a.m. - try to get some sleep.
6:30 a.m. - lay in bed listening to screaming baby. ignore him as long as possible to get a couple more minutes of sleep.
7:00 a.m - finally get out of bed. change baby's diaper and take him downstairs for breakfast.
7:30 a.m. - finish feeding baby breakfast.
7:45 a.m. - put baby down with toys so he can "play" while i get in the shower.
8:00 a.m. - finish shower during which i listened to baby scream.
8:15 a.m. - head upstairs to office. put baby in exersaucer so i can get some work done while he "plays".
8:16 a.m. - take screaming baby out of exersaucer (which he usually loves).
8:30 a.m. - try to feed baby morning bottle....not having it! medicate screaming baby again.
9:00 a.m. - try to lay baby down for morning nap....not having it! go get screaming baby.
9:30 a.m. - try morning bottle again. success! happy mom!
9:45 a.m. - lay baby down for morning nap.
10:00 a.m. - silence. he finally gives into nap! happy mom!
11:00 a.m. - silence is broken. screaming baby wakes up from very short nap.
11:30 a.m. - take baby downstairs for lunch. mom has lunch first because baby seems content in his highchair for the moment.
11:45 a.m. - baby eats lunch. eats well. happy mom!
12:00 p.m. - mom and baby head back upstairs to try and accomplish something in the afternoon. put baby in exersaucer to play.
12:02 p.m. - take screaming baby out of exersaucer. (you know it's a bad day when the exersaucer doesn't work!)
12:15 p.m. - put baby in his room on a blanket to play with all of his toys.
12:20 p.m. - go get screaming baby
12:30 p.m. - try afternoon bottle....not having it! listen to baby scream for awhile.
1:00 p.m. - try laying baby down for afternoon nap....not having it!
1:20 p.m. - get screaming baby from crib who won't take his nap.
1:30 p.m. - try afternoon bottle again....not having it!
1:40 p.m. - try reading books to get baby to sleep.
2:00 p.m. - try laying baby down for afternoon nap....not having it!
2:30 p.m. - try music cd to try and comfort baby....not working.
3:00 p.m. - baby seems sleepy. try to lay him down again. silence! afternoon nap finally achieved! happy mom!
3:15 p.m. - premature celebration. screaming baby!
3:30 p.m. - time to gather up baby and laptop to go downstairs since nothing is going to make him happy upstairs.
3:45 p.m. - screaming baby. try afternoon bottle for at least the 4th time. finally takes a little. mom thinks he might fall asleep. no luck.
4:00 p.m. - set full baby down on blanket on floor to play with toys.
4:11 p.m. - (as i write this) screaming baby again!!!

any gaps in time = screaming baby or mom trying to comfort baby in various ways.

i seriously don't know what to do anymore. unless i'm holding him he's pretty much screaming. and even that doesn't work half the time. i sure hope this teething thing passes quickly or my business is going under!

i laugh as i look at the timestamp of when i started this post. almost 1 hour ago! i think this is the only thing i've actually accomplished all day.

back to the joys of motherhood...

Sunday, July 24, 2005

the eternal depths of hell

how hot is it today? well, i'm not quite sure, but it feels like the eternal depths of hell! and we're in wisconsin. i can't imagine what it's like down south today. and lucky me....we don't have air conditioning in our 100 year old house....AND my office is UPSTAIRS! remind me why i did that again? so i'm writing this from a local coffee shop while i enjoy a yummy razzle dazzle smoothie. no hot drinks for me today!

i'm here enjoying the cool air conditioning with my hubby who's reading....what? ....a copy of yoga magazine!! ok, if any of you knew my husband you would know just how ironic that is. i'll just sit here and not say anything so that he can thoroughly enjoy it while it confuses the hell out of me! i'm also here with my baby boy. he's actually sharing the big comfy leather chair with me. he's 7 months old....and being a very good boy. i guess he's happy to be out of the house and the heat too.

i see that my husband has switched over to metropolis magazine, and my baby is starting to get a little antsy....which both mean my world is going back to normal. so with that i sign off.

Friday, July 22, 2005

you saw me where?

i just got a sales lead the other day from greetings etc. that someone was interested in my halloween cards from the july issue. what? i didn't know any of my halloween cards were featured in the july issue! so i call my contact there and sure enough, she featured some samples i sent awhile ago. i haven't seen it yet, so i don't even have an idea of which card it was. they're sending me a copy, so i'll try and post it when i get it. there's nothing better than free advertising!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

liar, liar, pants on fire!

here i go lying already. this is my second post and i'm already going to contradict my first....but it's all for the good of my company. really.

so we've already established from the first post that money isn't rampant around here. this makes it difficult to do some of the things i want to do. for instance, i REALLY want professional photos taken of some of my products. just a few, so that my website and brochure don't look like i took the photos with my digital camera at home. (which i obviously did)

well, remember how i said i hated doing work for other people because it always turns out like crap....well....i lied. but not really.

i contacted a local product photographer that was referred to me by a design firm i interned with in college. i told him the situation about how i really want photos taken, but that i don't have a lot of cash to pay for them. i asked if he would be willing to barter his time in exchange for some product. (i suggested maybe holiday cards for their clients) to my surprise, he quickly agreed! this is great! wait, this sucks!

i called him yesterday to set up an appointment and he quickly told me that his wife was working on some ideas for the holiday card! oh no! here we go already! i was hoping more along the lines of altering something i already had to fit them. not start from scratch! this guy is giving me 4 hours of his time. this holiday card project sounds like it's going to turn out to be way more than that.

i guess i shouldn't complain. i'm getting what i want in the end. it just might suck getting there! blah.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

pretty little package

welcome to my world....the world of paper.

first, a little bit about myself. i knew all my life i wanted to be an artist. i went to school for graphic design, then moved away from home to enter the hectic world of design in the big city. it didn't take me long to realize that designing for other people left much to be desired. the designs you work so hard on end up being sub-par by the time clients get their grubby little hands on them. i never seemed to be happy with the end product, thus never having anything to add to my portfolio that i could be proud of. this job was not what i had envisioned. then i found my way out...

it all started with my wedding invitations in the summer of 2001. being the crafty person that i am, it was a no-brainer that i was going to make the invitations to my wedding. i enjoyed doing them and got such fabulous reviews that i thought the invitation biz might be my answer. that year for christmas i did sets of handmade greeting cards for all my friends and family. everyone loved them. my new passion started to emerge. instead of doing invitations, i decided on greeting cards. this way i could design what i wanted and not have to deal with bridezillas. (which, in turn, would be the same as working in a design firm with clients who don't know good design from bad)

while still working my full-time design job, i started the job i hoped would someday allow me to stay at home and raise babies. by the spring of 2002 i had designed a small line of cards and taken them to some local stores. to my surprise nearly everyone placed orders! i attended the national stationery show in may of that year. slowly my business started to grow.

fast forward to february was time...time to finally quit my "real" job and focus full-time on my business. i was so excited...and scared out of my mind. it has been a great ride. since then i have hired 3 part-time employees to help with production, 1 assistant, and a great line of reps. it's been difficult going from a 2 income household down to 1...especially since we just had a baby in december. yup, that's right. i quit my full-time job where i made a good sum of cash and then get pregnant...why not? sounds rational to me! so now i'm running a business AND raising a baby. slowly but surely this business is growing. someday i'll even be able to pay myself on a regular basis! what a thought!

so that's pretty much my history. i'm a wife, mother, business woman just trying to hold it all together in a pretty little package.
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