Thoughts On The New Year



I ran across a post earlier that I wrote in January of this year. It was only a small paragraph about a few changes I wanted to make within myself – a fleeting thought – as many of my goals tend to be! But as I read it I was filled with a sense of accomplishment.

“This year is about trying new things, going the extra mile, being realistic; but optimistic, and being more accepting of myself. I think I’ll share this little blog space with more people that know me (in the real world), speak my mind more, ask for the things I want. I won’t shy away from new opportunities – even when I’m scared and I can’t tell if they’ll work out or not.”

I did those things in 2012. I didn’t shy away from new opportunities with unpredictable outcomes, I went the extra mile in order to receive those opportunities, I opened myself up by sharing this space with more people I know offline, and even in the midst of all consuming grief I have managed to stay optimistic about the future. I’ve become more accepting of myself in many ways, but I still have a bit to accomplish in this area. Though I think most of us will continue to work on this particular skill most of the days of our lives as we change, grow, and find ourselves continuously faced with new challenges.

Nate and I have so much planned for the upcoming year. I feel like 2013 is our year – fresh and new, not forgetting the sadness or the courage it took to get through 2012 but taking comfort in the fact that we have so much to be thankful for in 2013. We have grown so much since we started our little family in 2010. Together we’ve already accomplished major life goals and sometimes I think it’s easy to forget that we have so much, so early in life. It can be easy to focus on all of the things we could have done even better up to this point and while I want to make sure we move forward and upward from those things, I also just really want to tell my husband how proud I am to be his wife. He is his biggest critic and I want the world to know how well he takes care of us and how motivated he is to beat his personal best in everything that he does. I feel like we are both focused and ready to meet this New Year in every way!

Happy New Years Eve to all of you!

Xoxo.

Featured Sponsor: Five Sixteenths Design Shoppe

I am so very excited to introduce you to my Featured Sponsor for the month of December, Five Sixteenths Design Shoppe! Moe is the lovely lady behind the brand and I’ve invited her to share a bit about what it’s like to be a small business owner!

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Hi Moe!! We’re elated to have you as this month’s featured sponsor!! Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your online business, Five Sixteenths Design Shoppe!

Hello there! The Five Sixteenths Design Shoppe is an online design studio focused on providing affordable, unique blog designs for all kinds of bloggers. While the focus of the design shop is creative blog design, you’ll also find business cards & other printable material for your office or occasion. In the shop are premade templates to purchase as is OR to upgrade with many different, customizable options. You’ll also find custom blog elements such as headers or blog buttons to give your current design a leg up. Completely custom options are available as well under three price points.

As a blogger, I know the importance of having a well designed look to your blog. Each design is created to give you a professional look with out breaking the bank. Each custom design is created to give you a brand identity to bounce off of or evolve your current branding. New design requests & learning new techniques motivates me to keep up with the services offered through Five Sixteenths Designs.


Where does the name of your brand, Five Sixteenths, come from?

Originally, when I first started out on this creative journey, I decided I wanted to run a decor blog focused on decorating a small apartment, so I thought using a unit of measurement – 5/16 – would be a fun way to express that. Realizing that while I loved decorating, I really didn’t have the budget to go all out I had to refocus the direction of my online presence. After changing my major in college to art, I took several classes where measurements & details were important (think book binding, printmaking, functional pottery, graphic design, & woodworking – I took all those classes!). I realized that sometimes I wasn’t so good with the details & got caught up in the making process. I am a messy creator by nature, you should see my old pottery studio! The name Five Sixteenths became my dedication to focusing on these details in every part of the designs I create.

What made you decide that having an online business was something that you wanted to pursue?

When I was in high school, my aunt asked me what I’d like to do when I ‘grew up’. I said if I could do anything I’d like to own my own shop where I sold the things I made. Eventually I opened a shop on eEtsy, selling crocheted accessories & jewelry with horrible photos. As I grew both in age & experience I took better pictures, refocused my shop, & learned more about the creative avenues I’d like to pursue. I think that jumping in with no idea what I was doing helped me a lot. When I was complimented on my own blog design & encouraged by a few bloggers to attempt to design blogs for others I sort of had an idea about branding, about selling on Etsy, etc. Learning as I went helped me launch other ventures more efficiently. So I guess I knew that an online presence would be necessary for creating my brand in this age.


I see that you’re also an office manager by day! What’s your number one tip for staying organized while working a day job and keeping up with an online shop?

Actually, that was my old job!! I just relocated to Indiana & am in between managing offices presently :) In all seriousness, I think the key to balance is planning. I rely heavily on my planner. Not only do I use it for scheduling blog posts but also to schedule time for clients. Knowing exactly how many hours you have & what work you have to do will help you set deadlines and communicate those to your clients. You’ll also learn at what point to say no. Now that it’s nearly the new year, I can’t wait to pick up another planner!

I’m a huge fan of your design work – tell us a bit about your favorite design that you’ve created to date!

Wow! Thanks! My favorite custom design so far had to be working with Hayley of The Weekend File. She really wanted a simple but striking design. It was a combination of going back to simplicity but also evolving her branding. We started of with a completely new design but realizing that her brand had already been established we chose to stick close to her original header & original fonts. Keeping some of your classic branding elements but adding in a new twist or something that is trending can show that your brand is up to date, current, yet stable. If you catch my drift.


Where do you draw inspiration from when you’re designing and/or crafting?

Though I like to mix it up sometimes I find I draw inspiration from pattern, color, bold fonts, nostalgia, and simplicity. I love all things vintage but try to keep my designs with a modern aesthetic. Overall I am inspired by how we react to things & interact with things. I love the idea of how we respond to ideas similar to what we’ve experienced, that’s why advertising works so well!

Do you have any advice for someone interested in achieving similar goals as a creative professional?

The most important piece of advice I can give is that it takes dedication to do this sort of thing. You have to have a serious level of dedication because it’s not just an overnight event. Building your brand & starting from scratch is the hard part. Even if you only have 3 hours a day, you have to devote some of that time to working toward your dream because no one else will do it for you. When I was in art school, a visiting artist once told me that in order to be good at what he wanted to do (he was a ceramic artist) he knew he had to be boring. Meaning he knew he needed to spend time in the studio, even when he didn’t want to, even if it was on a Saturday, even it if it was into the middle of the night, etc. He needed to do these things to achieve his goals. I’ve lived a sort of modified version of this. I took to heart that what he meant was that he was responsible for his success: no one is assigning you jobs, you must find them. No one is asking you to make, you must find others to make for. No one is expecting you to advance, you have to seek out these learning opportunities, etc. Once you get yourself out there, these things will come in…but you have to put the work in. Phew, that was a lot huh?


And one last random question for good measure: Tell us what your perfect day looks like!

Oh my, let’s see. The perfect day for me would start off antiquing with my boyfriend. We love finding cool treasures for our personal collections as well as for the vintage shop we run. A perfect day would also involve some sort of interaction with clay. Maybe I’d spend the afternoon in my studio throwing a few things, or glazing, or unloading the kiln. Then I’d probably work on a few things for other shops, respond to emails, etc. As you can tell, a perfect day involves being creative! I love that I have an outlet for my creativity & am glad that I can turn out a bit of an income!

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Thanks so much, Moe! I know I loved reading her answers, as a gal with an interest in the possibility of one day owning my own Etsy shop! Make sure to pop over to the Five Sixteenths Design Shoppe to check out her designs – you might just realize you’ve found the perfect one for your own corner of the internet!

Pieces of The Days: Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of my lovely readers! I hope you’ve enjoyed this Christmas Eve with loved ones and that maybe you didn’t have to work! Nate and I spent a lovely day out of town with my Father-in-law’s side of the family, and tomorrow the other side will travel here to Lexington to be with us. I always miss my own family during this time of year (they’re all in Florida!) – but we definitely needed to be here this year. Today was rough but it was good to be with everyone. My Mother-in-law gave all of the kids (Nate and his two Sisters) a recordable book, “The Very First Christmas” with she and my Father-in-law reading it as you turn each page. It was more for the grandkids, but since Nate and I don’t have kids yet I feel that it’s extra special to us. They may never know Nate’s Dad but they will know his voice when he reads that book to them. I can’t think of a better gift! I wish I had something like that with my Dad’s voice on it – but I do have a ton of cassette tapes of him singing – so that’s pretty special!
We’ve been on the go lately! Yesterday was the first real day where we were able to just relax and hang out at home in quite a while. It was a nice day to recover from the tacky sweater party we had the night before with some of our closest friends! It was exactly the laid back, relaxed gathering of just the right mix of friends that I was wanting. A lot of people ended up missing the memo on the White Elephant game, so we made things pretty hilarious by gathering stuff in our house to use for gifts to add to the “real gifts”! An unopened American Idiot CD, a burnt copy of Cheaper By The Dozen, my Earth Girls Are Easy DVD, fireworks, and a stick of gum INSIDE of an iPhone box… a lovely, lovely assortment. I think that the Harry Potter snuggie was this biggest hit and most stolen item! The fireworks were pretty popular too – mostly because everyone wanted to set them off… and so we did. ;] I took some photos with my “real camera” but I haven’t even had a chance to look at them!
I’m feeling quite domestic this evening. First, I finished making the beret I started crocheting and then I proceeded to cook brown sugar glazed carrots and my famous (in this household) garlic oregano red potatoes. After that? I baked, iced, and sprinkled some funfetti Christmas cookies. Yeah – they were from a box, so knock a few cool points off for that. BUT, add like 800 cool points for the fact that I created something with yarn. I mean, I’ve made scarves and things like that which are unbelievably easy. But I’ve never tried to follow a pattern or make something specific, so I’m not going to lie – I’m pretty freakin’ proud! My Mom used to crochet all of the time and she taught me, but that was years ago! It’s so fun to start back up an old hobby!
I hope you all have an amazing Christmas!! It’s hard to believe we’re so close to the end of this year. I’m really looking forward to that “fresh start” feeling that the new year will bring. Okay… I’m off to watch Duck Dynasty. ;] Merry Christmas, friends!

The Friday 5


ONE:



This is quite possibly the best thing I’ve ever seen!! Biscuit and Freckles would never, ever sit still for that!

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TWO:


This little deer hair clip from Little Red Bowtique is too cute!

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THREE:


I want theseheart shaped cups so badly. For all of the tea parties I have every day, obviously.

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FOUR:

I’ve really been wanting to join one of the many monthly box services out there and this one from Craft Coffee would be perfect! I haven’t been able to justify the clothing/accessory related boxes – but coffee seems practical! ;]

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FIVE:

The pictures from this set of photos show what some of our big cities might look like if we turned off all of the lights! Pretty rad!

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