Friday, July 31, 2009

Other Projects

After working my little butt off all week I had to make some time to work on some of my other projects. Our County Fair is next week and I had a ton of entries to finish so I made some time to work on them yesterday and I had to share a couple of them with the world.
Here is my handmade birthday card and envelope. How cute!

I am also entering a decorated journal cover, handmade jewelry ( a gorgeous necklace that I hope does really well because I absolutely love it), a decorated picture frame, and a handmade welcome sign.

The other project that I had to finish was a baby quilt. Every year I work with a 4H club that makes quilts to donate to different organizations, this year we are donating our quilts to the neonatal unit at the local children's hospital. The quilts were so little and quick that I made two, one to donate and one for a friend (I still have to finish the one for my friend). here's how my hard work turned out:

It was great to be able to take time to finish these projects, but I sure have been running around all day trying to make up for the time that I lost yesterday. I have listed the wedding book that I was working on a few days ago on my Etsy site ( be sure to stop by and check it out, it looks gorgeous! Ok, now I'm off to take care of some binding issues!

Business Cards!

I have been working on my business cards for weeks, and I have printed at least 4 different styles, but I think I finally got it right! They are simple, but still cute, and they have a picture so that everyone can see exactly what I do.

I am so proud of them because I did them myself, but I would love to hear what you think, and please be honest!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

End of the Day...Finally

Yes, it is 1am, and yes I am still working, but I made a to-do list for the day and you better believe that I'm going to finish it *yawn*

Really, I don't mind staying up late, I always have been a night owl, and I just have to finish printing one more calendar. It doesn't seem like it would take to long to print just one calendar, but even though I love my printer, my printer doesn't love cardstock, and seeing as that is what I always print on, well you get the picture, lets just say I've gotten really good at removing paper jams. Anyway, I give it about another half an hour before I can crawl into bed.

I really did get a lot accomplished in the last two days. I finished three custom orders and I prepared two calendars and two wedding books for binding, I should be able to list everything tomorrow, and all of my custom orders will be delivered friday.

I should feel good about all of my hardwork, but I still feel like i'm playing catch up. Every time that I finish one item I think of four more that I have to get started on. I'm just a little overwhelmed, and this is even more difficult because the items that I sell are dated. I don't want to have a ton of left over academic planners after school starts, but I do want to have enough to get through the back to school season, but I have no idea what enough is.

I could babble about this forever, but let's be honest, we would all get bored, and my printer is about to be shut down for the night so I am off to bed!

My Latest Project

My latest project has exploded! There are pieces of the wedding book that I am currently working on in my kitchen, my living room, and my bedroom. It's a good thing that I am working at home because I obviously need room to spread out!

I am absolutely in love with the book that I am working on right now. It is a beautiful creme and baby blue wedding book, the cover has green and gold accents, and features machine stitching embellishment. All of my divider pages have blue or creme borders with machine stitching embellishment. I still have to finish attaching the ribbon tabs and then I have to sew all of the pockets but it will be gorgeous when it is done.

The accent papers are all from Martha Stewart's Craft Collection, which is probably why I love them so much. I love her designs, they are so simple, but that makes them so elegant. I could (and have) spend hours on her website! But really that has nothing to do with what i'm trying to write, can you tell I haven't been able to focus today?!

Ok, ok, I really do need to get back to work, tabs don't attach themselves, unfortunately, but I just had to share my pretty project with you. Check my etsy site soon for the finished product, and while you are waiting check out some work by two of my favorite etsy artists: and

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Go Ahead... Splurge a Little

I made myself a new calendar the other day, I make calendars and planners for a living, so this shouldn't have been a huge deal, but I cannot tell you how excited it made me! I was giddy like a little kid on Christmas, I had to show everyone my new planner. I even have a picture, so you can see it too

This got me thinking, why in the world was I so excited about a new calendar?! I am such a nerd! Part of me knows that I was excited about filling in all of the blank spaces and laying all of my to-do lists out in one spot. It didn't take me long to fill in the first few pages and stock up the pockets. I really do have a crazy passion for organization, something about listing every thing that I have to get done, and then checking them all off one-by-one gives me a feeling of control.

Another part of me realized that it has been an incredibly long time since I have made something for myself. One reason that I was so excited about this planner was that it was something that I made that I actually get to hold onto, I can share it with others, and I get to use it.

This reminded me just how important it is to treat myself every now and then. It has been at least a week since I finished my new planner and I am still excited about it. That little bit of excitement goes a long way. So my suggestion to is is to splurge! Do something for yourself. Little treats have a way of turning your day around, and they serve as a reminder that you are important too.

I am a giver. I would do anything to help others, and to make sure that others are happy, so often so that I sometimes forget about myself, and what makes me happy. One thing that I have been working on is remembering myself, and doing little things for me.

These little splurges don't have to be expensive, and they don't have to take a lot of time. A splurge can be as simple as carving out half an hour to read a book, or trying out a new recipe for dinner. I love making lists, so while I was thinking about treating myself I took a few minutes to make a list of ten things that I love, that are simple, silly things that let me feel like I have really indulged myself. Here's my list:

Take a minute to make your own list, 10 things that you really truly enjoy doing. Feel free to use my list for inspiration, and don't forget, taking time to make the list is great, but you can't just think about doing the things that you wrote down, you have to actually do them!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Leap of Faith

I've been trying to decide if I am going to take the leap. To really jump into the process of being a small business owner 100%. I started selling on Etsy as a way to earn some money while I tried to find a full time job, but I've found that I truely enjoy the work I have been doing. It doesn't always feel like work. As I get more and more interested in my little business I find myself making excuses for not looking for a full time job.

As much as I love the work that I am doing right now I have the same doubts as anyone else in my situation. That little voice in the back of my head that says "are you sure this will work?" and "Can you really make enough money doing this?" But the question that I ask myself the most is "do I believe in myself?"

I was having a conversation about this particular subject with one of my very best friends earlier today. Brooke and I are in a similar place, we both just recently graduated from college, and neither of us have been able to find jobs (even though we were both very good students with very good resumes). She told me that something would happen for me when it was supposed to happen.

Now I have said this very same thing to myself numerous times, but it really helps to know that I am not my only cheerleader. And I have gotten completely off subject...

Anyway, Brooke told me that something would happen for me when it was supposed to happen. Now this saying is extremely vague, and a bit cliche, but sure enough, I made a sale that very day. Now I am a huge believer in signs, and if that wasn't a sign, then I don't know what would be.

So, here I go, I'm going to do it. I'm going to take that huge leap of faith and give this my all. And most importantly I am going to believe in myself (well, that's a process, so I'm going to work on believing in myself, really, I am).

Mother Teresa said "Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith and let your wings grow on the way down." This is my reminder that no matter what I happens, I will absolutely learn something from this experience.

What quotes keep you going? I would love to hear them!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My Distraction

My puppy Allis plays a huge role in my entrepreneurial experience, she is my distraction. Thank goodness for her, she gives me something else to worry about. Mostly I worry about making sure that all of her shedding hair disappears from the furniture before people come over. But in all honesty it is important for me to have other outlets for my energy, so that I don't go crazy, and walking Allis can be very therapeutic. Some of my other outlets include baking, quilting, scrapbooking and reading but I have to watch my time very closely, or I will spend the whole day working on those projects and not get much accomplished for my actual business.
This bring me to another issue that I have been dealing with. Many people seem to equate working from home with doing nothing all day long because they assume that I have time to run this errand, or do that favor, or help with this committee. Learning to say no is something that I am still working on. This is especially difficult for me because I am, by nature, a people pleaser, I just have to keep reminding myself that there is no way that I can do it all, and if I want my own business to be a success, then I need to focus as much energy on it as I possibly can.
I would really appreciate a little help here, how do you say no to people? Does anyone have a strategy for dealing with people who don't understand that you really are working too? Please share, and while you're at it, tell me about some of your outlets, what kinds of things get you through the day?

Pictures of My Creations

These are just some pictures of my planners and organizers. To see inside pages, and more designs, please visit my shop at .

All About Me!

Who am I? That's a great question, and I could give you a generic answer that doesn't really tell you a lot about who I really am, but seeing as this blog is about my experiences as a new business owner, it helps for you to know a little about me. The more that you know about me, the more you will understand what I have to say. I'm Erin. I graduated from college in December, and I was ecstatic to be offered a full-time position as a preschool teacher right away. Unfortunately, at the end of the school year the school was forced to downsize, and I was suddenly out of a job, which is a pretty familiar story right now.

I understood that there was a possibility that I could be looking for a job for quite some time, so in the meantime I needed something that would keep me busy, and hopefully bring in a little money. I have always thought that it would be wonderful to work for myself, and I know that I may never have this opportunity again, so faced with a whole bunch of free time and some creative inspiration, along with that little voice in the back of my head that keeps saying "you can do this", I've started my own small business.

I run Obsessively Organized (a name that describes me pretty well), a paper goods organization which produces weekly planners, academic organizers, wedding plan books, journals, and teacher lesson plan books. At least, that's all that I make right now, who knows what my business will grow into (I hope it grows into something!). All of my layouts are completely original, I've designed them all myself, and I've used many of them in my own personal calendars and planners when I was in college.

As if my own business wasn't enough to keep me busy all summer, I have spent a huge amount of my time volunteering for my favorite youth development organization. Some people think that I have spent my summer being a lazy bum without a job, but you can tell that those people don't know me too well. The word "lazy" is not a part of my vocabulary. I've learned a lot in the month since I started Obsessively Organized, but I know that I have just barely grazed the surface of the knowledge that I will accumulate as my business grows. So follow along through all of my ups and downs. I can assure you that it will be entertaining, i'm generally good for the occasional laugh, especially at my own expense. And don't forget to check out my shop at !