On Saturday, we spent the day at the 3rd annual Herbert School Craft Sale. Throughout most of the week, the sun was shining and things were seeming down-right spring-y: a good omen for the sale. Saturday morning was a little shivery but it was still sunshine-y and it seemed like it was going to be a lovely day. However, sometime during the day the sun disappeared and by the time we were ready to pack up and head home, the wind was bitingly cold and it seemed less strange that there hadn't been a huge amount of craft sale visitors. Thank you to all those who did brave the fickle Saskatchewan weather and attended the sale. Despite the small turnout, our sales turned out pretty well and that, combined with the fact that we were both but a 15 minute drive home when the day was done, succeeded in making the day a New Leaf success!
This is late (our birthday was YESTERDAY) and will be short -it's been a busy birthday week for me! To add more to the mix, my family is heading off early next week to visit my mom, which will be super fun, but does require a bit of getting ready and getting things done around here.
I can hardly believe it's been a whole year of New Leaf already! And at the same time, it sort of feels like I've been doing this forever. I so love to make things and having the opportunity (and motivation!) to do it every day is such a gift! New Leaf has grown quite a bit over the past months: we started three Etsy shops, attended lots of trade shows, met for some awesome staff meeting over some tasty food... Before starting this business, I had NO experience with anything business-related (and still have days where I wonder what on earth I am doing...), so I've learned a lot and make some great connections with other business owners and of course, our most excellent customers. I have really loved the personal side of owning a small business, how I get to manage each transaction and make sure things get to people quickly and in good condition, changing things to suit me and New Leaf and our customers... And I have to say, hearing your feedback has probably been the best part. It not only makes me happy to provide people with beautiful products that they love, but it also reassures me that I am on the right track!
Thanks so much to you all! I hope our Birthday Sale lets you know how much we appreciate you!
Cheers to an awesome first year in business and to what I hope will be many more years of New Leaf!
New Leaf Handmade Goods turns One-year-old on March 16th and we are celebrating with a huge sale! Enter the code HAPPYME during checkout at any of our three Etsy shops, and receive 20% off your entire purchase (not including shipping) and receive a free gift too!
Our sale runs Sunday, March 13th (12:00amCST) until Saturday, March 19th (11:59pmCST).
The free gift is a pocket-size notebook and a sweet little flower/leaf magnet. Designs vary and will be chosen at random.
Shop at Our Etsy Shops now!
It's March! This morning I woke up to sunshine that looked strangely like the light that shines through your windows on a rainy summer morning. It wasn't, of course, a rainy summer morning, and upon opening the blinds I was struck by the, instead, wintery-ness of the light. But it WAS a nice way to awaken.
March marks the birth of my first child (and I think I'm almost done making her birthday presents...a refinished table and chairs, a cloth book, and some felt food) as well as the birth of New Leaf. I can't believe that my baby is turning 2 and that New Leaf is already a year old as well. When Maria came up with the idea of starting the business, I gladly joined in but I'm not sure we'd be anywhere without her vision, her drive, and her enthusiasm. In fact, I'm not sure I really believed we would actually make a go of this business-idea last March. I often wonder how much I really bring to this business and whether Maria really needs me...but I am grateful to be a part of something that I believe is greater than it seems at first sight. So, Happy Birthday New Leaf! and thanks Maria for letting me in on something exciting!
Throughout school and university, and into my work life as a teacher, I always dreaded deadlines, stressing about getting assignments and lessons completed long before the due date, yet putting things off until the last minute despite the stress that ensued. I would have thought that working for myself would rid the need for deadlines. Over the past year I haven't really bothered with them much, except for occasionally rushing to get some things completed for a big trade show or completing a custom order. However, last month I noticed that there were stacks and stacks of notebooks in various stages of assembly, all strewn across my workspace. After working here and there on these notebooks, I finally decided to set myself a due date for which to complete the half-notebooks that were cluttering my space. I gave myself a week to accomplish this, and found that instead of being sidetracked by Facebook, or thinking up some new idea of something I'd like to create, I would actually work on the notebooks whenever I had a chance, knowing that I had a clear time limit. By Friday, I had completed all I had set out to do and was able to tidy up my workspace and think of which project I wanted to start next. I've given myself a new project for this week, with another Friday deadline. After learning how to make awesome envelopes, I've sort gone overboard and made hundreds. Inspired by the designs, I've been creating matching notecards and putting them into sets with mailing stickers and a self-designed wrap-around label. Friday will hopefully arrive with neat stacks of packaged envelope/notecard/label sets... Now to get off the computer and get to WORK!
A little while ago a photojournalist from the Western Producer came out to my farm to interview me about New Leaf and take some photos of me working (article pending...). Although I (along with Cecelia) started this business and have been working on it for the past year, the questions made me feel as if I was taking an exam for which I was totally unprepared. Thinking on the spot and trying to transfer those thoughts into words can be a real challenge for me and if the reporter gets anything meaningful out of what I said, then wow! I'll be surprised. And impressed.
Now writing on the other hand, I can deal with SO much better. So I thought I'd say here what I failed to express the other day. The guy asked me how New Leaf connects to my life on the farm and while yes, as I said, nature does inspire me (cheesy and overused? sigh...), there is a deeper connection. I grew up in the city, so living out in the remote hills is a new thing for me. Living close to the land, I see cycles. Our water comes from a well dug specifically for us, it flows through pipes I saw laid in the dirt, into our house and back out through pipes to a lagoon that was dug as I watched. Since a garbage truck doesn't come to pick up our trash, we need to burn our waste. Whatever we bring in to this place and use up needs to go somewhere, so the less we need to burn the better. Some goes in the compost pile, lots is sorted into bins to be recycled, and other things are re-used. I love the idea of re-using. I feel connected to my own history when I cut an envelope or a flyer I got in the mail to fit into a notebook for New Leaf. My grandma grew up during the 1930s; paper was scarce and precious and every scrap was saved and used. I imagine I am doing the same thing, collecting seemingly useless pieces of paper, cutting and binding them together and creating something beautiful in the process. Instead of burning these bits, I give them a new life -a notebook that will be cherished by a writer or artist or dreamer. I'm a part of a cycle of reducing the amount of crap that is forgotten in a pile or burned as waste. I have a hand in preserving the history of something tangible.
I live in a space of wild and magnificent prairie and I want to protect that beauty. I passionately want to avoid using up resources like my own wild space by reusing rather than buying new, and instead of adding to immense piles of junk.
That's what I would have liked to articulate, had my brains and mouth been a bit more cooperative...
I'm a teacher. Or, at least, I got my Bachelor of Education in university. Reading that, I assume about myself that I have limitless patience, amazing organizational skills, a optimistic, positive stance, plenty of compassion...the list could go on. In my mind, the attributes of a teacher are positive and imply what could almost be termed a 'super-person'. While I believe I DO possess some of those attributes, I am by no means a 'super-person'. This is made all the more apparent when I'm actually AT school, trying to ensure that a classroom full of students do the work that their actual classroom teacher has left for them. I actually blame the pregnancy hormones at this point, but my blood boils within one hour of slight chaos. I do NOT have limitless patience, my compassion is whittled down, and I look at the day with vague feelings of negative-ness. Can I just say...I am SOO glad for New Leaf?! Today I only was at school for the morning, and this afternoon, I am home to the sound of a baby (though not sleeping) talking softly in her crib, the dishwasher humming, my sewing machine sewing away, and the sight of my comfortable house/work space. This is where I feel safe, where I can re-energize, and where calm can once again invade.
The weather here over the past few days has been atrociously cold and I am happily wallowing in the fact that I don't really need to leave the house. Today I've been cutting paper and creating notebook covers, building up our stock to list online and send to a store in Regina (yay! Another actual brick and mortar shop wants to sell our stuff!). Working at home isn't always easy (especially since I have the attention span of a gnat) as I try to balance motherhood, making stuff, keeping the house in a liveable state and attempting to keep us all fed. But I love it more than I even thought possible. I glory in my routine of getting up early to work a bit before the house awakes, getting to exercise during the day, being able to start a loaf of bread baking in between emailing contacts, packaging orders, and binding another notebook. I think it's great that my evening "prep" time now consists of sitting on the couch watching episodes of Battlestar Gallactica while embroidering pillows and drawing new designs for notebooks. I love deciding for myself what I'll tackle today and what I'll leave for another winter Wednesday. Me, an entrepreneur...Who would have guessed that would happen?
Ever have one of those days when you just seem to get NOthing done? I seem to have those quite often, what with a busy toddler needing me ALL the time, and a body that, despite not being quite half way there, is feeling quite pregnant - and therefore, QUITE exhausted. Today was NOT one of those days. YIPEE!!
It is only 7 PM and, for once, I'm not feeling bad about calling it a night. In spite of the fact that I was at Maria's all morning til around 2, I still managed to get things done. Can I brag? Just a little bit? Please? :)
I got a pillow cover embroidered that I've been meaning to do since LAST Christmas when Ava got the book, Guess How Much I Love You, a loaf of bread baked (okay, yes, it WAS in the bread machine but there are days when I don't even have a chance to put the ingredients in the machine, let alone bake a loaf of bread), a chance to use a handheld blender that I've had for at least 3 years and never actually used, some homemade fruit-filled cereal bars baked, supper made and on the table before 6, and finally, my wee babe to bed. Yay, me! Oh, I'm also NOT forgetting to blog this week! I'm seriously on a roll. Now all I need is a bath, my book, and my bed...this handmaiden is calling it a day on a positive note!
You know how it's hard to work when everything is a mess? Well, you should have seen my work space. Actually, on second thought, you should NOT have seen it...and I'm glad there aren't any pictures. However, it will be hard for you to appreciate how great it looks and feels to me now without comparing the before. Let me just say this, picture piles of fabric and stuff...EVERYwhere! Looking at it now, I am almost satisfied. Of course, the idea of a permanent office is what I look forward to, but this, THIS new 'organized', albeit in a dishevelled way, workspace is simply GLORIOUS!!
You'll notice I DID give you a picture of my old sewing box...I hated it. But, what could I do? I was opposed to going out and buying a new one at WalMart and none of the second hand stores had one. However, total treat, this afternoon I transferred all my sewing stuff into my new second hand sewing box, as well as all the thread I bought a few months ago at Salvation Army from a bag to my old box.
Maria brought me a second hand treat yesterday (along with a London Fog) and totally made my day. (After which I made my day by facebooking her a message - "thanks a latte". Haha. I crack myself up:). Thank you Salvation Army and Maria!
Maria & Cecelia
Check here for current promotions, events, & inspiring brainwaves.