Refreshed Great Room

I recently had our great room covered in a fresh coat of white paint, and I rearranged some of my knick knacks. I’m loving the refreshed space! The room is much brighter in white, and it feels homier to me with more decorative clutter. (You can check out a before shot from a few years ago here for comparison. I can tell I have a better handle on exactly what my style is now. I miss that rug—we lost it to an epic dog vomit accident, hah!)

a-frame great room

I made a few subtle adjustments to the mantle. I think I need to paint the inside of my fireplace black so it looks less icky. Has anybody done that? It’s filled with cobwebs and dust, and probably dead bugs if I look close enough.

a-frame great room

I had been crushing on this TV gallery wall, so I put together my own version. I think it really does help the TV blend in with the decor more. I replaced my nearly dead fiddle leaf fig tree with a schefflera. The fiddle leaf was fun while it lasted, but it was too high maintenance to fit in with my plant routine. RIP little guy.

a-frame great room

I made a Wit & Whistle gallery wall over the dining nook and framed a bunch of brand new art prints that I added to the shop a few days ago. More about those later.

Over the years I’ve gradually been replacing the glue-together, placeholder furniture we got as newlyweds 9 years ago with handmade, vintage finds, and midcentury modern style pieces I’ll want to keep till I die. I’m thinking the dining table and chairs will be next to go. I’ll have to take my time perusing Craigslist for a few years to figure out what I’m after, but definitely something vintage-y with a leaf so we can squeeze more people in.

a-frame great room

Happy (American) Thanksgiving everybody! I hope you have a great time celebrating with your friends and family. I’ll be enjoying the pure bliss of eating a Thanksgiving feast while wearing stretchy maternity pants! ;)

Work in Progress

I’ve been working on a big project since April. It’s not quite finished yet, but I figure it’s probably time to spill the beans.

wit & whistle is knocked up

I’m growing a fetus! How’s that for the ultimate DIY project? Daniel and I finally got up the nerve to take the plunge. We’re so thankful God is trusting us with this gift and has blessed us with a smooth pregnancy so far.

Here are the details in a nutshell:

  • It’s a girl!
  • I’m roughly 8 1/2 months along. (34 weeks if you want to get specific.)
  • She’s due on Christmas day. (Yes, really.)
  • Aside from incessant migraines I feel pretty good. Although suddenly having an outie belly button is freaking me out, and being repeatedly kicked in the baby maker is not the greatest feeling.
  • We have a name we like, but we’re waiting until we meet her to make it official.

I’m going to close my shop for maternity leave a little before Christmas. I’ll need some down time to get acquainted with our new pink wriggly creature, not to mention my lady bits will need to recuperate. Wit & Whistle will reopen in February (specific date TBD), which means order your Valentine’s Day cards now! They’re already in the shop—including three awesome new ones.

You have all been so supportive of Wit & Whistle over the years, and I can’t thank you enough. I know you’ll bear with me while I figure out the “working mom” thing. I’m an odd combination of excited and terrified, since I’ve always been much more comfortable with puppies than human babies. One thing is for sure, I’ll have tons of inspiration for new Mother’s Day cards (probably horribly graphic inspiration, so brace yourselves)!

The photo below is how I revealed my knocked-up-ness to friends and family on Facebook earlier this year. The caption said, “We’re getting a new pet!”

wit & whistle is knocked up

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?