Puppy Update and New Art

Puppy Update and New Art

    Paisley is growing so fast!  I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since we took her home!  She comes to work with me at the shop on weekdays when my kids are at school and my husband is at work.  So far… so good.  She has her spazzy moments, but overall, she is a very sweet, calm puppy.  If you follow me in Instagram, you’ll be sure to find lots more pics of #paisleylittlepuppy! Last week, I ordered some cell phone cases with a new design on them… I’m really hoping to find a good, reliable source that will sell them to me at a decent cost so I can offer them to my wholesale customer, too! My friend wanted me to make this quote into a sign for him.  I kind of like how it turned out!  I’ve never done an elephant before! And I forgot to post about MATS week 4.  Mostly because I had no time to work on my assignment that week… but it should have been my favorite one!  It’s still a work in progress, but last weekend I turned my map of Saugatuck and Douglas into two little tags for the shop.  I’ll be tweaking these as I have time to add more icons.   Until next...
A New Addition to our Custom Signs!

A New Addition to our Custom Signs!

I’ve had many requests for custom baby artwork that doesn’t include all the stats (birth time, length, weight, etc).  Often, when people are out shopping for gifts, they don’t always have that information on hand.  This week, I finally came up with a simple design that just includes the baby’s first and middle name.  I think they’re pretty cute!  Email me at katie@shopwhatitis.com to customize one of these!...
A Stepping Stone

A Stepping Stone

Something I need to remember right now (and always) while I’m taking Make Art that Sells (MATS): Where I am right now is just a stepping stone.  It’s so inspiring to see all kinds of people getting their artwork licensed because of MATS.  It’s a dream of mine!  Although it gets a little discouraging every time I don’t hear back from a company I have sent artwork to, I have to keep in mind that where I am right now is a lot farther than I was a year ago today.  And where will I be a year from now?  5 years from now?  It all kind of comes full circle to the “5” book by Dan Zadra that made me quit my waitressing job in 2011 and open a shop. (here is a link to that story)  Which led to Polka Dot Mitten.  What a weird and wonderful and crazy life it is!   Here is a link to the March gallery for MATS:  See if you can spot my Jell-O pattern!...
Let Faith be Bigger than your Fears

Let Faith be Bigger than your Fears

2014 did not start off very well for my family.  My brother, who was born with a heart condition called Tetralogy of Fallot, had to have emergency open heart surgery.  During his surgery, we found out that my mom’s close friend Sue, my rep for Polka Dot Mitten, had passed away from a massive heart attack. Heart conditions are near and dear to my family.  Mike and I have decided to donate a portion of our sales each month to the American Heart Association in Sue’s honor.  She really, truly made our company grow more than I ever could have imagined. Because of her hard work, our company is continuing to grow even though she is gone. My mom is also working hard on organizing a “Go Red for Women” walk in honor of Sue.  It will go from Saugatuck to Douglas.  She doesn’t have a date set, but it will be sometime once the snow is gone and the weather is warmer.  When we have all the details for that, I will be sure to do a post about it!  ...
March Giveaway!

March Giveaway!

We haven’t done a giveaway in quite some time!  This 8×10 art print on wood can be customized to ANY lake!  And it could be yours!  To enter, leave a comment below telling us what your favorite summer vacation spot is. The winner will be drawn on Sunday, March 9th.  Good luck! There are several ways to earn additional entries to the giveaway! 1. Sign up for the Polka Dot Mitten newsletter by scrolling down to the bottom of the page and entering your email in the signup form. 2. “Like” Polka Dot Mitten on Facebook (if you already like us, mention it in the comment!) 3. “Like” It Is What It Is on Facebook (if you already like us, mention it in the...
sometimes I just want to paint!

sometimes I just want to paint!

Right now, we’re in between assignments for Bootcamp.  I haven’t gotten my paints out in a long time, so tonight, I decided to have some fun and make a mess.  I used the same words and some of the same patterns from my cuckoo clock assignment, but gave it a completely different feel.  I really like how it turned out!  Maybe I should get the paints out more often!...
Wedding Quilt

Wedding Quilt

My 11th wedding anniversary is coming up this weekend! When I got engaged, my Great Grandma Leach began making (by hand!) a quilt for me.  She used scraps she had collected over the years – clothes she no longer wore, and any other fabric she had on hand.  She finished it in time to give it to me as a wedding gift.  She’s where all the creative genes come from in my family – she had the most beautiful handwriting, she was good at painting and drawing, and she could sew!  My quilt is such a wonderful...
Rest

Rest

Yesterday was the last day for It Is What It Is until February.  I love my shop, but I’m so ready for a break.  Although I still have custom orders to fulfill, it’s just so nice to have a break from one job and slow down for a little while.  I’m really looking forward to creating new designs, going to Chicago to the gift show, and totally re-doing my catalog for Spring.  Here is a sneak peek of that work in progress: I’m working on lots of new designs for 2014, too!  I have so many ideas, and now I have all kinds of time to bring them to life!!  Polka Dot Mitten gave me some new art supplies for Christmas, so I am all set to settle in for the winter and create! Here’s a very rough draft of one of my new ones.  It still needs a little tweaking.  I (of course) started with Michigan (and it’s filled with polka dots), but all 50 states will be available:   Another thing that will be new for 2014 is my new blog!  My friend Brooke DeBoer of Shining Light Marketing has been working hard on creating a new blog for me that’s more my style! I have designed most of the graphics for it, and she is putting it all together for me.  It will be polkadotmitten.com.  As soon as it’s finished, I’ll post all about...

Top Seven Sunday!

I’ve been trying to keep up with the blog.  But I’ve been having a hard time with that.  Ideally, I would post 5 times a week!  Instead, here are the top seven highlights of my week. 1. I’m going to be signing signs and doing 3 “trunk shows” in November.  At Teerman’s in Holland, at Shooting Star in South Haven, and at Great Northern Trading in Rockford.  I’ll post dates and more info later.   2.  We have been staying up until about 1 a.m.  every night/morning/whatever you want to call it.  It’s tough to work 2 jobs.  (ok 4 jobs between the two of us.  mike has a normal engineer job monday-friday and i work 7 days a week at the store most weeks, and we both make the signs every night!)  But it’s sooooooo exciting that we have to work so late every night.  My goal was to outgrow my kitchen counter.  And that is happening quickly.  I feel like I’m going insane mostly, but I asked for some help this week. Finally.  I took a picture of my kitchen counter, but I’m too embarrassed to post it.  Between the kids’ school papers, signs, regular mail, iiwii mail, polka dot mail, dirty dishes…. yeah.  You can make a mental picture.  But it makes my top 7 because I’m loving it. 3.  We took a break on Friday night!  We took the kids to the Saugatuck/Fennville football game!  We met our good friends there, and they came over to our house afterwards.  It was good to hang out and catch up with them.  They didn’t care about the...
Apple Cake and Boiled Apple Peels

Apple Cake and Boiled Apple Peels

Apple cake is one of the first things I learned to bake.  It was also one of the first things my mom learned to bake.  Her neighbor, Mrs. Troutman, gave her the recipe when she was little.  And my mom taught me how to make it when I was little.  I remember making it for my neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Nieusma, when I was probably about 8 years old. You will need: 4 apples, 1 3/4 cup sugar, 1 cup oil, 2 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt, 2 tsp. cinnamon and 2 cups flour.  Here’s what you do: First, preheat your oven to 350.  Grease and flour a bundt pan.  I usually use a bundt pan, but sometimes I use a cake pan.  Either one works. Peel and slice the apples.  (My mom gave me her apple/peeler/corer/slicer from Pampered Chef that she’s had since I was in elementary school.  It works like a charm and saves a lot of time.) Don’t throw the cores or peels away!  Put them in a big pot and cover with water.  Sprinkle in some cinnamon, bring to a boil, and let it simmer on your stove!  Makes your house smell AMAZING.  This has nothing to do with the recipe, it’s just what I always do when I make apple cake.  And I do it even when I’m not making apple cake. (another trick from my mom) Beat the eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla until combined.  Add the apples and stir.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, sugar, soda and salt.  Then add that to the apples mixture...

A Day Off

I’ve been practicing some new techniques and I really like how they are turning out! The hardest part is coming up with a quote to put on them. I took the day off from It Is What It Is, and this is pretty much all I did.  Aside from shipping some packages and taking the kids out for ice cream… this was my day.  I really should have cleaned the laundry room….....

Out In The World

Several places have recently posted pictures of our signs on their Facebook pages!  Check them out: Two Fish Gallery in Leland, MI posted this photo of their custom Leland subway art. Downtown Rochester posted this photo of the custom Rochester sign I made for Catching Fireflies. Allegan Community Pharmacy posted this photo of their custom Allegan sign. Robinette’s in Grand Rapids posted a bunch of photos of their Polka Dot Mitten signs. Little Luxuries of Mackinac Island posted this photo of their Mackinac Island town tag. The Village of Douglas regularly shares our photos, too! And of course, It Is What It Is in Douglas has all kinds of photos! You should check out all of these great shops sometime if you are in their vicinity!  I just love seeing where the signs end up.  I can’t wait to visit all of these places!   Last week, I had a song stuck in my head that my Grandma “Beery” used to sing to us when we were little.  I decided to make a piece of artwork out of it.  It’s available right now at It Is What It Is as a mini 4×5 tag, and will be coming soon to the updated summer wholesale...

Morning Coffee

Every morning, after the kids leave for school, and before I have to get ready for work, I sit on the couch and have a cup of coffee.  I watch Fox 17 morning news, check Facebook, sort out my work emails for custom signs, and browse Pinterest.  This morning when I logged on to Pinterest and started scrolling, I found two of my signs pinned by Catching Fireflies!  (last week, I finished up and shipped out a custom order for their Berkley, Ann Arbor and Rochester shops!) The first summer It Is What It Is was open (2011), we took a little family trip up to Mackinac Island.  I did a lot of shopping.  There were so many great little shops!  The one that stuck out most in my mind was Little Luxuries of Mackinac Island.  She had so many Michigan-made items, and her shop was so unique!  I bought a little handmade magnet by A.I. Paper Design from Little Luxuries.  When I got home, I looked up A.I. Paper Design, and found out that the creator has retail shops in Michigan called Catching Fireflies!  I have not been to Catching Fireflies in person (yet), but their website and blog is fantastic.  She gives marketing and display tips, great gift ideas, recipes, and so much more! Anyway, when I started up my little wholesale business at the end of January of this year, the first shops I thought of were, of course, Little Luxuries and Catching Fireflies. (because they have always been an inspiration to me for my own shop.)  I was so nervous to email them and tell...

Out In The World

Last week, a customer sent me this picture of a bride-to-be holding the wedding sign I made for her.  I love seeing where the signs end up out in the world! If you have a picture of one of my custom signs, send it my way and I will feature it on the...

Raw Signs

My husband, Mike, used to cut all the wood in our garage. But when we went wholesale, he started cutting it all in his dad’s workshop where there is more room (and better tools!) Then he loads it all up in boxes and brings it home to our garage to drill keyholes. He spends several hours each week getting signs ready for me (and he works full-time at his engineering job, too). Without him, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m...
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