One Step Closer…

I’ve been in such great spirits lately since summer break is here.  Even though as adults, we no longer get the break from school that the kids get, there’s just a different vibe in the air when this time of year comes around.  Maybe it’s the relaxed, carefree mood everyone is in because it’s vacation time.  Maybe it’s the amazing weather.  Whatever the reason, it’s got me feeling pretty excited to be productive!

I had the day off yesterday, so I figured I’d sit down and try to get some of the important components done that will help me get ready for selling.  One of the biggest things I’d been lagging on is getting spreadsheets organized.  Creating an organization system to monitor and track all of the important information is absolutely crucial!  I had previously done research on the types of information that should be tracked, as well as tried to find examples of formats that I liked.  Even with all of the researching, it still felt overwhelming to map it all out.  I always felt like I would forget something and mess up all my charts.  That’s a big reason why I kept putting it off.

I soon realized, I didn’t want to hassle with it.  However, I felt as though I couldn’t move forward to the next step without tackling it ASAP.  Anyone who knows me, knows I can’t stand to tackle any job without getting organized and having a plan of action.  I’ll never be one of those people who can just “wing it” for very long.  I found a great Etsy seller through Pinterest, who sells some great Excel spreadsheets to help get everything in the right places!  I was so excited that it had everything I could think of and more!  What’s even better, is the design of the charts are so easy to understand and are exactly how I want.  If you’re not familiar with spreadsheets, or you’re not quite sure what info goes where, there is an instruction guide that comes along with your purchase.

You can check out the Paper + Spark Etsy shop here.

After getting all of the spreadsheets for tracking sales and raw materials and such, I also wanted to tackle a product development worksheet for new designs.  It took awhile to get the layout how I wanted, but I think I was able to get all of the necessary info on there that I will need.

Although it’s a slow process,  I get so excited with each step I complete.  It makes me feel as though I’m getting on the right track to get things done, and get closer to where I want to be!

Stay tuned!



Project Review: Accordion Coupon/Receipt Organizer

One of the goals I’ve set for myself is to work on projects consistently throughout the year.  I want to make sure that I’m working on SOMETHING weekly, even if my schedule only allows a few hours a week.  Not only is this great for working on technique and fundamentals, but it’s giving me the chance to learn new techniques and processes.  I had some extra time this week so I was actually able to start and complete a project, which is super nice because I’m the type that hates dragging a project out.  I’ve always loved working into the late hours of the night just to see the final product (my lovely eye bags are the unfortunate side effect that I’ve come to accept).

The most current craft I’ve been working on was a sewing project.  I found a pattern on Etsy for a small file folder/wallet that works great for organizing coupons, receipts, recipe cards, etc.  Link to the Etsy shop page can be found here if you’re interested in checking out all of the patterns offered.  It was a great choice because it features a few techniques I’ve always wanted to try but have always avoided, serves a functional purpose for my organization obsession, and is small enough not to spend a fortune on supplies (since it is a trial piece).  I was a little bothered at the instructions as they were not very descriptive, and there seemed to be a few errors which in a way messed up the first attempt.  I took my own notes along the way so that I can make proper adjustments when I make another one.  Although it didn’t come out as I hoped, it’s still functional so I’ll probably use it for awhile.  I also wouldn’t consider it a total waste because above all else, it was practice.  Not everything will work out on the first try, and the only way to improve is through failed attempts like these.

(Click pictures to enlarge/view captions.)


Time to get serious…

Finally getting around to the first (of hopefully many) 2017 post.  Not really going for the whole “New Year, new me” bit, but I have so much in my head that I want to try to tackle.  I don’t even know if it’s all realistically possible, but I can’t honestly feel good going into this year without setting some new goals and knowing I gave it my best shot.  Although choosing to make a major job change last year was crazy and a bit scary, I still feel at peace with my decision and know it was one of the best things I could’ve done for myself.  I don’t think I’ve been this poor since my first job scooping ice cream and singing for tips at Coldstone in high school, and yet, I ended 2016 surrounded by the people and things I love and wouldn’t change it one bit.  I feel mentally and physically healthier and happier, and I’ve given myself the opportunity to get back to doing the things that are exciting and important to me.  As far as crafting, the few projects I completed this past holiday season were more than I was ever able to do in the previous two years.  Even though it was just a tiny step, it felt amazing and so right!  There’s so much work to do and it’s not going to be easy, but I can’t wait to look back on this year and see the triumphs, struggles, and changes that I’m able to push myself through.  Hopefully, some of you will follow along for the ride!



Finding a bit of Reassurance…

One of the things I’ve realized – and definitely a huge factor in my decision to pursue working at home – is that I don’t want to miss out on my family.  Some things just aren’t worth sacrificing, and my young nieces’ childhood is something I would be heartbroken over if I had to keep pushing aside.  They’ve both been through far too much, and have seen entirely more than they should have in their short lives.  We’ve been fortunate to live together all of their lives, so unlike many aunts and uncles, I’ve been able to be there for almost all of their milestones thus far.  I’ve been able to have such a close bond with them because like many families today, we have never had the typical nuclear family household.  We have our own little unique family unit and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

With all of the craziness as of late, the girls were definitely in need of a pick-me up, and a reminder that the world is not all bad.  I wanted to remind them that love is great and the world is not just full of disappointments.  To remind them that there is plenty in the world to be happy about, and how important it is not to let anyone steal their joy.  Something that will help them learn responsibility, and give them something to look forward to when they come home. A friend they can play with and talk to when they feel alone…

…enter Karla, our little 5 yr. old Terrier Mix and newest addition to the family.

Although I had been entertaining the idea of a new dog, I hadn’t seriously considered looking at this time because my schedule just wouldn’t allow it, and if I didn’t even have time to spend with the girls, I certainly wouldn’t have time to care for a new pet.  My decision to move on from my current job fell at the perfect time, as it opened up this opportunity right as the nationwide Clear the Shelters event was going on.  I don’t even know how exactly I stumbled onto the article, but I’m so glad I did!  If you haven’t heard of it, it’s an attempt to move out as many pets from the crowded shelters and find them permanent homes by reducing the adoption costs to only $20!!  I really had never considered adoption because I always had a clear idea of the exact breed I wanted and I figured I’d have to save forever in order to buy one.

We decided there wouldn’t be any harm in checking it out and we were definitely prepared for some hidden extra fee, or not finding a dog we meshed with, etc.  I can’t begin to tell you it was an amazing experience!  It was completely as advertised: $20 flat fee, vaccines and meds included, and same day take home!  I have to admit, Karla was not our first choice – initially. We went in with the idea that we wanted a puppy, nothing over 3 years.  As we were looking around, there was something about Karla that just instantly grabbed our attention.  She wasn’t playful, or outgoing, and you could see the shy nature immediately, but it’s as if she picked us.  Her calm, timid disposition just jelled right in line with our personality types and we just knew she was the one.

When we brought her home, everyone fell in love.  She is exactly what everyone needed and the girls have not left her side!  I understand why dogs are used in therapy and rehab situations because they provide such a joy to those in need.  The girls haven’t been this excited in awhile and it’s given them a renewed sense of stability and a feeling that our little mixed up family unit is complete.  Even though it’s just a tiny step, it’s given me such a reassurance as well. To know that my decision to make a change has already given me some of my life and happiness back is a great motivator to keep me pushing forward and not give up!