What I Love {Wednesday}

… that’s right. No What I Wore Wednesday this week.

But …

I do have two great books to share with you, that I am currently reading. Both are on my nightstand and I seem to be alternating between the two.

Both were gifts for my birthday. I love books, I love getting books as gifts even more. Which is why I think this is an adorable idea to wrap up a book …

I digress.

The first book {which I received from my bestie} is Organized Simplicity {Clutter-Free Intentional Living}, by Tsh Oxenreider. Or you may know her better as the voice behind Simple Mom. Intentional was the word I chose to focus on this year. And yeah, I know … it’s kind of a buzz word right now. I don’t care. It’s the word that kept coming to mind as I prayed and though on what I wanted for this year. I even wrote a guest post about it over at Allora Handmade’s blog {which I’m going to put at the bottom of this post as the link isn’t working on Allora Handmade}.

What I love about this book so far:

  • It’s not just a book about organizing your home. It’s about organizing the way you live.
  • It asks you to create a mission statement for your family. I wasn’t sure about this at first … then I read more and realized that it’s brilliant. Your mission statement guides your day to day choices. 
  • It’s not overwhelming. Much of it is not ‘new ideas’ to me … but a wonderful refresher to get back on course and to hear someone else’s thoughts on the manner.
  • The girl makes a mean ‘to-do’ list {daily docket}. I love me a good to-do list. But more than that I love being able to have a SUCCESSFUL to-do list. 
  • I appreciate the ‘support’ I feel as I read that not only is it okay to keep a more simplified schedule for our family, it is encouraged. I am very protective of our time as a family. That became one of my main focus’ as our son went to school all day this past year. 

I know there will be much more to add to this list as I make it through the entire book …

The other book I received {from My Sweets} was Uncovered {Reavealing the secrets of a sexy marriage} by the very adorable, witty and sexy smart, Susie Davis. Before I jump into what I love about this book, let me say that I am going to talk about sex. Sex inside the covenant of marriage. I’ve long felt that Christian women, especially those entering into a marriage, are not educated on just how important sex is for your marriage to THRIVE. I feel like your sex life is a direct barometer of how your marriage is working. I think Susie would agree.

What I love about this book …

  • It is funny! Seriously, Susie just lays it out there and has you nodding your head and laughing along. 
  • It’s not uptight and doesn’t beat around the bush. It gets to the nitty gritty.
  • It encourages ‘quickies’ … hello!
  • I’m currently being challenged to try to think about sex as much as my husband. Now I’m not sure that a woman can ever think about it that much, but it’s getting it in your mindset. Like thinking about it as much as I think about sewing, baking, running … all the other ‘hobbies’ I really enjoy ;).
  • There is a panel of godly married men who share their thoughts at the end of each section. It reaffirms that what Susie is writing is true. 
  • Sex is a gift. A gift from God that is not just meant to meet a physical need or for reproduction.

So … whether you’re happily married {which I consider myself} or perhaps your struggling to connect with your spouse, I’d encourage you to pick up this book. I don’t think either one of you will be sorry ;).

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Re{posting} my guest post from Allora Handmade …
{Being Intentional}

I started this year like many of you, thinking about what I wanted it to look like, goals I wanted to accomplish, weakness’ I wanted to grow out of … and the one thing … the one word that kept creeping into my mind was intentional.

So, I thought I would share a handful of ways I am being intentional with my days from the perspective of being a stay-at-home wife and mama who is also running a handmade business.

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Be intentional with the state of my house.

I thrive on order … so one way that I am more effective at working from home is creating a home environment free from too many distractions. I try to always keep our home in a state that would not embarrass me if someone were to ‘drop in.’ It might not be 100% clean or picked up, but it’s enough that me and my boys are comfortable. Dishes are cleaned up with each meal, the dishwasher is ran in time to have clean dishes for dinner, beds are made each morning and I throw in a load of laundry when needed. I could write a whole post on how to keep up with your house and not devote hours to it each day … but I’m already going to talk your ear off with the business side …

Be intentional with your workspace.

Make it work for you. I keep all of my tools, threads, bobbins, etc. within an arms reach. I start my day with a big glass of iced tea and I have a spot for my HP Mini next to me for ‘watching movies’ or listening to Pandora. My cutting area is cleared and ready for cutting. My iron is on, filled up and nice and hot. At the ‘close of business’ each day take 10 minutes to get things back in order and ready to start fresh the next day. This is HUGE for me. Walking into a clean workspace gets me energized to get work.

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Be intentional with your shipping practices.

This year I’m going to move to shipping 2 days per week. Shipping can take a lot of time and this will allow me to block off a specific chunk of time on those 2 days and not stress about it the other days. I have a pretty good system, printing my postage online (PayPal is excellent for this), keeping my packaging streamlined and simple (white tissue paper, colored twine, business card and a thank you note) and almost never having to go to the post office (hurray!!). Also, be realistic with the shipping time you quote on your items. Most of my items are ready to ship or need only a little sewing before shipping. I feel like unless it is a custom order, a customer should never have to wait more than 1 week for an item to ship. If this is happening, maybe re-evaluate your work flow and work on more completed pieces ready to ship rather than always feeling behind.

Be intentional with processing day to day orders.

As I get orders I print off the invoice and note the day they need to ship. I then file them in date order and clip them up in my sewing room where I double check each evening to see what needs to go out the next day and make sure it is complete. Again, I try to schedule a couple set times throughout the week to do any ‘catch up’ sewing on orders that need to ship that week. So, if I’m going to be sewing a camera strap slipcover, I don’t just do the one that needs to ship tomorrow, I grab all the ones that need to ship in the next 5 days or so. Then I’m caught up and a little bit ahead of myself :).

Be intentional when considering & accepting custom orders.

Custom orders take a lot of time. There is a lot of communication with the customer, special fabric ordering and creating a one-of-a-kind item verses creating multiple items at once. I limit myself to about 1 custom order a week. This has been the best schedule for me, allowing me to take custom orders (which I really love) and still having time to sew ‘en mass’ for the shop. I also have policies in place to secure custom orders with a financial deposit. This covers my time and material costs should the customer change their mind somewhere in the process.

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Be intentional with your time online.

The online world can suck you in and before you know it you’ve wasted hours of your day. I try to schedule ‘networking’ (e-mail, Etsy, Twitter, Facebook) time for 30min. when I start my day, 30min. following my lunch break and 30min. at the end of my work day. I try not to surf the web or blog hop unless my e-mail is caught up, Etsy convos are answered, blog posts are drafted, etc.

Be intentional with ‘business hours.’

This has been especially important to me as my little guy went off to school all day this past fall. I know my #1 job is still being a wife & mama, but I have a large chunk of time (6 hours) each day I have to be very intentional with. This is what I consider my business hours. I try to get the majority of my ‘have to’ done during this time and then devote the after school and evening hours to my boys (and sneaking in a bit of house ‘maintenance’ too). All of the above help me to make the most of these hours and not fritter them away. One day a week I try to set aside for errands and I schedule this according to other appts. that might be scheduled out of the house or on a day where I know I don’t have a lot of orders due.

Now this doesn’t mean that after my son goes to bed that I don’t sneak in a bit more ‘work’ time. But I try to save projects that I can do away from the sewing machine (turning items, snipping threads, embroidery) for the evenings when I can sit next to my sweets on the couch and ‘hang out’ while I work. Or I might bring the Mini to bed and catch up on a few e-mails and such while we watch a little TV.

Be intentional with your workflow.

I learned long ago (thankfully) that if you’re sewing one of something, you might as well sew three more. It really is less work overall to sew several of an item than individually. I’m also learning that although I love creating multiple combinations of fabrics, it is more prudent for me to make 5-10 of the same fabric combination. I only have to photograph one and write a listing for one rather than 5-10 individual pictures and listings.

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Be intentional with your work schedule.

I like to get things out of ‘my head’ and onto lists as much as possible. It allows me to visually see what the week holds and build in room for flexibility for when ‘life’ happens. My new-to-me favorite tool is the online “TeuxDuex” list. It’s simple … it’s sweet … it’s perfect for what I need. {But I think I would be a whole lot more effective if I had the iPhone to go with it, right? ;)} A daily list to keep my mind focused and not wandering. I use this for scheduling blog posts, blog giveaways, custom orders, daily tasks, etc.

Phew … was that way to much to muddle through? I hope not. And I hope that I shared something that caused an ‘ah ha’ moment for you that will make you live your days more intentionally whether you’re a stay-at-home, handmade business owner, student, full time outside the home … whatever stage of life you’re in. In an era of so much technology, it is so easy to let it hinder us instead of help us. I can’t help but think of the “Psalm 31” woman and verse 27, “She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” You an do so much with a day if you’re intentional about how you want to live it!

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Comments

  1. Thanks for the very useful posting and the app info, my plan is to load helps and get more on purpose and organized.

  2. Thank you thank you for sharing these ideas. We’re in the midst of getting ready for another move, and lots of changes for our family. It’s hard, but I’m excited for a fresh start.

  3. The 2nd book you mentioned sounds like a great read. I totally agree with you: Christian women are not taught how crucial sex is to the health of their marriage(& relationship with their husbands). Im learning this and wanting to share the message. Sounds like Ive got a new book on the shopping list:)
    xo

  4. Julie T says:

    Hmmm…not sure the internet is the place to talk about sex! Just Kidding! Sounds like a book you might want to lend to your fav SIL! Also sounds a bit similar to “Intimate Issues”?

  5. lovely post!
    i think i would really enjoy those books! thank you for sharing!

    http://resourcefulred.blogspot.com
    resourcefulred@gmail.com

  6. Thanks for your intentional tips. I think I probably need to sit down and reevaluate my day as well.

  7. Andrea! ugh! I sooo needed this post! thanks a billion!

  8. LOVE this post! Well done! And perfect timing for me. Much of it I do the same, but there were definitely some reminders in there and I got some great ideas too! Thanks my bloggin friend. ;o)

  9. Great post! I left my career four years ago to focus on our little one we adopted. She starts school this fall, so I’ve been throwing around the idea of starting a new business. I bookmarked this post. I love being organized and do pretty well, but the business tips really helped. Thanks tons.

  10. Great post! This year I am focusing on being intentional with my words. I try to do what I say and be careful with what I say. Sometimes we throw words out just to say something, but I want to be intentional. I love the idea of a mission statement too. Every business has a plan, why not a family? Why not a life?

    You’ve given me a lot to think about with this post. Thanks!

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