speak up for yourself

 

speak up for yourself - bluebirdchic.com

One of those big things I’ve been working on lately is the ability to speak up for myself confidently. It’s never been a strong suit for me – I’m an extroverted introvert – you know, I can relate to people, but my natural habitat is curled up with a book, joking around with one or two friends, or sitting behind a computer screen typing a blog post.

Busted.

These past few months I (and we, as a family) made it our mission to get out and about, connect with people, chat, talk, CONNECT. Along with all of that connecting comes the inevitable, dreaded question: “so what is it exactly that you DO?” I’ve gotten better about formulating an answer for this questions, but I still have lots to learn. This even came up when I attended quilt market. I actually met the creative director of my favorite fabric company, and I blew it.

Yep. I stammered a bit. (Unusual for me.) I hemmed and hawed and  generally made a fool of myself. Sigh. I’m normally very self possessed and assured. But not this time. And it got me thinking about why.

speak up for yourself - bluebirdchic.com

I had actually started reading Show Your Work by Austin Kleon on the plane while I traveled. Unfortunately for me, I hadn’t gotten this far. Had I come to these few pages, it might have saved me from making an absolute goob of myself.

See, it’s important for you to value your work. And part of that is to speak up for yourself.

I struggle with this myself.

But as I’m branching in to different fields of work, art, and study, I’m learning the importance of being able to “make a pitch.” I’ve got tremendous value to offer, and the only way it will ever be tapped is if I learn to present it to others. It’s kind of like cupping your hands and filling them with a big pile of beautiful things your are, and have, and do. If I stand and hold them, people may pass by and show interest, a few may inquire, but I will never tap the full potential of what I’m capable of. I don’t have to stand on a soapbox yelling. I don’t have to throw them at you. I just need to look you confidently in the eye, and say, “This is worth it. And I’ll prove it to you.”

Please, please consider picking up this book. I’m only beginning to understand the impact it’s having on me. I feel inspired and encouraged. The author, Austin Kleon, has a great interview here sharing the importance of self promotion as an artist – the topic of Show Your Work.

studio space tour

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{the view as you walk in door of our home}

I’m back! Things got super busy this week – I received a last minute commission from Mollie Makes magazine for an article and project for their June issue, and with wrapping things up in the studio remake, and coming down with a nasty headcold, um, blogging fell through the cracks. Which I dislike. Greatly. Because I love posting. But things are sliding back into place after a bit of chaos, and actually, since the studio space got a bit more finished in the process, I’m definitely coming ahead (or maybe just catching up?) – wonder of wonders!

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I’m sharing my studio space on the jbs inspiration blog today. If you want to see a peek at what it looked like before I started the update, you can check out this post here. It was such a mess. So overstuffed with – well… stuff. I still have a very small pile of things that I’m sorting, purging, and dealing with storage for, but overall, I’ve gotten rid of a TON of stuff. And found out that I didn’t really need it. One of my goals for this year is to really streamline and clean up my process for doing things. I want to become more efficient. As time passes, we’re only becoming more busy as a family, and being able to keep my work manageable is really important to me. (Isn’t it for everyone? Ha!)

My studio space is located in part of our largest living area of our home. It’s a really large, and odd shaped room – the closest shape I can liken it to is the number “7”. Turn that “7” one rotation to the left, and the little elbow corner is where my studio space is found. The longest arm has our living room, and the shorter portion has a small dining space and my printer.

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The space above my standing work counter is reserved for a rotating series of handmade artwork and inspiring quotes. There are definitely days when this help me push through to get the things done that I need to!

Everything is very well lit – with one wall of the entire room being floor to ceiling, wall to wall sliding glass doors – 24′ by 8′ high. I made the decision to hang curtains for privacy at night, but I love the natural light so much, that I pull them open and loop them together during the day.

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To the very left I have a small desk space where I keep my laptop for blogging, website stuff, photo editing, and shop management. I absolutely adore the change from the latte tan color on the walls to white. The contrast of the espresso brown furniture with the white makes my heart happy.

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And the raskog cart from IKEA matched the curtain on my standing counter perfectly, even though that counter has had the curtain for years. I guess you can tell that’s one of my favorite colors! The cigar box may look funny, but it holds all of my cords for electronics. It’s the perfect way to neatly tuck them away when they’re not in use.

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My standing counter is used for packaging and shipping. And when I have scrapbooking projects or artwork that I’m working on, I love to stand when I do it. The curtain hides several supply boxes, my camera bag, and a rolling tote for scrapbooking. I’ve also got finished stock for my etsy shop stashed away.

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I’m super happy with the change here, as well – this counter is another favorite piece that I’ve had for around, oh, 15 years? Previously it was a light, stained, blonde wood.

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Just to the right of my standing counter, you’ll find my vintage cabinets and sewing station. I have spray paint all picked out and waiting to change the cabinets to a lovely, light, aquaish blue. The weather just didn’t permit this past two weeks to get them finished in time for this post. Oddly enough, this time of year is usually very dry, but we experienced regular downpours the last month.

All of my scrapbooking papers are in organizers on the shelf, with punches in a basket on the lower shelf. Embellishments are in boxes to the right, and office supplies are stored in the cupboards. I debated getting rid of the cabinets for something new, but I really do love them, so decided to just update the color a bit.

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My sewing station is a simple camp table (shh! Don’t tell!). I’ve covered it in a tablecloth made from heavy home decor fabric from IKEA. The extra long sides help me to hide other things under the table out of site. We have a huge, dark brown basket that holds all of the boys’ school books and a few other supplies. I have looked at other long wooden tables, but I really need something kind of small, and love that I have hide things below with the cloth. I also keep my Silhouette Cameo on the table here, and just carry my laptop over to connect when I need to.

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Across the room, behind the dining table, you’ll find the wireless printer and a storage shelf with lot of fabric. I have another storage shelf like this (only twice as large in our master bedroom). This wall is STILL waiting for it’s new white color. Now that I have almost everything sorted out, I can easily pull these furniture pieces away from the wall to add the new color.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this little tour around my studio/work space! And maybe gained a few ideas for your own. I’m a really big believer in starting where you are with what you have. Make the best of everything you have. Most of my space is very simple and inexpensive, with a sleek, chic finish. Just the way I like it. It’s a comfortable and inspiring space now that I’ve cleaned out the excess.

And don’t forget to stop by my previous post and leave a comment for a chance to win the set of Jenni Bowlin studio stencils!

 

papergoods shop update

bluebirdchic_hollyleaves{stitched wool felt holly leaves}

Stopping in this afternoon with a small papegoods shop update! I had a lot of fun putting these products together, and I hope you love them as much as I do!

bluebirdchic_mistletoeleaves2{mistletoe/succulent leaves}

I gotta say it. I love leaves. I guess maybe because I love to garden. And I’m not really fond lots of flowers for embellishment. A nice vase of fresh ones on my table? Big thumbs up. I even spent a summer working in a florist’s shop in high school. But I always seem to be searching out simple leaves for my paper projects to no avail.

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You can see these in action in the above project. I love the subtle texture they add. You can see the full project in this post.

bluebirdchic_deckhalls{deck the halls scrapbook flair}

And a few new sets of scrapbook flair! Yay! They all feature hand drawn chalkboard art by me, and are printed using a laser printer for better quality and high durability.

bluebirdchic_santashelper2{santa’s helper}

I had to sneak the decorated antlers in there…

bluebirdchic_winter{winter scrapbook flair}

For those of us crazy people that actually love the winter. Yes, that would be me!

bluebirdchic_wonder{star of wonder scrapbook flair}

 

bluebirdchic_brilliantideas_moleskine{brilliant ideas moleskine journal}

And I’ve listed a few of these in the shop if you’re not DIY inclined and would just love a small gift for someone for the holidays!

Happy Friday!

new update: wholesale is coming to the papercrafting shop

bluebirdchic_wholesale_flair

I’m so excited to announce that wholesale pricing and quantities are coming to the papercrafting shop! I have things all worked out with my supplier (another work from home mom), and we’re moving forward in the coming weeks. I absolutely love the quality of her work – just one of the many reasons that I’ve chosen to work with her is that she prints her designs using a laser printer. The colors are fabulous, and laser printing is much more permanent than inkjet inks.

I really am seriously excited about this! It’s been on my mind off and on since the start of the year, and now it’s happening. Yay!

Keep an eye out here for samples of my upcoming flair sets that will be available, and more news regarding wholesale availability. Custom exclusive designs will also be available if you’re a scrapbook or mixed media kit company that wants to collaborate on something special for your monthly kits! Yay for stretching and growing! ^_^

If you’re a retailer or owner of a scrapbook or mixed media kit club that’s interested in the upcoming details, feel free to email me at bluebirdchic @ gmail.com, and I’ll be sure to add you to the wholesale newsletter list!

what I’m reading – Lean In {on embracing imperfection}

 

bluebirdchic_onperfection

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have a serious perfectionist streak.  But I have to admit, this was a lesson that I learned a few years ago, and have totally embraced it – particularly the quote on the right.  Decide when it matters to be a perfectionist, and when it doesn’t. In work quality? Yes. Do I make sure that everything that I attach my name to and my company name to has the highest level of quality I can give? Absolutely.

That birthday cake for our boys? Not so much. Put the time and effort in to make it the best you can in the time that you have, and call it good. Sometimes “done is better than perfect.” (a quote from a few pages later) No, the laundry isn’t all always done, the dinners sometimes run late, and yes, I discover stains on shirts as we’re about to walk out the door.  But I have taken the time in my life to decide what’s important to me and my family, and sometimes we call it good. Give yourself permission to be less than perfect sometimes.

I haven’t finished Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg yet, but every time I pick it up it speaks so strongly to the things in my heart. It whispers to me, “It’s ok. This path you’ve chosen, it’s the right one for you and your family. This is who you are, and they love you for it, and even embrace who you are, too. So many of the things she addresses are things that I’ve noticed or learned myself over the years, and just to hear another woman say out loud that she sees the same things, and experiences the same things is reassuring.

In one chapter, she offers great advice on couples meeting each other halfway and supporting each other. A huge part of any man or woman’s successful juggling of life and careers is their ability to share the home side of responsibilities. Laundry, cleaning, meals, school projects and activities for children all need to be addressed together as a team. I’m so thankful that I have a partner in life that truly supports my efforts and cheers for my success. Even if it means he sometimes spends an hour+ late at night folding laundry that I’ve sorted, washed and dried during the day. Bottom line: it’s a team effort. And couples that face life as a team are stronger, closer, and happier. And guess what? Their children are often times happier, stronger, and more responsible as adults, too.

She will tell you right up front that there is no one right path for every woman. You need to decide in your heart what’s best for you and your family. It’s not your job to judge or decide for anyone else. But choosing a career path isn’t bad – it doesn’t make you a bad mom or wife – and let’s be honest, sometimes we need that note of reassurance.

new flair buttons in the shop

I have to say, I love the look and feel of these canvas button sets. They came out just the way I pictured them, and that’s always exciting! This canvas style is also available for custom order – just contact me through the paper goods shop and we can chat about colors and available fonts! ^_^

I’m slowly filling in more and more designs! I’m planning to order several more sets of flair this weekend. I’m looking to design a set in traditional Christmas colors, and one in jewel tones! And maybe one in just silvers, golds and black for a really chic look that will match lots.

Here’s what’s available now:

And one non Christmas set – geeking out:

There’s lots more to come in the upcoming year for this portion of my business! I’m so excited with by the things I’m checking into regarding stamps and printing.

a peek at my studio space

Some of you may already know that I do a lot of scrapbooking. I really love it, and have been blessed to work alongside some of the best companies in the industry to promote their products!

As a part of that, I work on the contributing design team for American Crafts. Part of my assignments for this past month was to share a bit about my creative space and answer a few interview style questions.

It’s a busy place – and never quite “clean”, since I’ve always got something going on! You can check out the post here.

Happy Weekend!

news – papercrafting shop, new camera strap covers, poppytalk handmade, and a fun sponsorship

I’m still getting the newsletter sorted and set up, so for now, I’m still posting new things here!

papercraft shop – I’m so excited to be getting the papercraft goods shop off the ground – it’s set up, but needs a few tweaks and little things like a banner, etc., before I can start listing items – most likely that will all happen in August for sure. But – there is progress, I’m telling you! I’ve got some fun flair buttons designs and a bunch of other things I’m really excited about that will be going up there! I’ll be sure to have the newsletter fully up and running before that’s all settled.

handmade shop – LOTS of new listings today! Stop by the shop and check them out. They’re all summer themed, and the colors and patterns are like a breath of fresh air!  I really can’t pick a favorite! I still have a few chevron styles that are in progress and will be listed soon, as well.

While I was listing items I couldn’t decide on a name for this one, and it was SO fun to open it up with a post on the facebook page! We settled on “Watermelon” and I couldn’t agree more!

 poppytalk handmade‘s “on the road” market is up and it’s LOVELY. I’ll be updating my listings with the new styles this evening!

And last but not least, I am so honored to have been invited to sponsor Chic Critique’s Autumn Cover Contest! I’m joining other fabulous sponsors Epiphanie Bags, Totally Rad Actions, and The Shoppe Designs. If you’re a photographers, and you’re looking to showcase you’re skills, this might be your chance!

I feel like I have ten million things that I could blog about, but  I’ve been too busy doing to write about them! I DO want to take the time to write out my recipe for peach/cherry jam soon – it has been such a hit around here!

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer as much as I am – so many fresh veggies, gardening, fun projects, and lots of swimming {I try to take the boys down for a couple of hours every other day to burn out that energy! Whew!}

 

Have a lovely Monday!

~ Leah