Hey you guys! How about that for a long title? I have a lot to share today and it didn't seem very productive to break it up into a bunch of separate posts, so here we are. It's been a little strange being away from the blog for the last couple of weeks, but I'm so grateful to have had some friends graciously fill in as guest contributors while I care for our new baby. (You can read about baby Essley's introduction here and my initial experience as a new mom here.) I do have a few more guest bloggers who will be stopping in over the next week or so, but I am making the transition back into daily blogging, so you'll start seeing me back around here on a regular basis sooner than later.
Maternity leave is a weird concept when you own your own businesses. I'm very lucky to have work help, but it's still been a challenge to really walk away. And planning for a 'leave' when you're a small business owner just isn't as cut and dry as it is with a more traditional career. I originally scheduled three weeks off of work, with plans to come back on a more part time basis for a few weeks until things felt a little more adjusted. It turns out though that Robbie has to go back on the road with the band quite a bit earlier than he'd anticipated, so we've had to move some things around in order for me to be able take care of Essley by myself while he's away. Since it will be impossible to work full time when he's gone, I decided to cut my leave short and start work again last weekend, while he was still here to help care for the baby. In between feedings and snuggle breaks, I've been working on a lot of tax stuff (yuck) and end-of-2013 tying up, catching up on business emails, planning for the businesses' first quarters, planning the blog's editorial calendar, and getting things as organized as possible in order to figure out the best ways to balance this new mom thing with the whole entrepreneurial thing when it's just me here. I won't lie - it's only been a few days and I'm already wondering how I can really make this all work. Add in a major dash of sleep deprivation, and I'm pretty exhausted. I'm staying positive though, and hoping it all falls into place. Fingers are crossed.
I also opened Bubby & Bean's Art Etsy shop back up a few days ago after having it closed for three weeks. I shifted things around (it always makes me a little sad to push the holiday cards to the bottom in January, especially after such a great season in the shop), updated inventory, and assessed current stock. I also added the 2014 Valentine Card Collection, which you see in the images throughout this post. Most of these are best-selling cards that I'm bringing back from last year, along with a couple of new designs. Like the holiday line, the vast majority of the Valentine line features recycled and eco-friendly cardstock and envelopes, each of which is individually printed, cut, scored, and folded by hand.
The cards you see here, along with the rest of the collection, are available are Bubby & Bean Art as singles (and some in sets of 10), but can be packaged in any quantities that are requested. And to celebrate love and all that, I'm offering blog readers a 15% discount for the next week (today through January 22nd) with code BLOG15. If you're not a Valentine card person but still like to get a little somethin' for your sweetheart or friends, there are also lots of love-themed art prints available.
That was an awful lot for one post, I know. If you're still reading, you're a champ. (Playing catch-up can be a little overwhelming at times.) I still plan to eventually share some of my birth story with you guys, and I definitely plan to share more about life with this wonderful, amazing new little girl who, despite her ability to keep us awake at the most inopportune hours of the night, has already filled us with so much happiness it's ridiculous. In the meantime, you can catch lots of mini life-with-baby updates and pictures on my Instagram account (@bubbyandbean). Thank you for bearing with me during this time of transition, and for continuing to come here and support my guest contributors along the way. You are the best readers in the universe, hands down.