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.

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to work or not to work

Until last week, I was really wondering if I could keep going with the “work” part of Seven Layer Designs.

When other parts of life are feeling crazy, it can be an added pressure.

We have been dealing a lot with time around here lately.  Balancing it, prioritizing it, using it for pursuits that really “matter”…  and I have wondered, more than ever before, is it time to put this on hold???

Either way, with a few things pending, I can’t make this decision until I complete them and tie up all prior obligations.  So I pushed on.

And a few attainable goals later, I realize again, I really do love it.

it’s like a breath.

There are parts of it that I may not love all the time.  It can pull me away from other tasks, and I could do with out the pressure that I sometimes feel from social media to perfect my online persona and to be insta-twitter-whatevering to stay in constant connection…. but…

I love the creating.  I have so enjoyed my time over the last week… designing, cutting, stitching, folding the paper and patterns to say what I want them to say… standing back and feeling pride and accomplishment in these little pieces that make me (and hopefully others) smile.  Thinking of the enjoyment and encouragement others may find as they send and receive this card.  I love thinking about the words that will fill it.  What will they say?  Who are they for?

When other parts of life are feeling crazy, I look forward to being able to sit and create in the quite corner of my room, with the sun floating in the window.  For that time I forget about the chores, about the demands, and I am alone, quiet, refreshed.  Now, more than ever am I coming to appreciate these opportunities.

So, whatever form Seven Layer Designs may take in the near future, I will have to find a way to continue.

 

layered lace and slippery ink

Remember when I said that this little lady was my favorite?

Well, she is quickly becoming a favorite in my shop!  I recently did a redesign for a baptism.  This time, instead of a tea length invite, the proud mama wanted a 5×7 for her daughters big day.  We added some pink text and a simple cross stamp to make this design unique.  By taking out a few of the layers of lace and using some papers already in stock, I was able to bring the cost down a bit.  I  love being able to provide a unique design at an affordable cost and I am happy to work with clients to achieve what they are looking for at a price that works for them.  It was a pleasure working on these again with a new twist.

BONUS TRACK — An inside look into stressful times when things don’t work out the way you hoped… at first!  Also, a helpful note on stamping on metallic and pearlescent paper

Full disclosure: most of the time, when working on designs, hiccups arise.  This time, it was with the stamping of the cross.  I was already working with a limited supply of paper, trying to give this client an invite she adored while staying within her budget.  To do this, we decided to use the supplies I had in stock.

Working away, I was feeling good, everything had come together very well so far, I had printed and cut all the invitations and was ready to start stamping and assembling.  I stamped 50 silver crosses and headed off to prenatal yoga.

And as I drove, the nastiest little thought popped into my head.  “Oh please oh please, let that ink dry properly on the metallic paper.  The first set hadn’t dried by the time I left, and that is not usual.  Ok, out of your mind, time to focus on Yoga.”

Return home.  eeekkkkk eeeekkkk.  Still not dry?!?

Tomorrow.  Still not dry, ink will smudge if touched.

Stress about this all day.

Conference with my VP (Ben) after we put Saida to bed.  I love his optimism, “we will fix it, there has to be a way.”  and he is right, there always is.  However, my pessimism spent the last 48 hours thinking “I’m doomed!”

After a few ideas and some internet research… we discovered that we could simply dust the existing stamped image with clear embossing powder, and emboss using a heat tool.  Amazing news!  I don’t have to rush order fresh paper, stay up all night once it arrives to finish order and then ship them overnight to client.  This will save me buckets of time and money.  So we tried it and it worked amazingly!  The finished effect was even preferable to the plain stamping.  It matched the metallic look of that papers used in the design very well.

Like I said, “It always works out in the end.”  …or something like that!

Another Note:

I hope that my transparency here will not leave you thinking that your invitations will not be handled and cared for with the utmost importance.  Really, it’s just the opposite.  Though these hiccups do arise,  when creating a customized, handmade product, you can rest assured that when you hire me to create invitations and paper goods for your special event, it will arrive to you, within the deadline discussed, for the price agreed upon and meeting all your specifications.   You will get someone who will bend over backwards for you and give you 100% personal attention.

You know I am a huge advocate for small business and the handmade market.  Our budgets may not be huge and we may be figuring out a few things as we go, but you get something that you just can’t get with mass production.   And it is that little something extra that will make sure you get what you are looking for, because we care, we really do.  We care about you, even though we never met you.  Most of us are in business because we want to share something with people.  In my case, I want to provide a personal experience, a unique paper good and an affordable price.  I want brides and clients to be able to get what they are looking for, unique and individualized attention, without spending a fortune to get it.  This is why I am in business.  Now… if I am going to stay in business depends on whether or not I can do this while making a profit… but that is a story for another day.

After a long holiday

Confession time.

I am not an overachiever.  Sometimes I wish I were, and I feel like, with a little more hutzpa, I could be.  But alas, working long hours. pushing myself to exhaustion, it’s just not me.  Even as I say this, I am rethinking it…maybe, someday, I can be — nope.  I am accepting who I am.

Yes, there are times when pushing oneself and working extra hours becomes necessary, but on the whole, I have learned that it is best for me to schedule myself enough time to keep this from happening.

I end up feeling drained and lousy.

And regretting the decision to start SLD.  Not where I want to be.

I was back to work today after a long, somewhat unplanned hiatus.

AND.IT.FELT.GREAT.  Like amazing and perfect being back to work.  I came up with some new designs to include in the first shipment of  subscriptions due out soon.

Only 12 days late, BUT finally feeling inspired and excited for 2012!

Here’s what will be happening this year, starting with the coolest thing:

  1. A new baby will be born in July!!  So far my pregnancy has been icky, just looking in the direction of the computer would make me want to run for the loo.  Thus explains my absence, and also my uncertainty for the frequency of posts moving forward.  I am hoping to get back in the groove.  But I have been so.tired, like in.my.bones.tired.  So I make no promises.  Don’t worry though, I would never let my lack-o-energy get in the way of perfecting your invitations, so have no fear in that department.
  2. More invitations and party goodies!  In a perfect world, I would have had a new line of wedding and party stationery and supplies all ready to be launched in time for the spring and summer soirees, but I am operating on a new schedule.  Either way, I am going to get back to my original dream for SLD and get a good portfolio of invites together and work on some party supplies packages of decorations and such.
  3. I will still be making note cards, but my focus will be on creating wedding suites and party supplies.  As a result, I will probably be cutting back on the craft shows, but we will see how it all plays out.

So these are the biggies for SLD and my life.  It is good to be back.

And I will leave you with these words of wisdom (i think intended for a child’s nursery, but it fits)