Sunday, March 2, 2014

Be an Encourager


I never truly realized the value of this one word until I became an adult.  As kids we get green ribbons just for participating in the science fair, trophies just for playing t-ball, and a t-shirt just for entering the tournament. We get accustomed to praise and encouragement.

It seems that now, as adults, we need that encouragement more than ever. We don't get awards just for showing up to work, and sometimes, even when we work our very hardest, we feel like no one even notices. After 20 years full of green ribbons and cheerleaders, life happens, and this all sort of stops. Because of this many adults struggle just to keep on keepin' on. 

When I started this post, I came really close to talking specifically about creative adults. And while I do believe it is totally applicable to them, I realized that (duh) it doesn't matter what a person is doing, we all want to know we are doing it well. So why is it so hard to tell someone they are doing a good job? 

I, for one, have been so guilty in the past of just assuming that if someone was doing something I thought was great, someone else probably thought it was great too and was most likely telling them. So, I figured they didn't need to hear my compliments because they had them pouring in daily. 

The truth is, it doesn't matter if you get 2 or 200 encouraging words.

So today if you see someone doing something great, don't hesitate to tell them just how great it is. If you know someone who is just great all around, go ahead and let them know how super you think they are. We don't always think of the effect that a bit of encouragement can have on a person, but think about how it makes you feel? I know without the help and encouragement of some particular girlfriends, I would not have had the confidence to open my Etsy shop. I would not even have had the confidence to keep creating and doing what I love to do if not for their support. It was more valuable than they probably realize, and I am so thankful to have them around.

We all need a little pat on the back every now and then, so next time you see someone deserving of one...don't be stingy. Whether it be a note, a hug, an email or comment, don't hold back. It might just be a time of day when they need it most. You never know.

My new goal? Be an encourager. I don't mean to go tossing around crazy half-hearted compliments to anyone and everyone for every little thing, but a bit of genuine encouragement goes a long way. So if you know someone who is working extra hard, is in slump, or doing something super amazing, pick up your pom poms and make them feel good about themselves. It might just make you feel good too.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Go ahead and own it

Sometimes I hate the internet. 

Okay, so maybe I don’t because I would need to look something up in the first 1.5 seconds I was without it, but sometimes it becomes overwhelming. I don’t mean to be a Debbie downer, but sometimes I feel like it puts so much pressure on people. There are so many beautiful websites, photos, and creative people out there that it is easy to feel like your clothes/house/hair/artwork/job [or anything else imaginable] is inadequate. 

I am here to tell you to stop. 

Even if you aren’t a master do-it-yourselfer, marathon running, vegan chef, gluten free baker with an online craft business who homeschools her kids between her mission trips to Africa…

Stop feeling inadequate. 

Am I the only one that feels like this is what I am looking at sometimes?

Can I get an Amen?

I don’t mean to diminish those successful women who seem to have it all together. More power to them! We [I say "we" because I feel confident in saying that I am not totally alone on this one] just have to get it together and realize that someone else is not the standard for our success. Clearly I deal with this pretty frequently since I have touched on a similar subject before.

I will go ahead and tell myself to stop now too.

But seriously. Whatever you are doing, go ahead and own it. I have made the decision to work my butt off and make things happen instead of just waiting for them to happen. Go ahead. You can do it too. I've got your back.


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Three adorable, easy ways to display your prints!

I have had several positive comments on the staging of my pieces for my shop, and I am so flattered! Today I thought it would be nice to share a few of the ways that I display my prints around my home. The great thing is that each display is so super easy, inexpensive, and there is no major commitment involved (my favorite part)! You see, one of my favorite things about prints is their versatility. They are an inexpensive way to switch art around for seasons, holidays, or just changing moods. 

The three different displays I often use are frames, clip boards, and washi tape. Easy as that! Each of these displays today will be using the newest print in my shop, and I am very excited about it! The artwork from this piece comes from a custom piece I did for sweet baby Harper. I just knew I had to use the artwork on a piece in my shop. The antlers and peonies were inspired by my bedroom antler project, and the artwork is some of my favorite to date! 

1. Framing

Framing sounds so plain and boring, but it doesn't have to be. While I love the clean, non-distracting lines of a plain white (and don't forget inexpensive!) frame, you can add some cheap washi tape to spruce it up and surround it with your favorite nick-knacks! The tape I used here is actually a masking tape I got from WalMart. It is so versatile, and the color is perfect. I love it using it on the corners of frames, as seen in some of the images in my shop.

Another tip for any vignette: Remember variety. Color variety is up to you and your taste, but try to mix it up with different heights, widths, and depths of objects. That variance keeps it interesting and keeps your eyes moving.

2. Clipboard display 

Clipboards are also a super cheap way to display any piece. I have several of these laying around, and they are great way to display prints when you want to switch them out. You can even stack them up so all you have to do is rotate the prints to your current fave!

3. Washi tape

Another super easy and cheap way is to just stick them the print directly to the wall using washi tape! Since washi tape is usually just sticky enough, you can stick it directly onto the wall with no harm done to your paint job. A couple of times I have had the washi tape to actually come unstuck. A solution to that is rolling masking tape (that is also safe for your walls) and attaching it on the back of the print. Then you can use the washi tape for the cute factor. In this case I used the washi tape to make a small collage of some of my favorite paper items. 

Another way I used the washi tape is to attach my current favorite print to this wooden "canvas" my daddy made me. While everyone may not have a piece like this it could be a chalkboard, old window pane, or even a piece of foam core! The possibilities really are endless. 

I hope this might help get your creative juices flowing. I know I am getting in the mood for Spring, and that means I will be doing lots rearranging and switching things up. I would love see some of you displays and vignettes! 


Friday, February 21, 2014

In Full Swing

So the shop is up and running...and then I abandon the blog for almost two weeks! I promise I did not mean to! It is just that last week was Valentine's Day stuff, and I work in a bakery. Enough said I think. If not enough, I will tell you that I made over 100 dozen hand-rolled, hand-cut, and iced sugar cookies, mmmkay? Then over the weekend I made a super fast trip to AR for my mom's birthday, and then it was back to work as soon as I got back. I feel like the week just started, and it is the weekend already! 

Any second that I have had at home I have been busy working on prints, trying to improve listings in the shop, and just doing tons of brainstorming. The first day I opened, it all just happened really quickly. I had been doing tons of debating and procrastinating about making the shop live, but since I had sold several of my "melon" prints via Facebook, I figured it would be much easier to keep track of things if I could just direct people to my Etsy shop. So I just posted that one print as a "just in case" sort of thing. I really didn't even think anyone would see the listing, much less order it. And on top of that I hadn't received my packing and shipping supplies yet! Well, low-and-behold I was eating lunch, and I had a "Congratulations" email from Etsy. I had already made a sale within a couple of hours of listing my only item! I was so surprised and excited. I might have done a crazy-jumping-fist-pump-thing in my dining room. Maybe. 

As soon as I made the sale, I jumped right into printing, photographing, and listing more items, and made a sale on the second day as well! On the third day, I got an email on my phone while we were in the movie theater. I was trying to not get too excited thinking it was a sale, but sure was! This was great for morale at the beginning, but then I had pretty much listed everything I had ready at the time, views started dropping, and the sales stopped. I got a bit bummed, but instead of getting frustrated and giving up, I got with it. 

I am still in the process of trying to promote my site, and if you know me you know that is really difficult for me. I am working on it though. I am trying to engage viewers/readers. I want to hear what you all are thinking! I want comments to know what I am doing right and what I am doing wrong. I started a Facebook page to try to help with this, and I had over 100 likes in the first 24 hours. That was pretty exciting, but now I have to translate those "likes" into sales!

I will admit that I have waves of frustration, followed by excitement, followed again by frustration, but I am still hopeful. I am just going to keep on keepin' on. Wish me luck! 


Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Color Happy is open for business!!!

After a whole lot of dragging my feet and the much appreciated encouragement from some great gals, my Etsy shop is finally up and running! 

I don't have a ton of items available since I am still working on getting photos taken when I have time and daylight. I also need to get some shots together for my "About" page, but I didn't want to put it off any longer. I had the packaging and shipping supplies on their way, and I had already sold several of the "ain't no melon like a Cave City melon" print. That gave me just the shove I needed to get going!

I am so thankful for sweet friends who have been listening to me debate about doing this, viewed many different versions of many different prints, and have encouraged me the entire way. Thank you, girls.

I am thankful for a sweet, supportive husband who doesn't question me what I get a crazy idea like this and listens to me ramble on about which mailers to order when I know he really doesn't care. Thank you, mister.

I am thankful to the person who purchased a print just a few hours after I posted my first listing. I was totally unprepared, but that just made it even more exciting. Thank you.

I am very nervous, and to be honest, I am so afraid of this failing. I am hopeful, anxious, scared, and excited. I am not expecting to make a million or even $1000 dollars, but it is quite a rush to know that someone wants to purchase something that you have created from start to finish to display in their home. I hope I at least get to experience that rush every now and then.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Etsy, here I come...again.

Enough making excuses. Enough being a chicken.

Being snowed in this week has been the perfect opportunity for me to get some things done that I had been putting off for whatever reason. I have created 6 more prints, eliminated a few that I thought I liked, and I am brainstorming about the look of my banner, images, and "about" page. 

I wanted to get my banner completed, and of course I have to have a hand lettered heading since that is the basis of the entire shop! 

One thing I need to figure out is a tagline of sorts to go beneath "the color happy" on my banner since the title alone doesn't exactly explain what I am selling. I want something brief, fun, and clever, but I think I may be thinking about it too hard. Any thoughts or suggestions?

I don't have an opening date since there is still lots to do. Other than the banner and "about" information, there is a lot of photographing to do for the finished products. I plan to display a watermarked digital image, a framed example, perhaps a packaged example, and a close up of each print. In the meantime, here is a sneak peak of one of the prints I created today! [Don't spill the beans about the rest, Brittney and Jessica!]


Monday, February 3, 2014


My man crush Monday cannot be summed up in one simple photograph. This great guy deserves some words, y'all. 

As I sit here on my cozy couch, he is at work. While I ate a hot dinner, he ate a cold sandwich on the way from school to work. While I was able to stay inside and warm all day, he was out the door early this morning, scraping ice off his car, and on his way to school. Oh yeah, and while he is out on his busy day...he texts me to ask how house cleaning is going and an "I love you" just when I need it. 

He is one hardworking guy, and I am so thankful for that. I am also super proud of him. While we haven't made a big production of it, we learned last week that his hard work was totally worth it when he got a job offer from a fantastic company in KC. He will start in May after graduation, and we are super excited. He will have a more regular schedule and be home with me in the evenings and weekends. I am pretty pumped about that part! 

I will not go on and on because I could never say enough about how proud I am him. I am amazed at his diligence, focus and dedication to school [full-time] and working full-time. I am so excited to celebrate his graduation this Spring! The party planning has already begun...


Saturday, February 1, 2014

To Etsy or not to Etsy?

That is the question. That is the question I have been struggling with for some time. I tried it once, but it was on a whim with products that I look back at and...let's just say I am now not so surprised they didn't sell. I just got too excited and didn't put enough thought and time into perfecting each piece. I was whipping them out really quickly and posting to sell. Then, I was too embarrassed to actually try promoting myself, and I got super disappointed when people weren't flocking to buy them. Totally nonsensical, I know...

But since this past Fall I have been thinking of trying it again since I have really come to enjoy making prints for my home, as well as for friends and family. I really got the itch when I created this piece for my elementary school buddy, Lindsey and her soon-to-be-here baby girl.

I taught myself some new techniques to make clearer digital images from my hand drawings, and I was hooked. I started created a handful of images and sharing with some of my closest friends. I didn't want to just jump into it again, so I have been getting feedback, making adjustments, and really putting thought into each image before it is complete. Now I just have to work up the courage and start putting myself out there. 

If you know me well, you know that I am super bad at that. I am horrible at promoting anything that I do. Sure I will share images and posts about the things I am working on for myself, but when it comes to promoting anything for sales...I stink. I am a horrible salesperson when it comes to my own products. 

I am trying to overcome that. I am trying to be rational and realize that I must overcome that because people are not going to flock to a brand new shop and buy prints by the hundreds when they don't know they exist. I have to be realistic...and maybe a little less sensitive. 

I would love to hear any feedback. I usually don't get a lot of comments here, but I am actually asking for them this time. Let me know what you think of the idea. I will be sharing a few more designs here to try to get over my crazy fear of self promotion, and I would be so grateful for some honest feedback. Thanks, friends! 


Friday, January 31, 2014

We are over

Winter, I am so over you. 

Just plain cold? I can handle that. 

This snow, then sleet, then below zero temperatures followed by window-rattling gusts for what feels like a month straight?0 I am just plain over it. 

I am over freezing in the shower. And chill bumps...oh, the chill bumps. I just want to shave my legs, y'all. 

I am over this dry skin situation. So. Over. It. 

So, Winter...we are over. I am done with you. If you need me I will be under my heated blanket dreaming of green grass, the smell of dirt, and times like these:


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Home love: A new series

So I posted last week about some special things around my house, and I have shared a few things on Instagram since then. I decided it was a worthy enough cause to start my first ever blog series. I make no commitment to how often I will post, but I do want to continue to document the things I love about my home. These things may not always be cute and tidy. Some days they will be a mess like the pillows and blankets on my couch that are pretty much never neatly arranged [gasp!] like one would believe from my Instagram shots. I love this because this means our couch is being used to snuggle and watch movies and [more often than not] eat dinner. It is where we live, and I want to remember the memories made here. 

Today as I was folding laundry and making the bed, I was thinking about all the memories and meaning in this one little corner of our bedroom.

The biggest piece, the dresser, is both sentimental and a labor of love. This is not only the dresser that my sister and I used in our shared bedroom as long as I was at home, but it is from my father's childhood as well. When I was a kid it [and the matching chest of drawers] was a light green until we made the mistake of doing a horrible creamy white paint job. When I got married, Daddy and I spent hours in his shop sanding, scraping, and cleaning these two pieces so they could be stained. I am still thrilled with how they turned out. 
On top of the dresser sits the larger owl that my sis got me for my birthday a few years ago, and the small owl is from my mister on our first Christmas after we were married.

This gold, floral tin belonged to my great-grandmother, and it is one of my favorites pieces that belong to her.

This oh-so-practical-not-so-fancy shelf is another thing I made with Daddy years ago [if by "made" you count watching, holding things, and rubbing on some stain]. I have used this more than I ever imagined I would, and I will always cherish it because of the memory behind making it. It holds all some of my hair goodies, necklaces, sunglasses, watches, PLUS the beaded doll that was my great Grandma Pearl's, the little blue bird she gave me when I was a little girl, and the airplane pin from my mister when we were just dating [and he was still flying!].

It is sometimes easy to overlook these things that surround me day-in-day-out, but I have so enjoyed bringing these things to the forefront for a bit.

Do you have any treasured, sentimental items or areas of your home? I would love to see them!


Monday, January 20, 2014

Home Sweet Home

Disclaimer: this is going to sound totally cliche, but I mean it 100% totally and completely. 

I have really been doing a lot of thinking lately about how very blessed I am. Like, seriously. I mean, I have my days just like everyone does where it is so incredibly easy to compare myself to others instead of realizing the great qualities I possess or the things that I have in my life. It is so easy with all of the gorgeous images online, the creative blogs, and the fabulous products to feel like you can never keep up or even get caught up with how beautiful and amazing the people and their spaces are. The clothes just seem to be getting cuter and the houses more incredible and creative. Those days of comparison actually happen a lot more often than I would like to admit. I actually hate that I have these feelings, but oftentimes they consume me.  I think maybe that is why it makes me that much more grateful when I think about the wonderful things in my life.

 A couple of weeks ago I posted this photo on Instagram when this idea was starting to formulate.

You see, I was cleaning house and dusting off my treasures when I realized how much I love all the pieces of my home. My house is not fancy...far from it in fact! It is definitely not perfectly clean, there are scuffs on the wall and dings in 100 year old hardwood floors. Most of the things I use for decor are either homemade or were someone else's before they were mine, but these are actually the things that make me love my home so much. No one came in and did a clean sweep with all new pillows and linens and matching table lamps. My home has been a labor of love [literally from the bare bones, but that is old news] made up of my collections of meaningful gifts and sentimental treasures. For example, in the image above, the hankies are from various antique excursions with my mister, and I treasure those times we get to spend together doing something we both enjoy. The accordion wheels are some that I created for my precious niece's first birthday party, and the chalkboard is an old baby bed that the mister helped me drag home from the side of the road. The worn and crooked chair belonged to my mother's grandfather, and the frame attached holds a photo of him. It sat on my parents' front porch for as long as I can remember until my mom gave it to me, and my daddy and brother took turns helping me weave the seat of the chair. The gallery wall is made up of images and mementos that are special to me such as wedding photos, a wedding shadow box from my sis, photos from my trip to Italy, and a print from the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum where my husband took me for my birthday a couple of years ago. 

Almost everything in my home has a story, and it seldom starts with, "Well, I was at Target and...". Don't get me wrong. I love Target as much as the next guy, but I wouldn't trade all the sentimental goodness of my home for all the gorgeous, trendy pillows in the world. I love that as I look around at the items in my home I could write page after page of stories from all the lovingly chosen gifts, childhood memories, or hours spent sanding in the driveway. I know that these things are just that: things. I don't mean to idolize them, but I am so thankful to be surrounded by things that I think are beautiful and hold so many beautiful memories and feelings. 

I think I will start taking more care to document these things and record their special meaning. Some days it may be on Instagram. Other days it may be a lengthy post such as this, but I only get happy feelings when I reminiscence about these things, so why not? Maybe I will try to come up with a clever name and make it an "official" blog series. Who knows? I just know I am ever so thankful for this warm and loving space that I am blessed to call my home. 


Sunday, January 19, 2014

What a week...

This week has been somewhat trying. I have been blessed to get to stay home most of this week and get some things done. Nothing major has been accomplished, but it has been a nice change of pace. The mister, on the other hand has not been so lucky. He started back to school on Monday, spent the biggest part of the day on Wednesday at a job interview [then drove back to school for a later class], and worked the majority of the week. Earlier in the week we discovered that our digital outdoor thermometer that we use ALL THE TIME without even thinking is apparently broken. Keep in mind that this is our second one in the whopping 3.5 years we have been married. I am not sure why we cannot keep one of these things. Wednesday afternoon I was on the treadmill and tried to adjust the incline when all of a sudden the control panel wouldn't work AT ALL. I had to pull the emergency cord thing to get it to stop! So big bummer there because it is only a couple of years old, and I was finally getting into the groove of things and feeling good about my accomplishments in that department. I am hoping that we can get it fixed soon without having to buy a part that costs almost as much as a new treadmill [like crossing fingers big time]. This is also the day that the mister discovered that the temperature gauge on my car [after $218 in repairs] was still not working. Another bummer. THEN on Thursday I was in the living room when I heard a strange noise that I thought was the wind that has been blowing like crazy. When I got up to investigate I opened my basement door to discover water shooting out of a pipe across the stairs and soaking the basement. Luckily, my heroic father-in-law was in town and came to the rescue, but I still had to go down there and dry a bunch of stuff that was dripping wet. This was one time that I was actually glad we do not have a nice finished basement so that the water could just go down the drain and drip off the cinder block walls without us having to repair a bunch of water damage. So, like I was an interesting week. 

 All that to say that it had a pretty good ending. It was also nothing major, but the mister was off on Saturday. That is almost unheard of these days, and I have been itching for a day when the two of us could stay home together. We did go for a walk [which turned out to be a less than great idea when we got out and realized it was not quite as warm as we thought], and he had to do quite a bit of homework. But at the end of the day we had our "date night" which, for us, consists of snuggling on the couch in our pajamas, eating pizza, and watching movies. These times are few and far between, so we cherish any opportunity for uninterrupted time together. Also, the thermometer is not something we cannot live without, the treadmill is not a true necessity, the car still works and it could have been much worse, and the water situation caused no real damage.

I know I have talked about it many times here before, but I am so thankful for my guy. He is so good to me and works hard so that we can work towards furthering our dreams together as a couple. I feel like I could never do enough to make up for all the long hours and late nights he works with homework in between. And then he sits on the couch with me and balls all my skeins of yarn. What a guy! 

Sometimes circumstances can make it a little difficult to see the blessings in life. Other times they just help to point them out. I have much to be thankful for.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

January what?

Holy smokes, where did the last [almost] two months go? I would love to say that I have accomplished great things and met goals and feel refreshed and renewed, but instead I worked my butt off, let my house get to an embarrassing state of dirty, and gained 5 pounds. With that said, I have made some positive changes since the new year to my eating habits and that I am actually exercising again! Heading back to work came way to quickly for me, so I did not get a lot of things on my list completed. I did, however, manage to do a lot of celebrating with family, spent much needed time with my fabulous mister, and got mentally geared up for the new year. I am not much of a resolution gal, but I do like a fresh start so I am still working on cleaning out closets and purging of unnecessary junk. The problem is I keep getting distracted with yarn and my granny square project. It is an addiction with me. I cannot occasionally crochet. It is all or nothing, baby. But as a result I have nine squares already completed since last Wednesday! That may be nothing to brag about, but I am pumped since I had never even made a granny square until last week. Plus the progress is SO pretty! I think I would almost be satisfied if I just kept a bag of granny squares laying around. I love them!

I do have several things that I want to work on around here. I have had so little time for personal projects, that I can hardly wait to get started. But at the same time I cannot happily work in a messy space, and...well, let's just say I have some organizing to do. When I do get to that point I want to: 

  • finish up my granny square blanket/throw project [not really sure exactly where it is going]
  • make Georgie a table cloth for her little table [complete with crocheted edge]
  • add some glitter or sequins to my bargain wooden hangers
  • work on more prints and send out some samples 
  • make some springy garland
  • revamp my gallery wall
I am sure there a ton of other projects that I will think of before I even get started with these, but right now I am working like mad on my 2013 photo book because I have a $20 off coupon!  Only a handful of pages to go!