New Year, New Blog Post, New Pricing

I’m sitting here in a dark room willing myself to NOT get sick. Again. For the third time in the past month. I’ve been sick more since my girls started preschool than I have in the almost 9 years since I met my husband. It was a germy end to last year and a germy beginning to the new one.

I had a to-do list a mile long today and it went up in flames by 9am. I can usually push through this kind of thing, but I spent the past few hours just trying to get warm so I finally accepted that I was going to get nothing done today. This blog post though … I’m mustering up the energy for that because I don’t want another day to go by with it still on my list. Lucky for you though, it might be shorter than it probably would’ve been if I were feeling better. ;)

This past six months brought on a lot of positive change. We went to Bend, Oregon for an extended stay and we weren’t sure where we would land when it was over. I closed my studio down before we left with the thought that even if we came back, the age that my girls are at made it pretty tricky on most days to stick to an away-from-home work schedule and I wanted to try out my home studio again. I will say that it’s actually been a great choice for me, even though I have less space now. This setup is temporary though, so I’m confident I’ll survive.

In addition to the closing of my studio, I also stepped away from Etsy. This was probably the biggest thing that happened last year. While Etsy was a great revenue generator, I didn’t feel a connection to it at all. My website is my story, my family, the reason I do what I do. It’s my heart and soul. Etsy wasn’t a place where (most) people care much about the “why” behind the business or the maker - they just have a lot of options in one spot and it’s easy to go there because of the Etsy name. Unfortunately, Etsy has become bogged down in the past few years with hundreds of re-sellers and thousands of mass produced goods that it makes it next to impossible to search and find genuine, handcrafted pieces anymore. Sad, but true. Not to mention the fees … oh the fees. I kept wondering how much it was actually costing me with the fees, time, and energy that it was taking away from pieces of my business that I would rather be focusing on.

I started closing my Etsy shop down here and there throughout last year so that I could focus solely on the website and my pop-ups. With my husband gone on wildland fires in the summer, trainings and overtime shifts fairly regularly, something had to give and of all the pots that I had my hands in, I was willing to cut Etsy without really blinking an eye. Yes, I had to consider the decrease in revenue - I do have a business to run, after all, and this income is how I contribute to my family’s finances - but I tried to look at it as paying for time that I could now focus on growth in other areas of my business. After my husband’s initial shock wore off lol, he agreed that I just needed to do what I felt was right and that it would all work out as it was supposed to. I planned to open up Etsy for the holidays, but didn’t and I’m so glad. I was slammed and could not have kept up with anything else!

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One of the things that we work really hard on is instilling a give-back attitude in our girls. The idea that we should always pay it forward and do things for others is a pretty big deal in our house. chip+chisel has afforded us the ability to give back in countless ways, most of which I don’t share with you because giving shouldn’t be about recognition. It’s something that we do because it feels good to help and we want our girls to see that. They know that daddy is a firefighter and helps people and they know that I love my job of creating special keepsake pieces of jewelry and connecting with my customers and the stories that they send me. They’re very different jobs, but both rewarding in their own ways.

I’ve had a couple conversations with my husband recently about the lessening of c+c expenses with eliminating my studio space and putting Etsy on the back burner to focus solely on my website. He knew that my goal was to take those things and pay it forward in some way. I’m sure it would make most business-minded people cringe, but it’s not all about money. Yes, you have your bottom line and all the numbers need to make sense in order to keep operating your business, but … I do love to give back and this is something that fills my cup. This is just another (different) way to pay it forward.

As I’ve done for quite some time, a coupon was sent with orders so that customers could enjoy future discounted purchases. I wanted both return AND new customers to be afforded the best pricing I could give, so I’ve taken into account the reduced expenses going into this year and kicked in an additional percentage of my personal profits to allow for an average price reduction on our listings of 15%. No coupon code necessary - the listings have been updated to reflect the new pricing structure.

You are important and my goal is to always consider how the changes I make affect you as a consumer. I wanted to take this opportunity to give something back to you - my loyal customers - as a way to say thank you for all of your support over the past 7 years. Every time you think of chip+chisel for gifts, share us with a friend or family member, comment or like our social media posts, share our products on your pages, you help us to grow and to be able to give back. You’ve given me the priceless opportunity to be home with my girls while doing something that I absolutely love. They get to watch me do something that my heart is heavily invested in. They’re by my side as I work and are with me on this journey as part of something that was initially built to bring them into our life. Do you know how amazing it is for me to see this all unfold and for them to grow up to know that YOU are the reason that we were afforded the ability to work to build our family? These girls and the love they’ve brought us is because of you. I think that’s pretty incredible.

As we’re already half way through the first month of the new year, I have so many new designs and styles of handstamped pieces in the works and am so excited to roll them out to you! I would love to know what YOU would like to see - no idea is silly and every single suggestion is appreciated. You can comment below, email them to me, or send messages through our social media accounts on FB and Instagram @chipandchisel.

Thank you in advance for considering my little business when shopping for yourself or others - you are beyond appreciated.

xo
lindsy

Movers Makers Hustlers Shakers

Hi guys! I wanted to jump on here and spill my heart out before things get completely crazy next week and time becomes even more sparse than it already is.

Through social media, I see SO many friends, acquaintances, and people that I’ve never met prepping their small businesses for all the Christmas shopping that’s about to take place and I had to give a shout out and tell you how much I admire all of their hard work. The majority of these small business owners I follow are also mamas and I wonder every single day how they make it look so easy! I know better though - they are busting their booties and killing it because they’re passionate about what they do, and because, let’s face it - we kinda like the crazy and most of us have bills to pay. ;)

As a small business owner myself, I know there is SO much more to running a business than just making the actual product - the behind the scenes for artisans can be absolutely NUTS and more often than not, it’s a one person show. It.is.hard. When people find out that I work a lot in the local coffee shop (its become my home away from home), the response is always the same. “Oh?! How do you make your jewelry there??” I don’t. The jewelry making is only part of what I do. What I do involves soooo much more than that! Those that have a little business like mine are probably nodding their heads, right? There is so much that goes into it all year long, but especially during the holidays when demand is higher. You want to prep and plan as best as you can, but it’s really a guessing game and you’re often left scrambling to try to keep up. It’s nonstop trial and error. Committed small business owners get knocked down, then get back up. They feel defeated, yet they keep chugging along. They get stuck, but they somehow find a way to power through. It can seem like it would just be easier to throw in the towel sometimes, but the feeling is temporary and tomorrow is always a fresh start. I remind myself of this often.

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I ask that you look around you this holiday season and make a list of the small business owners you know that work tirelessly on their craft year round - how can you support them this year? Maybe it’s a purchase? Maybe it’s sharing their social media pages to your friends and family? Maybe it’s visiting them at a show/pop-up/craft fair? Maybe it’s just a like or comment on the products they post? As it becomes increasingly difficult to be seen on social media, every little bit helps and I guarantee we all appreciate it!

I am beyond grateful to all of you that support my small business as I go into my 8th holiday season! Not only do I help support my family by doing what I do, but this business is how my family is able to give back in the capacity that we do. You’re part of a bigger picture and I can’t express how much we appreciate all the things you do to support this! A special shout out to the other businesses in the community that collaborate with chip+chisel - StarCycle Felida, StarCycle Vancouver, Barre3 Camas, Sass Beauty - you guys have been so good to me and my gratitude runs deep.

A huge thank you in advance for considering shopping small with chip+chisel this holiday season - you allow me to be home with my babies yet still maintain (most of) my sanity with this creative outlet of mine. ;)

xo
lindsy

For more ideas on shopping small, here’s an article I read if you’re interested: https://www.tabithaemma.com/7-ways-to-support-small-business-this-year-and-why-you-should/

How To Remove Patina From Your Brass Jewelry

I don’t offer much in the way of brass jewelry, but these cuffs have been faves of mine forever and I’ve kept them in the lineup for quite some time because of it. If you love them too, this blog post may come in handy for you!

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brass cuff love…

I’ll make this super easy. Toothpaste, ketchup, vinegar - all things you have around the house that can double as brass jewelry cleaner!

Brass is a metal that will quickly oxidize and develop a patina, especially if exposed to sprays, chemicals, water, etc. While this is a process that lends to the uniqueness of each piece, some prefer to maintain that shiny new finish instead.

Below is a link to an article with 5 of the easiest ways to remove the majority of the patina that your brass pieces develop. There are lots of other methods out there, but these happen to be my faves and relatively easy so I thought I would share!

https://www.bhg.com/homekeeping/house-cleaning/surface/how-to-clean-brass/

Have a tried and true way that you use to clean your brass jewelry? Share it below!

xo,
lindsy

On The Move

"Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that's the one that is going to help you grow."

Hey Guys!  What an insane past few weeks. We've been living in a little bit of chaos but things have finally calmed down and I'm breathing again.

I have a few blog posts in the works and figured I should start getting them posted.  This one first so I can get you up to speed on what in the world is going on over here! 

I closed my chip+chisel studio at the end of July, my husband was out on a wildland fire for 22 days (read: me, alone with my kidlets - eek!), we packed up and headed down to Bend, Oregon for a few months the day after my husband came home, and now we're working on getting settled down here.  That's right - chip+chisel has a new home for a bit!!

First thing's first - the studio closure.  I went back and forth about this for months before finally making a decision.  I started toying with the idea at the end of last year.  As much as I loved having the space to work outside of our house, I struggled with the inconvenience of only being able to work at certain times.  When my husband is on shift and my girls are in bed, I love to use that time to get in a good chunk of work but I can't exactly leave my kids home alone so I can go into the studio at night.  I also love to be able to accommodate last minute orders and it's hard when I have to schedule that time away - so much easier to step into my home office space and take an hour or two here and there so I can get those last minute pieces shipped off to you.  I thought about it for a good six months and finally decided to go for it.  At this stage in our life with the girls not being in school full time yet (cue the tears - it kills my heart to think about it), it's been HUGELY convenient to have everything so accessible.  The need to coordinate schedules with my husband or a sitter is no longer an issue and I get to enjoy the ease of a lot more flexibility.  I may explore a studio setup again under different circumstances (never say never!), but for now, our plan is to build a small studio as an extension of our house so I can still be at home but technically leaving the house for work.  Everything is always changing, always evolving, and I'm just learning to go with the flow.  :)

After the move from the studio, we packed c+c up AGAIN this past weekend and hauled her a few hours away to Bend, Oregon!  Who knew she was so mobile?!  We vacation here regularly - my husband went to college here, is obsessed with it and now my girls are obsessed with it as well.  Yes - at 3 years old, they talk about it nonstop!  All I heard for 3.5 hours on the drive down is "we want to go to Bend! Are we in Bend yet?".  :)  We decided a few months ago to take a little adventure and see what it would be like to spend more than a week and do a little trial period of actually LIVING here.  So here we are, half a week in and already my kids freak out at any mention of "going back to the house" which they think means going HOME lol.  It's pretty clear that my husband has converted them to being little Bend lovers!  Who can blame them though ... what's not to love?!  It's a vacation destination for a reason and I can't say enough good things about this place.  If you haven't visited, you should really consider it!  

We've had a LOT of change over the past month and honestly, I am not good with change.  At all.  I crave a routine, a sense of normalcy and like to sit smack dab in the middle of my comfort zone.  What we're doing is none of those things, but even in the midst of all the challenges of getting down here, I recognize how good this is for me.  I like that I'm being pushed to explore a different place, a different way of living, taken away from my "stuff" that I seem to place way too much importance on, and to have an experience with my family that if I had stayed in my comfort zone, I most definitely would not be having.  A little change and growth never hurt anyone, right?

So for now, I'm working on finding my new "normal", developing a routine, and procrastinating like crazy on putting the rest of our clothes away.  ;)  I'll be sharing our adventure regularly on our Insta stories, so be sure to connect with me over there - @chipandchisel.

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xo, lindsy

Hi, It's Me!

Hi guys!  One of the things I love about doing events & pop-ups is that I get to talk with people in person, ask questions, kind of get to know people a bit, and connect.  It's harder on social media because the vibe is more scrolling, less reading.  :)  With all the questions I get when I'm doing in-person events, I thought it would be fun to start answering them here on the blog and also try to share a bit more personally.  The connections I've made through the website and by sharing our infertility story have been amazing and my hope is that it will only continue!

So, if you know me well, then you probably won't find anything too shocking here ... buuuut, if you don't, well now you'll know a bit more about this person over here behind chip&chisel!   

#1 - I'm 36 years old and an aries.
#2 - I was raised by two amazing people, neither of them are my bio parents.  They are the definition of selflessness.
#3 - My husband Ian and I are celebrating 7 years of marriage next month!
#4 - I was married once before in my mid twenties.
#5 - I met Ian at the gym during my divorce - he was also going through a divorce. We thought the timing couldn't have been worse, but turns out, it couldn't have been better!
#6 - I never wanted kids before I met Ian.
#7 - We went through 6 IVF cycles to conceive our miracle girls.
#8 - I'm a firefighter wife and proud of it!
#9 - My husband and kids are literally EVERYTHING to me.
#10 - So are coffee and wine. 

You can find me here each week sharing answers to the questions I get and if you have something you'd like to add, throw it my way!

xo, lindsy


 

Sometimes Mother's Day Hurts

Mother's Day is always an emotional one for me.  I started my day with some serious baby snuggles while we waited for dad to get home from shift and then I headed to Barre3 for a workout.  On my way home, I made my daily stop for coffee.  As I was driving on the freeway, sucking down caramel syrup and crying, I reflected on how painful this day used to be for me. 

The truth is, Mother's Day is such a joyous occasion for the majority, but for so many others, it is extremely painful.  Whether you're a mom in waiting, an angel mama, a son or daughter who has lost their mom, a mom who has lost their child - it can be a day that's extremely hard to celebrate.

If you've read our story or follow chip&chisel on social media, you know I've been vocal about our past infertility struggles and that I have a huge place in my heart for those traveling the road we found ourselves on.  That's why, even though I love to celebrate Mother's Day with all the love and laughter that my girls bring, my heart is still heavy for those that hurt on this day.

I came across this article this morning and it just hit home, so I wanted to share.  Reading always helped me during a very difficult chapter in my life, so if you're someone that could potentially benefit from a quick read as well, I wanted to pass it along.

http://johnpavlovitz.com/2015/05/09/for-those-who-hurt-on-mothers-day/

I know I'm on the other side of the struggle now and I feel truly blessed to have been given the two miracles that I call Addi & Livi, but the pain still feels fresh - no, it's not as intense as it once was, but I remember it like it was yesterday.  It's a different kind of pain now, more that my heart hurts for others.  I actually hope that I never forget these intense feelings as it was a journey that helped to mold me and grow my heart, if that makes sense. 

If you take this day to hide out in bed, know that it's totally okay.  I'm a very big "feeler of my feelings" (just ask my husband) ... there's nothing wrong with giving yourself time to feel and work through that.  When I used to have a hard day, I would set a mental timer - sometimes it was an hour, sometimes a full day.  I would allow myself that time to wallow, cry, and eat all the ice cream.  After my allotted time was up, I would dust myself off and turn my focus to something else.  I know that may not work for everyone, but it got me through some difficult times without completely falling apart.

If you're struggling today, I'm thinking of you.

xo
lindsy

Current To-Do List: Juggling & The Naptime Hustle

I have a newfound admiration for all the women out there doing it all.  Juggling work and family life is no easy task (as I'm learning firsthand), but I had no idea just how opposite of easy it would be.  With coffee in my hand and a dog snuggled up at my feet, it "feels" easy right now - but as soon as my little two-legged critters wake up, that feeling will be a distant memory!

Every day I think of writing this post - I mean, I can't be the ONLY one going through this?!  Reaching out to women that currently have to-do lists a mile long and stealing your ideas as to how to cross each item off sounds pretty great to me.  And while chip&chisel is a business and this post is obviously personal, the two for me go hand in hand.  If you've read our story, you know that chip&chisel started because of our struggles with infertility and has all come full circle with the birth of our girls.  That, for me, ties a very personal element into chip&chisel - this isn't just a business to me, it's my passion and a huge reason why my girls are even here so I will always treat it as a priority.  There is a huge personal component to everything I do with c&c - sharing my girls, my life, personal & professional milestones, the good, the bad, and maybe the not quite so pretty (care for me to snap a just-rolled-out-of-bed-and-haven't-had-my-coffee-yet selfie?) - and there always will be.

Most of us know that there's a real life struggle in trying to wear multiple hats and giving our all to every aspect of our lives.  I face this day in and day out and let me tell you - I now know the realness behind the term "mom guilt".  Every day I try to balance work life, mom life, wife life, clean-up-the-house life, run-the-errands life, and everything else life ... trying to do it all and feel good at the end of the day.  Except I don't usually feel "good" when it's all said and done.  I feel like on most days, I just run around like a chicken with my head cut off, doing the naptime hustle and making sure that I'm not forgetting 90% of what I needed to do for the day!  If I'm focused on work, I'm not giving my girls enough time ... if I'm focusing on my girls, there are chip&chisel emails and orders calling my name.  Date night what?!  I cannot for the life of me find a solid daily or weekly routine that allows me to feel accomplished, rested, caught up, on track, and with a full heart at the end of it. 

I (like most people, I'm sure) despise when life feels like a rat race.  Of course there will always be seasons in life that aren't ideal or feel stagnant - it would be weird if there weren't.  But I don't like jumping on a hamster wheel (rodents on the brain?), just trying to make it from wakeup to bedtime every day. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with being content (in fact, having the ability to be content and happy with life in general is a positive in my book), I also want to thoroughly ENJOY this ride and make the balancing act something that's manageable and sustainable, not something that leaves me feeling like I'm about to crash and burn.  I thought that after the extremely difficult path to getting pregnant, everything else would be a cakewalk (ahhh, wishful thinking) ... if I ever discounted what it took to raise kids, I am totally backtracking right now.  Even though not always easy, my husband and I do both really know that we are beyond blessed to have our girls after such a struggle to conceive and we don't want to squander away a single second of it. I mean, look at these faces - how could we?! 

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So, we're making edits to our life.  

We moved chip&chisel to a much larger space, cleaned, organized, and set everything up in a way that's much more functional. I'm working to get a on a more "regular schedule" (is that even possible when you run your own business?) rather than squeezing in hours wherever I can.  While that is necessary on some days, I am a creature of habit and I crave routine, so I need more structure.  I also need that time where I'm not "on" so that I can give my focus to my family and put everything else out of my mind.  It leaves me feeling much more refreshed when I can step away for a day here and there - nothing like trying to gain creative inspiration when you're running on empty.

We hired a nanny - and it lasted one day.  I'm not ashamed to say that we needed (need) help.  My husband took a lateral position at a new fire department and is currently on a temporary schedule that has me doing the single parent thing (now that, my friends, is HARD).  While this is short lived, it is a far cry from the schedule that we're used to and left me practically unable to get anything done - totally not realistic.  My mother-in-law (Ian's stepmom) comes to our home a couple days a week so that I can get some uninterrupted work time in.  Ian and I quickly established that we didn't want to spend anymore time away from our girls than that every week, so a nanny just didn't suit us.

I did a ton of cooking on Sunday (if you know me, your eyes are probably bugging out of your head) - I prepped a bunch of food for the girls for the week (cut up all their fruit, made frozen yogurt and veggie drops, cooked up breakfast and lunch options) all in hopes that it would give me that much more time with them throughout the week.  So far (and yes, it's only Tuesday), I love it and it's been a huge time saver, especially in those moments where my girls aren't interested in waiting for water to boil.

We dialed in the playroom - it's cozy and comfy, perfect for downtime and an iPhone free zone.  No work goes on while playing, cuddling, and snuggling!

I've started a list of all sorts of things to do with the girls.  A list may seem silly to veteran mamas, but some days, my brain is fried and I can't come up with anything at all creative for infants under the age of one - having a go-to list helps me plan our day (although a "plan" on most days is laughable, it still makes me feel better).

We're planning some time away from the girls.  A few hours here and there for happy hour, an evening out with friends, a relaxed Sunday morning brunch that doesn't involve sticky hands and faces - it will be good for us to take some "couple" time every now and then to recharge and talk without interruption.  We were spoiled with a lot of together time before the girls came along and we definitely wouldn't mind getting a little taste of that occasionally.

I'm committed (again) to working out.  It's the biggest thing I can do for myself that has a positive impact on my family.  When mama's happy, everybody's happy.  ;)  While I definitely don't have the time to marathon train or hit up Barre3 as much as I'd like, a couple short runs and studio sessions are totally doable each week and must be made a priority.  You can't take care of others if you don't take care of yourself!

I'm already feeling ten times better knowing that change is in the works - it was desperately needed.  Once Ian is back to his normal shift schedule in a few weeks, life will calm down (this makes me chuckle, too) a bit more and we can continue to mix things up and see what works best for us.

Off to tackle the day with my little mice!!  

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xo