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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Valentine's Link Party Features and a Little Venting...Sorry!


Thank you guys for participating in our first ever link party! It was so much fun to go through all the links and see all of your wonderful posts and all of the beautiful photos. I tried to comment on as many of your posts as I could but because I had either Lillie or Lola in my lap when I looked through most of them I didn't always have free hands to type, and there were several that I did try to comment on that the word verification wasn't working right on my phone and wasn't letting my comments through. So, whether or not you did get a comment please know I did enjoy viewing every one of them!

Before I share my favorites with you, I wanted to write a little bit about our shop. I have gone back and forth about writing this for a few weeks now. I generally like to keep this blog more inspirational and don't like to vent or write anything I will regret later. However, due to the amount of e-mails we are getting lately I think I am going to go a bit out of my comfort zone and address our current struggle with keeping items in stock. 

First, though, let me say we cannot thank you all enough for the fact that because of you we are able to run Dear Lillie and I am able to stay home with my girls while still contributing to our family's income. Since we reopened last fall is has also become a full-time job for my brother, Jason, and my mom and sisters continue to make some of our items like the tutus and hats. Every few months as our business grows we revamp how we do things and get more help as needed. We have plans for moving our location in April to allow us to do a much better job at keeping up with the quantity of items we need to be making and will share more about that soon. In the meantime, though, we are working out of our small 1800 square foot townhome. Every month the amount of hits we are getting on our blog and website are growing and in just the last three days alone we have received over 100,000 page views here on our blog. This is not only extremely exciting it is also a tad overwhelming too. The reason I am writing this is because we have been getting quite a few frustrated e-mails. A year ago, when I would make a "batch" of pillows it would be somewhere between 8 and 12 pillows. Now we have help with both the screenprinting and sewing and our batches are sometimes as large as a couple of hundred pillows. We have been able to do a better job with the pillows as far as making enough of them that although they often sell out, it often takes a day or two so everyone has plenty of time, and that has helped with keeping customers from becoming frustrated. Our  newest problem has been the growth charts, and this is mainly what I want to address. 

We have pretty much dismantled out back porch so that we can make as many of these as possible at a time and we have enlisted a third person to help Jason and I with them as well. The thing is, although we are working on them as quickly as we can they are rather time consuming and there is just only so much space on our back porch. This week we will have listed three batches (one on Monday, one on Wednesday and another one coming tomorrow). Unfortunately there are far more people trying to purchase them than we have available in each batch and they are selling out almost instantaneously from when we load them in. Obviously we understand that this is very frustrating for customers who are sitting at their computer trying to add one to their cart right at the exact moment and still aren't able to get one and we receive a ton of e-mails within a few minutes of them being loaded from people missing out on them. I have to say, most of them are very sweet people wondering if it is possible to pre-order one (which we are not doing at this time because there is just no way to keep up with them) but there have been several that have been rather rude. I try not to let myself get too upset by them but I did want to address it here on the blog. There are only so many hours in a day and there is only so much room in our home to be working on them. I go to bed every night betweeen 2 and 4 AM (and Lola gets up most nights at least 3 or 4 times), and during basketball season my husband is gone the majority of the time so I am often juggling everything on my own, and lately Jason doesn't get home to his apartment until the wee hours of the morning either. We are not intentionally doing anything to frustrate people and are working our absolute hardest to make as many as possible. And don't worry! We will continue to make them each week and starting in mid to late April we hopefully will be able to make larger quantities of them at a time.

Okay, sorry to have vented. I don't want any of you to think I am complaining. I absolutely positively LOVE LOVE LOVE what I do and I really and truly am so grateful to you all because without you guys making it possible I wouldn't be able to do it. I cannot tell you how appreciative I am that I am able to stay home with Lillie and Lola. I have briefly mentioned it on this blog but not gone into detail (for a bunch of different reasons) but both Lillie and Lola have had some health issues that have required many trips to the Children's Hospital and weekly therapies. Being able to be a mom and be home with them and take care of them all day yet still help pay our bills is something I feel so blessed by. This has been such an exciting year so far for Dear Lillie with the magazine shoot in January and something else coming in March that I will share as soon as I have permission to and I cannot thank you all enough!

Okay, enough about that. Now to something far more fun! 

Okay first, I have to say it was so much more difficult to pick than I thought it would be! In fact I decided to go with FIVE instead of three! I guess it's okay to break my own rules, right? Even just narrowing it down to five was extremely hard.  Thank you all for sharing all of your fabulous posts!

Although it was hard narrowing it down to five, I did have one absolute favorite:

 I am MADLY in love with this pillow from Craftberry Bush (and the photos of it!) 
Seriously the whole photoshoot Lucy did of this pillow is just gorgeous! I highly recommend heading on over to her blog and checking it out! I visited her blog for the first time thanks to her linking up and am now a HUGE fan!

And now for a few other favorites:
I love this pillow from Josie Jones and Co. and the whole soft color scheme of her room.

 This display by Kristin at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia is beautiful!

These Jane Austen cookies by Be Book Bound are fabulous! And the best part is she has a tutorial on how to make the silhouettes so that you can place them on the cookies. I am dying to try this!

And how adorable are these Valentine's Owls from Keeping it Cozy?
I want to make some for Lola's room using some of the extra damask fabric from the lampshade and her crib bedding.

I hope you all have a fabulous Thursday! I will be back tomorrow with some painted Roman Shades!







Also, just a quick reminder that we have a section here on our blog that tells all of our paint colors (you can find it by click on the link "our house" above or by clicking here) and a F.A.Q's page. Jason is doing an amazing job keeping up with the e-mails but they are coming in faster and faster and if you are in a hurry for an answer about paint colors or where an item is from or what kind of camera I use many of the answers can be found there.

51 comments:

  1. The pain of growth is akin to birth. You are on the cusp of becoming really large and it sounds scary (although inspiring too). So sorry for the added stress. God will give you direction (maybe not in the way you thought you would go or maybe exactly.....you'll see) Blessings as you find your way! Keep your balance....
    Lorraine

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  2. Good morning Jennifer,

    Here might be a suggestion for you, one blog I follow notifies when she is having a sale of her creations which she posts on Picture Trail. So when that specific set time arrives, the pictures of the items available to buy opens and you just email that you are interested in purchasing that item. So if you have 6 growth charts available the first 6 emails have it. Hope that makes sense - it may be crazier for you but then notifying your followers that at a specific set time the items are available makes it more fair for everyone especially if you vary your times so everyone has an opportunity.

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  3. Dear Jennifer, your girls, husband, Jason, your mom & sweet sisters~ THANK YOU!! I can not thank you enough for all your time and hard work. I feel like it is is special treat if I am lucky enough to purchase one of your fabulous items. If I miss out, I may be a little disappointed, but that is OK. I look forward to your next recreation or restock of an item. I know words can cut like a knife and to actually take the time to send a nasty email is unacceptable. I am appalled. Obviously these people are not serious readers or fans of your blog. Because if they were they would understand how hard you work. How you try to do it all! And you do it with kindness, grace and class. Bravo Jennifer for all your success!! I am beyond thrilled for you all!! I will always be a loyal fan & supporter. Big Hugs & Blessing.

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  4. Thanks Jennifer (and team) for all you do! I am certain you all are doing your best juggling everything. I admire you all. I am a customer and a follower of your blog. There have been times when items are out by the time I order but that is just the nature of things. Sometimes I get lucky, later when they get restocked. It is disheartening to receive rude emails when you are working so hard. I think people just need to sit back, breath and have some compassion and understanding. If it is meant to be, it will be. Thank you and I can wait to hear your news in March, sounds like exciting times! Love your products! ~Tammy

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  5. I don't think you are venting or complaining. I think you very nicely just explained to everyone what is going on. I'm sorry people are being rude to you. Sometimes customers forget there are real people behind a business and they need to remember what their moms taught them...if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all! Congratulations on your success and may it continue!

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  6. Please do not let rude comments dishearten you. I love your blog and your sense of style. When I was a young mom, I worked out of my home and I too was so grateful to be able to be with my 4 young children plus help with the family income. But it was tough to get everything done! Just take it one day at a time and try not to get too overwhelmed! (Easy to say, I know!)

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  7. People need to realize that they are receiving HANDMADE items. You are not a factory in China making junk that everyone has in their home. Best of luck to you and congrats on your shops success!

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  8. I'm a military wife and have been through 2 deployments and a year of a miserable job my husband had that felt like a deployment...keep those priorities God has given you in order and don't worry about the people who have neglected to think their words through before hitting "send!"

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  9. Anonymous is right, you are not a factory and handmade items take time and care to produce. Don't let the rude people get you down, they obviously don't get it. Keep your chin up! :)

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  10. You are so sweet to have me featured with such talent, thank you!
    More important family comes first, I know it is hard for some to understand. You are doing a fabulous job keeping up with the demands, don't let others get you down, keep doing what you are doing and my goodness, go to bed earlier my friend.
    OXXO
    Kristin

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  11. So nice to meet and follow you today!
    Your blog is beautiful...all of the darling family photos and great photography to boot!
    Hope you'll drop by to visit with me sometime too....I'd love to have you.

    ciao bella
    Creative Carmelina
    xox

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  12. I've decided to add your blog to my reading list on my blog's sidebar.
    Just thought you'd like to know that!

    Have a great day...I'm off to have my first cup of coffee for the day!

    ciao again
    Creative Carmelina

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  13. I second and third the people pointing out that these are handmade items and not meant to be "mass produced." It's quality over quantity and as a fellow artist I totally respect your commitment to not compromise your product by rushing to "crank them out." You're a mother and wife first and people should respect that. It's a shame a group of rude people forced you out of your comfort zone to explain yourself. They obviously just don't get it so don't worry about them. I love my Dear Lillie Products that I've purchased and have always been impressed with everything from their quality to their packaging and your awesome customer service. Keep up the great work and I wish you continued success!!!

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  14. Firstly, oh my, you are one busy lady! I can totally relate to what you're experiencing, but my story is a tad bit different. I owned a veterinary clinic for 8.5 years. It was busy, it was wonderful, it was soooooo incredibly tough to juggle it all with my babies. I was back to work 3 days after my first was born-out of necessity, not free will. It broke my heart. I was on call and working all hours night and day, and while I loved being a vet, my absolute priority is my children (2 girls and a 3rd due anyday). I made the tough decision to sell my practice, and it's been 8 months of lovely bliss being at home. I admire what you are doing, and am very happy for you and your family that you are doing so well! However, I understand the strain and struggles, just as I understand the joy of owning a flourishing business. I hope you find the balance you seek....one thing that helped me tremendously was hiring the staff I needed, who's personality and enthusiasm matched mine.

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  15. Dear Jennifer - I check your blog daily because you are such an inpiration. I love your products, I love your tutorials, I love your decor ideas and I don't know you but I love your sweet little family, too. I admire your passion and creativy. That is shown through your shop. Keep doing what you are doing and don't let the negative nellies get you down. Life is to enjoy...May God continue to bless your family and your business and I will keep Little Lillie and Lola in my prayers.

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  16. I am glad you vented. It is important that people really take the time to stop and think about YOU and your life. It cannot be easy to care for these little blessings and run a successful and quickly growing business. I loathe the fact that you go to bed between 2 and 4 am. It worries me. I want you well rested:) I will pray that you find the balance and solutions you need to be happy with growing the business but also for the people who have been rude. That is just so unnecessary. No one is "entitled" to a product. Things sell out. That is life. I am truly amazed at all that you do Jenni!!! Big Hugs,
    kim

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  17. You can only do what you can do! And as mom with a daughter just a little younger than you, I have to say that I worry about you pushing yourself too hard. Staying up that late each and every night, and then going at breakneck speed each day will take its toll. So please be sure you are taking care of yourself first and your customers second.

    xo Kat

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  18. Extremely happy for you and your 'growth spurt'!! Please don't allow a very few 'angry vent-ors' to upset you! You can only do so much and do it well! In order not to burn out you must set limits! Blessings for continued success!!

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  19. Pretty photos. Thank you for sharing.

    I will have to visit these blogs.

    Enjoy your day.

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  20. Dear Jenni...as the owner of a struggling Etsy shop I have to admit that these things you wrote about are problems I wish I had. That being said, here are a few points to try and remember. A.) No one ever has the right to be rude to you. NO ONE. EVER. B.) The whole idea of Dear Lillie was born to allow you to be a Mom first and a career-woman second. Don't lose sight of that. C.)If you don't take care of yourself, this will all be for nothing. Your health and the health of your girls is the most important thing. So...at the risk of sounding like your mother, please get some sleep. :o)

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  21. It is such an honor to be featured on your blog today! Thank you so much! I have been a reader for a couple years now and your blog is a favorite and always an inspiration. I sent you an email earlier, but as a fellow work-from-home mommy (although in a completely different field), I understand the demands. You have such talent and anyone is fortunate to receive your handmade work! Keep up the great work and I can't wait to see where life takes you.

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  22. I feel your heartache on this matter! My etsy shop has really taken off and all my pillows are made to order. My shop states a 4-7 week timeframe.... and lately it seems as though nobody reads that! I know it is a long time to recieve a pillow.. but I too have a husband that owns his own business and works very long hours outside of the house, a little boy and am pregnant! I love what I do but I too am disheartend by the rude customers who do not understand! It is only me making the pillows, from cutting them out, sewing them, packing them and shipping them... it takes alot moer time than people realize! Good luck to you... now I feel better that I vented! :)

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  23. Hi Jennifer - By far the vast majority of your followers out here totally understand your situation and the demands of being a wife and mother and having this business! Don't worry about the few negative comments, the positive ones by far outweigh the negative! Keep doing what you do so well and know that we understand your situation and appreciate your enthusiasm and dedication to your blog and business! And get some sleep! :)

    Nicole B.

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  24. As a stay at home mother of two little girls (2 and 7 months) I have no idea how you do it all! You are truly an inspiration and I am really sorry that people are being so rude to you. Congratulations on your shop doing so well AND congratulations on your beautiful family!

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  25. I don't comment too often on blogs but I totally hear where you are coming from. It's truly a struggle to balance home and work. For the longest time I felt such guilt spending endless time painting which is my "work". Went to bed at the wee hours completely exhausted the next day, trying to meet my kids daily needs became a chore, not to mention I was grumpy and my attitude reflected that mood. So, I made some changes. I actually got quite ill for almost year and it changed my priorities. Once I was better, I increased my prices and extended my turn around time and often put my website in vacation mode. Sure, I missed sales and some income, but things were so much more balanced. I also quit working on weekends to spend time with my family. Now all 3 kids are in school, so it has become easier to balance my work, but still a constant struggle.
    I wish you all the best, your items are beautiful!

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  26. Thanks you so much for featuring our "LOVE" pillow! We are so honored and thankful! We too are stay at home working moms and know what a blessing & a struggle it can be! We love your blog and are inspired by it daily! Wishing you all our best!

    Natalie and Kim

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  27. I am sorry people sometimes can be demanding and rude. Of course you are not hoarding growth charts just so they cannot buy them ha! When ordering handmade items their is a level of patience that needs to come with it. Hope things turn around!

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  28. Jen, you are doing a great job and please don't stop!!!! You are a true inspiration to us all. Keep it up,smile and have a great day!!! April

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  29. i honestly don't know how you are able to go to bed at 2 or 4 and then be a mommy all day, i would be an absolute wreck! take care of yourself and your family first. it absolutely disgusts me that people post negative comments. like many have said, you are not a factory. People need to know and understand they are purchasing handmade items. Know that you have hundreds of readers who love and admire you. hang in there and please, please get some rest!!

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  30. Oh my gosh! What is wrong with people. You are an absolute sweetheart, and I can't believe how hard you all work. And I can't imagine how you balance it all with two little ones. Please know that that definite majority of your readers think you are amazing, and we just love your talent! Take care of yourself and your family first; those are your priorities. We are just grateful you let us peak into your beautiful little world :)

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  31. People can be so rude and demanding! You know, the law of supply and demand states that, "when demand outpaces supply, prices should go up." That does 2 very positive things for the supplier: increases the profit so your time is more financially rewarding, and lowers demand to a more manageable level. OR you make it a policy to just charge anyone who is rude double on their order. :) Good luck! Your products are darling!

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  32. I love your blog and really love the 5 featured Valentine's Day Link Party items. Keep encouraged and keep up the great work!

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  33. Oh I do so love your blog and I am sooo sorry for the rude comments.I rather have to wait and get something made by hands and made in America that is of such good quality!! ( I hope when I asked for help on how to buy I was not one of those people) It is such a Blessing for you to stay home with your blessing!! Keep up the wonderful things that you do!!

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  34. I know how it feels to be frustrated by not being able to get one of your items. Been there - but rudeness surely doesn't help anything! I'm sorry for you having to experience that. Don't let it get you down. Bless you and those who help make the wonderful things you offer. Keep it up!!

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  35. Your blog is not only beautiful and features beautiful people and decor, but it also you have offered us all great free downloads that are wonderfully done. Thanks so much!!!! Love your blog.

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  36. It is such an honor to be featured today! Thank you! I have been a faithful reader of yours for a couple years now and you are a favorite. I sent you an email as well, but I am a fellow stay-at-home mommy (although in a different field), and I understand the demands. You have such talent and anyone is fortunate to receive your handmade work. Keep up the great work and I can't wait to see where life takes you!

    http://www.keepingitcozy.blogspot.com/2012/02/dear-lillie-feature.html

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  37. I know that it's hard, but ignore those rude people and concentrate on the positives in your life and business. There are many more of us, that feel you are doing a wonderful job!

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  38. Sorry that people are being rude to you! You are not a mass retailer (which is why so many people LOVE your creations), so don't ever feel like you must appease the SMALL percentage of people who feel entitled to make sure they get the fruits of your hardwork. Definitely not at the expense of your sleep, your kids, or your husband. At the end of the day, they are what matters - the pillows, and rulers (albeit oh-so-beautiful) can wait. :) Keep it up - balancing everything is super hard I'm sure and you're doing great!

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  39. I love your blog and all of the pretties you make. I feel so relaxed after my visits here and I thank you for that. Please take care of yourself and don't worry about negative people. You and your family come first. Have a lovely day!

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  40. I absolutely love your products, designs, and your precious family! It makes me so upset to hear that some people cannot appreciate that you are a stay at home mom and managing your own business-especially a business that requires you to hand make your items! I am so impressed by your talent and I only wish that I had the ability to run my own design company! Thank you for your sweet words in each of your blogs and for so publicly sharing the hope and faith that you have in Christ! I hope you're still selling all of your adorable children's clothes/accessories when I have my own family one day. Just wanted to send you and your family some encouragement today!
    PS-You're lucky to have such an amazing brother. Jason sounds like an awesome guy! ;)

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  41. I think you did a great job of explaining your operation to everyone in this post. I bet a lot of people didn't realize you and your family were so "hands on" in this business. They need to know that sometimes you just have wait for the good stuff!! Take care of yourself . . .

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  42. You are an inspiration to me! The way you can handle such a full plate is awesome. Keep up the eye candy! Much love J!

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  43. If the rude people want a growth chart so bad, why don't they just make one themselves? I made the same one months ago and it took a couple hours and a few bucks!

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  44. I know raising a family and on top of it running a business (from home) is crazy fun and a lot of work..I think you explained well your view..Wishing you all the best in the months to come with your decision..Have a great rest of the week..

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  45. Why is it that rude, mean and impatient people make nice people feel guilty??? DO NOT DO IT!! I have learned in my wise old almost 48yrs there are some people that you will NEVER please!!!
    Sooooo happy for your success and always keep those baby girls first... thats what matters most. HUGS sweet girl xoxoxox

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  46. Okay, first of all, I hope you can pat yourself on the back every time some totally thoughtless person bugs you and say "Hey me, I am juggling the crazy life of a Mom with babies, and a hugely successful homegrown business, and marriage, etc. And I am rocking it!" Because you are doing a great job. If you weren't, everyone wouldn't be clamoring for your products. Also, you have responded to the situation with perfect dignity, and don't need to feel bad about expressing that frustration.


    Secondly, I think I may have let out an audible squeak when I saw our silhouette cookies on here :) Thank you so much!!! My sister and I are both such huge fans of this blog, so to be featured here is kind of totally dreamy :) Thanks again!

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  47. I am honored that you take time out of your busy life to share so many great ideas and downloads here on your blog, I know how much easier your life would be not to do that but you share so much with us and for that I am very appreciative. It must be the weather or winter blues as you are the second blog I follow that addressed this type of email...it makes me sad. Thanks for your linky party...so many cute ideas! Jeni

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  48. Wow, you are a nice venter!! ha! There is NO excuse for rudeness~hit the delete button and don't think twice. I had no idea you were working so hard to fill all these orders, I can't imagine doing that. So kudos to you. I have a hard time just doing 4th grade homework two nights a week on our shared visitation with my stepson!! I am exhausted by it all~(last night we had 4.5 hours of it) UGH.
    You and your family are doing a great job creating something that resonates with a lot of nice people. The meanies can go eat worms.

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  49. I appreciate you and your family so much! Your site is eye candy and calming. I thank you for the free downloads and the ones that are not free are so reasonably priced for the work you do. I had the holiday ones in frames around my house this year. I have missed out on a couple of items (such as pillow covers) but I only check the site every other day or late in the day and by then you are often sold out of the item I want. I don't even give it another thought...I just wait till its available the next time and hope to get it. I don't know why people have to be rude on blogs, in stores or any time. It makes me sad. Its one of the reasons why as a blogger wanna-be I haven't taken the leap; I just don't take criticism very well. Plus I appreciate the investment of time it requires...its like a full time job plus some. Thank you for letting us peak at your lovely home and for providing lovely things to look at (and if lucky enough) to buy!

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  50. Jen,
    I'm sorry that people are not being as understanding as possible. You have a lovely shop and I hope things keep going well for you!
    -Kate

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  51. I am amazed and disappointed that people would be rude about the supply! I wanted a growth chart SO bad and was thrilled to be able to grab one. Your brother went above and beyond to make sure it arrived in great condition, quickly, etc. It is even more special that it comes from a small, family business. So sorry people are not being more understanding. They are worth being patient for!

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