Sunday, August 31, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Whew!  What a week!!  My birthday, moving, filling orders, cleaning houses, *thinking* and *thinking* and more *thinking* about where to put things, or trying to remember where I did put them!!  I'm tired, but, oh, so relieved to be in the new house and out of the duplex.  There are still boxes everywhere and all those "things" that happen when you first move in, but, I am trying to practice the verse "In every *thing* give thanks."  It's not that difficult since I'm so aware of what a blessing this adventure is!! 

I've established my new blog for GraceWorks... Handfuls of Purpose - although that name was taken, so its address is   I plan on having my first post up tomorrow... with blog candy, of course!! :)  Be sure to tell your friends.

As for any crafty pictures... well, my stamping desk is still buried.  Hopefully in a week or two!!  Thanks so much for stopping by!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

It's Here!

What a whirlwind these last few days have been!! I thought you might like a behind the scenes look at GraceWorks as the inventory descended on our home this week.  It's been SO exciting!!  Here are a few pictures...

Installing the shelves...

Some of the binder boxes.  Both petite and classic size, in everything from tapestry to leather...

Just *part* of the paper boxes...  All sorts of wonderful filler sheets for your binder!

Learning how to fill orders...
The changing of the guard.  Jennifer passing the "torch" to me.  Don't look at the picture too closely... it had been a *long* few days!! LOL
I'm so excited to share this wonderful product with you!!  In a week or two I'll be launching a GraceWorks blog where you can come to visit with me - get personal reviews of each of our pages - even get some information about different planning styles and how - or if! - we can help you manage your time even more effectively.  In the meantime check out our website, and be *sure* to contact me if you have any questions!!!  

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Incredibly Exciting News!!!

I don't even know where to begin this post.  I'm still speechless (well, more or less!) with awe at what the Lord has done.  Many of you have figured out that I am an organizer... that isn't to say that I'm organized, mind you!!  But I love to encourage ladies to be a blessing by using their time, their money and their talents more effectively.  One of the ways that I've seen progress in my own life in this area is by using a daily planner put out by GraceWorks.  A few years ago now I was introduced to The Beautiful Life Management System, a planner that combines the best of FlyLady type reminders with a daily planner.  Nestled between beautifully colored tabs are pages that cover everything from Priorities, to Things to Do, to a housecleaning schedule and meal plan.  There is a place to keep track of your exercise/menu/vitamin and water intake and even a little spot to write down a blessing, memory or lesson for the day.  One of my favorite sections, though, is the Morning Latte pages.  A place to record your thoughts and prayers as you spend time in the Scripture each day.  It is such an encouragement to me not to skip this ever so important step of taking time with the Lord!  There's also a section for address and phone numbers, a section to help you work through long term goals or projects and it is complete with beautiful Scripture verses and first quality binders. (The one shown in the picture is canvas, but there are tapestry ones and even leather ones for fabulous prices.)  Even the page markers are pretty!   And, to top it all off, there is a 3 hour "seminar" on tape that covers how to best use the planner, presented by its developer, Jennifer Neef.  It's wonderful!!  My daughters both have their own binders, although they use the more "conventional" pages that GraceWorks offers.  They use the special homeschool pages to keep track of their work during the year, and the note paper that they offer.   There are pages for homeschool moms to keep track of lesson plans, pages with tear off notes to offer encouragement, pages of calendar's, weekly pages, daily pages, journaling pages... you name it!

About a month ago Jennifer, GraceWorks founder, emailed everyone on her mailing list letting us know that she and her husband were interested in selling GraceWorks, as it didn't match their current season of life with 3 small children.  I knew immediately that this was an answer to prayer, as two of my daughters have food allergy/health related issues that will make it extremely hard for them to work in an uncontrolled environment - and even make it difficult for them to attend college.  I emailed Jennifer that we were interested but that we didn't currently have a house.  

Two weeks later the Lord opened the door for us to purchase our home.  Which had enough room for everyone... and the business.  It was an incredible price.

After our offer was accepted on the house I almost felt bad continuing to pray for the business.  I already had been given SO much!!  But the Lord had given me a verse right  at the beginning that I had put on a sticky on my computer's desktop.  It said... "Blessed is she that believed, for there shall be a performance of those things that were told her from the Lord."  Somehow I just knew that this was from the Lord and that I needed to keep walking through the doors before me.

Time seemed to drag as we waited for Jennifer and her husband to make the final decision.  I knew that it was down to two families, and I couldn't help but know that if we were to be chosen to carry on GraceWorks it would only be of the Lord.

Well... yesterday morning some flowers were delivered.  Please realize that I have never had flowers delivered that I remember - so I had *no* idea where they could have come from.  I figured they must be from our insurance agent congratulating us on the new house.   When I opened the card it was from Jennifer... congratulating us on being the new owners of GraceWorks.  

I can't express in words how humbled I am to have seen the Lord keep His promises to me.  To me!  It's not just something that I've read about happening to others!  I've seen him provide a home and a business.  I've seen his care for my daughters and His provision for me to keep staying at home as a homeschool mom, and wife of a wonderful husband.  I'm thrilled that He's  given me a way to minister to other families with a product that I love and a message that I'm passionate about.   I'm watching Him take care of details that I didn't even know would exist, and I'm learning more about His grace every day.  

Over the next few weeks we will be moving, cleaning, painting, reroofing, settling into our home, bringing in inventory and establishing our new business.  If you're interested in our products you can find us online here.  Although if you'd like to place an order, feel free to wait until next Thursday when we take over! :)  If you have any questions or would like to be on our mailing list, I'd love for you to drop me an email.  Tell your friends, too! (You can find my email by clicking on my profile...)

I'll probably be starting a new blog for all things GraceWorks after we get settled.  I'll let you know when it goes online.  And I'm pretty sure there will be something handstamped in with each order! :)

Thank you so much for reading this far and sharing this special moment with me!   I'm ecstatic!

The Lord is good.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

August Stamp of the Month

Hi Ladies!

Have you checked out The Angel Company website lately??  There are so many fun promos on right now!  You can get a surprise box filled with $150 of merchandise for $75, you can sign up to win a free Woodrowe package, or you can see this month's Stamp of the Month...

which is only $10.95 with a $30.00 purchase!  That's 22 stamps for $10.95.  Can't beat that!

There's also another special that includes the Woodrowe™ Keepsake Album Kit, PLUS Antique Copper Hardware, PLUS the Willoughby/Woodrowe™ Ribbon Collection, PLUS the Reece/Woodrowe™ Ribbon Collection, AND two limited edition stamp sets! All for only $49.95. Be sure to check it out here. If you love to scrapbook I know you'll love the versatility of the sets and the quality of the supplies, and if you've thought about scrapbooking - maybe for a Christmas present? - but didn't want to commit to a whole large album, the Keepsake Album would be a perfect starting point!!  AND... don't forget that you qualify for a free stamp (actually a small set!) with every $30 in purchases, and that hostess benefits begin with only $100 in orders!!

Be sure to drop me a line if you need anything.  Right now, though, I'm off to the grocery store to get some milk for breakfast.  TTFN!!

Tilda & Co Christmas

Merry Christmas again!  It seems that everyone is thinking about it now, as this card is for a challenge over at Tilda & Company.  This card is interesting, because only the part above the Merry Christmas opens.  I didn't really plan it that way, but when I matted the top part I thought the card would be cute as a square, so I attached it to the bottom of a piece of cardstock that was cut to 4.25" x 11" and folded it at the 4.25" mark.  After I had folded the top part over I liked the extra on the bottom so much that I decided to stamp my saying on a matching piece of designer paper and leave enough of the bottom so it would fit a normal envelope. :)

Stamps by Magnolia Designs & TAC
Cranberry Crisp CS, K&Co MatPack
Prismacolors & OMS
Stickles, Gold Cord, Gold Brads

Friday, August 08, 2008

Crafty Monkey Challenge

How's that!   I didn't have to even make a card myself!  This is my dd Katlyn's card for this week's challenge over at Crafty Monkeys.  It reminds her of her summer holidays since she loves flowers and playing with her dog.  Didn't she do a good job coloring?   I'm hoping that she'll win this week, cuz there is *such* a cute Tilda stamp as the prize.  Maybe she'd give it to me for Christmas!! LOL!!  No such luck, probably, cuz she likes Tilda's, too!! :)

If you have children age 16 or under that enjoy crafting, be sure to check out the challenge!!

Images by Hanglar & Stanglar and TAC, paper by Stampin Up, prismacolors & OMS, Pop Dot

We have a winner!!

The winner of the Stamping on a Budget candy is Cindi in OK. Congratulations!!! I'll try to have a card to show you later today - I need to clean up a little first, though. Hope you'll stop back!

Blog Candy!

Check out Tanja's Blog for some scrumptious blog candy!! I'll be back later with the winner of the Stamping on a Budget Candy. I've had a great response, but there's still a couple hours if you're interested in participating!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Holiday Dress Up

I got to spend some time yesterday working on coloring some images for a Christmas card swap that I'm doing with one of my on-line groups. I started by picking a stack of K&Co mats that I just love and pulled my colors from there. I actually used the same colors on all four cards that I completed. I liked them all, but this is one of my favorites. Isn't Edwin cute all dressed up?? :)

It's been good to hear from so many of you about the Stamping on a Budget Questionnaire. You made my day!! :)

Monday, August 04, 2008

Stamping on a Budget Questionnaire & Candy

OK, ladies! This is where "the rubber meets the road". We've talked all about budgeting, but now we need to actually face ourselves and think about where we are and where we're going. Here is a questionnaire for you to help you make some decisions about your stamping habits - or at least to help you think through them. I have to sit down with it this afternoon, too. I've thought through it, but not written my thoughts down on paper, and just now I'm struggling with a whole GOB of purchases that I'd like to make. I think this will help me.

So here you are!!


How much do I have available to spend each month or quarter? Will this amount harm my family?

Will I have any extra at certain times of the year?

Are there certain sales or promotions that I would like to save for? (i.e. the new catalog, double hostess benefits, a show you're going to host)

Do I have the basics?

What do I currently need that I use regularly? (adhesive, white ribbon, neutral cardstock, envelopes, etc.)

Are there images I could trade for to extend my stamping dollars?

Which sets & accessories do I have that make me smile? Which ones frustrate me?

What is my Stamping Purpose Statement?

Does the time I spend reflect that purpose, or am I out of balance?

Do I *send* the cards I make?

In this season of life, how can I best find time for my hobby?

Are my supplies organized? How can I improve in this area?

What is my stamping style?

Do I use my stash?

How can I bless others with my stamping?


Hope to hear from you soon!

Tricia :)

Friday, August 01, 2008

Stamping on a Budget - For the Demo

I'm pretty sure that the stamping demonstrator has the hardest time staying on a budget. Especially those of us that are hobby demos. While we love to stamp and have some customers and classes, we don't bring in enough extra money to warrant having all the new stuff. And we *want* the new stuff... we *need* the new stuff to keep our customers interested! (... or so we tell ourselves!) I could easily spend $100 a month in the TAC catalog and still want other things that I've seen just hit the market. Is there hope for demos to stay on a budget????

Here are just a few suggestions...

Don’t mortgage your family’s well-being to support your business. - If you can only afford to spend $50 cash, then don’t place a $150 order - even if you do get free stuff!!

If you have the money, consider choosing one accessory and one new stamp set for the month and teaching your customers how to use them. Base your classes, workshops, blog, etc., around them and you may sell more as they see how to use them in many different settings. Heres a blog from Canada with some great ideas... the link will take you to this months featured product... the Pretties Kit by Stampin' Up. Other ideas for featured products might be the cropadile, the bind-it-all, watercolor crayons, project kits, etc.

Determine your customer base’s financial ability. - If you have big spenders in your customer base, great! They will subsidize your hobby.

If you have customers who aren’t able to spend as much, consider offering a stamping club with a $10-$15 minimum, or a monthly class by mail for $15 or $20, or a Stamp-a-Stack where they can do all their monthly stamping. This will subsidize the purchase of your higher priced items, although it might not pay for them in full.

Don’t hang on to your demonstratorship so long that you jeopardize your family’s finances. - When I started with Creative Memories 15 years ago I was encouraged to always have inventory on hand, and told that the best way to order was $400 at a time because then shipping was free. When I left CM 5 years later we were $5000 in debt - even though Id been in the top 20 sales for the company a time or two!

Stampin’ Up has similar challenges.

“...But I’m only $70 short this quarter. It seems silly to drop for $70!”,

or “...If I only have $60 more in sales I earn another $10.95 set!”

or “... I know I only need brads right now, but I need to place a $40 order to make shipping worth while!”

I came out of Stampin’ Up ok, but only through great will-power at the end and by selling a number of things on Ebay. I’m now with The Angel Company (I just couldn't give it up altogether yet!), a company with much lower, easily attainable minimums. I still find however that the temptation is there to spend more than I have available. In fact I'm struggling with it today!! “Look at this great special!!” and "I love this Stamp of the Month! Do I have $30 to spend so I can get it, or is there something on my wishlist that I would like more??"

Always ask some questions before placing an order for yourself. -

Do I have the money available?
How many of these will I need to sell to get back my investment?
Do I love this enough to buy it even if I never sell one?
Is there something on my wishlist that I would rather have?
Am I out of anything (envelopes, cardstock, adhesive, etc.) that I should be getting with the money I have available?
Will I use this often, or will I want to get rid of it soon?


So there it is. I've tried to be honest with you and not pull any punches. Stamping is such a fun hobby! I hope that this series will help you take control of it, rather than having it control you.