Friday, February 21, 2014

Custom Stationery Cards

We just finished our first Valentine's Day season on Etsy and it was a lot of fun!  I surpassed my goals and sold more Valentine cards than expected.  I even had a brick and mortar shop in Canada order some cards and put them on their own website which was very exciting!  

Since things have slowed down in the shop a bit I've started a new line of custom stationery cards! Here are a few samples of what we have...

These were so fun to create and I can't wait to keep adding more!  These all come packaged in a card box with twine and you can choose your own envelope colors so these will make really fun gifts.

See you online!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

What I want for Christmas...

This Christmas is going to be different.  This will be the first Christmas that I haven’t spent shopping till I dropped, trying to find the most perfect gift for everyone on my list… and of course writing out lists of what I would like Santa to put under the tree for me!

This will be the first Christmas since I left my six figure job to be happy and to do something that I enjoyed.  This will be the first Christmas that I have zero dollars to spend!  My boyfriend seems to be having a bit of a hard time with the thought of not buying any gifts for me this year – which he has been forbidden to do!  

However, I can’t say that I actually want anything for Christmas this year.  Now I’m not saying that if I had ample funds I wouldn't have a list of things I want for the house or my business.  However, when I sit down and truly think about what I want it’s not wrapped gifts under the tree.  

I want to drive around and look at as many Christmas lights as possible while drinking a warm sweet Starbucks mocha peppermint latte with extra whip cream (listening to Christmas music of course)!  

I want to have a nice Christmas breakfast and then take a walk on the beach Christmas morning and feel free.  Free from the stress of the holidays, free from Christmas debt, and free from all of the demands that people put on themselves around the holidays to make it perfect.  

I want to eat lots of warm homemade iced sugar cookies while watching Christmas movies on the couch snuggled with my boyfriend (Love Actually is always a must!).  I want to spend all day making a very large, festive gourmet Christmas dinner with way too much food. 

I want to spend time with the people I love and I want those in my life to be happy this year and just enjoy the season!

What do you want for Christmas this year?

Friday, December 13, 2013

Craft Room / Home Studio Organization

This week I decided that I had enough of my dysfunctional studio!  

I had somehow managed to become so disorganized I ended up with only a small corner of working space in a pretty decent size room.  So enough was enough and Tuesday of this week I dragged every single thing out of the room and emptied it into the living room, kitchen, den... you could barely walk through our house!  

My other half got home that evening and we stared at the space trying to think of the best way to configure the furniture we had to give me the most working space and organization.  After about five hours we called it a night and slept on it.  The next day I was back at it again.  Moving things around trying to come up with a usable space without spending any money.

Finally we came up with a plan and I went to work!  

This was no easy task.  I organized every single thing I had into either a box or shelf and tried to put things I use the most within arms reach.   So here's what I ended up with....  It will do for now. 

 My honey do list of course has a custom fit desk and storage cabinets at the top of the list!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Uses for Leftover Candy Corn

I purchased a very large bag of candy corn a few weeks back to take photos for my ‘Too Much Candy’ Halloween card.  It was the only one I could find at the grocery store and I wasn't going to make multiple trips around town just for candy corn.

I’m not a big fan of just eating candy corn for enjoyment.   However, I can’t stand the thought of throwing things out, even if they only cost a couple of dollars.  In an effort to save my candy corn from the trash I started searching the web for leftover candy corn recipes and WOW there are some really interesting things that people do with leftover candy corn! 

Here are some that I found but didn’t try :)
  1. Melt in the microwave and use as a fondue
  2. Fill the center of apples and bake
  3. Melt for cocktails
  4. Fudge
  5. Snack mix
  6. The list goes on and on…. Who knew!

Well I decided to make a homemade candy corn butterfinger recipe that I found on pinterest.  It was really easy to make and I used up all of my candy corn!  

These are really tasty… much better than eating plain candy corn by itself.  It’s amazing how much they taste like real butterfingers… without getting stuck in your teeth!  So… while it was easy to make.  I quickly realized I am not a candy maker!  

Here’s a photo of how my little guys turned out…

Give it a try and send me your photos!  I’d love to see how yours turn out!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Roasted Pepper, Scallion and Sausage Quiche, Lightened Up

We usually don’t make the same recipes over and over unless we've been trying to decide what to make and give up, making an old standby.  However, there is one exception… BREAKFAST!  

For some reason we aren't very creative when it comes to breakfast.  Most of the time we have scrambled eggs, toast and occasionally some hash browns.  So this weekend we ventured out of our norm and made a quiche.  

Our recipe has been adapted from a Food Network Kitchens recipe.  We lightened it up a little and I can tell you we didn't miss a thing.  It was full of flavor and had a great texture. 

Lightened Up Roasted Pepper, Scallion and Sausage Quiche

  • Whole Wheat store-bought 9 inch pie shell (we used frozen)
  • 1/2 cup of chopped jarred roasted peppers
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 3/4 cup frozen turkey sausage crumbles
  • 3/4 shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chile powder
  • Couple dashes of sweet paprika

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  • Line a small baking sheet with tinfoil and place the pie shell ontop… just to catch any mess.
  • Make the filling: Put the roasted peppers, scallions, sausage, and cheese in a large bowl. Toss to combine. 

  • In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, milk, salt, pepper, lemon zest and chile powder in a large bowl. Stir in the parsley. 
  • Spread the vegetable-cheese mixture in the crust evenly

  • Then pour the egg mixture on top and sprinkle with paprika.

  • Bake until the filling is set, 40 to 50 minutes.
  • Let cool at least 30 minutes before slicing.  This is the hardest part!

So what's your breakfast routine?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Our New Friends... The Pileated Woodpecker

Our mailbox was in desperate need of a makeover so we spent one very hot Saturday recently sprucing it up.  Who cares about the mailbox you say?  Well, the door was hanging on by one hinge.  There was also some pretty green mold creeping up the post.  Plus...considering we do a lot of shipping with our greeting card business we wanted to represent ourselves well!  

One of the downsides of living a mile from the Atlantic Ocean is that the salt air eats through everything.  In this case, it was our metal mailbox.  So it was off to Lowe's to buy our supplies. 

As we were sanding away the mold on mailbox post and banging away trying to take off the old box we looked up and saw two very large birds land on a pine trees trunk about 20 feet away.  The birds were about the size of a crow with red mohawks.  They started hoping around the tree as the pecked at various insects on the bark.  At times they actually looked to be completing a coordinated ballet.  In unison they would take a 1 inch hop to the left, then back to the right, then down 2 inches.  We stood there watching them and snapping pictures for about 15 minutes before we decided to continue with our little project. 

As we walked by them to get supplies out of the garage, one of them flew an landed on a different tree and outstretched it's wings and held them in position to reveal a large set of white marks that made the bird seem twice as big as before.  It was absolutely amazing. 

Ten minutes later, they had seen enough of us and decided to move on to our neighbors house and it was time for us to finish our project. We assumed they were woodpeckers.  After going inside and looking them up we found out they were Pileated Woodpeckers.  We read that it's unusual to get that close as they are shy birds so we felt very privileged.

Our yard is full of various birds due to the vast array of trees and other vegetation in our yard.  However, after this encounter, I have to admit that the Pileated Woodpecker is on my top 5 bird list.  Their synchronized movements and striking features are absolutely amazing.

Here are some photos - taken with a camera phone so they aren't very good...

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Defining Success...

It's been two months now since I left the corporate world where I spent the past 15 years working my way up the ladder. The farther up the ladder I got, the more money I got, the higher the demands, the pressure and the stress...
I found that I would go months without sleeping for more than a few hours, if at all. I often laid awake at night stressing about upcoming meetings. I would stress out about not getting everything accomplished that I wanted to for the day or feeling like I should have worked just a few more hours... those few more hours often turning into 10 and 12 hour days in the office. Working more when I got home in the evening. I was getting sick frequently. I lost touch with friends and family and became sad and irritable.
I was so stressed towards the end I rarely went a day without closing my office door and crying. Yes, crying at work... a major no.. no! I was completely miserable. The straw that broke the camel's back was sitting in a meeting listening to one of my superiors talk down to me, and others in the room as we were asking for help. I realized that this environment of everyone just watching out for themselves and figuring out what their next 'game' move was had ended for me at that moment. It took everything I had inside not to walk out of the meeting and into the parking garage. Once the meeting was over I walked straight to my office and shut the door. I picked up the phone and called my boyfriend. All I could manage to say through the tears was... 'I can't do it anymore I have to quit... now'. Luckily he was very supportive and said OK. Let me know if you need me.
I hung up the phone and typed up a very short resignation letter. It took me some time as I was shaking like a leaf. I'm a very responsible person. I've always had a job. I started working when I was 16 and never left a job without having another lined up. I'm a rule follower. I always do what people expect of me, or what I thought they expected. I had so many thoughts going through my head all at once... Am I really doing this? Is this a mistake? I've worked so hard all of these years, for what? What will everyone think? How will I pay my bills? What about me, what do I want? I have to do this. I finished the letter. I printed it out and walked to my bosses office. I slid it across the table, shaking and scared.
My resignation was met with a lot of drama. Some people took it very personally. People that I worked very closely with for several years didn't even speak to me. They didn't even say goodbye when I left. However, there were several people that were very supportive and were excited for me. A few were jealous because they were also very miserable and wished they could do the same.
And now...I am a struggling small business owner, living off of my savings account for now. Are things all rosy and perfect? No! I still have stress, but it's completely different. I stress now about failure. I'm not used to working this hard without seeing immediate success. I have a hard time being patient but I'm trying! I work at my small business seven days a week – usually about 12 hours a day, sometimes more. Well, a lot more if you count the research I do laying in bed at night until midnight.
However, I'm doing what I love. In my years of searching for the perfect job my family has always told me to find something that I love, something that I would do for free. Well I found it! I have turned my love of paper into a business making and selling handmade greeting cards, stationery and other paper goods. In the upcoming years I plan to grow the business with my boyfriend and business partner first with home d├ęcor and eventually furniture.
Wherever this adventure takes me I know that I will succeed in the end. I don't know how to fail. I will say that my definition of success has greatly changed over the past year. I used to think you had to have a corporate career, make a minimum of six figures, have a couple of houses, a large bank account... you know... 'The American Dream'...
Now... I think it's doing what you love and being with those that make you happy.
So how you do you define success?
Author:  Lisa