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Have a Happy Day

I think in my 10 years of designing stamps, this sentiment from the Be Blessed set is one of my all-time favorites. Who wouldn't want a big old wish for a happy day in their mailbox? Do you mail a lot of cards? Sadly, I do not. I fully intend to, and usually have a recipient in mind for the cards I make. But sometimes writing the words, finding an envelope to fit, and figuring out the postage for my very bulky cards is just more than my little overwhelmed heart can handle. But it certainly brightens my day when I receive a card in the mail, so I'm trying to make an effort to send more out.

As I mentioned in my last post, my boys were CRAZY yesterday. I don't deal well with conflict, and these boys have this eternal struggle with each other that could put Cain and Abel to shame. Or at least Jacob and Esau. After a day of listening to their not-so-civil war, and arbitrating fragile peace treaty infringements,  I was more than ready to relinquish them to their Dad for some basketball and Risk in the evening. I headed up the stairs and surprised myself by deciding to forgo the book and a rocking chair that had been calling my name and headed instead to my stamp room to make a card filled with happy using the August Viva la Verve sketch.

The sketch is perfect for using up patterned paper, so I sifted through the stacks of 6 x 6 pads in my cupboard until I came across a very thin one. It only had 4 papers left in it! Such a rarity that I would have used up all but a few papers from a single pad. So I just had to work on using those remaining papers, and this is the card that ensued.

I added a little antique linen and vintage photo ink to all the layers to make them stand out. The three strips are taped together and then I embossed the sentiment from Be Blessed in early espresso.  The flowers are from the Button Best stamp set, and I stamped them directly on patterned paper in abandoned coral and then cut with the Petal Points Die Set.  I added some Sprightly Sprigs die cuts in early espresso and finished off with some chocolate liquid pearls and a bumpy rhinestone for the flower center.

I hope you'll play along with this month's Viva la Verve sketch. I'm so enjoying seeing the cards in the link up.

Thanks for stopping by! Have a fantabulous weekend.

Enabler's List
Stamps: Be Blessed, Button Best (Verve Stamps)
Paper: Howdy Doody (My Mind's Eye), early espresso, cream
Ink: vintage photo, antique linen distress (Ranger), early espresso (SU!)
Accessories: Petal Points Die Set, Sprightly Sprigs Die Set (A Cut Above by VERVE), clear embossing powder (Judikins), adhesive bump rhinestone (Recollections), chocolate liquid pearls (Ranger)

Relentless Persistence

My boys are tenacious. They're persistent. And they're relentless. Today I have aches and pains beyond my 42 years and the beginnings of a migraine the size of Texas. I feel like death warmed over, like moving the 6 feet from the couch to the coffee maker is just too far. AND YET... through sheer relentless determination, in under one hour of being solo with them, the twins wore my defenses down and convinced me to go out to the garage and shimmy between the treadmill covered in boxes for Goodwill and the queen size mattress and box spring that we've been meaning to get rid of, to search for the bean bag toss game that's been collecting dust for over a year.

They played bean bag toss yesterday at Nana and Papa's house. They're now OBSESSED. I've heard the replay of all 5.5 games they played at least 3 times... from each boy. I've quietly nodded my appreciation and expressed what I hope is the appropriate excitement and heartache at the score sheet and the winners list. I've said, yes, at some point, we can find the bean bag toss and you can play it at home. With "someday" meaning on a weekend when Mark is here to move the mattresses and there's a human buffer for me to put on my noise-canceling headphones and ignore the hours of fighting, screaming, and utter cries of desolation that are sure to come whenever these two compete.

But the minute Mark left this morning, it was all about the bean bag toss. Maybe they could just look in the garage themselves? Maybe someday was now? Mom did I tell you about my score in the bean bag toss? Did you know we're halfway through a game? If not now, when? In 30 minutes? Before lunch? After lunch?  And  because I just hoped the nagging would stop and I could drink my coffee in peace, someday came in less than an hour. And I found myself squeezing through the mattresses like a sardine and retrieving the box. And I put the game together, while they tried to grab it out of my hands. and I listened to them backseat drive that I should have put the black side up and not the wood side up, because that's how it is at Nana's. And I gave them the game and set it up upstairs so that I could have an entire floor separating us.

And now the screaming has started. The cries of injustice at the cheating ways of a 5 year old brother. The complete and utter heartbreak of losing your bean bag under a chair and being unable to retrieve it. The frustration of seeing your own imperfections, even though you envision hitting the target every time. The jealousy of someone else having a better score. And my heart is tired. These little trials of being 5 feel a lot like the tribulations of running a business.

Marketing research says on average you need to have 7-13 "touches" (interactions) with a customer to make them act on your call to action. I  am not a marketer, in fact, it's the part of running a business that I dread like nothing else. I don't like to repeat myself or toot my own horn. I hate to feel nagged and pressured and that's what so much of marketing, especially social media marketing feels like these days. But the proof is right there, isn't it? Seven to 13 bazillion "touches" from my boys and my sloth-like-can't-even-get-up-for-a-fresh-cup-of-coffee body was spurred to action. I felt defeated, but I acted.

I see other companies with their perfectly curated Instagram feeds and Facebook walls and daily emails and I get weary. I see my own weaknesses and imperfections as a marketer and know it is hurting my business. And I vow to try harder. But it feels wrong. It's like slipping on a dress that looks amazing on your best friend, and realizing it accentuates all your lumpy bits. You've got a different body. Your strengths are in different areas. You need a different dress.

So I'm trying to find my dress. The one that feels just right. The one that's classy and timeless, yet still says let's party with Verve!  The one that says, shop small because you're supporting a family. The one that says support this one-woman business, because although only 9% of small businesses make it past the 5 year mark, this woman has been toiling away for 10 years, through many trials and tribulations and nevertheless... she persisted.

Thanks so much for stopping by today.... and if you're still reading, thanks for taking the time to share the thoughts on my heart today.  The card shown is a throwback card to March 2015 that I thought really fit my words for today. Click here for the original post.

Stamps: Wings of LoveMasqueradeBetter Together (Verve Stamps)
Paper: pool party, basic black (SU!), manila tag (Ranger), cream (Neenah)
Ink: archival black ink, scattered straw and tumbled glass distress paint (Ranger), Pan Pastels, Stamper's big brush pens in white, dark sepia, sanguine and cobalt green, white Gelato (Faber-Castell)
Accessories:  Gown Die (A Cut Above by VERVE), baker's twine

Seize the Day

Hi friends! Today I'm popping in with a fun card I made yesterday. I happened to be surfing through YouTube and came across a short video by Jenniebellie titled How to Pick Which Project To Do. It seemed like just the thing I needed as I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by my lack of creativity, even though I had set aside some time to get inky.

The gist of the video is that there are two ways to start creating. One way is to pick the thing our heart most wants to do right in this moment. The other is to start with the end product in mind and work towards that goal. Each way works on its own, but conflict comes in when you try to mix the methods. It seemed to make sense, and since the end goal wasn't seeming to motivate me, I asked myself right then what I wanted to work on. The TCP Tuesday challenge and the unopened pile of TCP stamps on my desk shot right to mind.  So I scooted all of the in progress release projects I'm working on to the side and just started playing with stamps.

The theme for the challenge is How Does Your Garden Grow. My mind immediately went to the Watercolor Basics set and I thought it would be fun to build my own garden using just the stamps in this set. I started with the big circle splatter, thinking it seemed a fun flower shape.  I added in the little trio splatters in a darker ink, stamping them twice, rotated in each center.  Next I used a piece of washi tape to mask off a line coming down from the flower and used the narrowest strip stamp as the stem.

I stamped another of the stamps in green and cut a few leaves out for my stems.  I used another strip stamp in a soft blue for the sky and used the same stamp vertically for  the grass across the bottom.  I filled in some of the sky and grass with coordinating colors of Pan Pastels and added some pieces of tissue tape all around and as strips on my stem and leaves. I grabbed a sentiment from the Simple Blooms sentiment, which I thought  was the perfect way to capture the feeling that inspired the card. It also went perfectly with these fun flair buttons I found hidden in my stash.

All in all, a super fun and rewarding break from my stamping to-do list.

Thanks so much for stopping by today! I hope you have a super creative day.

Enabler's List
Stamps: Watercolor Basics, Simple Blooms (TCP)
Paper: white, black
Ink: forest glades, coral berry, frosty pink, sea glass (Altenew), rose red (SU!), onyx black (Versafine), antique linen distress (Ranger), Pan Pastels
Accessories: tissue tape (Tim Holtz Idea-Ology), adhesive buttons
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