10 Days of Design Crush Anniversary Giveaways: Day 1 Artifact Uprising

 

Ten years ago this month I started Design Crush as a place to gather inspiration for my day job as a graphic designer, and five years ago it became my full-time job. I don’t even know how to begin to thank each of you for your support along the way to living this dream that I didn’t know I had. To be completely transparent, when it’s been good it’s been great and when it’s been bad I still couldn’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing. I never used to believe people who said when you love your job you’ll never work a day in your life, but it’s so very true. And to thank you all, as well as highlight some of my favorite sponsors from over the years, we’ll be hosting ten days of giveaways in celebration of ten years of this little site that could.

 

Print + Wood Cleat

I first met one of the founding sisters of Artifact Uprising at lunch during Alt Summit when we shared a table, and since then I’ve had the pleasure of partnering with them many a time. Katie and Jenna started AU on a foundation of a decade’s worth of experience as professional photographers and a desire to create printed photo goods with elevated quality, thoughtful design, and responsibly sourced materials.

 

Wood Calendar

Since 2012 they’ve done that and more by staying true to their mission and an authentic, creative-driven business model. Artifact Uprising‘s focus on sourcing recycled paper for their books and wood products continues to resonate with me and many others, and they continue to give good materials a second chance at life by using locally-sourced fallen beetle-kill pine.

 

 

From a basement to an office in Denver, Artifact Uprising still prides themselves on being an authentic company that’s true to its eco-conscious roots – and that matters! Consistently surrounding themselves with people who challenge, and building great things with great people is what AU is all about.

 

Float Frame

As Artifact Uprising continues to create beautiful, minimal products that everyone is sure to love, they also keep a focus on stellar customer interactions. Seriously – their customer service is some of the best I’ve ever experienced, and it shows in everything from the site’s interface and user experience to the end product showing up at your doorstep.

 

Instagram Friendly Frames

“We believe that doing good is more important than doing well – and that kindness makes the world right. We believe in travel and the things you can learn from getting lost. And we believe the best lessons come from the listening. We try to laugh when light is needed and persist when the path requires it. We love wide open spaces and campfires and the kind of quiet that allows you to hear the snow crunching below your feet. We believe in those who wake up every day to choose joy. And we believe in the underdog. We believe in always remembering where you came from. We believe each of us will – in time – do something really, really nice for the world.”

Artifact Uprising is kind enough to be giving away a $250 gift code to one Design Crush reader! There are up to SIXTEEN(!) ways to enter, but act fast because you only have 48 hours to get on it. (They’re also offering 10% off using code GIFTDAD if you’re shopping for Father’s Day!)

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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The Big Spring Closet Clean Out of 2017

 

I’ve been slowly going through my house, room by room, and getting rid of things I haven’t used recently. Call it the Marie Kondo method, call it decluttering, whatever you call it it feels really good. I’ve had April earmarked for my closet since the start of the year and was really looking forward to doing some serious damage. Most things end up in the donation pile, but there are usually a few more quality pieces that I’d like to get a return on – enter eBay!

 

 

 

If you’ve never sold with eBay before it couldn’t be easier, let me lay it out.

Step 1. List it.
Take a few photos to upload, decide on the selling format that’s right for you, and you’re done. (I love the feature that allows you to save a draft for later!)

Step 2. Ship it.
After your item sells mail it out.

Step 3. Get paid.
PayPal gets you your earnings in the fastest, simplest way – and for free.

Just think of all the potential cash you have laying around your house right now in the form of clothes you’re no longer into, kitchen appliances you’ve never opened, and decor that’s just not your jam anymore.

 

 

 

I’m good about keeping whatever’s on hangers down to what I wear on the regular, but things like jeans, sweater, and bags that are on shelves are more difficult to keep in check. By making a little extra cash on things I’m no longer wearing, I can justify buying this bamboo handbag I’ve been eyeing and this navy blue mini peasant dress that I’d love to have for summer. Like everything in life, keeping your belonging in check is all about balance.

 

 

 

Things I’m letting go of that are up for grabs?

A brightly hand painted, hand stitched clutch by Tiff Manuell.

A silk Missoni for Target scarf with a modern geometric zigzag pattern.

A rose gold MOTO 360 smartwatch that I just couldn’t get used to wearing.

A vintage 1980s black sequined handbag with a tied silk strap.

A linen scarf designed by one of my favorite painters, Kristi Kohut.

A small, sporty cross body goldenrod yellow leather purse with clasp closure.

A red, orange, and white bowling-style messenger bag from the 1990s.

A glazed canvas Wanderlust wallet from Petunia Pickle Bottom.

 

 

 

Be sure to check out eBay’s Clean Up, Cash In Game to learn what’s hot for selling by playing a fun match game, you’ll also be entered for a chance to win up to a $50 gift card. Add something new from your wishlist while clearing out the things from your own closet that might be on someone else’s – talk about a win-win!

This post sponsored by eBay. All words and opinions are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush creating fresh content!

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Then and Now

 

My Mom is my everything. My best friend, my sounding board, my ride or die. The one who gives me tough love when I need it and tells me to be gentle with myself when the days are hard. We’ve always been close, but it was only once we no longer lived in the same house that I began to appreciate the things that once annoyed me. The way she always put me first, how fiercely protective she can be, and even the amount of discipline she instilled in the way she raised me.

 

1981

My mom was made to be a mother, my mother. She had me at a young 22 years old, but was wise beyond her years after some difficult family circumstances early on in life. But once she gave birth she never really looked back – we went everywhere together, did everything, and were sidekicks. We still are.

 

2015

I wanted to give her something extra special this Mother’s Day, something that represents how we began and how far we’ve come as mother and daughter as well as friends. I chose two of Artifact Uprising‘s Instagram Friendly frames, each of them measures 8 x 10″ and is deep set with a gorgeous walnut finish. In the first she’s holding a one and half year old me in her arms at my cousin’s baptism, and in the second we’re crouching in together at Mother’s Day brunch two years ago.

 

 

Both of these photos were already in my Instagram feed, so I only had to connect the channel and voila – no uploading necessary. I know these two museum quality frames will be something my Mom cherishes for years to come, and I love that we can add to them in the future with more shots of the two of us!

This post sponsored by Artifact Uprising. All words and opinions are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush creating fresh content! Enjoy 10% off your order through May 9th with code AUxMOTHERDAY17.

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My House Got a Facelift

 

While I’ve shared plenty on the updates of the interior of my old, partially-flipped house, there hasn’t been nearly as much done on the exterior. Why? Simply put it’s more intimidating. But back in January I vowed that this is the year that things would get done, and I’ve started off by partnering with Mid-America to replace and add shutters to the front of my home. Mid-America is a leading manufacturer of siding accessories, and they also offer the largest selection of exterior home products in the industry, so I knew both me and my house were in the right hands.

 

 

Prior to now only one window had shutters of any kind, the large one on the first floor, front and center and a little to the left. They were wooden, measured incorrectly, and too short. The attic windows looked fine as they’re a more interesting design and flanked by shaker wood siding, but the trio on the second floor just looked… sad.

 

 

But no longer! From the street it looks like my house got a facelift. The good kind.

Every window was measured correctly this go around and the shutters installed like a dream with just a drill, screwdriver, and hammer. Mid-America offers a wide range of shutter styles and colors, all low maintenance with no painting required. They’re impervious to moisture and insects, which is something I highly value as the owner of a house that’s 117 years old, and made right here in the United States. I chose their straight top all louver shutter in black for all four windows and couldn’t be happier with the quality or end result.

 

 

On the list for 2017:
• landscape the small front yard, dispose of one hundred river rocks
• replace the porch light fixture with something more modern
• strip and paint back deck
• sand and repaint porch swing

Longterm plans:
• build wooden porch up to door height, railing, stairs
• have slate roof repaired
• landscape backyard
• replace porch roof support columns with a sleeker design

 

 

Get a load of the full-on before and after! Looking back the house seemed so incomplete without Mid-America’s shutters. Eventually I’d love to add sets to the windows on the back and east-facing sides for the full effect, but until then I can’t help but smile each time I pull into my driveway. Onto the next project!

 

This post sponsored by Mid-America. All words and opinions are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush creating fresh content!

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Accounting Confessions of a Businesswoman

 

Just like clockwork, I filed for my yearly tax extension yesterday.

See, I have a bit of an admission to make which is that I really hate numbers and money or any combination of the two. Design Crush has been a business for nearly ten years and an LLC for more than half of that, and I’m honestly just getting a hold on my books now. It’s always felt extremely overwhelming to me, and so I’ve never made the time to fully understand and grasp what was going on behind the scenes. Money in the bank? Great. Set aside enough of that payment for taxes? Done. And that’s basically the extent of what my plan has been until this year.

Accounting got to the point of being a constant source of stress, a point of mental wellness that needed addressing. So I reached out to FreshBooks after sitting in on one of their workshops, they made accounting seem both easy to tackle and far less overwhelming than it had up until this point.

 

 

I’ve teamed up with FreshBooks to bring you the story of my journey this year as I tackle the financial side of Design Crush – and what better time to start than Tax Day?

Let’s start from the beginning.

When I first logged into my free one month trial I was immediately impressed by the clean layout. One thing that’s always kept me away from other accounting software is the sheer amount of information being thrown my way visually. FreshBooks was actually designed to be simple to use for the self-employed and easy to navigate, and that’s actually what it is. It became apparent – quickly – that I was about to be far more streamlined as a business as soon as I familiarized myself with the system. (On average users save 16 hours per month!)

 

 

I played around backlogging invoices from January 2017 to the present, marking the paid ones off and entering the information of the brands I work with most often for future billing. FreshBooks helps you to create a professional looking invoice that includes your logo, as well as sends out reminders when one goes overdue – basically taking you out of the role as the bad guy. (I love this.) You can even personalize a thank you message that goes out once each invoice is paid. Now this feature is like magic to me, you can set up your account up to accept credit cards! *mind explodes* If you’d like to dig even deeper you can add additional charges for late payments and request deposits from clients. Everything can be automated, making invoicing as painless as humanly possible.

Invoicing features: customization, payment reminders, automatic late fees, accept credit cards, recurring invoices, flexible due dates, handle received invoices, discounts, deposit requests, preview before sending, multi-currency billing, multi-language invoices, duplicate invoices, automatic tax calculations

 

 

Next thing, I photographed receipts and uploaded them to mark as expenses. Being a visually-driven person, it really helps that I’m able to see both the actual receipt as well as the file in FreshBooks. Nearly all of the functions include a line graph spelling things out for those of us who comprehend information better in that form. In this case I can tell immediately how much I’ve been spending and how profitable Design Crush is at any moment. Goodbye shoebox of receipts and manual entry! My accountant is already thanking you because he won’t be receiving a handwritten list for my 2016 taxes. *cringe*

Expense features: receipt attachments, tax-friendly categories, easy to read summaries, remembered vendors, multi-currency tracking, easily editable

 

 

So, this is the start of my journey. I’m looking forward to sharing more of what I learn along the way as I step out of my comfort zone and tackle this neglected area of Design Crush. If you have any questions about FreshBooks I’d love to try and help get answers for you from their award-winning rockstars in customer service. In the meantime, you can sign up for a free monthlong trial right here!

This post sponsored by FreshBooks. All words and opinions are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Design Crush creating fresh content!

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Tips + Tricks: Creative Business

 

It’s been awhile since we last shared a tips + tricks column, so today I thought I’d share a little about what I’m always reading up on – running a creative business. You don’t have to be a blogger to benefit from this list of advice, honestly you don’t even have to work in a creative field. I’m forever searching for a work/life balance, trying to figure out my next step should be in this ever-evolving field, and how to make the most of the 24 given hours in each day. (And about 100 other things.) Drop any go-to advice of your own in the comments!

 

How to Negotiate Your Own Licensing Agreement

You Need a Contract, Here’s How to Make One

5 Tips for Writing a Solid Business Plan

MailChimp for Designers

Tips for a Better Work-Life Balance

How to Get Your Life Back When Freelancing Has Taken Over

10 Steps to Get Verified on Facebook – and Why You Need to

How Do You Know When It’s Time to Hire?

Your Ultimate Goal to Saying No to People You Can’t Say No to

13 Gmail Hacks That’ll Instantly Maximize Your Productivity

Photo Tips From Instagram Stars

How to Get a Reply From a Cold Email

45 Things You Can Outsource to a Virtual Assistant

6 Scientific Hacks to Keep You Focused at Work

7 Tips for Working From Home

10 Habits of Healthy and Happy Business Owners

What to Say When a Non-Profit Asks for Free Work

What to Call Yourself When You’re a Multi-Talented Freelancer

Why Every Solo-Preneur Needs a Hobby

Media Kit Checklist: 15 Must Have Items

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Nevertheless, She Persisted Tees!

 

LET’S TAKE THIS ONE STEP FURTHER. After our hugely successful post full of printable #resistance postcards some of you reached out about the possibility of selling my design as a t-shirt. My gears immediately started turning, because why hadn’t I thought of that??

I submitted my design to Cotton Bureau (a favorite business right here in Pittsburgh) and as of today you have two weeks to purchase it on their site! The shirt is being offered in white, maroon, and vintage black in both men’s and women’s sizes for you to rock on your hot little bods. (Note: None of the shirts are pre-washed, but should only shrink *maybe* half an inch if washed in cold water.)

Half of all proceeds are headed straight to the ACLU! So buy it, wear it, and stand up for what you believe in.

 

 

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