September Highlights

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September was…stressful. Every week brought a tweak to my schedule and schedule-tweaking sort of gives me an eye-twitch. It bugs. I like weeks I can count on: good, steady days that every hour aligns wonderfully with my gold and white striped planner that I pre-wrote the weekend before. It sounds a little militaristic but it’s really not, it’s actually completely necessary and works beautifully unless, like September, throwing wrenches into my gold-and-white planned weeks is life’s newest, favorite game, Besides all of that eye-twitching though, September had some of my favorite new chocolate recipes, homemade frozen yogurt, the continued search for my elusive crossbody bag, and a few, fun daytrips. It also had a peek at this girl’s beautiful new adventure, and, of course, a few modern views from VMMV I just can’t help but share.

September was also unusually chilly and I’m so looking forward to the real beginning of sweater and pumpkin bread season, watching You’ve Got Mail, pretending to be Kathleen Kelly, and celebrating a few anniversaries you’ll hear a little more about if you stick around through one of my favorite months. In the end, then, September was pretty great because it got me to October and now the real fun can begin…

Happy new week everyone!

image cred: vintage vogue

– <3 A. 

DIY “Calling Cards”: making business personal

diy calling cards

In the film You’ve Got Mail, there’s a short dialogue between Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan after Tom Hanks’ character (Joe Fox) successfully puts Meg Ryan’s character (Kathleen Kelly) out of business. Joe tells Kathleen that there was nothing “personal” about the bookstore feud that ended in Joe’s triumph and Kathleen’s failure and Kathleen grows suddenly irritated about his attempt to smooth over their less-than-friendly business relationship:

Joe Fox: It wasn’t… personal. Kathleen Kelly: What is that supposed to mean? I am so sick of that. All that means is that it wasn’t personal to you. But it was personal to me. It’s *personal* to a lot of people. And what’s so wrong with being personal, anyway? Joe Fox: Uh, nothing. Kathleen Kelly: Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal.

Sick of Joe Fox’s die-hard, killer-business-instinct, Kathleen Kelly lashes back at him for constantly reducing business into an only-the-facts, survival-of-the-fittest, world. To her, her business was a legacy from her mother, a thing that filled her life with joy, and gave her purpose–not something to only provide income, status, or power.

In the Victorian era, men and women of the upper classes never went anywhere without “calling cards.” Calling cards had multiple purposes: some were simply to notify a neighbor or friend that you were intending on making a visit, some were sent from single men seeking to break through the rigid Victorian rules of courtship in an attempt to get a little more personal with a lady who had caught his eye, and some were merely a sweet, concise summary of an individual’s occupation or contact information.

victorian calling cards

Regardless of the purpose of the calling card, each one was essentially a personal business card. Two people, often before meeting face to face, had to be able to sum up their personalities in 3 1/2 by 5 inches. Victorian society was much like a business. There were rules, procedures, and very specific ways people could and couldn’t interact. Calling cards were a small way to bring personality back into a very rigid realm of social rules. So, why not bring calling cards back? Why not make “business cards” personal? I think Kathleen Kelly might agree that business doesn’t have to be quite so serious and that a touch of personality can bring a bit of humanity back into any corporate realm.

In the beautiful book Victoria Calling Cards, there’s so many great ideas for making your own personal, business “calling” cards.

business card design tips

The one I chose is perfect for a sewing business, my inspiration artist attached her business contact information to a piece of “punchwork” which is a plastic-like embroidery tool used to create patterns by separating the thread:

personalized business cards

It’s so fun because you can personalize the stitching on each and every card, and it also serves as a wonderful protector for the card during shipping of packages. Of course, embroidering your business cards isn’t appropriate for all businesses and it’s (trust me) a rather time-consuming technique, but, you get the point, right? Making a connection with a customer you may never meet in person is a really important way to gain trust and a little bit of an emotional connection between you and a potential, or current, customer.

diy business cards

diy business cards

  1. Cut out a piece of punchwork a little bigger than whatever size business card you’re using.
  2. Using embroidery thread, stitch whatever design you’ve chosen onto the top of the punchwork.
  3. Attach the card to the punchwork with some superglue. If your stitching doesn’t look too pretty on the back, cut out a piece of cardstock the same size as your punchwork and glue that to the back to cover up any unsightly stitches. My  heart design turned out super clean on the front and back of my punchwork though so I didn’t need that step.
  4. Done! A personal and completely unique card that will definitely stand out from anyone else’s and will make a far bigger impact than an everyday piece of cardstock:

diy business cards

source: Victoria calling cards, hearst books, new york, 1992

– <3 A. 

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You’ve Got Mail…

Every October I watch “You’ve Got Mail.” And, every October, I want Kathleen Kelly’s (Meg Ryan) life. I don’t know any other character who actually makes me want to be sick.

She makes it look so lovely. Suddenly, I want to scuff around my house in socks, sit in sunbeams, and wear outrageously comfortable-looking sweater sets.

But this October, in particular, I feel very Kathleen Kelly-like.

 I don’t own my own bookstore nor was I forced to abandon a lifelong dream. Yet, I am, as Kathleen’s long-time friend and bookkeeper Birdie Conrad declares after hearing Kathleen’s decision to close the failing bookstore, “daring to imagine that (I) could have a different life.”

When Patricia, Joe Fox’s (Tom Hanks) girlfriend and the die-hard associate of a fast-paced New York publishing house, remarks that she is going to offer the now unemployed Kathleen Kelly a job,   Joe states that Kathleen could never work in Patricia’s corporate world because she lacks Patricia’s “killer instinct.”  I think that instinct is what many women believe they need not to thrive, but just plain survive in this crazy world. And, it might be true. After a century-long movement for gender equality, women are out-achieving men in work and education. Yet, after working among these over-achievers, I began to wonder if I was even working with women. It seems as if women have decided in order to overcome that glass ceiling, they should just stop being women at all.

Deciding to abandon a full-time job that was making me miserable and my creative curiosity icy-cold, was deciding that I didn’t have to give in. Not yet at least, not until I am disproven that genders are genders for a reason. I want to be educated, yes. I want to achieve things, of course. But how a man achieves things is different, and should be different, from how a woman does.

Feminist Germaine Greer wrote that the “classic burning of the bras” image of the feminist movement “represented liberation from the oppression of the male patriarchy” (The Female Eunuch, 62). After my experience in the work-a-day world, it appears that in our haste to burn the bra and throw off male patriarchy, we have thrown it off only to discover a new oppression, the realization of a void: the loss of the innate, female sense of nurturing, kindness, and caregiving.

Kathleen Kelly definitely didn’t have the “killer instinct” to survive in the business world. She disliked competition and confrontation, loathed when she actually said “exactly what (she) wanted to say at the exact moment (she) wanted to say it.” And, after crushing Joe Fox’s ego at a coffee-shop date, “felt terrible” for being cruel, for “what if what I said mattered to this man…? There is no excuse for my behavior.” Still though, she is successful in her own way. She writes and publishes a book, discovers a fulfilling relationship, and does so in her own sweet, charming way.

Achieve anything ladies, but don’t forget, please please, that putting up more twinkle lights, admitting daisies are your favorite flower, and wearing a skirt goes a long way.