Saturday, April 14, 2012


I have yet to really find out how to strike a balance between being a mom and running a business. It is HARD. The lines get further blurred since I work at home. When I am doing one thing, I am most often always worried I am neglecting something else. Am I devoting enough time to Ella? To my business? To my husband? To my home? To MYSELF?! The last thing on my mind has been devoting time to my blog, to be quite honest. (Which is why there has been a long absence in my posts!) However I felt the random need tonight to just release some of these thoughts.

Since my last post in September, business has really boomed. I never really imagined that things would take off so quickly! I signed up for several craft fairs last fall and winter. Craft fairs were fun but preparations took way more time than I imagined. I had great success at the Chestnut Hill Craft Show, and some unsuccessful trysts at local Hanukkah bazaars. I took advantage of running a "Black Friday" sale in my Etsy shop. I got 23 orders in 3 days over that weekend whereas I had been averaging about 20 orders a MONTH.  The orders kept rolling in throughout Christmas, as I offered holiday items this year. In the week leading up until the Christmas Order ship date cutoff, I was getting about 2 hours of sleep a night. I pulled my first all-nighter since college. I find it extremely ironic that my lack of sleep since Ella was born has NOTHING to do with her! She has been an amazing sleeper from the start and has been sleeping through the night since 3 weeks old. I think through the Christmas rush, I was running on adrenaline. I was on a high that so many people wanted my artwork!

Though I still love getting orders, I think the high has worn off a bit, especially due to burnout. I thought that being a "work at home mom" would be the ultimate ideal! I had visions of working happily in my studio while Ella played next to me each day. Doing something I really loved. I had visions of a flexible schedule and not having to punch in the clock. I had visions of having to answer to no one. I had read in some business books that most people really romanticize being their own boss, and I certainly fell victim to this! While being your own boss IS pretty cool, it is NOT easy. My schedule is WAY less flexible than ever. I have to wake up by 8 to ensure I have enough time to get things done, and I am often up working late hours after everyone falls asleep, sometimes until 2am. I rarely have a weekend when I dont work. (I also tutor on Wednesday and Friday evenings, and Saturday mornings- so my weekends are certainly pretty shot!) I am the art department, the shipping department, the packaging department, the customer service department, the marketing department.... ETC. You get my drift! I am NOT sitting around painting all day. I still can't believe how long is takes me to nicely package up an item! What I would give to have someone else take care of packaging and deal with the dreaded post office.

The orders were still coming in at a rapid pace after Christmas, and I kept taking everything on, not really knowing what my limit was. I reached my limit in early February. Scott and I had planned a little getaway to Mexico for 4 days. His grandfather sadly passed away shortly before we went away. Before this experience, I never really appreciated the fact that when you work for a company or a school, that most of the time, when you take time off for bereavement or vacation, the whole company or school doesnt collapse because you are gone. Other coworkers can help cover your workload or a substitute teacher comes into your classroom. You can go back to work and pick up where you left off.

The harsh realization that I am in this alone really hit when I lost several days of work time due to Scott's grandfather's death and vacation. No one was there to cover for me or help me out. Business didn't keep on running. Everything stopped. I got REALLY behind. And I had time sensitive orders that needed to be shipped out in time for baby showers, new mommies who were anxious to set up their nurseries, new baby gifts, birthdays, etc. I just about killed myself before we went away, and by the time we got to Mexico, I felt as if I could barely relax. I was on edge constantly checking my site and making sure orders has arrived on time and customers were happy. I have run across some unhappy customers in my 500+ orders, but luckily they have been few and far between. And I have been able to resolve most issues amicably. It is really hard not to take things personally when you have an unhappy customer. Every single piece I create is handmade and though it sounds cheesy, it is kind of an extension of myself. I dont know if EVERYONE can appreciate the love, sweat and tears that goes into handpainted work. However, almost everyone I have worked with has been amazing! I had so much fun planning and decorating for Ella so I can certainly relate to those mommies-to-be!

After just about killing myself to get things done in time for Christmas, and suffering a major setback in February, I knew something had to give. After seeking some advice from other Etsyians, I decided to raise some of my prices to slow down sales, extend my wait time (which I hated doing) and even closed my shop for a few days to catch up on orders. I finally got to the point where I felt like I could breathe a bit. This came just in time for the nice weather to come around. I didnt quite mind holing myself up during the winter, but with the nice weather came my desire to finally get fresh air and fully enjoy time for myself and Ella. She LOVES being outside and taking walks in her strollers, and kicks and squeals in delight while we are out.

And speaking of my little Ella, she is just the best. I am so so so grateful to be home with her despite this insane and crazy schedule. Whenever I am feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, I look at her and feel a sense of peace. I dont know if I will ever strike a balance between mom, wife and artist. I know that things still need to change. I am learning, and I am trying my hardest................. thats really all I can do right now.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Two Months

Two months? Already? Before I know it, Ella will be 18! I took photos of Ella yesterday on her two month birthday and she already looks SO much bigger than she did in her one month pics. It is so amazing watching her grow- and even better, seeing her smile!

Friday, August 19, 2011


Have you ever felt like you were exactly where you were supposed to be? I am feeling that way right now, and it is a really wonderful thing. I have gone through times in my life where I was very confused and clouded with doubt, so having this clarity and feeling of peace is something I don't take for granted. Motherhood is amazing and I feel really lucky that I can potentially turn my passion for painting into more than just a hobby.

That being said, I don't feel like I randomly ended up in this place because of fate or luck. I chose to be where I am today. Just wanted to share my happiness today with all of you!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Kid's Korner: Butterfly Orb

I know that when I was looking for mobiles for Ella's nursery, I wanted to find something really special. The mobile can be a beautiful focal point in your baby's room. I am very excited to introduce this awesome shop, Butterfly Orb, full of gorgeous, light and whimsical butterfly mobiles. Not only are they a unique design piece for nurseries, but babies love to observe the orb's gentle movement and grace as well. 

Butterfly Orb is owned by Ann and Mark, and I had the pleasure of conversing with Ann. Ann has always loved creating and taught special education for many years. Butterfly Orb opened on Etsy last November. Ann says "I love having the idea of the orb as a piece of art that grows up as the room changes....the mobiles are rather timeless that way. You can also use the inside of the orb for special notes, or a visit from the tooth fairy, or hang a crystal inside, or you can hang ribbons from the orb."

What a gorgeous color scheme!

Each orb is completely handcrafted and takes about 3 hours to make. Ann really likes to work with her customers to create a piece that is a perfect fit for their child's nursery.
"I love getting photos from Moms to be (mostly Moms to be) showing their nursery designs or bedding and then together we talk about the design...some of our collaborative efforts I post at our Etsy store to show others what great color combinations can be created."

A crisp and clean nursery with a Butterfly Orb that gives the room a fun pop of color.

When I asked Ann how the concept for Butterfly Orb began, she said:
"It really was a butterfly that kept coming around every morning, the same butterfly, and each morning with a cup of coffee we would have a visit. Sometimes it would land on my shoulder! Sometimes, it would be at the window in the afternoon, just fluttering around.  Then we starting to talk about butterflies, and movement, people love movement and after much, and many and terrible beginnings we finally landed on the orb design...we knew we wanted an orb shape."

This is Ann's current favorite mobile. "I love how subtle it is and lately soft gray and cream have an appeal to me."
One of Butterfly Orb's happy customers says, "We absolutely love our daughter's butterfly orb mobile! But more importantly, she loves it. So much more beautiful and interesting than the mobiles sold at the big chain stores. Everyone who sees our daughter's nursery is immediately drawn to the butterflies delicately floating above her crib. I have recommended this product to many people! Thanks so much!"
You can be another happy customer after visiting Butterfly Orb on Etsy. Go ahead and take a look!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Monthly Photos

Happy One Month, Ella!
My little girl turned one month old on 8/7/11! I of course wanted to take great photos to document her growth, so I turned to the internet to do a bit of research. I found some really fun and creative ideas. In the end I decided to stick with what I know and love: my blocks! My plan is to add a bird block to the set each month. I thought I would share some of the fun photos I found while researching monthly photo ideas to document your baby's growth. Enjoy!

Felt letters and numbers. So bright and colorful!
Baby on a calendar. Simple... yet genius!
Ever seen the monthly stickers? You can stick em on onesies, too. This is a popular product on Etsy.
Had to throw this one of Ella in for good measure. I had lots of fun with our first monthly photo shoot, she obviously felt differently :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Baby On the Go!

Mommy and Ella all ready for a walk.
I love the concept of the baby carrier.

Benefits for Mommy:
  1. No bulk of the stroller systems! Makes it so easy to move around with baby in tow.
  2. A fantastic way to get some fresh air and exercise. What new mommy doesn't want to fit into her pre-pregnancy clothing again? (Although some of my maternity pants were awfully comfortable).
  3. Bonding time with your baby by holding her close to your body. There's no better feeling than having your little peanut snuggled up against you.
 Benefits for Baby:
  1. Babies are soothed and supported in a natural way that reminds them of the womb; they can hear the familiar rhythm of your heartbeat and rock and sway with you as you walk.
  2. Baby carriers provide a safe place for your little one to explore the world with you.
  3. Encourages bonding and enhances learning development.
I have a Chicco UltraSoft Infant Carrier. So far I like it, however, I find it a little challenging to gracefully get Ella into the carrier. I know a lot of people swear by the Baby Bjorn Comfort Carrier. If you use a baby carrier, what brand do you use? Do you like it?

Kisses in the carrier.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Nursery Inspirations: Jungle Love

Gypsy Lane's "Jungle Love" Blocks, one of our most popular designs. To view these blocks on Etsy, click here.
If you are designing a Jungle themed nursery, why not put a little modern twist on it? Jungle decor is really popular, so you have a lot of options when you are choosing your items. Check out these finds below to give your Jungle themed nursery a fun, fresh and contemporary look. How can you not love those Safari Animal pillows and gorgeous Giraffe lamps?!

Jungle Love