Hello friends, and welcome to 2015!!

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2014 was a pretty good year. On the very last day of 2014 (also known as yesterday), we (Sam, my mother, and myself) made Christmas cookies. Granted, it was a week after Christmas actually happened, but when you have to travel a lot during the Christmas season, you take your traditions where you get them.

Making frosted sugar cookies is a long, messy process. You have to make the dough in advance and let it sit overnight. You have to roll out the dough and cut out your shapes. You have to bake them and cool them, while you mix up the frosting. And then you have to decorate, finally!

It's a whole big thing. It takes many ingredients, it takes planning, and it takes patience. It takes practice before they start to turn out right every time. But if you take your time and put the work in, you get some delicious sugar cookies.

My time working on Banded Arrow this year has felt very similar. There were so many frustrating, messy moments (mostly literally instead of figuratively, thank goodness). So much spilled ink, stained paper, and a few ruined screens later, this self-taught screenprinter has a pretty good handle on the process. I'm always tweaking and perfecting my technique, but I have learned how to produce beautiful, high quality products.

Banded Arrow has also been an exercise in patience. I have so many ideas and projects I constantly want to work on, but I only have so much time in the day. I have to plan things out and line up projects in advance. Sometimes, my favorite ideas have to go on the back-burner while I tend to immediate events.

Beside that, it took months to build up Banded Arrow's inventory, and it takes several weeks to develop new lines. Nothing happens overnight. (Except sometimes the actual printing. I do a lot of that at night.) But months of work and perseverance, and Banded Arrow is up, fully stocked, and running.

It's been an exhausting, frustrating, and extremely rewarding experience, and I'm truly amazed at how well everything has turned out. 2014 was wonderful, and 2015 looks incredibly promising as well.

Speaking of 2015, I've got some new plans for Banded Arrow in this brand new year. Banded Arrow made so much progress this year, and I want to keep moving forward. So, without further adieu, the Banded Arrow goals/benchmarks for 2015!

1) Wall prints!!! You know, cute sayings and patterns that you can hang on your wall for inspiration and encouragement. I have wanted to get some of these printed, but Christmas wasn't as well planned out this year as I had hoped, so it didn't pan out. But, a couple of designs are in the works, and I have one all ready to be printed! Expect to see the first one here in late January!

2) Greeting Card Collections!! One awesome aspect of this Christmas season with Banded Arrow was the success of the 2014 Winter Collection. Eight greeting cards, all with the same color scheme, that arrived all at the same time. While single greeting cards might pop up here and there, expect the majority of Banded Arrow cards to come out as part of a set this year. You'll still be able to buy them as a set or as single cards, but expect to see cards reach the store all at the same time, instead of one by one. Expect to see Banded Arrow's Early Spring/Valentine's Day collection in mid-January.

3) Wedding Invitations! Banded Arrow has done a couple sets of wedding invitations now. Both were completely custom-designed. It was a great learning experience, and it's a service I intend to keep expanding. On that note, to simplify the process for brides who want pretty invitations, but might not exactly have designs in mind, Banded Arrow will be developing several invitation templates. The templates will have pretty botanical and simple designs, all screenprinted. The paper, ink colors, and wording will all be customizable, but the layout and patterns will not change. That way, I can list specific prices without a quote, and it will cut the production time down considerably, for brides who might be dealing with tight deadlines.

4) Craft Fair!!! I reeeeeeallly want to do a craft fair! The booth is still in development, and inventory is still scaling up, but the plan is to make Banded Arrow's first craft fair appearance this summer. More details will be available a little closer to the show, but I have a few that I am considering.

5) And last but not least, I want to do a better job showing the design process behind Banded Arrow! I don't have any concrete benchmarks on this one, but I'm going to try to show more sketches and more of the printing process for those who are interested. The best place to see the daily ins and outs of Banded Arrow is on the instagram feed.

And that's it! 2015 (or at least the first half) in a nutshell! Thanks to everyone who supported Banded Arrow last year. Hope to see you again in 2015!

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