Wednesday, December 19, 2007

new gift tags

I created some new gift tags that I'm really excited about! My pictures aren't great (the sun was starting to set), so I'll probably need to retake the pictures earlier in the day another time, but I went ahead and posted them in my Esty shop, available either blank or personalized. What do you think?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


My first "real sale" (to someone I didn't know) took 21 days. Then it was 13 days until my second sale, then 18 days until my third sale (yesterday).

Now I've had 3 sales in the past 2 days! I really hope this is the beginning of a new trend!

more favorites

I feel like my last couple of posts have been downers, so on a more positive note, here are some of my new Etsy favorites...

Letteria (I'd love to learn how to do letterpress printing like this!)
Sweetbeets (more letterpress printing)
Oh Sew Fresh Designs (quilting is another one of those things I've been wanting to learn for about 10 years now)

Monday, December 17, 2007

sales goals

Last night I was feeling pretty down about Sarah & Abraham, wondering why I'm doing this and feeling frustrated about how much I've spent and how little I've sold. But then this morning I got another order, and seeing that in my inbox was so rewarding!

The only downside to getting an order, especially in the winter, is having to bundle up the kids and get them in and out of their car seats to go pick up the prints.

But it occurred to me that a good goal for myself is to sell enough to make enough of a profit to buy a high-quality color printer. I've got the shipping figured out so I don't have to go to the post office, so if I could print myself, this whole operation would be much easier!

Unfortunately I need to sell about 170 more items to break even, and then probably 50 more to buy a printer. But it's good to have a goal to work towards!

Sunday, December 16, 2007


I would imagine that my struggle to find balance is a pretty universal thing among almost all stay-at-home-moms and work-at-home-moms. I have yet to find a balance between:

a) working out / eating right / taking care of myself and my family
b) spending quality time with the kids - going fun places, reading to them, doing crafts together, etc.
c) getting together with friends (both mine and the kids') regularly
d) working on my business

It seems like whenever I really focus on one of those things, everything else falls by the wayside. For quite a while I was going to the gym 6 days/week and eating pretty healthy. Since I began really focusing on Sarah & Abraham, my gym visits have gotten less and less frequent, my ice cream consumption has increased significantly, and I've gained about 10 pounds.

When I make it a priority to prepare fresh, healthy meals that my family will eat without complaint, that effort seems to take up an extraordinary amount of time.

When I make it a priority to get together with friends, go to playgroups, and do fun stuff with the kids during the week, there doesn't seem to be much time for anything else.

So what's my point? Well, just that I really plan to make this whole "figuring out a balance" thing a priority for 2008. Surely there's a way to make it all work. I always thought that I enjoyed "taking each day as it comes", but I probably really do need to create a schedule and stick to it - something my husband has been suggesting for about 3 years now.

I'll keep you posted on my progress... and advice from anyone who has it figured out (or is getting close to figuring it out) would be welcomed!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I've been thinking that I really need to have a website so I can do search engine optimization and hopefully bring a lot more visitors to my Etsy shop. So I created one this morning, and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. It's not much more than a portal to my shop and blog, but I think it's a good start.

Oh, I also designed a new print this morning...

Okay, time to step away from the computer and go see what the kids are up to!

Monday, December 10, 2007

new design

A couple of weeks ago I submitted my site to one of my favorite blogs, Cool Mom Picks, and yesterday I heard back from Kristen, the co-founder and editor of the blog. Her son's having a birthday next month, so I'm sending her some sample goody bag tags. She said that her husband's a pilot, and I've been meaning to create some airplane/truck/train designs, so this is what I came up with for her...
And this is the new 8x8 personalized print that I'm going to post on Etsy today:

I think that being featured on Cool Mom Picks would be huge for me, but even if that doesn't work out, it feels good to be working on some new designs again!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

kindness of strangers

When I first joined Etsy I was hesitant to post in the forums, but I went ahead and posted for the first time on November 19th asking for advice for my shop. The response was overwhelmingly positive (and a much needed ego boost!) Since then I've gotten more and more comfortable posting in various forums on Etsy, and I really enjoy it. I'm continually amazed at what a kind, supportive community it is, how quickly everyone responds to questions and how eager everyone is to help.

Yesterday I posted in a forum where everyone was critiquing each other's shops (my favorite topic!), and I received an incredibly uplifting comment from a fellow Etsian. She said, "...your stuff looks like something out of a designer baby catalog (like Pottery Barn Kids) and somehow including your style in your shop might help link you to buyers. i love it--classic colors and simple elegant pictures/graphics." It was such a thrill to hear someone compare my designs to Pottery Barn Kids - exactly the look I was going for!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

some Etsy favorites

I've been meaning for a while now to post some of my favorite things on Etsy so far. One of the first shops I came across when I started on Etsy that I fell in love with right away was Belle and Boo. This is one of my favorite prints, which I purchased for my daughter's bedroom:
The artwork at Sarah Jane Studios has a similar feel - both artists do such an amazing job of capturing the sweet innocence of childhood. I'd like to purchase one of these prints, too, but I haven't been able to decide on my favorite yet.

Yesterday I came across a shop called Nest Pretty Things that sells all kinds of beautiful whimsical creations including paper goods, bags, jewelry, dream catchers, magnets, and fairy crowns (my daughter will need one of those for her 3rd birthday for sure!) Here's a lovely fabric wreath:

Tamar, the artist behind Nest Pretty Things also has a blog where she's posted some photos from her house. Her house is so full of artwork and beautiful colors - VERY different from my style, but exactly how I'd like my home to look if I could just empty out my house and start all over.

And then there are these little needle felted animals. I can't even begin to explain how much I love these (or why!?) The first time I saw them was on Martha Stewart when a woman named Jenn Docherty was demonstrating how she makes them. She has a shop on Etsy, as does Lauren Alane who made the ones below, but so far I haven't seen any of their creations for sale because they always sell out as soon as they're posted.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

the big move

We've spent the past few days clearing out the playroom, buying office furniture, and finally moving everything out of the "cloffice". I can't tell you how happy I am to be out of there! I converted the closet in our dining room to a workspace in 2005 to have somewhere to keep all the computer stuff away from the kids, the idea being that I only used the computer occasionally to check email and pay bills.

It worked out great for a while, but this 3' x 5' space became way too cramped when I started spending more and more time in there working on Sarah & Abraham.
So we converted what used to be a playroom into an office with workspace for me, workspace for my husband, who also does a lot of work from home, and a crafting area for the kids. I love how it turned out!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

decoupage artwork

I came across a shop on Etsy yesterday called Wee San Francisco that sells beautiful decoupage artwork:

I've had something like this in mind for a long time (to illustrate Bible story scenes using paper cutouts), but had never seen anything like this before. So this has given me new inspiration. A while ago I found these QuicKutz shapes that I could probably use for a few different stories:I'd like to use a die cutting system if possible so I don't have to charge as much (the woman behind Wee San Francisco cuts every shape by hand and charges $100 - 200 for the artwork above). So I need to find out if there's any problem with selling products made with QuicKutz, but right now their website is down for maintenance.

In the meantime, please leave a comment and let me know what you think of this idea. Thanks!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

I asked my son, Jack, this morning what he's thankful for, and his answer was, "All the beautiful colors that God made for flowers. And dogs and cats and birds and condors." I thought that was such a great answer, and it really gave me a lot to think about. I get so wrapped up in things that don't really matter and never stop to appreciate the small things like "all the beautiful colors." Thanks for the insight, Jack!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

if only I could sew

These are some examples of the many other products I've found online that I'm consistently drawn to. I'd love to be able to make these types of things, especially if I could relate them to maybe Bible stories or religion in some way. But alas, I think I'm better off, for now at least, sticking to paper and printed materials. I've never enjoyed sewing or working with fine details, as much I wish I did.

Wee Wonderfuls:Jenn Docherty:
Summer Salt Designs:

Jakc Designs:

Modern Nursery:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

my first customer

My friend, Rita, bought the framed "Starry Night" trio of prayers for her son, Owen's, bedroom and was kind enough to send me this picture of it in his room. Thank you, Rita!

Monday, November 19, 2007

the original idea

My original idea was to create religious-themed wall decor for nurseries and children's bedrooms that would fit in with the modern "Pottery Barn Kids look". These are some of the nurseries that served as inspiration for me:
In the early days I spent almost every day creating new designs, and scrapping most of them. But lately I've been so consumed with administrative stuff and logistics (incorporating, insurance, accounting, website domain, Etsy shop, marketing, etc.) that I've completely stopped creating new designs. Now that the operational stuff seems to be mostly in place and running smoothly, I'd really like to get back to creating some new designs.


For the past several months I've been working on starting up a new business, Sarah & Abraham, and now it seems the time has come to start a blog. I'll try to post regularly - please check in from time to time, and don't be shy with your comments. I'd love to hear from you!