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.
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