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Pumpkins & Harvest

What a whirlwind of a summer it was! My granddaughter turned one year old and we are now expecting our second granddaughter. But, this time it is our son’s little one.  She will become part of our family sometime after Thanksgiving. Yes…….it has been an exciting summer and start of fall for us.

I retired to be GRAM and that is exactly what I have been doing.  There has been limited time in the studio.  But, what time I am there it is productive. Right now we are designing ornaments for Christmas giving and also some holiday stethoscope covers.  Our steth covers are actually our best sellers on Amazon.  Who would have thought?  Here is our latest stethoscope cover for Halloween.  It has been fun using my newest purchase for the studio – a heat press.  If you look closely the Happy Halloween is heat pressed vinyl.

Continue visiting the site as I add new listings to the gallery.IMG_8091

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Dreams, Challenges, Family, Retirement

The last few weeks have been quite reflective for me as we prepare our life for retirement in a few years. If you ask me what that means…….I would have to tell you it is changing every second of every day right now. What do I want, where do I want to be, what do my kids want, what does my husband want, what does my father need. You understand don’t you?

A few weeks ago, after taking care of my granddaughter all day, I could hardly move. Picking up 25 pounds all day killed my back.  It took me 3 weeks to get things back so I could at least sleep. Then, I watched her and am hurting again.  But, I am not going to let pain stop my quality of life! Now I am going to doctors to fix whatever is wrong, probably my bulging disks…….

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Photo: Dana Phillips Photography

It all made me reflect the stages of life we have been given.  During our school days it was all about friends, doing what our parents wanted and getting good grades (at least for me….haha). Then after school it was about how we were going to be successful in life.  That might have included college, military, or going right to work for each of us.  What it was for me was doing some schooling to take over my dad’s business (a man’s world of manufacturing) and getting married. But, marriage took me to being the woman behind a successful man. My husband and I left my father’s business and started our own. It was whatever we had to do to be successful and achieve the material things we wanted. Does this sound familiar?

Along the way children were added into the picture. Now the success of raising good, moral, intelligent children were part of the success picture. Of course, there were bumps and bruises along that road. But, I have been blessed with two wonderful adult children. Now, we watch our children working toward their dreams and successes.

So, now where I am today. Preparing for retirement years to enjoy life, family, and the fruits of our success. I can hear some of you laughing out there. For those of you that know me, though I am retired from higher education, I have to work and create every day….this website is part of that….creating another success. BUT….this time it is different. I am doing Eighth Avenue Design because I enjoy what I am doing.  My success isn’t about making tons of money.  It’s about being happy and finding contentment.

So, each morning, after getting my sore bones moving, I head to my studio to create. I am not making the six figure salary. But, I have contentment and joy when I box up one of my creations and send to some corner of the world. I am blessed.

This has been a difficult journey but I am trying…….any tips?  Where are you at in your journey? What is your end game?  Please share.

 

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Celebrating America’s Birthday

It has been a while since we have posted in our blog. But, the studio has been quite busy! Our feature photo promotes the heat press shirts that were completed for the 4th of July holiday.  Yes, of course, I had to do one for my grand daughter……lol…….and excitedly, my son and girlfriend are expecting in December. Needless to say, this momma bear had to made something special for the new addition to our family.  I ended up making two designs for expecting mommas and gave one to my nephew’s wife.  It is such a wonderful time for this retired grandma for sure.

How many of you have grand children that are reading this post?  I never thought I would be so impacted by the arrival of a grand child.  But, they melt your heart.  The feel of their little hands in yours, their arms reaching out to you, or burying their heads in your chest……need I say more?  This is the best time of my life right now and I am trying to absorb as much as I can.

For those that follow this that would like the designs please email me at eighthavenuedesign@gmail.com and I will give you access to the designs for the three shirts.

Happy 4th of July!

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Day of Reorganization and Thought

Fabric Organization

Today I took time to begin reorganizing where my fabric and yarns are kept. There has been a bit of a lull in orders on Amazon and Etsy so it is giving me time to make things hopefully a bit more efficient. My orders have been evolving into more and more personalizing and embroidery. So……all this fabric needs to be out in front instead of stuck away in bins. You know how that is right? Keeping the juices flowing.

So…..I did some searching on Pinterest, of course, to see what everyone was doing to store fabric.  I found many people were wrapping them on custom made boards. But, the DIY’er that I am, and with a stack of foam core that I had stored from my watercolor painting and framing days, I cut boards to fit my cabinets perfectly! AND WA-LA! ORGANIZATION IN PROCESS.

Through the day I realized I had an added benefit to cutting, folding and wrapping the fabric. Can you guess what it was?  Yep! Thoughts and designing in my head. Now I can’t get this fabric organized fast enough so I can start on some new projects that will be just in time for the holiday shopping.  I am so excited!

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

When is your best thinking and designing time?  Normally mine is first thing in the morning before I get up or while I’m laying in bed at night trying to fall asleep.  I don’t think we allow ourselves the quiet times during the day to really think about things that are not right in front of us screaming. Unfortunately, this is what our world has become. Hopefully, you have a daily job that you enjoy and are challenged to improve yourself each day, not one that just drains every drop out of you.  So, I share with you, take time to think and reflect as often as possible. I know it is hard. But allow yourself this time, even if it is only for 15 minutes a week.

As I spent today reflecting, I also want to send a shout out to all our veterans out there and say THANK YOU for serving us and our country. Happy Memorial Day to all.

 

 

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PhD or NOT????

PhD or Not —–That has been the looming question for me over the last six months. I have continued writing and trying to keep my head around the literature review, research design and working with my chair.  But, do I really need to have a PhD any more?  I am retired and working in my studio and loving every minute that I am there creating.  I’m 57 years old and I don’t think that I will ever go back to higher education.

I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts on this topic.  It has been interesting as my college friends say – ABSOLUTELY FINISH and my other friends say DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY.

What do I do………..

 

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Business goes Amazon

Amazon Handmade…….I made the jump – have you? Many have been on Etsy for a number of years selling your wares.  Now Amazon offers a site for handmade items where you can sell handmade items after being approved through a review process by Amazon.  The application form takes approximately thirty minutes to complete. It requires photos of your completed items and an explanation of the creation process of your work. It takes a few days to receive approval.  Once you obtain approval to sell on Amazon Handmade your work really begins!

I was so excited the first week I had three sales and couldn’t believe it!  I was hoping it would just keep me busy every week and increase as I went.  But, I have learned very rapidly that with anything on the internet you really have to work with communication and promoting your own site and products. You wonder what that includes for me?  Well here is my list:

  • business Facebook page
  • personal Facebook page
  • Instagram posts
  • Pinterest
  • Blog posts
  • sharing and commenting on others social media
  • advertising
  • ratings on the best adwords to use
  • education, education, education

Is this a full time job?  OMG! It is a real balance between promotion, designing and customer service. Amazon and Etsy have good tutorials and do their best.  But, you have to make sure you do your part. You have to figure out where best to promote your items and connect with those who are looking for them.

I am finding with this blog that what started out one direction is really better if I develop it in another direction.  I am finding, interestingly, that people in their late 50’s are not really working to understand how to promote and grow their cottage business. So what do I do?  Any suggestions? What is your age group for your work? Who follows your blogs?  Has your focus changed?  Let’s help each other.

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Celebrating Sibling Day!

Today is sibling day!  Not quite sure where this “DAY” of celebration came from. But, it gives us time to think about our brothers and/or sisters hopefully in a loving way and be happy they are in our lives.

Doing some research I found that Claudia Evart created the day and also the Siblings Day Foundation. Evart lost her siblings very early in life from two separate accidents. Forty-nine governors have acknowledged the holiday. President George W. Bush recognized the day in 2008.  But, it takes much more to become an actual holiday.

Now that we have the historical out of the way, what about your siblings?  How is your relationship with them? Was it better when you were younger or has it gotten better as both of you have grown older? Have there been events in your life that changed your relationship? If you have elderly parents, has this changed your relationship with your siblings?

If your like me you have had a roller coaster relationship with your sibling.  I am 3 1/2 years older than my brothers.  He was never in school with me and when he was in high school I was married (young) and we weren’t real close. When I was in high school he was always that pesty brother who was in the way with friends and boyfriends. Ha Ha Ha! My brother was really different then me too.  He struggled in school and everything came easy for me.  He was the wild child and I was the typical first child who did everything she was suppose to.

Over the years as we both have our own families and lost our mother we have grown closer, not caring about the differences, caring that we are family and that is the most important.  We have had our tiffs – actually more between things my husband has done, but, we all grow and it isn’t worth holding any grudges.

I am sure many of you were challenged with divorces in your family and then parents remarrying.  How did this affect your relationships with your siblings?  I know that each one of us have our stories……what is yours?  Share in the comments and give a tribute to your siblings today.

The picture above is me and my brother.  We had our first vacation together since we were kids still at home. It was actually a lot of fun and we didn’t kill each other.

HAPPY SIBLING DAY!

 

 

 

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Creating with Chalk Markers

I have been able to learn a new medium while being part of my grand daughters growth and part of the photos.  I have be assigned the responsibility of creating her monthly boards that are included with her monthly photos.  I started out using dry chalk markers and just this week purchased a set of chalk markers by VersaMarker with a finer tip.  I have to tell you – I LOVED them!  The color is richer when they dry and I was able to get more detail.  You should try this.

I have been so thankful that my daughter has wanted me to be such a part of their lives as our first grand-baby arrived. I remember I was so thankful for my mother and she was a big part of my daughter’s life.  All I can hope is that my grandchildren want me to be around and allow me to teach them fun things.

Here are a few of the boards! It was fun to change with the holidays and seasons. The top three are with the dry chalk markers and the bottom two photos are with the liquid chalk markers. Love Love Love

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Regenerated – REQUIRED

Two weeks in paradise every February is what this girl needs.  Sun, water, no alarms, a6398B78D-C8AC-4CBD-AD02-7887E2F12619nd no planning! Just time for my brain to rest and explore shapes, color and nature.

Now it’s studio and design time, which there is never enough, between my granddaughter and family requests my life is pretty busy.  I thought I would have so much time after retiring.  Little did I know that my daughter would loose her job and need mom more than ever. How do I balance everything?  I have so much that I want to do on my blog and designing, But, I can’t resist getting on the floor with Ava. She is growing so fast. Yesterday was her 6 month birthday. REALLY!

So…..visit my Facebook page and Etsy page in the next few weeks to see new items.   Hopefully, after I have completed listing items in my new Amazon Handmade page I can start doing some tutorials for watercolor as many of you have been asking for.

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DESIGN, DESIGN, DESIGN

Things have slowed down from Christmas orders and Valentine’s Day.  I have gotten tired of the snow in Michigan so I am spending a few weeks in the wonderful southwest Florida sun. Now is my time to design and to bring fresh, and new items to you. You will see more items with embroidery as well as designs for those Cricut and hot press users. All new items will be featured here on our blog and in our product page then you will be available to purchase here and on Etsy.

We are also excited to announce that we will be selling on Amazon Handmade with all of our embroidered and heat press items.  Watch for our announcement that we are up and running. We will focus on a lot of personalizing and custom designs initially. Send us good vibes! Hoping this out sells Etsy.

So here is my question to you……..What would you like to see in my shop? Do you want to see more designs that you can purchase; do you want to see more baby gifts, or more embroidered gifts in general?  Help me out here ok?  Can wait to get your feedback.