Preparation for 2015

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a planner.  I like to set goals for myself and I LOVE having things organized.  But with so many things going on at once I tend to get a little distracted and important stuff starts slipping through the cracks.

Enter The Planner. 

Now I'm as technology driven as the next gal.  I love my iphone, my tablet, etc.  But when it comes to to-do lists and project ideas:  out of sight, out of mind.  I have to have it written down in an obvious place or else I get caught up doing other stuff and forget what I was supposed to be doing.

I bought my planner (very similar to the one above, just in pink) at Walmart for less than $20 after doing internet research and nearly passing out at the prices of the ones I liked online.  It had nearly everything I wanted and what I didn't have I could easily make work.

The first thing that had to go was that horrid cover,  Not that I have anything against pink, I like pink.  But it was made out of a weird material that showed every crease and scratch.  Plus the binding was, like, bent under the spiral and it really annoyed me.

So out came my laminator and my washi tape/sticker box.  I pulled some of my favorite photos of the boys and mounted them on black cardstock.  Then I flipped the cardstock over and decorated what would become the inside of the front cover.

It just does not get cuter than that.  Once I had them where I wanted them I taped them down with double sided tape.  Normally I don't do this because I don't like to see the tape bumps under the pictures but I figured that they wouldn't show through because of the thickness of the images.  Plus I only had one copy on hand of each and didn't want to have to have more printed if I screwed it up.

I put my laminator to the 5mm heat setting and it's a good thing I did.  This puppy was pretty thick when it was done and I don't think the 3mm setting would have been enough.

Then I had to figure out a template for the spiral holes.  I couldn't find one online (really?  What the hell people I can't be the only one who has ever done this!) so instead I scanned the old cover and made a template out of it using photoshop.  Then I stuck the laminated cover down onto my die cutter (a Silhouette Cameo) and let it do the work.  

Then came time to make it my own on the inside.  It has all the necessary things like the monthly view and weekly view.  But it had a few pages of things I will never use.  Like grocery lists.  So instead of removing those pages entirely (because hello?  Grocery lists?  Really?) I used my washi tape to create my own categories.

Etsy ideas page

Then, instead of just writing on the page and filling it up quickly I added three rows of mini post-it notes that can be written on and removed when the item on them has been fulfilled, leaving room for a new sticky note and a fresh idea.

I did the same thing for my family goals, personal goals, photography goals, and household goals.  Each category has it's own color so that I can easily distinguish what's coming up.  Etsy, for example, is orange.  So whenever I have something Etsy related that needs to get done I write it in orange on the calendar or weekly pages.  Blue is for personal, pink is for photography, green for family, and purple for household.  This also provided the perfect excuse to buy multi-colored pens and markers.

And finally I created a bookmark to mark the current week so that I could flip right to it without having to search.  I made it much the same way as the cover only a bit smaller.  On the back is a colorful scene of jelly beans from scrap paper with the caption "Important this week" on which I can use more sticky notes for urgent reminders, etc.  

And on the front is my husband, ever my motivator:

Lessons Learned

This is the busiest time of the year in my Etsy shop (as I'm sure it is for many others).  I know this.  I've been kept pretty busy for the past two/three weeks.  Earlier this week I sold my last pair of 6 X 6 vinyl signs:

All packaged up, my husband took them off to the post office.  He hadn't been gone fifteen minutes when I got a message from a new customer asking if I could please, please make her a pair.


I was sold out of the size she wanted so I offered to upgrade her to the 8 X 10 size at no extra cost.  After all, I should have kept up on my stock.  I had exactly two 8X10 blanks left.  I painted them and left them overnight to dry.

Next morning I adjusted the designs to fit the new dimensions and got them cut out and weeded.  The first sign was no problem at all:

But man, that second one.  I repainted it twice and each time the transfer tape pulled the paint off.  I have NO idea what was wrong with it that wasn't wrong with the first one but man, it was pissing me off.

So I concluded that it must be some sort of default in the blank.  Maybe some solvent or something got on it and wouldn't let the paint adhere correctly.  So I had my husband stop on his way home from work to pick me up a few more blanks.

Guess what.  They didn't have any.

The next morning (this morning) I left the house early to hunt more down and I couldn't find a single one ANYWHERE.  I finally contacted my customer and admitted that I wasn't able to fulfill her order as promised and would she be okay if I upgraded her further to a glass frame?

Thank the gods she was not only agreeable to this but also very, very understanding.  Even apologizing to ME for having a difficult order!

These are the customers you love and you treat right.

So I bought some nice plain frames and mounted black cardstock in them.  Then I set about the process of cutting more vinyl.  This time it went on beautifully and I have to say, they came out AMAZING.  Better than I ever expected!

I really, really hope she likes them.  I'm seriously considering redoing the ones I have hanging up!  With them framed like this you can change the background paper to any color you want!  That's perfect for a serial re-decorator like me!

So I've learned several lessons:  Always have plenty of product on hand during the busy season.  Always keep your customer up to speed on what's going on, even if the news isn't good.  And where there is a will there is a way.  And sometimes that way turns out even better than you hoped for!