What Fuels You?

whatfuelsyou

Aside from caffeine, right? Of course, that is going thru your veins.

But what gets you out of bed and even head to said coffee? For me, it is my son. I became a SAHM one month before my son was born. I wanted to get ready to be at home and nest and get everything ready. Flash forward to having to buy a bassinet 2 weeks into Ben being born haha.

I knew I wanted to stay home with him. What I didn’t know, was how lonely I was going to be. My husband worked long hours, my own mom lived 100 miles away at the time and my mother in law had a job and my sister in law had her own two kids. So I was starting this very new life and I felt really disconnected.
I worked in retail for a LONG time where every single day I was interacting with people, that said more often than not, they were assholes but still, I was interacting.
Humans are social. I am loud, but shy, but social. I am also the random person who may muster the courage to compliment a stranger. And seeing that stranger LIGHT UP, after a small honest compliment, lights me up! Is there a job where I can compliment people all day? If there isn’t, there should be.

Ok, so how could I interact with people from home with a baby? Grocery store? Sure where I look like a zombie and trying not to scream at screaming baby. Eh? maybe not.

Life and the universe has indeed given me the resources to do just what I wanted. I am connecting to people through designing fun, inappropriate and encouraging decals for mugs.
So here is my struggle this week, be careful what you ask for right? So I have this way to connect to people but I have also attached a financial burden to this because it is a shop and takes money to run. But the root of that is this fear that if  I am not making money, I am not doing it right or like I am failing.
But REALLY, every post, every like on IG except the bots, those people are connecting with something. Maybe they are even smiling at something I have posted.
THAT is what fuels me. That is what I was yearning for when I was so alone.

The financial stuff is me having to have self-discipline and being smart with my money because here I am at 28 and
still am an idiot with my money.

Connecting with people and making people feel good, that is what fuels me. I do it easily every day with my husband and my son. I am a nurturer first, a profit-er last. I put this pressure on myself and it gets so bad that I feel like everyone else is putting that pressure on too which is Bullshit.
If you are stuck, I suggest going back to what fuels you? What keeps you going? How do remind yourself of that when shit gets tough? Please tell me in the comments!

trustyourjourney

 

When I first started putting words on mugs, I needed some inspiration so I posted on facebook asking people what some of their favorite sayings were. I got a great response and this one, in particular, has always stuck with me. I have probably styled it 20 different ways because nothing seems to do it justice.

Recently, I have struggled with this kind of trust. Everything seems to weigh down and there is no light at the end of the tunnel and it feels like everything is falling apart.

As it may seem that way, I still wake up every day. I still go thru the motions of what I need to do, want to do, am expected to do. Day in and day out. The amazing thing is that nothing is permanent. So what seems like the end of the world today, in 3 weeks or 3 months or 3 years, will be resolved.

The calm that comes over me when I think about things that have happened and that I have already gone thru, how happy I am that those things are over, that is the calm I wish I had while the shit is happening. Trusting your journey means that the bad times will not last forever, but at the same time, nor will the good.

I truly believe in appreciating the good for however long it lasts but knowing that it will not last forever, and trying to endure the bad knowing in my heart that I will grow from this and it too will not last forever.

Once we get thru an obstacle, it is the biggest relief and we want to bury it, be done with it.

But remembering how good it felt to get thru that thing, might help us trust and have faith that whatever the current thing is, will end too and we will eventually feel that way again.

 

Hysterical Twist on Waking Up, Working Out and Being Awesome

There is a lot of stuff going on in the world today and none of it do I feel particularly smart enough to talk about. So I am not.

This post is about trying to not take it too seriously and I know that there is stuff to take seriously and I know amazing people are working hard to fight for what is right.

I mean more closely, not taking our day to day lists and agendas and jobs too seriously. I mean simply loving those who are close to up more, extra hugs and kisses. More attempts at making smile or even better, laugh deeply.

Laughing with the people you love makes time stop. Watching their face light up with pure joy and excitement is the best feeling in the world for me.

In homage to not taking life too seriously and continuing a streak of putting insane words on mugs, I present to you Craziest Mug Yet

Did you look?

Are you totally embarrassed? Mad? Shocked? Find it funny? I HOPE with everything you at least let the emotions wave over you and ended with a smile.

First of all, if you are a woman and embarrassed, don’t be! Here is a great article explaining why! Healthy and Fun

I just looked at all the these “Wake up, Work Out, Be awesome” designs and for someone like me, who doesn’t work out, who hates working out, LOATHES working out, I wanted something with a twist. You can be awesome without working out, right?

I sure as fuck hope so!

Besides, what better twist than a little self-love?

Still burns calories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Save your Phone for Family

I recently had a mentor session with something who has had her own business for 3 years and never knew how to use her camera for product photography. She was using her phone and getting by that way but really wanted to up her quality.

I understand in a pinch, using your phone. It is always there, it is immediately post-able. But you owe it yourself to have high-quality photos of your products or even your kids.

If you have had a camera for a while and your love to set it on auto, you are missing out. There are a couple awesome principles that once you learn, you will never need auto setting again and you will have more control of your photos!

After struggling and reaching out to me,

this is what she said:

“Well, today I enlisted the expert services of Shirley. She came to my home (thankfully she is local to me) and actually showed me how to work my camera the proper way. How to read the settings and how to NOT use the auto mode. She took the time to take demo photos of my glass (which is a challenge itself) and make sure I understood what each setting meant, and how it affected the photo.

I can proudly say that tonight, for the first time ever, I had consistent results with my pictures. I did not have to take 50 pictures of one item just to get one good on. I took a handful of each and they all looked great. I have never been so happy with my camera, and for the first time, I am not dreading taking pictures of everything again. If you are shooting on auto with your camera, or you just struggle and don’t understand your camera, I highly highly highly recommend taking a mentor session with Shirley. Money well spent!!!!”

I am so excited that she is well on her way to take her own great photos. So this is a great option if shipping your items to me to is just out of the question, I get it!

If we video chat and I can see your space and your camera, then I can as hands on as possible set you up for success!

 

You learn Everything for a Reason

I went to high school for graphic design but we also had to take printing classes. In that printing class, we made notebooks and I remember that being awesome.

But my favorite assignment was making our own font. Being in graphic design, I loved fonts and I knew how important fonts were before those funny font memes came out.

I wished I remember exactly what we did and how we did it but I do not. So I use Fontbundles a lot and jump on their packages or free fonts of the week.

When I first started graphic designing again, specifically for making things for coffee mugs, it made me feel very vulnerable to make it and put it out there. As a photographer, I didn’t have the same vulnerability because whatever I was capturing, I didn’t make.

So I use my fonts and phrases and I try to make them funny or inspirational but at the end of the day, people may not like it. A lot of what I do is then turned into a mock up so I do not waste a mug or the vinyl and there are people who do not like mock-ups at all and need to see that real deal.

I just got an order today for a design that I am so happy with. But when I revealed it in my FB sale group, it didn’t get the reaction I was hoping for. By that I mean it got no reaction at all. Well, I listed it on Etsy anyways and I shared it on IG and someone said they HAD to have it.

theplacesillgo

People say that a lot, but this same person actually bought it today. So I had the satisfaction of MAKING it today. Seeing an idea go from your head to your computer, to real life in front of your face?! This is a personal victory for me.

In high school, I put all my eggs into one boy basket. In college, I had no idea that I would end up hating what I was doing. All my years in retail, were awful. Just awful. Then becoming a wife and a mom, I love taking care of my family but something was still missing, something for me. What made my soul happy? This is it guys.

I love putting funny shit on coffee mugs. As simple as it sounds. I love designing, I love hand applying the vinyl to the mug. I hope there is enough room out there for me because I do not want to stop!

If you would like to see my mug shop you can go here MamabirdMugs

Photos Matter

I cannot tell you how sad it makes me when I see handmade work photographed poorly. Or anything you are trying to sell photographed poorly.

Listen, photographs are what keep people looking, stop them in their tracks, contemplate the item. Can they see it in their home? Is it photographed for an online store or Craigslist?

I am not knocking Craiglist either, it has its purpose. But if you are going to open up a shop, your photographs should be better than Craigslist.

Do you need to buy fancy lights and a $5,000 camera? No. I 100% do not think that is necessary. But you DO need to know what looks good and what doesn’t look good.

These are photographs straight from Anthropologies website. Yes, that is a major company. But just look. Consistent backgrounds, consistent lighting, the feeling you get is these are already in your kitchen and you cannot wait to use them OR maybe that is just me.

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And these are from a random Etsy shop. So already we see the difference. Yellow tints, dark shadows, plants in the background. I gather that this shop owner is a reseller of vintage items which is awesome but the photographs look like what you might see on craigslist.

And if you do not believe me, these are from Craigslist.

Screen Shot 2017-02-02 at 2.07.05 PM.png

See what I mean? The difference is one is just for getting rid of and the other is a place of E-commerce. Maybe you are trying to make a living that way. So there should be differences between Etsy photos are Craigslist photos.

I offer product photography services to help you get images like these.

A white background is classic. It makes the photograph all about your item. If you made it or not, if you are trying to sell it, photograph it the best way possible. If you or someone you know could use some help in the department. I offer product photography services here Product Photography Service, also, if you have a set up and a camera but are having trouble make it all work together, I also offer Photography Mentor Video Chat sessions.

Change to Save the Change

Wednesday! The last Wednesday of January 2017. What? Yes, there is only one week left until February. January was a month full of lessons learned for me. I will be very honest here. When I was in my younger day and working full time, I did not know how to budget or how to save money.

Here I am, 28 years old, turns out I still do not know how to budget or save money. I learned this the super hard way by being THIS close (how else do you show that gesture) to not being able to pay for my son’s school tuition next month.

(Thankfully I get to tell my husband that after 2 sales in the Etsy shop, I WILL be able to pay this month!)

Before that, I already told my husband I was short and he assured me not to worry, it would get paid. But I felt so disappointed in myself that I wasn’t paying attention. That I did not keep better track of my balance. I was even closer to over drafting people. I felt the same way I did when I was working full time and living pay check to pay check. Being scared to open utility bills and avoiding phone calls.

But this time it is not just me I am working for.

It is for my son. My son LOVES school. He is really thriving in it. His teachers love him, some moms tell me that their kids talk about my kid all the time at home. He has friends, he loves the activities they do.

It is a Methodist Preschool and my son has come home praying and with little Jesus figures, most beloved is his baby Jesus made out of a sock. He carries it with him around the house.

That said, my husband and I are not too classicly religious. He was raised Catholic and now is an Athiest and I am Buddhist. So I have looked other schools that are more academic based than a religion based.

And in my research it occurred to me if I had trouble saving the tuition for his school now, I would definitely have trouble saving the tuition of other schools because, holy crap, they are expensive.

Odds are, we will keep him in this school. Because he loves his teachers, and he loves his friends. AND I would like him to learn about other religions so that when he is old he can make it own choices.

But still, that doesn’t take away from I need to get my butt in gear about this money karma I have. I need to stay on top of myself.

So if you have any awesome, proven to work money saving tips, please share them in the comments below!