Tuesday, January 29, 2008

How cool is this?

So I am a member of an online community called Etsy. It is an online shopping place for handmade items. I love to hang out in the forums and chatrooms there to glean advice and knowledge from business owners who are in similar situations to my own. It is mostly a very friendly and helpful group of people. So, about a week ago I was reading in the forums, and someone posted about a virtual baby shower. Since I'm pregnant, it caught my attention enough to read more.

the post read:
ficklefaerie says:
Sorry I am a little slow this time around...

It's time to begin the first Etsy Baby Shower of 2008!!!! Due to the overwhelming number of shops and mom's last time around..I will be holding only 2 showers. 1 for the first half of the year and 1 for the second half. If you get missed in one we will iclude you in the next half.

This is the second year for our showers. I begin by collecting names of expectant moms that would like a virtual shower.

I also collect names of shops that would like to participate and send the mom's a gift. I will be splitting the shops that are donating, up with the mom's that are expecting.

This all started with a thread back in Dec. 2006, of a new mom that was sad because she had no family or close friends living near her that could celebrate with her.

Here is the STORQUE info link:


And here is the link to pictures of past shower gifts

Etsy Baby Shower on Flickr


**end of post**

Here's the coolest thing, I wrote, "hey I'm pregnant" and they add me to a whole list of mom's they are collecting gifts for! I also offered to send another mom some of my cards. I am just totally overwhelmed that people are actually offering to give gifts to other mom's based solely on good will. These are not people I really KNOW, we just belong to the same community of people trying to sell handmade goods.

Please visit the shops of the amazing people who are willing to donate their talents for me!


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

First near insult of this pregnancy

I'm not easily offended. Lets start with that. And I don't think I'm truly offended now, however, I did have a comment today that I have never received before with any of my pregnancies.

I work in a doctors office, so our patients recognize me, but don't see me all that often. So, this nice lady came in to the office for some labs this morning and takes a long, OBVIOUS look at my stomach and says, "SO... Is something going on there?" I politely laugh and say yes, I'm expecting. She asks when I am due, to which I answer May. She then asked, "is there just one baby in there?"

I've always been on the small side with my pregnancies. I often have people tell me I can't be due so SOON. Not with #4 apparantly. *sigh* I'm just 5 months along, and feeling huge today. What lame comments have you gotten with your pregnancies?

Monday, January 21, 2008


I read a great blog at random and was totally inspired by that person to organize my home. I used to "do" flylady ( http://www.flylady.com ) however, once I got pregnant, ok well, actually much before then even, I just got too tired to keep up. So, last weekend, it was my website that got a makeover, and this weekend, my house did!!! We had a new sliding glass door put up in our bedroom (the old one was AWFUL, not only was there a draft, we had big bugs coming in, ewww!!). So the first matter of business was cleaning the bedroom. Then then the girls room got a quick fix, and the boys room got its turn next. I *EVEN* went so far as to clean up my workroom! I had stuff from my last craftshow in December still sitting in boxes in the middle of the room. It is so nice to be able to walk into my craft room with out stepping over piles of "stuff". Here's a pic of the after. I didn't take a picture of the before. It was really too bad to record for history. LOL

So, I feel refreshed. Despite the hard work, I *enjoy* being in my home at the moment. And with weather in the far negatives, that is a blessing, because I sure don't enjoy being outside. :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


I've been working all day on giving my website a mini-makeover. The sad part is that I bet no one will notice. There were some small things that just continuously bothered me, but I couldn't figure out how to fix. For example, I really wanted people to be able to click on as many pictures as they wanted without always having to use the back browser or have a million windows open. Today, I found the compromise! I was able to figure out how to have each click for a new picture always go the the same 1 other browser! Its so hard to explain, but it was a fun trick to figure out. I'm always learning with this html stuff. I also switched out some photos that seemed grainy looking to me. So, I feel like my website DID successfully undergo a mini-makeover. If only I could take time out to do that for myself. LOL. Go check it out, it will make me feel better :) Click me to go to Designs in Floral

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Drum Roll please....

Big news this week! I had my ultrasound and not only was my due date correct (May 15) and baby is looking healthy just the right size and all, but HE'S A BOY!!! I would have been thrilled either way, but I'm really excited. :) Our family will be evened out, 2 boys 2 girls. My son is of course, *especially* thrilled. He will share a room with him and is already telling me how he is excited to play with him. I keep reminding him that it will be a little while before he is play-worthy, but it doesn't seem to bother him.

So, that is the big news for today! Now, if you want to really help me out, you can leave comments with ideas for boy names. Thats one area where I could really use some help! Thanks!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

New Years reminiscing

As I contemplated what my New Year's resolutions should be this year, I took a moment to think about how far I have come. It was approximately 6 years ago that I went to a mini class for ladies one evening about pressing flowers. I knew I was hooked that night, but I had NO idea how much I would learn as the addiction took hold. The very first thing I had to learn, was how to press flowers. This was mainly a trial and error process. I would press *anything*. In addition to learning what flowers and leaves would press, I had to learn the best way to press them. I learned that regular paper towels leave impressions of their pattern on them. I learned that newspaper can, but doesn't always leave ink on the flowers. I learned that some flowers press better when the petals are removed and done seperately. I started by pressing flowers in phone books, then had my husband help make some "real" flower presses. I've even experimented with microwave flower pressing.

Through it all, I have found my comfort zone with pressing flowers. I typically know which flowers will press well, and which way will come out the best. I now have flowers stored in piles and piles of phone books. The next step in my journey was figuring out what to do with them.

I still have my very first pressed flower project framed and displayed in my work room. It is a very simple daisy with its stem and 2 leaves glued to a piece of blue cardstock and framed. Before I had learned better, it was displayed on a shelf that received some direct sun everyday, so the leaves are very faded and turning brown. I love to see where I started in comparison to how far I have come. From that small beginning, I have put flowers on innumerable items. I have attempted to affix them to glass, I have put them on boxes, candles, cards, bookmarks, journals, and of course in various arrangements, framed as art.

The next step on my journey was figuring out what to do with all the beautiful things I had made. Probably very similar to other artists, I began by simply giving them as gifts. I am lucky enough to have a VERY talented mother who has designed flower arrangements (in the traditional fresh and silk flower sense) for many years. I was able to piggy back with her to put my items in my very first craft show about 4 years ago. What a rush! People were willing to pay money for my work!

Now, I had to figure out how to get my work in the hands of more buyers. I decided a website would be a good place to start. WOW. I had NO IDEA what I was getting myself into. I read on the internet about HTML and tried to learn that a bit. It didn't take too long for me to wish I had software to help create a website. I called one of my brothers who is a computer engineer and asked if he had any suggestions, preferably free ones. Irony strikes here, he told me to check if my version of microsoft office included frontpage, and it did. At least *I* was amazed, I had the tool sitting in front of me all along, and didn't even know it.

So, I learned some new software and designed a webpage. ALL BY MYSELF!! My husband. to this day, doesn't have a clue how to use microsoft frontpage. I'm so proud of myself. HA! I did some networking and realized that my brother-in-law owns a server, so he is hosting my site. My BIL didn't know how to set up the e-mail for the site, so again, *I* figured it out myself. Go me!

So, at this point, I was feeling really proud of my little business. I did a few more craft shows. . . had a couple friends ask for a couple cards. Often my family would order from me. I had no orders from the website, but I was excited to see that people did at least hit the site occasionally.

Next step: google adwords. It was an experiment. I learned alot, and realized it wasn't for me. At least not yet. I was spending a decent amount, and although it did increase my views, I still didn't get any sales. So, on to more learning experiences. I started REALLY trying to get my site out there. I submitted my site to as many online directories as I could find. I started trying to link to other great sites from my page and ask them to do the same for me. I also heard aboutu ETSY.COM around this time and started to list my items there as well. The etsy community was SO helpful. From them I learned about Indiepublic.com, flickr.com, talentdatabase.com and as you may have guessed, blogger.com. :) Each tool has helped me grow and learn. I had 2 shows this past season and more custom orders than I though I could keep up with. I started selling prints of my work because the demand was there. I learned new software to facilitate that as well (photoshop).

The reason that all of this seems *SO* significant to me right now is that I would NEVER have believed I was capable of doing all of this. I am slowly realizing that I really can do anything I put my mind to. If I can start up my *own* business, nothing can stop me. I didn't even mention all the business things I have learned including accounting/tax type items.

I had someone at my last craft show ask if I really made all these items myself. "YES I DO!" and I am proud of myself today for it. This year, I will grow my business even more. I want to stay home with my children, and my home business is going to make that happen for me. I know this because over the past many years, I've learned that the only thing stopping me is myself. and I'm not stopping me anymore. . .

May you have such a wonderful "a-ha" moment as I did this year! YOU can do it too, whatever "it" is.