Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Philosophically eating

The hubby and I were in the car last night on the way to try and make a bit more progress in cleaning up the old digs. In typical late-night, tired-of-cleaning, just-want-to-be-done-with-this-move-thing fashion, a deep philosophical discussion ensued about the merits of gummy bears.

Yes, gummy bears. They are one of his favorite forms of sugar and so of course, to help make the cleaning more pleasant, we had a reward bag of the goods sitting between us. As he flicked a slightly smooshed red bear into his mouth, I began to question him about the difference between colors, brands and which exactly he preferred.

Him: "A taste test is in order."
Me: "Ooooh, fun! We could buy a few different brands and have a party!"
Him: "Let's see, we got Tyrolli, Black Forest, Haribo..."
Me: "And you know I'll make a grid."
Him: "Some of them are softer than others."
Me: "Yes, but what about the taste?"
Him: "You're going to blog about this, aren't you?"

Of course!! So, this weekend's festivities will include tracking down various brands, then plotting out the factors to consider: brand, color, texture/softness, best bear-resemblance, etc. Anything else we should consider? Are we missing brands?

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Home Sweet Home

All is grand here, although it's been a tough day. It was moving day. Ugh. And it was just me and the hubby doing it all. Double ugh. And we had major issues with the moving truck, especially since we realized once we got to our new place that we'd left the hand-truck (part of the rental package) at our old place. Can we go into "ugh" over-drive now?

I'll have to take some pictures of how everything looks in the morning. It's like one of those man-sized mazes; a labrinth of boxes filled with books, clothes, kitchen supplies, cat toys and somewhere in there, a TV that would be really nice to watch after the long day we've just had. I think I see the sofa peeking out from beneath the camping equipment, too...

Friday, July 22, 2005

Visual Thesaurus

Some of my greeting cards are fairly text-based. That is, I tell stories, make up poems, etc. I've always loved writing and someday I WILL write that book. Till that day (and also likely during the process) I think that I've found a fun way to get past some writer's block; those moments when the perfect word is hard to come by. If you're at all a visual person and like to see one version of how things are associated with each other, check out this program.

Heck, I'm already drawing up a new line as we speak (verbalize, utter, sound, address).

Saturday, July 16, 2005

The Good Student

My folks recently came down for a visit (yes, just in time to see the new pad - and to buy us a Weber for a housewarming gift!) and I had a great talk with my Mom about what she's going to do next, since she has just retired. She spent the last 28 years in public education - a job that I consider one of the toughest out there. Unfortunately, it is a job that doesn't get near the recognition and appreciation that it deserves. I wholeheartedly applaud all those who dare to venture into the field and even more so those who do it with the utmost care and passion; the ones who inspire and remind us to never stop learning.

I don't believe that I am biased when I make the claim that my mother was/is one of those great teachers. I have heard from many of her students and peers about just how profound of an impact she has had on many, many lives. She taught everything from elementary to high school, subjects ranging from special education to computers, German, and even video production and web design. Every time she was asked to take on a new subject, she accepted without hesitation, knowing that if she didn't know everything about the subject at that point, she soon would. She is not only a great teacher, but a wonderful student.

Those are two of the qualities I believe are essential when considering taking the plunge to owning your own business. You have to know a fair amount about the field you are interested in, but you also have to be able to continue to learn about it and be willing to test out that knowledge constantly. There are many times when, as an entrepreneur, you may be asked to take on a task that you have little expertise or background in. What I've learned is that if you take the initiative and show no hesitation, you can usually make your way through the project with just a few minor cuts and bruises, figuritively speaking.

When I first began this business, I had a fairly clear image in my mind of what I would be doing: custom invitations for weddings and baby showers, plus a few birth announcements and thankyous here and there. Within my first few months, however, that plan was altered as I was asked to create and maintain birthday gifts and custom cards for a corporation. It was not on my original road map, but I knew that I could do it. That client is now my largest client and continues to grow. I have also taken on other projects, such as designing enamel pins, developing personalized, inspirational posters, designing a few bags and totes, creating party favors, etc. By listening to the client and playing the part of the good student, I have been able to hear what they want and need. The products and services originally created for just one client have been echoed by others with the same need - a need that I might not have been aware of had I initially turned down the project.

My mother is currently seriously considering starting her own business. I for one know she would do quite well. The advice I gave to her was to write down what sorts of things she would be interested in doing and plug those into a business plan. I think it is a good idea to start off somewhat small, to see what interest exists for your product or service, but also to remain open to hearing about those other opportunities you hadn't considered. Being a good student always pays off.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Our House

We're moving! It all happened so fast, but as of today we got the keys! Yay! I've always loved the Craftsman style and now we'll be living in our own! Yes, it's a rental, but its OURS! Plus, I will have my own office, and plenty of space to spread out all the crafty supplies I need. Ah, glorious day!

This is just a quick snapshot of the inside - our living room/dining room. So much light! I'll post pictures of my new office once I get it set up.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Ready or not!

Ok, my most sincere appologies for the time between posting the notice to "come back tomorrow" and the posting with the actual unveiling. It is finally here!

Below are just a few of the creations I've been working on over the past few weeks. Some card/invitations, others something else. All items will be for sale on the soon-to-come Blue Bean Creations website. They are listed here in no particular order, but I hope you enjoy them all! There are many more to post, but I want to make sure they all stay on one page for now. Enjoy and let me know what you think!

(If anyone is interested in purchasing any of these items, please email me at kathy_at_bluebeancreations dot com.)


These two cushions were inspired by a damp rear-end when sitting outside on the grass. Not only do they protect from any dampness, but they also add some cushion, helpful when you're sitting for any length of time. Use them on the grass, at a park, sports stadiums or any outdoor seating. Both are easy to wash and hang/lay flat to dry. Dimensions are about 18" x 16".

Handmade Books

These two books were both made as gifts; one for the client wedding I just finished (the spine of the book uses the same lace paper on their invitations) and the other book is a gift for my Dad for his birthday, which is today! (Happy Birthday, Dad!) "Strand Haus" is German for Beach House. Both books can be used as journals, guest books, sketch books, or anything else.

Wedding Invitation: Ashley

This is the latest invitation to be added to the books. My client's colors were a sage green and various shades of pink to accent. It is a beach wedding, so the raffia and shell add a nice touch, bringing down the formality of the felted paper and hand-made, lace paper band.

Wedding pieces

This is a view of all three wedding pices together (also did imprinted envelopes; not shown). The reply card and direction card were tucked into the band on the back of the invitation. Postcard does not need an envelope and can be mailed by just adding a stamp - cheaper postage, too!

Baby Shower

This is the front of the invitation (now in the books and ready for mass production!) done for a recent client baby shower. She's having a boy, but the design can be completely customized by changing the letters, colors and font. The letters are hanging from gold wire strung with seed beads and attached with eyelets so that they move around a bit. Yes, they take a long time to assemble.