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Friday, November 23, 2018

Shop & Support Moms: Wood Stiles of Maine - measurement rulers - Ashley Stiles

Every November I love to feature mom-preneurs, hard working, dedicated super mommas who are creating handmade items and helping to support their families. I'm SO excited to feature Ashley Stiles today from Wood Stiles of Maine! She's a local Maine mom who actually builds these rulers start to finish from cutting the wood, painting, ETC. She's one of a kind and I'm honored to feature her on the blog this week! 

My hope is that you learn a little more about how these hard working moms operate, and even more that you purchase from them (DISCOUNT OFFERED: scroll to the bottom of the page)! These would make excellent gifts! 

Photos shared by Ashley Stiles

Interview With Ashley:

1. How did you start your business? Why did you want your own business? When did you start your business? What is your business name?
One day I had decided I wanted one of those really cool live edge growth chart rulers.... and I had to make my’s just how my family does things! After posting my finished product I had a lot of people asking where I purchased it and when they discovered I made it, it was history from there! So I chatted with my brother who is a logger, owns his own firewood business and the next day I had an Instagram and Facebook for my business. I decided to name it “Wood Stiles of Maine” as a play off of my last name and also where I get all my wood from. 
2. Why was owning a business a perfect situation for you and your family?
I just decided after that it would be a fun way for me to make a few extra dollars as I had quit my job recently to starting the business to stay home with my two kids( I have a son named Royce, who’s 7 and a Daughter named Pyper, who’s 5) 
3. What does your business specialize in? What's your favorite product? How'd you come up with the name?
My business is mainly the rulers but have also made some stump stools in the past.....

4. What do you love best about working for yourself?
I love to be working for myself because I can do the work when I want to which is usually late at night when everyone is in bed! And it doesn’t take away from anything I may want to do for myself durning the day and or evening or weekends as a family.

5. When working, when do you work in the day/evening? What's your process for working? Things you do daily, a routine?
All of my work is done (or 90%) to order so I can alter things like the color of the numbers on the rulers, but usually people want what I call my basic, which is black lines and rose gold/copper numbers.
6. Take me step by step through working with customers. Do you do anything special or unique, wrapping, specials, etc.?
I love to chat with people about rulers of mine they have seen photos of or seen in person and what types of wood they may be interested in....I offer three types Cherry $130/per ruler, Dogwood $115/ruler and Maple $100/per ruler. I love the character of the natural tree shape which is shown when you mill out a tree, all the slices will be different no two are the same! I am obsessed with unique. Things like such!
7. What do you think customers would say about your work, shop?
I would hope that some of the things said about my work were that it was unique and beautiful!
8. What is one of your favorite gifts to give someone for the holidays?
As for gift giving for me I like to buy people one really nice thing that I know they want vs 10 that they don’t! For me it’s all about quality vs quantity! 
9. How many kids do you have? Give us one word to describe them.
As I said about I have just my two kids my son Royce who would be described as a pretty chill kid and then of course I have Pyper my daughter who’s a sass-a-frass! And my husband who supports our family and takes wonderful care of all of us....his name is Buck! We’ve been together for 18 years and if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to stay home with our kids and to give them my undivided attention!

Instagram: @woodstilesofmaine or

$15-$30 off depending on what the wood choice was so $100 for any ruler purchased between now and December 2, 2018

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Shop & Support Moms: The Tangled Line Studio - Jessica Hall

Each November I seek out super moms who are creating handmade items as a side business or as full time work to support their families, and I feature them on this blog in hopes that you will think of purchasing gifts from them before heading to the big stores. It's a win-win for all moms: supporting moms is my favorite thing! 

Jessica Hall of The Tangled Line Studio was recommended to me and I'm so glad we found each other. Her story is unlike any other I've heard over the years from mom-preneurs working to create something to support their families. She comes from a dark time in her life and now stepping into the light in an effort to feel stronger and there for her children every day. I'm so inspired by her story - to take something that wasn't working, that was detrimental to her life, and turn it into something beautiful and powerful for others: her artwork. 

I hope you consider supporting this amazing mother. These would make incredible gifts. 

Thank you for sharing with us, Jessica! 

Images Shared by Jessica Hall  

1. How did you start your business? Why did you want your own business? When did you start your business? What is your business name?
I started The Tangled Line Studio by playing around with Zentangle patterns about a year and a half ago. I began working with a circle pattern. When I couldn't think of anything else to do I moved to a different size circle. After a number of sizes I began seeing the shape of a fish and worked toward creating what I what soon became the beta fish. At the time I was in an abusive relationship, separated raising my two daughters and caring for 2 puppies who I had rescued from the home that had given them a very sad beginning. I had spent 5 years raising my girls and had rescued and rehomed 5 dogs. Not including my own dog who I had adopted from the ASPCA. I figured what better way to start a life then sell my art work.
2. Why was owning a business a perfect situation for you and your family?
Because of the abuse in my relationship, I was not allowed to work outside of my home and suffered for trying to sell artwork from inside as well. I spent many late nights working until 3 in the morning on ink designs and set them aside. I also began writing a children's book based on a silly bedtime story I made up for my daughter called "Princess Bellybubbles". Which I finished this year and am in the process of illustrating and planning to publish this coming year.
3. What does your business specialize in? What's your favorite product? How'd you come up with the name?
The beauty of The Tangled Line Studio is it's specialty is limitless. I work with displays of artificial flowers and real tree branches producing floral displays, I build sculptures using natural and artificial products that I purchase or simply pick up in my back yard or I draw something in black and white or paint it using a meat skewer as a brush or colored pencils or pens.

The name the "The Tangled Line Studio" pays homage to the zentangle patterns that inspired my first real peace titled "Beta Fish" and in in memory of my dog Sweet Caroline. During my marriage, my dog Caroline or "Line" as my daughters called her, was my only physical support system my daughters and I had. She would love on us when we needed it, she was our companion and calmed us when life got out of hand. 

During a very dark time I had prayed for a friend. Someone I could turn to and count on, someone that made me feel I wasn't alone. Shortly after my daughter had become very sick. I had taken her to an adopt a thon, not to look for a pet, just to get out and enjoy time together. Caroline followed my daughter around the puppy play pen for 45 minutes and never stopped being at both girls and my side until the day she died. She truly was the answer to my prayer. 
She continues to inspire and support me through the progression of The Tangled Line Studio and even though she has passed on, continues to be by my side.

4. What do you love best about working for yourself?
The best part about working for my self is I am able to be present for my daughters and participate in every part of their day. From driving to school, volunteering at school, being a part of activities and I am able continue to show my self that despite the abuse I suffered and the negative influence that had held me back I am capable of anything I set my heart to.
5. When working, when do you work in the day/evening? What's your process for working? Things you do daily, a routine?
I continue to work in the evenings and at night when my daughters are asleep. Being their mom is my full time job. My youngest is not in daycare at the moment. Once she is, I will move to working more during the day while my girls are at school and spend more time dedicated to relaxing and resting at night.
When I begin working at night, I pick a project to work on, if I am inspired at the time I will continue with it. If not I move on to something else. I often have several projects going on at a time. Sometimes they get finished and sometimes pieces of each are brought into another depending on the direction I can see the final piece going.
6. Take me step by step through working with customers. Do you do anything special or unique, wrapping, specials, etc.?
When working with my customers, I have a variety of prints and styles and sizes for them to choose from. My prints can be made in different sizes, combined or made into blank note cards or soon I will be offering wood transfers and burning.

Floral designs can be done with an object of significance such as a vase or perfume bottle or broken piece of jewelry. I have even fabricated salt water coral and algae using tree branches, oven rocks and cotton balls for a sea sponge. There is nothing I will not try to give my customers a satisfactory unique piece.
I take pride in fine details and quality work.

7. What do you think customers would say about your work, shop?
My customers frequently tell me how detailed and unique my finished products are and refer others to me for those reasons.

8. Why do you think people should shop in your store, and why should they support moms who work for themselves?
Everyone's tastes are different my store is an ideal place to shop because I cater to any style and taste. I can provide finished pieces, prints or create a one of a kind work of art. 
Moms who work for themselves are the best people to buy products from because as much as we say we work for ourselves, we are really working for our children to provide them a happy life and a bright future

9. What are your top items to sell?
My top items to sell are my prints. I can make the actual design any size but normally the original is no bigger then my hand and the details are no wider then the tip of a pen. The prints are so versatile, they are ideal for any use.

10. How does your business allow you to be a great mother?
My business is the reason I am the mom that I am. I dedicate my days to my family. Being present in all they do. Supporting them and helping to achieve their goals. At night, I network, create and am able to put cloths on their backs, food in their belts and give them the means for a happy life.
11. What do you think would surprise readers to know about you?
What often surprises people is that I am actually suffer from a form of color blindness and Tourettes Syndrome. I have the inability to distinguish certain shades of certain colors. Which is why I do most of my ink work in black and white. I also have involuntary head, face and hand twitching. I have been told that when I am working I am so relaxed and have such concentration that I don't exhibit any of the involuntary movements.

12. What is the coolest thing you've ever experienced as part of working with this business?
The coolest thing I have ever experienced with my work is probably this Blog. I never thought I actually had the talent to be recognized in any way. During my abusive relationship, I was degraded and discouraged for everything I did to the point I started believing there was nothing I was actually good at.
13. What is one of your favorite gifts to give someone for the holidays?
My favorite gift to give at a holiday is something I have made using something of significance for someone I love. Something made with a party favor from a wedding or a baby shower or a design made with the shape of a child's hand.
14. How many kids do you have? Give us one word to describe them.
I have 2 beautiful little girls, 3 and 6. I can't find just one word to describe them. They are my whole world. They are what I needed to become who I am, the inspiration for doing what I do and the reward for all the hard work I put in.

Facebook: Jessica Hall Artist or The Tangled Line Studio
Etsy: The Tangled Line Studio

FREE SHIPPING & A FREE PRINT WITH ALL BLACK FRIDAY OR CYBER MONDAY SALES- including special shipments and custom pieces.  Expires Monday 11/26/18

Monday, July 23, 2018

fave time of the year: annual TARGET toys clearance sale!

It's my favorite time of year - the annual summer toys clearance sale at TARGET! 

It's the best thing I've found as a busy mama: stocking up on Christmas gifts in JULY! If you haven't heard of this before, you'll need to read my previous post from a few years ago here to get all the scoop about how to show this sale.

This week on Thursday Target stores will mark down a ton of their toys to 75% off! The first few weeks in July they start out marking them down 10%, 30%, 50% etc. Currently the few days before the big Thursday sale most items are 50% off. The last few years I've avoided the starting to catch on crowds on Thursday morning and gotten more availability of items I really want by taking the 50% off instead the few days beforehand.

Today I visited two stores near me and each were very different- one had way more on sale than another store. It depends on the location you go to. There are 4 stores near me and each are different in what is on sale. It becomes a game if you let yourself get carried away wanting to stop at each store! I limited myself to two stores this year since I found a ton that I wanted.

I can't show you everything since I scored a few gifts for my kiddos, but here are TONS of things I saw when shopping.

Here are some things I found on sale this year: 

Lots of Melissa and Doug at this one store I visited!

Lots of V-Tech toys that were great deals! 

You need to look high on the shelves and not just where the yellow clearance signs are. You will find tons of things just by slowly walking the aisles and looking on the corners of the actual items themselves - look for yellow markdown tags on the items.

This was the first year I found some PlayMobil items, they were mixed in but great deals! I found a larger one for $50 that I scored for $20 for my daughter for Christmas. These things are great gifts and always hard to find deals for. 

To find crafts and games on sale you need to scour the shelves. Tons of markdowns mixed in with regular items.

I found some Tangled and Frozen dolls on sale, but no Moana like I was hoping for!

Some great deals on games! I found a Chewbaca Star Wars Operations game for $10 also!

Top: this was my FAVE find of the day- $50 item for $25, not bad!

Legos are in high demand and always difficult to find deals on. There were quite a few Legos left today with clearance tags!  You just have to look around on the shelves.

These are the coolest toys for that kiddo on your list!


Some extra Star Wars and Transformers items this year on sale!

These are the types of toys you should buy because they are so cheap and just stock up on for birthday parties! I always say I'll do this, but never end up with enough money since I have so much else I'm finding for family and friends.

I have an almost 2 year old who's going to FREAK OUT over this police car below!

TIP: Don't forget to look at these end caps (as they say in the biz)- there are usually extra items there on sale! Also, after you finish the toy aisles and you reach the sports or summer outdoor items... keep going down a few more aisles, usually there is a random clearance section with more on sale!

A Baby Alive doll for HALF PRICE!!!!

OK so my baby wasn't as impressed as I was with the sales... especially missing nap time for it, whatever! NOTE: do not take your kids with you to this sale! It's so much easier to hide their gifts when you don't have them with you! Sometimes you're desperate and it's all good.

It's perfectly acceptable to go to multiple stores and then treat yourself with Starbucks after shopping at Target during this sale.

Enjoy! I can't wait to hear about your sale items you find. I love this game of finding the best deals!