Creative Crush // Emily Jeffords

I’m beyond excited to share the work of Emily Jeffords with you guys today! Her work is amazing, and she’s sweet as could be. I’m so glad Mattie encouraged me to reach out to her! I want to live inside the beautiful yellow painting.

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WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS : ​There are so many aspects to being the artist behind my business and the trick is learning to love them all.  They all give me the liberty to be creative, flexible, energized, and passionate.  I’m an artist, so of course my favorite part of the “job” are the times at the easel… but even the boring or hard parts are 100% worth it because, at the end of the day, it’s all about sharing artwork with people all around the world, and that’s totally amazing.

FAVORITE CANDY/TREAT : Chocolate cookies!!!  I’m such a child of the 90’s and I don’t care. …and French press coffee.  Every day.

WHAT’S A RECENT FAVORITE FIND :  ​Maybe it’s the explorer within me, but it seems I’m always on the hunt for new things.  Current faves:  Music by Ben Howard, Podcast: Serial, Paintbrushes: Rosemary Brushes, Gourmet Goodie: Truffle Oil Salt.

TELL US HOW YOU GOT STARTED WITH YOUR ART : I grew up expressing myself through music (violin & piano) while always creating with my hands.  I ended up going to art school and focusing on 2D art.  After college I began teaching art to all ages and creating a painting a day for several months.   That really helped to develop my artistic eye and helped to launch my career as a professional artist.  Creating a career as an artist takes time and consistency.

WHY DO YOU BLOG : I began my blog as a way to catalogue and express my creativity.  I had two little girls and wasn’t really able to paint consistently so this was my outlet.  Since then has grown and become a place to talk about the ins and outs of crafting a creative business and where I share bits of my artistic process.

ANY ADVICE FOR FELLOW ENTREPRENEURS : ​Fall in love.  Really.  Creativity is such a beautiful rush, but when that feeling runs short you have to depend on love and passion; that thing deep within you that helps you to push through the fatigue and avoid burn out.  And along with that, give yourself a lot to space to mess up.  No everything we create will be perfect, not every day will feel good, but the big picture – your creative goal – is worth the struggle

WHO’S A FELLOW ENTREPRENEUR YOU’RE CRUSHING ON RIGHT NOW :  ​Oh this is such a fun time to be a creative!  So many great ways to share our passion!  Some makers I know personally and think are doing a crazy beautiful job:

1: Modern Calligraphy (and rad letterpressed cards) Allison & Daniel of Ink Meets Paper

2: Crazy beautiful botanical prints (like the handmade prints – not computer prints) of Chris Koelle

3: Barb Blair – Knack Studio (she’s writing her second book and it is already proving to be totally beautiful and inspiring!  #knackbook2)

Get to know Emily!  Site / Instagram / Twitter


Creative Crush // Squirrelly Minds

I’m so excited to have Tan here from Squirrelly Minds. I jumped up and down when I saw that Tan was on the panel talking about How to Grow a Small Blog at Alt Summit. Little did I know, Tan was balancing this while working as an elementary school teacher! Talk about an inspiration!

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The flexibility is a huge draw. I like being able to set up my own schedule and do things I feel are important at that moment. At the same time I’m also a teacher, so my life is usually ruled by bells and routine. Whenever I have a blog/print shop day I always have to write up my schedule down to the minute before I get started.

Gimme chocolate and I’m a happy girl. I used to work in a chocolate shop for years that made high quality chocolate. For a long while I would turn my nose up at any chocolate sold anywhere other than at a chocolatier shop, and certain ones at that. I still have a bit of that chocolate snobbery, but now I’ll take just about any chocolate I can get, especially if peanut butter is involved.

Over Canadian Thanksgiving weekend I picked up A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout. Over the long weekend I completely devoured the book. While very difficult to read at parts, it was a beautiful story of inner strength and one that will stay with me for a long time.

I’ve had a love affair with stationery since the good ‘ol Sanrio days. I still have the very first stationery set I was given as a kid along with packages of stationery I brought back from Japan. I always knew I wanted to do something creative in work, and while I adore blogging, I wanted to hold something. Once I started painting gems I knew stationery was what I wanted to do with them.

I started blogging over 10 years ago just for fun and it got very addicting very fast. The first thing that drew me into it so quickly were the connections I made with people from all over the world, and that is still what I love so much about blogging today. I find it energizing to express myself, create things and share them with others who might find it useful, and chat with people who share similar interests.

Oh gosh I have a hard time associating myself with entrepreneurs, so instead, for anyone hoping to work on/complete a big project, here’s some insight on something I struggled with – do what’s right for you, not what’s right for anyone else. I received a fair bit of shocked reactions when I told people I was cutting back my teaching hours to pursue other passions. Those people couldn’t understand why I would leave a steady job and steady paycheque with benefits, but I knew it was the right thing for me to do. Same goes for you. There may be times when people will try to dissuade you from doing something only because they don’t understand it. Sure, listen to what they have to say for they may have valuable points, but at the end of the day you need to listen to yourself and do what’s right for you in this moment. Think to yourself “If I follow their advice rather than my feelings, how will I feel about this decision in 5, 10, 15 years?”.

It’s hard to pick just one, but I’m really loving Monsters Circus lately. Her DIY’s are so fresh and modern with a scandinavian twist.

Get to know Tan!  Site / Instagram / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest


Cyclocross // Cross In A Maze

I can’t believe the event Gregg has been planning for a year now is TOMORROW!  Gregg’s been at the venue every morning and night this week prepping for the big race. If you’re local you don’t want to miss this one! It’s a cyclocross race at Long Acre Farms, and it’s going to be so fun! There’s tons of great things to see at the Farm so be sure to stop by even if you’re not riding your bike! CrossPoster-600Thanks so much to everyone who is sponsoring! See you tomorrow!


Creative Crush // Rusty and Ingrid

I’m so thrilled that I got to talk with Rusty and Ingrid about their studio (and no, Rusty and Ingrid are not the adorable children in the picture below – those are their sweet children!) I love hearing how both of their answers clearly show how each partner inspires and pushes the other. I hope that when Gregg and I have children, they come to all the shows with us and help sell our work! I can’t wait to meet Rusty and Ingrid next year when we go for one of Gregg’s big races, the view from that city is absolutely spectacular. Rusty and Ingrid on Sugar and Type Rusty and Ingrid on Sugar and TypeRusty and Ingrid Ski Prints Rusty and Ingrid Ski PrintsRusty and Ingrid on Sugar and Type Rusty and Ingrid on Sugar and Type

R: I get to work with Ingrid. We’re both artists, but up until now we rarely collaborated on creative projects. With our business, I get to see a new side of her, not only as a great artist, but as a smart entrepreneur—I think we work well together.

I: My answer is the same. Working with Rusty gives me this confidence that we can do anything, that we have no limits. He has incredible skill and a great work ethic. He also encourages me to stay committed to being an artist, which has been hard for me as a new mom.FAVORITE CANDY/TREAT :
R: Panda black licorice.

I: Vanilla peanut butter cup ice-cream, a flavor that I’ve only been able to find at Kimball’s Farm (in MA and NH). I have been ordering that flavor since I was a little kid. It’s just vanilla ice cream with chopped up peanut butter cups mixed in. So simple and so good!

R: On a trip to Kennebunkport, Maine, over the summer, we discovered Day Trip Society, which is a clever little shop that stands out from the tourist traps that are ubiquitous in seaside towns. It has a nostalgic, Wes Anderson vibe that is young and fresh with a fun selection of products that appeal to the casual tourist. They have a children’s store as well, which we appreciated.

I: We have a brand new playground in our neighborhood in Gloucester, Burnham’s Field. A group of local families raised funds to renovate this run-down and unsafe park. Now it is our favorite place to bring our kids for outdoor time, which is really important to us since we don’t have a yard. It was great to see the community come together for this project.TELL US HOW YOU GOT STARTED WITH  YOUR BUSINESS :
R: We met and got married while attending MassArt in Boston, where we both studied painting. After school we traveled a bit (including living in Russia for a year), and along the way, I started doing freelance design and illustration work. Eventually, I landed a job as the Art Director at a small book publisher North of Boston—this is what brought us to to Gloucester. In 2013, I was laid off from my job and it was at that point that we decided to try to make a living selling our art.
I: From the start, we knew that we wanted to make art for people like us— people without a lot of money to spend on art— but we wanted our work to have the integrity of original art, and not just be digital reproductions. Printmaking in limited-editions allows us to offer affordable art with great value. Along the way, we fell in love with screen printing, so that’s what we primarily focus on.
R: Work hard. And be flexible. Don’t allow yourself to be limited by your less than ideal working situation.

I: You have to do what it takes, even if that means losing sleep from working ridiculous hours. For instance, we have small children, and we work at home, so that means the majority of our printing happens through the night. Sometimes it’s just a race to get everything done before a big event. It’s not unusual for us to go days on 2-3 hours of sleep. If you only see one of us working the booth at a craft fair, it might be because the other one is asleep under the table.

R: Find mentors, and be willing to take their advice. We have really benefitted from meeting regularly with SCORE counselors—retired business people who donate their time and expertise to help small business owners. Their advise has been invaluable.
Meet your audience— whatever that means for your business. For us, it means booking as many craft fairs, and festivals as we can do. These events give us deadlines to produce work and polish our presentation. Meeting our audience gives us instant feedback as to what sells, what connects with an audience, and where our strengths are.
WHO’S A FELLOW ENTREPRENEUR YOU’RE CRUSHING ON RIGHT NOW :  ​ ​R: Check out @finkzach on Instagram. Zach Fink has an incredible eye for finding witty abstract design in everyday architecture.
I: My friend, Ruth Meteer’s business, Gypsy has always been an inspiration to me. Ruth has this natural ability to quickly find the best vintage and designer gems among racks of second hand clothing. She has created a successful brand and business, selling her finds at markets and fairs, mostly in Boston and Providence, and is currently running a pop-up shop in downtown Providence, called The Vault Collective.


Get to know Rusty and Ingrid!  Site / Instagram / Facebook / Twitter

Authenticity // The Lively Show

I jumped on the podcast train recently, and am totally loving Jess Livelys “The Lively Show”.  Each week Jess spends an episode with one guest talking about their path, journey, fears and each guest offers advice. I typically listen at my desk while I’m designing, but you can listen on the go too! It’d be great to listen to while you’re on a long walk or out running errands. In September (I know, I know, I’m a little late!) Jess had Kate Arends from Wit & Delight on her show. I have been following Kate for a couple years now, and really loved getting to hear more about her journey, and of course, her new Target collection! I wanted to share this quote from the show, as it really stuck with me.

authenticity - the lively showI really enjoyed hearing Jess and Kate talk about this, and it definitely resonated with me as I change my focus in my own business. I spent the last year doing custom web work, and am really excited to be focusing on creating work for myself right now and extending my line of paper goods. I’m still taking on branding and web design work, but it’s been fun to explore lettering and I’m really enjoying it. Of course, in such a digital fast paced world, we can’t help but compare ourselves to others. At the end of the day, your style is your own, and it’s important to embrace that! My lettering and design style isn’t exactly like anyone else’s, and as we work on decorating our house, spending hours on pinterest only sends me down a comparison rabbit hole. At the end of the day, I have to ask myself “do i like/enjoy this” and if the answer is yes – that’s all that counts! I know, totally easier said than done, but give it a try and I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

Creative Crush // Mattie of Puddle Duck Paper Co

In 2013, I walked NSS for the first time. I felt like a very lost kid in a candy store. I was so happy when I stumbled upon the kind Mattie Tiegreen of Puddle Duck Paper Co.

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WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS : ​​I think my favorite thing is that it’s all mine. I hear a lot of people say they love (or wish they had) the “freedom” that comes with being your own boss. I think that’s some crazy myth. There is no freedom in running a business – if anything, it’s more stressful and, with so much invested, terrifying. But, I love that it’s mine. When there is a problem, I put my head down and figure out a solution. When there is a victory, I feel accomplished. Little milestones are meaningful successes. I’ll take ownership over freedom any day.

FAVORITE CANDY/TREAT : Ice Cream Sandwiches. And Nutella. And Girl Scout Cookies. Not all together, but that might be yummy, too.

WHAT’S A RECENT FAVORITE FIND :  ​​I just discovered Slingshot Coffee. Oh, my!

I started out in my college dorm room making cards for friends and family. My original designs were very – um – scrapbook-y. Yikes! From there, I began creating my own designs and patterns and then launched a line of greetings, then a line of wedding paper as well as other paper gifts.

Last year, I began offering branding and web development services in addition to paper goods. I fell in love with the challenge of bringing someone else’s business ideas to life while staying true to my own design style. I seriously get giddy when speaking to a new client. 

Over the past few months, I’ve drastically increased my branding and web clients and decreased my wedding orders. I am about to launch a new collection of wedding paper and will gear that side of the business toward the modern bride with clean, simple taste. I think being honest with myself about my style and how I want to convey it through my products has narrowed down my offerings, but I love that. I’d rather design for a select few brides whose taste I am a perfect match for than dozens over the course of the year that I’m not as passionate about.

WHY DO YOU BLOG : Funny you should ask! I really don’t. I think I stopped because I felt pressured to post often and drumming up new content stressed me out. But, I recently decided to re-vamp the blog altogether and post only about things that truly make me happy. I’m letting go of expectations and forced writing in order to post content I believe in. I’ll share work projects that I’m especially excited about, but also share parts of life that bring me joy (recipes, decor, inspiring women, good books and music, thoughts on business ownership, etc.). I’m excited!

ANY ADVICE FOR FELLOW ENTREPRENEURS : Be yourself! I feel like every creative block and struggle I’ve encountered comes back to being true to my style. I’m realistic about the fact that I didn’t pioneer the greeting card or creative business logo. But, no one can do what I do – exactly how I do it – if I’m being myself.

WHO’S A FELLOW ENTREPRENEUR YOU’RE CRUSHING ON RIGHT NOW :  ​ ​Oh, gosh. Tons! Max Wanger, Britt Bass, Emily Jeffords, Brooke Baker & Luru Home.

Get to know Mattie / Site / Instagram / Facebook

Minted Holiday Cards

Simply Happy for Minted
I am so excited to share that I won my first Minted challenge! Minted not only has beautiful designs, but has proved to be an incredible group of talent. I’m so excited that my Simply Happy card was picked to be in their line of holiday photo cards! It’s definitely not to early to get your orders in!

Win $400 – YES PLEASE!

We’re back! I’m sure you noticed the site was down, and I apologize for any inconvenience! We switched servers, and ran into a ton of issues. While we were switching – we decided to go ahead and get a fall makeover – what do you think!? A huge shout out to Jess Skorich for developing the site and listening to me complain for the past two weeks about all the issues, and Erin Flynn for picking up some odds and ends for us in this unforeseen busy two weeks. I’ll do a post about why I switched servers really soon, and we’re SUPER happy with our new home!

I AM SO EXCITED to FINALLY be able to talk about the giveaway I’m participating in for my wonderful virtual friend, Ciera, and celebrate her 5 years with her company, Ciera Design. You’ve seen Ciera here on our Creative Crush series, and I can definitely say I’m a huge fan, and love Ciera’s style, and am so happy to support her on this adventure!

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Ciera Design Celebrates 5 Years of Blogging with a Giveaway

I’m so excited to join in the fun and help Ciera Design celebrate 5 years of blogging this month! It’s such an exciting accomplishment and what better way to celebrate than by giving away a special gift to our amazing readers? One lucky person will receive a $400 prepaid MasterCard that can be spent anywhere in the world that accepts Debit MasterCards. Yep, this isn’t a dream! Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter!


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Thanks to the lovely sponsors who made this possible!

Ciera DesignKory WoodardYellow Heart ArtRebecca Lately
Patti Murphy Designs | Anna DeloresCocorrinaRachel The HatFashiony Fab
Sugar and Type | Squirrelly MindsHigh WallsThe Nectar Collective
The Proper PinwheelEx VitaeFry Sauce & GritsA Ruffled Life
Pinegate RoadBuckets & SpadesA Girl Named PJSarah HeartsTara Victoria

This giveaway will be running until October 27th, 2014 and is opened to international readers!