Thursday, July 12, 2018

Winter Inspirations and Creative Team projects

Dear Paperlovers,

(Disclaimer: note all the links in this post)

With the winter days, chilly nights and school holidays, it is the ideal time to get creative and work on those projects you have been putting off.

I have been working on de-cluttering my studio. Let's face it, creative minds work up a storm like in the photo above (take while out an about at a local restaurant with hubby) and it looks like a tornado collided with a hurricane of paper and other things. I am normally a very organized person. I had to be as a full time teacher. Everything has its place and once used, goes back there, but I am slowly growing and that means that spaces gets filled quickly.

As clutter causes stress to our brains and makes you feel like the creative juices cannot flow any longer, while everything around us, is well, a bit chaotic, it is time to de-clutter! So, take it from me. It does clear your head and that makes room for more creativity. So, after reorganizing a bit and doing a 30 minutes clean-up, throwing out trash build-up, clearing the packaging department after our last print-run, I feel much better and am in the mood to create new stuff again.

I hope that inspires you to get up and clear up that stash. There are videos on Youtube about de-cluttering your studio space and more. Just give it a search. You don't need a fancy make-over. Use what you have, re-purpose a couple of things, clear the stuff that you are done with, put away things you don't use and chuck a few things. Get a box or container and put some stuff in there you can donate to someone else. Sometimes we creatives just have too much stuff. We actually don't need all of it to be creative. In the end, if you don't regularly work in a de-clutter and clean-up session, it will take over your mind and your physical space and then it becomes a hoarding problem and we have all seen those TV shows about hoarding...jikes, scary stuff!

Give yourself a 30 minute challenge and do as much as you can in that time. The trick is to not overdo it and get overwhelmed, because then you will just want to give up. Small steps. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time, right. So, let all this get you off that chair, put down your digital devices and get going. Begin the habit of small de-clutter sessions worked into each day and soon you will feel really organized.

I make lists. My husband lovingly calls me his "lysie-meisie" in Afrikaans which translates into "list-girl".  It helps me focus and even if I don't complete everything on my list, it helps me make mental notes and prioritize. I love writing things down. Maybe because I'm a teacher and any teacher who doesn't keep a diary or planner on hand, will just loose their minds in all the tasks and ToDo's.

I can really recommend the Traveler's Notebook process for all you notetakers. I love note taking, writing, decorating stuff and playing with the pretty paper we design, so my TN's have grown. I make my own 'dori' covers and fill them with little handmade books...=process I also enjoy. I use it for all sorts of stuff. 

These notebooks are just a sampling of what I have been up to this year. I think I have about six of these by now.
This process also helps the creative mind of an artist sort through ideas.

It even helped me to get back doing what I love most and that is my art. 

A little Studio News: (I said 'little', not short ;) ;) )

So, you may have seen our adds on Facebook. We have launched (at long I wanted to from the very start) a monthly order and shipping cycle. Things take time to build, I guess. These are basically the dates you need to keep in mind. You can, however always place your orders any time it suits you. We will just group it together with our other orders and depending on when you place it, it will ship the same month or the next. 

This is working out so great for us and it helps a small team like ours, to deliver a consistent service to a variety of clients from general public to large retailers. 

The question we get asked often is ...

"Where can we buy your products?" 

First off, you get two types of clients:
1. Those who like to shop online in their PJ's and like their products to be delivered to their door. (I personally love this option.) 
2. Those who like going to their local craft store and select by hand the items they like. 
Each of these processes have their own rewards and hassles. 
So, we cater to both. 
Answer to the question then:
Anyone can purchase our products directly from our online store over on our website: 
You can ask your local retailer to stock our products. 

It is that easy. 
The retailer also goes to our website, subscribes to our network by completing the online subscription form and then they click on the store tab and place their order in our online store.

Depending on the size of the order, Retailers will receive a discount because they buy in bulk and we also deliver to them countrywide. 

This means it is one system that caters to all our clients. 

You can also ask for a PDF catalog of each range we bring out, but we prefer online store orders.
It doesn't make any sense time-wise for you to 
complete a form that we have to send electronically anyway, you have to either complete it digitally (hoping you have the right software installed and know how to use it on your PC) or print it out (then there is the hassle of printing the form) and then we have to receive your completed form via email, download, print it (which is another unnecessary cost again) and then go to our online store (which is our admin system where we log every sale anyway) and then copy your order (hoping we don't make any mistakes transferring your order to the online system). 

On the other hand, if you place your order online in the store, you help us save time, you have a less stressed experience and there is no chance of us messing your order up.  Heck, you completed it yourself. But say you did order something that you want to change or add another item, but you forgot. Then you just email me and I amend your order. It's easy to amend an order already on the system.  

For those not so tech savvy, we do have a "How to" section on the website

Then there is the internet connection issue and we cannot really do much about that, but you can. You can upgrade your internet provider. Afrihost for example has great packages, they deliver to your door and it is a quick and hassle free service. Something else to look into is LTE which would give you a faster internet and upload/download speed.  It is much faster and reliable than ADSL internet. And if you only load data on your phone and use that to shop, your experience may or may not be great. The phone screen size limits your experience and you may run out of data quickly if you play around on Instagram or Facebook. Apps eats data! So, when you want to shop, I suggest go to your PC or laptop. Ensure first that you have a good connection and then go to our store. 

People sometimes don't realize that these things matter when you want to live or shop online. 
And then there is the South African expereince of no power. Well, just wait until it comes back on always far. ;) ;) 

Just a quick walk through on the process in our store: 

1. Go to the website and click on the store tab
2. Select a product by clicking on it. It opens and gives you everything you want to know from price to images and some even have options menus to help you select quantities you want. 
Who doesn't like options?
3. If you want to order it, click on "add to bag".
4. Continue shopping and when you are done, go to "check-out"
5. Check your order, tick the T's&C's block (Remember to read the actual terms and conditions at least once)
6. Update your shipping area if you are not based in Gauteng (the default setting).
7. Enter your shipping details, email and cell number. This is obvious, right. We need to know where to ship your order to. 
8. Just follow the onscreen prompts. The total order with all the details will show. Give it a final check and if you are happy, click the "place order" button. Up to this point, you haven't purchased anything yet. We also haven't received it yet. Only when you click on that "place order" button, does your order come through. 
9. If you where able to do all this successfully, you will be redirected to a "thank you" page. You will also receive an email in your inbox with all the details and our banking details. This email is the sign that you had success! No email, no order placed. 
10. Now you make your payment via your own internet banking and send us the proof of payment to our email. Use your name and order number as banking reference. This is how we link your payment to your order. From this point forward you will receive emails as your order progresses through our order/shipping cycle. 

Finally, good online shopping etiquette when buying stuff from a small business, is to let them know that you have received the package they so lovingly put together for you. When you buy from large online shopping companies, they each have their systems in place to know when something is delivered successfully. We outsource our delivery to a courier company and they don't give us any feedback. We ask that when you receive your order, that you text us or send a Whatsapp message to the number included in your package invoice. This system works really well to complete orders. 

Some sneak peaks of me packing your 'stuff': 

I have personally been involved in the shipping lately and this is my favorite part of the business. It feels like Christmas when I do this and I take great care and pleasure in packing your orders. I love adding those little extra bits because this is about us sharing our love of paper. The love should shine through, right! :) 

We just closed another order cycle and we are going to print again on both the Henry collection and the updated Finesse collection. Orders should ship on schedule as per our cycle.

Both of these collections offer a wide variety of options to crafters. I hope you check it out in store soon. Both the ranges will be available for a while. I'm not sure for how long yet, but I would suggest you get your foot in the door and order it as soon as you can. 

Creative Team

In our previous post we shared the winner of our Creative Team competition, Val Thorpe's single layout where she used the Happy Day collection form 2017. 

She has received her prize, the Henry collection and we have received the first round of images from her. 

Take a look:

The first project is a lovely card. I love the way she changed the colour scheme as their is no purple or lavendar colours in the Henry range, but she utilized the black&white "colour-it" flowers we added to the #CuteCuts/FlowerShop set. to change things up. That is why we add those elements, so you can play and add the colours you love to use. Those textured stripes are also perfect on this card as a background and I love that she used my Bonus Sweet Sentiments design as the focal point in this card. #livethedream

This is just a #makesyoufeelgood card! 
Thanks, Val! 

The second project was a little Travel theme single scrapbook layout also by Val. #helloadventure

This collection has basically only the first two items in the #Core collection of 12"x12" papers plus a couple of #CuteCuts cards in the #CreativeElements and #SweetSentiment sets, that are actually Travel themed. 

You can also utilize the Henry collection for any other project, Feminine or Masculine and the themes we include in the cuts are:

1. Family;
2. Love & Relationship;
3. Travel&Adventure;
4. Daily life;
5. Nature
6. Planner goodies too, like list-it flags, tags, arrows, labels and more

We love cameras and what scrapbooker doesn't need cameras in every single layout? So we give you loads of little cameras to play with. 

Val used a variety of little #CuteCuts to embellish her layout. She even used some of the planner goodies in this layout.  And she added TWO cameras. #Loveit!
So no matter if you document your travels or stay at home and just want to remember the good times experienced in daily life, this collection will help you do it hassle free. It's great for any boy layouts or girly ones too. Now, that's a bargain!

The third project from Val is another lovely single layout.  #Loveis

What I love about this layout is that Val incorporates the use of her own stash with our paper and it works really well. So, let it be an inspiration for all you girls who stick to using only one or two brands because you are afraid to venture into the unknown. Mix things up! The randomness of elements you add to your creations, sometimes makes for the best layouts. Don't be afraid. 

My dad has a saying I love (read to the end for his quote) and he used it to encourage me to venture outside my fear and make friends when I was a little girl (Remember: I am an INFP and just a little bit more introvert than extrovert. My creative artist personality also makes me a little weird and even though I am very outgoing and talkative, I sometimes hold back, because I don't want my weirdness to show too much and put people off. It's a catch22, know and actually inevitable. ;) Being extrovert/introvert, its kinda nearly 50/50 with me, so I sometimes need that encouragement) Dad's quote: "A stranger is just a friend you do not know". 

So let this be an encouragement to you about using different brands of paper together. Realise it is paper, girls...just paper. It all starts with a tree. Enjoy playing with it and let your paper be "friends".  ;) :)

Ivytree Elements

Something to note in how we design our collections is all the different elements. This is why we call our brand "Ivytree Elements".  

We give you large papers (12"x12") for backgrounds, paper piecing and general cutting of elements with your dies or die cutting machines like Silhouette. These come in a #Core collection (12 items) + #SimplyPretty pattern paper sets of 12 in a variety of patterns and colours that match the #Core collection. 
Then to help you create dimension, we add lots of washi strips. Those are so easy to use and mix and match. (See #SimplyPretty sets in the range)
Then we give you some solids for framing and matting (see the Simply Pretty sets in the range) and textured items like brick walls and wood panels that are still trending at present. 

Then next up is your #CuteCuts: These are our claim to fame currently and gives you hours of fun and paper therapy. 

Now these I love so much, because they are designed for easy cutting with cut lines included, plus they are just the right size for any project and they come in a variety of sets and themes to give you options galore:
#CreativeElements: no text, just an array of images you would love to embellish any project with. So cute and really pretty. 
#SweetSentiments: these are our wordy delights that help you tell your story and here we give you page titles and a variety of words to play with. These are available in two languages (English and our native Afrikaans).
I designed some bonus Sweet Sentiments to go with the Henry collection. I was working on some projects and needed stuff for Father's day, so added those to the collection also in both languages. 
#FlowerShop: Women love flowers. Every single class or photo shared on Facebook via groups or pages, shows how ladies add flowers to their creations. Then there is the crafter who have boys in the house and no girls and her photos need less flowers. OK. So we give you the option to add the #Flowershop to your order or to leave it out. We have had orders with flowers and orders without flowers. That's perfect. We like to give our clients the freedom of choice in a collection.
#Butterflies - We are big fans of butterflies and they are very trendy right now. So these little beauties give you a variety of sizes and you can cluster these in a layout or layer them on top of each other for effect. You can do the same with the flowers, by the way. 

Oh, but don't take my word for it. Try it out. Your projects will come together nicely and with such eazeeeee with the cute cuts! I personally guarantee that. 

Latest Releases:

#Finesse Collection
Now offering you even more variety and cut goodies than when it was first released in 2017. We added more #CreativeElements; #SweetSentiments in a variety of themes, New to the range: a whole new #Floralshop pack, a #PrettyPocketCard set, #Butterflies in the Mulberry colour and the all new #SimplyLady elements set. The #SimplyPretty packs have been updated too. You can also now find new #Minis 6x6 cardmakers sets in this range (4 x 24 packs in total plus extra cardmakers elements). And this collection has its own #Gracelilly Bible Journaling Devotional kit that has been selling really well. 

Afrikaans: Moenie vergeet dat al ons teks elemente ook in Afrikaans beskikbaar is!! 

And if you missed it:
All the individual items in the 12"x12" sets in both ranges can be ordered separately in any quantity you like. This includes all the #SimplyPretty sets. 
And now you can also order the individual cards in any #CuteCuts set individually in a minimum of 3, 6 or 9 or 15 cards per item. See store for options and details. This means you can bulk up on the designs you love and leave out the ones you don't. I still believe that having the full set is still the ideal. But, heck, options you have....and the word is "galore"!! :)

Pack items:
The only items now that you have to buy in packs are the #Minis 6"x6" packs and the #PrettyPocketCard sets.  

  - I am a real girly girl. I love painting my nails and my lips and I love these colours soooooo much. I would probably do this layout a little different the second time around, but just sharing my 2017 layout for your inspiration. -

I have two more announcements I want to share...OK, perhaps three or four, but this post is too long already so I will just have to write another post and you will just have to wait and see. Something about a new #CreativeTeam competition and #ChristmasinJuly and somebody have a birthday again or missing it or something and we have to make up with a special something something, but I can't say more.  :)

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One of our new subscribers made a comment in her subscription form that she wants to be part of our world. That just blew me away! Yes, you are part of our world when you play with our products like we play with it and when you engage with us online or in person. Make those comments, ask your questions, share your projects. That makes you part of the Ivytree Studio "world". :) :) 

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Till next time.

Keep warm!

Visit Ivytree Studio to see more of what we are up to:
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Share your Ivytree Studio layouts with us here

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