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

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Finally! A High Five for Waking Up!

You know, when you are little, you get praised for everything.

Yay! you sat in the big boy chair! Yay! you didn’t make a mess at dinner! Yay! you built a block tower and pushed it over!

At least, as a mom, I feel like I praise everything my son does that doesn’t involve breaking something or touching something that could kill him.

Then somewhere along the line, we just do things because they are expected, then we get stuck doing them over and over and over and it stops or maybe never did feel good, right?

I read the Desire Map almost 2 years ago and I admit, I was lazy about most of the work but I have not stopped thinking about the principal lesson to be learned.

Do what feels good.

To do that, you have to realize how the things you are doing make you feel.

Photography makes me feel good. I love the camera, I love product photography, I love when clients love their photographs. And I especially love when those photos help their shops do better!!

But I didn’t love that it wasn’t my work. I wasn’t making anything. I have always had the desire to make with my hands, something I could look at and hold, something tangible.

I tried bookbinding, painting hahaha, yeah I am not blessed with those talents, guys.

I have always loved graphic design, that was my main focus in high school until the one time someone told me I took a good photograph.

Fonts, in particular, are indeed my fancy. I cannot explain it but I could try new fonts all day. All Day. Who doesn’t love a good font?!

It started with my Hello Sunshine design. I thought this would look super cute on a coffee mug.

bloggraphic

Your alarm goes off, maybe you hit snooze, so it goes off again. You open your eyes and see the day ahead of you, hopefully, it is a good one. Your feet hit the floor even tho, they so desperately want to stay tucked in those lovely blankets.

If you planned ahead, maybe you

hear your coffee brewing?

Even better, maybe you smell it. Ok, now we have some motivation to go into the kitchen and start our day. Open the cupboard, first decision of the day, what coffee mug will you use?

White? Cool floral design that you love but it’s weird to still have because it was a present from an ex? Zen design? Polka dots that were cute in Target but too busy at 6 am?

Then you see it, bright yellow, simple. With a greeting, Hello Sunshine. Hello, you think. Hello world, hello day, hello coffee.

Smile.

First smile of the day. And that leads to many more. Because of your coffee mug.

That is my mission. A little slice of happiness to start your mornings.

Please check out my Etsy shop and let’s make you a mug that will put a smile on that face!

Mamabird Mugs

Hello!

hellosunshineHappy Weekend People!

I hope you are surrounded by people you love doing things you love! I am currently surrounded by a napping toddler and husband. And playing around with some graphics.

This one is inspired by my love for watercolor calligraphy. I have finally started practicing, which is impressive. I have this thing where I fall in love with something, but then never actually doing said the thing. Anyways, I am working on it. While I am not happy enough with anything to share, I can digitally recreate what I am aiming for, and voila!

I am also gearing up for this week which includes an Intro to Buddhism meeting hosted by my district! Then a business meeting with other mompreneurs. Don’t you give me a squiggly red line, that is totally a word!

Then! The following weekend, I am giving a talk at Maker’s Rally about product photography. I hope to help at least one person learn one thing, or you know? Get a few laughs.

I know on the surface, it sounds like a shops photography is better off done by the shop maker. But it seems that their photographs they do not receive the same tender love and care as what they are making and selling.

If that is the case, online shoppers will never know how beautiful what you make really is. At first glance, they will see the yellow tint, dark shadows, and a gray unprofessional muddy background.

I know I can help. You love to make stuff, I love to photograph your stuff!

 

 

 

Cards, Cards Everywhere there’s Cards

cards

In January, I started this company. It feels so weird to use that word. Business? Not sure yet. I don’t know what it is.

The photo above is maybe 25 of a 500 card project. I was nervous to take it on, I was nervous to send a quote. But I did. And the universe brought me the most wonderful client. Flexible time frame, open communication. When we decided to change some things around, it was no problem and the end result was beautiful.

I have communicated every step of the way and as it nears an end, I am thinking, ok what is next?

But before I let myself go down the rabbit hole, I really just want to show appreciation for what the past few months have been. I have worked with 5 clients. 5! I’d say that is pretty gosh darn good.

Also, in August, I am speaking at Maker’s Rally in Georgia. Learn more about that here Maker’s Rally. I am hoping to help local makers by showing them that product photography doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. You have money to spend in other places. You do not need a fancy camera, lights. What you do need is time. Time time time. Did I say time?

One photograph of this card project went through at least 5 steps to get to the end result.

If having me shoot and edit your photos mean you get more time to make stuff and fulfill orders, let’s do it!

Do Something for You First!

I am writing this as my son starts to wake up from a nap. I see him on the monitor rolling around either trying to get comfortable again or deciding he isn’t tired anymore.

My days revolve around that little guy. I have managed to get yoga in 2 days in a row and read some.

I just started the Fire Starter Sessions from Danielle Laporte. I read the Desire Map last summer and it made a lot of sense to me but I have not quite applied it to my life.

The Fire Starter Sessions is aimed for people who have a business. I technically started a business in January this year. It is called Mamabird Studio. So far it has been a way for me to photograph products and share them with the world. I have done some work for 2 friends of mine who have their own Etsy shops and that has been spiritually rewarding. They are happy! It makes me happy to see them light up at images of their items they have put so much into.

Even better, they have gotten more sales and more views! So that is awesome. And that is what I hope to do for many other people as well. I love product photography. I am completely inspired by people who think, design, create and make wonderful things AND have the courage to share them with the world.

I am excited to use the Fire Starter Sessions as a tool to hone in on how to brand, how to share, how to network. I look forward to a summer full of festivals and shows and hopefully connecting with people.

This business is close to my heart because I think that imagery is very important when selling stuff. I know what they are selling is close to their hearts as well. I genuinely want to give them the best images of their items. I love to photograph the stuff they have made with love.

Also, I have really enjoyed having something for me. When my son goes down for a nap, I have something to do that makes me feel good. Of course there is other stuff to do, dishes (like right now) laundry, dusting, sweeping, vacuuming (not that I can do that while he is sleeping, that would be rude).

Here’s the interesting thing, I feel better doing the stuff I need to do after I have done what I want to do. After what I want to do is done, the stuff I need to do is happily done! I am not rushing through it to get to my personal stuff.

That makes me happy, stuff gets done happily, I am happy, my husband is happy, my son is happy! Everything is connected!

I am about to say I was unhappy but when I say I was unhappy, I mean I was unhappy when my son wasn’t awake or my husband wasn’t here or he is here, but he was working in the shed. Please do not get me wrong, life is so good, I think I will wake up and it might all be a dream.

But, not having something that wasn’t connected to being a mom or being a wife left feeling aloof and frustrated. Sometimes, I would get angry and take it out on my husband. That is not fair. And my husband, Mr. Honesty, told me, “look I need to do something for me. I feel accomplished working in the shed. It isn’t my fault you do not have something.”

And he sure was right. I didn’t. I had books to read, sure. I had laundry to do, yeah, but nothing I really felt good about. So now here I am, doing something for me! It feels amazing.

Do what you want to do first. I am not saying ignore the stuff that has to get done, but once you do what makes you happy, the other stuff isn’t so doom and gloom!

Happy Wednesday!

away we go

So that title may be very typical but it does capture how I am feeling about this blog thing. And I do happen to love the movie as well, so really, it is a win win. So ok, why a blog?

I am pretty comfortable writing pen to paper. I love paper. I love watching ink strokes and pencils make their mark but I am in dire need of practice on a keyboard. Just these few sentences have resulted in an embarrassing number of typos and misspelled words. However, no grammatical errors (yet). < That might be one.

Ok hello, my name is Shirley. I am a stay at home mom to an almost 2 year old who in increasingly independent. I am a wife to my wonderful husband who works his butt off so that I can stay home with our son. We met 5 year ago this year.

I am also a Buddhist. Guess how long? 5 years! Yes! I met my husband right after I started practicing Buddhism. Coincidence? Some might say yes, I say no! The universe knew what I needed and walked him right into my store of my miserable job. And even in all my misery, he still thought I was pretty, funny, adorable and asked for my number! In all honesty, what was assumed to be a fling, as I was moving to DC from Philadelphia for a new job, and I did. So it was a fling, then long distance, then only a few months later I was packing everything I owned into the trunk of my car and driving to move in with him!

Here we are, 5 years later with a wonderful toddler and a lovely house in GA. If you had told me my future 5 years ago, I would have yelled and screamed and cried at you because I did not deserve to be this happy, so I thought.

I had made so many mistakes, as I once saw them, but now I see that I needed to do those, to end up here. And here, I am happy. Goofy, stupid happy.

I owe it to my husband and my practice. So now! Ok I am a stay at home mom living the dream! But it is lonely! OMG, so lonely! And finding moms you click with and finding kids your kid clicks with is a circus. I am not sure if there is a perfect balance out there.

Born and raised in Maryland, photography school brought me to Philadelphia, where I met my husband. Photography gave me a few different jobs that I now appreciate everything I learned from each one. My most recent job was a product photographer at a high end consignment eBay store. That is a mouthful.

It was fun, mostly because of my coworkers but all in all, I was not a right fit for the company. I was not as fast as they would have preferred. They were nice enough to move me to a different department when I got pregnant, but alas, pregnant me was most certainly not fast enough at that job either.

But, the highlight of those couple years there was I fell in love with product photography. I fell in love with angles, the challenge that everything was different, the manipulation of the lighting, the fact that a vase didn’t have double chin to be concerned about!

It was fantastic. I got giddy when they brought in plates, paintings, fun vintage toys, oh the list goes on!

My heart was just not in the indulging of consumerism. Discounting a $40,0000 handbag to an affordable $500 was not my idea of helping people.

I am a nurturer. I am not a salesperson. If you don’t need it, I don’t need it and I am not going to make you think you need something you and I both know you do not. That is not where my heart is. Never was. Never will be. So how do I combine both worlds? My love for product photography and helping people?

Etsy. Etsy and even Amazon now have spaces for people who are putting their hearts and souls into creating, designing and making amazing things by hand and bravely putting them out into the world! I want to help them. I want to use my photography knowledge and my love of product photography to showcase their items in the best way possible. So this is my mission. Photographing the well loved and made things that make the world go round with all the love and space I have in my at home studio!

Thank you for taking the time to read this! I really appreciate it.