Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Shop Feature: Lilah Higgins of Techne Arts

*Update: The giveaway has ended. Thank you all for playing, and congratulations Dusty! Check your inbox for details.

I am amazed by mamas. All mamas. Each and every mother has a unique story, unique hardships and struggles and unique and special love for her babies. Each mama lays down her life in a million ways every day for her family, whether she stays at home, works from home, or goes to work outside the home to help support her family. Each of these jobs is especially impressive and difficult and each deserves praise.

When shopping for products for my family or my home, I especially love to support shops run by mamas. It makes me feel good to put my hard-earned money in the pocket of a mom who's working to support her family, rather than shopping at big name stores. Those are great too- so many mamas work for big name stores- but there's something really personal and tangible about shopping on Etsy where you can see the photo of the sweet mom who makes her products by hand. It's fun to follow shops I love on Instagram and see the shop owner's life behind the scenes. You don't get that from the big shops.

When I started thinking about adding sponsor options to the blog, one of the things I wanted to focus on was finding ways to support mamas. I want to feature women who take their talents and use them for the good of their families. I want to help them in their endeavors, any little way that I can. Mamas are amazing!

And so friends, meet Lilah Higgins. Wife to Zac, mama to sweet Fletcher and another on the way, co-owner (with her husband) and creative mind behind Techne Arts Design, owner of TechneArts Etsy shop, and blogger (over at Just a Sparrow). Sounds like a lot right? To me too. I was smitten with this girl the moment I read her first email, and LOVE everything in her Etsy shop (I especially love the new gold & silver leaf prints!!).

I'll let Lilah tell y'all a little bit about herself:

"My husband, Zac and I, decided before we got married that I wasn't going to work. We believe that our God-given roles just wouldn't be fulfilled well for us as individuals if I wasn't at home, supporting and caring for our family. Even before we had kids, I was home cooking, cleaning, and keeping the house up so that when Zac got home, we could just be us. This meant that for a good chunk of our marriage, we were dead broke. We live simply, which we love, but at times, living simply is really difficult.
The idea for our at home business started when I was pregnant with our first son and my husband was out of work for a month (the longest we've ever gone unemployed). He had a number of seasonal, part-time jobs over the course of our 1 year marriage at the time, but just couldn't seem to land a full-time, steady job in his field of choice. We're both tech nerds (hubby more than me) and so we started researching what kind of business we could open. My parents supported me greatly in that they paid for art classes for me for the entirety of my childhood. I've always loved design and my dad, being an architect, I've always been around computers and skilled designers. I remember as a little girl, sitting at my dad's desk, playing on Windows Paint and designing him "big faces" and love notes for his desk. As I grew, I was asked to commission a few art pieces which eventually led to my interest in Photoshop and graphic design. During my late teen years, I had churches, family, and friends asking me to design invites, business cards, brochures and more.
When my husband and I sat down to talk about what kind of business we could run, graphic design and artistry was first on our minds. After we put our website up, we waited and waited, sometimes it feels like we're still waiting for that big break. One day, I was digging through a countless amount of my old drawings, sketches, and paintings and decided they would do well to don someone elses walls! Enter my Etsy shop, a fun, easy way to sell my art directly to anyone who wants it!
Now, our son (Fletcher, 10 months) naps very well, so I use that time to balance between keeping up the house and managing art, my graphic work, and my Etsy shop. Somedays, I'm not able to accomplish anything regarding business except maybe check the stats to see how traffic is doing. Somedays, I get really frustrated with balancing the two! To my dismay, I've often let Fletcher cry a little long after his nap if I'm working. But, when it comes down to it, I am mama before I am designer. Sometimes I just want to hide under the veil of motherhood too! I like the lack of checklist items and the ability to just get down on the floor in my yoga pants and chase a crawler around. 
Owning your own business is a scary, challenging thing. You really have to put yourself out there without much feedback to get things off the ground and especially as an artist, that's really hard at times. My hubby gives me full support and wonders at how I do it all. He is now gainfully employed and can no longer put time into our business, but he changes many more diapers than I ever thought he'd need to. There are a few late nights sprinkled in there as I attempt to build our business, but at the end of the day, when the computer's off and the baby is asleep, I am still my husband's wife, gladly. We really are able to work as a team in all aspects and I appreciate my "business partner" very much. We are now expecting once again and can't wait to see what else, business-wise or not, God has in store for this little family of four!"

Isn't she sweet?! In case you didn't love her enough already, Lilah has offered to give three beautiful pieces from her Etsy shop to one lucky reader! This amazing prize includes:

1 Antler "Breathe" Watercolor painting
1 Original "be brave" Watercolor painting
and 1 Set of 3 Love & Baroque Style Watercolor Postcards!
The total value of this amazing prize is $83. Not bad, huh?! To enter, follow the Rafflecoptor to win city! Best of luck, and I'm jealous of whoever wins! (Hope it's you!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 28, 2013

Our Walk Today

Now that the weather's steadily cool-ish, Emmett and I have started taking walks together each afternoon. It's our favorite time of the day- he loves to be outside SO MUCH, and I love seeing him exploring and so excited about everything he sees. And I do mean everything. We live in a flight path, so every 30 seconds or so a new airplane flies over head. Every 30 seconds or so he looks up to the sky with wonder on his face and points to an airplane, then smiles and waves as it passes by.

He stops to smell every flower, giggling as he bends down to get a little closer. He waves to everyone we pass and points and says "vroom vroom!" to every car. He notices birds and plants and cats and barks back at every dog. He sees everything, and wants me to see it too. He loves to show me what he sees, and I am so grateful for that! I know he won't always want me right there with him, so I try so hard to give him all of my attention on our walks right now, and to cherish every smile and point and wave.

His excitement about the world and everything in it is contagious. I find myself noticing things on our walks that I never noticed before. Because of his little eyes, open to everything new and exciting, I see new beauty in everything we pass. I find myself in awe of the world again, because I'm seeing everything anew through the eyes of a child. My child. What a gift!

Here are a few scenes from our walk today:

Friday, October 25, 2013

Photos From My iPhone

If you follow me on Instagram (you should!), you've probably seen some of these already. To take you into the weekend, here's a view of our life lately, according to my iPhone:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Bath Time

When he was about 11 weeks old, Emmett started going down for the night promptly at 6:30 pm, every night. Of course he woke up a hundred times in the night (still does, most nights), but he never wavered on his 6:30 bedtime. This was so hard on me while I worked full-time. I would come home at 5:30, rush to give him dinner and a bath and a few short minutes of playtime before he started to melt down and we had to get him ready for bed. So hard! Until a couple of weeks ago.

One recent night he wanted to stay in his bath longer than normal. He was playing so happily that I just let him stay up, and each night since then he's been the happiest little boy in the evenings and stays up a full hour later than he always has. It's been so much fun! We linger in the bath, take long walks after dinner, and he runs around laughing and playing before we finally take him to bed.

Bedtime is another thing that's changed lately- Since he was born, I've always rocked and nursed him to sleep. I know they say you aren't supposed to, but I had such little time with him each day that I needed that special time with him each night, so I did it anyway. I'm glad I did because those are some of the sweetest moments we've had together, cuddled up and warm in his rocking chair, saying our prayers before bed.

Now we're working on weening him, so we slowly cut out the nursing and rocking at night. He fought me for a few weeks but now when we head to his room each night, we say his prayers and he just leans his head back towards his crib while I hold him, letting me know he's ready to lie down and go to sleep. It's peaceful and sweet and he's just such a good boy, I almost can't handle it! He's been sleeping so much better, even through the night a few times this week (!!!!!), so we are all really loving the later bedtime!

So now each night he takes really long baths. I sit on the floor next to him the whole time and he just plays and plays and chats with me. It's so much fun and I know I'll always remember these night as some of the most fun times we've spent together so far. I take tons of pictures and videos and send them to my family so they can see him so happy and funny. It's awesome!

Monday, October 21, 2013

"Little Weirdo"

Corinna's post this morning about Evie and her Altoids had me laughing out loud at my desk, so I thought I would chime in with my own little weirdo story.

Last night Emmett found a pair of socks in his room and his face lit up like he'd found the world's coolest toy. He tucked his little sock under his chin and wrapped it around his neck and walked around like that for an hour! So silly. I think maybe he was trying to wear it like a scarf like his mama does, but who knows.

I'm constantly amazed by the way he views the world. The simplest things make him happy and everything he sees is exciting and fun. Keep up the weird little Emmett!!

Linking up with Corinna at Track 8 and Annapolis & Company!


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