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Miller February 2024 Update


Sherlock is adorable, isn't she?


This month has come and gone so quickly. We struggled more this month than last month but we were able to also adapt to our needs far more making it somewhat bearable than last year. John hurt his back and I had to do everything and carry him for a week, I kept spraining my ankle twice and had to limp for multiple days, I got bursitis in my arm meaning I couldn’t use it at all, and we’ve hit burnout twice knocking us out for 24-72hrs after social events.


With that, we still made quite a bit of progress in our business. Staying home to work on building up a means for us to make our bills, while we rest during our hardest months. This month, last month, and the month before we have gotten it to only fill the gas tank ONCE! We have a lot less stress and pain when we stay home so this has been wonderful~ 


Our work schedule shifts significantly due to the shorter days and lack of sunshine. For a week my work hours were 7pm-4am and I just couldn’t process in the morning or most of the day. Then for 4 days I became really scared of sleeping and had terrible insomnia. John and I tend to have different days where our nightmares become so much that our whole sleep schedule shifts for a few days. Even with that, we managed to squeeze in enough work to make some progress.


SPEAKING OF HEALTH I will post a separate post on that. If you would like to understand a bit more when we say “we are struggling with our health” and know what we are dealing with, please click here to read it. It’s a lot and would drown out the business information I wanted to update on. You’ll think it’s a lot to read, but I want people to just understand that if reading the 14 pages on what we are going through is tough, try living with it and trying to survive in this society. I am amazed daily that we are living as well as we are considering we hear so many state their debilitated state for just having one of our multiple conditions. We are strong are we will keep going! But baby steps... I am proud that we are where we are. Still accomplishing things! We hear from people about how interesting we are and it’s kinda funny since we didn’t agree or accept it until just last month. We have gone through things most people don’t experience ever in their entire life and that is just mind-boggling to us. So we have insight into many things in life because of it. How can we turn these struggles into something that can help others?


However, I do emphasize how important that information is. We are carrying a LOT and we want to celebrate each month how much we are succeeding despite the amount we have to deal with daily. These updates are not only for you but for us in the future to review down the line. For us to look back a decade later and review our progress. Our business is based on and off of us. It also impacts our ability to function in life so always addressing our health and its impact should be acknowledged. If we want to help others accomplish goals, we first must be able to DO. We must become familiar with the process and prepare for any possible problems.


Please read our health update [here]


We didn’t do much this month worth reporting on. Jan and Feb are normally our least productive months where we are passed out most of it. It’s weird to say it’s been one of our best Febs together. Even though we were burned out, afraid of sleeping, constantly having nightmares, in constant pain, afraid of leaving home, disassociated, and dazed for a lot of it. It has gone noticeably down in the length of debilitating impact: which means we are doing better!


So we had to adapt our whole work schedule: When we can work and function, we stay awake to work. Fighting it too much produced less and caused more issues. So we tried to go with it. For a week that changed from 7pm to 4am or for a few days between 10pm-5am. For four days I couldn’t sleep which left about 4 hours of being able to function each day before collapse. John has days more often than not where he is running on 3-4hrs of sleep. Our nightmares wake us up in a panic, ruining any rest that might have accumulated. We are hoping that our business will allow us to make the proper adjustments as needed.



She keeps us so happy!


What we were able to to this month:

  1. John’s progress on his Bible Sticker Chart

  2. Updated Signage at Who Gives a SCRAP

  3. Apt Cleaning

  4. Crafty Card Collective

  5. Memory Magnets

  6. Won a Free Photoshoot!



I had fun taking pictures of John's sticker designs we have for sale!


Bible Sticker Chart


John’s Bible Sticker Chart is almost fully complete. He is writing his Biblical curriculum to go with it. The lessons it was made off of do not belong to us so we can't sell that with it. The church we were commissioned by already had licensure for that program and added this creation to go with it. So to have it be our product, he is creating a full package easy for parents and exciting for kids. And I want to emphasize EXCITING for kids. We want to offer quality and in-depth information that is manageable and motivating for kids of all ages. 


With the sticker chart, there will be 16 lessons, each with a completion sticker that fits on the map. The lesson will be separated into two parts, one for the child to follow and one for the parent or adult to read to help them along.


If you know of a church looking for a program that is well thought out and carefully crafted for learning little minds, connect us with your Children’s Pastor! We are offering a deal for churches who are willing to invest in what we have now and get a great discount for the complete package. 


We have so many plans in the works, that staying home allows us to work on them longer while also taking care of our health. 





We have updated our Signage with Who Gives A SCRAP!

Top Hat Tom has retired and another has taken his place~ What should his name be?



Who Gives a SCRAP





The kits have been going smoothly! I’ve had to limit to 50 per month for a little bit at Who Gives a SCRAP so I can focus on catching up on other projects based on time & health. I’ve realized how much time I’ve been putting into these free kits that I can’t invest ANY time into what will make us money. And we need our bills paid every month. It generally takes me between 4-7 hours per set of 40. About four hours for kits I already have established to seven hours for those new ones needing video instructions. Then it also takes John an hour to get the video ready to post.


The most time-consuming process: printing and cutting out blank ATCs and ATC backings. I cut most if not all blanks by hand. Especially the recycled ones.


The second most time-consuming task: rearranging everything all the time to make space for anything. (Took me all of Dec to rearrange the home to have space for me to work on 40 bags at once. We live in two hallways)


I design everything, implement, test, print (@ the library), cut, organize, create plans, gather materials, prep materials, match materials, create QR code, and instruction page, record the process, seal & mark bags appropriately, record with paperwork etc.


John helps an hour or two a month so this is a lot I’m doing on my own. These bags do not make us any money. These we are doing for free to help encourage people to create. But for a few months, we would like to catch up on the paid business side.



Spent a week cutting up materials and searching through ALL pre-cut ATCs around the home that I made and designed kits. I'm doing everything step by step to invest some time elsewhere.


I do have multiple new kits planned and mostly ready. Three sets just need video instructions and the page to connect it to. But to get to that I’d have to clean and rearrange our home again. Mind you, we live in basically two hallways so not many places we can put things aside and still have a walkway from one end of the home to the other. =/ 


Those will be done when I can. Normally I like it to be a sunny day for better lighting (our home has odd pockets of shadows because of the structure). Also when I have the energy and mental process to complete the task. =D Fun stuff ahead! You’ll love the ones coming out as soon as we can afford to stay home longer.


APT CLEANING


This is a lot of work. I mean keeping the home clean of course is a default time-consuming life-long task. But since we don’t have a lot of space, projects are stacked on top of each other until I have space to work on it. I’ve also been organizing our materials based on the 12 months of Artist Trading Card events we are hosting, materials donated to Crafter’s Clique for a few events, materials given to friends who are normally stuck at home, and also pulling items aside for the Fathers in the Field Ministry we are a part of. They are all being sorted into various directions to be worked on throughout the year.


It also means I need to clean up a lot of materials so that they can be used again. Last year we had quite a few pages that were used that had these….odd bits and edges on them. I trim them off so the papers look more, pleasing to use. (Makes sense right?) Those bits I am saving aside for a fun video of recycling papers and turning them into handmade pages from home! I’m excited to see what the papers will look like once we blend all those pages. Hope you are as interested as I am!


We have a period of sorting with a focus on “what I intend to accomplish this year”. We are getting everything positioned and set up for easier use. You may think this is weird to add in a business update…but it makes sense. You have no idea how many ideas and plans we want to share with you guys. From being kids who were almost ignored (and many times forgotten), we get to share the rich and vibrant world we have created by being alone all the time. Can we build a means to cover our necessities while enjoying everything we have wanted in life? We are going to try!


To me, this is kind of a representation of where we are in life. I had trouble with hoarding art supplies growing up, being so depressed I’d watch daily not using anything in hopes for that energy/inspiration/time I could. The piles of intentions and dreams left unfinished. This year, for both of us is focused on one word: “Completion”. This is the year of completing projects. At home, we get to watch and remind ourselves that our life is a process. As long as we keep going with intention. We will get there. Take a break but don’t stop.


CRAFTY CARD COLLECTIVE




Thanks Cheech for helping out so much!!


This month’s event went well! Despite being extremely wound up for days prior and fretting the whole time, I think it went well and I hope everyone enjoyed themselves! I prepped 6 different embellishment design instructions for people to follow and I sadly don’t think people looked at half of them. I suppose it was my fault for not paying attention when people were ready to try something else and offering it. I’ll still have it for the next event if anyone is interested.





Last month's topic was embellishments. I had made 6 different instructions but didn't realize how much time to take into account cutting out the ATC blanks from last month! I will keep that in mind for the next time we work on this combo.


Messy but fun!


Every month I want to create 3 new designs to be used for that month’s theme. This idea I first had in January 2023 but wasn’t able to work on it. So this year I’m implementing this! It’ll be a lot less stressful for me letting people follow the instructions in front of them instead of having to keep asking what’s next in case I get tied up. It would also help those who may be shy or anxious about asking to have something to follow for themselves. 


For March we will be focusing on Storage, Displays, and Tools. We will go over a few ideas for storing your cards, creative ways you can display your favorites, and various tools you can test out and try for your own card designs. We will still have a few binders for people to claim for free so they can decorate their own storage/display of cards. They will only be offered on a first come, first serve basis as supplies are limited. These will not include an insert page, those will be handed out in MAY for the Art Therapy theme. 


Our event will be March 31, 11am-1pm at The Nextus in Colorado Springs, Colorado for anyone and everyone.

We hope to see you there~


MEMORY MAGNETS


A new product I created by accident because of our own needs now has a place to order from! This solution stemmed from when we realize we keep forgetting we have certain items in our pantry, when we got them, what we ran out of…etc. We would waste so much food because of: disassociation, time-blindness, physical pain (forget to check in lower bins), object permanence, burnout, and processing disorders.


We realized that because we tend to check out of time due to stress, we can’t keep track of what we have. Time-blindness interferes with the freshness of foods or even “I should’ve thrown that out but I didn’t realize it’s been THAT long since I noticed”. Physical pain limits the amount of times we are able to check what we have. Object permanence means “out-of-sight-out-of-mind” since our brains are always jumping to other topics. Burnout means that writing reminders don’t work when you are too tired to read and nothing processes but a headache. This kind of goes along with Processing Disorder because you would think things would work smoothly, but it just errors and doesn’t work again until you rest. Thus adding MORE time.


Looking at something pleasing we are hoping encourages interaction and enforcing memory. The idea is that you keep a pile of magnets that you have the items in stock for on one side of the fridge. Then when you run out, you put them on the other side. When it’s time to go to the store, you just take a snapshot of the side of your fridge of the items you don’t have. I even will try to draw the items close to the brands that you regularly purchase. 


If you or someone you know is interested, you can now purchase them from our Ko-Fi store!




Speaking of which we have joined Ko-Fi! Help support us on our artistic journey by either making a one-time donation or signing up for a membership to receive extra goodies from us. These items will be aligned with projects we are already working on so don’t think that it’s adding more work or adding to our burden. If we are making any funds from what we do so we can pay our bills, we are THRILLED! And the more practice we get with feedback, the better we will be in the future. 


Our website, which was supposed to have a purchasing function, has been more of a mental stressor than helpful. We can’t make money with a system that changed and their tutorials are outdated. So until we figure it out, we can’t make anything through there other than commission orders. Ko-Fi is very smooth and simple to use. Even with my easy frustration levels, I was able to set up and open our page in one day. Amazing. We hope this will help us speed along our financial support.



We love her so much!


PHOTOSHOOT


We had a photoshoot! We are going to be showing off our professional photos!! I entered into a giveaway on Instagram and won a free professional photoshoot for us (including Sherlock) with Vita Brevis! They were extremely professional and everything ran smoothly. The three ladies we talked to there who helped us through the process were extremely kind. The pictures were amazing and we couldn’t help but love all the results! Would highly recommend looking into their business if you ever need or want some awesome family shots~ (pets are welcome!). 


We enjoyed ourselves but poor Sherlock was stressed. She did well though!



So with this post, I will be starting new ideas and plans for next month’s release. I understand a lot of these posts have a lot more to do with us than our business which is not everyone’s cup of tea. We understand. I am going to try and separate posts based on the minimal information necessary, cut and dry version to keep it professional….and a post for a more casual chatty update. These laid-back ones will require you to sign up to our website to have access to see them.


The more we grow, the more we will encounter those who don’t care for the genuine sincerity we have and attack us for… [insert personal reason here]. We aren’t here to start conflicts, we are here to record our progress, regardless of how other people feel about it or not. That’s not the point. My goal is to help people who were, where we were, by proving that yes, we were there, this is what we did (and worked for us), and how can we get you to succeed too? But what weight would our words have if we hadn’t lived it? This is to be a record of our struggles, discoveries, and successes. We hope that you care about us as much as the products and services we can provide.



I had fun with the packaging!

What do you think?


With that, we want to deeply thank you for reading our updates and seeing what we are up to. We hope that we see you down the line and that something we have done or said helps improve your life for the better. We appreciate you and can't wait to share more of our joys with you! See you next month!


Enjoy one of our favorite photos from our photoshoot:



Sherlock was struggling to get away! She only liked ONE chair that we couldn't sit on.

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