{moody} pretty things

1: magnolia from 100 layer cake // 2: gorgeous bouquet
3: valentine's flowers from ruby & the wolf // 4: a stunning citrus plant
I've been in a major moody floral phase lately and I'm not even mad about it. There's something so  romantic about dark backgrounds, striking colors and a hint of grunge that makes these florals just so stunning. These pictures are giving me serious inspiration for future products! 

hi, june!

Every month for the last year and a half, I've made very concrete and purposeful goals. Some months, I would change the categories and other months, I would pare down those goals. But in some fashion or another, I planned out the next month meticulously. The purpose was to keep me on track and motivated. And, it worked. I knew where I was going each month and what to accomplish. Goals kept me sane. 

But seasons change and goals need to morph too. I'm not cutting off goals from my life forever, but for this summer, I'm letting them off the hook. This summer, I have four tasks I want to accomplish. I don't have an end date or product on those things. I just want to do them and that be the end of that. 

This summer is all about laying by the pool, reading good books, eating good food and loving on good friends.  

I still have Tabitha Shop goals too, of course. I'll be prepping for Christmas and fine-tuning my making process. But after a year of transitions, my husband and I decided to make sacrifices in order to create more space in our lives. 

Derek and I are "what's next" people. Always on the go, we constantly want to climb the next mountain, conquer the next challenge, or dream the next dream. We rarely consciously relax. And not just a weekend getaway, but a full-blown, all-out season of rest. So, we decided to do just that this summer. We've postponed buying a home, opted for a part-time instead of full-time job for my husband and intentionally said "no" to anything scheduled over the weekends in June. 

I never realized the intention required to be restful. But, we're doing it this summer. Our health, joy and sanity are worth the sacrifice. 

oh, may!

May has marched into my life with a flurry of family visits and graduation plans. My husband finally graduated from seminary after six years (kind of - he still has three more classes this summer, but we're counting this as a huge win).

Between staying on top of orders, my fantastic job helping Wayfaren and prepping for 15 family members to visit, May 1 whipped by me without notice. Nonetheless, a few days late, here is the May calendar. Simply click on any of the sizes above to download it for your smart phone or computer.

I'm also slimming down on my goals this month. The different categories that I used in the past few months helped but this time, I'm finding that a simple and straight forward approach will streamline my business. So, for May, here's what I'm hoping to accomplish:

1. Streamline the printing and cutting process so that making envelopes flows more quickly.
2. Create personalized "Mr. & Mrs." cards so brides have options before and after their weddings.
3. Start work on printed shower invitations.

There are a few other fun projects in the work for May but these are the three big ones!

Hello, April!

Flipping open your computer first thing in the morning should be joyful. All you need is a clean desktop, floral background and a cup of steaming coffee to get the day started on the right foot.

Infusing more cheer in your day is important to me. Beautiful florals that remind us all to live with a little more joy and a little more beauty is a strong value of The Tabitha Shop. It's why I wanted I'm starting a new monthly download just for the blog!

This April calendar will fit perfectly for your computer, iPad or iPhone. Click on one of the resolutions above and your photo will be automatically downloaded.

May your April be full of beauty and cheer!

currently reading...

"It's not a question of whether you will hurt, or of how much you will hurt; it's a question of what you will do, and how well you will do it, while pain has her wanton way with you." - The Boys In the Boat

After my 70% completed trudge through The Professor and The Madman, The Boys In the Boat has been a fresh breeze floating through an open window on a spring day.

I tried to work my way through The Professor and the Madman. I'm a "finisher" - I feel the need to always finish a book, even if it's a bore. But, after reading this blog post from Modern Mrs. Darcy (my new favorite go-to for finding good books!), I realized it's okay to jump ship.

So jumped I did into a fascinating story about nine American college students who fight for the gold in the Berlin Olympics. Although I'm not a rower (even though I wish I was - hello, good work out), I'm finding that rowing can be a metaphor for any worth-while pursuit. Success takes hard work, community and a hint of good luck. Reading tough pasts redeemed and lofty goals accomplished, no matter in what genre, is always inspirational.

Also, I'm on Goodreads! I'd love to connect with you and hear what good books you're reading.

february goals recap + march goals

I love sticking my head in the clouds, thinking through audacious ideas and asking "what if?" If I could, I would haul up my whole body and live up there. Constant daydreaming, however, lacks a certain satisfaction. It's from taking dreams to reality where life flows and adventures skyrocket.

In February, I started the arduous and tenacious trek from a dream to reality and stumbled upon a harsh realization: my big dreams would require years of tremendous steps. Realism isn't an often welcomed guest in the clouds and it's often the cause of such a rough journey.

As such, I had two options this month - abandon all dreams or take those tremendous steps, slow and steady. Of course, it was the latter. I've already sunk myself in this deep - no turning back now.

So, my focus shifted from adding letterpress to the shop to creating with what I already have. Instead of making large purchases, I dug deep into my current resources to create new ideas and refine old ones. Taking slow, but strong steps to create a solid foundation for those crazy "what if" dreams.

Consequently, my February goals veered off course a bit. Directions I believed I was headed took a break while other unexpected ones throttled forward. I'm taking comfort in that, however. Goals have become looser in my every day routine lately. They're helpful catalysts; but, when things suddenly go in a different direction, those goals are changing with me, not me with them. Achieving goals is no longer success for me; using goals as a proper tool to guide me is success. 

February Goals Recap

Product Development
- add updated mug to the shop
  Didn't happen (see above!) 
- add new notecard options

- make a "syllabus" of visual branding teachers to improve in that area
  Didn't happen, but I did sign up for Danielle's Etsy course. So far, I've seen a dramatic improvement in views! 

- post to IG, FB and blog consistently
  Mostly, although I gave myself some grace here in order to continue focusing on my work

- Reach out to 5 boutiques
  Didn't happen since I was focusing more on these smaller projects! 

March Goals

Product Development
- add new cards, printable invitations and updated mugs
- experiment with new product ideas/techniques

- taking a break this month! 

- post to IG, FB and blog consistently
- revisit blogging strategy

- send out 5 letters to potential stockists 

read two more fiction books

There is nothing quite like the flipping (or in my case these days, tapping) of pages, entering a new world, suspending reality, eyes racing across lines, imagination constructing an untouched world in space or history. It's for that reason that I challenged myself earlier this year to read more. 

With all the hype of Matt Damon getting lost (again) in space, I could hardly resist cracking open the pages of The Martian. I was far from disappointed. "Maybe I'll post a consumer review. 'Brought product to surface of Mars. It stopped working. 0/10'" is the type of humor to expect from its pages. Although the jokes added a nice framework to what could have otherwise been a thriller along the same vein as Gravity, my enthusiasm for the book came from following his problem solving skills, which is far more exciting than it sounds. Inspiration sparks when you read someone create a way with odds slammed against them. 

But, the mood shifted after finishing The Martian and with the introduction of The Professor & The Madman. Quite frankly, it's been a bit of an uphill battle. Anticipating a more thrilling adventure with such a captivating title, I dove into this work still off the high of the The Martin. Instead, the author is trudging me through the history of the dictionary. I still have hope, but it's dwindling. 

Feels good to check off more from winter bucket list too!