Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Small business what?

I've been under a lot of stress recently, all of my own making.  Setting up a business sounds great...and then, you get to the pricing part.

I have been reading some great stuff recently about "name your own price" promotions, and how that worked out for another stationery/paper goods graphic designer.  And I completely agree with what's at the heart of the experiment:  what value does my work actually have to the consumer?  And of course there's the difficult notion that its still all in my head:  I have no idea what my stuff is worth to an actual consumer, because, um, I haven't listed anything as for sale?  Because then I would have to set a price.

I do have a history of selling myself short.  Not always, not every time, but in the grand scheme of things, I want to be liked more than I want to be wealthy apparently.  But what do I care what some random person on the internet thinks of me?  It's not like they'll ever meet me, and if they happen to know me (like they're reading this blog, for example) and they think my prices are not well aligned then...maybe they wont read my blog anymore?  Maybe they wont want to be friends anymore?  Or maybe...they just wont buy any paper goods from me.  And that has to be ok, I think.

Its been really scary to me to put a hard price on something, and I don't even have to look someone in the eye when I do it.  I just put the number out there on the internet, and wait to see if anyone bites.  If no one does, does that mean my stuff is no good, or no one can find me, or that my prices are too high?

My dad keeps telling me that I can't afford to do this at cost, and I know he's right.  I can't afford to do this at cost.  But what I haven't figured out yet is whether I can afford to charge what I need to to justify my time and energy.  And I think the hard thing for me to accept is that quite possibly, the answer will be no.  And if that's the case, it has to be ok too.  I'll always have something to fall back on. Like maybe my professional degree.  Or furniture.

Anyone want to buy this chair? :)

Art Nouveau side chair.  That's right, I made this.  And then I taught myself how to upholster, and upholstered it too.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Bathroom stupidity

They recently renovated (and are still in process of renovating) the bathrooms in my office building.  While the bathrooms of the floor above us was under construction, we had to deal with all the ladies from that floor coming down to use our bathroom.  My company occupies our entire floor of this building - we are one of only a few in the whole building - and as such, I know all 8 ladies who use our bathroom on a normal basis, because they are all my coworkers.  We are a relatively clean bunch, and polite about our bathroom usage.

THE LADIES WHO WORK UPSTAIRS ARE SLOBS.  They trashed our poor bathroom daily. Toilet paper scraps suddenly littered the floor, and other thing I do not care to mention on the internet.  When they finally finished renovating the bathroom upstairs, we all thought we could now enjoy our quiet bathroom in peace.

We were wrong.  They immediately decided that our bathroom was next, and we were sent upstairs to check out what we had been suffering for.  At first glance, looks pretty nice: faux-stone tile, decent looking finishes on the counters and taps, clean lines etc.  BUT.

The first thing that greets you when you walk into this bathroom is a beautiful tall/narrow niche that in a classier establishment would hold an elegant and minimal orchid with a single blossom, but in ours holds....a tissue box. No matter how many times I move the box onto the counter, where it looks less like we revere the gods of Kleenex, someone puts it back in the damn niche.

Next pet peeve:  every mirror in the whole bathroom is warped.  And because the room features no fewer than 3 wall to wall or floor to ceiling mirrors, its like being in a funhouse, all the time.  On the plus side, I now know what my shoes look like with my outfit without guessing.

The room is laid out in such a way that there is a room with counters etc, which is nice for just straightening out your hair (or doing your makeup like some high maintenance chick in one of the lawyer's offices EVERY morning), which leads to the actual business part of the bathroom.  there is a pinch point between the two rooms.  What did they put in this pinch point?  The paper-towel dispenser.  That every single person who uses the bathroom will stop IN THE GAP to use.  Effectively preventing anyone else from using the bathroom while you dry your hands.

Lastly, and my personal favorite, the automatic everything in this bathroom consistently malfunctions.  SO not only does the sink run sporadically throughout the day, but the toilets flush whenever they feel like it, and the lights also turn off at will.  Basically, the bathroom is haunted.  They spent weeks and thousands of dollars on a bathroom that makes me want to murder someone every time I use it.

They should finish renovating our floor in a few weeks.  Can't wait.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Remember when I mentioned some renovation on the 4th of July?

Well I finally had the chance to take some photos of the results!  So, here we go:

Le kitchen before:

Slightly outdated.  Just a bit.


Step 1: strip the wallpaper.  shoot me in the face.

Lisa, its time to buy some new shorts. Note the beers (ciders) on the kitchen table. 

Step 2: paint the base colour.  check.

Step 3: tape the trim.  ugh.

Step 4: Paint the trim.  Ideally, make your future husband do this while you make an upholstered headboard in the other room.

Women using power tools is empowering.  Step 5: cut the tile for the ridiculously complicated pattern you allowed your dad to pick out for the tile.

Oh, did I mention that for the entire 4 days of this enterprise, THE AIR CONDITIONING WAS BROKEN?!?!?!?!  ON FOURTH OF JULY WEEKEND IN 100 DEGREE WEATHER?  YEAH.  By day 4 I was pretty much naked.  And learning how to tile, while tiling.

But you know you want my neon sports bra.

And now, the after:  As of yesterday:

Renovation complete with Boris!  Hi puppy :)

My mom bought this fabric in Provence years ago (we went when I was 14.)  We have finally got the chairs recovered, to complete the blue-white-yellow kitchen look she was going for.

Lessons learned: tiling on the diagonal is no joke.  Also, if you're going to commit to a project like this, even if you have a four day weekend, have at minimum your sister and future husband with you.  Even then, you may not finish.

But in the end?  Worth it.  And when we get those cabinet doors replaced, this kitchen will be fully made over, and ready when my parents want to make their move.

Monday, 10 October 2011


Today I launch my first post from my professional blog, Ribbons&Bluebirds!  I'll be debuting my stationary lines for the holidays very soon over there, as well as offering special discount codes for the Etsy shop and posting other updates on what is catching my interest.

I hope you'll give it a look - I am running my first professional photography post today (I gave you guys a sneak peek of some of my fave shots a few weeks ago.)  I am really proud of these photos, and I hope this bodes well for the future!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Next chapters

The wedding is over!


Which basically now means I have time to do everything else I was putting off.  Believe me, you will hear/see a lot of wedding recap posts from me over the next month, and I have a thing or two in the works maybe for APW as well.

But for the first time in several months, I am choosing, for the short term, to focus on my life (now our life), and moving forward.  Notables from the past few weeks:

  • I bought a domain name for my new website, where I am going to try and sell you stationary.
    • I also acquired a blogspot, and an Etsy name, plus a new bank account and credit card.  We are doing this for realz.  Eventually I will get around to doing this website - I suspect it won't be until December though.  Etsy will be here much sooner.
    • I have started designing a line of Christmas cards, which I am really excited about.  Stay tuned.
    • I am so excited to say I have gotten permission from the awesome Steve Hoefer of Grathio.com to print the amazing valentine's day cards he designed last year.  Normally I wouldn't consider it a great idea to start out printing things someone else designed....but these are awesome.  Ceej brought these cards to my attention last year, and I am grateful (Ceej you may have one of these for free come valentines day.  I am thinking I will only print the sexual armor, the lip protection one, and the fake flowers - tell me which one you think you'll want.)
  • Le sigh, I have joined twitter for real @missallocation.  Its tricky, but there's an extra s in that one vs the name of this blog.  Please follow me, so I can figure out how to follow you back, and make it look like I have friends.
  • Last night I made pumpkin bread (which may or may not have actually happened bc there are no photos.)  I added chocolate chips, and it was delish.  I brought it into the office today, in the hopes of making more friends.
  • Brandon looked at me yesterday and said "You know, it sounds funny to say, but the novelty of a girl walking into my room every night to get undressed still hasn't worn off for me."  Glad to be appreciated babe, but it is our room.
  • Tomorrow, I am tempting fate by getting my life's second ever perm.  We shall see if I manage to ruin this one in less than 48 hrs also.
Oh, you want to know the name of my website/company?  Check it out.  The page has no links right now, not even to the aforementioned Etsy shop, but it will.  Sometime soon.  When my credit card shows up and I actually have things to sell.  Promise.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Wedding photos!! Sortof.

from Jenn Link, our excellent photgrapher.  This ous "first look" which we did without Brandon seeing me.
Our photos are back!  Or some of them are.  Go check them out on Jenn's website, and then leave a comment so we can get a free 16x20! Please? :)

I cannot WAIT to see the rest of them.  She did an amazing job (with her second shooter Jessica too!)