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Styling Vignettes: Wishes & Hopes for Year Three

Happy Tuesday friends! For day two of Birthday Week I wanted to share a little project that I put together for myself yesterday. It's a personal project, one I created in order to document my hopes and dreams for the coming year of my business and blogging, year three. I thought it would be nice to style some pictures and share the project with you all here. Maybe it will inspire some of you to think about your own personal goals for your business or your blog or even just your personal creative endeavors. Sometimes writing out your ideas makes them real and gives us some accountability to actually carry them out. Do you know what I mean? Sometimes I dream a lot of things up in my head but they don't always come to anything. They only live in my dreams. My main goal for this next year is to actually act on those dreams, make them real, and see where it all takes me. No more 'what ifs' or 'I wonder how that would have panned out.' A scary thought but I think it's usually worth it when you put yourself out there.

I wanted to create something more beautiful than just bullet points on a scrap piece of paper so I wrote out my ideas on cardstock and then packaged them up in a box. I added some packaging flourishes which makes it feel like a present. I plan to open the box on March 9, 2013 and then see how successful I was with my goals. It is my birthday present to me for next year!

Last night on Instagram I was chatting with a few friends about how mini things are so much cuter than regular sized things. For this shoot I used mini clothespins (which we all agreed were the best!), mini scissors, and even this tiny box. 

Another project completed with my amazing, versatile stamp kit!

I feel like my life is this constant balancing act between dreaming about my future and also reveling in my current projects. I am such a dreamer, always thinking about what I can do next and new, big ideas. But I also believe it is so important to reflect on your accomplishments and to enjoy the present because it slips by so quickly. Are you the same way? How do you balance both? This project for me was perfect. I thought about my goals for awhile, wrote them down, but then I packaged them up, not to forget about them but to set them aside while I draw inspiration from what I am currently doing.

So my box of wishes and hopes now sits in a drawer ready to be opened in a year's time. I look forward to the day when I can open that box and have those goals be accomplished but in the meantime I am focusing on today's goals. One day at a time... 


Year in Review, Second Year

To kick off birthday week today I thought I would recap my last year of blogging and business, year two. Going through the old posts has been a fun journey and it is nice to reflect and relive those milestones. And I was lucky to have some awesome milestones last year too. My little business and blog are growing and I'm so excited about the direction it is taking me. I don't always know what lies ahead but that has been my journey. Sometimes you have to wait and see where the road leads you. So far it has taken me in all kinds of great directions.

{ Contributing }

Like year one, year two was filled with fun collaborations and guest blogging opportunities. The community that has grown around my blog is one I am so thankful for. I've made some great contacts and friends here. The above feature is one I styled and photographed for Valley & Co.'s spring Ezine last year. That picnic looks so inviting right about now.

{ Important Purchases }

I got a cool, old typewriter! This was one of my favorite purchases last year. Sadly I have yet to get typewriter ribbon for it but I look forward to typing up cards and notes on it soon.

{ Big Etsy Projects }

I was lucky to work with some great clients through Etsy this year. I made a lot of personalized items which is the most meaningful because you get to deal directly with the client. I made these cowboy-themed s'mores kits for a little boy's first birthday party. It was such a fun treat seeing all the pictures too. Pictures courtesy of Nicole Leone Photography

{ Wedding Designs }

I did a lot of work for weddings this year but two important assignments were for a good friend, a wedding I was actually a bridesmaid in. I designed these postcard save-the-dates complete with glassine bag and twine packaging and hand-bound bridesmaid booklets. It was a nice change to work on a personal project.

{ DIY Wedding Class }

I taught my very first DIY craft class last May. It was held at The Wedding Pantry which was a lovely venue and it had a nice little turn out. The wedding crafts were fun and hopefully helpful for everyone. I definitely want to try some more craft classes in the future. Maybe some online ones even so more people could be involved. What do you think?

{ Confetti Lab }

I was also involved in the event Confetti Lab which was held at The Wedding Pantry. I styled a table display to help gives guests inspiration and had a few of my handmade embroidery and crafts for sale too. The event was put together beautifully by the talented Lauren of A Fabulous Fete. It definitely encouraged me to throw some parties myself. It was also a great experience for me in terms of booth display which would come in handy later on in the year.

{ Whisker Graphics }

I started regularly collaborating with Whisker Graphics. Each month I come up with an original DIY using their fabulous products to share on their blog and mine. I use their colorful twines and packaging anyway so it is easy work (I must admit...it's like playtime). Check out all of my projects here. I try to come up with original ideas and new and unique ways of using WG products. 

{ Local Love }

The lovely Danni of Oh, Hello Friend and Ruby of Cakies hosted a spectacular cake party and I was lucky enough to be invited. The cakes were yummy, the setting was inviting, and we all just had the best time. This event reminded me of how important it is to throw local get-togethers. Connecting online is convenient but sometimes you need to chat with fellow bloggers and creatives in person. I have something in the works along these lines. Stay tuned!

{ Weddings }

I attended a beautiful Vermont wedding for my cousin and I was in a wedding. That's me in my pretty blue bridesmaid dress!

{ First Craft Fair }

I was lucky to participate in my first craft fair, a local show called Sew Funky. It was such a great experience. I didn't sell as much as I would have liked but what I learned was invaluable. I had the most fun setting up and styling it. And I've made some fabulous contacts with other vendors from that show. I hope 2012 will be full of more craft fairs for me.

{ Houzz }

I started working with a great home inspiration site called Houzz. Each month I curate an online gallery, called an ideabook, of products for your life and home. It is such an amazing resource if you are in the midst of a home remodel. The above picture is just a few products from my first ideabook but take a look at all of my ideabooks and galleries for more ideas. 

{ Lovely Package Workshop }

Before the holidays Danni put together a workshop and asked me to be involved and teach a packaging DIY. The talented Tristan of Besotted Brand and Beth of Salvage Life were also involved and it was a successful day full of the most beautiful packaging and new friends. Pretty packaging makes me happy!

{ Pinterest }

I pinned a lot...like crazy actually. I started using Pinterest at the beginning of 2011 and have been in love ever since. It inspires me like no other and each day I find myself popping over there to gets ideas and find resources. I occasionally share Pinterest Picks with my current obsessions but you can follow all of my pins and boards here. Picture by studio juju.

{ Crafty Wedding }

I was so fortunate to be involved with this crafty wedding in September. I just recently got to share the pictures here after it originally was posted on Ruffled. I handmade a lot of crafty elements, including the table numbers and yarn pom flowers you see in the picture above. But I also set up and styled on the day of the wedding. It was a lot of work (and thank goodness my Mom was there to help) but it was such an amazing experience. The bride and groom are the best so they helped make the work so enjoyable. Pictures by Stone Crandall Photography.

{ Goals Accomplished }

Other smaller but still significant goals that I accomplished were: (1) Getting my studio cleaned and in working order. Being organized has been a blessing for my sanity. (2) Making my first apple pie from scratch. It was delicious! So proud of myself. (3) I finally made it to the Rose Bowl Flea Market. This is a vintage lovers paradise. (4) I finally got my business up on Facebook!

Oh yes...and I took about a million pictures of Scout!

So that was my year two! Quite a lot now that I look back on it all. Writing this post has sure got me pumped for year three though. I can't wait for what is in store for Lauren Elise Crafted. Thank you for being a part of it friends!



Alt Summit was last week and as I’ve mentioned here, I crazy-person stalked the Alt twitter feed for two days straight soaking up every bit of advice I could. So I wouldn’t be wrong to say that creative conferences are on my mind lately. The email that I got from Nicole Stevenson last week couldn’t have come at a better time either. Who is Nicole you ask? Well, Nicole, along with her aunt Delilah Snell, founded the Patchwork Indie Art & Craft Festival (a local Southern California fair) and both ladies have recently announced their most recent crafty venture Craftcation.

I am so glad Nicole let me know about the conference so that I can share Craftcation with you all today. SoCal readers in particular take note. Craftcation is an indie business and DIY conference that will be taking place in Ventura on March 22-25. Like Alt, Craftcation focuses on small, independent creative businesses. The lucky attendees can not only expect great business advice from craft industry powerhouses but also a lot of fun, hands-on DIY classes. From the looks of the schedule I can say that Nicole and Delilah have put together a perfect mix of educational classes, networking opportunities, and fun.

Check out the Craftcation website to get all of the details, including the schedule and all of the speakers. There are some impressive names on the list. I think there is such a need for a conference like this in Southern California. There are a lot of indie craft fairs here so clearly there is this network of small business owners who could use some support and advice. Bravo to Nicole and Delilah for seeing this need and starting something particularly with Etsy sellers and craft fair vendors in mind. 

Are there any SoCal business owners out there looking to grow their business? This could be a great investment and the jumpstart you need for the new year.

Photos courtesy of Craftcation.


First Craft Show Inspiration

Happy Thursday everyone!  I am super excited to share that in a little less than two months, I will be participating in my first craft show experience.  I'll share the specific details of the show soon but today I just want to dwell on that for a moment and take it all in.  I started Lauren Elise Crafted just over a year ago and it is exciting to know that I am already at a point where I can do craft shows or teach DIY classes or reach a wide audience on blogs.  I say this not in a gloating kind of way but in a "wow, I have done a lot" kind of way.  I have said before that I tend to focus on the future, constantly going over how I can grow my business or influence/inspire more people, make more money (let's face it...I want to have fun but I want to pay my bills too), promote my brand, be more creative, etc.  It can get to a point where you're obsessing so much that it becomes really exhausting.  There are so many things you can think about and stress over when sometimes the best thing you can do is let things play out and go from there.  There are so many things I want to do and so many ways in which I want to grow my business but looking back, I am really proud of the work I've done and the experiences I have had (and all the fabulous people I have met).  I don't regret a single thing either because the journey is so invaluable and I've learned tons along the way.  This first craft show experience is going to be another great learning lesson.  I know I have a lot of work ahead of me but it's so thrilling so I know all the work will be worth it.

So that was a nice daily dose of "deep thoughts" but now onto some pretty pictures!  Since planning for my first craft show starts now, I decided to share a few inspirational pictures I've found in regards to booth design and decor.  I can't wait to start creating my booth and making it super amazing because hey, I want to draw in those customers by the boatload.  I will continue to update the blog with the craft show status over the next few months too so you can keep up with my journey as well.  

Oh my, card catalog drawers!  These babies are like cute booth heaven.  Such a great organizational system plus the added bonus of vintage loveliness.  I may need to go hunting for some of these.  This booth was setup for Renegade San Francisco last year.  The booth design was by the stationary company lulu dee and the photograph was taken by Danni of Oh, Hello Friend.

Major creativity factor here!  The talented folks of something's hiding in here came up with this dessert display booth for Renegade.  I like the pop of color it provides and also how organized everything is.  Just like with sweets, everything here is very tempting.  It also plays to our nostalgic side, taking on a '50's soda fountain kind of vibe.  I found the photograph on parallelbotany's photostream.

Ok, this isn't from a craft fair but I love the display possibilities with this mini inspiration board.  The chicken wire is so simple but gives it an industrial type feel...also it's just so easy to hang items off of it.  This picture was found via Everything Etsy but I'm not sure who took the picture.  Does anyone know?

Chez Sucre Chez is a favorite shop of mine.  I just love the way artist Kimberly Scola turns embroidery into something so contemporary.  I have seen her booth before at Renegade and this pegboard is a great solution for hanging her embroidery hoops.  I think having stuff up vertically is the way to go when you're in a tight space (which I definitely will be in).  

Danni's booth displays are of course a huge inspiration to me.  Her booths are always such a feast for the eyes, there is so much to see.  She puts so much time and energy into those little details and I'm a big fan of that.  This booth (some of the vintage items are from Found) was from the Unique LA show earlier this year.  

Speaking of awesome details this booth by Peg and Awl and The Black Spot Books (found via Indie Fixx) is full of them.  Great rustic details and you don't even feel like you're in a shop booth.  You feel like you've uncovered someone's personal collection of little treasures.

These two images are from Terri Planty (image found via Oh, Hello Friend).  I am most definitely drawn to the muslin bags full of seed bombs.  I really like the white ladder in the first image.  Having items at different heights is important and the ladder is a great way to accomplish that.

Another great display found via Oh, Hello Friend.  This booth by Urban Heirloom is full of great details and the rustic wood crates are an instant organizer.  I have a few crates I may need to incorporate into my design.

And finally a simple muslin backdrop by The Soil and Sea found via Oh, Hello Friend also.  I like the mix of textures here and the signage is really unique.

Inspired for some craft shows now?  I know I am.  I'm excited to begin the design process and start making it my own.  Have any of my readers done craft shows before?  Please feel free to share any of your words of wisdom.  

Thanks for listening, this was a long post.  I'm so glad I can share my journey here and talk about all these new adventures that are coming my way.  Do you have a small business?  What are some of the ways you're changing it this year?  How are you challenging yourself and allowing your business to grow?  I would love to hear from you! 


Book Junkie

I think I will always have some of that old-fashioned student in me, the student that wants to learn from books.  I love books and reading has always been a favorite pastime of mine.  And still today, despite the internet and instant-access to information, I enjoy reading as a way to learn a new skill.  Like most people, I usually turn to the internet to answer my questions.  When I started working on some embroidery projects, I quickly Googled a few easy stitch tutorials.  I got my answer, quick and easy, and I was embroidering in no time.  But despite the internet's ease, I love getting information from books, whether from the library or Barnes & Noble (although I enjoy the cheaper route of the library whenever possible).  To me books are the holy scriptures of whatever subject I'm interested in.  They are the experts and I put more trust in them than online sources, especially for important topics.  Of course books can be filled with as much worthless junk as what you would find online but considering someone took the time to get the book published, I feel the book should hold a little more authority.  When a new, serious idea pops into my head I rush out to find the best book on the subject (this is not always the best idea because it leads to impulse purchases which wreck havoc on my bank account).  I get all excited and start reading right away.  This is the research phase and it is an important part of my creative process.  I like to have a little background, know what I'm doing before I dive too deep into something.  Maybe I like learning from books because it forces me to slow down so that I can really process the task at hand.  Online information can begin to overwhelm me because I usually skim text and try to comprehend five different links at once.  But reading forces me to really read the words, comprehend what the author is saying, and when you are trying to learn something, this is the most important thing.


Today I rushed out to buy a few books that I have been wanting to purchase for awhile.  They are about starting your own handmade craft business and selling online.  I am excited to devour them because my brain is wanting to take in as much as it can on these subjects.  I have read really great reviews on these books so I am expecting to be enlightened!

I purchased:

The Handmade Marketplace: How to Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally, and Online by Kari Chapin

Find the book link here and Kari Chapin's website link here

Craft, Inc.: Turn Your Creative Hobby Into a Business by Meg Mateo Ilasco


Craft, Inc. Business Planner: The Ultimate Organizer for Turning Your Crafts into Cash by Meg Mateo Ilasco

Find Meg Mateo Ilasco's website here and her awesome blog here.