PEOPLE. It’s almost Galentine’s Day. And I want to give you a present I think you’re going to love.
I’m excited to share with you about Nikki’s story of what she creates and why, but if you’re a “Get to the Point, Lady.” type of person– to enter the giveaway, comment below with a word you think would make a good sign (last name? virtue? inside joke?) and follow the Letters of Love Designs Facebook page for a second entry (let her know you were sent by A Musing Maralee). You could win either a “LOVED” sign or one of equal value from Letters of Love Designs.
I had such a fun time working with Nikki to create something special for my home. Just looking through her site, I had a couple favorites, but Nikki was so great about creating something just for our family that said what I hope my kids feel most secure in. I want them to know they are LOVED. There’s something about the “d” on the end of that word that reminds me this isn’t a feeling, it’s a state of being. It is what we are. I want my husband to know he’s loved even when we disagree. I want to be reminded that I’m loved by God even when I feel most alone.
Nikki let me pick a Scripture reference to go with it and I picked one of my favorites:
The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.
This is such an obscure verse I vividly remember from a song on the “Glory Revealed” album. I will never forget vacuuming the nursery at midnight, too excited to sleep the night before we were going to fly to Liberia to bring home our son. I was lost in worry about all the potential problems of adoption, the issues our child might have, the possibility I would be a terrible mom, all the ways the rest of our lives could go wrong starting with this trip. Then this song came on and over the roar of the vacuum I felt reminded that however hard this road would be, I had a God who took great delight in me and delighted in this child, too. It gave me an indescribable peace and continues to be a great reminder as I work to make sure my kids know how loved they are by me and also by God– that HIS love is what inspires and strengthens mine.
I love what Nikki created and how it contributes to the feeling of safety and security in my home. And I want her to make something beautiful for you, too! Something special about her signs is how she takes photographs that relate to the word she’s spelling. Her sports-themed ones are especially cute and would be great gifts for a coach or athlete in your life. She’s got a gift for taking pictures that could look totally disjointed and creating something cohesive out of them. I love that the letters in “LOVED” look both tender (pinks! a flower!) and strong (architectural elements! iron!). This is a lot more than just taking pictures that look like letters, but an entire creative process. And the wood sign itself is really solid and looks like it will survive any future events where a rogue bouncy ball tries to dislodge it from the shelf. (These are important things to consider when you have six kids.)
It is always so exciting and inspirational for me to talk to women who have found a way to turn their passion into a business. It’s a joy to share their stories with you! So to give you a better idea about what Nikki does and who she is, let’s hear from her.
What made you start your own business?
My passion has always been for art and creating things. I’m actually an RN, worked on a pediatric unit since 1995, but in 2009, after having my 2nd little boy, I was feeling the need to bring my creative-soul back to life. I combined my love for photography & words, and began photographing things that look like letters and making them into wood signs. Over time, I’ve been able to fine-tune it, and grow it into a business. I don’t think I started out even planning for it to grow, but I think maybe God did. In May of 2015, it had grown enough that I was able to step away from the hospital completely, and work on this full-time, to be with my family more, and enjoy the artistic side of life for awhile.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by God’s creation, music, positive people, and laughter. I think I feel most inspired when all of those components end up in one place at the same time. There’s nothing like being outside, with some good soul-searching music, surrounded by cheerful people who support & love each other. But, each of those things alone is enough to breath life into my soul. I work best when I have some Jesus-music playing and a good cup of coffee.
What do you wish you had known before you started?
I wish I would have been able to see that this thing was going to grow. I just thought it was something that I was kind of doing for myself at first. I might have organized it differently, or been more purposeful with it, had I known the direction God was going to send me. I feel like just in these last two years, I can really see a purpose, a goal, a path that I need to be on with this gig.
It’s a lot easier to do that now that my kiddos are both in school, but it’s still not easy. I try really hard to be mostly done with my day’s sign work by the time my boys get home from school, so I can be off of the computer and giving them my attention. Sometimes I have to run down to my work space and put a coat of paint on here and there, or get signs ready for shipping, but for the most part, I try to focus on them, when they’re home after school. I also just try to be in the moment with them. I have to remind myself sometimes that the unfinished sign will still be there tomorrow for finishing, and that they need my attention right now. I think it’s hard also, because I truly love making these things, so it doesn’t feel like a “job” most of the time. So, it isn’t easy to shut off completely and carve out family time, unless I make a point to do so. I give serious props to my husband, Chad, who cuts the wood for every sign I make, and gives me 100% support. Without him, there would be no sign business.
Would you like to have your own special sign from Letter of Love Designs? Want something special to give your mom, sister, daughter or friend for Galentine’s Day?
Here are two ways to enter our giveaway for up to two entries in the drawing:
1) Comment on this post with what you think would be a fun word for a sign (literally any word will do, it’s just a way to get you entered).