Saturday, December 29, 2018

High Five to Pear Creek Cottage

Sometimes, in the course of life, one needs to stop and review.  I've recently done this with my online shop.  I've reviewed where I started, when I first opened my "virtual doors" on March 7, 2010 until now, the end of 2018.  There have been many victories and rewards, as well as harder learning experiences that have added to my personal character as well as business growth.

I was encouraged on the first day of opening my shop, with only 7 items in inventory;  I had my first sale.  My son, Peter who at the time was active duty Air Force, purchased one of my needle felt sheep.
True to his nature, he is an encourager and loves to lift people's spirits.  When he purchased one of my needle felt sheep,  and later pinned it on his uniform, this Mama was overcome with a sense of pride in accomplishing a goal of launching my small business, as well as helping to launch my son out in the world.  And just like that, Pear Creek Cottage was launched into business.

We have the wonderful privilege of servicing so many different customers over the 9 years of business.  Some of our highlights include, Nordstrom's Department stores, The Food Network, Avon, Independent Scentsy Consultants, Many Military Families, Mother Earth News, Meredith Publishing, many churches and schools, and thousands of super, amazing people.

Recently, I joined a new service available to Etsy shop owners which allows shop owners to check their ranks amongst other shops, and see how well different listings are performing in comparison with like items.  Through this venue, I was able to find my ranking among other Etsy shops.  

"Cue drum roll, please" 


                                   🙌   👏   🎈      🎊     🎉                                                      PearCreekCottage is a Top 1% seller on Etsy.

..... among 1.9 million shops on Etsy,  Pear Creek Cottage ranks in the top 1% of sellers on Etsy.  Whoo Hoo!  Yahoo!  Celebrating going on!

Thank you to all my fabulous customers and friends who have helped me accomplish one of my goals. To have a successful small business which helps contribute to our family income.  I could not have done it without your support.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

As I close out 2018 and prepare and strategize for 2019, my brain is buzzing with new ideas.  New products, new merchandising techniques, new, fresh photos and content.  As always, I am forever grateful and blessed that you are journeying with me.  Here's to a New Year together.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

❤️Season of Giving ❤️

As I was pondering and wondering what would be a good topic to write about for this months blog, lots of different ideas came to mind, but nothing settled in the mind crevices with conviction.  After much mulling and mediating it hit me!  We are heading into the season of Giving!

The heart attitude of being grateful.  Grateful for not just what we have, but the deeper things like freedom to live and think as our convictions and values lead us.  There is so much division surrounding all our outlets.  I am wanting to share HOPE and JOY through the acts of being appreciative and grateful.

So, for this upcoming Season of Giving...I am challenging myself, and I challenge you as well, to participate in the popular practice of "Being Grateful".  Whether it is a daily post on you favorite social media site sharing what you are grateful for;  or a personal, more meditative journaling approach.  For me, I like the more personal approach with maybe a few sprinklings here and there on social media.  Instead of focusing on the negative, turning my focus on what is positive.  "What can I be grateful for through this circumstance"...kind of thinking.

Starting off, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity I've had to pursue and profit from a long held dream of mine.  Owning a small business.  Being a "shop owner" was one of my favorite childhood games to play.  I liked organizing my stuffed animals and various toys to create a little store.  From those earlier childhood fantasies till now, I've always had a passion to encourage others.  I enjoy sharing my creative gifts and inspiring others to look within themselves to discover the hidden treasures that are waiting to be discovered. 

I also enjoy sharing multiple ideas for one product; revealing a perspective that maybe the "customer" has not seen; an additional idea or thought which expands on the original intent for a new and creative idea.  For instance:  I enjoy working with my hands making mixed media art "ornaments".  These ornaments are not limited to hanging on a Christmas tree!  They can be used as bookmarks,  adornments in a kitchen, or a special charm on your favorite notebook, planner or journal.  Just a few additional thoughts to get you started on thinking of how you can use these art pieces.

Below are a few samplings of some of the art pieces I've made.  For more offerings of handmade gifts items for sale, click on this link.

Magnet Art Pumpkins

Inspirational Leaves

Inspirational Adornments

Magnet Leaves

If your love language leans towards "gift giving", Pear Creek Cottage has many sweet, affordable gifts just ready to bring joy and cheer to someone.  Adding to that special, unique gift is an added bonus.  Right now, through December these one of a kind items ship for FREE!  Handmade and FREE!  What a delight to share for this "Season of Giving"
Handmade Adornments

Pitcher Adornments
Fabric Pieced Magnetic Bears

Fabric Pieced Birds

Another thing that I am grateful for is YOU!  My readers.  My friends.  My family.  My customers.  The amazing relationships that have formed through the avenue of Pear Creek Cottage.  I am unable to fully express what it means for YOU to be in my life.  Each individual has planted seeds into my life garden.  Those seeds have been taking root in the forms of trust and belief, kindness and generosity.  Together, I am looking forward to what the New Year of journeying and working with YOU will offer.

Thank you for your continual support of Handmade and Shopping Small Business.  Maybe without realizing it, you are helping fulfill someones dreams...just like mine.  We all need each other.

                                  With much gratitude and thanks for all.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Perspective and Details

Lately, I've been doing a lot of reflection and processing about perspective.  The way I look at things.  The frame I use around the pictures in my mind.  I tend to lean toward the "All or Nothing" way of looking at things.  I am discovering how limiting this type of thinking is. 

For instance:  I snapped these photos when visiting my in-laws in Washington State.  It was a sunny, warm day.  Enjoying being outside, I happened to look down and see the tiny little flowers basking in the sun as well.  On first look, I did not see them.  Just dirt, and green, and kind of a blur of debris that had fallen from trees and bushes.  But with a sharper mind, and keen awareness of my surroundings, I started looking around with clearer vision, and behold saw these beauties smiling up at me.  I did not move at all when taking these two photos.  I remained in the same spot, perspective changed as I was able to zoom in on the flowers.  I've kept this photo as a reminder to keep my perspective.  Keep an open heart to what is going on around me.  So, that I don't miss some special, unique opportunities that can be right in front of me.
Since this experience, I am trying to view things more purposefully and with intentionality.  My limited perspective does not give view to the whole story.  I see only partially.  But when I listen to others, and hear what their hearts are saying through the words they are using, and watching their micro facial expressions.  I can gain a greater, more complete picture of surroundings.

This practice of keeping my perspective open, is something that I am working on applying to my small online business as well.  After 8 plus years of selling on line, I am reviewing my photos, my words and descriptions in a different more rounded perspective.  Seeing how customers have used some of our products has given me different ideas of how the products can be used, that I was not able to see when I first listed the items.  So, the detail work begins.  The behind the scenes work that you may not see up front or in photos at first,...but slowly, and hopefully consistently, Pear Creek Cottage will be undergoing transformation.

I will be working on the details that most people won't see, but hopefully will make for a better shopping experience all around.  Perspective and Details are seen in these upcoming listings as well.  From layers of paint and paper, to splashes of color,  inspirational words, and finishing details make up these  Mini Message Magnets.

Start Each Day With A Grateful Heart

Free To Fly

Monday, August 27, 2018

Season Changes

Season Changes!  Not only are we going through a seasonal weather change from Summer to Fall, but my personal life is also going through a seasonal life change.

 shop now

As the  big, "6"-"0" approaches for me, and  has already captured my husband, Jerry...we are looking into what is next?  What is next for us as a couple?  What is next for Pear Creek Cottage?  What does the future hold fo us?  Lots of big and life altering questions.

We sure don't have all the answers.  Actually, I'm not sure we have any of the answers!  ha ha.  All that to say that often, my mind gets lost in the wondering.

During my pondering time, I took some time to stop and reflect over the 8 years of Pear Creek Cottage's existence.  It is amazing to look back and remember.  When I first opened I had a few items listed, most were needle felted items I handmade.  Slowly new items came into the shop and it began to morph into what it looks like today.  When I started selling felt shapes, I had no idea all the wonderful customers I would come in contact with.  Many of these customers have become dear friends.

May I introduce you to one such customer?  Her name is Beverly Grayson.  I met Beverly because she purchased our felt die cut stars.  Beverly crochets American Flags, state flags, and other countries flags.  Here are some photos of her beautiful work.  She even sent a flag to The President and First Lady, and received this hand addressed thank you note in return.

 What a gem she is!  I feel so honored to have met her and become friends with her.  Beverly shared a little of her story with me, which gave me more insight into the beautiful person she is.  Beverly was raised in an Army home.  Both of her parents served in the Army.  During the Vietnam War, Beverly, and her siblings lived with her grandmother.  It was there she learned how to crochet and sew.  As time marched on, and life faded away, Beverly had to say good-bye to 4 different family members within a very short amount of time.  Planning 3 separate military funerals for brothers, and parents.

She took up crocheting again as a way to bring healing to her heart and keep her mind and hands busy.  She began to crochet American flags as a way of honoring her family, and to begin healing from the ache of missing her family.  Beverly has added state flags, and even the Dallas Cowboys flags to her crocheted flags offerings.  She shared that she enjoys the excitement of seeing someone who receives her flags.  Beverly sells her flags on Facebook.  Here is a link to her  Facebook page, if you are interested in seeing more of her flags, and maybe ordering one for yourself!  Beverly Stivner Grayson

I just love this story!  To me it speaks of unity and compassion.  Neighbors carrying about each other. 

       "I Pledge Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, 
                    and to the Republic for which it stands, 
      one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Thank you Beverly for allowing me to share your story, and for the opportunity to serve you by cutting stars...but mostly for your sweet friendship.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Summer Refresh

Just the word alone, "Summer" , has a refreshing sound to it.  It rolls off the tongue with a melodic sound. "Summer." 
 Memories of childhood play, from morning to night.  Staying up, and staying outside late, with the crickets and fireflies.   Camping.  Being outdoors.  The smells of hot pine cones and eucalyptus leaves.  Redwood bark, and smokey campfires.  All the sights and sounds of summer.

Waves crashing on the beach.  Kids squealing with laughter and delight.  Giggles of sprinkler and pool splashes.  Family visits and trips.  Play, popsicles, and permission.

These are just a few things I love about summer.  Everything seems lighter, less rigid.  Eating outdoors.  Barefoot play, and imaginative possibilities galore.

This summer, I was able to spend time with extended family, and with my grandkids.  It has been so fun and refreshing, that in ways, I do feel like a kid again.  Giving myself permission to play and enjoy laughter just for the pure joy of it.

 Santa Cruz girls in Washington

Spending time with family, and getting reconnected; grounded, has been great for the "roots of my life".  Being reminded of history, and foundations have been "life giving" as pure fresh water and nutrients for my soul.

I tend to function in a work mode.  Thinking, planing and preparing for work and the necessities of life, often I forget that refreshment and rest are just as important.  Our bodies need to be in tune with the seasons of nature, and seasons of life.  I'm thankful that I've had different opportunities this summer to REFRESH and RESTORE.  Recalibrate my life balance to optimize healthy choices, and reset plans and goals.

For many, summer is starting to wind down as "back to school" preparations begin.  I hope that you are able to snatch some summer moments and hold them close in your memory.  May they give you the boost you need to gear up for the next season ahead of you, and I will try and do the same.

Inspiration from Great Grammy's Rose Garden

 Family reunion at Lake Tahoe

Have a beauty-filled summer!
 Breathe deeply.  Love wholly.  Laugh Loudly! And I will do the same.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

                                        The Magic Behind the Unicorns

I wanted to give a special "shout out" to my husband, Jerry, for all the help and support he has given to me since I started Pear Creek Cottage 8 years ago.

When we started this adventure, I had just completed over a decade of working for a corporation.  As with "corporate work", there were definitely ups and downs.  Major frustrations, a few "highs" help balance the "lows".

Jerry believed in me, right from the start.  He willingly supported the lack of income we received, while the business was being birthed and grown.  He was and still is my #1 moral support.  He believes in me and my dream...sometimes more than I believe in myself.

Here we are 8 years later, and we are working side by side in our small home business.  Neither one of us saw this coming, but when Jerry's company sold the part of the business where he worked, he was let go.

He has company while he cuts out shapes!  His favorite is John Wayne movies.  He has seen them so many times, he has them memorized I think!  :)

We teased each other, about him "working for me"...but low and behold, it has come to pass.  Well, he doesn't really work for me, but with me.  He has become an excellent die cutting apprentice!  Can I just let you know that he has been cutting felt unicorns for the whole month of June and beyond.  He has cut over 4000 unicorns!  Whoo hoo!

Taking a lunch/walk break along our lovely Santa Cruz Coastline
It may not seem the "manly man" thing to do, but yet there he is still cutting and stacking the unicorns all nice and neat as they await shipping out to customers.  His large fingers, delicately cradling the fragile unicorns as if they were a newborn babe.  Observing this, as I routinely work on filling orders, has brought a new surge of love and admiration for this man that I said; "I Do" to, over 39 years ago.

I just had to stop and share with you the importance of our love and commitment to each other.  Doing things for each other, even when we don't "feel" like it.  Placing each other as a priority.  Working together to achieve our goals.  Realizing anew, that we need each other.  We were not made to do this life alone.  God intends for us to live in joy, and in relationship.  Just as The Father, and The Son, and The Holy Spirit live in community and relationship, we too are designed to live in relationship.

My joy level has risen as I see the care and love that Jerry displays by his actions.  The Magic behind the unicorns?  LOVE!!

 Together, we both are so grateful for your continued support of our small home business.  You are helping us as a family, and our THANKS is heartfelt and sincere.

Did you know that you can use our "White Wax Dipping Felt" shapes for more than dipping in wax!    Use your favorite markers, and color right onto the felt. Great for kids crafts or for your own personal muse.   Let your inner artist out!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

June is my Birthday Month!  Yay for Special Days and Celebrating.

Celebrating birthdays can sometimes be tedious.  Depending on the frame of mind one has.  The age old adage, "you're only as old as you feel"...and other great sayings can leave one feeling older than they really are.

This year, I am turning 59!  Yup!  It's a big one.  Not ready for retirement, but viewing it off in the distance.  When I think of retirement, I really don't know what to think specifically.  Does one really retire?  Retire from what?  Living?  The "promise" of something better in retirement shadows the present. The scene similar to hanging a carrot in front of a rabbit.  Teasing.  Taunting.  Causing dissatisfaction with current situation.  I don't want this to be my focus.

I've decided that today, right now...I'm going to live in the present.  Not exerting energy into speculating, what the future may have.  I feel mentally stronger, and accepting of my place and position in life.  I want to move forward confident in this acceptance of self.  Focusing on contentment, not discontentment.  Finding things to be grateful for, and appreciative of.

Recently, I've been able to work on new art pieces.  You can see some of the pieces here:
The words and verses on these art pieces are all meaningful to me.  This has been my process.  When you view these pieces, you can see what I've been thinking on, and where the direction of my life is heading.  Check the shop to see when these pieces are listed: here

As I look forward to my 59th year of life, I am excited.  I am anticipating great adventures and life lessons learned.  I am learning to see Immanuel's (God with us) presence in everyday moments.  I'm full of joy and expectancy as I look forward to what lies ahead on my life journey.

Sharing smiles with you straight from my flower garden.  Do you see them?  The little smiley faces in the middle of the daisies?  I just love how happy these make me.  Hope you enjoy them as well.

Thank you for joining with me and being a traveling companion on this adventure.