July 29, 2014

Branding Inspiration: Kitchens on the Square

While wandering around Savannah, the husband and I stumbled upon the neatest shop - Kitchens on the Square.

As a entrepreneur, I know how important branding is to your business. This shop has nailed it!

I'm sure I looked like a wide-eyed tourist snapping pictures of every display while trying not to drool over their darling products.

While I'm still on my own journey towards building my brand, Kitchens on the Square provided me with an excellent example of branding done right. The vintage kitchen appliances incorporated into their displays fit the retro kitchen theme perfectly!

Vintage stove used to display products
On top of the stove, they've used a retired skillet as a container to display packaged soaps. I love it!

Retro refrigerator used to showcase products 
They used a retro fridge to showcase all of their magnets as well as other items.

Kitchens on the Square is most known for its LOL Towels which are designed and pressed in the shop. Of course, the shop has found clever ways of the displaying those as well.

Old bed used to display colorful kitchen towels

Of course, I had to nab two of those tea towels for myself! With a cohesive, retro look and creative displays, Kitchens on the Square stole my heart. I'm keeping these pictures close at hand for when I need some branding inspiration.


July 23, 2014

How To Line an Envelope

Looking for an easy way to make your mail prettier? Add a quick liner to your envelope to jazz up your stationary and give it a personal touch!

All you need is:
-Pretty paper (needs to be same weight as your envelope - aka don't use card stock!)
-Two envelopes
-Ruler (or straight edge)
-Glue stick

Step One. Unfold one of your envelopes. Use your ruler (or straight edge) and pencil to draw a line approximately 1/2 inch from the edges of the top flap (just inside the glue strip) and the sides. Draw a line about 1/16 inch above the bottom.

Step Two. Cut out your shape from the envelope and lay it on your pretty paper. Use the shape as a stencil to cut out your liner from the pretty paper. {If you have several envelopes to line and would like to speed up the process, stack your pretty paper and use a craft knife to cut out your shape. Using this technique, you can usually cut through five sheets of pretty paper at once.)

Step. Three. Slip your pretty paper liner into your other envelope and center it just right. Hold the liner in place at the middle of your envelope while you fold over the flap and crease.

Step Four. Keep your hand holding your liner in place and fold up the envelope flap. Apply glue to the liner paper flap and fold back down to adhere it to your envelope flap.

Ta-da! You've got a pretty envelope liner to really make your stationary goodies pop!

Happy crafting!

July 10, 2014

Newspaper Inspired Birth Announcements

Once upon a time, there was a girl. She loved the feel of a print newspaper and the ink residue it left on her fingers as she flipped through the pages. In fact, she loved it so much that when she went to college, she picked it as her major and worked for the college newspaper - even serving a stint as its Editor-in-Chief. After four years of loads of newspaper fun, she graduated with a journalism degree in hand. 

While I certainly love what I do with PaperLark Studio, I catch myself daydreaming every now and then about those college days in the newsroom. Today, I used my daydreaming as inspiration and pieced together this special, custom birth announcement. 

Isn't my nephew adorable?! I think I may have found a future model for any invitations in need of a picture. Don't you think? {A huge thank you to my sister-in-law for being generous enough to share her handsome little man's picture with me.}

I snatched up today's newspaper before my mom got ahold of it {sorry mom!} and used it to create a lining for my envelop. I think it's a nice way to tie it all together and make a truly unique birth announcement. 

You could even style your photo for the announcement around the newspaper theme. My suggestion: Collect a stack of newspapers from the day your child was born. Place him/her on top of the stack with an adorable crochet newsboy cap and diaper cover like this one from The Yarn Fool and snap away! 

After you've captured the perfect picture, use that stack of newspapers to line your envelopes. Need a easy tutorial on how to line envelopes? See how simple it is here.

As always, you can purchase the digital file version or printed announcements in my Etsy shop.

Thanks for stopping by!


July 7, 2014

Traveling on the Cheap: Tips from A Budget-Loving Traveler

Our vacation to Hilton and Savannah is a mere nine days away! What makes that thought even sweeter is it means our vacation to Disney World is less than two months out.

I've heard more than once friends and family wonder aloud where we get all this money to travel. After all, with a mortgage + car payment + student loans, we must be putting it all on a credit card, right? Oh contraire!

Ya'll know I'm all about budgeting and savin' a dime! I have a few secret strategies that help get the most out of our vacation dollar and even stretches our budget to allow two vacations.

Destin, Florida - Sept. 2013

I think it is important to note here that it is only the husband and I. We have no children yet. Once that bundle of joy comes along, our priorities will likely change as will our budget. However, I believe these tips are still applicable to families and can help with getting the most out of your vacation budget!
  • Speaking of priorities... When the husband and I married, we both agreed that we wanted to travel and spend our money on experiences and memories rather than things. That said, we made traveling a priority in our budget and committed to allocating money to it throughout the year. 
  • Save a little each paycheck... Saving up for a vacation should be something you do throughout the year - not in the few weeks before you leave. Even sticking back a small amount over the course of a year can really add up! I try to stick back $20 per week for our vacations. With $20 a week, that adds up to $1,040 a year. I will say though there are several weeks where I need that $20 to go somewhere else and that's okay! In reality, that $20 is fun money and if I don't have it that week, I don't have it. No big! The key here is try. You'll be surprise how far a little can take you.
New Orleans, Louisiana - July 2013
  • Make some money on the side... This is where most of our money for vacation comes from. My husband works with a baseball academy as an instructor for camps some weekends. That extra money goes into our vacation fund. When I babysit or pick up a non-PaperLark related project, that money goes into our vacation fund. When I was still at my part-time job, I would pick up extra hours when I could. That money would go into the vacation fund. When you work hard, you get to play hard!
  • Make your money work for you... How? Use card points wisely! Once again, I'll sing the praises of Delta Community Credit Union who we bank with. When we run our debit card as credit, we get 1 point for every dollar. It still comes straight out of our checking account, but we get points just like it was a credit card. Ha! See if a bank near you offers a program like this. Over the course of a year, those points really add up especially if you can run your debit card as credit when you pay your bills! For example, we paid for our entire hotel stay for our upcoming trip to Savannah and Hilton Head with these points. Zero dollars came out of the vacation fund for somewhere to stay. The money we would've spent on a hotel in Savannah is now being used to pay for our stay at Disney World. 

  • Select and use credit cards wisely! Do NOT put your vacation on your credit card unless you've got the money in your account to turn right around and pay the card off. There is no sense into going to debt for a vacation. For me, it would just be too stressful to think I'm on a vacation I can't pay for. What I mean when I say select and use credit cards wisely is to make them work for you. My husband drives a lot for his job. We purposely selected a credit card for him that has high return rewards for gas. He only uses that card for gas purchases. We can cash the points in to pay for the gas to get to our vacation destination. 
Walt Disney World - Sept. 2012

          Unannounced to him, I wrote into the fine print of our marriage vows that the husband had to take me to Disney World every year. That said, I got a Disney card for my business. With the card, you get Disney Rewards Dollars and other perks like private character meet n' greets or discounts off park merchandise and dining locations. We use the Disney Reward Dollars to pay for our vacation package or souvenirs. 

          The key with credit cards is to spend only what you have and pay them off                                     completely every month! 
  • Use fuel points strategically...In our area, Kroger offers fuel points. For every 100 points, you can save 10 cents off per gallon of gas up to $1 off. They also use the 1 point = $1 system. You have to buy groceries so you might as well make that necessary expense work in your favor! The two months before a trip (because the points do expire!), I save up my Kroger fuel points. Before we leave, we redeem our points and fill up.  Before we leave, I do try to find a Kroger between home and our destination to stop and use the last bit of points we have to re-fuel. [To find out more about Kroger's Fuel Reward Program, click here.]
  • Take advantage of discount sites like Groupon or Living Social...You can save on experiences or food by keeping an eye on these sites. In the few months before our trip, I make a point to stop by these sites every couple of weeks. When we visited New Orleans last year, I booked two guided tours for both of us for the price one ticket for one tour. Yeah! Big savings! I've also got two tours via Groupon bought and reserved for our Savannah trip. 
What are some of your favorite tips for traveling well on the cheap?


Disclaimer: I was NOT compensated in any way for this post. The opinions expressed here are purely my own. 

July 3, 2014

Totes + Towels = BIRTHDAY BASH!

Happy July!

The month of July is a big deal in our house. Not only do I celebrate a birthday, but PaperLark Studio does as well! To celebrate PaperLark Studio officially turning two years old (and my birthday too, of course!), we are having a HUGE sale. 

For the whole month of July, you can receive 24% off of your online order of $24 or more. I bet you can't guess how old I'm about to be, huh? Just enter the coupon code BIRTHDAYBASH at checkout!

To make the Birthday Bash sale even sweeter, I'm debuting some exciting new products. These have been pretty hush-hush, but I can finally share them with you. The first batch are already listed in the shop with more on the way. 

Without further ado, I'd like to introduce to my new line of tote bags and tea towels!

Large Monogram Tote Bag

The large monogram tote bags make perfect beach bags. At least that's what I'll be using mine for during our trip to Hilton Head and Tybee Island later this month. Seriously though, these bags are huge! They measure 16"x18" with a 6" depth. Not to mention, they also have two 9"x9" pockets on the back. Perfect for your sunscreen and book, right? I'm just sayin'!

The price? $15. And yes, you can use the BIRTHDAYBASH coupon code on these in my Etsy shop. 


Pretty Things Inside Tote Bag

I'm also debuting my regular size tote bags. These are $10 and measure 13.5"x13.5". I use these to keep up with my latest crafting products. Also, when I do my December Daily album, I like to keep all of my album supplies in totes like these. You can find "Pretty Things Inside" here and "Keep Calm and Craft On" here.

Keep Calm and Craft On Tote Bag
Last, but certainly not least, is the tea towels! These are $8 each and are made with 100% canvas cotton. There are sure to add a dash of laughter to any kitchen.

You can find the "Whip It, Whip It Good" tea towel here. I also have a set of two tea towels that would make the perfect wedding gift or housewarming gift.

You can find the "You Wash, I'll Dry" tea towels here. A set of these will be finding a home in my own kitchen here soon!

All of these will be making their craft show debut at Market Day in downtown Newnan this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. If you can't wait until Saturday or the drive is just a little too far, grab yours off the Etsy shop. Again, don't forget about the BIRTHDAYBASH coupon code!

Happy birthday to me, PaperLark Studio and you!


Coupon code expires 7/31/2014.
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