Saturday, January 30, 2016

nature park outing

a few weeks back, we attended a couple of  Pioneer Day at a nature park nearby. the boys love to run and play at the playground. andrew specially loved picking up rocks and seashells that the trails were made of. the days were beautiful and the activities were free which in my book it's perfect.   
the boys learned to weave baskets, watched how to boil soap, bake bread in an underground oven, churned butter, watched the women weave dish towels, made paper bonnets, watched iron works & wood works, played with children's toys that were modeled after the late 1800's, and joined the texas 'army' among many other things. 
they had a stage and a played music, they had a foraging demonstration, & the boys got to explore the grounds. the picture below is an underground 'pantry' where in the old days would keep different foods that needed to keep cool. when you walked in, you could definitely feel the temperature difference. 

we look forward to more days like these to keep introducing the kids of how times change. they loved everything about it. 
make sure to sign up for local nature parks for these kinds of events. i even went as far and tried to convince gary to sign up to be a volunteer...ha! his beard is on point for it, too!
have a wonderful weekend, you guys! 
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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Small Biz Life: In the Studio

let's get this straight. this is a studio life post. life is messy. studios are messy.
it is definitely NOT picture perfect. at. all. so now that we got that clear, here's a little post on things i've been working on lately.

upon the new year, people choose a word to live by throughout the year.
this is my word for 2016.
i learned and pretty much inhaled lots of biz tips online and now it's time to apply them. easier said than done, though.
my life has basically been a huge balancing act (whose life isn't?) and feeling daily as if i've failed. it's okay though, i have been given grace and tomorrow is another day. i do not let it get to me, although achieving daily goals is what makes me feel good at the end of the day, not gonna lie.
i've been elbows deep in steady custom work, and i cannot even begin to express how thankful i am for all people that have given me a chance.

most days, i take product pictures whether it be for listings in my etsy shop or for social media like instagram.
some days, i work on stuff for myself and greatly fail at it. the disapproval is just immense, makes my whole life feel like a downer. but these are artists traits and i take them with a grain of salt.
i can only look back at what i've created and finally see what a long ways i've come as a creative person. but still my heart knows i can do so much more.
sometimes this small biz job seems overwhelming. i'm playing 100 different parts trying to 'make it big'. my most favorite part of this whole thing is when i hear my phone ding with a new order. it is so rewarding knowing that the entire process, from actually making & drying the paper to putting the listing up in the shop has paid off. 
sometimes i think just being mom to 3 little is easier than this small biz stuff....

but let's talk about my studio assistant. she's the cutest monster you ever did see, and if you follow me on snapchat, you will know the messes this little cute monster can make. we have fallen in love with Sofia the First (princess cartoon) and she watches it no problem while eating breakfast each morning. but after that...she's ready to play! 
you might be wondering why i have a large moving box in the studio. well, it just kinda happened to find its way in the studio and the kids converted it into a reading box at first. then elena used it as a slide and it just went downhill from there....ha! get it?
my sweet little mess maker is left handed. and right handed. and LOVES those markers and brushes. i keep trying to show her how to clean up her messes but she just wants to color. typical. so each day is a battle lost to organization + cleanliness. it's ok with me as long as she's happy & i get to finish my work. 
the weather has been wishy washy and some days it is too cold (yes, even here in south texas) to make paper outside. gary says he needs rubber boots and a space heater. he comes in the house with his toes nearly frozen off....but with some pretty paper. he keeps improving his tools for his trade and you'll often find him sawing or washing something in the backyard listening to his audiobook. gosh, i love that man.
some big steps we would like to take this year with the shop are increasing our paper quantity, testing our paper, and letter press printing it so we can immerse ourselves in the wedding paper niche. 
we have tested our paper for durability, longevity & ink absorption and i really have come to detest those stages of our small biz but they are SO necessary if we want our paper to succeed. oh, and don't get me started on taxes and applying to be a business. that was so 2015! #gladits2016now 
i have been experimenting with placing digital type on a picture background lately. i am loving the results but nearly do not reap any benefit from it, other than it looks pretty. it's just another way of expressing oneself i suppose...
so there's that. i know i don't post about shop stuff that often but i hope you won't mind this. in fact, i hope you will help me in spreading the word about our business whether it be by word of mouth or by social media. any publicity is good publicity. and if there's a quote, a passage, a verse that you love and would love for me to letter it, please email me and let me know. i'll do my best to work on it and put it up in shop so everyone can have a chance at a print. i'm always in search of good words. 

i am beginning the stages for a newsletter and a website for the shop. i'm debating whether to do it myself and struggle or pay someone who knows what they're doing. 

i am also deciding on market shows to enter this year, my goal is two. 2 big ones. spring & fall. i find we do a decent profit here locally.

Be sure to follow along on Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter & again, our Etsy shop

as always, have a good day! 
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