Of course, I wouldn't trade him for the world.
I inherited this room when Jess moved out and got married. To say that I schemed, planned and drew diagrams for the 16 months leading up to her wedding would be an understatement. The dream of having my very own space took root immediately upon her engagement, and while I didn't want her to feel like I was pushing her out of the nest, the tape measure I often wielded over her head and behind her back while she was making wedding plans may have given me away.
Soon after Jess departed with her new hubby for their honeymoon, I was cleaning out the remaining remnants of her childhood and setting up my new space. It was such a relief after the stress of wedding planning and I enjoyed every minute of putting it together.
In the nearly three years that I've been in here now, the space has been re-arranged many times. New pieces of furniture have come in, old ones have gone out and shelves have been organized and changed to fit my needs.
One thing that has not changed is the need to have the right tools for the job of creating new projects for my home or products for our business. Through trial and error, I have come to rely on an army of gadgets to satisfy my need to create. Here's a glimpse at some of my favorites.
1. HP TouchSmart computer with 23" monitor
I love this computer not so much for the touch screen, which I rarely use, but for the size of the screen. When it comes to creating new designs, there is nothing like having a monitor that is nearly as big as the large cutting mat on my Cameo.
2. Silhouette Cameo and Silhouette Studio software
We do a lot of work with vinyl and card stock. None of what we do would be possible without these two items. With its clean cutting, easy to use software and its independence from annoying and expensive cartridges, the Cameo is the best cutting machine I have ever used.
3. Martha Stewart Scoring Board
When you want to make neat, crisp fold lines, this is the tool for the job! With easy-to-read markings and storage for the included bone scorer, it is one handy dandy piece of equipment.
4. Fiskars Paper Cutter
This is the kind that chops, not the rotary kind. I can't use the rotary style anymore because of a shoulder problem, and I miss it, but this "chop-style" cutter is perfect for cutting strips, trimming off edges or any other job where you need an accurate cut.
5. Google Drive
Jess and I use Google Drive for our business every day. It allows us to share and edit files without having to email them back and forth and save them to our own hard drives. We love it for listing product inventory, price lists and even keeping track of how much paint we have on hand. It is really helpful when you are on the go and need to access something because you can sync it with your phone. For example, if I happen to be at Michaels and notice they have Folk Art paint on sale, I can look at my phone and see which colors I need to buy to replenish my stock!
We ship a lot of stuff. A LOT OF STUFF. The ability to pay for and print out postage on line makes this so much easier! An added bonus that saves a ton of gas and time is scheduling a pick up. Yes, your mail man will pick up packages right at your front door so you don't have to drive to the Post Office! I don't know how I would get along without this amazing tool! Or without my unbelievably patient mail man, Jeff.
7. Phone Apps
We all use our phones for calls, texting, checking emails, etc. but did you know that there are some very helpful apps that you can use for your business?
Dropbox - A great program for sharing files, photos and reports among numerous users.
Etsy - Because who doesn't love that "cha-ching" sound when you make a sale?
WhichStates - This app was created for people to keep track of states they have visited. We use it to track where we have sent our products. We have seven states to go before we can say we have shipped to all fifty states in the U.S!
My fine point tweezers, made by Lake City Craft Company in Nixa, Missouri are the absolute best ever for weeding vinyl. I have several pairs because I tend to set them down somewhere and forget about them. Just one word of warning, wear shoes when you are using these because if you drop them, they always land point-side down and they are sharp! I can't tell you how many times I've yanked them out of the carpet right next to my foot.
These are just a few of our favorite tools but there are many more that we use every single day. What tools, tips, apps have you found that you couldn't live without? Please comment below and share with the rest of us!
Oh, and just for fun, here's a video of Frisco getting the mail. It's how he earns his keep!