We are officially half way (plus a week) through 2015! How did that happen?!I found my 1st Quarter Goal Review post to be helpful as I was reflecting on my 2015 goals several months ago, so I wanted to share my progress through the 2nd quarter of this year as well.
My overarching goals for 2015 are listed first and if you click them, you can read my original posts that outlined the mini goals I would be pursuing over the course of the year. The “successes” and “areas of improvement” listed below focus specifically on my progress in April, May and June.
Areas of improvement: I am at a point with my business that I get enough orders to stay busy (which is awesome!), but it also means that it is tricky to carve out time to develop new products. Starting a digital product line has been at the top of my “to do” list all year. I have several items started, but I need to focus on finishing and launching them. I also need to start consistently sending out and promoting my “weekly” newsletter. Sadly, these last two items are identical to what I wrote in my 1st quarter review. My first digital product is slated to launch this week (!!!) and then I am going to focus on finishing and launching several other digital products that are almost complete by the end of July. Hold me to this, o.k.?! 😉
2nd Quarter Successes:Weighing in here weekly. Although now that I am looking back, I realize, with the exception of June, I only weighed in monthly this quarter (eek!). Let’s call this a half success.
Areas of improvement:Making sure I weigh-in here weekly, the accountability and reflection does help me (even if I am not always posting losses). I also need to stick with my low carb eating. The summer heat makes it difficult to get outside for exercise, so I need to come up with a new indoor plan to get more activity into my days. My current “mini-goal” is to lose 20 pounds by mid-August (I set this goal in June and am currently on track to do this.).
Hello! So sorry for the radio silence over here! We visited Wyoming last week (see photo above!) and although I had great intentions of posting while I was gone, I completely unplugged instead! I will be sharing more about our trip soon, but in the meantime, I have another edition of Friday Favorites!
Some of you may know that my Dad is a woodworker and I actually worked for him a bit during high school and college. Needless to say, I have a great deal of respect for woodworkers and the amazing things they can create. One of my (now former) co-workers recently launched her own woodworking and design business! I am SUPER excited to share her website with you – don j design! The icing on the cake? Her shop kitty Don Julio is running the company Twitter account!
I LOVE dogs! This 60 MInutes pieceon “Chaser,” who has been nicknamed the “world’s smartest dog,” is fascinating! It also makes me feel like a bit of a slacker pet parent. 😉
Another thing I love? Sleeping. In the past couple of years, I have become somewhat obsessed with having the perfect sleep environment. I regularly use a sleep mask similar to the one found here. My boyfriend actually got it for me at Target and while I initially thought it was a strange gift, I now swear by it (and even it take it with me when traveling). I like the contoured version because it blocks the light, but doesn’t rest on my eyes.
Now it’s your turn, what have you been loving lately?!
You might remember that last November I traveled to San Francisco to participate in the studio audience for a Creative Live class (new readers can read my recaps here, here and here!).In addition to learning a ton, I also gained a generous friend and business accountability partner that I want to introduce you to today –Jennifer Kennedy from Teach Good Stuff! Jen recently started working her business full-time (!!!) so I was super excited to interview her for my latest Creative Spotlight.
1. What do you do?!
As of two weeks ago, I am working full-time on my own business (Teach Good Stuff). Woohoo! I help coaches and authors package their expertise into online courses and ebooks so that they can make an impact in the world all while making money.
2. How did you get into this line of work?
I’ve been in education for over 13 years. I can’t believe time is flying so fast. I started out as an elementary school teacher, teaching 1st and 4th grades. I was fortunate enough to teach in 3 different types of schools – public, international, and charter. So, I have a diverse perspective about education.
I then decided to get out of teaching and pursue a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction. I wanted to become a curriculum coordinator for a school district and design their learning programs. Well, my journey didn’t go quite as planned, and I landed a job as a trainer in a software company. I learned loads of skills there – training, video design, writing instructional manuals, etc. After working there for a few years, I realized that I had a lot to offer people. I saw that online entrepreneurs were building courses and workbooks. I just knew I could offer support along their journey! And from there, the dream was born.
As I have mentioned before (only 1 million times or so!), one of my favorite parts of Sunflower Paperie is making custom products! 🙂 Often with bigger custom orders I will send the customer a photo with several paper options to pick from and we will discuss flag shape, banner wording, etc. While this is super fun, it also requires extra time, because each item is made to order.
I also receive a good deal of order requests with timelines that don’t accommodate custom work.I hate telling people that I can’t meet their timeline, so I am super excited to announce a new product offering in the shop – “Party in a Box“!
The idea behind my “Party in a Box” option is that you can purchase one listing, get several coordinating items and save a bit of money!These items are also already cut and packaged, so they will ship very quickly.
Right nowthese setsare dominated by bow tie and neck tie themed parties, because they continue to be some of my most popular items. This is definitely a shop section that I plan to add to this summer, so let me know if you have any ideas for party in a box themes you think would be cute!
Several weeks ago, Bonnie Christine (one of my favorite creatives) posted on Instagramthat she was looking for bloggers to help spread the word about her new line of ribbons (which can be purchased here or here).For those of you who are unfamiliar with Bonnie, she is a surface pattern designer in addition to authoring the wonderfully inspiring Going Home to Roost website.
I e-mailed Bonnie right away indicating that I was interested, and I was super excited when she selected me as one of 18 bloggers to participate in a blog hop focused on projects that highlighted her new ribbons. Bonnie provided each of us with the ribbon and fabric of our choice to use in a project of our selecting.
After a lot of debating and brainstorming, I chose to make several wall decor items that I could hang together. I found these old embroidery hoops at a thrift store in Kansas years ago and really wanted to use them, so they became a bit of an inspiration for the project. I tried to be creative in the ways I used her fabric and ribbons.
In February I co-hosted a bridal shower for a very good friend and co-worker (hi Liz!). Yesterday was her wedding day (!!!), so I thought it would be fun to share 3 of the easy projects I created as part of her shower decor. Her wedding colors were blush pink with gold accents and since I love those colors together so much, we stuck with the same theme for the shower.
As I have mentioned before, I am the lucky owner of a Silhouette Cameo paper cutting machine, so I used it for all of these crafts, but they are also easy enough that you could create them without a machine.
1. Monogrammed vase embellishments
I purchased a bunch of the floral paper at Michael’s that the circles are cut from. I loved the paper because it was a mix of pinks and had a really pretty teal green leaf color that popped, so it was the inspiration for all of the crafts.
I started by cutting a bunch of 3.5 inch circles. The “S” is the first inital of Liz’s new last name and was cut from gold metallic paper. I used rubber cement to glue the “S” to the floral circle and then a couple of strips of double sided table to adhere the monogram to the vase (vases are cheapies from Ikea). I actually placed the monograms on the vases the morning after we did all of the flower arranging and they stayed on great.
Had I not had a Silhouette Cameo, I would have made all of the shapes I wanted in a Word document, printed them, traced them on my desired papers and then cut them out. We had a total of 6 vases and I placed a monogram on each “face” of the vases, for a total of 12 monograms. For future parties I plan to use this same idea on party favor bags!
Last November I visited San Francisco to be part of a studio audience for a CreativeLive course(you can read all about my experience here, here and here). In addition to learning a TON about developing digital products and growing my online business, I met some awesome creative entrepreneurs. Sage Grayson, of Sage Grayson Coaching, was one of the entrepreneurs I met last November.
Sage and I at the CreativeLive Studio
Sage is a Life Editor / Coach who offers a variety of services for her clients, that you can learn about HERE. Several of her services include AMAZING quarterly care packages, so I was super excited when Sage contacted me about including a Sunflower Paperie product in her first care package of 2015. “Grateful” is a term that resonates with her clients, so that was the inspiration for this banner! You have to click on over to Sage’s site to see the banner “in action”! 🙂
I have a confession to make…Sometimes I am so busy with current orders, that I neglect to think ahead and create products for upcoming holidays. Clearly this isn’t the best for my business! So when a couple of my best customers inquired recently about purchasing an Easter banner, I decided to take some time and develop a new mini banner.
I have also been curious about selling items via Instagram, so I decided to sell this sweet little banner through my Instagram account. If you are interested in purchasing one of these banners, just leave your PayPal user name in the comments (either on this post or over on Instagram) and I will e-mail you an invoice. Price is $10 per banner (includes shipping) and I will ship your banner within 24 hrs of receiving payment.
The flags alternate between pink, yellow, blue and green floral patterned paper. The banner is strung on coordinating bakers twine and features alternating bunny and egg silhouettes. There are 8 total flags included on this sweet mini banner.
Approximate Mini Banner Measurements:
Total Length: 18 inches with an additional 24 inches of ribbon for hanging
Flags: 2.25″ W x 3.5″ L
Bunnies / Eggs: Approximately 1.75″ W x 1 1/2″ L
As I mentioned yesterday, I am excited to share a series of posts about some of my favorite orders and customers to celebrate reaching 600 sales in theSunflower Paperie shop. Today I am eager to write a little bit about the history of Sunflower Paperie!
I am often asked what prompted me to open the Sunflower Paperie Etsy shop. A common assumption is that I liked to scrapbook and craft, so it was a natural fit. The truth is that I had never scrapbooked (still don’t) and I definitely wasn’t overly crafty when I opened my shop. I had wanted to open an Etsy shop for quite some time, but hadn’t settled on what I wanted my product to be. Then in January of 2013, I co-hosted a baby shower for one of my childhood best friends and realized that making party decorations was pretty fun.
The first banner I ever created!
For my friends baby shower, I made a trip to Michael’s and purchased a book of travel themed cardstock, pre-cut circle die cuts, a set of black chipboard letters, jute twine and some fancy scrapbooking glue (which I quickly ditched in favor of rubber cement!). The banners above were the first two I ever created, by hand cutting the flag shapes and then gluing everything together.
Not only had I enjoyed making the decorations for the shower, but my friends mom was very encouraging about my work and suggested that I try to sell similar items. I had a little extra Christmas money, so I started researching cutting machines and somewhat impulsively purchased a Silhouette Cameo machine.