Reclaim the Belly-Laugh

February 24, 2013
This weekend I had the itch to paint, so I brought out the acrylics and got to work. I don't paint very often (I think the last time I painted was in college) so it's no masterpiece but I do love this quote! Laughing really can cure just about anything in my opinion and there is almost nothing better than laughing until you cry! :)


Sweet Southern Charm Print Collection

February 18, 2013
I hope everyone is having a wonderful Monday so far! I realized that I haven't shared the complete Sweet Southern Charm collection here on the blog. I shared the first nine prints available here and then shared the collection of 15, here. I'm happy to say that the collection now totals 20 different, witty southern sayings that I love so much. These have been my bread and butter and have really helped get my little shop out there. I owe my first two print features to them because back in November my shop and these prints were featured in the Atlanta Journal Constitution. My Sweet as a Peach print was also featured in Southern Weddings Magazine, Vol. 5. I am so thankful and even still a little giddy! You can purchase your own Sweet Southern Charm prints in my shop! :)

Happy Weekend & a Sneak Peek!

February 16, 2013
Happy weekend, y'all! It has been such a good week for me and I hope it's been the same for you. I had planned on sharing the Stephanie Creekmur manifesto yesterday, but the graphic I am creating is not 100% ready, SO... I'm going to share the next best thing! Today I received some new packaging supplies I created and I could not be more happy with them! There are new stickers for shipping boxes and pretty, new thank you cards. Each card has a line from the SC manifesto on the front and a gingham back for my handwritten notes!

Here is an up-close look at the front and back of my new thank you cards. These will be included with every order! I love that I no longer have to write out the #StephanieCreekmur hashtag information for Instagram! This will cut down on so much time! I am so happy with how everything turned out and can't wait to get packaging! :)


Happy Valentine's Day!

February 14, 2013
Hello friends! I'm just popping in to say hello and to wish you all a very happy Valentine's Day. And to give you a little reminder with the help of Colossians 3:12. I hope you have had a wonderful day and I hope you have a relaxing night filled with love! My sister and I are going out to dinner and I'm excited to get to spend some time with her. She will be leaving to head back to Ohio in the morning! I'll be back tomorrow to share a very special post so please come back by to see what it is! :) Until then... 

Blogging 101 | Make It Easy On Your Audience

February 13, 2013

One thing I have learned through running a blog and an Etsy shop is that people do not read. You can have all the information spelled out right in front of them and they will still have questions. I'm just as guilty of this as the next person because I am a skimmer. I skim articles, product listings, etc. This has gotten me into trouble from time to time as well as resulted in a little buyers remorse because I failed to read carefully.

So, if you have a blog, whether it's a hobby, your main source of income, or if you are like me and it is part of your business and brand, the lesson here is to make visiting and reading it as easy as possible. I think all of the tips I listed in the first Blogging 101 (The Anatomy of a Post) apply here, but below are 8 more things you can do to make your blog an enjoyable space.

01 | Keep it visually clean. Less is typically more when it comes to blog design. Be sure that your links and navigation are easy to locate as well as your most recent posts. "Magazine" style blogs are becoming more popular but be sure your readers aren't overwhelmed and that they know where they are supposed to go.

02 | Open external links in new tabs or windows. It's always great to link to your previous posts that may be relevant as well as to outside sources, but please have this link open up in a separate window or tab. If I am reading a blog post and it links to an outside source but does not have this link open up in a new window or tab, chances are I am not going to head back to their blog. I have now had my attention brought to something else and unless I hit the back button, I may never return. Isn't the whole point of putting out great content to get readers to see it and stick around for discussion?

03 | Be yourself and create unique content. There are obviously hundreds of reasons why this is a good rule to follow but for today's sake, do it because you don't want to bore your audience. The blogging market is so heavily saturated with information and you don't want to waste anyone's time sharing information that has already been shared a million times. If you are going to post on a popular topic be sure you are making it your own and sharing with your voice. For example, there are a number of 'blogging tips' posts out there but the topics I'm choosing to focus on are things that I find to be helpful or that are pet peeves of mine. It's all my opinion and how I think blogging can be more enjoyable, not necessarily how someone else will see it.

04 | Ditch the Captcha passwords. It's hard enough to get people to comment even if they really love your content. Why make it any harder on them by adding this annoying step? I understand the reasons people may include them in their comment form, but in my opinion you are pushing away otherwise willing commentators.

05 | Make it easy for viewers to comment. In addition to No. 4, be sure that your audience knows where to go to leave a comment. I have been on some blogs, and because the way the design is set up, I was unable to locate the comment link. You know what happened, I left without leaving a comment and now I can't even remember what blog it was. You are trying to create an active community and if you make it too difficult, your audience won't participate.  

06 | Create headings or lists. I have made this point before, but people are lazy and don't like to read (yours truly included). When you create headings or lists, it breaks up the information and makes it easier for people to skim your post and still (hopefully) get the point you are trying to get across.

07 | Be consistent. Posting daily is not necessary for every blog. Consider your brand as well as your audience and find your sweet spot. For me, I like to post a couple times a week. Blogging isn't my main source of income but it is an important piece of my brand so I want to make sure that I am giving it the time it deserves. If you post too infrequently viewers may think you have gone out of business or have given up on blogging.

08 | Limit the amount of curated posts. Sure, I love to see your favorites of the month, or new products you've come across, but I get bored when all a blogger does is curate. I can find that stuff on my own and if you're curating from things you find on Pinterest alone, chances are your followers have already seen it. Space out your curated posts and maybe share one once a month. The other posts need to be content that you have created.

Branding | The New & Improved Stephanie Creekmur

February 12, 2013
I can't tell you how long I've wanted to share this!! I've been using the color palette and implementing most of the graphics for some time now, but it's fun to see it all in one place! This brand board has been sitting in my computer, only shared with family and close friends, waiting for the perfect time. As you know, I went ugly early and so here we are! It feels so great to be moving forward. Yes, I wish everything were "perfect" and exactly how I had planned, but that's basically impossible and taking action is what is important! Right? Right!

Below is my brand board for Stephanie Creekmur and I can't tell you how in love with my logo I still am after almost a year. Just reinforcing my belief in the steps I took to get where I am now! And that color palette? Ah, gets me every time! It's so me and something that can grow with my business. I can't wait to share all of my collateral! The stationery and packaging are adorable and make it so much fun not only for me to package up and send off, but also for customers to open up! It's almost as good as what's inside!


Free Download | Sketchbook to Vector Valentine

February 11, 2013
I know it's late for another post, but I wanted to get this out there for all you Valentine's Day procrastinators! I've been wanting to do a post like this for quite some time and am just now getting around to it! I know I love to see behind the scenes snapshots from other creatives so I like to give them as well! :) Anyway, moving on! About the end of January I started thinking about Valentine's Day and devoted a few sketchbook pages to love! I wish I would have snapped some pictures of my other pages, but this will just have to do! I then scanned them into the computer and got to work making vectors! 

Are you on Vine? I devoted my first post to vectorizing! View my sketch to vector Vine video here.

I decided to turn the "I love you" into an ombré Valentine's Day card and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out - simple and to the point! Because I don't typically offer gifts or cards for Valentine's Day in my shop, I didn't want this little beauty to go to waste! SO! For you lovely readers, available below is a download for a printable Valentine's card. Click the picture to download! Print on any card stock and pair with an A7 (5 1/4 in x 7 1/4 in) envelope and you are good to go! Please ignore the fact that my black ink was running low and smudged when I printed this! Enjoy! :)

Does your child still need Valentine's cards? Download these "Owl Be Yours" cards from last year, here.

Behind the Butterfly

Well, yesterday I shared all about how I went ugly early, so today, I want to share something that has been in the works for a few months! You may have noticed the addition of a butterfly to some of the graphics I've been using, and there's a great reason for it! I started this business because I knew I didn't belong in the corporate world, but I didn't really know what I was doing or where I was heading. Today, I'm still unsure of the future (and most times I still don't know what I'm doing!) but I know I've been given the talent and drive to help others. I want to inspire people to celebrate the little moments and to dream big. I want to quit getting caught up in the "I wants" and think more often "who can I help". That's what this little butterfly does for me. It's a reminder to take action, live for today, and help those in need. I have something in the works but I haven't quite figured out all of the details. It has to do with giving back and I want to make sure I make the greatest impact I can with what I have. So prayers are appreciated for guidance.

I have always had an appreciation for butterflies, complete with a childhood "butterfly" room, butterfly rings, and the label, "social butterfly", but below is more on what it means to me today. I'll be back tomorrow with my brand board! I've saved this baby for over 6 months, waiting for the "fancy" website. As you know, I have put that on hold, so tomorrow it is, friends! See you then!
So tell me! What do you think of my newest addition?

I Went Ugly Early, Y'all!

February 10, 2013
And I'm just gonna keep it real. As much as I want a fancy new website and an online shop of my very own, it's just not in the budget at the moment. I am so thankful for how well my shop did last year and how it's continuing to grow, but unfortunately I don't have the luxury of putting all of my profits back into my biz. Thanks to the lovely Sallie Mae and other obligations, I count on the money I bring in to help support me. I know that's not glamorous and it's not polite to talk about money, but as I said, I'm going ugly and keepin' it real!

I have been searching for about a year now for the right designer, developer, shop generator, etc. and have yet to find the perfect fit. I've tried every free trial shop you can think of and have designed an entire website and blog but just don't have the funds to have it developed. I have put a lot of things on hold because I want to make sure I do everything the right way. I have been selling on Etsy for a little over a year now and I was considering that as my "go ugly early" solution. I've held off on blog posts, product launches, and much more because I wanted to save them for when the time was right

I'm not sure how it happened, but sometime late last night and into the wee hours of this morning, it hit me that the time is never going to be just right. I was reminded of a post by Whitney English and after reading it for a second time, I knew she was talking to me. I finally decided to go ugly early and stop comparing myself to others because I don't have my own shop.

I made lots of changes on the blog last night and implemented lots of graphics and content that I had created for my "real" website. I'm so excited to finally be using them, since most were created over 6 months ago! I have lots more I'm planning to add and share with everyone here, starting tomorrow! So take a look around and stay tuned! :)

In the Studio | Preppy Mustache Birthday

February 5, 2013
I already kind of mentioned that I am no longer accepting custom design projects but I do want to continue to share past projects. This is one of my favorite birthday party themes. There are so many fun elements and details you can include to really make it come to life. A customer contacted me through my Etsy shop after seeing my Preppy Mustache party collection via Pinterest. She had already purchased her plates, napkins and other party decor and asked if I could change the colorway of the invitation to match. This is how it turned out! I love  the navy, blue and red and think it was the perfect first impression for the party she was throwing for her handsome little mister!

Below is the invitation in it's original colorway (Photo by Nixon Photography)


Make It Happen | February Goals

February 1, 2013
Hey y'all! I'm back this month with my monthly goals! If you remember, last year I only did this through January so I'm already ahead of the game for 2013! So far, things have been going fairly well and I have been doing decently on my goals from January. More on that towards the end but for now, let's get to February's goals!

Continue progress on my website. This is a carry over from last month and it will continue to be on the list until everything is completed. I made a lot of progress, including finding a developer. I think... Fingers crossed and lots of prayers that I have found my person! What you see above is a little peek into how my blog will look! I'm very excited about it and am ready to pitch the look I currently have.

Finalize 2013-2014 planner details. I had every intention of releasing a 2013 planner, but budgets and time management got in the way. I love the planner I have designed for myself and have had lots of requests to make it available for purchase. Since using the planner I have made lots of edits/upgrades and I can't wait for it to be completed! It will be bold in color and filled with pattern! :)

Follow through with my good intentions. Since February is the month of love, I want to share a little.I am constantly feeling a little nudge or tug on my heart to do something nice for someone. Whether it's to send a note through the mail letting them know I'm thinking of them, or just calling to say hello, I need to follow through. My mama and I have talked about this a few times and too often we let life get in the way. I know these "nudges" aren't of my own good doing, but from above and I need to make an effort to follow through because you never know how much a tiny gesture can give someone hope.

Continue Operation Organize 2k13. I am on a mission to clear the clutter and get organized. I hold on to too many things for sentimental reasons or "just in case" and it's silly. Everything should have a place and if it doesn't it probably means I don't need it. I've been throwing out a lot as well as creating a donate/garage sale pile so I hope to just keep on truckin'.

Recap for January's Goals: I did pretty well on all of them accept for setting myself up for success and making my bed. I started out really well and then it kind of fizzled out. I'm going to try and get back into the habit! Wish me luck!

Are you creating monthly goals? If so, what are you working towards? Let me know!