Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Purple Princess

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"Child of the pure, unclouded brow
And dreaming eyes of wonder!
Though time be fleet and I and thou
Are half a life asunder,
Thy loving smile will surely hail
The love-gift of a fairy tale."
Lewis Carroll
Prologue - Through the Looking Glass

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Photo Folie - Oak, Damask and Teal

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photo from here

Happy Friday! I hope this email finds you in good spirits. Even though I have, as always, too many things to do, I am glad to offer Photo Friday on an actual Friday this time! Today's shoe inspiration is taken from a child's room in shades of snappy teal and cerulean blue, with white, tan, and damask prints thrown into the mix. Similarly, today's shoes offer the same mix of hues and patterns. The style and velvet makes them girlie and vintage, but the colors are modern. At least, that's my take on it.

Here they are, the Harper shoes. One pair, size 5.
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While I was working on these, Robert told me to fess up, "You make the shoes, then find the picture, don't you?" Ahh... heck no! It's actually really really hard to do it that way, unless I am making something very monochromatic. Usually, I print out a half dozen pictures I find inspiringl. Then, I spread them out on the studio floor, pulling out a pile of fabrics and trims, and then about 20+ ideas come to my head. Picking one is always the hardest part. Around an hour and one trashed studio later: voilà. Photo Friday shoes.

Perhaps you're wondering, how would my little girl wear these unusual pair of shoes? I am so glad you asked:
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Little green gingham skirt by Olive's Friend Pop, Silk Tuxedo Shell in begonia by Crew Cuts, Felt Hair clips by Modern Bean, Sewing Basket apron by Anthropologie, Harper shoes by Joyfolie of course!

These days, styles seem to be more eclectic than matchy, so I wouldn't feel compelled to pair these shoes with any teal at all. {In fact, I think it would be better not to.} Pinks and reds would be good choices, or a pair of baby jeggings {jean leggings} and a little flouncy white top would work if you feel that compelled to match.

As mentioned, I am just as busy as ever, but it's wonderful to begin settling into a routine. I enjoy the special, quiet time with Mia in the morning. She is getting girlier by the hour it seems, getting into my make-up bag and perpetually greeting me slathered with lipstick because she "needed some color." Oy vey! She is so emphatic about it that she tends to push chairs about the house, scaling great heights regardless of where I attempted to hide my lip gloss. She perpetually looks like a grease monkey from getting it in her hair, and even gunked up a pair of shoes in the studio. {Sorry, Jackie.}

As for my boy, he loves school. He's a boy, so he doesn't come home saying that in so many words. Instead, yesterday at 5 o'clock, he was smiling big as a cheshire cat while he made his own lunch and packed his backpack for the next day. So cute. And I am so glad he's happy.

As for selling more shoes, here's the thing: I'm struggling with successfully growing my manufactured lines and offering handmade. I feel like putting energy into the former and not the latter is what will give me better balance and less frustrated customers in the long run. What I am thinking is that I just might pick one regular time every week and offer some shoes then. I'm still kicking around some ideas, but I will tell you more soon. Have a lovely weekend!
Monday, August 23, 2010

First Day

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"To make an end, is to make a beginning." ~ T.S. Elliot "Little Gidding"

Today was Aidan's first day of kindergarten. It's a sweet and sad, triumphant sort of melancholy this morning. I seldom mention this, but when Aidan was three he went through a period of regression: loss of speech, terrible and chronic tantrums, and a disengaged way about him. We had him accessed for speech, but we were startled and burdened by the education system's recommendation of autism. Ultimately, we took the services, but did not have him formally labeled. One of my biggest fears at that time was that Aidan wouldn't be "normal" or go to regular school.

And yet, here we are! The first day of regular kindergarten! Aidan is still verbally behind his peers, but he is, minus some minor quirks, a pretty regular kid. He was excited for school today. As much as I wanted to send him off in a broken-in green polo and nubuck shoes, he wore a brand new and very plastic-y looking Ironman shirt, and the three of us walked to school.
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Once there, Aidan seemed pretty at home, already talking to new and familiar friends.
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He seemed a little tired, but all-in-all pretty good. He barely noticed when we left. And now we're home, and the house has a lovely and slightly solemn quiet. I know that many of you are sending your own not-quite-so-little ones off to school. Well wishes to you and yours as you also adjust to the ever changing stage of life.
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Here is one last photo: Mia picking flowers on the walk back. These basic pink Joyfolie shoes have the look of tweed and just the perfect tinge of purple, available later this week.
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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Photo Folie - Plum and Leaves

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photo by Elizabeth Ann from Ez's lovely blog, Creature Comforts

"All the other colors are just colors, but purple seems to have a soul - when you look at it, it's looking back at you." ~Uniek Swain

What a week it has been! I feel extraordinary blessed to have so many positive things happening all at once. The only problem with having a business this current size and stage is that life seems extremely unpredictable. I do my best to strategize and plan, but it doesn't seem to matter! But before I get into all that, let me share another Photo Friday with you. At this point, I'm thinking I should call it Photo Saturday, but it doesn't have that same ring. I am greatly looking forward to school starting, re-establishing a routine, and hopefully having a little more consistency around here.

For this photo Friday, we are featuring my miss Mia's favorite color: purple. In fact, she won't wear any Joyfolie shoes ever since her father bought her some tacky purple light up flip flops. I just can't compete with LED lights, I guess. I'm hoping that she'll hearken back to Joyfolie shoes if I persuade her with watercolor purples and lavenders and a sparkle here or there. These are called Perla. For now, only one pair, available here. A special thanks to Elizabeth, for her lovely photo which inspired the shoes!
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I may have shared this before, but Mia is so taken with purple, that in current discussions, she insists that her eyes are not brown. When I pressed, "Well, Mia, then what color are they?" Her reply: "Mommy! They are dark, dark purple!"
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You are probably wondering things like: What's going on with the fall line? What about the women's items? Will I ever sell all that inventory I keep talking about? The answer to all of it is Yes! It's all happening later than I hoped. In a few weeks, I'll be able to explain the set back. If you are interested in Joyfolie shoes, please be sure to "like" us on Facebook because that is the best way to be informed of when we will list new designs. As I mentioned, a very exciting and unexpected projected delayed the Thursday post I was planning. Aidan is starting kindergarten this week, so we are busy on the home front, too.

As for fall pieces, here is a little preview: a longer version of the Blythe jacket, lovely and comfy tie dresses in an assortment of colors, wide belts for women, and a few women's tops, too. All I can say is the hold up isn't on my end, and sometimes I just need to be patient. As soon as I have more details, I will post them. I do have a gorgeous model lined up and hope to photograph a sneak peak of some women's items soon.

Have a lovely weekend! Blessings to you all!
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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Photo Folie - Eucalyptusand Feathers

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photo credit: "She was a Swan" by Jennifer Morris Photo

Another photo Friday! I love this image by Jennifer Morris: the clean white paired with airy textures. Inspired by my recent trip to an organic/green resort in Austin, I decided to make an extra effort to include some of my more unique and eco-friendly textiles. These shoes, the Eisley, are made from soft and fuzzy eucalyptus that is manufactured in a green facility. It is paired with a bit of lace and lined in reclaimed velvet. I photographed them on an old vintage milk crate {one of my favorite decorative finds} and paired it with a sprig of crepe myrtle.
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I have not sold them yet--they are size 4. I might need them for a special project, but I have lots of eucalyptus fabric. You'll probably see more eco-friendly materials in the near future: cork fabric, reclaimed silks, and vintage french tea towels to name a few!
Friday, August 13, 2010

What's the News, Kitty Cat?

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Linen shoes in the Kitty Chronicle newspaper print. Black panther shoes with heirloom lace and sparkly gems. Gabbi shoes in cream. They're the cat's meow for your little fashionista.

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I'm sorry it took me so long to get this post together. I shot all the images and loved the composition--I thought they had the perfect amount of light and shadow. When I opened them up, they were all much too dark. All that work had to be scrapped and redone. *sigh* In the interim, I received a very exciting email. I've been praying a lot about my little company. It's very difficult to have a business and have balance. My children are still so little. I don't want to look back with regret, and I have been praying for confirmation and encouragement, if going forward is His desire. He answered in such a big way. I hope, a little further down the road, I can tell you all the details.

In the meantime, here are some photos of new designs. I have, as mentioned, over 100 pairs of shoes in the studio. My fabulous intern, Paige, went back to school. I have yet to hire a replacement.

One of the first of those styles I will offer is the newsprint shoes below called Kat. I love this fabric. It's the perfect shade of linen with black newsprint letters from the "Kitty Chronicle." It would be so cute in a peep toed bootie like these.
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Additional designs are the black panther jersey print with a bit of reclaimed lace and silver gem. Like I said in a previous post, these would be perfect with a silhouette t-shirt and distressed jeans or a ruffly cream little dress.
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I'm disappointed with how these photos turned out. I had much more elaborate chalk sketches and lots of stylized photos with beads and fabric. In the end, my concentration was totally thrown, and I had the kids leaning over my shoulder, stealing beads and trying to "dust" the ground with my reclaimed french silks.
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I am not sure when I will offer the shoes. I am thinking Thursday evening for all 3 styles. I was planning on sooner, but a project {mentioned above} came up that I will be working on earlier in the week. All of them are in my full range of sizes: 2-8.

I'll close with another photo of my gorgeous little niece. You can see more photos of her here. I have a new photo friday design, but I still haven't gotten to take the pictures. I'm working on it! Have a lovely Saturday! XO
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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Eden's Heirloom Swimsuit

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As some of you know, Jen of Eden's Bouquet and I are friends. We swapped items a bit ago, but I just got to posting photos now. You really must visit her fantastic online boutique! You can also visit her lovely blog here.

Mia was so excited about her swimsuit. "Oooo. Thank you! Thank you so much!" she kept saying. Although she added that it "really needs a purple necklace." Oh, my girl!
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I realized it has been so long since I have photographed Mia.
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She is so affectionate and sweet. She has been potty trained and very talkative since about 18 months. I feel like she's been this self-sufficient little chatterbox her whole life.
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I can't believe she'll be three in a few months.
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She really clings to me right now, and every night asks me to "stay and cuddle." How can I refuse? Aidan is the same with Robert, so it's nice that we each have our own little buddy.
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Thanks, Jen, for the lovely swimsuit and other goodies. Little Mia is very happy!
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There and Back

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Robert and I celebrated our tenth anniversary this week at an all organic/green resort on Lake Travis in the hill country of Austin. It was a beautiful resort with hiking trails, spa, and fresh, organic gourmet fair. We did a little cliff jumping, swimming, dinning, and shopping. Mostly we just sat on our balcony, rested and talked.


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At one point we chatted with the owner/manager of the resort. He spoke of all the extra details and thorough thoughtfulness they used in the resort's operation and design. {Even the glass subway tiles in the dining room were made from recycled windshields!} It made me think more about Joyfolie, and how I've gotten away from some of these concepts as of recently. I have unusual fabrics--reclaimed leather, organic eucalyptus, cork, and heirloom lace--that I haven't used in a long time, but should! The resort was inspiring and reminded me of how much I love when something is constructed carefully and with a history.
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On our trip, I also got to visit my favorite fabric shop. I picked up lovely silks, some vintage remnants, and jeweled buttons. I was unpacking these items, when Mia came to inquire what I was doing. I told her it was just fabric, but she insisted on seeing it. She oohed and aahed and wanted to inspect every piece, stroking the fabric and adding, "It's lovely." She insisted on holding the sparkly buttons and asked me what I would make. "I don't know, what do you think I should make?" I pressed.

"Hmm.... use the fabric to make me a pretty dress. The buttons you can use to make me matching shoes," was her reply. I love her!
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All that to say, I just got back and will be responding to emails as soon as possible. Hope you are enjoying your weekend!

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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Today is the Day

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"Today is the Day" poster by thebigharumph

"Nothing is worth more than this day." ~ Goethe

It's been an intense week. I feel like I want to jump headlong off the mental cliff. When I feel this way, I often tell myself now is the hardest time. If you have been reading for awhile, then you know that my business began exclusively handmade while I was teaching. Gradually, demand for my product has driven me into manufactured... first boots, then clothing. Now, I am working on a whole line of fall items: clothing for little girls, a few clothing pieces for women, and a full line of firm-soled shoes. In the interim, I also have an intern who works 25 hours a week {she is doing an amazing job}, and she and our staff make all our shoes via in-house fabrication. For those shoes, I often handle all the detail/finish work on the shoes personally {i.e. flowers, bows, etc.}

I used to idealize what it would be like to have manufactured product. Now I know all the demands, trouble shooting, emails, etc. that it requires. Over the past few weeks, just my manufacturing lines alone have needed full time attention. However, I also do the bulk of the order management, and currently answer 100% of the Joyfolie email volume. So, I am dealing with the handmade {now} and the manufacturing {future} and also doing all the things moms do... taking care of my kiddos, buying the groceries, cleaning the house, folding the laundry, etc. Robert picks up much of slack, and we eat out more than we eat in. Nonetheless, it is too much. I keep telling myself that it's hard now, but when I have more manufactured product in, I'll be able to hire full time staff. I won't have a personal hand in production any more. It will get easier.
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"Today" print by NejellaPhotoArt

You are probably starting to glaze over... because it's sort of boring and not many people care about the nitty gritty of my life/biz. But today, even though I am swamped, I felt like sharing it for two reasons.

First, if you have sent me an email, I'm sorry, as it is probably taking me a really long time to answer. Also, if your email is about a custom order {which I do not offer} or just a general comment, please understand that I might not be able to respond. I know, it sounds unappreciative, which breaks my heart. But especially for my kiddos, I need to draw as many boundaries with my business as I can. I could easily spend a few hours a day, explaining how we have very limited inventory, our items sell out immediately when listed, and due to the nature of the business, we don't offer different sizes/colors. In the end, I have decided that the best way to address this issue, rather than putting my energy into emails is channeling it towards future growth, so that I will be able to staff emails/general customer inquiries in the future.

Second, I realized that in my pursuit of tomorrow, I don't want to lose sight of today. Have you ever been in a place in your life where you were longing for tomorrow, whether is be for a new job, a better house, a different season? I think it's good to hope for tomorrow so long as we don't let it rob today of its joys. A few days ago I read this: "What is my vision of God's purpose for me? Whatever it may be, His purpose for me is to depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay calm, faithful, and unconfused while in the middle of the turmoil of life, the goal of the purpose of God is being accomplished in me. God is not working towards a particular finish--His purpose is in the process itself." ~ Oswald Chambers

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"Today" photo by NumericDesign

It resonated with me. It's not that I am unhappy today, just too busy. I have let my health, my patience, and my god-given mandate for rest fall slack. I don't want to let interest in my product {flattering as it may be} drive the momentum of my life, especially while my kiddos are still so young. I really don't know what the solution is, but if I keep thinking, praying, and asking, I'll figure it out.

On a lighter note and in keeping with the theme of "today," I thought I would share this vinyl wall decal by Empressive Designs:
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I haven't forgotten about the women's giveaway, but it is falling behind some more pressing issues. I also have dozens of shoes piling up on the table in the studio: shiny gold shoes, Amry's, a version of the Novi's, and a new design of indigo blue shoes. It's our 10th anniversary this week, and Robert and I are going away for just a few days. This is part of what it throwing me into a tailspin. The end of the week, I'll post some times for the shoes mentioned.

Wishing you a lovely today wherever and however you spend it!

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I would also like to extend my personal thanks to those of you who have been patient with our company as we go through growing pains. Our staff is so small, that it only takes a bit of press or additional exposure to spike our sales to the point where we start running behind. I really care about my customers and the integrity of my business. It bothers me tremendously when this happens, and I am striving for ways to combat this issue. I am perpetually amazed at the kindness with which my customers respond to this problem; it is like a soothing balm to my anxiety and one of the biggest indicators that God's hand is on this small company!

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