Tag Archive for Business

Etsy, Here I Come!

It’s official!! I have an Etsy shop!

Etsy is something I’ve been meaning to be a part of for ages, and I finally bit the bullet. My goal is to gradually add more and more items as time allows (as a wife, mom, friend, event planner, and personal trainer, there’s only so much time for crafting!)

I plan to add paper goods and party-planning essentials, wall art, etched glass items, handmade books and journals, maybe even some textile pieces. The sky is the limit, really!

As I’m building up my shop, I’d love for you to swing by and check it out!

For those of you who asked about this wall art…

…there are now TWO available in my shop. Choose which frame style you like best, submit your order, and it can be YOURS in just a few days! They are ready to go, just need to be shipped to a loving home. :)

Thanks for loving Z as in Zebra and inspiring me to expand my horizons. Cheers!

Green Bambino Guest Log

It’s so fun when a new local store opens up and sells exactly what you need exactly when you need it! For me, Green Bambino is the perfect example of that truth.

The eco-friendly cloth diaper/natural baby products store opened up just months before I was due with my first baby (now known as Beau the 19 Month Old!)

I took a Cloth Diaper 101 class, registered for baby gifts, took a baby-wearing class, and got to know the incredible owner, Morgan.

Morgan’s #1 concern in her shop is providing an excellent customer experience. And, boy, does she! Not only does she have vast knowledge about diapers and natural baby products, she also has the heart of a teacher. Which keeps people coming back time and again.

Last year it became clear that Green Bambino was out-growing its location and Morgan made the decision to relocate…across the street!

Since I now consider Morgan a friend, I offered to make her a guest book for her new store.

In keeping with the store’s philosophy, I used only repurposed fabric or recycled paper to create their book.

All great guest books have a place to keep a pen!

I had this green fabric leftover from my wedding nearly 3 years ago. Its bright color fits perfectly with Green Bambino’s fresh and earthy decor. A brown ribbon gave the fabric a nice, finished edge.

I then used a scrap piece of acid-free davy board and carved out a baby footprint (no easy feat with davy board, let me tell you!)

For the inside pages, I used repurposed letterhead from my old job! They were just going to throw it away. Can you believe that?! So, I cut the top portion off to get rid of the logo, and printed a motif on the cover page of the book.

Then, the inside pages were filled with lines where store patrons could write their names and hometowns. Though Green Bambino is a local store, it’s the only one like it in Oklahoma City. Even people from surrounding states travel here because they have no such stores at home!

Last time I was in the store, I saw several pages full of signatures, but I didn’t get a chance to really look through it. I can’t wait to see how far people have traveled to experience Green Bambino! It’s a terrific place.

If you are expecting or know someone who is, I highly recommended swinging by the store (or their website) to see how their offerings might make your life better! :)

Dear Abi

I believe everyone is an Artist. Some people may not recognize what they do as “art”, but it takes on so many different shapes and forms. Perhaps you’re surrounded by art right now and don’t even know it!

Cooking is an art. Loving your kids and keeping them fed, bathed, and entertained is an art. Crunching numbers in a budget is an art. Maintaining a healthy marriage is an art. Masterfully hammering boards together and building something that didn’t used to exist is an art.

Since art is everywhere, sometimes even the people who DO call themselves Artists don’t realize how many artistic passions they’ve left undiscovered.

One of my favorite artists, Miss Abi, is an A-MAZING photographer. And fashionista. And writer. And, and, and…as it turns out, a sketcher!! Who knew?!

Abi and I love to trade art with each other. She took some terrific photos for my new business, and I paid her back by making her an 8.5 x 11 sketchbook.

Her favorite color green in a fun pattern, plus her name and some BLING!

A pen loop (because what good is your sketchbook if you forget a pen?!) was built in as well.

Abi, thank you for being my go-to girl for all things photography (and fashion advice, which I am certain I desperately need more of!).

I love your zest for life and hope this book will be just one of the many places you chronicle all your dreams and adventures this year and beyond! Love you!

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

I’ve been MIA lately from the blog because I have a VERY wild, crazy, curious 11 month old that keeps me extremely busy! Every day, we read books and play outside and tear apart the Tupperware cupboard (well, he does that last one on his own). It’s been so fun spending the past several months watching his mind work as he discovers new things and learns his world.

Meanwhile, between the pooey diapers and the Baby-Led Weaning and the tickle-induced belly-laughs, I’ve stopped making time to blog, and I’ve missed it A LOT!

Yes, I LOVE being a mama. I also love being an artist. I strongly believe it’s important for kids to see their parents pursuing their passions. They learn it’s not selfish to do something you love, as long as your life is in balance. It’s great to involve your kids in your passions, too, if they are interested. Even little Beau is right by my side while I’m designing. In fact, the computer desk shelf is one of his favorite places to sit. :)

I saw a book the other day entitled “It Gets Easier!…and Other Lies We Tell New Mothers” and I got to thinking about how my son is in the middle of a tough stage. He knows what he wants but can’t really communicate. He can crawl really fast or pull up to stand, but he cannot yet walk. It would be so easy for him to be frustrated by his limitations, yet he makes the most of every moment. Which got me to thinking that I am often frustrated by my limitations and use them as excuses.

We can all find excuses why we “can’t” do something. I’m sick of making excuses. My husband and son are my daily priorities and other things come second to them and their needs. But that doesn’t mean I can’t find make time to do other things! The longer I use my guys as a reason for not being creative, the more likely I will begin to resent my role as a wife and mother and take for granted what a blessing life is and how fast time truly flies.

So…I am back to say I am back. :) I don’t know if my posts will follow a set schedule as they did before. We’ll see what I can do with the time I have. Maybe I will just post as I finish projects. Who knows? I do have several past projects that never made it on here. And it’s time to get them posted! If for no other reason than because my artistic soul needs a place to run free! I know I can find ways to be an artist AND a mom! Maybe my baby will even create some masterpieces of his own!

Thanks for sticking with me during the hiatus! I hope you’ll check back often to see what’s new!

If you have any advice on juggling many ‘hats,’ and making time for your passions, I’d love to hear it!

Baby Sabbatical

Not long ago, I found the cutest fabric in Hobby Lobby:

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After my mom and I spent some time hashing out ideas, she created this cute maternity top for me:

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And it fits The Bump and I perfectly!

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Tomorrow, I will be 33 weeks pregnant. If my mom’s prediction of Baby’s arrival time (read: early!) turns out to be correct, that leaves me only about 5 weeks before I’m officially on Mama duty.

And there’s still plenty to do, like finish setting up Baby’s space:

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Get all of Baby’s clothes and diapers washed and ready to go:

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Bake a bunch of lasagnas and quiches and other dinners that can be made ahead and frozen:

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(Just because I’ll take a break from baking for clients doesn’t mean I get off the hook completely!) :)

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All that to say, I am taking some time off from creating. A Baby Sabbatical, if you will. In fact, “sabbatical” is defined as “a rest from work, or a hiatus, often lasting from two months to a year.”

I can’t predict whether my break will be closer to the two month end or the one year end of that spectrum. That will depend mostly on Baby’s temperament and my energy level. (I sure hope it’s not a YEAR!)

But I can tell you this for sure: I finished my last cake order this morning and I’m only taking orders for custom books through TUESDAY, MAY 25th.

So…if you are planning to want a journal, photo book, or sketchbook made for an upcoming birthday, anniversary, or other special occasion, please order NOW. I want to be able to guarantee I can get it done for you before Birth Day!

In the meantime, I will continue posting about the projects I have completed…until the queue runs dry! :)

Thank you so much for your understanding and for your patronage over the past few years. Your loving support and sweet comments mean a lot to me!

Abbi

Z as in Zebra Update

**We interrupt our regularly scheduled posts to bring you something entirely different…a mere announcement.**

Things are crazy at Z as in Zebra lately (due to things being crazy in our life right now). I’m still growing a baby in my belly and creating projects for clients, etc…but on top of all of that, I am traveling this week to see my family before I get any bigger/more uncomfortable. THEN, after I return, my husband and I are moving to the country…which means packing, schlepping everything we own across town, unpacking, and organizing.

That said, there won’t be any new posts for the next two weeks. Feel free to spend some time perusing the archives OR come on back in May to see what’s new!

Here’s a little sneak-peek of what is yet to come:


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SEE YOU ON THE FLIP SIDE!!

Artist, Organized

Not two words you usually hear in the same context: artist and organized. Why is it that everyone assumes that artists are scatter-brained, messy, easily distracted and ‘starving’? I’m not sure why that is, but I’m probably one of the few artists you’ll ever meet who is able to be simultaneously creative and organized. In fact, I like finding organized ways of being creative and creative ways of being organized. :)

EXHIBIT A: I’ve had tons of scrapbooking thing-a-ma-bobs in a shoebox for years, and I wanted to display them so I could quickly and easily see what I might be able to use for each project. IMG_1833

I also wanted a place (besides a junk drawer) to store my tools and a spot to hang to-do lists and inspiring images. So…I took some measurements and created a sketch and my wonderful husband Andrew built an art board for me! :) The top center panel is 4′ x 2′ pegboard (for tools), the bottom center panel is 4′ x 2′ masonite (into which I screwed many, many little white hooks) and the side panels are 18″ x 4′ sheet metal…perfect for inspiring images and cute magnets!

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The hooks are perfect for displaying all my little embellishments.

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But over the last few months, things have gotten a bit cluttered. The board itself isn’t a huge mess, but it could be better. And the space below my bookmaking table could sure use some tidying. There are various reams of paper just stacked up, spools of ribbon bursting from a too-full shoebox, a sack of fabric that needs a permanent home, a pile of 12 x 12 scrapbook paper that will eventually become paste pages but currently lies in wait, etc. And my organized artist self wants this space to be even tidier.

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Cleanliness makes working in the studio that much more enjoyable…I can get right to a project rather than spending the first 30 minutes cleaning up and hunting for the tools I need.

Don’t even get me started on THIS mess:

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Drawers full of crafting odds and ends. Some for card-making, some for sewing, some for stamping, some for decorating. Anything that doesn’t have a place to belong has ended up in these drawers.

All of this talk about streamlining naturally got me thinking about those pesky New Year’s Resolutions that so many of us make. And getting organized will be oh-so-helpful as I attempt to tackle the following 10 resolutions in ’10:

1. Establish a more regular ‘quiet time’ routine concerning spiritual matters: Prayer, Scripture, etc.
2. Maintain a certain level of fitness and a healthy (yet no-more-than-necessary) weight gain during my pregnancy.
3. Do lots of experimenting and build up a book inventory.
4. Set up my Etsy website…I have already reserved my domain (abbiz), I just need to make some stuff to sell!!
5. Declutter the house and sell/donate/give away/use up stuff instead of having to move it when Andrew and I relocated to the country in the late spring/early summer!
6. Knock out some more cupcakes! Hoping to get about 20 more batches done before Baby comes…I have about 26 weeks til my due date, but babies’ exact arrivals are unpredictable. :) (I’ve done two batches since I originally wrote this list!)
7. Network more intentionally with other bloggers. Set up specific times during the week to surf, read, and leave comments, in hopes of creating more traffic on this blog in return.
8. Partner with other artists to create collaborative projects.
9. Dump photos to my Snapfish account and back-up DVDs monthly.
10. Try 2 new recipes per month.

How about you? Are you making plans for this new year that’s ahead of us? I’d love to hear what your hopes and goals are! Leave a comment! :)

New York, New York!

My husband Andrew had never been to New York City before, so I planned a trip for the two of us as a celebration of his birthday (September 29). We saw so many sites and famous landmarks and even got to watch a Yankees game and a live taping of David Letterman’s Late Show!

We did a lot of window-shopping, too. Andrew was so incredibly patient with me as I made my way through various gourmet food stores and paper shops. (I tend to geek out in those types of places!) And when the hustle and bustle got to be too much for him, he waited patiently outside the shops so I could finish getting my “fix”. :)

On Aunt Cristi’s recommendation, we made our way uptown to Zabar’s, a huge family-owned gourmet food store.

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BOY, do I love cheese! And this store had HUNDREDS of kinds…an entire section of their grocery area was dedicated to CHEESE!!

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Around the corner from the cheeses was the bakery section. All of their cakes looked so gorgeous in the huge display case (if I could justify the need for a display case in my own house, I would totally own one! I think they are so cute.)

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Petit Fours…small cake, not-so-small price…at $2.89 apiece, each bite costs about a buck (maybe I should relocate?!)

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A couple days later, Andrew and I made our way to Little Italy for an authentic Italian meal and a cannoli! The pastry shop we visited was so darling. Rows upon rows of puff pastry, eclairs, fruit tarts, and cheesecakes.

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There’s the cannoli on the bottom row…so many kinds from which to choose!!

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OOH, and tiramisu cheesecake. Yowza!

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Andrew gave the chocolate-dipped/chocolate-mousse-filled cannoli a try. I caught him mid-bite, and he’s still handsome as ever. :)

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After Little Italy, we stopped at Kate’s Paperie so I could get my paper-fetish fix. I’d looked on their website before we left home, and there were so many products I wanted to see in person. I was immediately awestruck by the amazing decor above their check-out area: flowers, all made entirely of PAPER! Gorgeous!

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If there’s anything I love more than paper and art supplies, it’s organization. Or bulk. Or organized bulk! I saw this rack first. (When I squealed, Andrew took that as his cue to wait outside for me. ha!)

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These floor-to-ceiling displays were set up throughout the store. So awesome!

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Pretty patterned papers!

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Then I saw their letterhead/envelopes station and thought I’d died and gone to Heaven! Bulk. Paper. Organized. And COLOR-CODED!

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If they had had paper cupcake liners, I surely would have fainted.

Now that we are home, I am inspired, re-energized about my business, and ready to grab the bull by the horns!
SEE?!

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What simple things in life do YOU enjoy? Share your thoughts with us!

Adventure Awaits!

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For nearly three years, I have spent my Mondays-Fridays as a graphic designer for LifeChurch.tv. An AMAZING organization, LifeChurch.tv has taught me a lot about design, marketing, spirituality, and myself. Bittersweetly, all good things must come to an end, and yesterday was my final day on staff. Being a part of the “Bling Team” has been a wild ride, and I’m excited I can still keep up with my friends thanks to the Bling Blog.

Upon announcing my resignation, several people have asked me, “what’s next?” This may come as a total surprise, but this self-proclaimed “planner” doesn’t have an official plan!

A burning desire to life a creative life and pursue my artistic dreams has been building in me for some time and has come to a head thanks to a book study/personal exploration I am doing called “The Artist’s Way.” I also feel called to positively impact and empower future generations, so I will spend some time articulating how those two (huge) passions are going to play out in my life. I’ll be doing some teaching, and I’ll also continue taking orders for books and cakes.

If you’ve been lurking around Z as in Zebra, now is your chance to get in on the action! With a self-made, flexible schedule, I will have more time to fulfill orders and make custom journals and designer cakes! I’ll also be expanding my design horizons and posting about other design projects that have been percolating in my mind for a while. Stay tuned!

Thanks for all your love and support! Let the adventure begin!

Project Hope 2008

My friend Sean founded Project Hope in 2007 and I was fortunate enough to participate in the inaugural show. I am involved again this year and have donated two handmade journals that will be part of the silent auction. (I will be posting photos of my work in the next few days, so come back and see what I made!)

Project Hope is an incredible cause, and I’m blessed to be a part of it. I have included the details below and attached the promo poster. If you are in the Oklahoma City area, come on out! I hope to see you there!

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Here are the details for this year’s show. The benefit is the Dalit Freedom Network, a group we are thrilled to be supporting. This year we will be standing with 300 million people in India who have been oppressed for generations. This is not just another art show. The Dalits in India can and will be affected by you, Oklahoma City! Get in touch with us to find out how you can help!

WHAT
Project Hope is about lending aid to a global humanitarian crisis. It’s about dispelling the myth that we can’t help solve a global problem from thousands of miles away. It’s about art, music, and saving lives. This year we are teaming with Dalit Freedom Network to bring relief to over 300 million people in India that are oppressed and labeled as “untouchable”.

WHO
We are featuring Oklahoma artists that want to help abolish caste, now and forever! Giving of their talent and communicating in their own unique way to bring a little hope to a people who may have not been given any.

WHERE
Urban Art is located at 1218 N. Western and is home to the Istvan Gallery, Art Fusion Studio, and Blue Sage Studios.

WHEN
Saturday, December 6th from 7-11 pm. See you there.

WHY
Just to help. At it’s heart, that is all Project Hope is trying to do. To use the talent and work of local artists to be a small voice of hope in a loud world of injustice. To raise money for Health Care, Education, and other assistance to people suffering oppression in India. This is completely non-profit. All money will go to the Dalit Freedom Network.