Let’s Try That Again

You guys should know that this is the second draft of a blog post I started last night. Or rather, this morning. At 2am. Seriously. The house was quiet. The baby had no immediate need of me. And while all the books tell you to “sleep when he sleeps,” unfortunately, those books offer no advice for those of us whose creative juices only kick in after 11pm. (Why, Lord, why?)

I really wanted to show you all a custom piece I had designed for a client this past fall. (I know, I know, FALL was a while back. I had a baby. Give me a break.) But the words were forced and I wasn’t feeling it. Perhaps I don’t do my best writing in the wee morning hours. Sketching, maybe. (If I can still figure out what it is the next day.) Instead, I got up from my computer without hitting “publish” and hopped in the shower. (I do my best thinking in the shower.) I mentally surveyed the scene: everyone is quiet. It’s late. I’ve stayed up WAY past everyone else. I didn’t publish the blog post. What in the WORLD do I have to show for this sacrifice of sleep? I’d love to say I finished my collection and TA DA here it is–> PUBLISH!

And the crowd goes wild!!

Not so much.

So then those toxic thoughts start. Maybe they never really leave.

“You just wasted a ton of time.”

“You’re going to be worthless tomorrow for your family.”

“You really aren’t inspired.”

“You need to hurry up and design something because someone else will do it if you don’t.”

The results? Panic. Self-doubt. Worthlessness.

And you know? As I write this, and as I see it on the screen in front of me, I KNOW that’s not the Lord telling me those things. Creativity is from Him, the Creator.

So what do I do? I can’t control when the creative juices are going to hit. Probably not at the perfect intersection of B’s naptime, a clean house, crock pot crocking bliss, and a new InDesign document just awaiting a colorful life. Nope.

I ask again, what do I do? Maybe this is more of a prayer. Because I’m just telling y’all my struggle here. I have no idea.

Lord, you give us creative desires, because you are the source of creativity. You give us good gifts. Please forgive me when I try and control my time, when I panic. When I assume that one little bump on the radar means I’m doomed to fail. Forgive me for believing the lies. Always believing the lies instead of your truth. Show me where to focus my depleted energy- and fill me up to do Your good work. Thank you for creating colors and flowers and people and weddings and everything else that is beautiful. Amen.

Maybe a lovely image goes here?

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Image via Oh Joy

Yep, that works.

Love,

misswyolene_smallstamp-yellow

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Spaces and Inspiration

Hi peeps!

I know it seems like I’ve been neglecting the ol’ blog here for a bit and frankly, after mama time and client responsibilities, these days, all of my extra energy is going into designing my collection. (As evidenced by the piles of laundry in my house right now.) So I’m admitting to you guys, blogging hasn’t been my tip top priority. I’m realizing, however, that blogging does create a sense of accountability. I also think it’s important to show snippets of my process. It has always helped me to see what others do to transcend creativity and actually FINISH projects. So perhaps this is an exercise in telling myself “You can DO this! Go go go! (You have to, remember? You told everyone you were going to.” (Oh, right.) So, today, I wanted to give you a peek into a corner of my little design world.

My office, like everything else, is a work in progress. (While I could show you the whole thing, you probably don’t want to see the stacks of boxes, magazines, old work, tissue paper, etc. that is taking over everything beyond the lens’ reach.) I just REALLY needed one clean (ish) surface to be able to leave and come back to quickly.

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I LOVE my tall bistro table (desk) from Ikea. Something about sitting up higher, I dunno. It just works for me and my doodling and designing. I must point out my awesome graduated wire basket from my friend Barb. She has the coolest stuff in her shop and it makes me happy to have this little guy help keep all of my pens, markers, rulers, and tape in one place.

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I had high hopes of making my wall one GIANT bulletin board. I’m sure there’s a way to do it (and if you know how, please leave a comment below!) but I realized I could spend weeks figuring out how to make one ORRRRR I could just tape everything right to the wall and call it a day. So I did. I’ve had some of these pages for years and have always waited for how to use them. I’m so excited that they are FINALLY starting to make sense in my mind and it’s so cool to see how they are all working together.

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Quite possibly my favorite inspiration pieces are my great Grandmother Ledford’s vintage greeting cards. They are SO beautiful and happy. My Grandmother (the real Miss Wyolene)  loaned me a box of all of her mother’s greeting cards. I picked three out just to keep in front of me always. This heritage of writing cards and encouraging friends goes back a long way. I hope I can honor that with my work.

Alright, back to it! Happy Thursday!

Love,

misswyolene_smallstamp-yellow

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Sending Love

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Here’s a bit of irony for you: the stationery designer who doesn’t send out much mail. For shame! Seriously, y’all. It hit me around the New Year that I have GOT to do more of that. My excuse has been lack of time, especially these days with a little guy in the picture. Another excuse has been lack of cute social stationery that I really felt was mine. It seemed weird to send out stationery that didn’t have the Miss Wyolene logo on the back. Again, lame excuse.

Out of those observations came two new goals. The first is to just friggin’ do it! Letters don’t have to be written in perfect essay format (have y’all READ my blog? It’s all over the place!) Better to send a slightly random note than no note at all. Having gone through some crazy things lately has only reminded me how cherished and rare words of love and encouragement are. I say, dish it out!

The second goal is to actually design stationery that I’d want to use. I know, novel idea, right? DUH! I want stationery that I’m excited to pull out and mail to my friends! And I want to know that the words AND the designs will make for treasured keepsakes. While wedding stationery is still a focus as I design my collection, social stationery is going to be a huge element that I’m SUPER excited about. I hate to be so vague: just know that it will be just as much fun to use as it will be for me to create. I’m actually starting to put pen to paper (literally) on this so hang with me for the next few months! I’ll keep you posted on it all.

The images above are my personal Valentines this year. (If you’re reading this, Liz, sorry to spoil your mailbox surprise!) Nothing like waiting until the very last minute for creative inspiration to hit you. It could also be a lack of planning on my part: racing to the post office today for love stamps, shooting this before it got dark, blogging it while my family is all asleep…this is how I operate these days!

If you haven’t made your Valentines yet, these cards were super simple: just a gold sticker from Etsy on some nice pink card stock. Send some love! Maybe a friend has gone out of their way to encourage you. Or maybe your mom watched your cute baby while you caught up on the latest issue of Real Simple. Or maybe a family invited you over to eat pancakes so you didn’t have to cook. (You know who you are!) Gestures like this deserve to be recognized– do it!

Love,

misswyolene_smallstamp-yellow

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Real Life

ImageYou guys, I have to be honest, I have butterflies in my stomach right now as I sit down to write this post. It’s not that I don’t want to, in fact, I think I really need to. It’s just very personal and I’m nervous about putting so much of myself “out there.” But in the spirit of trying to have a real and transparent voice in everything I do, I’m gonna go for it.

Have you ever noticed how when you get distracted by things that the Lord has a way of drawing your attention back toward Him and the things that really matter most? When I left my job over a year ago, I knew it was His timing. I knew He had a plan. I knew that eventually, we’d have kids and that I wanted the flexibility of being at home with them while still doing what I love: making beautiful things that would encourage people to connect with each other. I really believe that these were and still are pretty admirable goals. But somewhere along the way, other selfish goals crept in. Ones that slowly brought darkness into my happy little vision. Maybe a small success caused me to praise myself rather than thanking the One who gave me creativity in the first place. Or maybe I would drive through the beautiful historic neighborhoods here in Greenville and think to myself “one day….” Or maybe I grew impatient with the pace that my business was growing. I was doing ANYTHING but being still and resting in His perfect plan for me, my family, and my business. I was trying to control it all. Slowly, that darkness was sucking up the light. Fear was taking hold.

Fast forward to around Christmastime. Our sweet baby Bennett was about two months old and I was slowly getting back to work. I was going through a mentorship program and really felt like I was making some progress with my business plans and dreams. I was slowly realizing the mistakes I’d been making. It was around this time, however, that I found a lump in my breast while feeding our baby. No big deal, was my initial thought. I had some previous complications with breastfeeding and figured this was just leftover drama from all of that. I scheduled an appointment with my doctor just to be safe. She recommended I give it a week or two. Well, that’s plenty of time for me to google the heck out of whatever it could be and that’s when this new fear began to completely take over. This new fear blew all of my other mini fears out of the water. Over the next few weeks, I’d seen my regular doctor twice, a radiologist twice, and even a breast surgeon. No one could tell me 100% that this thing was nothing to worry about. I was scheduled for an aspiration (basically a biopsy) and had about a week to wait. Y’all, I really think that week changed me. There was nothing I could do but wait. Be still. These things are super hard for me. But the Lord knew I needed the practice. He knew there was a void of scripture in my life to turn to when I’m tempted to fear. In the meantime, I turned 30. On my birthday, my mom gave me Isaiah 49:16 in my card. The next day, a sweet friend gave me the same verse.

See I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.

I had no choice but to hide this in my heart and ask Him to take away my fear. And He did. By shifting my focus back towards His love and His provision. It was a miracle really. A worry wort like myself went into the doctor’s office with an unexplainable peace. And the next day when the results came back, this worry wort praised Him for His protection and for His provision for me and my family. We got the results back- and they were the good kind. We were dumbstruck by His care for us.

All this to say, I’ve been all over the place this past year: I can almost map my worry. Worries about being a mom, worries about being a good wife, worries about being a good friend, about making things that people will like…on and on, around and around. The Lord used the scariest time in my life to reveal to me my need for utter dependence on Him. It probably isn’t how I would have chosen to learn this lesson, but I’m thankful that He is at work. I’m thankful that He is daily, moment by moment revealing to me how much He loves me: through the coos of little Bennett, though the selfless acts of my husband, and through His word that I so desperately need to hide in my heart so that when these storms come, I am much better prepared to rest in Him.

How has all of this affected Miss Wyolene? It certainly doesn’t mean I stop doing what I’m doing. It does mean that I have refocused: I have clearer direction on what is most important. Miss Wyolene is a gift and a blessing: and one that I can’t control. I will do it well, but I will remember His provision. And any blessings that come as a result are from Him. His is the only direction I want to go.

Our pastor encourages us to build an altar and remember His goodness. We forget so easily. Thank you for stopping by mine. And just because I need all the help I can get in remembering, I made the above artwork into a desktop background. Feel free to download here for your personal use.

Love,
misswyolene_smallstamp-yellow

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Life Update…and Some Stationery, Of Course

Dear Readers and Fellow Paper Enthusiasts,

First of all, please forgive my sporadic blogging over the past few months. As you might have guessed, I took some time to have a baby which, turns out, was a pretty big deal. Despite my best efforts to be superwoman and blog each and every day with brand new paper items, it just didn’t happen. Truly, I’m glad it didn’t. Our little Bennett has been the wildest and best ride we could have ever imagined. He definitely has been keeping us on our toes!

Of course, like any good Southern gentleman, he does have his own man-baby stationery. He’s working on his writing skills. For now, it’s pretty much our interpretation of his squeals and coos. (A job we definitely enjoy!) Those of you who are familiar with Miss Wyolene’s work have probably noticed my affinity for all things pink, floral, and cursive. As you can imagine, this was a fun little exercise into a cute, but more dude-ish look. (And BLUE!) You might notice the hand drawn arrows that occur on both pieces? I took inspiration from the verse in Psalms that says:

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! (Psalms 127:3-5)

Bennett means “blessed” and we have been beyond measure. His presence in our family has given me fresh perspective on God, life, love, and even on business. As such, 2013 will likely be a wild year. In addition to caring for and loving on this little guy, I’ll be working on Miss Wyolene’s very first full collection! (There, I’ve put it out there. Into cyberspace. Talk about accountability!) While it’s all still in the very beginning stages, you can expect lots of hand drawn goodness, bright colors, and a few little treats along the way!

So here’s to 2013- mine and yours. Let’s make it the best year ever:  by loving more and creating more.

Update: Please forgive me, as this post is under construction. In an effort to maintain privacy for my family, I am going to reshoot the elements of little man’s stationery that do not include his picture. Thank you for your patience! If you are interested in baby stationery, drop me a line and I will happily email you pieces from my baby portfolio.

Love,

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Merry Christmas

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The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.  John 1:14

Love,

misswyolene_smallstamp-yellow-alone

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Hello Again and Christmas Promotion

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Well hey there! It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? In my absence, we welcomed our little boy in to the world. (A little boy who currently appears to be hungry…Hang on, Little Buddy, this will just take a second!)

To celebrate my return and Miss Wyolene’s first full year of self-employment, I’m offering 25 free thank you cards to brides who secure their 2013 invitation spot by December 31, 2012! Trust me, these beauties will come in handy as the showers begin and the gifts start arriving. (Oh, being engaged is the best, isn’t it?)

If you are an interested bride, feel free to email me at morgan@misswyolene.com or message me at my Etsy shop.

There’s so much more to come from me in the upcoming weeks. I have a new collection piece to show you and a few custom designs I’ve been working on for our little Baby Bennett! Plus, I have a feeling that 2013 is going to be a GREAT year for Miss Wyolene and I cannot WAIT to share it all with you!

Love,

misswyolene_smallstamp-yellow-alone

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