Thursday, June 27, 2013

My Lone Tomato

Operation Potted Tomato - Fail
This year, I thought I'd try to plant my tomatoes in containers. I'd see others do this and I thought it would be great to not have to weed them and Jesse wouldn't have to mow around them. I even found one at the store that was already potted and came with the cage already attached to the pot...score!

Well, I didn't take into account all the wind we have here in the country. I tried putting the pot in three different locations and every time I checked on it, it had blown over. The final straw was trying to put it on the front patio. I thought having a level surface would help it. Nope, it just had further to fall. And when it fell this time, it broke the base of the stem.

The plant did have one tomato already started on it. And even through all the wind and all the falls, this little tomato survived. I couldn't believe when I saw it had ripened this week!

Next year I think I'll stick with planting them in the :)
How is your garden going this  year?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Birds for his Birthday

 Today would have been my brother's 35th birthday. While this day is going to be very hard, I am also determined to smile and remember the good times. I am going to celebrate for him even though I can't celebrate with him.

Most of my readers have seen my tattoo of the bird I got in memory of my brother. The coolest thing about this specific bird is that it is on my software program for my laser. I altered it a bit to make it one-of-a-kind and I can create other things with it as well.

I created a window decal for my old car and put it right in the middle of my back window so every time I look in the rear view, I see it :)


Since there was some extra space around the bird, I decided to cut out little birds as well. I used them for nail decals. They turned out so cute!

I'll also be blasting Freebird at the cemetery later today. And I'm going out with my sister-in-law and some of Jim's friends for Mexican. It's kind of a tradition as you can see from the photo above :)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Wooden Buttons - Swap for Photos

I recently started creating some wooden buttons. They're a fun way to dress up handmade items. I've been making them in basic round shapes with engraved details as well as different shapes like owls and leaves.

Before I list them in my shop, I have a few questions and a swap offer. I'd like to send a few of my readers a button or two and have you create something with them. Whether it be a button for a shirt, decoration on a knitted item, components for jewelry, etc. I'd like to get as many different kinds of items as I can. In return, I want photos of the products you made that I can use in my listings to show examples of how the buttons can be used.

Swap Info:
If you're interested in receiving some of my buttons in return for your photos, please email the following information to memoriesforlifescrapbooks (at) hotmail (dot) com
*What type of item will you be using the button(s) on?
*How many buttons will you need?
*Which button(s) would you like? (brief description)

Please share this post with your fellow crafters who would be interested in receiving some of my buttons. On July 8th, I'll choose 3-5 readers to send buttons to. I would like photos back from you within one month.

I also have a few general questions about listing the buttons:
*Would you prefer to buy buttons in lots of 2 or 4? Or another quantity?
*These buttons are 1" in size. Would another size be more fitting for the projects you make?
*I've shown photos of the buttons I currently have ready to list. What other shapes or designs would you like to see?

 Thanks so much for all your help and for sharing this information with your fellow crafters. I hope to get a lot of interest in these so I can share them and start listing them!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Blonde Peacock Tank Top

I recently featured the Blonde Peacock in one of my Friday Feature posts. I mentioned recently that I'm really loving gray right now and especially mixed with pink. I just couldn't resist purchasing this awesome tank top from the shop!
(I also seriously love it in gray & black)

I couldn't be happier with my purchase! The tank top is so comfortable and I love the style. I paired it with a charcoal gray cami/tank. I also have a pink tank I might pair it with next time to mix it up.

I've officially decided I either need a photographer or a model (preferably both!). But I did my best job at showing off this awesome tank.

If you're looking for some fun pieces to add to your wardrobe...and at a great price...check out the Blonde Peacock!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday Features - Summer Wardrobe

Awww....summertime! Hello sunshine, hello river, hello green grass and beautiful flowers! I'm so excited summer is finally here. After a long, wet spring I'm hoping we have warmer temps and more time outdoors now.
I'm not normally much of a shopper when it comes to clothes, but this year I've been having fun adding a few new pieces to my wardrobe. Here are my favorite Etsy picks for a summer wardrobe.

Have a Great Summer!!!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Bamboo Cutting Boards

I'm so excited to finally introduce one of my newest listings! I'm not going to lie, I've probably had these boards in my inventory for over a year now and am just now finding time to get them engraved, photographed and listed! But I think they were well worth the wait!

My first design is the Recipe for a Happy Marriage. I started with just the recipe, but can personalize it at no additional cost.

I'm really hoping this is another product that grows into several new designs like my guest books have done. I hope to take lots of requests for new designs and add lots of new styles to my shop.

I started with the 8 1/2" x 11" size, but I will also be offering 9 1/2" x 13" as well.

 I'd love to hear your ideas for other designs and gift-giving opportunities!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Triple Arrow Necklace

It's amazing when and where inspiration will strike. I love seeing things made from other materials and figuring out how I can make them from wood. I did just that recently while visiting the Bubby and Bean Blog. Melissa was wearing a beautiful necklace and I just knew it would look awesome made from wood.

During the design process, I ended up making 3 different designs in the triple arrow style. I started with a simple design, which I'm calling Plain. Then made one with lines to separate each arrow, which I'm calling Basic. And a third design with more detail, which I'm calling Tribal. I love how each one is the same basic design, but have such a different look.

I also love how Melissa gets out and models. (Isn't she cute!) But the rain has been keeping me inside and I wasn't able to get out and get any photos. So I tried using a house plant by a window. You're allowed to laugh at my attempt at! I just wanted to show how long the necklace hangs, so I guess I got that accomplished even if I look goofy in the process.

I got this new design listed in my shop last week and have a few other new designs I hope to list sometime soon. Things have been a little hectic, so I haven't gotten as many new items listed as I would like. Anyone want to volunteer to come take photos, edit photos and list new product for me :)

Monday, June 17, 2013

What a Week

Last week was one of those weeks I hope to never have again. Jesse's uncle passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack at 53 years old. So Young! Going through another funeral so soon after my brother's death was very difficult.

On top of that, my grandpa has been in the hospital for over a week. He got infection in his knee and ended up having to have surgery to fix it. They also found he had gout and MRSA as well!
He was finally released from the hospital on Friday, but had to move to a rehab facility for at least two weeks before he can return home.

In the meantime, my grandma (his wife) had to be taken to the doctor as well. She has COPD and has been having trouble lately. When she went to the doctor, they wanted to admit her to the hospital in fear that she was getting pneumonia. She didn't want to be admitted, so she has been having to go to the hospital every day for 3 days to get IVs. I hope she gets a clean bill of health today at her checkup.

But I don't want this post to be all doom and gloom. Yes, it was a terribly stressful and long week. But I got to spend every day with my family and Jesse's family. We got to tell wonderful stories about Jesse's uncle and visit with my grandparents. My parents were also in town. I would rather see them under different circumstances, but I'll take any chance I can to see my parents!
And it makes us realize that we can't take life for granted and that we need to live life to its fullest.

I'm hoping to be back to a regular blogging schedule this week. And I'll have much happier posts to come as well :)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Love Leaves a Memory

I'll be taking another blogging break the rest of this week. I hope to be back early next week. We've had another death in the family. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Expanding My Wedding Line - New Guest Book Designs

My wedding line got two more additions this week! I love custom requests because they always turn into a product I can offer other customers! Both are very different from what I currently offer in my wedding line so it opens up the possibilities to even more brides and grooms.

The first is this fun Woodland Themed Guest Book. I offer a similar book in my baby section and had a request to make one for a wedding theme. I added the love birds to the tree and carved their initials in the trunk as well. It turned out so great!

The next book is a more Formal Design. The scroll designs add just enough detail while keeping it simple and elegant. I like that this is something completely new for my shop.

 I also have a couple more wedding invitation designs and another small guest book that still need photographed and listed. I'm hoping to have them in the shop soon. So keep an eye out for even more new wedding items!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Father's Day...Just Around the Corner

Father's Day is this Sunday! And if you're still looking for the perfect gift for Dad, I just added this World's Greatest Dad Beer Mug to my shop.

I had big plans to add several wood cards to my shop as well for Father's Day, but it snuck up on me! I knew adding personalized items this late in the game wasn't a good idea, so I thought a premade item would be a better idea. I'm taking orders on these through Tuesday to guarantee a Father's Day delivery. They also make great birthday gifts, so they'll remain in the shop even after this weekend :)

Do you have all your shopping done? I'd love to hear what you got your dad this year :)

Friday, June 7, 2013

Friday Features - Pink & Gray

I've really been into the color gray lately. I've been buying new clothes in gray and loving it mixed with every color. It's a fun neutral that you can do so much with when adding accessories. I recently did a post on Yellow & Gray and today I had fun finding features in Pink & Gray. Enjoy these pretty finds :)

 by eveden

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Being My Own Boss - 1 Year Anniversary

Last Saturday I celebrated one year of being self-employed full time! This has seriously been the most amazing year of my life! I love what I do and I love that I get to do it every day! That's not to say it wasn't a difficult decision at the time, but it's been the most rewarding one I've ever made.

I put together a few pieces of advice that I've learned during my first year of being my own boss. If you're thinking of taking the leap, I hope these tips will help you :)

 1. Love What You Do This may sound like common sense, but it really is true. What you used to do as a creative outlet or to relax is what you'll be doing several hours a day...every day. Make sure your "hobby" is something you are willing to turn into a "job". That being said, if you love what you do, your "job" isn't really "work".
I absolutely love what I do and I'd be doing it even if no one paid me. I love coming up with new designs and new ideas. I love watching things come to life in the laser. I love being creative. And I love working with my customers.

2. Be Prepared to Work Long Hours Unless you're lucky enough to afford an assistant, be prepared to put in a lot of hours. This comes back to loving what you do. Unlike in the corporate world, the more effort you put into your "job" the more you'll get in return. You have to work for what you want and this can require long hours.
On a normal day, I generally work 12-16 hours. This includes everything from packing orders, answering emails, blogging, making product, listing product, etc. I also work weekends and holidays. When I worked my factory job, I used to count down the days til Friday. But now everyday is a Friday and it's great! I can also take time off whenever I want too :)

3. Wear Lots of Hats As a business owner of a one-woman-show, it is necessary to be able to multitask and prioritize your time. You have to be the owner, marketing director, buyer, accountant, secretary, creative director, maker, etc, etc, etc. It would be fun to just create new things all day, but there is much more to it when running a business.
Every day I make a to do list of things that need done that day. I start my day be answering emails and reading blogs. Many times I'm also running the laser while I'm on the computer. I then package orders so the mailman can pick them up (and save me a trip to the post office). Then I get to start creating :) At the end of the day I do my quiet work. I list new items, answer more emails and write blog posts.

4. Go Over Your Budget (then go over it again) You might think this should be at the top of the list. While it is very important, I still think loving what you do is more important. Yes, you need to pay your bills, but if in six months you're burnt out, you won't be making any money. So make sure you love what you do before you even consider working for yourself full time.
I ran numbers for several months before I knew for sure that things would be okay. I knew exactly how much I needed to make and I knew I could do it. I also made the decision to sell my SUV. It wasn't a necessity (we have a spare car) and the payment wasn't worth having to stay at my factory job any longer. It felt great being out from under that payment and knowing I had that much more wiggle room with our budget. It is also important to talk over the budget with your spouse/domestic partner/room mate/whatever. Convincing Jesse things would be okay was a little trickier than convincing myself. It was a huge step and we both needed to be on board. After a few good talks, we both agreed it was time :)

I hope these tips help those of you considering working full time for yourself. While it is a lot to think about, if you're able to, I recommend it to anyone. I am a much happier, more satisfied person working for myself. Every day is a "vacation" day, even when I'm at "work" :)
 Those of you who are already working for yourselves full time...any other tips for my readers?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Monday, June 3, 2013

Stache Bash 2013

Over the last month, I've been etching beer mugs for an organization called Mustaches for Kids Omaha. Each year they grow mustaches to raise money for a children's organization and this year it is Make-A-Wish. The guys grow their mustaches for a month and raise money along the way. Each week they have checkpoints and get-togethers to raise more money. Last year they raised over $130k and this year's total came in at over $201k!

On Saturday they had their big Stache Bash where they handed out awards. The "growers" came in costume and the whole event was so much fun! Above you can see "Scottish Fury" and "4X Corn" who were nice enough to pose for a picture for me :)

Jesse's brother and his girlfriend Melissa both came with us. I etched mustache pilsner glasses for us to drink from.

I also made mustache necklaces and rings out of acrylic for Melissa and I to wear. They also make great disguises :)

Here are a few pictures of the awards ceremony. You can see some of the fun costumes!

M4K was a great group to work with. I got lots of great feedback from the guys who purchased mugs and I'm looking forward to working with them again next year!
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