Our Story; Nearly Perfect Pins for Crohn’s Research

Update 8/24/2018: Together you helped us raise and donate $1,040.85 to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. Thank you so much for helping us reach our goal in less than three months! Nearly Perfect Pins will now be sold for profit, but be assured that those sales will still be doing good – going towards Luke’s continued medical expenses. We are overwhelmed by your love and support these past few months and can’t thank you enough! ❤ Lauren & Luke

Today is an exciting day! I am now selling Nearly Perfect Pins at my Etsy shop to raise money for Crohn’s disease research!

Why Crohn’s disease research?

In the past, I have mentioned on the blog and on social media that my husband, Luke, has a chronic illness. Out of respect for Luke and his desire to keep that part of his life private, I have been careful not to share too much. However, we recently went through some life-changing circumstances surrounding that and we both feel led to share more of our story and do something in response to our experience.

In January 2016, my husband Luke was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease is a chronic illness that affects one’s entire immune system, but the main issues involve the colon and small intestine. Symptoms vary from person to person, but since Luke’s symptoms were not as “normal” as many cases, we are guessing he went undiagnosed for 5-7 years. This caused a lot of permanent damage to his colon and small intestine. So, in May 2018, Luke had surgery to get 20 cm of his colon and small intestine removed.

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Before surgery, Luke experienced daily pain – especially after eating. But, it didn’t take long after surgery for him to start noticing its positive effects. Now, he can eat almost everything he likes and no longer suffers from daily pain (Praise God)! Though Luke’s surgery was successful, he will continue to live with Crohn’s disease and take medication for the rest of his life to keep things under control and avoid another surgery down the road.

God’s provision

The past six months were filled with so many ups and downs. Luke’s pain was increasing, he was laid off from his job, and there were a bunch of issues at school I won’t get into. All in all, it was a rough season of one thing after another. When we got the news that Luke needed surgery ASAP, we began to see the Lord’s hand through this experience. For example:

Up until this past February, Luke was in school full-time and working about 35 hours a week on top of that. When Luke got the news that his position was no longer needed at work, we were so confused. At the time, we had no idea how bad things had gotten and surgery was not on our radar. If Luke hadn’t lost his job, he probably would have continued working through the pain he was experiencing and most likely would have had to go into the ER for emergency surgery. He would have had to drop out of school mid-way through the semester, we would have been out thousands of dollars, and Luke’s hard work would have gone without any credit.

Luke losing his job was a HUGE blessing. God worked out all these little details to save us from even more trouble than we were already experiencing. We are humbled by the Lord’s compassion for us and that He continues to reveal that He really did have a plan for Luke and me through this difficult season.

So, as a response, Luke and I felt led to do two things: 1) Share the love of Christ with others through our story and 2) Help others like Luke.

How we plan to help others

I was designing a new pin while Luke was in the hospital, so pins were on the mind as we began discussing our desire to share our story, God’s goodness, and somehow help others with Crohn’s disease.

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As many of you already know, I started designing enamel pins this year. A few recent orders didn’t come out quite right, so my manufacturer sent me the flawed ones in addition to the ones I ordered. These pins are nearly perfect. I’ve given a few away to friends and they don’t mind the extra dings, scratches, and markings. But, I just didn’t feel right selling them at full price alongside the other pins that did come out right.

So, Luke and I felt the obvious starting point was to sell these Nearly Perfect Pins and start raising money for Crohn’s research. It is our hope that we would be able to donate at least $1,000 in December 2018 to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. So, starting today, I am selling Nearly Perfect Pins at my Etsy shop and 100% of the profits will go towards a donation we’ll make at the end of the year.

Thank you

Thanks for reading our story and thanks in advance to all of you who choose to pick yourselves up a Nearly Perfect Pin (or two or three!). The money from your purchase will go towards changing people’s quality of life, gaining a better understanding of what causes Crohn’s disease, getting people diagnosed sooner, and finding better treatments.

Click HERE to get your Nearly Perfect Pins today!

Update 8/24/2018: Together you helped us raise and donate $1,040.85 to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. Thank you so much for helping us reach our goal in less than three months! Nearly Perfect Pins will now be sold for profit, but be assured that those sales will still be doing good – going towards Luke’s continued medical expenses. We are overwhelmed by your love and support these past few months and can’t thank you enough! ❤ Lauren & Luke

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A Sneak Peek Into My Foiling Process

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Have you ever wondered what goes into making a foiled print?

For the longest time, I did too. I oohed and awed over foiled prints by other makers, but didn’t want to make them through a company, because they were just so darn expensive to produce.Give_It_To_God_Etsy_Listing_Photo

I was chatting with a friend about my desire to try foiling myself and to my surprise, she really wanted to get rid of her foil and applicator machine. So, I decided to invest in some new equipment! She named her price, it worked for me, she shipped it out and once it arrived at my doorstep, we got on Google Hangouts and she taught me all the foiling things.

Now, I love making foiled prints. I design all of my products, but I outsource the manufacturing of my printing, pins, and stamps, so I was really missing the hands-on part of being an Etsy seller. Foiling has given me a little bit of that back. As my shop grows, I’m sure I’ll eventually have to outsource more of my foiled products too, but until that time comes, I’m gonna soak up all the in-house foiling goodness!

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Are you a maker? Curious to know what equipment I’m using? Click HERE for direct links!

May Wins and Learns

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Lettering created by yours truly; illustration created by Jelligun.

Happy June! As always, I love reflecting on the past month, what I did right, what I did wrong… reasons to celebrate and areas I’ve grown and still need to grow. May 2018 wasn’t a huge month for my shop, but it was a big one in my personal life, which affected the way I was able to run my business. I’m excited to share some of those details with you, so let’s not waste any more time. 😉

Wins

  • My Etsy shop reached 500 sales! This is a huge milestone for me. Less than a year ago, I’m pretty sure I didn’t even have 30 sales. Sometimes I feel like my business is growing so slowly, but this was a reminder that that’s just not true!
  • My Creative Market shop sales have increased more this past month than any other!
  • I’ve been decluttering my business a bit. I let go of half my mailing list and kept the people who updated their preferences and let me know they really do want to hear from me. That makes me feel much better about clicking send! I also started posting fewer posts on Instagram and fewer Instagram stories. Being on my phone less has been great and believe it or not, I am experiencing better engagement from my community!
  • I participated in #MerMay, which is an Instagram challenge, where you draw a mermaid a day in May. Now, mermaids aren’t exactly my all-time favorite subject matter, but this challenge kept me motivated to practice drawing daily and improve my illustration skills. It was difficult to get done most days – especially with what was happening with my next win – but it was so fun and I’m definitely going to keep drawing daily! Follow me at @ibachillustrations on Instagram to see my mermaids and future illustrations.
  • Personal life update: My husband had surgery at the beginning of the month and he’s still very much in recovery, but because of the procedure, his quality of life has already improved greatly!

Learns

  • Give. Yourself. Grace. (I’m talking to myself, but I’m talking to you too!) We are planning on doing a blog post in the near future, but I will say, my husband was in the hospital for nine days recovering from surgery. That was twice as long as we had planned when we were told he needed surgery, so naturally, I was at the hospital a lot more than I anticipated. I also wasn’t motivated to work as much during his first two weeks of recovery… which was OKAY! I have the ability to choose my hours and adjust my schedule and I didn’t want to look back on this month and think, ‘I wish I hadn’t been so worried about work. I wish I would have been more present for Luke.’ So, I gave myself the grace I needed to be fully present to support my hubby in his first couple weeks of healing and I have ZERO regrets!

Anyway…

Today’s post is a little shorter than usual, but I’ll be back in a few weeks with another blog post with more details on Luke’s surgery. We’ve felt impacted in many ways by this experience and are excited to raise some awareness about chronic illnesses and hopefully raise some money too!

❤ Lauren

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