Wednesday, August 7, 2013


Hi Sports Fans!

It is time for my summer vacation. Usually, I take the full month of August off. Just from the blog. And this year will not be an exception.

Usually about this time of the year, I have been blessed with some wedding orders & pretty much ignored my retail business. If I don't schedule this time away from the blog, I will never get back to it. For the next month, I'll be working on new designs, updating old ones, preparing for the fall & holiday seasons. And who knows what else.

I'll also be recharging my batteries. My creative batteries that is. Time away from this blog gives me ideas for posts, products & projects I want to take on. It is SO. IMPORTANT to have this time. I ALMOST didn't take it this year. For the first time since I started this blog, I'm actually a little afraid of the radio silence. I could just write a bunch of posts & schedule them, which would keep my traffic up. But, I have to be honest. I need a break. Even though the industry advice is to have 2 weeks of posts in your back pocket, by this time of the year, my pockets are empty. And Mama needs a break.

So! I'll see you back here, starting with a Tuesday Talk on September 3rd. Anyone else getting away before "back to school?" Bonne vacances!

PS Don't forget you can check in on me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tuesday Talk :: Cheeky Kumquat

Welcome to a new Tuesday feature! Once a month, I'll be posting Tuesday Talk - a conversation between me & (usually) another stationery/paper person. We will talk paper. We'll talk life!

It is the first Tuesday in August & therefore time for another installment of Tuesday Talk! Let me introduce you to Rain Folson of Cheeky Kumquat. Actually, I introduced her in June in this Paper Porn post leading up to Father's Day. We've been messaging back & forth ever since. She is hilarious, refreshing & I am freakin' pumped to get to know her a little better.

Let's chew the fat!

Rain is an unusual name. Is it short for anything? How did your parents choose it? Did you give your daughter an equally unique name?
It actually is not short for anything; though I get that question a lot.  When I introduce myself to people I usually just give them a “Rain, like the weather” to avoid inevitable confusion.  No story behind the name (I was born in the winter, not the spring); my mom just wanted something different (though it did lead to some choruses of “rain, rain, go away” as a child).  

My husband and I actually could not come to any sort of an agreement on a name for our daughter, so we finally just narrowed it down and picked randomly – the name we selected was Adelaide, which is just different enough I think, but hopefully not make-fun-worthy.
You live in Seattle. Are you from the West Coast?
 I am originally from the Midwest; my husband still makes fun of my accent (which I can’t hear at all).  I’ve been in the Seattle area for about five years and am just starting to eliminate certain phrases/words from my vocabulary – it was pretty hilarious the looks I got when I first moved here and would ask people where the nearest “Tyme Machine” or “bubbler” was.   

Tell us something NOT in your Etsy profile
I have a master’s degree in history and am licensed as a teacher, though prior to having my daughter I worked in the financial industry, go figure. 
I didn't see that coming. History degree is definitely not in your profile. When did you start making cards?
I just started making cards after my daughter was born; I had actually never been much of a card person until we started getting requests from family for photos of Adelaide.  I didn’t want to just put photos in an envelope, and I’m not a big fan of store-bought cards, so I started making my own cards to house the photos and found that I really enjoyed doing it.  I got some nice compliments on them and people started telling me that I should sell them.  A few months ago, I finally took their advice and am so happy I did. 

Where did your store name come from? I love it by the way. Cheeky Kumquat is hard to forget.
When I was pregnant and we first started telling family, my daughter was apparently the size of a kumquat, so we just started referring to her as “the kumquat.”  When trying to pick a name for the shop it just kept popping into my head, and I liked that she would be given a shout out if I used it in some manner. 

{ya'll...Rain & her husband MADE THIS!!}

I know that you love create more than cards. What is your latest DIY or craft project? Is there any particular place you get ideas for them?
Which project should I talk about??  Our whole house is under a constant state of renovation.   The project we will hopefully be starting soon is building a table for the dining room.  That might turn into a total disaster, but it will be fun trying.  At least I hope it will be.

I love,, and; they are the source of much home inspiration from me.  Great DIY projects for cheap and beautiful homes to aspire to!  Now I just need time…

On the table above: The DIY photos are a table that my husband and I worked on together - we bought an unfinished butcher block table, I drew the designs, my husband used a wood burner to burn them into the table, and then we added colored stain for the final effect.  It was based on a design we saw in a store, but the table was like $6000, so we figured we'd try it ourselves.  Cost about $140 in materials and now we can say we did it ourselves!

I laugh out loud when I read your cards. They are hilarious. Can you tell us about your creative process? What do you do when you’re creatively stuck?
Not much of a process… a lot of the cards came directly from things my husband says to me or I say to him: “Thanks for putting up with me” is one I hear from him all the time, whereas he likes to remind me that I am nicer when I am not hungry (hence, “I’m sorry I snapped at you when I had low blood sugar” and “I love you, but I like you better on a full stomach.”  What can I say?  An empty stomach makes me cranky). 

I have ongoing lists of new ideas everywhere – the phone, computer, notepads, etc.  I usually write ideas down and then wait a few weeks before I post them online to see if I still think they’re funny.  If I’m feeling stuck in a rut I will usually watch movies or read books and try to glean some humor from them.

{I sent this one to my best friend this year - Funny Birthday Card - Light That Sh-t Up. Bday card. Happy Birthday}

Other than your own stash, where do you go for greeting cards?
I haven’t bought a card from a store in years, but I actually have a few favorite shops on Etsy, with a mix of pretty and funny cards:

Thinc (hilarious!!)

Where do you like to shop online?
Etsy, of course!  And then it’s typically only for gifts.  I honestly don’t do much shopping at all, except for necessity.  That’s what happens when you’re basically a single-income family with a toddler in preschool and a home in constant need of repair… I will usually set aside money each month with the intention of finally buying myself a couple new items of clothing, but usually end up spending it on a light fixture or plants for the garden.  My husband thinks I dress like a hobo, but there is nothing better than a well-worn-in pair of jeans.
A hobo?? Haha! Plans for the remainder of 2013? Beyond? Any new cards coming out soon??
No grand plans for the remainder of the year – I opened a Cheeky booth at a farmer’s market a few weeks ago and am having a great time doing that.  It’s such a fun way to spend a Saturday and all of the other vendors are so friendly and supportive of one another.   I hope to join up with a couple other markets over the next several months now that I know what to expect and have all of the supplies to set up a tent.

As for new cards, I actually have about 15 drafts that I just need a chance to finalize and post.  I’m hoping to have the new cards up in the next several weeks if preparations for my daughter’s fourth birthday don’t take over my life…

Sounds like some party! Thank you so much for participating in my tiny corner of the internet! As I said, you are hilarious, refreshing, down to earth & all of that comes across in your card shop. I really appreciate your relaxed approach to the creative process. So refreshing! Wait I think I already said that...

The rest of you! Run over to check out Rain's shop! and definitely give her Facebook page a visit. Scoot!!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Notepads, Pricing + Why you should place your order now.

I love listing new products! I love getting the idea, working on a demo, watching & nurturing my idea as it comes to life. Sometimes that happens over the course of many months. Sometimes an idea comes to me, how to produce it is clear & BOOM - it springs to life in a matter of days.

Notepads are something I've wanted to do for a while, but didn't jump into designing. I had other priorities. So, this winter, I made sure I finally sat down & put my ideas on paper...literally. I had some samples made in April & made them available for sale at our Mother's Day Trunk Show & the Spring Handmade Cavalcade as a test.

GREAT response!! One small problem.

My notepads were a hit! In person, the standard, non-custom designs sold well & I had many inquiries about custom notepads. Online, those custom listings have taken off. YAY! (doing a little dance!!)

{cue the record scratch} I had a sickening thought. Am I charging correctly for these? I should double check. The answer was no.

So, now what?

Effective Thursday, August 15th a few things will change. First, the notepad prices on all sizes are going up. Not much! But, I do need to charge a bit more...From $14 to $16 for the large size and from $10 to $13.50 for the small. I am working hard to find another printer (think I have one!!) that will help me bring these costs back down on the regular retail pads.

The biggest difference will be in shipping. See...when I have a lot of one thing printed, it's cost effective not only to make, but to ship. Regular notepads will increase a hair to be $4 shipping and custom work will have to increase to $7 for standard First Class shipping on 1 notepad.

Why am I explaining? 

I talk about my creative process here on the blog all the time, but almost never discuss my business process. Who wants to focus on that? Personally I'd rather talk about the fun stuff! But! There is another side to what I do. If I'm not profitable, I'm not in business. So! In this case I'm giving you guys a little peek behind the business curtain. I don't like to raise prices. I rarely do it. But, in this case, it's a must.

So!! Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Don't go to jail either (Monopoly reference anyone?) - just go to my Etsy shop & get your notepads before August 15th!
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