New Holiday Cards 2015

A shop update for you today—new holiday cards are ready to go! I showcased them next to their original sketches below, so you can see how far they’ve come.

To get a jump on your holiday shopping, you can take 10% off all holiday cards (old ones and new ones) with the coupon code NEVERTOOEARLY until the end of the day Thursday, November 12th. (This coupon is only valid here at witandwhistle.com).

new funny wit & whistle holiday cards

new funny wit & whistle holiday cards

new funny wit & whistle holiday cards

new funny wit & whistle holiday cards

new funny wit & whistle holiday cards

new funny wit & whistle holiday cards

Favorite Business Tools

This post will bore you to tears unless you’re into this sort of thing too, but I wanted to put together a roundup of my favorite business tools. They make my life easier, so I think they deserve a shout-out. None of these businesses are sponsoring Wit & Whistle or this post in any way.

favorite business tools

I use Wave for all my accounting. I’ve tried a lot of the other accounting software out there, and Wave was the best fit for me. It’s like a free, simpler version of Quickbooks. In addition to tracking my expenses and income, I send invoices to my wholesale customers through Wave. The credit card processing fees are reasonable, and I’m able to customize my invoices. I previously used PayPal for invoicing, but PayPal limits the number of products that can be saved in their system (so I had to type a bunch in manually for each invoice—ugh). In addition, Wave’s customer support has been great when I need help.

favorite business tools

ShipStation costs me $45 a month, which is painful because I’m stingy about paying monthly fees. However, for me it’s totally worth it. ShipStation imports all my orders from witandwhistle.com and from Etsy to one place. Then it allows me to quickly print all the shipping labels at once, and it even compiles a list of the products I need to fill the open orders. After I ship, ShipStation emails each customer their tracking number and a little message from me with my logo to reinforce my branding. It automatically marks the orders shipped on Etsy.com and on my website—such a time saver. By the way, I print shipping labels on my loveable DYMO LabelWriter 4XL.

favorite business tools

If you aren’t shipping a lot of volume, Endicia is a great tool for printing individual shipping labels. Endicia charges me a $15.95 service fee every month. I thought I would cancel it once I started using ShipStation, but I love Endicia for the wholesale side of my business. I use it to quickly get shipping rates when I’m sending out invoices, and then to print labels when it’s time to send out an order. It’s nice to have all my wholesale shipping history consolidated in one place in the Endicia mailing log. Endicia also works well with the DYMO LabelWriter 4XL.

favorite business tools

MailChimp has been amazing for sending out email newsletters. It’s free up to 2000 newsletter subscribers. Beyond that it’s crazy expensive. Well I think it’s crazy expensive, but like I said, I’m stingy. I go through my email subscriber list and delete subscribers who have never opened my emails to make sure I stay under 2000. (MailChimp ranks your subscribers based on how often they read your emails.) Since my subscriber list continues to grow (thanks guys!) I’m going to try TinyLetter for my next newsletter. It’s a simpler email tool by MailChimp that doesn’t have as many features but allows you to have up to 5000 subscribers for free. I’m a big fan of simple and free.

Issuu is a digital publishing platform for things like magazines and catalogs. You can publish for free by simply uploading a pdf. I use Issuu to publish my wholesale catalog. It’s easy to update, which I do all the time, since I’m always cranking out new products and discontinuing old ones. Lots of shops and boutiques scour Issuu for wholesale catalogs, so I’ve gotten a fair amount of wholesale inquiries and new customers simply from having my catalog posted there. Pretty awesome.

What are your favorite business tools?

 

Butternut-Squash-O-Lantern

This year instead of carving a pumpkin for Halloween, I got the bright idea to carve a butternut squash. I don’t know what made me think I’d be able to easily summon enough brute strength to carve something pretty into one of these tough vegetables. Now that I’ve done it, I don’t recommend it. I see now that pumpkins are much more suitable to carving. That’s why it’s pumpkin carving, not squash carving, that became a Halloween tradition.

Halloween butternut squash carving

If you’re curious, this is how I Halloween-ified my squash. First I sliced the top off with my big chef’s knife. I planned to use a smaller knife to remove slices from the solid squash neck until it was hollow. Within a minute I had snapped my knife blade off in the squash.

I decided power tools were in order and got my drill. I didn’t get my battery-powered drill, I got my big manly drill that plugs into the wall. That worked pretty well to hollow out the neck of the squash. I drilled a bunch of holes until they all banded together and formed one big hole. Hole cooperation.

Halloween butternut squash carving

Next I flipped the squash over and cut a traditional serrated “pumpkin top” shape into the bulb at the bottom. I scooped the seeds out of the base and continued drilling down the interior length of the squash until the whole thing was hollow. Then I put the top and bottom back in place.

Halloween butternut squash carving

I tried to think of something to carve but couldn’t come up with anything that wouldn’t also lead to me losing a finger. I already had my drill out… so… I just drilled holes all over it. It’s a technique I used a few years ago on a pumpkin, but maybe I get bonus points for using a butternut this time? It’s way too much fun to drill holes in food with power tools. I couldn’t resist once I already had the drill laying there next to the squash. These are the drill bits I used.

Halloween butternut squash carving

Taadaa!

Halloween butternut squash carving

Halloween butternut squash carving

Happy Halloween everybody! What did you carve this year?

Terrarium Before & After

A few weeks ago at the West Elm Local launch party in Durham I was chatting with Megan of The Zen Succulent about my Score + Solder terrarium. It made the rounds on Pinterest a while back, and most of the succulents in there are still going strong. Megan suggested I post a follow up photo of how it has grown, and I thought that was a darn good idea.

My terrarium the day I planted it:

terrarium before and after

My terrarium over 3.5 years later with the original succulents:

terrarium before and after

Pretty crazy, right? The smallest pinkish succulents in the before photo died fairly quickly, but the others are still doing fine. Well, that wonky one isn’t getting enough sun (which is why it looks like that), but it’s alive and growing. That’s all I can ask for! This is the longest I’ve ever kept succulents alive. What’s the longest you’ve kept a houseplant alive?

Cards for Autumn

After a long lull I’ve been riding an awesome wave of creative energy the past week or two! I just added some of the latest fruits of my labor to the shop.

Fall and winter are my favorite seasons, so when this card idea popped into my head I had to drop everything and make it happen. A card to celebrate cold weather and the freedom to grow out your leg hair?! Yes please. It works for any occasion this time of year or even for the holidays. It’s in the shop here.

sweater weather card

Here’s the sketch it originated from. I made her a little less bow-legged in the final version.

sweater weather card

Every year since Wit & Whistle began I’ve tried and failed to come up with a decent Thanksgiving card. Finally, I think I’ve got a winner. It only took me 6 years. This unhappy turkey is in the shop here.

bite me thanksgiving card

With a little rearranging this sketch turned into the “bite me” card. I recycled the leafy pattern from one of my discontinued throw pillows.

bite me thanksgiving card