top: wildfox
jeans: forever 21
bag: c/o chicwish
shoes: keds

Lately I have been trying to refocus on my priorities. Do you ever feel that sometimes you just need a bit of a change in the direction you were headed? I feel like I have been letting one of my main priorities (that being design) slip into the background a little bit and for some reason have been letting this handmade stuff shine brighter.  Why... I'm not sure. Maybe I just enjoy letting creativity come out in any way possible. At the same time though, I can't forget that I have a career to uphold.

I think that over the past year I have been wanting the wrong things for myself. Dreaming that maybe one day I could make a bigger business out of my handmade stuff. It only just recently hit me that that's not what I need to be trying to do. I've realized that any type of handmade business is definitely hard work. There is so much competition, an over-saturated marketplace, and the amount of time I spend creating things just in hopes of making (what?) $20? .... It has stopped making sense to me. I commend everyone who has the dedication to turn their handmade creations into a career.

I've been a little lost after the slight downfall of my previous company.  Instead of creating something new and trying to excel at it, maybe I just need to refocus on what I have already built, and make that even better. I've done it before, and I can do it again. I just need to remember to not get wrapped up in all of these other little projects and make design my top priority once again.  It is who I am, and it is what I know. Sometimes life gives us a little kick in the butt to set us back on the right track.

Just some semi-intellectual thoughts to start your Monday off!  Have you ever started a project and realized it's not what you should be doing?

p.s. I have a bunch of sponsor spots that opened up and others that are opening up in a few days. You can use code BYEJULYSM to take 50% off all small ad spots, and BYEJULY to take $5 off any other size spot... Until tomorrow only!


instadump sunday

cutiebear // summer snacks
solo bike ride through the forest // ponytail days
things that look like this make my skin crawl! // jessica simpson extensions
sketchy sketch // black ice gradient nails

It's our four year anniversary on Wednesday. I am taking all of your advice and doing some engagement photos with my man :). I decided that I didn't want to regret not having any from before we get married. Our anniversary is the perfect time, don'cha think? It's soon, and I have no idea how we will style it, or how we will manage to take them ourselves, but it should be fun regardless. Any ideas or tips?


I'm back... with a giveaway!

Happy Friday, friends! Dustin came to my rescue last night with a wireless adapter for the bedroom, so I'm back in (somewhat awkward) working order!  I have a little treat for you today... a couple of my lovely sponsors have been so kind to give away some of their amazing goodies! Do you wanna win? I know you do! We've got some really cool stuff this time (including your very own customized wrap bracelet like the one I wore here!) so scroll down to enter! There will be one winner for each item.

Hand Stamped Silk Wrap Bracelet
from Jessica N Designs
Your choice of colours and personalized with your own lettering!
(Colours subject to availability at the time).

Take 15% off at her shop with code WONDERFOREST

Cupcake Charm Bracelet
from Time For Tea Beads

Set of Four 5x7 Photo Prints
Your choice. Set valued at $50.


Not the ideal situation...

Welcome to my.... Bedroom/office. Unfortunately I will be working from my BED for the next two weeks because my monitor decided to fail me. I knew it was on it's last legs, and my computer isn't doing so well either, so I took the plunge and ordered a brand spankin' new one last night.

Today it decided to officially die... So here I am, sitting in a less than ideal situation... Currently using my iPad for all Internet related things while I also await a new wireless adapter in the meantime. My tv has become monitor for now, so we will see how this goes... Kinda have to admit that my bed is definitely more comfy than my computer chair!

If you don't hear from me (via email, etc) it's because technology is holding me hostage. Now here's to hoping that this weird Blogger app actually posts this properly...

What would we do without computers?!


let's run away...

wrap bracelet: c/o jessica n designs
top: wildfox
socks: ebay

I feel like whenever I post outfit photos, they are so different than your typical "fashion blogger" outfit posts.... and I kinda like it. My style is not at all chic or meticulously put together... and quite frankly I'm glad it's not. I'm casual, through and through!  If I can't sit cross-legged in my office chair comfortably all day long, I won't wear it. This is me. Fashion should be a true reflection of who you are, I think.  Dress me up in a fancy pant-suit, adorned with jewelry, and I guarantee I will want to rip it off immediately.

I rarely wear jewelry unless it's a thick bracelet, a long-chained necklace, or a cute ring. The one that I'm wearing in the pic is made by my friend Jessica, and I truly do love it!! It's definitely a style that I would wear every single day... and I even had it personalized with "let's run away"... a reminder to myself that it's ok to let myself go sometimes. She just released these ones here if you want to check them out.

What is your everyday "style"? Are you a casual dresser like me or do you like to get all dressed up?


Building a Business Part 2: Sugardevil.

I get asked a lot of questions about my business and a lot of readers have been interested in how I started, so I thought that I would give you my entire story... from the very beginning. Since the journey has been a long one, the posts will be split up into "parts", which are like chapters I suppose. If you missed it, read part one here.

* * * 

When I was about 15 or 16, I wanted to start making t-shirt designs. My love for digital design was growing and I wanted to try out some other mediums instead of just web based stuff. Art had always been my first love, so I created some sketches of graphics that I thought other people might like too and I started doing more research about the whole process of going from paper to shirt. My idea was to make a little business to help pave my future, I suppose. I had big dreams for this little idea, so (as usual) I jumped right in.

First, I needed a catchy name. I wanted the name to be sweet but sassy, maybe even some type of oxymoron, so I started writing a bunch of words down on a piece of paper. The two that stuck were "sugar" and "devil". So I put them together and Sugardevil was born.

My third task was to figure out how to get my designs printed on the shirts... And where exactly I would get the shirts. My mom worked at a business board of trade at the time and knew a man who did screen printing for her company. After talking with him I found out the dimensions and specs and everything needed to transform my little sketches into digital designs ready for print. I also realized then that screen printers had a limited stock of shirt styles at their disposal (nothing very cute or "Sugardevil" chic), so I went on a hunt for more "hip" blank shirts. That's when I discovered American Apparel. They were solely a blank t-shirt company back then who supplied clothing for custom printing. None of this overpriced retail stuff like they sell now... in fact, the product hasn't changed at all (besides some newer styles) but their prices sure have! They didn't even sell retail back then. I applied for a wholesale account with them and was approved. I could now order cute shirts from them for about $3 a piece (see what I mean about overpriced now?) so that's just what I did.

I had a bunch of clothing made up, so now it was up to me to try to get out there. I had to market this stuff somehow and the best place to start...? A website of course! I made up my brand's website and had some friends from school model for my photographs.

During all of this, I was paying for everything with babysitting money and cash from a part time job I had working behind the counter of a local convenience store. I quickly realized that this stuff costs real money and that it was depleting quickly.

My mom told me about this new program that her work was trying out called Summer Company. It was like a kick-starter program for teens who wanted to launch their own businesses. If you applied and won one of the top 3 spots, they would give you a $3000 grant from the government. It's a program that is still going on today in Canada. I was one of the very first entrants for this new program.  I applied and won, along with 2 other kids. As a part of this program, we had to go to scheduled classes with business professionals that would give us worksheets and goals to reach. We had to do this entire business plan online and it was so much work. Each week we would all meet up and share our progress.  I also learned about registering a business and decided I wanted to make this a legit company, so I went ahead and registered the business name with the government. I was officially a sole proprietor and had the paperwork to prove it! I learned a lot about business during my time there and at the end of the program I was rewarded with that grant. Since I had technically already kind of started my business before the program though, they only gave me $2500. Still, it helped, and at that age it was the most money I had ever seen written on one cheque.

Now that I had this little boost of cash, I could try to market my little business better. I sold my stuff at market sales and skateboard competitions as a vendor. I got banners and signs made up. I sold online. I cannot even recall how many units I sold but it wasn't anything spectacular.

I eventually started to become a little tired of this whole retail clothing business and my interests in other things (like bands) took over. Sugardevil slowly kind of faded into the background as I grew up and tried out different things and started working part time often. One thing didn't change though... no matter what I did I was constantly designing in one way or another....

Stay tuned for part 3!!! 

Did you ever try to sell anything when you were a teenager? What did you do??

 * * *  

Update: Remember this post about non-paying clients and refunds? Well I thought I would give you a quick little update on the situation. Paypal is now going to dispute the chargeback to the client's credit card company because they agree with me. What they also told me, however, is that when the chargeback was placed and they decided to hold onto the funds from the sale, they also charged me with a "settlement fee" that the credit card company charged them just to place this stupid chargeback. So essentially, I ended up PAYING out of my own pocket for this client to use (or abuse) my services. It's kind of ridiculous really. Here, let me waste my time working on a bunch of designs for you for a month... it's ok, I'll cover the costs, and I'll also pay you for my own work just because I love working for free! Seriously people, this is NOT ok. Don't ever do this to a designer or any other kind of freelance worker.


some things you don't know about me

∙ I get really scared when it gets super windy outside. Sometimes I think about building an underground shelter. Tornados are my all-time worst fear.

∙ I walk into walls... like, a LOT. If I'm turning a corner in our house, you can bet I'll whack my shoulder or hip into it. It doesn't even phase me or hurt when I do it anymore. I think it's a serious problem haha.

∙ I am so bad at remembering people's names when I am introduced. I can remember faces, features, and all of that photographic memory stuff but not the important info.  I also have had one client for years and I still don't know his name. He never signs it in emails and I've never asked. I feel like it's a little late now to be like "Oh by the way, what is your name?"

∙ I wish I lived a more exciting life. I hold myself back too often and I'm afraid that one day I'll look back and see that time has just passed me by, without having done adventurous things.

∙ I chew my lip when I'm in deep thought

∙ I'm pretty handy with tools and can usually figure out how to fix something

∙ I get a little bummed out when I see everyone's engagement photos, parties, and other love-dedicated celebrations because we never did any of that. I wish I had some cool engagement photos or a celebration but I feel like after being engaged for almost 3 years now, it's too late.

∙ I rarely drink alcohol. After living a life watching what it can do to somebody who used to be a decent person, I just have no interest in it and don't really understand the attraction. 

∙ I am not religious. I wasn't raised in a religious family... nobody connected to me seemed to even care about religion, so it's just not what I know. I totally respect others choices though to believe what they like, but at the same time I think some people can take it too far... like when it comes to not accepting others for their own beliefs or how they choose to live their lives in return. Basically when religion creates hate and false ideals I get really put off.  I really think that if people had the same amount of faith in themselves as they do in God, they could accomplish anything. :) Some people need something to believe in, some people don't and it is as simple as that.

∙ I burp a lot. Dustin always laughs at me because I burp inwards. Instead of letting the air out, I burp it back in, and then let it out, like a hiccup almost! I'm weird... and must sound so lady-like.

∙ I don't rely on anyone for financial support. I buy all of my own things, pay all of my own bills, bought my own condo and this house myself. (Who said you need a man!? haha) I have no debt. I'm pretty good at managing money I suppose!

What is something most people don't know about you?

I pretty much never do this but....

I'm having a 20% off sale in my ETSY shop for 2 days only!
Prices are already marked down for you, no code necessary.

I'm going to be focusing on design stuff for a while and this handmade stuff is taking the back seat... so if you wanted to grab something now is the time because I will not be updating my shops anytime soon!


bloglovin', sponsor call, and my NEW shop!

I hope you are all enjoying your weekend! I wanted to pop on here really quick and let you know that I have a few sponsor spots opening up in a few days and would LOVE to have you! If you want to advertise your business or your blog over there in my sidebar, you can go to my advertise page now to reserve a spot! Some spots include feature posts and what-not, because I love sharing indie talents with my readers!

Also, not sure if you knew this but Bloglovin' updated their site the other day and unfortunately I have been one of the unlucky ones to lose all of my followers and the claim to my blog. I'm not sure if you can still see my stuff in your Bloglovin' feed or not (somebody confirm this?) but I just wanted to let you know that something wonky is happening over there and I have no idea when it will be sorted out. *UPDATE* I've reclaimed my blog and my followers seem to be back. It's still acting a little funny though.

Lastly, I opened up my little design shop yesterday. It's still a work in progress and I will be adding more stuff to it soon, but for now you can check out a bunch of premade logos, blogger templates and more! The site is ENVYE.com.  I've actually had that domain name forever so decided to use it. Did you know that you can't even get 5-letter domains anymore? Let alone ones that sound like something.  Kinda holding onto this one forever ;) haha.

Alright I'm done here. I've already fixed my bike today (seriously, I used legit tools and everything), battled with a ponytail, and designed a little weekend layout for a friend. What have you been up to??


Friday Finds

circle of roses print by simplyhue

strawberry ice cream mini coin purse by misala

i am a big deal no.2 print by paradacreations

mushroom pincushion by foxtailcreek studio


- Lately obsessed with Cher Lloyd (watch those vids and you'll be hooked too)
- We got Rifle Paper Co. and joojoo stuff in our shop!
- Latest blog designs: here and here
- This bracelet tutorial reminds me of my childhood
- This idea for a cheap but chic headboard
- Probably the prettiest duvet I've ever seen
- My new Society6 shop... iPhone cases, tshirts, etc. for sale there now along with some new prints

Share something with me that you found (and love!) this week!!


everything in life is a choice

top & skirt c/o romwe

I've been reading a self-help type book lately that is like a mini-program to help deal with fears, anxieties and stress. Part of it talks about stresses of daily life and how to cope with things. First of all, I don't consider myself a stressed out person, and I feel like the only times I really do get stressed out is when I have WAY too much to do and just can't handle it all. I know that pretty much sounds like my everyday life, but I promise I don't really get stressed out about doing too much... Maybe all of these years of doing a lot of things has just made me adapt to stressful situations?

Anyways, one part of this chapter that really stood out to me was about how so many people use the type of thought process that makes them think they HAVE to do things, or SHOULD do things. For example, you're driving to work and realize you might be late. You immediately think "I HAVE to be on time! I cannot be late today!"  I'm sure we've all thought something along those lines before. The idea they suggest though is that you change the HAVE TO's and SHOULD's with choices. So instead, think "I would like to be on time today. If I am late, I'll just explain the traffic situation to my boss." Or, "I would prefer it if I were on time today." Just thinking like this (even reading that sentence) instantly calms you, doesn't it? 

Everything we do in life is a choice. You don't have to do anything. If you start thinking in terms of making choices, things start to become clearer and less stressful. Just a little something I've been trying lately and thought I would share! How do you deal with stressful situations?


Building a Business Part 1: The Beginning.

I get asked a lot of questions about my business and a lot of readers have been interested in how I started, so I thought that I would give you my entire story... from the very beginning. Since the journey has been a long one, the posts will be split up into "parts", which are like chapters I suppose. Welcome to part one of the online novel: The Beginning.

* * * 

When I was about 11 years old, I became fascinated with computers. I would spend recess sneaking onto our classroom computer to use the oddly shaped keyboard complete with a high tech roller ball for scrolling. There was this DOS based game that I would play in which you enter the letters that appeared on the screen and it would place them in a special order to create an object or animal. When I was done, I'd proudly print out the ASCII crafted design on one of those printers that forced you to rip off the perforated edges. It was my first taste of designing something totally computer based.

Our school library had just implemented this thing called "the Internet" and it was mind blowing to me. Back then, the internet wasn't as common as it is now. It was like a mini luxury if your parents decided to hop into the future with a sweet 56k dial-up modem. In that library, I would search for song lyrics... because let's face it, I didn't know what else to do with the thing besides research for projects, and this would save me from having to manually write them out whenever a song came on the radio (come on, I know I'm not the only one who did that!). I would print out pages and pages of them until I got into trouble for wasting so much paper.

Why oh why couldn't we just get this amazing invention at MY house instead of having to waste valuable learning time at school? Not that i was complaining...Still, I begged and begged for our home computer to be hooked up with little luck.

A best friend of mine was one of the lucky ones. She told me I could use hers anytime, and man, did I ever take advantage. I feel like such a horrible friend now, but little did I know that this friend's computer would be the start of my entire working life.

I distinctly remember sitting at her little desk that was set up in her family room while she and her dad watched tv behind me. I couldn't pull myself away from the screen. There was so much to discover, so much that I had yet to do! Her sister (let's call her Penny) was the one who introduced me to chat rooms and ICQ. This was even MORE amazing to me! I could actually talk to people who were in different countries!

After I became a regular Internet junkie, I began wondering how this machine actually worked. I've always been curious about technology and eager to find out more. Penny told me that it was possible to create my own website and that she herself had even started trying to create one using this thing called Angelfire. RIDICULOUS, how could this get any better?! She showed me her choppy looking space on the web and I immediately wanted to know everything there was to know about making a website.

I signed up for my own Angelfire account and dove right in. Back then, website design wasn't exactly where it is today. Certain scripts hadn't even been developed yet and everything pretty much looked basic. Angelfire let you easily create an (ugly) website and customize it with your own HTML. I remember learning how to change background colors and how to bold my text. I wanted MORE!

I finally managed to convince my parents to sign us up for the internet. I'm sure my friend was ecstatic to get rid of me and stop using her dial-up time. Oh, that's right, back then you had a set number of HOURS in your Internet plan. Can you imagine having hourly based internet plans now a days!?

Now that I was free to create a masterpiece on my own computer, I got right to it. I learned how to make images and graphics using Corel Draw (this is pre-photoshop people!) and how to put them onto my website. The journey to even obtain a copy of Corel Draw was a story in itself. Basically, the program cost about $600 and my mother was not going to dish out that much cash for a computer disc. I found an ad in the newspaper for some electronics store that was offering it for only $150 for students. I convinced my mom that we should make up a story to get the discounted price. We did, and it worked. 

Google was my best friend the entire time. Or was it Yahoo back then that was most popular? I would just search for what I wanted to do, and like magic, answers would appear.

The more research I did and the more website stuff I learned how to do, the more I loved it. I created ugly little websites with my limited knowledge but I never stopped experimenting. As I grew up and entered high school, I would take any chance I got with a class project to create a website. My photography teacher asked me to put a portfolio together, he got a web portfolio. My tech teacher wanted me to create some kind of media for my fav band... He got a fan site. My pattern was becoming common and the ideas just kept brewing in my head...

Stay tuned for Part 2 where I create my first business!

Do you remember how the internet used to be? How did you discover it?


Easy Peasy DIY Rag Quilt Tutorial

This weekend I did a little quilting project. It was super easy to do and can absolutely be done by the "beginner" seamstress. It is a flannel rag quilt made from strips of fabric instead of your typical squares.... and it's sooo soft! The most time consuming part is cutting all of the fabric, so if you have a spare afternoon why not give this a try? I seriously finished this in a couple hours, so it's probably the least complicated quilt ever. It's the perfect project if you're just learning how to sew as well. Nothing but straight lines and scissors!

First, you'll need a few things:

- Flannel fabrics.  I used 4 patterned ones (a 1/2 yard of each), 1.5 yards of plain white (for the lining), and 1.5 yards of plain grey (for the backing). You can do your backing in patterned fabric too if you want, I just wanted mine plain. If that is the case, just double up on the amount of patterned fabric you buy.
- Sewing machine
- Pins
- Scissors/rotary cutter

That's it! Pretty easy huh? The size of your quilt will depend on how many strips you choose to use and the length of your fabric. Mine ended up being a square about 40"x40" (baby size!). One thing to keep in mind when sewing flannel is to try not to stretch it too much when sewing. I did that in the beginning and ended up with some long edges that I later had to square off. The best part about this quilt is that the more you wash it, the softer it will become :)

I know there are a lot of readers who are not into sewing but want to start, so this would be perfect for you. If you're new to sewing, do you think this is something you could handle?

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