Echoview Mill

So after having a Valentine’s weekend getaway and taking a week to get caught up on projects and spend time with family, I figured it was high time I get back on here!

Scott and I started planning this getaway a little while back. Asheville is where we went on our honeymoon over 6 years ago, so we thought it would be fun to go back and spend Valentine’s weekend there. As crazy as things have been, we had not had a chance to spend a lot of time together, so it was definitely a much needed weekend vacation.

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While we were up there, I got to visit Echoview Mill, the only LEED gold certified yarn mill in the US. The vision behind this mill is seriously amazing. From using solar power to sourcing local alpaca and sheep wool, you can tell that there is something different about this place from the moment you walk in.

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From the second floor you can see the the wool being processed and spun. There is a ‘community’ room where you can bring you projects and enjoy a peaceful working environment. On one wall there are nothing but shelves full of books on fiber art and agriculture that would make any knitter jealous! They even thought to put a bucket of toys for little ones.

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I haven’t decided what to make out of it yet, but I did bring back some hand dyed yarn. I really love this corral color and I want to actually make something for myself this year. lol

Do you have a really cool place that is related to your industry? I would love to hear about it in the comments!

Some of my small shop favorites…

One of my personal goals for 2015 is to buy more handmade and local items, especially if they are made in America. Not only do I want to support my fellow small shop owner, but I feel like the entire shopping process makes me rethink the way I buy. It’s so easy to walk into a store and buy things that I don’t need, just because they are on sale or cheap. When you buy handmade, while the prices may be slightly higher (not always the case), you really start to rethink about wether or not you need it, and appreciate the gorgeous work that went into it.

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1. CraftyLia heart pouch
My friend, Amelia, makes these adorable pouches. I have a bag for all of my knitting tools, but I had been looking for one to use on the go. Now I can just take the tools I need for my current project. I’m super excited about using it during a trip this weekend!!!! You can find the zipper pouch and lots of other adorable pieces she has made in her shop.

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2. Wemak body scrub
I purchased the ‘Woods’ scented body scrub at the craft fair I was a part of last Saturday. Veronica’s table was right next to mine, and I really got to learn about their process and how their business came about. I went home that night and used the scrub to give myself a pedicure, and I seriously felt like a new person… The scent that I got has cedar wood and lemongrass oil in it. You can check out their shop here.

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3. Me & Ris jewelry
Some jewelry, you can just pick up and feel the quality. The bracelet I got from Me & Ris is one of those pieces. Harlee and Marisa do such a beautiful job creating necklaces and bracelets out of various stone beads.

There are so many amazing local and small shops out there. It takes some effort to find them, but I promise that it’s worth it. I hope to share more products/shops as I discover them throughout the year. 🙂

*I was not compensated in any way for this post. These are all products that I bought and genuinely love.

Put aside the important things…

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If you’re wondering why I’m bloging on a Tuesday rather then on Monday, it’s because I decided to take the day off after working hard to prepare for the craft show I had last Saturday. It was much needed and it really help me to refocus and recuperate!

I will be sharing some of my favorite products on Wednesday but today I will be continuing with the topic of using our time wisely. Last week, I shared several things that I limit to be productive. I’m not going to be giving you any kind of list or ‘how to’ today. Rather, I’m sharing something near and dear that can’t be confined to a list…

We all have important things to do… Most of us have too many important things to do. There’s so much we have to do and no matter how wisely we use our time, we never get it all done.

We’re all in different situations… Some of us chose to be insanely busy while other work and work just to put what little they have on the table. I know because I’ve been in both situations.

But I’m not here to discuss the factors of our busy lives. I just want us all (myself included) to remember that wether you have 5 min or 5 hours, those few sweet moments will be remembered by your little ones long after our memories fade. Whatever time you have for them, give them 100% of it.

Read the time management articles, the mompreneur blogs, and the self help books, but also remember, that while we are blessed to work at home and be around our children, they need us to ‘be there’ when it’s time to play together.

I realize that this concept isn’t anything new to you, but this week I have been hearing Sean quote more and more things that I say to him when I am playing/spending time with him. He may never come up to me and say, “Mommy, I’m so glad you spend time with me,” but the very fact that he says the things that mean the most to him really made me do some soul searching.

Sometimes we need to put aside the important things… Even if it’s just for one minute to hold our loved ones tight and let them know they’re even more important than the “important things” in our lives…

P.S. That’s spaghetti all over his face… Spaghetti makes him very happy. ^_^

Things I limit to be productive…

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Last month I shared several health ideas and favorites, but this month I am going to be sharing what I have learned and what I am still learning about productivity. As a work at home mom, it can be difficult to differentiate ‘busy work’ and what has to happen to run a business and keep our family in order. It’s easy to be busy all day doing things that really need to be done at some point, but not what I need to do at the moment. Here are some things that I have had to limit to keep a balance between home and actually making progress in my shop.

1. Limiting Laundry
I’m one of those people who actually really loves doing laundry… I hate putting it away, so we turn that part into a family night, where we all help while watching a movie. LOL. I’m not suggesting that you not do laundry. Please! By all means do the laundry. We will all thank you for it, but I have been guilty of doing laundry to avoid certain things that I really needed to do for my shop. For example, maybe I needed to do my product photography, but instead I decided to go and do a second load of laundry when that load could have waited till tomorrow.

2. Limiting Phone Calls
This can be a really hard one. I used to answer the phone as soon as I heard it, but then I realized that if I was working for someone else, I wouldn’t be allowed to take calls at work. I do my best to only work during Sean’s nap and at night after he goes to bed, so I have to work really hard to make the most of that time. I now set my phone on vibrate while I’m working, and generally only pick it up when I’m taking a break. Thankfully, with a smart phone, there are features that allow certain #’s to ring, so I can set my phone to where I hear my phone ring if my hubby calls.

3. Limiting Research
A lot of research goes into what I do prior to creating a new product. I go through hundreds of photos, color palette charts, and magazines to create a new pattern. I honestly love it, and that part really feels more like fun than work. However, as with anything there is a time and place for it. It’s easy to get sucked into only doing research and zero production. I have to be really careful about working on a product, taking a break to do more ‘research’, and then realizing that 30 minutes have already gone by.

4. Limiting the ‘Do It All’ Syndrome
I think we as mom’s living in the internet generation, we tend to live with this guilt if we are not able to ‘do it all’. I know I do! We see these perfect homes and well kept rooms and think ‘why isn’t that me?’. The truth is, no home is perfect. Are some neater than others? Sure they are! But think about why… Does the family have children? Are they older? Does the mom stay at home? Is she currently building a business? Can they afford a house keeper? Those are all things to factor in before we begin criticizing ourselves for what we don’t have rather than thanking God for what we get to do. I try really hard to make sure that Sean has fun crafts to do, the house is picked up, and everything is aesthetically pleasing, but to be honest, depending on what’s going on, it doesn’t always happen. It’s called ‘being human’.

5. Limiting Unnecessary Stress
This one is easier said than done. In my heart, I want to have everything lined up for the next day, blog posts for the next week already scheduled, and menu plans for the entire year lined up and ready to go, but life never goes as planned. That being said, a little forethought can go a long way to avoid stress. This is one that I am really having to work at, but I know it will be worth it.

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By the way, this is a friendly little reminder that I will be drawing a winner for the Valentine’s giveaway this Friday!! All you have to do to enter is join the Weekly Newsletter + Coupon Club and you are all set! If you have already signed up, then you are good to go. You can join right here! One lucky winner will win:
• A set of heart coasters in a mystery color.
• Chocolates.
• And a couple other fun surprises.

If you are picked, you will receive an email from me, asking for your contact info, so be on the lookout for that on Friday!

Packaging Details

So up until now, I haven’t said a lot about my shop, or what that entails. Today I’ll be sharing one of my most recent projects.

The crocheted earrings have always been one of the most popular items in my Etsy shop. I was so excited when I found out that there would be an opportunity for my products to be a part of the November Dottie Box.

I have been doing the finishing details and here are a few pics of that. This first one is of the kraft envelopes I will packaging each pair of earrings in.
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Let me tell you… 55 pairs of earrings is a beautiful sight! I am so excited about so many people getting to enjoy them!

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What a raven taught me…

Between Sean’s birthday and our church’s missions conference Sun-Wed, I haven’t been able to do as much with the shop and blog as I have wanted to. While it has been challenging to juggle everything, what has happened to us this week is invaluable.

I have always hoped that my shop could be something that God could use to be a blessing to not only my family, but others as well. I wasn’t sure about how that would happen, but that has been my desire from the start.

In the last message of the missions conference, our guest speaker talked about a lady who wanted to give to missions, but she felt like all she had was her sewing machine. She went ahead and told God that it was His to do with as He saw fit. Once she gave her ability to God, a well known homeschool organization contacted her about making all of the uniforms for their branches, nationwide.

That kind of hit home for me. Yeah, of course I want my business to succeed and to help my family, but I feel like there’s a bigger purpose to all of this. And This week, I found it…

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We put a map and a chalkboard vinyl up on our dining room wall, so we can write down the needs of the missionaries that God puts on our heart to ‘adopt’. While my shop is still small, part of each sale I make will be going towards missions as well as to meet the needs of our adopted missionaries.

The more Scott and I talked about it, the more we both realized that God is leading us both to work on this together. I love how God had been telling Scott how his graphic design skills would come in to play. Both of us had already surrendered our lives to whatever God has for us, but this week, I think we found our purpose.

I Kings 17:4 came to mind. If God could use ravens to encourage and feed the prophet Elijah, how much more can He use you and I?

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The story begins…

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So here we are at a new beginning. There’s something special about new beginnings, no matter what the occasion. But today, I’m celebrating the new beginning of this blog.

I want this to be a place where I can record and share my thoughts, dreams, and memories on the road that my husband (Scott) and I are traveling as we grow our own companies.

He is a graphic designer/founder of The Studio Temporary, and I am shop owner/designer @ Tokyo Blossom Boutique creating vintage inspired crocheted and knit accessories.

Two weeks ago, we moved to North Georgia, with our almost three year old son. It’s been a little crazy, as we juggle a full time job, kid, two start ups and everyday life, but I’ve never felt more excited and alive!

Maybe it’s because on the inside I’ve been waiting for this moment. Maybe it’s because I’m never really happy unless I’m continually moving forward. Honestly, I think it’s both. The restlessness motivates me to try a little harder each day and to keep learning, so I can become better at what I do.

So that’s my explanification of why I’m starting this blog. While I enjoy sharing my thoughts, I would love to hear your thoughts and make friends with others in a similar boat as well.

Are you a mompreneur or is your family starting or growing a company? What are some challenges you face each day? Please don’t be shy and share a comment below! ❤️