a month of makeover monday’s

I have been…or was supposed to be taking these last few months to focus on getting invitation designs together.  I swore off craft shows for the year (Nothing personal, they just take most of the limited time that I have to work on SLD related projects), with the hopes of creating some new invitation designs.  After all, it was always my primary desire to design unique, affordable invitations.

Of course, the best laid plans… well, let’s just say that orders have been steady(!!!), and I have yet again, pushed the invite design, (except those attached to paying clients) to the back burner.  As I see the months of pregnancy closing in on me, and baby #2 getting ready to make an appearance, I know this is my last chance to get some designing in before I close down shop for a nice loooong maternity leave.

So… a challenge!!   To complete 4 design conversions over the next month.  I am going to take the 4 new designs I posted about here  and create a birthday invite, 2 wedding invite suites, and a baby announcements.  The next 4 Mondays I will post how each of these card designs becomes an invitation!  The rules won’t be too strict, I can mimic the layout, or the paper, just the general theme from each design.  Excited to see how this turns out!!

the process

It should never surprise me how the design process is so full of twists and turns.

Yet it ALWAYS does.

Sometimes I step back from my final creation and think, “wait, how did I get here?”

Once back at home with all my new papers, I have some ideas rolling in my head.

Something like this

and something kinda like this

I had a desire, a picture in my head of something with layered patchwork with the floral papers, something vintagy, and springy, and textured… but clearly, I did not hit it with this one

I mean, it is fine, but it is nothing like the picture in my mind, and doesn’t shout “YES!!”

So I walk away.  Go about my day.  Pick up Saida from my sisters.  Show them to Ben.  Unsettle.

And then I walk past my desk, “what about burlap, and that other paper that I loved! I bet it matches the linen tape…”

And Bam!

There it is…

floral chiyogami linen tape vintage floral blue yellow teal sea grea

but you can’t blame me for being surprised when

chiyogami paper floral spring designs stationery

blogging insights to share

Here are some great posts I have read over the last week that contain some more lovely advice on blogging.  I couldn’t resist sharing.  Hope you find them as helpful as I did.

Martawrites has another installment of her 5 tips, this time, on getting personal.

And over at a beautiful mess, emma and elsie are sharing some project fails and how they stay positive despite them.

I finally have my camera back, so I will be back soon with some original posts!  Until then, enjoy!


Still in Process: Some blog-clusions

As I have mulled over what this blog is to me and what I want it to be to you, I have come to some, and I use the word loosely, conclusions… still feeling very much in process with all of this.  This post is following-up from this one, if you missed it.

1.  It dawned on me that I am focusing too much on my dream blog and not so much on my own blog.  While it is good to have goals, and dreams, and aim for what you want, this can also give me tunnel vision.   Tunnel vision that makes it impossible to really be where I am planted, and in the end, never really experience what  I am doing or give myself the opportunity to grow to where I want to be…or rather, am meant to be.

2. In the quest for an “expanded audience,” new clients and contacts, I had lost sight of those who are reading, those friends who I know from “off-the-blog”, who are faithful readers and also bloggers themselves.  Why have I been so focused on reaching an “out-there-in-the-blogosphere-audience,” rather than authentically communicating with the audience I already have and letting the rest fall into place?  I have noticed that a wonderful way to do this is to read and comment on others blogs.  As I have started doing this more over the last couple weeks, I have already found this to be a huge piece of the blogging puzzle that I was missing.

3. The “am i blogging for myself or blogging for my audience” question hit me with a little more clarity.   If this blog is going to be fun and interesting to others, it will need to be fun and interesting for me. I need to focus on blogging for myself and not trying to reach an audience.

So… what are the “me” reasons to blog??

  • for the creative outlet
  • for a place share my stay-at-home world of mothering and nesting and domesticating which makes it feel more concrete and connected to the world outside of the small spaces I travel in a days time.  (And this helps me stay sane sometimes)
  • for a place to connect with potential clients and fellow biz-ladies
  • for a place to feel like I am sharing what I am learning about the world of small business, home life and balancing the two.
  • for a place to showcase my creations as well as inspirations from the web.
  • for a place to call my own.

3. But… if this is out there for others to read, isn’t it really about communicating with and drawing new clients?  Yes, that is my end goal.  I am not going to lie.  But I am realizing that, for me, it has to be an indirect goal – not the driving force.  If it comes, it comes.  If not, back to the drawing board.  Before I can start marketing and trying to draw clients to my blog, I have to create a space that people want to be in.  And since I don’t usually want to be around people that are focusing on trying to win my attention by being something they are not, I figure other people probably aren’t interested in that either.   Whether it came out that way or not, I have, at times, been more focused on my blog looking like and becoming a ranked and awarded blog with over 1k followers (a place I may, but most likely will never reach).  If I just want to be around people who are real, authentic and maybe a little bit like me, then maybe I should be that way in my blog. (A-DUH!!)  I can do better at accomplishing success in my blog and business and life by standing back and looking at the big picture, rather than trying to focus so hard on where I want to be (or worse, where others are) that I loose sight of that which is already around me. 

So… what do I want for my blog to be to other people?  Or better, what do I hope to provide for my audience

  • a place to feel welcomed, and supported in what they are doing… specifically in the area of momming, domesticating and small biz from homing
  • a place to be inspired… especially by the beauty of paper and it’s many uses, qualities and old timey charm
  • a place to learn… well more likely to catch a glimpse of the highs and lows of attempting to build a small business at a very slow pace with a very small budget and small people pulling at your pant leg.
  • a place to find tips and support and resources for hand crafting a wedding or event on a small budget, no matter what your DIY skill level.  ( A longer term goal)
  • and primarily for my friends and family… a place to hear about the goings-on at Chalet Gustafson

Bottom Line, this will be my creed: My blog is going to be a place where I come to share, encourage, inspire, and connect.  I promise to be authentically me, and resist the urge to be envious of others success.  I will be true to myself and my goals without comparing or developing “how-do-I-get-my-business-and-blog-to-be-like-that” tunnel vision, all the while enjoying the day-to-day moments, success and lessons.  As I grow in the comfort and process with blogging, I do hope that I can use this as a tool to expand my business.

The End….

{for now}