packages-impactSoon, these packages will be under your trees. I wanted you to know today that your purchase impacts more than just my family. They impact the family of Amber, who helped me cut bands in November to prep for a sale. They impact the single mom at the post office. They impact members of my church’s food pantry. It’s more than just me.

I live in a small town – the kind of small town where there’s just 1800 people. We have a small country post office with two employees. The other day the lady at the post office told me that one of the town’s business owners who shipped a lot moved to another town. Now there’s just two of us that own businesses in our town that ship packages. She told me how much she needed my packages because otherwise they’d be hurting, insinuating that she’d lose her job if my packages weren’t there. She’s a single mom to two boys and knowing that every time I bring packages to the little post office, I’m impacting her family keeps me going. YOU are impacting the lives of this single mom and her boys…simply by purchasing something on my website.

A portion of the profits each month is given to my church. I do this because I believe God commands it in the Bible. This portion given to the church helps the ministries of the church, including the food pantry. Our food pantry feeds around 200 families every week and your purchase helps provide food for a family in need. There is hardly a greater gift than that.

It’s not only about me (although we’re grateful that this job helps pay for our needs) and it’s not only about you. Lives are being impacted with every sale and every package sent out. Thank you for giving that gift.

Much love.

I’m so excited to share sweet Laura’s shop with you today. I met Laura when she was part of our May Market and her jewelry was a HIT. I’m so thrilled that she decided to do a giveaway here so I can share what she does with you all. Laura’s shop is called MyTIZO Art Wear and her specialty is working with wire.

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Laura says: I am an only child, loving art my whole life.  Painting, pottery, cooking, drawing, music, I love it all.  I  fell head over heals with the notion to create jewelry, nearing the birth of my 3rd and last child in 2003. I’ve been married 20 years, I have a degree in Home Economics and Family Studies.  I love interior design, fashion, cosmetology, music, culinary arts, poetry and nature.  The Evolution and perfection of myTIZO designs keeps my work fun, and the customers/art shows keep it exciting.

My loyal customer base has helped me spread into boutiques throughout the Midwest, Texas, Arizona and Florida.  myTIZO’s allure in my opinion is the bold fresh style, ease on one’s pocketbook, and the excellent relationships I have with customers.   I think success has come to myTIZO because women like to share themselves through stories and relationships, sometimes in a matter of just 10 minutes in my booth, lifelong connections are made.  It’s amazing.  I have never been attached to the sales of my art wear, but the relationships….yes!

myTIZO has won various awards as well such as 2nd place of 50+ jewelry vendors at the 2011 Amish Acres Arts Fest in Nappannee, IN. In 2011 myTIZO had a small feature on local tv station’s programming in Champaign, IL for best new artist at the Chris Cringle Arts and Crafts show. She’s won honorable mention at Rising Sun Arts Fest, Rising Sun, IN 2013 and was interviewed on a Louisville radio show at the St James Court Art Show.

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Laura sent me my very own cuff to review and it’s so pretty. I love the rustic look of the aged leather because it was an old belt buckle. I just love how she’s repurposing the old to make pretty new things. It feels so great on and makes a nice statement on my wrist. It’s a really great cuff and I definitely recommend Laura’s jewelry!

You can see MyTIZO Art Wear at any of the following:
Instagram // Twitter // Facebook // Website

Laura’s giving away a $25 gift certificate to spend in her shop. Enter via the Rafflecopter App below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

BOTM-blog3 I’m so excited to share with you this new collection that has been such a fun collaboration with Susan from Belle of the Midwest. She approached me a while back after launching her new blog and asked that we collaborate. What I thought was going to be one item has turned into a whole collection and I couldn’t be more excited to share that with you today on my birthday!

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I hope you guys love the way that the collection can be dressed up or down, layered or worn alone. The beauty of the collection is that every piece matches the other so you can pair them up however you want and every single one is $30 or less.

enewsThis stunning new bracelet is handmade from sterling silver wire right here in the studio. The wire is formed into a circle, soldered, shaped into an oval and hammered – link by link. It’s finished up by some time in the polisher giving it a sweet shine. The perfect everyday bracelet that you won’t want to take off! It’s lightweight yet heavy gauge and sure to get comments every where you go (because I get comments every time I wear the prototype!).

{P.S. The remaining Ready To Ship items are 30% off with code rts30 – only a handful left!}

{P.S.S. We now have TEN different essential oil diffusers in the shop – they’ve been a hit! Not one is more popular than the other really, all of the styles have been doing really well. Which would you choose?)

The last few months have been slow in the shop – the normal summer lull. I’ve been unmotivated and quite honestly in a creative funk. Now that school is back in session I’m excited to get back into things and get pumped about the Christmas season ahead. Today I thought I’d share a few tips on how to kick a creative funk. Be sure to leave your own in the comments below.

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have an encouragement wall in your studio/office

I just recently moved my sewing/computer desk under my encouragement wall, so that when I’m working on the blog, shop or Natural Living Real Life, I can look up and see the encouragement of my family, friends & customers from throughout the years. It’s such a joy to look up and see these handwritten notes and it encourages me to keep moving forward with what I’m doing. I’d suggest that everyone have an encouragement wall or at least a box to keep cards in to revisit on a regular basis.

think outside of your normal box

For the last 11+ years I’ve created things that I like personally for my jewelry shop. Lately I feel like that mindset has been stifling me, so I’m working now to branch out and create some styles that might not be my cup of tea but that could be someone else’s. It’s fun to think outside my normal jewelry box (pun intended) and helps stretch my creative muscles. I believe we all need that. We need to be stretched and challenged to come up with something new and different.

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collaborate with someone else

Collaborating is so important! Of course, you want to be sure that you know who the person is and how they work before you collaborate to protect yourself. However, collaborations can help you get out of that normal box that I spoke about earlier and can stretch you to do something new. It’s also a great way to cross-promote and energize your creativity. I did this the other day with a friend who has a fashion blog. She and I came up with a Belle of the Midwest collection that we’ll be launching next month. At first I was nervous because it’s not necessarily the style that I’ve been doing in my shop, but then I got really excited about what this collaboration can bring. Finally I became excited to create again!

have an inspiration wall or binder (or pinterest board)

We all need inspiration! Creative funks hit everyone. So start saving things that inspire you or that you like. Clip things out of magazines, even if they don’t have anything to do with what you create in your shop. Clip out favorite colors, textures, ideas, quotes – and then put them up on the wall or in a binder that you can look through when you’re in a rut. If you’re more the electronic type, keep a Pinterest board. If you don’t want other people to see it, make it a hidden board that is for your eyes only. We all do it, no shame.

How do you kick a creative funk?