How I Prepare for Work

I have given up the traditional 9 am to 5 pm, or to be more accurate 7 am to 4:30 pm, corporate job to dedicate time to Rosie’s and Lily’s and being a mommy.  The concept of staying at home doesn’t necessarily make it any easier.  It is simply just a shift in my daily tasks, but with more meaning and purpose.  Before, I would get up early to get ready for work, drop my little one off at daycare, and squeeze through time to make it to work.  Now, my day still starts pretty early, but it feels like I have more control and direction.

                I started to focus more on what made me feel better so that I can show up with energy and in a better mood.  In order to do this, I signed up for a gym membership, which I attend only three times a week.  Very convenient and important!  It has helped me to be more mindful and conscious of what I was putting in my body.  So, before the week starts, I always do meal planning.  This helps me dedicate more time into focusing on my paper flower projects instead of stressing on what’s for dinner and eating out.  After dropping off the kids at school/camp/daycare and working out, I come home, clean up and start my work day, feeling accomplished already. 

The beginning of my week starts with a lot of brainstorming, figuring out what I want to work on or projects I want to try out.  I may have some orders to fulfill or I would research a new flower to try to recreate in my own way.  This is my play/work time.  It’s very different from the corporate world because you have to plan out your own schedule and deadlines.  No one is behind your shoulders telling you exactly what’s expected.  It’s all on me.  When you have work that gets you excited, it’s not as difficult to be your own boss and make your own schedule.  The most difficult part for me has been figuring out what my followers want to see and what art pieces should be created.  If you have any requests, feel free to comment or send me a message.  I’m always happy to hear from you.  Otherwise, I shall create and hand-make away.

                Now, there do come times when I don’t feel very inspired or I feel a little overwhelmed with too many things to do.  If you’re a working mommy, I’m sure you’ve felt out of fuel many times and as an artist, you also need time to step away and clear your mind.  At times like this, I just step back and take a day off.  When I show up again, I’m ready and refreshed.  Let’s go!

The work I’ve created involves preparing my body, health, and mind. At the same time, it involves making sure my little family is taken care off. This allows me to create in a healthy way. I use the inspiration of real flowers, which makes me dig into research to plan out my days. I am my own boss; therefore, I have to make my own plans, projects, and schedules. My hope is to keep doing what I love, to bring others smiles, and to be a successful Paper Florist and Artist. I am definitely working on it.

R & L

5 Things I Can't Live Without

                When I think of the things that are most important to me when creating flowers, the first that comes to mind is a skewer.  Yes, a skewer.  I use it to shape all of the petals for my flowers and I couldn’t imagine using anything else.  It’s just thick enough to curl petals big or small.  The pointy edge is perfect for smaller tasks, but not too pointy where I might stab my hands or fingers.  I also use the pointy side to help me maneuver very tiny parts of paper where my fingers can’t reach.  The best part . . . I have a bunch in my kitchen, so I practically have a lifetime supply, unless my husband decides to grill some meat on skewers (chances are small).  I still use the same one since I’ve started making flowers and I have no need to change it.

                Another thing that I can’t live without are my scissors.  I’ve been fortunate to have been introduced to Kai brand scissors by another paper florist and the quality is amazing.  The cut is precise and sharp and is very kind to the hands.  These scissors make it easy to cut layers of paper at a time, which helps work go a lot faster, which means more flowers!

                I have a few coloring tools I’m my tool kit.  When I make flowers, it’s very hard for me to leave the paper I use as it is.  I have to bring life into my flowers, give them personalities and depth. That’s why, color tools are on my list of must haves.  I use Pan Pastels artist chalk which come in so many different shades.  They are very easy to use and can be blended with other colors to make different ombre effects or it can simply be used to add just a hint of color.  I also use alcohol inks when I want the color to travel throughout an entire petal.  It’s easy to use and quick to dry.  I just make sure to wear gloves so that my fingers don’t get stained in reds and blues and blacks.  One last coloring tool I use is Design Master color sprays.  These were originally meant for real flower florists to add life or boost of color to real flowers.  It provides a very soft touch to the paper petals making them extra realistic.

                The number one ingredient for paper flowers is the paper, but of course.  The quality of the paper is very important.  I mostly use double sided paper from Lia Griffith, which are made in Germany.  It has just enough stretch for a lot of my flowers and has a smoother texture.  I also like using a heavier crepe paper, made in Italy, that has a bigger stretch and is quite sturdy.  These are perfect for my irises!  The sturdiness and shaping qualities from its stretch give them so much character.

             Lastly, hands down, the most important thing that I can’t live without is YOU!  You are the reason why I create.  You are who inspire me.  I get so much joy, tingly feelings everywhere, when I get to create for you.  My work and my product are done with so much love.  I don’t just put paper, glue, and wires together.  I dedicate a lot of my time to make beautiful blooms just for you, every petal has its own story, no flower is the same.  Every flower can only be a piece of art and nothing less, just for you.

R & L

Picture with Lia Griffith from The Paper Florist Masterclass in May 2019

Picture with Lia Griffith from The Paper Florist Masterclass in May 2019

Hi, Fear!

               There are many resources out there that touch upon the subject of fear.  It is something that consumes you completely if you let it.  It can dictate what your next move will be.  It can make you think that you are unable or unworthy.  Fear is no fun, but despite of its unpleasant emotions, it is part of our lives and can be used in a good way to better ourselves. 

                I’ve had a lot of fears growing up.  Maybe a little more so than others.  Fear is supposed to be a natural reaction to dangers and threats, but the fears that I experienced had nothing to do with dangers or threats.  My fears involved doing simple everyday tasks, like picking up a ringing phone or even making a call, or ordering something at a restaurant or coffee at a Starbucks.  Even going through a drive through will make me sweat and panic.  Yikes!  Finding the courage to get myself out of the house and into the car to drive somewhere all alone was tough.  These are very simple things that people do without having to think twice about.  So simple!  Yet, here I was, afraid and letting fear control all of the things that I was more than capable of doing, but was letting fear take the wheel.

                Some might be scratching their heads right about now or some may completely relate to my fears.  Either way, it’s ok.  You see, I have this level of fear due to being an introvert, finding myself in so many awkward positions that I’ve learned to be ok with them.  On top of that, I also have a very small degree of social anxiety.  Being an introvert revolves around where you get your energy from.  Introverts get energy from spending time alone doing quiet activities and are generally ok in social gatherings or events, but end up feeling drained of energy from being around too many people interactions.  It is very important to know that social anxiety does not equal to introversion, though.  The anxiety is what makes my hands get super sweaty and my heart pumping like I’m in some kind of danger.  But the better you know yourself, the better you learn to deal with such things.

                The best way that I’ve learned to deal with fear is to put yourself right in the middle of it.  Yes, don’t run away.  Find it, say hello and shake its hand and find out about it.  Do the things that scare you and make you uncomfortable.  Rosie’s and Lily’s was a big fear to start up.  I didn’t know how to run a business.  What if no one likes what I do?  What if I’m doing it wrong?  What if I fail?  I acknowledged my fears and did it anyway.  What if people do like my work?  I would never know if I didn’t try. 

Rosie Recital

I also put myself out there by taking violin lessons and being part of recitals.  Yup, me and a bunch of kids.  How embarrassing!  The thought that I’m usually the only adult up there reciting a song on the violin amongst kids is enough to make me turn around and say, “No, thank you!”  I try not to look at it from this angle.  Who said this is only for kids?  What if I’m doing something that all of the other parents in the audience wish they had the guts to do?  What if I am encouraging someone to be brave in doing other things in their lives?  How great is that?  You know, I get up there, anxiously shaking, yet trying to act normal.  I start playing and I can’t stop shaking.  My notes sound as if I’m doing vibrato, but I’m not.  I play.  I play my song and I make the best of it.  Then, I’m proud of myself.  I overcame the fear of standing in front of a group of parents with their kids watching my every move.  The more I meet fear and do things anyway has helped me so much. 

                I encourage you to do something that scares you.  Do it often.  Do things because they scare you.  Don’t let fear be your driver and don’t have regrets of all the things you could have done.  Think outside of the box and do things differently.  I’m still afraid of a ringing phone, but I got this!


Find Your Why!

Yes, first blog ever!  I wanted to start a small blog to, in a way, share my experience of running this amazing little business and to hopefully share some advice to some.  To start, the last thing I ever pictured myself doing was running a business.  Being an entrepreneur?  No way!  I would rather go to work for someone else, do my day’s work, come home and be free.  I didn’t want to be bothered.  I didn’t want the worry feeling about bringing work to home.  Luckily, as time went on, you get to learn more about yourself, how you want to live your life, and what’s important to you.

I knew that something was missing and I couldn’t figure out what it was.  It was time for me to start digging into who I was.  Every week, every month, every day was the same for me.  Being a mommy of two, attempting house chores, getting ready for the new week, would all fill up my weekends from top to bottom.  There was no time left for myself.  Every Monday, I would get a headache, with no fail, and would always forget to pack painkillers because it was the last thing on my mind.  This couldn’t be it for me.  It just couldn’t.  Your body is smart; pay attention to it.

At the beginning of 2018, one of my buddies casually sent me a message about a free personality test and that she wanted me to take it.  She liked to keep a list of all of her friends’ personality types.  She is cool for doing just that in addition to so many other things.  I took the test and found out I have one of the rarest personality types out there.  This opened up a huge door.  It was an “Ah-ha!” moment.  It was the perfect beginning of the year and I started doing my research as to what this new realization meant for me.  This lead me to quite a few resources that I will write about later.  I delved into my past, remembering all that I enjoyed as a child.  I always imagined myself teaching and loving to paint and draw, but being a teacher was not an option for me; not an introvert favorite.  If there was one thing that I had extreme difficulty with, it was standing in front of a group of people.  Oh, the anxiety!  Painting and drawing seemed a lot better, but what could I possibly do with these?  The last time I drew or painted must have been in high school.

I was listening to a podcast episode one day and came across an interview with Carly Cylinder, The Flower Chef, and how she got started on her path as a Florist.  I looked her up and started following her on Instagram.  One of her posts especially stood out to me.  It was a picture with her and another florist.  She wasn’t just another florist, she was a Paper Florist.  Her name is Margie Keates, owner of The Lovely Ave located in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Her flowers looked so real and gorgeous.  A light bulb turned on over my head.  This was something I needed to try.  It presented a sense of excitement, it awakened the joy of creating, and the feeling of butterflies and nerves swirling in my belly.  This feeling grew and manifested into the thought that maybe this is something I could possibly do.  I ended up reaching out to Margie for some advice.  She was super pleasant and helpful.  One piece of advice that stood out from her to know you why.  Know your why!

My why was very important.  Why did I want to make a change?  I had a stable job, that helped make my family more than secure.  I was doing great, but was this worth being a human robot?  Was it worth being mentally absent and upset towards my family?  Was it worth not taking care of myself?  Knowing your why makes your decision much clearer.  It was clear to me.  My why, I realized is to bring happiness and smiles to people’s lives and to personally have a sense of purpose, to be happy with myself by doing the things I love. Hopefully this can translate into being a good example to my two little ones, showing them that anything is possible.  My mind was set.  There was no turning back.  Changes were coming and Rosie’s and Lily’s Paper Flowers was born.  This was a huge step taking into consideration that I don’t know how to do this, where to take it, how to grow a business, or not knowing what the future holds.  It’s about taking a step forward to being you and being happy.  It’s definitely a big sacrifice, but the sacrifices are all worth it.  Fears shouldn’t be an anchor.  This is something I would have to get used to, but I’m ready for it.  I hope to deliver lots of beautiful flowers and smiles wherever I can.  Change is good!