I’m so excited to finally be able to share what I’ve been working on the last couple months. I’ve gone back and forth about what all I want to offer in my shop for a long time now. Shipping is much more costly and difficult than it was when in the US so I’ve wanted to sell things that were digital. I had thought about selling my old art digitally but have been unsure about just putting my art out there like that. And then it just suddenly hit me one evening that I could sell custom invitations. They would fit in with the vibe of my shop with being both personalised and mostly centered around babies/children (even though any of it can be for other purposes). Plus with each invitation being so custom it wouldn’t be as easy to just resell them.
I love painting with watercolors and so enjoyed some quiet evenings while the kids were asleep painting different animals, vines, banners, backgrounds, etc. I used the animals for my ornaments as a starting off point since if someone is buying the ornament they may also be helping with a baby shower! So, they can coordinate!! And then I made a couple others that might be popular baby shower themes. I want to continue to add more in the future but started with 6 different options. And 2 of those options I have made in a blue/pink version.
For the process I played around and painted on watercolor paper until I got things I liked. Then I scanned the paper and brought it into photoshop elements. Since I painted different pictures on the same page I isolated them and saved them separately so I could move them around and work with them individually. It was fun to play with them.
I continued to work with them until I got them just right. (A fun fact: For the information I put on each invitation, I used first and last names from different friends and family and also places and numbers that mean things to me.) At first, I had planned on only offering invitations but then I thought it would be fun to offer coordinating items to go with each one. So, I made a matching thank you note and also a shower activity called “Wishes for Baby”.
It’s funny, before I moved here I was involved with hosting SO many showers. I was/am in that stage of life where everyone in my friend circle is having more and more babies and so I was always helping to host them. For the last few I did I was usually the one designing the invitations so it’s really pretty natural for me to be doing this now. I’m not sure why it didn’t occur to me sooner. Part of hosting showers was figuring out games/activities to do and so I thought I had seen most of what is out there. I noticed this “Wishes for Baby” activity when doing some research for this and couldn’t believe I hadn’t come across it before. It’s so sweet. It’s a little form that each guest fills out with hopes for the baby. The parents can then keep them and look back at them as the child grows. There are things like “I hope you learn…”, “I hope you get your Mom’s/Dad’s…”, “I hope you try…”, etc. So, I made one of these cards to match each invitation. In the future I may add some other things as well. Let me know if you have any requests!!
After creating them digitally I then printed them out to see if they looked good in real life. There were a couple that I made changes too once I saw them printed. When I used to sell my prints I used archival quality Epson paper that was so thick and lovely and textured. It really made the ink colors so deep and gorgeous. I don’t have that here but figured the watercolor paper I used to paint on would give a similar look. So, I cut it out of my spiral since it was a standard A4 size and it worked great. I highly recommend it as a cheaper way to make your invitations LOOK super professional and expensive. Also, with the designs being watercolored it really makes them look like they are painted on and not printed.
I also bought a corner craft punch so that I could make the corners rounded. They looked good with normal corners but once I rounded them it really elevated the look.
Most people on Etsy who sell similar items just show a mock up that is just digital but I wanted to take pictures of mine to show the real thing. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to use as a backdrop and was also waiting on some good natural light to take the photos. On the day that I cut the paper and corners I had them laid out on my couch. When I was done I looked down at them all and realised that I could use a couch cushion as the backdrop! Ha. It is a light gray and has lots of texture which is what I was wanting to contrast with the white paper. Once I get an idea in my head I’m not usually great at waiting and want to do it right away. So, I told Ken I was going to walk down to the park at the end of our street and pick some flowers. I grabbed one of the kid’s Easter baskets and some scissors and cut different wild flowers, purple leaves off of a tree, plus some grasses and twigs. It was probably after 7 pm and the sun stays up here during the summer hours really late but it was cloudy which was making it get darker than it could be. So with my sunlight running out I put an old blanket on the ground out behind our house, put a cushion on top of that and then played around with putting the prints on it and surrounding it with groupings of flowers and leaves. Afterwards I could hardly stand up again since I had been bending over for so long. My back actually hurt for a couple days after that…apparently I need to do some back exercises. It was great to have that stage complete though.
I also needed some other close ups of each piece and realized the blackout curtains in my bedroom would work for that with them also being gray and having a slight texture. So I put our ironing board next to the window, laid the curtain on it and then took turns taking pictures of each print. So funny that my sofa and curtains became the backdrop. But the price was right!
The next step was figuring out how to format it for people to be able to download it and print it. It took me a while to figure out how to do that and then do it 48 times for the ones that are instant downloads (which are the thank you notes and activity since they aren’t custom). I made it so for each of them you can have the option to print yourself with 2 on a page sized for both letter size which is the standard 8.5×11 inches that Americans use or A4 which Europeans use. I also uploaded a jpeg of the print’s actual size in case people need it that way.
For the invitations, you will tell me what you want it to say and I’ll email you your own custom invitation! I also think a perfect gift idea is to give the mother-to-be one of my baby’s first Christmas ornaments to match as a sweet way to remember the baby shower.
Well, so that was a bit about the process from first idea to final product. I hope you’ll keep me in mind the next time you are needing some printable invitations!!!
Today I want to show you what I’ve been working on the last 2 months. On Monday I will share a post I wrote that goes into detail about why I made them and the process I went through from beginning until now. So please come back for that!
But first, here are the printable invitations I have created and am selling in my shop. They feature watercolored animals and designs which give it a custom, high-end look without the custom, high-end price! To start with I have 6 different themes with 2 of those having a blue/pink color option. I used my animal ornaments as my initial inspiration so they can coordinate. The thought is that you can use the printables to host your baby shower and also give a coordinating ornament as a personalized gift to remember the day.
And to make it even easier on you when hosting the shower I made additional items that match. First, there are thank you notes which could also be given to the mom-to-be so she can send them out after the shower. Second, there is also a shower activity called “Wishes for Baby” where each guest fills out the form to share their hopes and wishes for the little baby. I thought it was such a sweet keepsake for the family to look back on in the coming years.
The great thing about being digital downloads is that YOU have control. You can print them from your own home printer or go to a local copy shop/printer or even use an online printer. You can get the look just the way you want it at a price you can afford. Online printers that offer custom invitations cost around $3 per invitation which would add up very quickly. With these you can print out as many as you need!! I printed these on watercolor paper that I got on sale. It was spiral bound but I just cut it out and used it since it was A4 size (the normal printing size in the UK). The pictures really don’t do them justice, they look and feel so nice. The weight of the paper and the texture really makes them look expensive and professional.
And to celebrate their new release I am putting them all on sale for 25% off until the end of August. No need for a coupon code, I changed the prices in my shop! So, please think of me the next time you need to host a shower/party. Hopefully in the future I can make even more options. Let me know if you have any requests.
The ornaments are now in the shop! You can find them here.
Also, I decided to add a cursive font to the options this year since I had a couple of requests last year. So now there are four font options.
And for the bunny this year there are four options for the tail. You can choose white, pink, blue, or gray. The pink and blue are a little different as well. They are a bit speckled. You can see all four options in the photo below.
Thank you for your patience as I’ve been setting up shop here in Scotland!
I’ve been working hard to get my ornaments close to ready so that when they are purchased I can get them shipped quickly. It has taken me longer than I would like or had planned but I am finally ready to open.
I’ll be listing four types of ornaments on Monday, November 2. I’ve made about 50 of each kind and when they are gone they are gone. Normally, I would keep making more but it has been difficult to find supplies in my new homeland so I can’t just run out and purchase more supplies when they start to run low and I would like to enjoy my holidays this year instead of furiously sewing the whole time. Hopefully, this amount will be enough to help most people get what they want.
Pricing has been a subject I’ve continued to put off thinking about since now I am buying supplies in pounds instead of dollars. That means if I am buying everything in pounds and then selling them for the same price I have in dollars that I am not making as much. I hate to penalize my loyal customers who mostly are from North America though just because I moved. And thankfully, although shipping will be a bit higher for Americans (although less for everyone else) it isn’t prohibitively higher. I need to be fair to myself though. I mean I’m not in this just to be doing favors for people, this is a business. But I want to compromise. So, I will be raising my cost a tiny bit to $22 from $20 try to offset supply costs. I think of these little ornaments as heirloom gifts, items that can be cherished and passed down but I don’t want the prices to be unattainable for most people. A lot of other ornaments can cost twice as much but I’m not prepared to charge that at this time.
It has felt really good to be sewing lately. I hadn’t done it in so long. When I moved I reluctantly thought I would probably wait a year to sell ornaments because of the logistics of it. But I have gotten so many wonderful emails from past customers asking me to make more so I figured out how to make it happen. Thank you all for your support!
One aspect of these ornaments that many customers have commented on is that because they are soft they can let their little ones hold them or help put them on the tree. I love that and since I have three young kids of my own I can appreciate it. We’ve had to put all our non-breakable ornaments at the bottom of the tree for the last 8 years or so. Every time one of the kids gets to the age where they know better than to yank the ornaments off or try to eat them I have had another child. I look forward to the day when that is no longer an issue!
And don’t forget, if you are sending it straight to someone as a gift let me know. I can leave off the money amounts on the invoice and include a gift note from you. Just tell me what you want the note to say!
So, please come back on Monday to start purchasing your ornament(s). Remember, they don’t have to be for baby’s first Christmas. They can say anything…an inside joke, a name, a family name and year, it’s really up to your imagination. I also have people ask if they can do one from a different year and that is also no problem – no judgements here about back dating first christmas ornaments! That first year is a doozy.
One thing I’ve meant to blog about for a while is that I am selling some of my prints on the site called Boom Boom Prints. It is a fairly new site where you can order different sized prints, canvases, onesies, phone cases, greeting cards, maternity shirts, bags, and wall clings with art printed on them from different independent artists. Some of the art can also be customized to match your nursery’s colors. Boom Boom Prints takes care of all the printing and shipping and I get a portion of the sale. I have been doing it since they started in October but it is turning out to be really useful right now since I am unable to sell my own prints directly at the moment. I can’t sell my personalized prints there but if there is something else you’ve wanted but didn’t get around to getting or if you’d like it on a different medium then go check them out! There are a ton of talented artists on there to choose from.
This post is long over due! I planned to write it months ago and then even started it a few weeks ago but it got deleted. It seems strange (and it was never my intention) making the announcement after the fact instead of telling you the news in advance, but here it is, we have moved to Scotland! Part of why I put off writing it was because I was waiting for my husband, Ken, to make a Facebook announcement to friends that hadn’t heard yet and part of it was I have been unsure as to what I should even write. There is so much I could say. I could write a small book just in the background of how it all came to be and how it all happened in the last few months. It’s been really hard to get motivated to sit down and figure out how to edit myself down.
But here goes nothing. The story actually starts way back in 2001. After graduating, my college roommate, Beth, and I moved to Edinburgh, Scotland a week after 9/11. I was going there with a 6-month work visa through a company called BUNAC (which looking at the site now, it has grown and changed a bit, and the expenses have increased a lot) and she was going to get her Master’s degree at the University of Edinburgh. It was a really great time and also very hard time. I was there during the darker and colder months and of course there was so much uncertainty in the world after all that had just happened in New York. Scotland was wonderful but trying to find a job with such a short work visa proved to be very difficult. I finally did find a temporary, holiday job at Next, which is a department store here. Ken, and I had just started a relationship and he flew out to see me for my birthday in January. Scotland was imprinted on our hearts.
Fast-forward a bit and Ken found a youth minister job in San Marcos and I later found a teaching job there as well. We were engaged a year after his visit to Scotland and married 3 months after that. We settled in and it became our home.
We loved our town and church home. Our family was far away so our friends became like family. We knew that God had planted us there for a purpose and we dug in for that. We had no plans to move unless we felt God moving us. Scotland was always on our hearts during that time and we wondered if we’d ever be given the opportunity to live and serve here, but we just didn’t know.
We had actually seen a couple of opportunities over the years but none were quite right or worked out. But then toward the end of 2014 Ken saw the job posting for youth pastor in Pitlochry that got him really excited. He sent in his CV but didn’t really expect it to go far since nothing else had. But he eventually did hear back with some interest. I won’t go into the whole hiring process but he flew to Scotland over Valentine’s Day weekend for an interview and was invited to come as youth pastor and he accepted. While there he fell in love with the people and the possibilities and not just the obvious beauty of the area. He had a real peace about whichever way it would end up. He knew that if it worked out that it was meant to be and that if it didn’t, God wasn’t done with us yet in San Marcos.
So, that was in February, and we looked to try to get the process done and move by mid July. I can talk more in-depth about all of that in subsequent posts. Only by God’s continual help were we and the church successful in getting it done on time.
Leaving our friends and church in San Marcos was very difficult; there were lots of tears. I have never liked goodbyes, and having to do it over a 5-month period was very hard. It definitely put my introversion to the test. And at the end I was so exhausted, physically and emotionally, I had a breakdown on the last night and had to skip a goodbye dinner to take a nap. I am so thankful that we live in an age where we can still talk via the internet and phone though. The world has gotten so much smaller. So none of the goodbyes are forever.
I don’t want this blog to become only about Scotland but it has always been a mixture of my life and nesting/crafting things so hopefully that will continue. I know a lot of people who we’ve left are interested in keeping up with us on here though so don’t be surprised when you see a lot of Scotland posts.
People have asked what will happen with my business now that we’ve moved. And to answer that I have to say, I’m not really sure. I plan on continuing it but I’m just not sure what is going to work best now that I’m across the ocean. Obviously, it is an online business so in theory I can move it anywhere but with the ornaments being time sensitive and most people ordering at the last-minute I don’t know if I could get them out on time. But I have had some people already asking if I’ll be making more. If I can get a printer that will work for printing on the fabric like before then my initial thought is that I’ll make a limited edition of the best-selling ornaments. I usually start cutting and sewing all the ornaments about now in June or July and don’t stop until Christmas. It is fun but also exhausting especially when Fall hits. I don’t want to do that this year. I don’t want all extra time to be taken up by that. I want to be able to enjoy the holidays and my family. Thankfully, I’ll have two of the three kids in school this year so I might be able to get more done during the day instead of only the evening. I also am thinking I’ll start selling my art as digital downloads so people can print them out themselves. That will save me having to worry about printing, shipping, inventory, etc. I still haven’t really figured it all out yet. I closed down my shop a week before moving and just wanted to survive the move and settle in. We finally just got internet in our house after being here almost a month. It has been a painfully slow process. The kids will start school mid August. After that I think we should get in a good groove and I can have time to really figure these things out.
All is going well though and we have been welcomed so wonderfully, more than we could have hoped for! We are so very blessed to be here and get the chance to have this adventure as a family. We look forward to all that is ahead.
I have so many things that I look forward to sharing with you all. But if you have any specific questions or things you’d like to see please ask in the comments and I’ll try to make sure to answer them in upcoming posts.
Oh, and I set up an Instagram account under the name @thenestingspot so you can follow me there as well.
The last couple years I have made a list of the baby names that were on the ornaments I made from the year before. I think it is fun to take a look to see what names are trending. As I’ve said before this is not very scientific since a few of the ornaments were actually for older children and were back dated and some names are most likely nick names. But I just put all the names on the list. I got to do a lot of sibling names this year from repeat customers which was a lot of fun. I also felt like I was seeing more unusual names this year, but I’ll have to go back and read previous lists to compare. Here are the lists from 2012 and 2013.
Jack was the most used name in 2012 with 8. In 2013, there was a 4 way tie with Henry, Jack, Jackson, and Oliver with 4 each. This year’s winner is Henry with 7 (plus 2 spelled Henri). Jack was second with 5. So it looks like Henry is taking over now. It wasn’t that many years ago that I when I heard the name Henry it just sounded like a stuffy old man to me but now I’m used to it being a cute child name. There are lots of names that when I was first seeing them on little ones surprised me since they were still grandma and grandpa names to me. But now they have become fresh again and I enjoy seeing them used on little ones. Funny how that works.
Click on the link below to see this year’s list.
What are your favorites? See any surprises?
Psst…You can still order personalized ornaments from my shop…it doesn’t have to be right before Christmas. I’ve still been making them after the New Year. See all the options here.
I’ve been keeping a little secret for about a year now.
Wow, how time passes. I have wanted to get a dot com for years but the natural one to get which is thenestingspot.com was owned by a subsidiary of a certain internet provider and to get it from them you had to pay insanely high fees. It really seemed like a racket. Anyway, by chance I happened to check on it last fall and saw the spot was up for renewal and thankfully we were able to stealthily nab it.
I waited until after the craziness of the holiday season to try and figure out how to make a website for it. Web page stuff is still pretty big and new to me so it took months before I found a format I thought I could use to do what I wanted and around May I finally got it in decent shape. And then I got busy with other stuff and it has sat there. I’ve been hesitant to tell everyone because it never feels quite ready. But after doing a couple other things recently I think it’s time to make the move. So, if you follow me in a reader like Bloglovin or Feedly etc. please take a minute to change your feed to www.thenestingspot.com. If you are already a subscriber to my blog through WordPress then I’ll move you myself later today. Hopefully all will go well and you won’t even see a big change. If you have any problems please let me know.
If you haven’t subscribed before a couple of ways to do it are: hit the RSS button at the top right corner of the new blog. Or sign up in the right sidebar of the blog page to get an email sending you each new post. Or go to your own reader like Bloglovin and search for The Nesting Spot. Both blogs will come up so make sure to follow the correct one.
The site is still pretty simple and I’ll try to change and update the look as I figure out how, but for now it is clean and has the necessities.
I am posting a tutorial on my daughter’s Halloween costume today so please be sure to pop over! It is also part of a Halloween craft link up so you can check out the other tutorials as well. I will also be listing my 2014 ornaments this week and will notify you on there as well. So please jump over and take a look and follow along!
Well, it’s that time of year again. No, not back to school or the winding down of summer, it’s time to be making Christmas ornaments. If I don’t start making them at least by mid summer there’s no way I can make them all in time so that they are ready for the rush once October and November hit. With more homework now that my oldest is a big first grader (WHAT?!) and with the birthdays of my youngest turning 2 at the end of this month and my oldest turning 7 in November, and with making Halloween costumes ahead of time so they can be shared on line in time, and Thanksgiving, and tons of family coming over to stay with us over the next few months, well, I just have to pretend it isn’t 100 degrees outside right now and get into the Christmas spirit.
One thing in my favor is that I am finally not pregnant, nursing, or dealing with the sleep issues of a newborn so I have high hopes that everything will get done earlier than ever this year. I’ve gotten in a good pace these last couple weeks so I just need to keep it up so I can enjoy myself during the holidays instead of being holed up sewing.
This year I am introducing some new animals to my collection. They are a whale, bear, dove, and sheep. Plus my ever popular elephant and rabbit will of course be available. I still have some of my classic shaped ones, octopi, and moons available as well. My hope is to get them made and photographed to be listed this month. There are some very organized people in the world who already started contacting me about ornaments back in July. Wish I could be that on top of things.
I hope you all had a relaxing summer. I loved not having the structure that comes with school. We could keep the kids up a bit later if we wanted to go do something fun and not worry about waking up the next morning to be somewhere. There were also no lunches that had to be made ahead of time and I didn’t have to wake the little kids up from nap to pick up brother from school. It is nice having the house a bit quieter now that there is one less child in the house during the day though.
We did a bit of traveling this summer. My husband is a youth and college minister at a church and so summer is his busiest time. He is usually gone a good bit of it with going to camp and multiple mission trips and retreats etc. This year though the camp had extra space and so the kids and I tagged along and stayed in a separate motel like room. It was a bit hard at times trying to keep them happy with us all in one room. And I didn’t want them to change the experience for the youth but we got in a groove and had a fun time. I also got to go on a trip to West Virginia with the high schoolers which is my first trip away from the kids since my oldest was 8 months old. We drove through Mississippi so we could leave the kids with my parents and then kept on going to West Virginia. It is such a beautiful place. Everyone was so friendly. It is always so interesting to travel to different places and see how people are so similar but also so different. And to also see if stereotypes are close to reality. We helped one church paint their old sanctuary (with super high ceilings) that has now become a youth room. They had told the youth 7 years ago that they’d paint those old paneled walls but haven’t had the chance to do it, so it was nice refreshing that space for them. We also helped a tiny church in an old coal camp do a little backyard bible club for some neighborhood kids. It was all a lot of fun and hard work. I’ve missed getting to go on these things. The kids had a great time too and got to see all their grandparents at some point which was nice.
So, we survived all that and now are settling into our new schedule of being in school. And it’s to the grindstone I go with all these little ornaments. I also just sewed two stuffed animals as baby gifts that I’ll be sharing here soon. I already gave one away and next week will give away the other. I was on top of things and actually got photos taken of them this time before I give them away.
*The picture at the top is a look at the inside of my little elephant ornaments. It’s a view not usually seen by most.
So, did you have any adventures this summer? Are you glad to be back in the school routine or hating it? Have you done anything creative lately? I’d love to hear!