Acute Designs Shop

I have been working all week on my new online shop - Acute Designs Shop.

It has all the same items as my Acute Designs Etsy shop and stock will continue to grow over the next few weeks.

The difference for me?  Less Etsy fees!

I love Etsy - it gave me an avenue to start a business and it creates a positive community around handmade goods. 

I am not closing my Etsy Shop and doubt I ever will - so many amazing customers have found me simply by browsing Etsy.

My little problem is fees.  The more I sell {which has quadrupled in the past 6 months - yay!} the more I pay every month.

Etsy fees + PayPal fees = to many fees {I hope you enjoyed this technical equation.}

So, I created my own online shop using the Big Cartel hosting site.

Check it out and if you are in the mood to make an Acute purchase, I am offering 25% off your total purchase in the new shop until July 8th! 

*** Just use the code blog25off ***

P.S. If you know any web designers who can help me with an affordable custom Big Cartel shop {or at least a few tweaks} please email me or leave a comment below.  Thanks!

Red, White, and Blue all over

Just because the 4th of July is nearly upon us....

Shoes from Toms:

Skirt from ModCloth:

Tank from Old Navy:

Placemat and Napkins from World Market:

Lanterns from Pier 1 Imports:

{I really want these!}

How-To: Baby Onesie Stickers

Sorry for my absence yesterday - blogger was giving me issues and I had my web designer change the layout of my blog - what do you think?  The sidebar still needs some work, which I plan to do today.  Tech stuff gives me a headache.

I have two new baby boys in my life {my sister and one of my best friends both just had baby boys} and wanted to make them a little gift.

I tried baby blankets.  A blanket seems like the easiest thing ever - right? 

Yeah, that is what I though too... 

I attempted to use something called "minky fabric" because it is super soft, but it was SO annoying. 

It is not your basic fabric and it requires a certain needle or foot or something....I am just not that skilled with the sewing machine.

So, I scratched that idea and opted for onesie stickers.

These are super cute and something a new mom+baby will use for the entire first year.

Just peel and stick them on a baby's onesie for each subsequent month birthday and you have a nice little montage of photos from the first year.

{This bike one is my favorite}

I made these images on Photoshop, inserted them into a Word Document, and printed them on sticker paper.  It was easy and fun.

You can buy sticker paper at Michael's, Staples, or online.

If you don't feel like making your own designs - download mine here for free!

These are a little boy-centric, but would be fine for a baby girl too. 

If you love them and want girly ones, let me know and I might make some :).

Weekend Wear: Garbage Bag Skirt

My husband calls this skirt my "garbage bag skirt."  Such a keen observation...I guess it is because the skirt has a bit of a shine to it, like plastic. Who knows, he has crazy ideas about everything.

I call it my amazing little American Apparel skirt.  I have it in black too and wear them all the time.  I bought both skirts at Loehmann's for $2 each.  Such a deal.

It was warm and sunny this weekend.  I love when it is so warm, that I can wear a skirt and tank top and not be the least bit chilly.

I would be good in 80+ degree temps all the time.

This outfit is simple and easy, the kind of thing I will wear all summer.  And the turquoise Target sandals are the perfect pop of color.

Love summer.  Just love.

Favorite Photo from June

Remember the photo contest on The Paper Mama that I entered a few weeks ago?

Well, my sweet little picture of Gordita didn't make the top 30. 

Womp womp. 

Rather than dwelling in self pity, I am entering the next contest - which is to submit my favorite photo from June. 

The photo must be of my baby {animal or human} and had to be taken in the month of June.

This time I am entering Finn. 

He is undoubtedly the most photogenic dog I have ever seen....wish us luck!

The Paper Mama

Anthropologie kinda drives me crazy

There.  I said it.

I have been thinking this for a while and was a little apprehensive about writing it.  

Why?  Because Anthro is like the blogging community's mecca.

I guess I was afraid I would get exiled or something...

Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy browsing Anthropologie's website and their catalogs. 

Their photography is beautiful and inspiring.  Every single time I go to the mall, I stop by Anthro - even if I don't intend to buy anything. 

The stores have a sense of calm and I can browse and browse - captivated by all the gorgeous items and displays.

Overall, I find the store, website, and catalogs to be fantastic.  Buuuuuut........they also drive me a little crazy.

I am not attempting to delve into the copycat debate that has been circling the likes of Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters for a while now.  I just doubt them a little. 

Ok, a lot.  I doubt them a lot.

They are wildly successful, which is fantastic but I am pretty certain that the root of all this success is not genuine.

The handmade movement has caught on.  That is a fact. 

It has caught on so hard that Anthro is making a bazillion dollars doing what I {and so many other designers} do every day....for a lot less dollars.

There is a pretty specific aesthetic that goes along with handmade goods and Anthro has captured this aesthetic with great success, but with very little heart.

Anthro did not start this movement - they latched on and capitalized off of it. 

This is why they drive me crazy.

And because I still find them to be a little awe-inspiring.  The contrast of opinions I have towards them also drives me crazy.

What are your thoughts?

Do they drive you a little crazy...or do you love everything they do?  No judgement here, I would love to know your thoughts!

{All photos via Anthropologie}

Week in Photos

I linked up with Amy's blog {week in iPhone photos post} last week and have decided to make it a regular thing.

It is fun and it encourages me to take pics of things besides my dogs...which is kind of hard.

Once again, a majority of my weekly photos are of my dogs, but they are just so freaking cute that I cannot help myself.

Locked out! I gave the dogs a bath in the back yard and then left them out for an hour while they dried.  They acted as if I was torturing them.

Me, rockin my grandma's sunglasses.  They are one of my most fav things of hers that I own. 

I made seared ahi tuna over an Asian style coleslaw on Tuesday night and it was pure heaven.

Finn is a very clingy dog.  I cannot sit on the couch without him on top of me.

We took the dogs to a nearby lake on Friday and Finn was so excited to splash in the water.  Gordita has princess paws and could not be bothered to get wet.

We then walked for an hour around the lake - it was a fantastic workout and so hot.  I loved it.

I made the dogs ice cream on Saturday and Gordita l-o-v-e-d it.  {Finn...not so Gordita got to eat his cup.} 

I bought these on sale at Target.  I plan on making different popsicles all summer long. Friday I made banana chocolate chip pudding pops....yum.

It was U.S. versus Mexico in soccer on Saturday night.  Sadly, the U.S. lost.  Gordita is a huge Mexico fan {obvs} and Finn cheers for the U.S.

I'm sorry, but have you ever seen a more photogenic dog!?  {Yes, I am aware that I am crazy.}

I made pizza Saturday night - my husband had pepperoni and I had my signature pizza - pineapple and goat cheese.  You can get the recipe here, on my food blog.  It was actually my first post ever and I eat it all the time. It is ridiculously good.

I caught Neil and Finn napping one afternoon- so cute!  The two of them sleep all.the.time.

{All photos taken with my T-Mobile MyTouch phone.}

Homemade Vanilla Coffee Creamer

I have a confession to make  - I am addicted to fat-free french vanilla coffee creamer.  I don't know when this addiction started...I assume it was a few months ago when I bought my first bottle.

Now I cannot drink coffee without that sickeningly sweet, artificial vanilla flavor.  I have decided that the only way I can feel better about this is to make my own.

Now, I understand that making my own doesn't necessarily mean I am making a "healthy food," but I will feel a lot better drinking my concoction than drinking whatever is put in store bought vanilla creamer. 

I used an actual vanilla bean - they are a little costly, but the aroma and flavor is like nothing else.  I also used a little fat free sweetened condensed milk and some regular old skim milk and a dash of cinnamon.

The result is a flavorful, not too sweet, not chemical laden vanilla creamer that I can feel good about ingesting!

Homemade Vanilla Coffee Creamer
1 vanilla bean
1 cup fat free milk
1/4 cup fat free sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1. Slice the vanilla bean with a small knife and scrape out the insides.  This will take some patience, but the flavor is SO worth it!

2. Add 1 cup of fat free milk to a liquid measuring cup and put the vanilla bean contents into the milk.

3. Add 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk to the measuring cup and pour all into a blender.  Blend for about a minute.

4. Store in an air tight container for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.  Shake before using as the sweetened condensed milk will settle a little.


Summer of Giveaways {3}: Old Navy

I love Old Navy for basics {like yoga pants, flip flops, and simple tanks} but I also have found some gems there.  Sometimes Old Navy just surprises me.

My favorite recent Old Navy find was this dress {which I bought for less than $20}.

Today I am giving one lucky reader a $25 Old Navy gift card. $25 can go a long way at Old Navy.

What would you buy?

My picks are....

I buy a pair of these sandals every summer. They are super comfy and a little nicer than your average flip flops.  And they are only $9.50 - get some!

To enter...

You must be a follower of this blog and leave a comment telling me so.  If you don't comment, I won't know that you have entered!

Extra Entries: {please leave a separate comment for each}

Follow Acute Designs on Twitter
Fan Acute Designs on Facebook
Fan Old Navy on Facebook

And finally - comment #43 won last week’s giveaway!   Congrats to Whitney - I will be contacting you today.

400 is a nice number

I just noticed that I reached 400 sales in my sweet little etsy shop, Acute Designs

I was shocked.  When did that happen?

I remember 300, but that doesn't seem that long ago.  I guess the last hundred sales flew by - which is fantastic. 

This is what I have wanted to happen.  I have wanted to get to the point where it is sale after sale after sale.  And it is finally getting to that point...but it could be more....

It could always be more.

The sales might be coming in a lot faster, but one thing that hasn't changed is that every single time I check my email or look at my phone and see an order, I am excited. 

I am excited like it is my first order ever. 

This feeling is one I want to keep.  I don't want to become complacent.

I wonder if The Gap feels this way?  Or Target? 

I kind of doubt it.

Do I feel this way because my amount of sales is much less than Target's amount of sales?  Or do I feel this way because it is my product - made with my own two hands?

Are you small biz owner?  Do you feel this same excitement every single time you sell something, or do you find that the excitement has worn away?

I would love to know!

P.S. Today is the last day to enter my ModCloth $30 credit giveaway...tomorrow I will announce the winner and the third giveaway of the summer.

P.S. {again} I am hosting an Acute Designs giveaway over at Express-O.  Go enter!

Shop Update: Oversized Flowers + Vintage Sparkles

These vintage jeweled hairpins and oversized glossy roses would be perfect for....

Dressing up a messy up-do.....

Holding back hair on a hot summer night....

Or adding a hint of sparkle to your wedding hair.

All available for sale here.

{My favorite is the silver and rhinestone flower on the bottom right - it is so gorgeous in person!}

Weekend Wear: $3 Vintage Dress

I bought this dress a few weeks ago at a vintage sale for $3.

I saw it - thought it looked light and cute for summer...and didn't bother trying it on... 

I mean, $3 is not worth it for me to take my clothes off in a changing room {I am not a big try-er-on-er anyways...I typically go the return route if something doesn't fit}.

So, I get home, try it on, and it is HUGE!
I know I did a good job disguising the largeness with a wide belt, but trust me, without the belt this dress is moomoo-tastic.

It is super soft and lightweight.  It was also definitely homemade.  Possibly made out of an old sheet. 

It has that soft, been washed a million times feel to it - which I love.
It makes me want to buy a vintage sheet and make a dress out of it.  {I will add that to my ever growing list of summer goals.}

What do you guys think?  Wear it with the wide belt?  Or just around the house?  Or...keep it to use as a maternity dress if I ever have a baby?

Thrift | Everybody, Everywear

Happy Summer!

It is supposed to be warm here the next few days and I am really, really happy about that.  Southern California has nice mild summers - which overall are fantastic because you never get too hot or too cold.

This being said, I am from the Midwest and get a little nostalgic for long, hot, sticky summer days.

Hopefully we get a few of those days this year - Happy first day of summer to all of you!

Sheep and Such

I just love sheep - they are so cute and soft.

Yesterday my husband I and went to the Irish Festival in Irvine.  My husband coaches a kids Gaelic Football team and they played a few games at the festival.

It was cute to watch the little kids play and fun to eat lots of junk food {that is what one does at a fair, right?} and drink a few beers.

My most favorite part of the day was the sheep herding.  I have a collie mix and think sheep herding might be just what he needs to release some of his anxiety and energy.

This is the first time I am linking up with Amy’s blog for a week in iphone {or in my case, MyTouch} photos.

I only have three photos from the week and all three are of animals...Gordita, Finn, and the sheep at the fair.  This week I will attempt other subjects!

Shop Update: Vintage Lace Earrings

{All available for sale here}

I spent a few days last week hand dying bits of vintage lace and transforming them into earrings.

I have been contemplating these earrings for a while now but just needed a free week to work on the designs.  I am so happy with the results and cannot wait to continuously expand this line and possibly create a few necklaces or bracelets too.

There is something so delicate and feminine about lace that I just love {even though I am neither delicate nor very feminine!}.

And, I love that each is a one of a kind or a two of a kind. 

Using vintage pieces in design work is such a fun experience.  It is fun to think of where the item was before - Who owned it? Who wore it? Did it have any special meaning?

The hunt for amazing vintage pieces that can be re-worked into modern designs is one of my favorite parts of my job.

I hope you are all having a sunny and relaxing weekend.   If you haven't already done so...pop over here and enter my latest giveaway.

Summer of Giveaways {2}: ModCloth

ModCloth is one of my favorite online retailers.  Their prices are reasonable and they have so, so many cute choices.

Their story is also pretty amazing and inspiring to small biz owners like myself.

For the second giveaway in my summer of giveaways, I am giving one lucky reader a $30 ModCloth credit!

Since ModCloth has such reasonable prices, there are so many things you could get for under or around $30. 

If I could enter and win, I would use it towards one of these items...

To enter...

Stop by Modcloth's site and pick your favorite item. 

You must be a follower of this blog and leave a comment.  If you don't comment, I won't know that you want to enter!

Extra Entries {please leave a comment for each one}

1. Follow AcuteDesigns on Twitter
2. Fan Acute Designs on Facebook
3. Follow ModCloth on Twitter

Thanks and good luck!
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