Why Just a Card Matters
  image from justacard.org

image from justacard.org

Any of you out there who’ve ever vended at a craft fair, art show or own a small independent shop know how important each and every sale is. No matter how big or how small. They ALL add up to the success of your business. I’ve had plenty of shows where pretty much all my sales were just 1 $5 card. And they all made me happy and all added up to a good day of sales.

That’s why when I heard about the Just A Card campaign based out of the UK I had to share their message.

The Campaign was started by UK Artist & Designer Sarah Hamilton, who was inspired by a quote she saw “If everyone who’d complimented our beautiful gallery had bought ‘just a card’ we’d still be open” from a shopkeeper who’d gallery had recently closed down. Now us creative makers and shop owners have heard that - how nice your product is, how many pretty things your shop has - from shoppers who never ended up buying anything. Now, not that people should be pressured to buy anything they don’t want to, but a lot of times people are embarrassed to just buy one $5 item. But what you may not realize is that those small sales all add up and make or break a shop - or your final show sales. A business is built one sale at a time.

Sarah decided to be the voice for Makers/Independent shop owners/Galleries and started the Just A Card campaign to bring more awareness to all that’s involved in running these small businesses - including all the costs involved you may not think about - and to say, you know that one card or any other purchase that you might think it too small to make a difference - it’ll make a difference. Most small business owners run their shops because they are passionate about what they make/do. They are 100% dedicated to their vision and every single sale is crucial to their success. And unlike most big box corporations, these small businesses are more likely to be community oriented, creating events to bring people to their shops and bringing their communities together.

If you want to learn more about the initiative and support them hit up the website www.justacard.org and follow them on Instagram - they highlight some incredibly talented people while spreading the message of Just A Card.

Hopefully, this movement will continue to grow beyond the UK, I know so many amazing artists here in Canada as well as so many Independently owned businesses that are super supportive of small creative businesses like mine.

xo, michelle

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My One Do-Over
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While I don't really believe in regrets, there's always at least 1 thing in our lives we'd love to have a do-over on.

And if we're being honest with each other, we ALL have something we'd either take back or do-over. An that's ok. I like to think of it as learning experiences. As long as you learn from them!

So, what's my big do-over? Believing in myself. When thunderpeep was just a nugget of an idea I signed up for a government-funded small business course, one that would basically walk me through setting up and establishing a small business, including financial support. But at the last minute, I got cold feet and took a job I was offered instead. I went for the steady paycheck. Because I didn't believe in myself. And I didn't have a support system that believed in me and encouraged me. Now I've met other people who took that course and there are mixed reviews so who knows what would have happened. But I think I would have learned one important thing that took me awhile to learn on my own. Believing in myself and my ideas. I think most creative people struggle with that, so I know I'm not alone there. My journey to get to today was probably a lot harder than it needed to be because I didn't trust in myself. But all that struggle will make the end game that much sweeter - that's how you make lemonade from life's lemons! I've also learned the importance of surrounding yourself with people who will listen and support you and whose opinion I trust when they say that idea is just plain stupid. You need your tribe.

So, while I would probably do things differently if I had the opportunity to do it over, I don't 100% regret the decision.  But of coarse I will always wonder what life would look like if I'd taken that chance on myself back then instead of waiting.

How about you, anything you'd love to have a do-over on?

xo, michelle

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DIY Notepads
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I love notepads. Probably because I love making lists. And checking things off those lists. And you know what? They are super duper easy to make yourself. Just get some of that goopy white glue we used in elementary school, so heavy duty clips or elastic bands, some paper and you're good to get crafting!

So, we've got a couple of options here first. Paper. If you've got a pile of scrap paper lying around, making a notepad out of it is a great way to use it up. Just trim them all to roughly the same size. I do also have a couple of cute printable lists in the shop, one of which I'll be using in the photos!

OK, HERE WE GO...

  • Let's get our paper and make sure they sheets are trimmed to the same size. Any size you'd like, there are no set sizes for DIY notepads ;) I'm using my Get Shit Done list as our example and it's a nicely sized 3.5 x 8.5" sheet. I've trimmed down 25 sheets here for our sample. 25-50 is a good size for a notepad. You'll also need to trim down a piece of either heavier card stock or chipboard for the backing of your pad. Once you have all your sheets and backing, shuffle them together so that you have a smooth edge on top.
  • I usually place a piece of scrap paper or some scrap chipboard (as seen below) on top of the first page to protect it from any glue that might spill over during the padding. If you're doing multiple pads together you can place an extra sheet in between the pads to protect the first page of each pad (just tear it off once they are all separated) Then, once everything is all straight and in place, I use 2 bull clips to hold everything in place (or anything sturdy that will hold the sheets in place - if I have a really large stack of pads I'll use those thick elastics that come with asparagus bundles and then place some heavy books on top of the pile) Now it's time to glue! 
  • Depending on how many pads you are making, you only need a dollop of glue, about the size of a nickel-quarter. Here I'm only doing 1 pad so I've used the nickel size (and it was a bit too much). Then grab your paintbrush and dab a small amount onto the brush.
  • We'll start with a thin layer of glue across the top of your pad, brushing from side to side. Don't glob it on, we only need a thin layer to start. Really get into the corners to ensure you cover the entire top of the pad.
  • Once you have the area covered dip your brush in a bit more glue (if you need it) and put another layer on but this time brush up and down. This will ensure the glue is getting into all the tiny nook and crannies of the paper. Again a thin layer - this is our foundation!
  • Now that you have your foundation you can add more glue, brushing it in all directions. This final layer doesn't need to be as thin as the previous 2, but if it's dripping down a lot you've probably gone too far.
  • You can always use a finger or other paintbrush to clean up the sides and edges if there are drippy bits.
  • Now go get yourself a snack, watch some Netflix, scroll your Instagram... you'll be waiting a couple of hours for this guy to dry. For 1-2 small pads - 2 hours should be good, if it feels smooth and dry it's ready. If you've done more, especially a stack of them, you'll have to wait about 5 hours. I usually do a stack in the evening to be ready the next morning. With larger stacks, you might want to do a second coat as well. If the padding feels thin and rough it's a good idea to do a second coat.
  • If you've just done 1 pad, like I've done here you can pull off the clips and carefully pull back the protection piece on top of your pad. It might stick slightly to the first page of your pad so don't just pull it away. Sometimes that first page can get a bit snagged, but with a little practice, you'll become a pro at the clean tear off! If you have some bits stuck behind on your pad (as is the case in the image below) you can some scissors or an Exacto knife to scrape them away, for a super clean edge. Just be careful and don't cut yourself ;)
  • If you've done 2 or more pads you'll need to tear them apart carefully as well. I like to use a regular old knife, or even a thin metal ruler if you've got one. Carefully grab each pad and pull it up from the pile using the knife/ruler to cut it away from the stack. 

Voila, you've got a notepad! No fancy equipment needed, just a wee bit of patience and some time. This technique can also be used to make perfect bound books - but that'll be for another tutorial at another time. 

Happy note-taking :)

xo, michelle

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Packing up. Moving on
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Most of 2017 for me was spent downsizing. Minimizing. Packing up what was left and moving it across the country. (Toronto to Vancouver Island)

I'm kind of a minimalist by nature. I don't like crowded spaces or a lot of mess. Not that my house is a neat & tidy at all times ;) I just like to have room to let my own thoughts and ideas roam around me without too much distraction. Plus when you keep things to a minimum you don't have as much to clean!

I've also learned to value the things I do have. It has purpose and meaning - which I find the older I get the more important that is. I say minimalist but I have A LOT of books. And not just novels, but pretty illustrated books that I maybe haven't read, they are more for design inspiration. Truthfully I was really unhappy living in Toronto, it wasn't my place and most of the "things" I had were probably more for comfort than practicality. I'm back where I belong now and am not finding I need comfort things as much (I mean I'll always want the comfort of certain things like my compilation of Hans Christian Andersen stories and my little glow in the dark kodama figure)

Whenever I tell someone I got rid of all my stuff and moved across the country, I always get the same response. "Wow, that's so brave. I could never do that". Yeah, it's a big undertaking and was a lot of work (and stress) and when I hear people say that I wonder how many people don't do things because they seem too daunting of a task. I'll be posting more in the future about the move, what led up to it, and the first year in my new city - so maybe it won't seem so scary to someone else. At least not scary enough to not do. Half the battle is just making the decision to do it. 

So I thought I'd make a little list of the top 3 things I learned from the experience and 3 tips for anyone thinking of a BIG move.

3 lessons learned

  1. You'll miss everything once you don't have it. But it's like a sugar craving, wait for a bit and you'll get over it. At least once a day I say to myself - oh man that would come in handy right now, but then I just find another way to do whatever it was and then it's done.

  2. Stress is normal and to be expected. You are flipping your life upside down and it's going to be rough, but knowing this and bracing for those turbulent times makes them a wee bit easier to deal with. And some days you are just going to want to stay in bed all day watching Netflix, ignore the world outside and that is 100% OK!

  3. Making friends as an adult is hard and takes a lot of time. I'm more of an introvert too, so this one worried me a bit. Finding my people, my tribe, like-minded people to do things with and other creative businesses to network with. But most cities have great resources for finding people. I joined some Meetup and Facebook groups for activities that I was interested in and once I started meeting people - who may or may not go on to become friends - I started learning about other resources and groups to join to meet more people. The first step putting myself out there was HARD, but once I took the first step (and luckily I met a great woman right off the bat who loves meeting and connecting new people) it was like people just kept throwing info and introductions at me! It's kind of like dating, you have to go through a lot of people to find the right ones!

5 tips for big moves

  1. Be organized. Whatever system you prefer just have a system to keep everything organized and accounted for. I have lists of the contents of each and every box, the ones that were shipped right away and the ones that stayed in storage. I made priority lists of the things I'd need as soon as I got there and things that could wait to be shipped until I was settled in (Although I did leave all my winter attire in storage and of course it snowed in BC within weeks of me getting here....) Also if you are moving provinces (or states I'm sure some of this would apply) you need to do the research on the finer details of switching over all your documentation (licences, insurance, healthcare, etc) It's fairly easy to find with a google search, but best to know these details before you actually move.
  2. Take the time to do your research and have a plan of action. No one just wakes up one day and says I'm going to move to another city and just does it the next day. I mean maybe if you're 21 and just finished college and have no responsibilities or ties to anyone (been there done that and it was awesome - if you're 21!) I made my decision a year before I moved. I knew I wasn't in a rush and wanted to be sure I would be on somewhat solid footing when I got here and had a plan I could stick to for the first 2 months to help me adjust and stay focused on what I needed to do to set myself up for success.
  3. Get excited. Motivate yourself. Pinterest the shit out of it. Pin up pictures around your home and workspace to motivate you. This may sound kind of woo woo, but it definitely worked for me. On days when I started to doubt myself, if it was the right move, at the right time. (So much more on this one to come - I could write a novel!) I could look at those pics and quotes and remind myself WHY I was doing it. I also had some great friends who would send me pics and pick me up messages when I got down. I even made a little mantra for myself that I use still on days when I get a little freaked out and second guess my decision. No one is 100% confident every hour of every day. But finding ways to let the self-doubt roll in, embrace it and then kick it out the door important in all aspects of life. You can abso-fucking-lutely do it if you set your mind to it!!!

Ok, that's it for today. If you have any other good tips for surviving big moves feel free to share in the comments :)

xo, michelle

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Ugly at Home

Know someone who's moving to a new place? We've got a housewarming card for that! Find it in the online shops here

Love is in the house!
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Valentine's Day is still over a month away and while love has no timeline, the postal system does!!!

Yeah, yeah that's a pretty cheesy way of saying - get your orders in on time, but that's how we roll over here at thunderpeep hq. 

We've got some sweet and salty love cards in the shop for you to choose from.

You're welcome!

xo, michelle

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Happy 2018
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We're pretty excited around these parts, there's nothing our little organizational hearts like more than prepping the new Calendars and planners with all the goals, dreams and intentions for the upcoming year. So between celebrating and gift giving and netflix binging, we started in on our 2018 planner! We've got some pretty huge plans for 2018, and we plan on crushing them all!

In honour of this plannerific time of year, we've got all Calendars and Planners in our Printables shop 25% for the rest of 2017!!!

You are most welcome! And don't forget you can share your planning journeys with us on instagram and facebook, we love seeing how other people plan.

xo, michelle

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