Creative Business Dictionary: Friend

As a journalism major in college, I developed a strong affinity for words. They are deep, complex, and have the ability to convey multiple messages. Now, as a creative small business owner, many words have taken on new meanings, and I am constantly catching myself seeing the world from a different angle.

Each week, we look at a word that impacts creative businesses and share a free download to view, print, frame, ponder, or shred. We’d love to hear your stories of how these individual words have impacted your business or your life!

CBD Friend - SquareOctober 15, 2015 – Friend

n. one whom one knows, likes, and trusts; one with whom one is allied in a struggle or cause; a comrade

I could talk about the importance of this word for days. Moving to a new city, in a new state, and more than 400 miles from nearest family means trying to find new friends. Getting older means maintaining relationships despite growing apart. Progressing through life’s stages means letting go of people who bring you down, and finding people on the same page who support you and encourage you! Being human means seeking companionship and camaraderie.

The two keys to this definition for me are the words “trust” and “allied.” I have many people that I know and like; I may even call them comrades. What I have found to be difficult is finding true friends that I trust unconditionally and who really feel like allies in the struggle I like to call Life. Whether it’s going through treatments, planning a wedding, throwing a baby shower, or simple coffee dates to let off steam, friends are gifts from God that make life much more meaningful (and bearable!).

This week I am determined to be a better friend to those who consider me one! I find it’s easy to be consumed by our own situation, but tough to put that aside to connect with someone else on a deeper level. I am so grateful for the friends I have and all they do for me, I want to make sure I’m giving it back and sharing it with others!  Let’s be honest, it takes a lot to put up with a crazy gal like me, and as a small example, there is no way Nothing Past Nine would have gotten past the dream stage without UH LOT of support!

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How to Stay Sane while Making Your Own Christmas Cards

20140320_211112It’s okay. I know you’re all thinking, “Becky, why are you posting about Christmas? It’s time for Halloween candy and fall decor!” Some of you that know me better are also probably thinking, “Becky, I thought you were totally against Christmas before Thanksgiving?!” While both of these statements are true and 100% accurate, I also believe it knocking things off the to-do list and being ahead of the game. That’s why I think now is the perfect time to start working on Christmas cards!

If you’re going to make your own holiday cards this year, here are a few of my tried and true tips for not losing your mind and actually getting the cards out on time!

1. Start early! Part of the reason for this post, hint hint, wink wink! You will be very disappointed and frustrated if you wait to start the project and aren’t able to complete it on time or as you would have liked to. (That embossed snow won’t finish itself, you know!)
2. Keep it simple! I love a good, elaborate, layered card as much as the next crafter. I also love my hair, my savings account, and my husband. For these reasons among others, I’ve learned to keep the card designs simple. My general plan is that I can purchase one new “toy” (be it stamp, punch, cutter, etc.) for each year’s card, and that usually becomes the one trickier piece to each of my cards.
3. Streamline! Continued from keeping things simple, make sure that your cards can be “mass produced,” especially if you have a long list of people to send them to! (More on that below!) Being able to break the design into steps that you can turn into an assembly line makes your project go much, much faster. Do all of your stamping at once. Cut all of the ribbon at once. Glue all the googly snowman eyes on at once. Whatever your design is, look for ways to make the process easier and create all the cards one step at a time.
4. Edit! This may sound harsh, but not everyone loves getting Christmas cards. Especially handmade beauties that could qualify for gifts on their own! Review your list of recipients and ask yourself the tough question – does this person NEED or WANT a card? And be honest with yourself! I cleaned my list last year and only sent about half the cards I normally do. People were on there that we had lost touch with, that weren’t involved in our lives anymore, and folks that just honestly weren’t the type to receive my card!
5. Set a deadline! Were you the type to stay up late writing papers the day before they were due? Did you tell people, “I work better under pressure!”? I may have done that a few times myself, but regardless, I am a firm believer that putting dates on things make them more pressing and more tangible. I send out my cards the second week in December. I know that I have to finish them before that so I can address, stamp and get them out. Gives me a little nudge when I realize the calendar has flipped to December!

Quick example. The photo is of our holiday card from 2012. I precut all the colors on the front. I precut the twine. I precut the rectangle that 2012 is on. I stamped all of the 2012’s at one time. I stamped and embossed all of the woodgrain one afternoon. I put all the brads in place before gluing down the brown strips. I put all the little 2012 signs on at once. I tied all of the twine bows last. (The inside of the card is blank for our personal notes.)

This was easily my favorite holiday card, in large part due to the streamlined, assembly line fashion in which it came together. So cute, and so little stress! Do you still make your holiday cards? What are your tips for beautiful cards that don’t take all year to make?

What a Whirlwind!

Ay yi yi, friends!  It’s “late” November already!!!  I knew it had been awhile since I was able to post, but had no idea it had been weeks!  I’ve been working on a personal “happiness” challenge with my best friend – and actually been keeping up with it! – but this blog challenge has suffered.  This will not be another post about me vowing to make this a priority.  I’m learning and will just say that I will do better.

2014-11-07 18.45.07The last few weeks have been a whirlwind for me personally and for the shop.  That craft fair that I stressed and stressed, and stressed and stressed about…went very well.  I’m not a millionaire now by any stretch of the imagination, but I am so proud of myself for getting out there to sell in person and heard so many sweet complements that filled my confidence tank to overflowing.  I reaffirmed that craft fairs are not my style, but supporting the ladies of my church will bring me back to that event year and after year.  Plus, now I have some idea about what I’m doing!

WIth the holiday season HERE already, not even approaching, I know I’m right there with all the other Etsy folks working in high gear to reach all those festive shoppers.  Putting together promotions for the season and keeping track of all the projects, shopping, activities, etc. is a challenge, but I keep telling myself that I did it last year and can handle it this year as well.  I’m no super woman, but I’ll keep trying!!!

Where are you at in your holiday planning?  Are you hosting?  Cooking?  Traveling?  What are your tips for getting through the end of the year without stressing yourself out too much?  Any good free resources to share with us?

Perception is Reality…Or is it?

perception_thought_realityI love the concept of changing our perception by changing our thoughts and how that can affect our reality.  The problem is that I am not good at remembering to use this idea this when I’m stressed, struggling and/or just plain down on myself.

In my last post, I talked about how pricing in the shop will give people a perception about my work.  That should also include how I value my work.  I’m a perfectionist and am way too hard on myself.  People will tell me a project I have done is great or nice or whatever and all I see is the places it didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to.

I’ve always seen myself as being humble, but recently I’ve begun accepting the fact that I have zero self confidence or self worth.  That’s not healthy.  So I need to make changes to my perception in order to enjoy MY personal reality.  Which in turn makes the people around me happier.  WIN!

For starters, I have challenged myself (and my BFF) to record daily happiness.  Not publicly, but still with a focus on the honest good in life.  Having the accountability partner will help me stay on track, and we can talk through the bad days when you don’t want to see the good in front of you.  I’m also telling you, lovely readers, that I accept your kind words about the shop and my work and will acknowledge that if you’re even reading this post, I have some worth.  Maybe it’ll even make your day to know you make mine!

Entrepreneurs have to be self motivators and while I’ve been motivated to create a professional and successful shop, I haven’t been motivated to FEEL the success.  A year into this venture is a late start, but it’s better than never!

Do you have self image or self worth issues?  I think we all do to some extent, but if you’re like me and they’re affecting your work – join us!  Let’s log our daily happiness together!