Craft · Craft Business

A New Challenge

With the one year anniversary of my little card shop coming up in a couple of months, I have been feeling the need for reinvention for a second time. Maybe it’s a precursor to my own personal two-fifth-life crisis or maybe it’s my suppressed perfectionist tendencies, hard to say which, but either way I need to breathe some fresh life into my creations. Sales have been non-existent to sluggish, to say the least, and my little operation is so far in the red that I can’t even think of an inoffensive metaphor for it at this point. 

Enter me staring at the dimly glowing beacon on my phone that is Pinterest, seeking whatever inspiration I can manage to gather at 2 am. One morning after a particularly sleepless & pin-filled night, I gathered a look at everything I saved earlier. The few pins that caught my attention were the weekly card sketch challenges from My Favorite Things. I had seen them on Facebook, while scrolling past as I only have maybe 3-4 of their stamp & die sets and wrote them off as something you could only do with their products.

This time, however, they were simply blueprints, and I immediately began to envision ideas using these layouts along with materials that I did have on hand. So I saved a ton of them onto my computer, printed them all off, and started a whole new inspiration journal.  

And now I’m going to take on one of these sketch challenges as my own personal challenges for every one of my upcoming projects. As someone who has always preferred to be self-taught, I’m pretty excited to be able to learn some new techniques and really hone my skill set. I’m not doing them in any sort of numerical order, so as I showcase some of the projects here, if the chronological order seems spastic, it’s because it is!


Sketch challenge 38 was one of the first to catch my eye, as I was in need of wedding and new baby cards in my shop, and this layout seemed perfect for either. Wedding card it was!


I used supplies from many different companies. Lawn Fawn stamp sets “Happy Wedding” and “Happy Happy Happy” were my main draws of inspiration. I immediately knew I wanted the script “happy” to be the main focal point of the card. Paper from American Crafts (floral paper) and Bella Blvd. LLC (yellow polka dots) would bring a beautiful liveliness to the final design. I used Memento’s dye ink in Dandelion for the “happy” in the sentiment, it coordinated perfectly.


I’m really pleased with the final project! I ended up swapping out a bridal bouquet for the wedding bells at the very end (where the bow is on the original sketch), as it went better with the whole overall aesthetic. 

So now I’m looking forward to the future of my little Etsy endeavor, given some fresh new ideas & a slow avalanche of new tools & materials. For anyone else struggling with their creative business, don’t give up! You never know when or where your next inspiration will strike, and hopefully it will be one to revive your business! 🙂

<3,

The Paper Pickle

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Craft

Lawn Fawn Lawn Fawnatics Challenge March 2017

Super duper excited to submit one of my projects into my first ever sponsored challenge! The first Lawn Fawnatics Challenge is to showcase a birthday project, which I was more than happy to work on!

I used the muy lindo (very cute) “Year Seven” stamp and die sets from Lawn Fawn’s Spring 2017 new releases in this project, a colorful & bright yet simple birthday card.


It took two somewhat failed first designs to refine what I wanted into the final product.

I started by stamping out all my images using Memento Tuxedo Black dye ink onto bright white, mid-weight card stock (Neenah, I think… all my stuff in the paper category has gotten all jumbled together!), giving a few hours to dry fully. I used Prismacolor pencils to color all the images in, and a Finesse colored pencil blender pen to more evenly fill in the colors in the pinata. I have an old school big red Sizzix die cutter that I use to cut everything. I also used it and the large Stitched Circle Stackable dies to cut out all the circles for the front.

The card base is from an older set of prefabricated blank 5.5″ square cards I had, folded & trimmed down with a Fiskars rotary paper trimmer so that everything was straight & even.

All the circles were cut from Recollections card stock in various colors, mainly shades of orchid, teal, lime green, and hot pink. The confetti printed paper is from an older Echo Park design, it’s actually the backside to a sheet with popsicles & ice cream on the front. The circles were affixed to the card base with Xyron permanent tape runner. 

The images were attached using the Xyron sticker maker, a tool I have come to love. I stamped out the message on the inside of the card using the same ink, and, ta-da! A finished fiesta in the form of a greeting card!


It’s a bit rough, being my first challenge and all, but overall I’m pretty happy with how it turned out! Now I’m eagerly awaiting the next challenge!

Lifestyle Post

How I Found Peace Through Papercrafting

Not all of my family and friends even know why I decided to dabble in card making. To them, it was like, BAM, okay, she has an Etsy shop now. Whatever.

Before the summer of 2016, I hadn’t even displayed an interest in any sort of paper crafting, aside from putting together a (yet-to-be-finished) scrapbook for my son’s first year of life.

Early to mid-2016 things in my life stated getting a little heavy, for lack of a better description. Things had been relatively difficult since our son was born on New Year’s Eve day 2014. Colic, reflux, never-ending sleep regression, and high-functioning postpartum depression were really beginning to take their toll. Our boy was a ticking time bomb, and I isolated myself at home in fear of him having a complete sensory meltdown any time I took him anywhere. I hoped things would begin to change soon.

April 2016 we found a beautiful new home in a wonderful new area. We packed up and moved in as soon as we could. Our son was 15 months old at that time. Packing up and moving also involved moving services, including getting him a new pediatrician. Enter the 15-month checkup. It started well, and then she noticed some strange features on him during closer examination. I was inundated with questions about his motor skills, was he doing this, was he doing that. Nope. My heart started racing. What the heck was she seeing wrong with him? I immediately began feeling like the worst mom in the world. How could I not have noticed anything different about him compared to others his age? Was I that oblivious?

Several specialists and tests later, we got a diagnosis: Multiple Epiphyseal Dysplasia. A rare genetic bone growth disorder prevalent in about 1:11,000 in the U.S. We were given a fat packet of information to read. A fat, depressing packet of information, full of all the potential problems and complications we may come to expect in his lifetime. A few of them we were already beginning to deal with: scoliosis, hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis, “waddling” gait, abnormal/incomplete development of the ends of the long bones in the arms and legs. What we have to possibly look forward to: hip and/or knee replacements, chronic pain, reduced ease of mobility, short stature (no taller than 5’4″), bone fractures…

Oh, joy. Our genes failed our poor, innocent son. Our plans of having two kiddos got thrown right out the window as we turned to focus all our time and attention (and money) on our little man. My depression settled in deeper. What now?

I started to seek an outlet for my sadness and anxiety. Physical therapy had started for our little dude and his mobility started to increase more and more every day. I needed something that would work around his needs. I headed to Pinterest, that holy grail of ideas, to seek some inspiration for DIY projects. Mother’s Day was coming up, so I wanted to find something special to give my dear mom. I’ve made her jewelry in the past, didn’t really want to keep doing that, it was losing its originality and was also just plain too hard to focus on now. Something simple, something smaller scale was best.

A greeting card! I had pretty much nada in the way of supplies, but scrapbooking supplies and the like are relatively inexpensive and are always on sale somewhere. So I picked up a few things from our nearest Michael’s and got to work. I should’ve taken a picture of it, it turned out pretty nice! And I was instantly hooked. I compiled a ton of ideas on Pinterest, made up a few more designs and opened up my first shop on the Amazon Handmade marketplace. Business was (and still is) slow, but I didn’t mind. I found a new love.

Fast forward several months and several hundred dollars. I have refined my processes, and in this blog, hope to share my inspirations, designs, techniques, and products with you, and hopefully give you some ideas and inspiration of your own! Or, at the very least, a peek into the inner workings of how I come up with my designs.

And now, as a thank you for reading this far, I free you from this blog post to go and finish your chores and such for the day. 😉