Instagram Magic

Who loves INSTAGRAM? Me!! As you can see, I have 1,000 posts on my personal IG account. I LOVE Instagram and love being able to post snapshots of life and I LOVE scrolling through and seeing snapshots of my follow-ees lives! I like Facebook too, although sometimes it makes me crazy. But, I prefer IG because it’s less *stuff* like time-sucking blog posts articles, videos and useless information. Not everything needs to go to Facebook people….

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You may already know this, but there is a website out there called Chatbooks.com and they will put your IG photos in to cute little photo albums/books and mail them to you for $6/book. Each book contains 60 photos. I think there is another website or two out there like this (or probably a dozen of them) but I keep seeing Chatbooks so I thought I would give it a try! It is super easy to use and in about an hour or less I put together 13 books of my Instagram photos!!Chatbook

What’s great is that you can go through every single album and “exclude” any photos that you do not want in your book. That’s why it took me about an hour! So all the photos I’ve posted of Starbucks drinks and non-people things, I went through and excluded (or you can delete them altogether). You can also chose the COVER photo for each book AND>>>>> you can chose how you want to receive your books. I had 13 to catch up on, so it gave me the option to have them print 1 a month, 5 a month, 10 a month or I could chose to receive them all right now. I went with 5 a month so by August I should be caught up!

I should get my first 5 books sometime next week and will be sure to post when I do!¬†Check it out, and you can use MY CODE below to get your first book FREE!! ūüôā Happy Summer!!

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Organization, Part 2

I wanted to go ahead and do part 2 of my Organization posts, but first, I am excited about something new we are selling on our website. I looked back through my old records, and on June 4, 2007 I purchased my first embroidery (font) software. If you’ve read my blog, you know I use Monogram Wizard Plus for my fonts (names & initials) and I use Sew What-Pro for merging and editing. I bought MWP first and have loved it for¬†almost EIGHT years!! I don’t have to tell you I love SWP too, as we’ve been selling it on the website (here) for a little over a year now and I mention it on my blog quite often. It’s become our top seller each month over any single applique design. We are now selling Monogram Wizard Plus¬†too, and while it’s more expensive than SWP, it’s worth every penny! I’ve used it for the past almost-8 years, so it calculates to just $30 a year thus far. It’s a great investment if you are in the business of embroidery and monogramming! ¬†Check it out – click HERE!

Here is just a sampling of what you can do in Monogram Wizard Plus. Lots of great fonts and motifs:

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Here is a screen shot of your workspace in MWP. It’s super easy to use and super easy to scroll through all of the various font options, sizes, etc. Again, a great investment! You can click on the TAG Monogram Wizard Plus on the right column, or search “Monogram Wizard Plus” on my blog in the search box. There is also a post or two in Helpful Posts.

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Now on to ORGANIZATION. As a follow up to my last post, Part 1, Kristi D. messaged me about a couple of apps you can download to help with to do lists and organization. They are: Evernote and Todoist (not “todolist”, but todo+ist). I just downloaded Todoist so I will try it out and see how it works! It looks like you can add tasks to certain days, set up reminders, etc. I just downloaded it so I haven’t gotten far yet! I may still be a pen and paper kind of girl but will give it a try!

OK…..

When is the best time to work?

I think everyone might answer this question differently because we are all in different stages of life and all have different schedules. Beth S. answered “I try to throw one or two things on the machine after my kids go to bed. I get a lot done when my husband takes my boys to practices.” (yay hubby!) Beth also works from home on Fridays so she tries to get 5 or more things on the machine on Fridays. For me, I try to get work done when my kids are at school. They go to a classical Christian school and they get out at 12:30 every day, so this is sometimes hard! Morning is my time to run my errands sans kids, go to bible study, volunteer at their school, etc. Usually 1 or 2 mornings a week I get to just stay home and work. I also try to work in the afternoons while they are doing their homework, but this is usually chaotic and I’m constantly interrupted and usually get frustrated. I try NOT to work much when Jeff gets home from work and throughout the evening, but sometimes it happens a day or two a week while the boys are at soccer practice. I also try to avoid working on the weekends unless we have NOTHING to do and I need to knock out a job or two. as I type this on Sunday afternoon….¬†If your kids are small and take naps, nap time is a great time to try to get a few things done! Maybe nights and weekend are your only time to work. That’s fine too! Just don’t sacrifice precious time with your family to work unless you have to.

Overall I think you have to look at your schedule and try to carve out time when you can get some work done uninterrupted! If you do this part time, you need to set hours and stick to them. I have¬†a friend who lives in Atlanta who once told¬†me that he intentionally gets up in the mornings, gets dressed and purposefully goes out for coffee or to grab breakfast. He then “goes to work” which is back at home. It’s hard to separate yourself from being at home when you work there! I am often distracted by laundry, cleaning, the dog, watching TV (I love The Today Show!), etc.

This is what happens when I try to work in the midst of kids!!

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When is the best time to check email (other than every 5 minutes like I do sometimes….)?

I would add to this:¬†Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and all the other “distractions” I struggle with that are “for work” but can distract me for an hour!! When we first started Applique Cafe, I worked out of our dining room in our old house and felt the need to check email literally every time I walked by the dining room. It was out of control! Depending on what your business is and how important email is to you, I would say to check it 3 times a day. Set a schedule and try to stick to it barring special circumstances. Try to check it in the morning when you get up or sometime in the morning when you have a few minutes. Check it at lunchtime or in the afternoon if you are away from home during the day. Lastly, check it quickly at night before heading to bed. We do have to check ours often b/c the majority of our business is email, but I have found that if I check it too much, I am taking time out of my day to check it and may only receive 4 emails b/c I just checked it 20 minutes ago!

Social Media… if anyone is guilty of wasting too much time on social media, it is ME! There is no telling what I could accomplish in the hours and hours I’ve wasted since Facebook was invented! If you use social media for your business, try to stick with the same 3 or so times a day rule. Yes you might need to check Facebook to see if you have any messages or comments you need to check on. What you don’t need is to open Facebook in the middle of sewing a shirt and waste 30 minutes scrolling through to see what all your friends are up to! Same with Pinterest and Instagram! Both are great tools for business and most importantly they are FREE, but they can also distract you from your work and next thing you know an hour has passed and you haven’t even finished a single monogram! SET LIMITS!!¬†

How many items do you do each day? Goals are good!!

Beth S. says that she sets small goals. If she has 11 baseball bags on her to do list, then she tries to complete 2 to 3 a day. If she finds some extra time here or there, she can usually exceed her goal. I agree with Beth in that small goals are a great idea! I not only do this with embroidery work, but I do it with my every day stuff as well. Every day I either think about what I need to get done that day or write it down. It might be:¬†go to the bank, send out X email, bathe the dog, monogram Leslie’s 2 items. Doesn’t it feel good to mark those things off the list, 1 by 1? I might have 32 embroidery items on my to do list, but know today is sort of a busy day and I don’t have a lot of time. Set a small goal of monogramming 1 thing, or 2 or 3 things. A lot of times you might be able to squeeze in 1 more and that’s great, but if you can’t, then at the very least you can accomplish the small goals before the day is done!

That’s all for today! I will continue next time with time savers & tips for doing monograms and appliques and the easiest fastest way to pick out fabric and thread colors! I would love to read your comments or suggestions for ORGANIZATION, so comment away!

Bathroom Afters

Happy Spring Break people!

We are livin’ it up here at some exotic beach destination in Montgomery, Alabama for Spring Break. White sand¬†Almost-green grass and crystal blue water soccer goals was our entertainment for¬†today. We braved the sun¬†clouds from 8:20 this morning until around 4:00 this afternoon, with excursions such as¬†snorkeling¬†and scuba diving 4 soccer matches in which we tied or lost all 4 games. We then refreshed ourselves with some strawberry daquiris and pina coladas¬†milkshakes from the Tiki Bar Chick Fil A! It’s supposed to start raining at 8:00 tonight and rain ALL NIGHT LONG, which means even our plans tomorrow for watching more soccer for Spring Break may get cancelled! Good times….. JUST KIDDING!!! Well, not really kidding, but the kids and I are beach bound Monday so we hope to get some sun and sand in before the week is up.

In all seriousness, have you tried the FROSTED LEMONADE from Chick Fil A?? I used to be admittedly addicted to Starbucks Mocha Frappuccinos (with 1 pump of “gasoline” as my kids would scream from the backseat). Y’all…. FROSTED LEMONADE!! I have had FOUR, yes 4, of them since Tuesday! They are DELICIOUS, and $1.39 cheaper than Starbucks! I am not sure what I’m going to do on Sunday when they are closed…..

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As promised, here are a few “AFTER” bathroom pics from our recent bathroom renovation. Let me preface this by saying, if you dislike our new bathroom, don’t agree with the cabinet choices we made, don’t like the paint color (Benjamin Moore Manchester Tan btw…), think the vanity lights are awful…. please do not mistakenly email me thinking you emailed your BFF to tell her how you don’t like MY bathroom that you will never step foot in. True story… when we redid our kitchen, I had a girl email me to tell me she hated the chandelier over our table (which we had not replaced yet) and that she would have never chosen the island color. She hit reply to a blog post instead of FORWARD (to her BFF)!!!! lolololololololol…. I still laugh about that!

Before tiny plastic SHOWER and¬†hubby’s vanity & AFTER bigger not-plastic-anymore shower and linen cabinet:

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Before my lovely *oak* vanity & AFTER his and hers double vanity:

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Before gigantic heart shaped space-wasting tub & AFTER normal human sized tub (plus the TV for me to watch HGTV and The Today Show when I’m getting ready every morning):

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Here are several more photos. Everything is so new and clean and simple and we love it!

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I no longer have to balance on one leg and shave my legs!! Hooray!!

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I got the little stool from TJ Maxx! Everything is still very much a blank slate, so I need a painting or something to bring in some color. Maybe a towel rack over the tub and some monogrammed towels? I wonder if I can find someone to monogram some for me…..

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We love the cabinets, which are from Bishop Cabinets of course (where Jeff really works)! If you recall, the tile is from Home Depot and is¬†Castle Travertine. We went through literally hundreds of tiles to pick out each and every tile that is in our bathroom. It was a huge headache, but I have to say that now I appreciate each and every tile. When I’m showering, I look at all of them and remember all the work that put in to choosing them! Really! I do!

I hope all of you who are on Spring Break have a great week wherever you are! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Applique Cafe fans… all designs are 50% off through TUESDAY! Woop!

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