April 11, 2012

Ellen Got a Job

Say it ain't so.  I was kind of, secretly, hoping, that she could just hang out with me, forever, even once SLD is closed.  ;)

But, it's happened.

I am actually thrilled for her, she gets to continue sewing, post SLD, as the alterations seamstress at our local tailoring shop, and she's really excited to learn more in this craft.  I told her I had many jeans she can let out for me as practice, as I have put on my winter pounds ;)

Anyhow, the timing is perfect.  Yesterday she shipped out the last customs packages.  Sniff.  Today she comes in to start setting up our SLD Fabric Shop....and after that it will just be occasional help with the fabric shop as she fits me into her new work life.

I doubt she'll have nearly as much fun.  I mean, how could she?  I remember the first day she interviewed with me, she brought her dog, Chelsea, since she had biked over to my house.  She later told me that bringing Chelsea was a "test" and apparently I passed.  Ha!  I thought I was supposed to be the one testing her! ;)

Chelsea and Maddie (my dog) ended up becoming best buds and hang together each day at our feet, usually completely in our way so that we're tripping over them. 

They rule the studio.  ;)

Finley and Chelsea have also become great buddies.

Chelsea is the only dog in the house who will tolerate dress up


Ellen and I have had so much fun the last year and eight months she's been working at SLD.

Memories flood back....from her helping keep the studio (and me!) organized.....

....to the millions of times I've had to ask "Ellen, where did you put the xyz" and she never remembers. ;)  Her organizing is very much like a game of Hide and Seek, where she tucks things away to clean our space, never to be found again ;)

She's traveled with me to Arizona, on a two day fabric shopping spree!  I don't know what was more fun....digging practically knee deep through fabric and embellishments.....

Or flying the private plane we were lucky enough to hop onto for the shopping spree.  

The girl has worked her tail off, from cutting our tags and tucking threads to the DMV to go get our new drivers licenses together..... 

To helping set up SLD Photo Shoots with our local newspaper

And helping SLD make our Zulily Launch....

 Helping set up and sell SLD at our first craft show

And several other craft shows since

She's been there with me through many fun adventures...  Including her rescue of this little ferret (we named him Terri) we found on the road in Sun Valley.

And road trips full of snacks to small towns in between craft fairs

She's come to work via skis and snowshoes

She's built snowmen with Finley

And sledded in the backyard

She's posed for SLD pix, because no one else could pull it off like she can.

We've made costumes together


We watched the last Oprah show together, while pretending to work

She convinced me to set up studio outside when we hit gorgeous spring days here in Jackson Hole

She's played with Finley, entertaining her with balloon games


 ....To our homemade Musical instruments

She helped Finley create her first Gingerbread House

She's taken care of our dog and house sat while we've traveled out of town, and had to put up with finding random horses in my backyard while we were away :)

She's watched us grow from our small studio.....

to our larger one.....

Thank you Ellen, you've made SLD a blast and I could not have done any of it without you!!


February 22, 2012

The Big Fundraiser

I'm getting ready for our "Big" Fundraiser!  Last year we raised money for sewing micro-loans around the world with our Dream Big silkscreen design!  This year we are focusing on two great groups to raise money for.

The first is a non profit called "The Pajama Program."  When I first read about this group, I felt compelled to do something!  I urge you to watch this short video (even Oprah recognizes its importance!) by clicking the video below.  How can we NOT help?!!

This year, I found the amazing paper cuts by artist Suzy Taylor, and immediately knew her peacock image had to be part of this important fundraiser!  I created the Love Big image with it, and I LOVE it!! :)

So since I have two designs this year, I figured I could be twice as generous!  :)

So I'll also be sending funds to the Team Ashley fundraiser, to help offset some of Ashley of Lil Blue Boo's medical bills.  Her recent struggle with cancer, and her message to Choose Joy certainly helps me put my own life in perspective.

I was lucky enough to meet Ashley years ago (before either of us had a business!) on a play date when we lived only a few miles away from another.  She instantly became a crafting inspiration to me, and we became fast friends.  Neither of us like to talk on the phone much, so we would literally send each other about 50 emails each day ;)  A lot has changed over the last few years for both of us.  I am not the least bit surprised at what she has created with Lil Blue Boo.  I knew it right from the start that she was onto something very special.  Now, she touches lives every day.  Teaching creativity and joy.  What's not to love?!

A lot of people ask me if she's "REALLY" like that in real life.  The answer is absolutely, undoubtedly "YES!"  She really is.  :)  Granted, it's a good thing her life is a blog and not a television or radio show, since, you know, she doesn't like to talk much ;)  But she truly is the person you read about on her blog.  And now the world is lucky enough to meet her and consider her a friend and inspiration too. Yay everyone!! :)

So, starting Friday, February 24th, I'll be listing a bunch of "Love Big" and "Dream Big" items in my Big Cartel Shop.  The plan is to give 90% of each sale away!  YUP!  90%!  That means 45% of every sale will go to the Pajama Program, and 45% will go to Team Ashley!  I keep 10% just to cover some costs, but truly, I couldn't think of a better way to close my business than with giving away a bunch of money to people making a difference in this world! :)

So stay tuned for the previews and the listings.  And save up your money, because YOU are the ones who are doing the best deed of all by supporting handmade, and supporting people who could use a little extra help right now.


February 10, 2012

The Impossible Blog Post.......

There's no sugar coating this one.  Not in my mind, and not in words.

The time has come to say goodbye to Soren Lorensen Design.


But we sure did make a fun go of it!  :)  I mean that.  You've helped me create some of the greatest memories of my life!  You pushed me to creative limits I had yet to visit, you laughed with me and had bad days with me, you challenged me to grow and you have become my friends.  You guys ROCK.

So, I guess I have to explain myself a little bit.  The last few months I have done some serious soul searching and totally boring number crunching.   I discovered that my soul was consumed by my work  and my numbers were too crunched!  I stalled, tried a few different tactics, and also developed a line for wholesale distribution only.  But no matter how I put it on paper, SLD just wasn't jiving with my life, and I realize it is the right time for me to say goodbye.

Two years.  Seven hundred and thirty days.  Not a single one passed where SLD was not on my mind and part of my day.  And I say that in a good way.  :)  I love SLD!  It's so fun.  I get to be creative, play with color, and dress your adorable kiddos!

So thank you for all the great fun you've provided me!

Oh, the plans?  Well, I haven't determined it yet.  But the Two Year Anniversary "BIG" Fundraiser is still being planned for the week of Feb 24th, and I want to raise a lot of money for some special causes.  I'll fill you in on those details soon, but it should be fun.  I think the shop will be closing sometime in March, but I'll continue to update you on the decisions as I make them.  I'm random like that ;)

So thanks for sticking with me, supporting me, and being such good people.  I've learned a lot from some of you, and you've made me a better person.


January 13, 2012

Happy Valentine's My Little Peacock.....

Finley is Peacock obsessed.  I work as an art dealer as well as SLD and every time I show her a painting she tells me "My personal connection to it is it reminds me of a Peacock."  She's too funny. :) 

So I knew I had to create a peacock silkscreen.  It's the perfect animal that really shows off what  individuality is all about. 

I was planning for my two-year SLD anniversary (coming up Feb 24th!) and I knew I wanted to continue the "Big Collection."  Last year I created the Dream Big image to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Soren Lorensen Design.

A huge portion of proceeds of each Dream Big sale for two weeks went to fund micro loans around the world for seamstresses needing small loans to help grow their businesses.  We raised nearly $1,000 that was lent out to multiple women around the world, including  Lucy, in Kenya and Gilda, in The Philippines.  They've been repaying their loans, and I've been able to re-invest the repayments so now we've sent nearly $2,000 in loans!  Can you just imagine, after a lifetime of reinvesting the loans (which is what I plan to do!) how many women around the world, and their families, that we have helped affect!  It's really so powerful!!!

So, back to the story!  I decided to create the "Love Big" image for the two year Soren Lorensen Design anniversary and once again, donate a portion of proceeds to another non-profit organization.  This year I decided to focus on the kids, rather than the grown-ups, just to spread the love :)

This year, a large portion proceeds during the Two Year Anniversary Big Collection event (more about that later) will go to a donation to Pajama Program.  This is such an amazing program.  It's been around for ten years, started by a woman who saw this great need to give underserved children, many in the foster system, a semblance of the comfort most other children have at bedtime.

I can't tell you how special bedtime is for me and Finley.  It's our bonding time, our giggling time, our deep conversation time, our reading time, our rub her back time.  It's some of the absolute best times of my life.  To think that we can help some kids at least get a glimpse of hope for better times, is pretty nice.

The founder learned that some children, like the nine-year old boy who sent her a Thank You note, has never ever owned a pair of pajamas.  The organization donates pajamas and books all around the country.  You can watch a very powerful video, including an Oprah moment, on YouTube.

Next, the search for the perfect image was on to make this fundraiser a hit!  One day, I stumbled upon the intricate and masterful Folk Art Paper Cuts by British artist Suzy Taylor.  You have got to check out her shop

Hello! (or should I say, "Hallo," she's British after all ;) She cut these designs out by hand!

And then...I spied her artful hearts-y peacock!  But it was sold out!  Instant Etsy convo later, and we decided to work on getting the image ready for this silk screen (also with the help of another wonderful artist and SLD collaborator, Rachel Birch of Rachel Ink.)  I added the caption, and Love Big was born.

You have to see how talented Suzy is!  She was just commissioned by Pottery Barn Teen to design two quilts (eek, can you imagine!!?)  And look at her process.....

I love it :)  You can find her on Facebook too.  :)

I'll be releasing a few "Love Big" Made to Order items (dresses and tees) this week in time for Valentine's day :)  It's a perfect little Valentine dress :)

Then, for the two year February 24th SLD anniversary, I'll be releasing more Made to Order's in both Dream Big and Love Big to help raise money once again, this time for the Pajama Program!

Thanks for joining me on this two year ride! It's so totally fun :)