8.13.2014

something old + something new


First...thanks you guys.

You made my shop relaunch a complete success and I'm blown away by the reception. SO many of you went out of your way to send me notes of congratulations and support. It makes the many dormant months I spent doubting, planning and working away seem worth it.

I confess, I was a bit nervous about the whole thing. I realized that when I vacated my tiny microscopic space of Internet last year that something else would immediately fill it up. At the time I had no game plan, I just knew that what my shop had become was overwhelming. So...with a desire to live my "one little word" of 2013, I sought to recreate my life with LESS. I started eating less crap, wasting less time on the Internet, watching less TV which conversely gave me more time to read, to visit a bunch of parks, to spend time with my husband, to travel and to knit.

In 2014 I began to imagine a new path for the shop. I never intended to keep it closed for so long, but I new I wasn't ready to re-open either. As a self employed graphic designer, there's often an ebb and flow to my earnings. I wanted to use the shop as a means of supplementing my income and regulating my schedule. My new approach was simple: just make less.

A much smaller shop. Designing products from the ground up. Finding ways to make the things I created compatible with products many papercrafters already own. Ok, so I already did that...what would be different? The old shop was very much centered on an old way of doing things, it was based on my Etsy shop from 2007 which was fine except for now everyone made stamps, everyone made journal cards and many shops were even having things manufactured overseas like washi tape and enamel dots. There was NO way I could compete with their inventory, their pricing...nothing. Except...if I thought that way everytime I wanted to do something...I'd never do anything. There are always going to be folks out there doing things, making things, selling things kinda like you.

Just do what you do...make yourself happy, work your bum off and the rest will happen. To be clear, I don't recommend you ignore the market, or you blow off research or employ poor business practices, I just mean don't talk yourself out of something just because other people are doing it.  This shop is all me...I sell the stuff I design. I work with other small businesses to print all my paper products and manufacture my wood and acrylic pieces. I source other bits from reliable independent shop owners...usually on Etsy. All these folks are spending money right here in their communities and that makes me feel awesome. 

So thanks again. Thanks for appreciating what it was I was trying to do. I know it's not for all of you...but to anyone...ANYONE that ever purchased items at anytime from this tiny little independent shop. Thank you...you helped me learn some hard lessons and gain perspective which is even more valuable.

Just a note...a few things are currently sold out in the shop. I am offering the Well Said stamp set and the Everyday Accessories Kit for pre-order. The ship date is written in the description. I'm also going to be chatting about another new product on Friday. Until then...

8.08.2014

on blogging, aging and other stuff





Recently an Internet friend of mine gave up blogging. Her reasoning? She just wasn't into it anymore. I think about it sometimes myself. I've never been a terribly prolific blogger...it's certainly not my job and in some respects I think of blogging as a career path for the young. No doubt they are a ton of work...and as a person who's made a career art directing, I'm aware of the production value behind some of these sites.


Truth? I like blogging. I don't like pressure or guilt or being told what to do. I bristle under those sorts of constraints. My blog list has dwindled down to handful. Not because I don't like pretty images...I have Pinterest and Instagram for that. Not because I no longer enjoy crafts...once again...Pinterest and Instagram...but because if you don't have a story to tell me, I just don't care. Most of the bloggers I follow are intermittent posters much like myself...but far better writers. Far better.

I've gotten older and the Internet has changed. Perhaps this also has a bit to do with growing up pre Internet. Don't get me wrong, I love it...not the junk, the good stuff...but it has no claim on me. My appetite for constant stimulation is really not that big and while I find the everyday lifestyle blog quite pretty a lot of them leave me feeling a bit cold. I get it though...I'm not even their demographic really... I've effed up too many DIY projects, I don't own enough cute furniture or clothes for that matter,  I totally play the tourist in new cities and save the unbeaten path for someone else, but stories...truth telling, joke telling make me laugh or cry stories are ageless, and it's crazy, with the sheer volume of blogs that exist, how few really accomplish it. But hey...different strokes, right? The beauty is that there's something for everyone...even little old middle aged me and that's what keeps me coming back.

and speaking of come backs...

please don't be mad I've chosen to bury this at the bottom of this post, but the shop reopens for business...Monday, August 11th at 4pm PST. #bananafishstudiorelaunch

7.14.2014

the lowdown



okay. so this is going to be a total hodgepodge post. I have no time for proper punctuation or grammar, so if you would kindly overlook my lack of capital letters I would appreciate it tremendously.

So why so busy? Not that you asked but the answer is I have a terrible horrible talent for always underestimating how long everything will take. How long it will take to lose 80 pounds (15+years), how long it will take for my hair to turn gray (approx 40 years), how long it will take to toast English muffins (less time than I thought). This means I am always rushing about at the last minute trying to get stuff done and throwing my back out in the process.

Yups, I threw mah back out, while cleaning the guest room for my niece and nephew who will be here in less than 24 hours. BOOM! Oh, the rest of my house is kinda wrecked, I'm overdue on a deadline and it's hot as hell is Seattle.

Right about now you may be thinking...what about the shop, France? What about all those cute little sneaks we liked on Instagram? We about all those nature pics you took last week?

There are a few things still in production, so I was faced with a decision...open the shop without them and then be faced with having to charge people additional shipping if they want to buy the other things a little while later when they come in or...just wait till I have everything. Whew, that was a long sentence. I am not in the habit of waiting, I use to worry about people getting the jump on me.
Thankfully I have worked through those issues and will wait until everything is ready and I can present folks with my very best. 

Right now the ETA is the first week of August...so, yeah...It's coming...in the meantime I'm getting all into nature. I'm venturing out with my giant straw hat and my SPF 1000 and I'm enjoying this little life of mine. Summer and I don't always get along, but I'm trying to make friends.

6.26.2014

Digi Delight

One of the shop relaunch questions I've been receiving is whether or not there will be printables available for sale and the answer is yes sireeeeee! I love digital and I can't imagine not offering them...I will be doing something a little different though...

In addition to a fun new label set:


 and the long awaited milkcaps:


I am also going to do a monthly embellishment/label set based on trends + colors I love.  No 3x4 or 4x6 cards and no limited timeframe. You can get them when you want them.

I'm also working on some really cute cut frame files

These are coming very very soon:)

6.25.2014

and then there was none



For over 10 years I have belonged to a relatively small community of papercrafters. A community built around a shop, a message board and a gallery. People who participated in the same hobby as myself. There were times when I saw people come out of the woodwork to support fellow members...there were other times I watched as grown people descended into madness and meanness. The whole time I kept returning...to shop, to read the boards, to see what's new and to learn new things.

Two Peas in a Bucket changed things for me...you see as a child free middle aged woman, I never felt like I fit into the world of scrapbooking. The covers of most memorykeeping magazines reaffirmed the fact by rarely ever depicting layouts of people without kids. I attended crops filled with moms who questioned why in the world I would bother with this time consuming sometimes expensive hobby...who would care? For whom are you doing it. I felt like saying "myself" was never good enough. This feeling of exclusion remained until I found Two Peas.

Suddenly I found a place where other scrapbookers not so different from myself existed online. I was never one to share much...either in the gallery or the message board, but I always felt like I could. I now had tons of inspiration...travel, fun, daily life, school, jobs, friends...all kinds of topics that were important to me and didn't involve children. I started really making stuff and eventually opening a small papercrafting shop of my own.

Years after discovering digital scrapbooking on Two Peas...I became one of their designers...Kristina sought me out and expressed how much she loved my work. I was on cloud nine for a week. I was the girl who never submitted a single layout for publication...who had zero layouts in any gallery anywhere. I was the girl who was always on the outside looking in.  By choosing me,  a leader in the industry made me feel included, and that's a big deal. Sadly I had to end things a year later when my workload became insane. Kristina understood, and I went my own way.

As the news that has left my beloved scrapbooking community reeling settles in, I will begin to ponder the future of my hobby. I hope that wherever the members find themselves that they are kind to one another. I hope that this hobby expands and grows to include more men, more people of color, more childfree folks. I intend to continue my support for small business, but more than anything I will keep taking pictures. I will keep writing stories even and be thankful that for a while I got to be a part a something pretty neat.

6.21.2014

sneaks

I haven't been shouting it from the rooftops or anything, but I have briefly mentioned here and there that I'm prepping the shop for a relaunch. Without getting too deep...at least not in this post, I thought I'd make a tiny visual introduction...


One of my main priorities this go round was to keep it simple and functional. Not just on the back end, but the product as well. That started by doing what I love best...designing paper based items.


As much as I love rubberstamping...there was no way I could leave them out. I will be releasing a small limited edition collection of wood handle stamps derived directly from my own hand lettering. When I refer to handlettering, I don't mean handwriting...the designs I created for this small set of stamps represent many many hours of pencil on paper work and I'm pretty excited to not only be releasing them in the shop but paying homage to how I got started in graphic design many years ago.


If you visited my Etsy shop back in the day, you know that one of my most popular items was the custom minibooks affectionately titled "project minibook." The shop will include a stripped down version of the project mini, but the name remains the same.

Next week I will share more details about the products and the shop.

6.16.2014

makeshift | gold labels



I'm pretty fond of labels. Do you remember when I sold these & these in my old Etsy shop? I certainly appreciate the fact that they can be both colorful and useful. That said, I never buy them...why should I when I am an expert label hoarder? But, when I saw the gold edged labels in the June Scrapbook Kit by Studio Calico I swooned just a tiny bit. Like everyone on the planet...I'm digging gold right now, so those little labels caught my eye for sure.

Only thing...I don't get the scrapbook kit, and I wasn't going to get it just for some labels and they don't sell the labels separately so what's a label lover to do? You got it...it's time to makeshift.


When I decide to make things, I realize that this does not always translate to cheap or quick...it really means doing something myself for the sole purpose of immediate satisfaction. It also means trying to use what I have lying around. In this case: white sticker paper, metallic gold scrapbook paper that I bought from Joann many moons ago, a cutting mechanism, I used both my Cameo and my paper trimmer, and a bit of time.


Option #1: When I used my Cameo, I created two files...one with the label outer shapes and one with the inner. I cut the outer shapes out of the gold and the inner out of the white sticker paper and then adhered one to the other. Success! If you have a machine this is the way I would go. Perhaps you might see this and think "oh my, why waste all that gold paper when all you're really using it for is a thin frame". This is true, but I think trying to add glue and affix a thin gold frame to a piece of cardstock would make my brain break so I'm wasting a bit of gold to preserve sanity.


Option #2: If you find yourself without a diecutting machine, or you don't want to dust it off, or figure out how to make inner and outer label shapes...you might find the second route more favorable. Simply trim/cut rectangles out of the white sticker paper...this is the inner portion of your label. The size is up to you...depends how much white space you want. Then, using your eyeballs and a 1/4" hole punch, cut the notches out of the corners. If you'd rather trimmed corners you can just clip them off with a pair of scissors. If you are a perfectionist...then create a template or measure or do what you do...although I'm not a perfectionist, I do like things nice and neat. If you don't trust your eyeballing ability then take your time on this step. Once you've got a bunch of white labels, remove the sticky back and attach to the gold using the top edge and side edge as your guide. I went for a slim 1/8" border. You can do whatever pleases you. I tried to line them all up first. I then cut them apart using my paper trimmer. A craft knife and straight edge would have yielded very accurate results, but I didn't bother. Last thing to do is cut notches out of the gold...Some of the labels I just made completely straight.


Now tell me? Did I make this seem complicated? If I did I sincerely apologize for it was quite simple really. Like I said...makeshifting isn't necessarily easy and/or cheap, but it is fun and wonderfully satisfying. Oh...and although I purchased that metallic gold paper at Joann's...It cost double what I found it for online, but with shipping...I don't know, maybe it would work out to the same. It is a perfect weight and it's not too heavy which I like. The Cameo cut through it like butter. It also has a very smooth sheen...I like gold, but not shiny gold. Also, I got that little mountain of labels using less than one sheet of both the gold and the sticker paper so there you have it.

you can find another great DIY tutorial using the EK Success label punch here

6.13.2014

aaaaand I come right back



I just wrote a long ass post about blogging and how I'm not really a blogger, but just a girl with a blog, and how it's not really the same...and yeah, I bored myself. So, I will spare you all of that.

I stumbled a bit with my Mon, Wed, Fri posting but when that happens, I somehow manage to come right back. I like this little piece of Internet I've carved out. I'm not terribly good at generating content though since I don't have kids, my dog doesn't talk, I can't legally discuss the clients and companies for whom I work, my exercise plan is for shit, I can never get good pictures of my dinner, I rarely bake, I'm reading Pride and Prejudice for the umpteenth time, I have yet to complete my monthly scrapbook spread, I don't DIY, I haven't picked up my knitting needles in a while, I haven't traveled anywhere that hasn't already been well documented, the studio shop is still quite undone, I've never had a Moscow Mule, I'm not much of a thrifter, I don't have any advice on being a designer/small business owner/ amateur rapper other than be nice and make things, I don't drink coffee, I'm not a great photographer, and much to my husband's chagrin, I have yet to succumb to World Cup fever.

What does that leave? Oh, I know...

Happy Friday the 13th