Friday, December 9, 2011

A Christmas Thought...

So it just occurred to me today, how close to Christmas we are! I can't believe how when you are little, it seems like it takes 20 years for this time to roll around, and as you get older...20 days. I used to write my lists the night of Santas arrival, thinking that his "inventory" was always with him, and yet, I was never disappointed when something I asked for wasn't available. Now, I have children of my own, who are always wondering when this time will come, in fact the talk of " when is next Christmas" starts at bedtime on Christmas night. They started their lists months ago, which my son so lovingly asked for a blue shiny bike, and some Macaroni and Cheese. I can't believe how magical it is for them, and how stressful it can be for us! But, as they open their gifts, and I marvel at my family that I only get to see a few times a year, I have that amazing warmth that fills your heart, and that is magic of it's own. I wish everyone a blessed holiday, full of whatever you find "Magical." Because if you are one of the lucky ones like me, the magic may be different than when you were a child, but magic it still is, and the gratefulness that you experience because of those feelings, is a miracle all of it's own, and the best gift anyone could ask for. Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

And We're Back!

Ok! So, my new little guy is two and half  months old already *sigh* and things are getting to be a little more predictable! Not less hectic, but...hey, I'll take it! Which means, work is starting to get back on track for me. And in case you were wondering if I have gone completely crazy yet...I believe the answer would be "YES!" I have decided to start work on new items, and yet another shop! I have jumped in with both feet (as I usually do..and without to much practical thinking) and purchased my very own professional printer...OY! So I will be opening a shop with printed cards, stationary, and wall art, along with my personal favorite, a line of very sarcastic, and mostly inappropriate card designs. Sarcastic and inappropriate, you say?! Why yes....I know, I have shocked you all!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The New Addition!

I am proud to introduce our BEAUTIFUL new addition....
Kai Hudson Frank

I can not believe that the long road of pregnancy is over! Like I had said in a prior post, it is bittersweet. Bitter, because, I doubt I will have this experience again, and sweet, because I have this absolutely amazing little person here now! I can not even begin to tell you, how in love I am with this little man! The love of a mother to her baby is unbelievable, and since this is most likely my last, I want to soak up every minute I can with this new little life. Of course, it's not easy taking care of a new little guy, along with other children, plus...the things that come along with giving birth...your hips hurting, your legs hurting, your back hurting, your butt hurting, no sleep, your ability to cry about nothing at the drop of a hat, engorged globe sized boobs (which doesn't help the aching back), no makeup, no shape..well..I guess round and squishy is still kind of a shape...But, as much as I would love to complain about everything, it doesn't change anything, and I am sooo happy that I was able to have this experience again, and to be able to have this unbelievably handsome little man to add to my beautiful family! A big thank you to the nurse who delivered my since the doctor didn't come into the room on time, and an even bigger thank you to Kai for coming out, and the biggest thank you, goes to my husband, for creating life with me! I am so blessed!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Shop Showcase! Yay!!!!

Nest Of Many Colors!

1. Do you sell full time, or do you consider this just a hobby?

- I do a little bit of both! I am a stay at home Mom first, and I create when I have time. I don't have a job outside of the home, so I do consider running my Etsy/website my full time job. At the same time, I LOVE what I do; so it is a hobby as well.

2. How did you get started in your craft?

- I have always been a really crafty person; when I was younger I was constantly making friendship bracelets (you know the kind with embroidery thread!?), pottery items, jewelry; you name it! Headbands, accessories, and bow holders came much later after I had my own two girls. I created bow holders for my little ones, and all of my friends instantly wanted me to make them for their girls. It has just grown from there.

3. What are your dreams for your items?

- I strive daily to create a product that folks are proud to wear. I want them to look through their accessories and pick mine first because it is the one that matches the best, or makes them the happiest when they wear it. I absolutely beam when I see others wearing my products; knowing that they treasure something that I made for them. I would also love to see my products grow, succeed, and be worn by people all over the world.

4. What is your favorite part of working?

- I love getting new supplies, that is my very favorite part of my "job". I love it when I get new fabrics, trims, and crystals and I can lay them out on my table and see what new combinations I can put together. It is so fun to have that creative time where you just envision what can be created with those supplies.

5. What is the most stressful part?! BE HONEST!

- I definitely think that the most stressful part can be doing things perfectly. I am extremely obsessive about making sure that things look the best. I work really hard to provide an amazing "hand made" product, and with that comes the same two hair clips looking slightly different. I will sometimes create a piece 2-3 times before I have it looking the way that I am satisfied with before I ship it to its new owner. That can be time consuming, and worrisome. I just want to make sure that I send something that the customer will love and be proud of.

6. Where do you find a lot of your inspiration?

- My own little ladies. I have two girls (and one dashing dude); and a lot of times I make things that match what they wear. I like to keep the styles simple and classic; not too over the top so that they can be worn time and time again. I love bright colors, so a lot of my inspiration comes from things that have rich bright colors. Like our new Bitty Fleurs, they are named after ice cream flavors!

7. Tell us a few things about yourself that people may not know.

- Let's see...I had two kids in one year that were not twins! (Jan 8, 2008/Dec 31, 2008) In my free time I love to bake...cookies, cakes, cupcakes, etc. I really enjoy writing, I find it therapeutic, and fun. I was born a natural red head, but since I've gotten older, it has gotten darker. Lastly, I am missing a ball joint in my right wrist, which makes it impossible to bend! :)

8. Have you found a marketing tactic that works really well for you, that may help other sellers?

- I absolutely LOVE using Facebook as a marketing tool. It is free to use, user friendly, and let's be real...everyone is on Facebook! It can be hard to gain a following, so when I first started I participated in a few give aways to get my business name out there. In doing that I gain new fans, and friends...a lot of who go on to place orders! I participate in give aways now every so often, but I still have quite a fan following. It is easy to post new products, and promotions; and I have actually gotten a lot of orders off of my Facebook page alone!

9. How would you describe your work environment? Do you like it, or do you want a change up?

- I would describe it as....all over the place! The majority of my supplies are kept in my dinning room. There are plastic Rubbermaids EVERYwhere with fabric, flowers, beads, crystals, thread, etc. Each one of my boxes is super organized, but I would love to have my own room that was a dedicated work space. Ideally there would be "working" table, a "packing/shipping" table, a ton of storage, and a tv! What can I say, I like to watch while I work. ;)

10. What is your major motivation? What drives you to keep going?

- My customers who come back again and again! They really keep me going and assure me that they love my work. There are days that sales will be down, and it can take a while to get going..but knowing that I have people who genuinely love my work, and choose to shop with me over other accessory shops can make it so worthwhile.

11. Do you have a favorite quote that gives you motivation with work?

- I really love the quote, "Create items that are hand made, not that look home made." Hahah, I know it isn't very inspirational, but it's true! People love the unique ness of a hand made item; and I love supporting crafty folks. But not many people want things that look home made.

12. Take each letter of your last name, and pick words that describe your personality? Example...Frank...Funny, Random, Animated, Nuts, and Kind

R - Random
O - Opinionated
B - Bold
B - Bodacious - LOL
I - Independent
N - Nice
S - Sensitive

That is tough!!

13. Give us a chuckle and tell us something funny that happened to you today.

-Hmm, this is hard! Today at my In Laws house I was saying that we will have to really throw down next year because my MIL is turning 60, and my husband is turning 30. My MIL said, "Aww, Jonathan, you'll be half my age next year!!" I answered with, "Isn't Jon always half your age?" That got a lot of laughs, because obviously that is impossible..which they all pointed out immediately! What was I thinking?! :D

14. Give us a question that you would like answered by other sellers, that we can include in our questionnaire. (Don't forget to answer it for yourself also!)

- What is one thing that you know now that you wish you would have known when you started your business?
- I wish that I would have just practiced more. When I look back at my first creations, I kinda cringe! Take the time to really practice and perfect what you create.

Any encouraging words for other sellers out there?

- Make sure that you read, research, watch, listen, and soak up as much information as you can before you start a business. It is so important to know what you're up against. Be patient, take good pictures, give a lot of pertinent information about your items, be good and speedy at communication. And most of all, just don't give up! Selling in the hand made world can be overwhelming, and it can be hard to break into! Just give it time, make sure that you're creating a top notch product that stands out above competition. Great customer service will go a really long way!

Here are a few of Nesto's Items!

Be sure to check out her shop on etsy
and "Like" her shop on Facebook!

A BIG Thank You to the designer at Nest of Many Colors, for taking the time to answer our questions, and being our very first Blog Showcase!
p.s. we have some of Nesto's beautiful items, and they are amazing!


Ok! So, I want to start showcasing some of the wonderful shops that I have done work for, and really feel deserve the recognition! They have great feedback, beautiful products, and since I think that we can all learn a lot from each other, I think it would be a very welcome addition! Not to mention, I do feel that with Etsy, a lot of creative people tend to create bonds with other creative sellers, sharing information, forming friendships, and more! It's really a very encouraging environment! I have created a questionnaire for those that are willing to participate! Hopefully it will supply you with a few giggles, a little insight, a great reading experience, and if nothing else, a whole lotta inspiration!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Pregnancy Shmegnancy...

There are so many things that they don't tell you about pregnancy....I don't know if they just think you should know, or that if they told you, you would be to traumatized to try the experience. But, when you think about it, how many of us are there, that do this more than once...I would say the majority. Even though I have done this several times before, it's like I have never been through it. This pregnancy is COMPLETELY different. In fact, I think maybe this baby may have some sort of personal vendetta against me. Not to mention, the way my body seems to be affected by this one...Anyone ever heard of pregnant face?! Yeah well, I've got it! My boobs have always been on the large side, but now have grown to crazy proportions...Dolly aint got nothing on me, and why stop stretchmarks seem to be breeding even more stretchmarks. I currently have a belly that looks like it was drawn on by a caveman with Parkinsons, my uterus seems to dislike me...apparently the more children you have, the more Brackston Hicks Contractions you get...and the more painful they are...nice. Oh and did I mention, the swelling, it's been months since I've seen my knuckles, all that is left are some indentations where they used to reside. In fact, because of my size, I refuse to wear my all red dress, on the off chance that someone may yell "Kool Aid" when I walk down the street....which is also why I wont wear solid yellow, in case someone yells "Bus," I have been waddling for months already, and have noticed the cellulite increase in all un-stretched areas...that I can see that is. My friend texts me daily to see if I'm still pregnant and follows it up with a "Awe, I'm sorry honey, I feel so bad for you." I get sympathetic looks from across the room from my husband...usually after I catch his "OH MY GOD, Who is this lady, and why did she eat my wife?!" look that he thought he was concealing. Did I mention the comments from my ever observant children...they choose tactful ways of letting me know what they are thinking, such as "Mom, you're getting fat" or "WHOA, WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR BELLY BUTTON!" And don't get me started on shaving...I tried, and I swear the end result was probably a close second to what a yard would look like, if it were mowed by a blind man. But, with all these hardships, it won't even matter soon. I will be in love with my new little bundle, and the smiles on the faces of my children, as they see him grow, and the amazing way that my husband looks while holding someone so small, with this smirk that he gets at only the most precious of moments, that always manages to melt my heart. The process of creating life may not always be glamorous, but the outcome is worth every line, and dimple. It's an incredible experience, that makes all the suck fest moments, go away, which is why most of us are willing to do it again. So, as I uncomfortably and impatiently wait for this journey to be over, it's still bittersweet. I doubt I will have this experience again, so, it is yet another phase of life that will have passed, in what seems to be a blink of an eye. My kids will only be little once, and that fact is also bittersweet. But, something that we all have to be prepared for...unless your that sex crazed Duggar family on...what is it "38 and Counting"...I swear, they are just a loving couple, that is to afraid to visit a mental health professional, to admit that they are scared of change, have major separation anxiety, co-dependancy problems..and don't want to admit to growing old, so they just keep procreating like bunnies, to avoid the inevitable. Boy, is she going to be shocked when her ovaries dry up, I mean just because we have like a million eggs, doesn't mean we have to use all of them! ANYWAY, off my tangent...and in very odd closing, I am grateful for my spastic uterus, and the job that my ever expanding belly is doing for this new addition to our family, my body is working the way it's supposed to to care of this little guy, and I am first and foremost a mother, who would do anything for her babies, even if it means growing several chins!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pressed For Time...

So, in the beginning of this pregnancy, I said that I wanted everything complete by June, to give myself, the last 3 months to relax and do whatever I wanted. HA! Well...wishful thinking! Here I am, due in a few weeks, still working, signing up the kids for school tomorrow, 8 doctors appointments next week, a garage sale this weekend, and still a few more things that need to be done for the little guy, who could grace us with his presence at any time. Despite all of the demands that I have in the next week, I still wouldn't mind if he debuted a bit early! I have been productive though, today consisted of buttoning up a few designs, designing some new diabetic sheets for my 4 year old daughter, and making sure everything is in line for her grandparents while I'm on my "vacation", making some much needed phone calls, responding to e-mails, and eating a very deserved Chicago style deep dish pizza! So...I'm starting to feel a little pressed for time, and might just have to miss taking my kids to a few of those appointments next week myself...if I'm lucky! But you know what....even though I could go at any time...I really don't want to stop working...isn't that weird?! I guess that really shows that I love what I'm doing. I originally was going to stop working last week...but I really just don't want to. I enjoy being able to work and converse with new people, and with the clients that I have come to acknowledge as my friends. It can take a lot out of a person putting in the hours that I have been lately, but I wouldn't trade it. I am grateful, and actually usually look forward to my daily design tasks. That saying really is true "if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life!"