A Trip Around the Sun

One year down!!! Happy business birthday to us!

I can hardly believe it myself… I’ve been in business for a YEAR. On August 13, 2017, I got my sales tax permit from the state and officially started selling my crafts- towels and mug cozies, initially.

 

I’ve always been a crafty gal, making my own stuff and decorating things my own way. It’s fun and rewarding but also expensive and leads to hoarding. That latter dependent clause is what led me to starting a business. All last summer, I designed different towels and sewed them at UT’s Fine Arts Library (HOOK ‘EM!) and made it through every available season of Game of Thrones as I knit and decorated over 20 mug cozies.

Eventually, it all snowballed into a blog, Facebook page, Instagram, a real name, and markets almost every month selling bigger and better things. What hasn’t changed is that everything is still 100% made by my, my mamma’s, or my daddy’s hands and is made out of junk.

The Best of Everything

I want to take a sec and just look back at everything that everyone’s loved so far. I’m sure no one really cares, but care a lot to look back. While I believe it’s important to live in the present and look toward the future, I also believe it’s humbling to take a look back and reflect and be thankful for how far you’ve come…

Blog Posts

I haven’t pushed the blog as much as I probably should have. Part of it is because on some level, I don’t think the content is good enough. I mean, think it’s good, fun, informative, and enlightening, but I fret that others won’t. The other part of it is that I’ve been waiting for my archives to grow so that visitors can have a well-rounded representation of everything that’s on here.

Aaaanyway, I wanted to see which posts have done the best so far and share the links, so new readers (hopefully I’ve got some!) can jump on board. The top five most read posts are:

Stadium to Momento (807 views)

Quick-and-Easy Heat Transfer Vinyl

Top 5 Texas Hill Country State Parks & Natural Areas

Tools & Tips For Staying Organized and Productive (If That’s What You’re Into)

6 Scrapbook Tips

 

New blog posts go out about once a week so that there’s a little something new every time you come by. You can also get them straight in your mailbox by looking at the side bar and entering your email address where prompted. Here are the five most recent posts:

Tools & Tips For Staying Organized and Productive (If That’s What You’re Into)

Working with Wood: A Brief Guide to Finishes

Saturday Market Recap

Steak Hooks

Updates

 

Things We’ve Made

As much as I love writing, I’m here to let my creative flag fly and make a bunch of things to sell (because I’d have no more room or money if I didn’t), as well as get junk out of the dirt and into our homes. After all, things are a lot more special when they have a story or a special meaning, just like the picture holders I made out of the bleachers from my high school stadium when it got torn down. I sold nearly 100 of those things:

Other hot cakes:

Some things sit at the booth for a while, which is fine, but every now and then we hit the nail on the head and run out of things so fast. Here’s what’s gotten lots of love lately:

Mom is an amazing artist. She uses her students’ unwanted and abandoned canvases to work her own magic. 

I first made one of these for myself (not pictured). You know, you see all these paintings and sketches of flowers and whatnot on deer skulls and cow skulls, but have you ever really seen the real life thing? Maybe you have, but I haven’t. I thought it would be the cutest damn thing, and I was right- people I didn’t even know were asking when I’d make more. They were so loved, and I’m so grateful and excited!

These porch signs are made with whatever wood or tin I can find. Lately I’ve been using the wood from the stadium bleachers. Everyone loves the big, bold greetings for their homes, and here recently, I’ve completed about 7 orders and have another 7 to do, plus the usual market load. It’s amazing. 

 

What’s Ahead

Now that I’m down one year, I really feel sturdy, like I can keep this going for a long time, especially with everything we’ve got planned.

I’ve got plans to make the booth cute as hell, new things to sell (LOL I rhymed), new cities to sell in, more people to meet, and all kinds of contests and fun events to come.

I’m so, so excited and just so blessed to have been able to make it this far.

I never did this alone.

Yes, this was all my idea and just about everything we make, where we go, the contests, all the brand stuff, social media, yada yada, is by my design. BUT. I couldn’t have done any of it by myself.

My mom has been a tremendous help. She is so talented, so creative, so much fun, and is always ready to help as much as she can, even when she’s playing (the very necessary position of) devil’s advocate. Thank you, Mom!

My dad has been by my side since day one. He probably gets more pumped than I do. He’s always coming up with ideas (in fact, selling the stadium wood in some form or fashion was his idea), asking me about my successes, brainstorming new ways of getting to people, and cheering me on. He’s always so gung-ho about everything, and that is awesome.

The folks at the Ganado Farmers Market have done wonders for me, even if they don’t realize it. Those ladies (Robin, Jonel, all of y’all) have supported me, been my biggest cheerleaders, and have given me so much love, not just as a vendor, but as a person. It helps that I’ve known one of those ladies almost my whole life, but still, I wouldn’t have made it this far without them.

Everyone that has bought something, liked a Facebook post, given Wildflowers & Charolais a compliment, given us materials, or acknowledged us in anyway, you’re just the absolute best. You know.. I feel like our stuff is cute and pretty. I think Mom’s paintings are beyond gorgeous, and Dad’s craftsmanship with metal and wood is strong and durable. Of course I think that, but when someone else thinks that, too, it rocks my world. It makes us all feel good, and I’m not talking about the money here at all. I think it’s so humbling and gratifying that someone else thinks I and my people are talented. I am excited that someone has taken what was originally a piece of crap and put it in their home. It’s huge.

 

 

So thanks to everyone who’s had anything and everything to do with Wildflowers & Charolais! Here’s to another year!!!

 

~Hannah ❤

 

 

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Tools & Tips For Staying Organized and Productive (If That’s What You’re Into)

Organization and productivity are, I think, essential to getting things done and staying sane- especially in your craft room/hobby room/drawer of crafty things/sewing kit/fabric drawers/scrapbooking paper boxes/she-shed... I’m always looking for new tools and tips, so I’m going to share a few of my own.

CANVA Tips & Tools

Hi y’all! Today’s post really has nothing to do with crafts or markets or anything “fun,” but it does have a bit to do with business and basically life in general. Today I wanted to share some tools and tips on getting organized and staying productive. These are things I’m always looking up, so I thought I could share what I’ve learned works best for me. Like the Internet needs more information.

I have always been an organized person: to-do lists, color-coded closets, bed made every morning. The whole nine yards, okay?

If I do have a mess or get scatter-brained, it’s because I’ve got so many projects going on. A pile of scrapbook paper here, a can of spray paint without the lid there, my hot glue gun heating up elsewhere, while my iron is still too hot to put back up.

So hopefully we can all get out S*** together, together. 🙂

 

Ideas for sorting out what needs to be done:

  • To-Do lists with pen and paper

Everyone is so digital these days. Hell, I am pretty digital myself. I’ve also got an old soul that loves the feeling of putting pen to paper, physically organizing my thoughts, and literally crossing them out of my day. I feel accomplished that way. If you’re a tactile person like me, make lists, follow the lists, and kick that list’s ass.

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This is one of my to-do lists, complete with homework, work schedule, bills that need to be paid, and around-the-house things.

 

  • Momentum dash

Digital. Some of us are into that, and sometimes, as I said, I can be, which is why I downloaded Momentum Dash. It’s a browser setting that basically keeps you on top of things with its to-do lists and inspirational quotes that pop up every time you open up a new tab. I keep all of my computer to-dos on Momentum, for obvious reasons, but you can keep everything on there, if you’re looking at your screen a lot. With it’s constant presence, there’s no escaping your tasks.

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This is a screenshot of my own dash. I didn’t enter in a main focus for the day, but I did have a running to-do list of all my online things: homework, things to print, etc.

 

  • Planner (actual paper)

Welcome paper back to the scene. I live by my planner(s). I have my planner that I keep in my backpack. It is marked with different colored pens and markers, stickers, highlights, boxes and circles, arrows, sticky notes, and folded up lists, as well as notes in the margins. Everything is there. Then I have a baby pocket planner for my business. I use it to mark down making days, market days, tax deadlines, and to record ideas for the month. I also have a separate list for my business to-dos and ideas. Lastly, I have a big calendar on my wall, which is mostly to lay out big-picture things, keep track of the day, and add a little something to my kitchen. My calendar for 2017 is Peanuts!

 

 

  • Calendar on my phone WITH alerts

If it’s important, like very important, it goes in my iPhone’s calendar. It doesn’t just go in, either; it gets two alerts. Some events get a two-hours before and day-before, some get day-before and week-before. Doesn’t matter- I must get reminded, even if I already remember.

tools as well

 

  • Notes on my phone

Back to digital again. I use notes on my phone all the time, but not for super serious things. I utilize it in emergencies (as in I have an idea and have to get it written) or for lists that never end (such as my wishlist). Of course, you’ve got to back it up. Apple can really piss me off and confuse me, but that iCloud can be a blessing. Use it!!

for tools

Notice the random notes: Grocery list, class schedule, Christmas ideas for the family, business to-do’s, and some amount of money that I either owed or spent and needed to write into my budget. 

The trick is just to make sure they all match up. Because then you’ve just got an even bigger mess.

 

So now everything you need to do has a place on a list, on a day. Next it’s just organizing all the crap.

  • Clear boxes (preferably with labels), filled by category

If you have a lot of something, it needs a rightful place. For me, that was all my scrapbooking stuff. I have a lot of paper, stickers, and more, so to keep it all together, I got it its own box from Dollar General. It’s clear, so I can see what’s in it, and it’s also as small as possible, so that it’s easy to store.

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  • Baskets/Crates with sections (for utensils and whatnot)

These help keep little things separate from one another. I use mine to separate my sticky notes from my paper clips from my pens/pencils from my markers. They are all things I use almost daily, but prevent me from having a big ugly box of crayons, you know?

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  • Labeled baggies for loose objects 

I use Ziplocs to organize my scrapbooking stickers. I have categorized by theme: letters/numbers, special occasions, holidays, quotes. etc. Like the dividing baskets, it keeps things separate so that buttons don’t get lost in the marbles, and alphabet stickers don’t get stuck to the Christmas ones.

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  • Distinct bags/boxes for projects currently underway

This can get kinda messy, but if you do it right, it makes a world of difference. I use cute canvas bags to organize projects. I have one that holds my scrapbooking supplies for one scrapbook, one for business stuff (for example, it holds my zip ties, whole punch, price tag paper, receipt book, etc.), and one that hangs out for default projects. I keep them under my table or in a cabinet, but they could essentially be hung or stored anywhere. A cute box would work, too!

 

Of course all of this only works if you put everything back where it’s supposed to go.

 

 

Other ways to keep it together, crafting or not:

  • Planning meals

I don’t map out every meal and snack for the entire month on a calendar. That’s too hardcore for me (kudos to you if that’s how you roll), but I do plan out what I can eat for the week. I look at my pantry and freezer to first see what I have already. I try to figure out two or three dishes with food that I already have stocked up, which reminds me: every so often (say, month or two), stock up on everything: broths, canned and frozen fruits and vegetables, soups, spices, pasta, sauces, baking supplies, meat, etc. That way, when you’re in a pinch, you can whip something together. Once you have an idea of what you can make for the week, you can either make-ahead or write out when you’ll cook it. I recommend cooking back-to-back, then alternating leftovers for the rest of the week.

tools I use- meal planning ish

 

  • As-you-go grocery (or supplies!) list

As things go missing, write them down. There are few things worse than going to the store and forgetting something you need because you forgot to write it down. I use a notepad in my kitchen to keep track of things as I run out. As soon as I drink that last glass of milk, I write it down. Once it gets long enough, I rearrange it in the order that I’d get it at the store (too much maybe?) and then go shopping- probably every two weeks.

Run out of hot glue? A certain color of yarn? Write it down asap.

Tip: Use Ibotta! Ibotta is a cashback app that my cousin recommended to me. You browse the app looking for rebates, click on the ones you want, and then redeem them by scanning your receipt after your grocery trip. I’ve collected over $40 in rebates! Don’t forget coupons, either. I particularly like HEB’s digital coupons.

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Use referral code: fkertsn

 

  • Making the bed

Make your bed every morning, folks. Some people think it’s stupid, but I don’t. It helps establish routine. It keeps things tidy. If you don’t do a damn thing that day, you can at least say your bed is made. It’s like a domino effect: you make your bed, then you leave on time. You leave on time, you feel good, and you do more work. You get more work done during the day, and your evening is free. You use that time to make a kick-ass supper. You’re so proud you don’t mind the dishes. Then at the end of the day, you’re happily exhausted and get a great night’s sleep in your nicely made bed. Repeat.

 

  • Setting out the next day’s clothes

It’s simple- one less thing to think about when you wake up the next morning. You aren’t spending time figuring it out either. Less fuss in the morning is always a good thing.

 

  • Monthly budget

There are so many ways to track your spending, like making a spreadsheet or doing the priority chart. I’m not here to tell you how to do it. I am telling you to just do it. It’s so important to know the state of your finances. You should know how much you’re spending a month, how much you need to spend, how much income you’re bringing in, what that ratio is, and if/how you’re saving. That last one is the most important. As humans, we’re good at figuring out the immediate future, but we have a difficult time envisioning the long-term. That’s why it’s so important to save, save, save. You may not know what your future holds, but at least you’ll have the money to pay for it, right? Retirement, travel, education, a new house… they all could be in our futures (whether we know it or not), and they all cost money- you can bank on that.

Not very good if you’re going to Hobby Lobby though…

tools I use budget landscape

I keep my budget in my planner because it’s one place that I check everyday. It doesn’t replace checking my actual bank account, but it helps keep me on point.

  • Working Out

Don’t groan on me. I’m not saying the secret to productivity is running a marathon. The secret is staying healthy, strong, and energized. You can achieve health, strength, and energy by exercising regularly. I balance running (when I’m not training), strength training, yoga, and outdoor activities like hiking.

Don’t believe me? Here are some interesting articles on exercise and productivity:

https://www.brookings.edu/opinions/exercise-increases-productivity/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/422836-how-does-exercise-improve-work-productivity/

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/281418

 

The last tools I want to touch on are ones I have never used before, which is why they weren’t on my list, but that I want to use because I have heard great things. These are for my fellow crafty friends who make money on their own. Y’all might be interested!

The first is Freshbooks. It’s an accounting software for small businesses and entrepreneurs. I want to use it eventually, as my business grows a bit more.

The second is Asana, a scheduling program. It’s more for teams, I think, but many people use it like I use pen and paper.

 

All of this is information is to find what works for you, so I hope I could have been a little bit of a help!

 

Thank you and many blessings to all,

 

~Hannah ❤

 

Working with Wood: A Brief Guide to Finishes

When working with wood, you’ve got to treat or stain it somehow to protect it. This post has just a very brief list of stains and oils you can use.

Working with Woods_

We make a lot  of things with wood: signs of all sizes, hat racks, jewelry holders, and more, I’m sure. Most of these have to be treated in some way to protect them from the elements and just make them look pretty!

We use a couple different stains and oils, so I thought it would be useful to list a few and show what they look like. This was a fun post to write because I didn’t know much about any of these oils, either, until I did a little bit of research!

 

Tung Oil

We use this oil pretty often. Tung oil comes from Asia and its use goes back for years and years.

It’s a great oil to use for beginners or for someone in a hurry. It dries fast, it’s safe, and makes the wood look like, well, wood. It gets deep into the wood- making it pretty waterproof- and brings out the natural grooves and patterns of the wood, leaving a matte, slightly darker finish.

 

Linseed Oil

Honestly, I’ve never used this, but it is a pretty popular oil to use on wood. For one, as a natural oil, it’s safe and environmentally friendly. It’s also very functional as it protects the wood from water and anything else that could be absorbed by it.

Lastly, like the tung oil, it brings out wood’s natural grain, staining it with a friendly golden color that will darken and deepen over time.

 

Walnut Oil

I’ve never used walnut either, and I probably won’t, for one reason. Walnut oil tends to take much, much longer to dry than the first two oils listed here. You have to leave it for about twenty-four hours, from what I’ve seen.

Despite the long dry time, it works amazingly at protecting your wood projects.

 

Beeswax

My dad has used beeswax before, and it’s a great option. It’s a natural product, so it’s safe and eco-friendly, and it provides a beautiful, shiny finish that protects.

 

Polyurethane

This one, of course, is not a natural product. Polyurethane is a synthetic, plastic-based substance that is used anywhere and everywhere, even for treating wood, like wood floors. It protects the materials from the elements, much like oils do, but in a different way. Poly is a coating on the wood, whereas the oils are absorbed by the wood. Polyurethane lasts a long time, but should any spot be messed up, it’s a pain to fix it. Oils last a really long time, too, and if they get messed up, it’s much easier to fix.

 

So when you’re making a decision on what to use (synthetic vs. natural or what kind of oil to use), just do a bit more research, and know what you want. After all, it really just comes down to taste and situation. Hopefully this brief guide is a good starting point for you!

 

~Hannah

 

Sources:

https://www.realmilkpaint.com/blog/tutorials-videos/beginners-guide-pure-tung-oil/

https://ardec.ca/en/blog/22/linseed-oil-a-natural-solution-for-wood-finishing

http://www.leevalley.com/us/shopping/TechInfo.aspx?p=59385

http://polyurethanes.org/en/what-is-it

http://kentwoodfloors.com/sites/default/files/literature/PT9-04.pdf

Saturday Market Recap

This past Saturday was the Old Country Fair in Ganado, complete with market, quilting contest, salsa contest, weenie dog races, and food trucks. It was so fun! You had the quilt shop’s customers, feed store’s customers, market’s customers, and highway traffic all coming together to make for the most successful market (for us) yet. Despite the heat, it was nearly perfect.

The booth saw yet another make-over:

 

Here are some of top selling and most loved pieces:

 

We have a lot to get done before September. Hope to see y’all there!

Steak Hooks

How to make steak flippers (or hooks, but I think “flippers” is more fun to say). If you don’t know what those are, keep reading!

 

This is one of my favorite things that we sell. I had nothing to do with it, either; it was all my dad! Steak flippers or turners are a tool used for flipping steak, as the name suggests. It’s just a long stick with a hook at the end- perfect for Labor Day down the road!

Steak Hooks

This is how my dad made it.

To make the flipper, he used a deer shed and- get this- an old hay rake. I think that’s awesome!

First thing he did was cleaned the rust off the rake. He did this by soaking it in vinegar and buffing off the excess, shining it up. Then he took it to his forge (he makes knives) to heat it up and bent it so that the hook would more sideways. While that cooled, he moved on to drill a hole in the base of the small deer shed to fit the rake into. He also drilled a hole in the pointy end of the shed to tie leather through, so that it could be hung when stored. Once that was done, he put the two together, twisting and whatnot so that they securely fit together.

 

And that’s it! Easy peasy, but not too speedy to put together (that attempt at rhyming is just disgusting).

 

Happy grilling, y’all!

 

~Hannah ❤

Updates

So much as been happening this summer! Here’s a brief post to catch everyone up!

New Things!

So one day, I had this idea that I got super excited about. You always see beautiful sketches and paintings of deer or cow skulls with flowers and pretty colors. I thought, “why not make it 3D?” So I did, and here’s the result:

I’m in love. It started out with just one, which I made for my own bedroom, and then I kinda went down the rabbit hole and made many. They’ll be up for grabs at the market Saturday! Also, follow us on Facebook and Instagram to see more new things.

Saturday’s Market

Wildflowers & Charolais will be at Ganado’s Old Country Fair on Saturday July 28 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. It’s being held at 8938 HWY 59 N in Ganado, right next to Dairy Queen at Two Chicks Quilting and Top Hand Feed.

There will be a bunch of vendors, weenie dog races, a quilting contest, and a salsa contest, as well as sales going on in Top Hand Feed and Two Chicks Quilting. There is also a Christmas in July theme going on, so get festive!

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Etsy

I’ve been on Etsy for a while now selling digital products, but just last week expanded to include the little things, like cozies and scrubbies. Here’s a sampling of everything, but head to the shop to see the entire line up.

New Venture: Furniture Flipping!

I’ve decided to finally tackle something on my creative bucket list: flipping furniture. I’m in the process of flipping my first project (a small chest of drawers) and will post pictures when it’s all said and done. It’ll be for sale at the booth this Saturday if no one claims it beforehand!

 

Thank you everyone for following along and checking in today. See y’all Saturday! -Hannah at Wildflowers & Charolais

 

Johnson City: Texas Markets

This post, as well as a few others like this, profiles one of the many markets in Texas. I attend markets regularly as both vendor and customer, and there’s a reason for that: they are so fun!

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Nestled in the Hill Country, Johnson City Market Days is one of my favorites. It’s in downtown Johnson City, Texas, home of President Lyndon B. Johnson (whose boyhood home you can visit, if you’re a history buff), and falls every fourth weekend from March to October, with special dates during the holidays.

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The entire market is situated on one block, so it is pretty small. Despite its small size, the quality, diversity, and talent of the vendors more than make up for it.

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I sampled raw honey from a kind old man. There was a booth that sold unique stylish woodwork. There was jewelry, handmade knives, salsas… So many things that were handcrafted. I think that’s why I loved it so much: almost everything there was crafted by someone local. It wasn’t stocked with folks selling retail.

I ended up getting a hand-poured candle by Rustic Swank out of Marion, Texas. Their candles are made with “soy, dehydrated fruits, spices, an fragrance oils,” and all coloring, if used, is organic. I got the Lavender Fields scent, because I’m obsessed with lavender. It was $10, and they’ll refill it for half price.