Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

♥ Alice & Harry


It's Halloween! I've miraculously finished both my kids' costumes (photos of Alice in Wonderland and Harry Potter tomorrow) and am feeling pretty optimistic about my ability to get things done.

That said, I just want to remind everyone that tomorrow, November 1, is the last day to place a custom book order before the new year (check out the options here). I'm not exactly sure when I'll resume custom orders in 2012 so if you have a holiday or winter book order in mind now's the time to act! Even if you're not quite ready to order I'm happy to reserve a place for you, just let me know and we can work something out. I am going to be strict about this deadline, though; I have a ton of stuff coming up and really need to be able to schedule it all. Exciting times!!

p.s. My Kickstarter campaign is going great! We're almost at the halfway mark and I've more than doubled my goal, but no need to stop there! I've raised enough to develop and print 12 book designs and would love to add a line of alphabet books to that--one book for each letter of the alphabet. If you'd like to get in on the action and receive one (or more!) of these awesome, 100% organic books I'd be ever so grateful!

Friday, October 21, 2011

The plan to manage it all

Happy Friday! And for me it really is--I feel happier than I have in a long time.

Not that I've been miserable or anything but with the success of my Kickstarter I'm waking up to the fact of just how much and how hard I've been working, and at times it's felt like I've been spinning my wheels. I love the custom work I do and will be continuing with it regardless of the success of the printed books but there's really only so much of it I can do and it was limiting the growth of my business. Now, with the boost from Kickstarter, I'll be diversifying into the less labor-intensive printed books and I really believe that the balance between some custom work and some readymade work is the key to my continued success without killing myself to get it all done. It's really quite exciting!

Of course, the vast majority of my work thus far has been custom and with the addition of another line of books something will have to give. I will need to limit the number of custom projects I take on and right now I'm not really sure what that will look like. I'm thinking I'll be able to manage 3-4 custom book orders per month, though it may be more or less and it will likely vary with the month. As much as it pains me to do this I will also need to increase the cost a bit, looking objectively at the amount of time it takes me to complete a custom book (at least 6 hours, often more like 10). It won't be an insane increase, but it's something I need to do in order to make it sustainable.

That said, I have a couple announcements to make:

1. In order to fulfill my Kickstarter rewards (and not go completely insane this holiday season) I will stop accepting custom orders on November 1. Any orders placed before then (and those already placed) will be guaranteed for delivery before the end of November (or at least in time for the holiday, in case I get a mad rush ;).

2. I will resume accepting custom book orders in January at the new rates and will be limiting the number I accept.
So, if you've been thinking of ordering a custom book, either for the holidays or just because, now is the time!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Less than 3 days!!?!

Today, less than 3 days from launching my Cloth Book of the Month Kickstarter campaign, I not only reached my goal but surpassed it! I am so completely amazed by the overwhelming support I've received, and much of it from folks who have never met me or seen my work before!! My deepest gratitude to everyone who took the time to watch my video, perhaps pledge something, and spread the word. From the bottom of my heart...

Of course, there are still 27 days left in my campaign! There's no reason for the momentum to stop here; with every additional $450 my project receives I can create another book design! I have so many more ideas for books and suggestions are always welcome!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

It's an exciting day!

I've had a couple of big announcements to make for a while and I'm so excited to share the first of these with you today:

I've started a Kickstarter campaign to create a line of organic printed cloth books!!!

If you've never heard of Kickstarter, it's a site that hosts creative projects in need of funding. It's a really ingenious idea wherein folks can pledge any amount of money from $1 up to projects they are interested in and receive rewards for their support. These rewards reflect market value so if the project is funding the production of an item it is almost like pre-ordering that item which will then be created in the near future. My project has a range of rewards and they all reflect retail value, e.g. the reward for a pledge of $35 is one cloth book, which will retail for $35. It took me a while to get comfortable with the idea of asking folks for money for my business but this rewards system makes it feel like a worthwhile venture.

When the project is funded (I'm being optimistic here--the funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing so if I don't reach my goal the project won't be funded. But I will reach my goal!) I will create six books in broad topics like birds, transportation, and instruments and scan the pages to be printed on 100% organic cotton sateen by Spoonflower. I'll then make the fabric into cloth books for babies everywhere to enjoy!

Subsequently I will release a new printed cloth book design each month as the cloth book of the month and folks will be able to purchase these individually or subscribe to receive them as they are released.

This has been a dream of mine for some time now and the logical next step in making Ex Libris Handmade truly sustainable. I'm especially excited about being able to offer an affordable 100% organic product. I hope you will check out the project, watch the video and, if you're able, consider pledging.

Here's the link:

Spread the word!

♥ V.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Custom cloth book round up

Here are my latest custom cloth books...

6-page book for Apollo ::

6-page monogram book for Amelia ::

6-page book for Miles, with wrapping ::

8-page 'e' book for Eve ::

8-page book for Caroline ::

12-page full name book for Jack ::

Friday, October 14, 2011

The rain in Maine

Our little family took a much needed vacation last week to the coast of Maine.

We stayed in the most amazing house in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

It rained a bit but that didn't even matter.

We escaped the world and embraced it at the same time.

It was magic.

Already dreaming of a return visit!