Lute + Harp is Turning One!!

Friday was Lute + Harp’s First Birthday! One year! ONE YEAR since I revealed the Lute + Harp brand, launched my website, and reopened my online shop. It seems like the year has gone by in a flash!

 

CELEBRATE

First of all, let me tell you about the two specials to celebrate L+H’s birthday.

  1. You can get 10% off your entire purchase of L+H goodies in the shop by entering the promo code “LH1Year”
  2. You can get $25 off a custom hand lettered quote/verse artwork. Only 10 commission spots are available right now, so hurry up and order! Prices are already adjusted in the Etsy listing. These would make great holiday gifts for friends or family, or to keep in your own home!  

Now for the anniversary part...

GETTING STARTED

I set out to write a feel-good post about how it’s been an amazingly successful year, full of the unexpected and mega success, blah, blah, blah. The truth is, it’s been an amazingly challenging year that has pushed me a lot. While I have achieved small goals and made baby steps towards L+H becoming all I imagine it will one day be—you seasoned pros know that success takes hard work and achieving dreams doesn’t happen overnight. So here I am, three days into year two, and I’m trying to consistently show up and put in the work to make those goals happen eventually.

Here’s a little bit about what I have been learning this first year.

In September 2015 I went from full-time art director at an amazing company, to part time designer for that same company working from home. I made the change so I could be home with my (then almost 1 year old) babe. I’m very thankful for this opportunity I had! I now can’t imagine days without the time spent together. Shifting these two big parts of my life around has always felt right, however it has felt like starting two new jobs at the exact same moment! I’m guessing you all know what starting one new job feels like. I have had to figure out two new jobs. On the design side of things, although I had been at the company for five years, I felt like I was starting over in some aspects. I’ve been learning this past year how to work my new semi-flexible schedule, what work can I do in my available time slots, and how I can best communicate with my employers and clients from a remote location. Plus, I have multiple new responsibilities in taking care of the babe for most of her waking hours. We had our morning and evening routines down while she was in daycare, but now there were an additional 11 HOURS of care that I was taking on. I have one kid worth of experience. How do I communicate with my little gal? Where do I find answers to my questions, find age appropriate activities to fill the time, find meal ideas? Where do I find COFFEE???

CHALLENGES

On top of designing and caregiving, I also decided to launch a new personal brand and open up my Etsy shop again. Now, I think that was probably a little crazy, but you have to start sometime, right? It’d been about 5 years since I had closed up my bookbinding shop, where I sold custom hand-bound journals (to see more of that work, visit my first blog www.wishfulthinking.blogspot.com). I jumped in this second time hoping things would more smoothly flow out of my head, into to the shop, and out into the word and be VERY organized and planned out. That, of course, is not exactly what happened.

I found it to be oh so very challenging to juggle that many things at one time and accomplish what I want to accomplish. To fit in work time around naps. To fit in work time after baby bedtime. To manage meals, sleep, play, education for just ONE tiny human. To spend time with my husband. To spend time as a family. To not get burnt out. To find focus. AND to have time to build relationships through time spent with family and friends!?!  To be cliche, so much to do, so little time. I have had to learn how to realistically prioritize my plans, goals and to-do’s and go with a “more actual guidelines” mentality for when road bumps come up that prevent me from accomplishing something I think really needed to happen on XYZ day at XYZ time or everything would fall apart. I need to recognize the need to do's apart from the want to do's. I need to learn to relax and roll with the punches. I still need to learn. 

REWARDS

Overall it has been a great and very rewarding year. Personally and most valuable to me, I’ve gotten to spend more time getting to know my baby, enjoying the time that she is still little, and freeing up more time for us to be a family. I have been able to be more flexible and spend more time going and doing with friends and family. In work, I’ve gotten to work on a lot on the design of great projects in my part time work, and I’ve created awesome brands for personal clients (including this one).

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I have also gotten to focus on and enjoy illustrating for my shop - both type and image. I am really proud of the coloring books I put out this September, and I’m excited about the new prints and products I have planned for this coming year. I've found a really good system for me to keep track of my goals, and a good system for keeping track of my projects. Ive learned something, and that can only help me achieve more in the year to come. 

STAY IN TOUCH!

A big thanks to all of you who have supported me in this first year of Lute + Harp! Whether it’s my family, friends or online friends—I appreciate the kind words, “likes,” follows and shares that you all have given. It really helps me to keep following my plans and goals. I am thankful for that immensely!

Please keep in touch with me on the following sites to share in what I have coming this next year! I’d love to keep in touch with you through these channels.

Instagram - instagram.com/luteandharp
Facebook - facebook.com/luteandharp
Etsy - www.etsy.com/shop/luteandharp
Pinterest - www.pinterest.com/christinobryan
And here! - www.luteandharp.com/blog