an easy gift for the canner in your life

Canning season is on the horizon.  If you are a canner, or you know a canner… this is exciting.  Personally, I have canned only under the tutelage of experienced canners.  This year I have a goal of canning at least one something on my own.

I recently made some simple canning labels for my mother-in-law.  These labels were inexpensive and super easy to make.  If you know someone who likes to can, here is a tip… make these for them, maybe they will reward you with some of the fruits of their canning labor.

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I started by creating a very simple graphic in Photoshop.  You could probably even put something together in Word or draw and scan, depending on what you have available to you.  I just wanted a simple border with a bit of personalization and space for writing.

Once you have your image ready, head over the rubberstamps.net.  This is my go-to place for custom stamps.  Great prices, excellent work, so many choices.

For this project, I chose to make a custom wood stamp with no handle.  For the size, I knew I wanted the labels to be able to fit the regular mouthed jars so I found these round labels for a steal, and I made my stamp to be 2×2 for a perfect fit.

Then I just waited.

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When it all arrived, I got to work.  Really difficult stuff here… I didn’t worry too much about having them perfectly centered, cause I always like a rougher look.  It would not be very hard to get them all perfectly centered if that’s your thing… just a little extra patience.  It was easiest to remove the backing before stamping so I could clearly see the edges I was working with.

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I thought I would like the white ink the best…  But it turned out that the black looked pretty cool.  They reminded me of little pennies.

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Afterward, I snipped each tag off, just into squares and stacked then in a canning jar with a coordinating ribbon tied around the neck.  And viola, you are all set to make your canning friends very happy people!

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tis the season for giving

No, no, I am not misreading my calendar…

I am talking about Spring.  The season of weddings and showers and birthdays and graduates and mothers and fathers and wait… is that it??

Here is the simplest little homemade idea that can be easily personalized for whatever occasion.

shoe stationery gift idea

Ok, so, I get that not everyone loves stationery… I don’t understand it, but I get it.  So even if we are not sending snail mail these days… these flat cards would make great thank-you’s or even little jotters on your desk.  I have really taken to the flat card style lately, less paper, less commitment, plus, I think it is fun to showcase the our handwriting.  Whether it is neat or messy, we so seldom see it these days, for me… it is a welcome sight.

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As you may have guessed these were created for a shoe lover, with a stamp set that I purchased at Paper Source.  I wanted to use some nice paper, so I dipped into my fancy stash and used again Paper Source’s Luxe White Cover Stock, but anything you have will do.   I found some fun colorful envelopes to brighten up the white and they were complete.

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So simple, and yet personal and meaningful too.  Call me selfish – – but it’s really nice to be able to make something for the people in our lives, without feeling like we have to dedicate hours and hours to the task.

Do you like to give handmade gifts?   What are some of your go-to ideas?

Ready to do-this-yourself??  Here are some of my go-to suppliers for paper and stamps and the rest is up to you!!  The possibilities are endless.  Enjoy!!

paper source
cards and pockets
paper and more
impress rubber stamps
papertryink
hero arts

Need help figuring out which image would be best for your babysitters birthday, or how to weed through to find the best stamp and paper for your project?  Contact me, this is just the kind of thing I love to do!!

anything worth doing…

I really like my work.  I do.  It feels braggy to say that, but I don’t think it has to be.

christmas card emmanuel shimmer

Every year I look forward to creating our family Christmas card in a way that will highlight the miracle of God come to earth.

This year was especially fun, because, well, since the arrival of No2… there just hasn’t been that much time to create.

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and, I am just really pleased with this one.

I guess the fact that I have ventured into this world of selling what I make assumes that I am generally pleased with my ability to create pretty paper things…  But for the most part, I sort of just leaped out there, insecurities a-blaze, and figured — enough people told me my stuff was good, so it must be good enough.

For the first time, I have actually been seeing, on my own, that I am good at this.

I decided this Fall, that what I had initially planned to accomplish with Seven Layer Designs in a season, was now going to take place over the entire next year.  And it just made sense to me.  It was so clear and calm and just right.  I didn’t agonize over it, or ask everyone else what they thought… because it just came from a place of security and confidence.

When I recognized, quite possibly for the first time (ever) that I am good at what I do, it just naturally followed that if I am good at what I do, I can slow down.  I don’t have to worry about keeping up.  I believe in my work and myself enough to know, that I can go at my pace and though momentum may be lost, it can be recovered.

If my product is worth it now, it will be worth it next year.

Does that make me nervous?  UM… at times, yes!  But I know, beyond a doubt, that this is the right decision for me, my family and my business.

So what is happening exactly, you ask? 

Well, I am still going to be taking on clients on a job by job basis, so that I don’t pile my plate too high.  {Just be sure to contact me if you are interested in working together on an invitation or stationery design}.  I am really only scaling back on the sales and marketing part.  I will be working on more behind the scenes aspects of the business and building up more of a portfolio, spending most of my {all too limited} time focused on creating new designs!  Which I am o.so.excited about.  I will {and already do} miss cranking designs out at a faster pace, working with clients, shipping off orders, posting updates here… but again, this is all happening in the right timing.

and I’ll be here occasionally, but mostly…  I’ll be making things!

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Merry Christmas!!

calligraphy goodness

Recently I have been reflecting over the past 2 years and planning for the next (My business anniversary came and went in this house full of newborn joy).  Excited to post more soon.  Ironically, I stumbled across this today not only is it extremely inspiring, but it pretty much sums up my plan.  Oh Ira.  You always know just what to say.

Until I get all the details down in a clear and cohesive post, I thought I would share some calligraphy goodness!   I have a new appreciation for this art as I just finished up a class at my local art center.

such beauty and skill required for even the simplest rendition.

See more here, here, here and here

If you are interested in trying, this online class looks awesome and is something I will probably do in the near future to brush up and get reinvigorated, when I find my practicing lacking.  Or join a local class to meet some other script junkies in your area.

And you could always take the easy way and font it…

here are my favorite freebies 1. 2. 3.

there is a reason why these will cost you some moola.

Enjoy!

next?

Do you ever go all day with post ideas or to do’s or creative projects all brewing in your mind.  Little quips, or adjustments or dreams lining themselves up in your brain.  And then the noise and demands stop, you have the time to do, to unload, to create…

and nothing.

blank.

crickets.

“What am I sitting down to do right now?”

Is this just me?

SOOO frustrating.  I don’t wish it on anyone.

When the hard deadlines and demands are all met and I am faced with 5/20/maybe even 60 minutes… I get lost.  And then the time disappears.

I am sort of there right now with Seven Layer Designs.  I had a very successfully productive week last week and now… I don’t know where to go next.   I am learning, that for me to work from home where laundry and dishes are unending,  it is best to have a plan of exactly what to do, so when those minutes make themselves available, there is no wondering, there is only “next.”  This is not necessarily my nature… but it is more of a necessity.

Maybe if I dump a little here, I will start to get some clarity, a game plan for what to do next???  You might get bored and that’s ok, no hard feelings.  Kuddos if you make it to the end… maybe you can relate.  We always feel better when we see others struggle… what is that all about anyway… ok back to the venting….

I mean, I have my to do lists all made with my plans of what I want(ed) to accomplish this Fall (I mean SERIOUSLY where did September go.  I was so surprised to wake up Monday morning and realize that it is no longer the end of summer, but now well into the Fall.  Woops)

So , my plan for this fall was to (1)get a bunch of invitation designs together, and again, I was feeling so inspired months ago, and now that it is time, feeling blah about them.  (2) Get my website redesigned and up and running.  Totally intimidated to start, cause I know what’s in store… sooo much time and editing and yada yada.  This is not my strength… but I’m ballin’ on a budget.  and what else… oh yeah (3) get Etsy back in action and (4) maybe do some marketing/advertising/small investing type of things.

So of course, under each of these headings are many, many tasks… all of varying sizes.

It feels like I should get onto the invitation designs next.  All of the other stuff is not so helpful without the new product line to be displayed and hopefully sold.

Things I know:  It is hard for me to do designing when I don’t have open ended time frame… or at least an hour or 2 free from distraction.  So this means, weekends,or maybe if the stars align for both kids to be napping (though this is TERRIBLY hard to plan for at this stage in the game), or maybe take Saida to Amanda’s but again Camille is fairly unpredictable.  Basically, I find it very difficult to plan creative time.  Once I have the designs fairly well laid out, then implementing them can easily be done in the here and there minutes.  So there… It seems like I need to plan in some good design time to get a start and then the rest can happen in the inbetweens.

This is sort of the same for the website.  Once I get on and familiarize myself with the site and get started the filling in stuff should be easy to do on the fly.

For Etsy, I just have to polish up some things in my info and appearance and my listings.  I have some additional listing to do and I have to start playing around with the milieu of ideas they offer for getting your shop noticed.

So I know what I need to do… I just can’t start.

And as soon as I think I know where to start, then I remember all the things I want to make for Christmas presents, and the projects I want to do for our house and the pictures that STILL need organizing and uploading and photo albuming and all the rest.  And I’m confused.

And then I start to scream.

and then a baby starts to scream

and I think, tomorrow.

Tomorrow.

That did help.  Thanks for listening.