Contact Us

Are you interested in having a custom piece made, a retailer that would like to carry AMD in your store or have a question about your order? Email me - I'd love to hear from you! -allison


Prior Lake, MN

(952) 237-2559

Allison Marie Design was established in 2008 as a way for me to pursue my creative passions. Over the years one thing has remained constant in my work, optimism. I strongly believe there is power in words & that your home should be filled with messages of truth, encouragement, and inspiration. 

33x33 thankful grateful-1.jpg

Hear Allison's heart and keep up to date on the happenings of Allison Marie Design

On Allison's blog you can keep up to date with Allison Marie Design happenings and hear what's on Allison's heart!

Collective Grace

allison tetzlaff

As we go through life, we think we have a roadmap. First high school graduation, then that college degree, followed by the job of our dreams, then the picture-perfect wedding, a quaint starter house for the hubby and new dog, and then the adorable children who listen so well, sitting in my freshly-cleaned, neutral-colored living room giggling while playing Scrabble as the sunshine streams in the open window and I’m kicking my feet up while enjoying a coffee and rela…. who am I kidding? 

Ah, yes. Our life’s goals.  

It’s funny that we are asked so often as kids to construct this roadmap and answer the all-important question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” Are anyone’s answers the same now as they were back then?   

As an 8-year-old I really thought I wanted to be the next great baker... I would sit in my grandma's kitchen flipping through cookbook after cookbook picking out just the right recipe to try with her. I'd sit in front of the stove and watch the cupcakes start to rise out of the ice cream cones (Did anyone else ever do this... my masterpiece) Then at 18 I was on my way to Iowa State where I set myself up for a career in Fashion Design because after college I'd be moving to NYC to become the next hot clothing designer. As I made these choices, I was always dreaming big and felt like I truly could do whatever I set my heart to.

The years out of college led me through the corporate world of Target... my soul yearned for more challenges and creativity... which pulled me into a small home based home decor company, Julia Knight... where I was reminded of my love for creating, business and the world... then my life shifted to wife... then mom... And this is when those notions of “real jobs” felt entangling and constricting. My brain itched with the thought that there was something more out there. My fingers tingled with the need to be busy making something, anything from my own two hands, and my heart felt pulled into what I would have only years earlier thought of as a too-risky adventure. But I couldn’t not do it. My soul was on fire with a need to be creative and to spread inspiration and encouragement in this small pocket of the globe that I call home. 

And so in this season of my life, Allison Marie Design was born. You can read about it in this post - 'Be Brave'.  I was content, fulfilled, and in love with life, but still kept feeling itchy and fiery and sensed that I needed to do MORE. I couldn’t quite understand why, until a dear friend proposed something in 2017. A project that was equally as too-risky as starting AMD… curating and hosting a pop-up shop filled with creative female makers like us. You can read about how that all came about here - 'Dream Big'.

Again, I found that as much as I tried to convince myself that it wasn’t possible – that I didn’t have the time or the energy or the network to pull it off – I couldn’t not do it. This event needed to happen to empower women entrepreneurs and encourage their business ventures. And so, in the short span of two months, Rachel and I pulled together all the female makers we knew and begged them to join our cause. We rented a beautiful storefront in Downtown Lakeville, and we filled that space with gorgeous furniture and handmade goods and hope and love and compassion and support… and prayed that God would lead people to our humble little pop-up.  

I recall the night before we opened, thinking to myself… "what if no one shows up?” 

The next few days were a whirlwind. When we saw a line of women outside the door for our grand opening 15 minutes early I was humbled and overtaken with gratitude. I felt that helping these entrepreneurs and makers reach their audience was the most professionally empowering thing I had ever done, my soul was at peace and my heart was full.  Rachel and I knew that this had to happen again, and almost as soon as the last ornament was down from the Christmas trees in our homes, we started lining up the Collective Grace Spring Pop-Up event. 

This spring we have decided to follow God's prompt and walk by faith into a space that is twice the size in Prior Lake, MN. So with that we have had an amazing opportunity to not only fill it with more amazing goodness (which we are doing of course!) We will be using the space to permanently host local stylist Hazel & Blush, there will be a hand lettering workshop hosted by Lauren Ibach (click here to Register), Stamped by Jen will be hand stamping on site, we will have a succulent bar, area for your kiddos to hang out while you shop... and more ideas that are still in the work... It is going to be so much fun! 

So…Back to life’s goals. 

When I was younger, I didn’t even know that I already had in me all the qualities necessary for running my own business and managing all the hats one must wear to be self-employed. I didn’t know that I would feel a need to be a creator, an artist, a maker, and someone who felt called to do something bigger for the women surrounding her; I didn’t know that life was so gloriously complicated and fraught with major decisions, or that I would be the person who grew to be confident in her decisions and in LOVE with waking up each day for work. Life’s goals have a funny way of being too small when we are still small people. 

What do I want to be when I grow up now, you ask?  

Happy. Happy with all the gifts I’ve been given in this life.  

Healthy. So that my children and husband and I can live a full life.  

Graceful. Not in the coordinated sense (though that would be helpful), but in the fact that I am accepting of and humbled by all that God has given me and that I pass His love on to others. 

My goals have changed over the years, and so have I, but in this season, my heart and soul are on fire with creating art and bringing together our second Collective Grace event for you.  

What do you strive to be when you grow up?! 

xoxo, allison 

Women Who Inspire - Meet Cate

allison tetzlaff

When I decided to start this blog series, 'Women Who Inspire' I knew I had to kick it off with Cate Mezyk of The Wild Ruffle. But before we get started with her interview I'm going to take you back to 2012 aka - 'the hardest season of my life'. We had just added Sweet E (baby #3) to our family - so I was working from home with a 3-year-old, 2-year-old and newborn... we just moved into our 3rd house within a year... and were on the hunt to find the right home to buy and settle in to. I kid you not I bet we looked at 100 homes over the course of a year - why our realtor is still friends with us I do not know - we were crazy. 

During this season all I longed for was community (it was my never ceasing prayer), and I thought it was impossible living in the city. At this point in time I felt 'forgettable' like I could easily fade into the background wherever I went... I could go to church - scoot in and out - no one would remember my face, even the woman I talked to the week before.  

Does anyone else ever feel that way? Maybe it's a maturity thing... maybe it's just a weird Allison thing I don't really know. But growing up in rural Iowa everyone knew everyone, if you needed help, ten people lined up to lend a hand. It truly is a special place, and I was sad to think I wouldn't be able to give that to my kiddos. It was so hard for me to wrap my head around how I could ever feel that sense of community without being in a small town. 

In 2013 God stepped in - I'll never forget the day my husband called to tell me about this house in Prior Lake he found - he wanted me to call the realtor and set up a showing. My response: 'Absolutely not.'  

We had looked at 100 houses on the west side of the Cities, and we were temporarily living there because that is where we wanted to be (as HGTV would call it, our ‘preferred neighborhood’).  I was not about to start a new search 30 miles in the opposite direction in a city I had never heard of. Curt had lost his mind, and he was making me lose mine. But reluctantly I went along to look at this house, and as we pulled in the drive I knew this was where God wanted us to be. It wasn't my 'dream Pinterest' house. It was this little, wooded, 3-acre property secluded from the chaos of the city…and it felt like home. So we took a leap of faith and moved.  

Shortly after relocating, I quickly learned about these 'Wild Ruffle Pop-Up Events' in town (hosted by Cate), and on a whim, I applied to be a vendor. Here I learned that this town I knew nothing about was filled with Jesus-loving women entrepreneurs like myself - thank you Lord for bringing me my community - these are my people. The days of Cate's pop-ups are gone as she now has a retail store with another amazing woman, Tammy. I'll never forget the day I received an email from them asking if I'd be interested in selling my signs in the shop they were opening: The Wild Ruffle. They were the first store to carry our signs, and it was such an empowering feeling to have these two women believe in me and my art.  

And so, I am honored to introduce you to Cate Mezyk, our inaugural “Woman who Inspires.” She is a beautiful writer, with an amazing fashion sense, and heart for women and her community. 

Women Who Inspire: April 2018 

Cate Mezyk, Wild Ruffle 

Words to describe myself: 

1) Loved. If I was a girl who believed in luck, I'd describe myself as the luckiest in the area of love. I have an amazing husband and three kiddos who are so good to me, family that feel like friends, and friends who are close as family could ever be. They all love me so well. And even better - I have the love of my Father in heaven, whose love is the best thing to have ever happened to me.  

2) Creative. I'm always happiest when I have a project underway (and honestly, sometimes I take too many of them on because I get so excited about them!). Whether I'm making up a dinner recipe on the fly, making jewelry, or decorating my home, I love straying from the norm and thinking of something unique. 

3) Includer. An extrovert for sure, I prefer being with others than being on my own. It's why my business was better once Tammy (my partner) came on board. Being a part of a team makes me better at whatever I do. The more time I can get in with friends, the happier I am.  

Favorite Bible Verse: 

At the beginning of the year, I prayed that the Lord would give me a word for the year. A couple of weeks later, he gave me an answer: Brave. And along with that word, he gave me the verse 1 Corinthians 16:13-14: 'Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith, be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.' I'm both excited and nervous to see where this word and verse take me this year. I've already had a couple of health scares, and the reminder from God to be brave has kept me calmer than I ever could've been on my own. Come what may, I know that I can look to Him for courage.  

The story behind where I am: 

The story of where my business is today is one of surprises. Whenever I'm asked if I have a business plan, I have to laugh. I could certainly sit down and make one (and trust me, I do have goals set), but the plan would constantly be in flux. The Lord has dropped so many beautiful gifts on our laps (regular appearances on Fox 9 is just one of the many amazing things that have come our way in the past few years). Instead of having a plan set in stone, we are letting him lead us, and His plan has been way more than anything I could've imagined on my own.  

Who do I serve and why? 

I really have a heart to serve women. It's so fun to see women grow into themselves, whether through a Bible study where their faith can flourish, or an event where their small business can turn into something big. There can be a lot of competition between women, but when we come together and lift one another up, great things happen. 

Who is an inspiring woman and why? 

I don't know that I could narrow this answer down to simply one woman. I look at my daughters and am inspired by the way they're growing into themselves and learning how to navigate the world. My oldest is one of the most empathetic people I know - she feels other's pain and seeks to do something about it. She's bright and witty, and I admire how she holds firm to her beliefs even when it's the not the easiest to do so. My youngest is inspiring in that she happily plays with anyone and everyone. Want to be her friend? She's happy to include you in her plans.  

My mom is a strong woman of faith who helped to shape who I am. My friends each have their strengths, and I'm drawn to each of them for different reasons. There are women in business who are killing it and making it look easy (Allison included!), and I admire each one. I'm grateful to be surrounded by so many females who rock. 

One thing I'd tell thousands: 

Be kind to yourself. Give yourself grace. Oh, how hard we are on ourselves! It's tough for me to be anything less than perfect. To forgive myself for the many mistakes I make. And yet those missteps were often the greatest teachers - I learned more from what went wrong in the long run. And God is so good at forgiving me when I repent. Who am I to hold onto something when He has already let it go?  

We hope you enjoyed learning a little more about Cate from Wild Ruffle.  Check back in a few weeks when we continue our “Women who Inspire” series with our May feature. 

Why the 'Women Who Inspire' Series?

allison tetzlaff

You know her. She’s the woman who seems able to do it all.  The mom who also works a full week, and still has the energy to put a home-cooked dinner on the table.  Or maybe it’s the lady boss who you know has worked her butt off to climb the corporate ladder.  She might even be the teacher at your child’s school who kicked cancer last year, yet returned with a smile in September to resume molding the minds of the kiddos in your community. She might even be you. You’ve seen her, you’ve admired her, and you’ve been in awe of how much strength it must have taken to walk her path in life. Women are strong, inspirational and compassionate.  

When I started my journey as a maker, I, like many women I know, was looking for an outlet for my creativity, while staying home to be a mom and to provide a little extra income for our growing family.  I was thinking small: I had a talent that I could turn into a product in order to turn a profit. But it didn’t take long for me to realize that this talent was actually a calling I could use to affect change in a bigger way, and it was then that Allison Marie Design pivoted (thank you Ross from Friends for never allowing me to use that word without thinking of you- am I the only one?) into the hand painted signs you know today. I recognized that there were so many women out there who I could serve with my art. Ladies like myself who were devoted to their families and to God and wanted to decorate their walls with more than just the prints you can purchase at Bed, Bath and Beyond.  These women were looking for encouraging messages to remind their families of the love that grows among them and inspirational verses to uplift the spirit. Women who wanted to feel their purchases were appreciated by real people, not just an increase in profit margin for an already-established chain. It is these women who I think of as I craft each unique piece of art, and it is these women I appreciate and thank the Lord for every day. 

As I have been in business and traveled to events and vendor shows, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with other female entrepreneurs and visionary creatives and learn about the causes that drive them.  As I open each inbox message with orders from clients, I learn a small piece of their life’s story and see just how unique and inspired each one is.  This modern world of connectedness can sometimes be seen as a curse, but myself, I view it as a blessing, as these technologies have allowed me to connect and be graced by so many more people than I ever could have dreamt of at the beginnings of my AMD business almost 10 years ago. I love the ladies I work beside and the ladies I serve, and I feel privileged every day that God put me right here.  

Early 2018 has been a time of deep reflection for me and my goal this year is to spread hope, encouragement and to be a blessing. So with all of that an idea was born to provide a platform for these women who have inspired me to tell their story and hopefully in turn inspire you. From makers to moms, CEOs to entrepreneurs, the women we have coming up cover a wide range, but the commonality that connects them all is the passion in their hearts, the depth of their talents and the generosity of their spirits. 

And so I invite you to join me on this journey to recognize the beauty and strength of the women in our communities, and I encourage you to take time to recognize important female mentors and role models in your own life.  As for me, I’m super excited that you'll get to hear from some of the important ladies in my own life these next few months, and I ask your help in supporting and raising them (and all of us women) up! 

Ideas & Inspiration 

allison tetzlaff

Inspiration…it’s fleeting and funny to pinpoint. It can come on with little warning and in the most random of places.  It requires little more than an openness and giving over of oneself to your subconscious…acting on what I believe is God’s guidance. 

Nearly every day I come across customers curious to know how I choose which words to paint on my signs. My answers are never the same, but they always have a common thread: that I allow myself to be open to God’s divine whisperings in order to send people messages that they need at certain moments in their lives. 

Sometimes God’s message comes to me in obvious ways that require little effort of opening my subconscious…it’s more like opening the Messenger app on my iPhone. Almost daily I get messages from you, my valued customers, seeking my help in taking a beloved verse or quote, and making it fit a certain color scheme or bare space in your home.  I always love these projects, as they challenge my creativity so I can turn these mere words/ ideas of yours into a physical object that represents you and your life and will stand the test of time on the walls of your homes. 

Other times God taps me on the shoulder through the voice of my pastor or the worship music on Sunday mornings at River Valley Church.  Each Sunday I sit in awe as our worship team and pastors are able to take God's word and turn it into a story that we can relate to and apply God's truth to our everyday lives. Many times I will find myself absentmindedly painting God's words that were spoken over us on Sunday or that I felt pulled to in my morning devotions.

Most recently, God’s inspiration came, as it so often does, in the presence of my children. The kiddos and I were snuggled together on the couch watching Wonder,  If you are a parent, caregiver, or just a human in general, you need to see this movie. It's a story of strength, courage, perseverance, relationships, heartache, struggle, all the things that life is - but the most important lesson comes from Mr. Brown’s September precept: Choose Kind. ("When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind. ) And I was inspired  - life can get super complicated sometimes, but it doesn't need to be. As God's followers it is clear we are called to treat each other with fairness and kindness - lets not overcomplicate this.

Inspiration…it strikes at random, unannounced times.  But when you allow yourself to be open and receptive to God’s little clues, you’ll see inspiration everywhere in your life. 

Over the past 9 years being in this business I have met some of the most amazing and inspirational women. So I'm super excited to start sharing their stories with you here on our blog. Next week we will begin our monthly 'women who inspire' series. You'll get to hear from some of the most amazing God honoring women that I know, so stay tuned, be encouraged, be obedient and let God lead you on this journey through life. 

Xoxo, allison

 

 

A heart of gratitude

allison tetzlaff

As I sit here at the kitchen table of my parents' lake house - I sit in silence overwhelmed by gratitude. Gratitude of my upbringing, my family, my friends, my health, my blessings. I am blessed. It is my kiddos spring break this week so the girls and I headed to Iowa for a few days. I did not realize how much I needed to be filled up and how this place and these people do that for me.

I took a little drive yesterday to visit a dear friend - you know that friend who knows your heart and soul, lives 5 hours away but calls at exactly the right time because she just knows when your soul is weary and needs a lending ear. We had 2.5 hours together and I instantly felt filled up - she is a blessing.

As I drove off to my next adventure to meet up with my forever friends (aka 'the fab 4' - dubbed by our parents) for a night of reminiscing and laughter I drove by the church I'd go to with my grandparents on Sundays. I was flooded with this overwhelming joy of all the drives over to their house. Oh how I miss my grandma's smile but I am so thankful for all the sweet memories of playing game after game of Scrabble, digging through cook books to find just the right recipe to try, and watching grandpa sit at the dining room table with dictionary in hand working on the day's crossword puzzle. Joy, simple joy - I am Thankful.

As I drove on and pulled into the lake community where my Grandpa Goldsmith would spend his summers - I remembered the anticipation of pulling in and seeing which cousins had arrived.... would Grandma Rosemary have her french silk pie... would I get to sit on grandpa's lap and drive the pontoon... would we get to stop and jump on the water trampoline at Freddy's Beach... would there be marshmallows for roasting when we got back.... all of the excitement of what the long summer day at grandpa's cabin would hold. It was always good, always - I am Grateful.

My parents have since built a 'cottage' where grandpa's cabin once stood, and that is where I sit, at the kitchen table, in silence, by myself, overlooking the stillness of the lake thinking about how truly blessed I am. The 'fab 4' have left - we chatted about life, our joys, our struggles, our dreams, our hopes for our kiddos, our worries and of course took some walks down memory lane. My cup has been filled - I am Blessed.

What I'm left with as I get ready to pack up and head home is knowing each and every one of us that is doing life... has something... my life is far from perfect... and I'm going to guess yours is too... and that my friends is OK. Because if we're doing life right, we are loving big (and sometimes that means hurting big), dreaming big (and sometimes that means failing big), praying big (which sometimes brings disappointment that God's timing doesn't align with ours), working hard (which means you may be growing weary). But a heart of gratitude changes everything - I am thankful, grateful and blessed.

xoxo, allison 

 

Renovation & Renewal

allison tetzlaff

5x13 spirit lead me.jpg

Please, fellow moms, tell me I’m not the only one.   

I can’t be the only one whose house needs to get “aired out” and let a warm breeze whip through my screens. Tell me I’m not the only one feeling the urge to add pops of greens and yellows around my house to add a little color to distract me from the gray/white slush of the world outside my window. Please tell me I’m not the only one who cringes when school is cancelled for another 'snow day' because I know my beautiful children will wander around the house proclaiming, 'I'm bored, mom, I'm bored...' because the snow is lovely and fun for a few hours but they can only be cooped up for so long.

In these times when I’m feeling the need for change and something to uplift the heaviness that has settled on my shoulders after the 25th straight week of snow (I’m exaggerating, but seriously), I turn to scripture and one of my favorite verses comes to mind... 'Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me’ Psalm 51:10. God’s in the renovation business. He takes what’s old and broken down and transforms it into something incredible. If you have an area of your life that needs some renewal, He’s more than ready to meet you where you are.

Though I know God is always there for continual guidance and inspiration, I still find myself blown away and humbled by His timing. For putting the right people in my path at opportune times, providing nudges of opportunity for spiritual and personal growth, and simple things like placing beautiful, encouraging words right where I’ll see them.  It was this message I most needed this week as the winter winds circled and whipped around our home. 

I pondered those words, reflected on what my life was in need of renewal, and got down to the business at hand.  From room to room through my home I wandered, gathering knick-knacks and stray children’s socks, dusting and organizing and REFRESHING space after space. From the storage room I drug out the spring decor... and after a few trips to my favorite local home stores... Eye Candy Refind, Mama's Happy & Home Goods (of course) I began to work, time seemed to suspend and I lost myself in the moment.  In the purpose of the job at hand. In the purity of renewal. 

When the moment had passed, and I stood back to assess my work, the scripture passage made its way back into the forefront of my thoughts: “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”  

 For the rest of the day, it seemed I was wearing rose-colored glasses.  I had more patience with those beautiful children of mine, my home felt less heavy with clutter and more calming for my soul, my mind was abuzz with creativity and ideas for my next project poured from my mind to the nearest piece of scrap paper I could get my hands on (which after that organizing spree were located right where they were supposed to be!).  God had taken my hand and shown me the way last week.  When I sought his advice, he met me where I was and gave me the spark needed to take matters into my own hands to get things done.  One thing led to another and another, and soon He had renewed not only my physical home, but the home of my steadfast spirit: my mind. 

I encourage you, fellow moms, the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed with the piles of kids' artwork and bills and the undone laundry and Christmas décor you meant to stow away weeks ago, to look for small signs and ask God to renew YOUR steadfast spirit.  As the passage reminds us, God is in the renovation business, and he wants to see you build and grow and change and THRIVE through your own strength and actions.  But it’s up to you to take the first step and seek His guidance.  The spirit will lead you, and the afterglow of the moment will leave ready to welcome the next season of your life…or just the next season.  We’ll welcome the warm sunshine and daffodil shoots anytime. 

xoxo, allison

 

 

Labels & Lessons

allison tetzlaff

Labels - short, sweet, helpful little stickers that give us pause and guide us in the day-to-day minutia of our lives.  There’s a label on my favorite shampoo instructing me to use a nickel-sized dollop, labels on my Oreos informing me how many a 'serving' is (yes, I should only eat 3) we label each AMD package - instructing our favorite delivery driver where to take the next “You are Loved!” brown box.  

Then we have neat little labels to describe ourselves - stay at home mom, working mom, single, married, city girl, country girl, introvert, extrovert and the list goes on and on... We use these labels in order to create connections and bring some rhythm and reason to our lives.

This weekend I met some moms that I hadn't met before and we exchanged the typical information: names, who our kids were, who their teachers were, etc.  From there we got down to the business of explaining ourselves and sharing our labels. How many other children did we have? Who is our significant other/spouse?  Where do we work?  And it wasn’t until after I left that night, and was driving home, that I paused and wondered whether the labels I used to describe myself were what I truly believed to be the most important things about me. If I could do it all over again these are the labels I would use for myself.

*God-fearing: I truly believe God gave me a purpose on this Earth and I try hard to keep him at the center of everything I do and every decision I make. I am striving to live a fearless life filled with his grace knowing that he is by my side Every. Single, Step of the way. This is the truth I cling to:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me." -John 15:1-4

*Wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend: I’m a woman whose most important labels are my relationships with others.  My role as a wife and mom is what gets me out of bed at 6:00 every morning and has me collapsing into it at night, and the bonds with my parents, siblings, and friends are some of the most valued possessions of my life. 

*Strong, yet compassionate: Not all women are as excited as I am to work in a garage all day and add power tools to her collection… I suppose most men probably aren’t either. My strong exterior covers a compassionate heart that longs for everyone on this Earth to know that they are loved and that God has a purpose for their life. 

*Maker: I have always had a love for creating that my mom beautifully nurtured. She would take me along side her while she was creating and taught me the art of creating beauty out of the ordinary. I find this crazy beauty in being able to turn a blank 4'x8' piece of plywood into a piece of art. My mom didn't teach me just to create 'things' but to create a life you love. There are five wildly-different occupants of my home who I help bring together through our common values and desire to serve the Lord, I help create, and inspire, and encourage.  I am a maker.   

So what are the labels that you hold dear? Do they align with your inner purpose and vision of who you are?  Who you want to be? I pray that you take a pause and think about the labels that define who you are, the labels that bring direction to your life and help you find your true self and purpose, and that you will in turn inspire and empower others around you to do the same. 

Xoxo, allison 

Life & Love

allison tetzlaff

Call me crazy, but the weeks AFTER the holidays are some of my favorite of the whole year.  While I love Christmastime and gift-giving, it’s after the wrapping paper settles and the tree is packed away that I’m reminded of the simple beauty of life and the love that envelopes me. Not to mention those weeks also lead into the month of February, a very special time for our little clan. Within the span of 18 short days, we celebrate our first date anniversary, our wedding anniversary, Curtis’ birthday, Elaina's birthday AND Valentine’s Day. By mid-month, I’m always feeling a little sentimental looking at family photos and near-bursting with love…and chocolate. 

It’s so amazing to think back on the long, yet seemingly short, time we’ve spent together.  How two bright-eyed kids matured from shy and easily-influenced to adults with goals and dreams who built a business, a family, a home… a LIFE.  How God brought three little people into our lives who could make our bond even stronger and add so much to a life that already seemed to have all we ever wanted. How the long days of shuttling from work to school to running errands and finally crashing into bed tell the story of our life and our love.  

So, to commemorate this “love”-ly time of year, I wanted to share 5 peeks into our story… my favorite love story of all. 

1. I asked Curt out on our first date (can you believe that?!) The first thing he said when answering, "I was just picking my phone up to call you" - I will never know.

2. He redeemed himself with the Best. Proposal. Ever. (though I might be biased) My sweet Curtis was supposed to pick me up from the airport after returning home from a work trip to China - he called and told me he couldn't make it - I was FURIOUS. So I took a cab home and found a scavenger hunt awaiting me (roses, our favorite song, candles, such a romantic he is)... and at the end of the scavenger hunt was Curtis on one knee and I said YES!

3. Our wedding day was the coldest, windiest February day in Iowa and I had my bridesmaids wear spaghetti strap, knee length dresses with open toe shoes - what was I thinking?

4. Parenting has been the best and hardest job. 'What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" plays loudly in my head often - please tell me I'm not the only one... 

5. And my favorite AMD memory is the moment Curt decided he was going to leave Corporate America so we could live our dream and 'have our own business'.

This week I pray that God blesses you and yours with a reminder of how loved you are. Xoxo Allison 

With Brave Wings She Flies

allison tetzlaff

Here we are already in the second month of 2018.  At times January felt like it trudged along day by day as the snow fell and the gray days outnumbered the sunny, but as I flip the calendar to a new month, I simultaneously wonder how we’ve arrived at mid February (the hubby's birthday, Valentine's Day, our baby's birthday, our anniversary all within 5 days...) it ALWAYS sneaks up on me. 

As I sit and reflect on where we’ve already been this year, it’s easy to count my blessings.  My heart is warmed by the memory of joy on our kids’ faces when we told them the news of not one but TWO snow days, the pride I feel when another store is stocked with art from our AMD team, and the satisfying tiredness that consumes me after completing a project I’ve poured my heart and soul into.  My life is abundant with love and blessings. 

But it doesn’t take long for my thoughts to turn to those who are going through enormous trials right now. In particular, a dear friend battling cancer. When people around us hurt, it’s typical for us Midwestern folk (myself included) to want to help in some way whether shoveling sidewalks in the winter or providing a warm meal.  I was yearning for a way to help my friend, and in such times, I turn to this gentle reminder: “The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still.” Last night as I was sitting down to rest my mind, turn on 'This Is Us' and call it a night the Lord encouraged me to provide not only my friend, but women of the greater AMD community with the best gift I could – HOPE. 

So, I decided to bless 10 brave women with a random act of kindness. We like to call it our 'beautiful blessing' - a sign of course... because that's what we do! Until now the AMD team has chosen people in our 'circles' that we know could use a little uplifting to bless with a sign of encouragement. But last night I felt like I needed to reach further than our circle... So I reached out to you all on Facebook and Instagram to share about a brave woman you know who was experiencing a hard season.  In turn, I promised I would send out one of my signs to the first ten women to provide a bit of light in their darkness. I wanted to remind them that bravery resided in their own hearts and most importantly they are. not. alone. I was hoping for 25-30 responses from my followers, but I was overwhelmed by the enormous outpouring of love received in a very short time.  Countless people sent stories of women who needed hope in their lives, as I read through every story and journey I was left with tears running down my face thinking about all the hurt that was being endured. Until I heard the Lord say to me, Allison it is not the women who are hurting that are reaching out... it is their friends, moms, sisters, co-workers, grandmothers, daughters, grand-daughters - it is these women surrounding and lifting up the women who are struggling that left ME feeling full of hope and peace and most importantly I saw God's love in action here first hand, it was absolutely beautiful. As I began to tell the 11th, 28th, 39th person that I already had 10 brave women to bless I received a random Facebook message from a beautiful soul named Kari offering to bless 5 more women. You guys I'm moved beyond words of the power of love. I laid in bed last night until 1:00 overwhelmed by how beautiful this world we live in is. How beautiful and generous our community is and how blessed we truly are. All because of one brave woman in Iowa fighting the hard fight, 15 more women have been blessed and my heart to bless more of you has been stirred. How? I don't know... When? I don't know... but what I do know is that God has a plan for each and every one of us that is greater than we will ever know, greater than we can even imagine and his love is beautiful.

As we move on toward next week’s holiday of love, I encourage you to offer up love and prayer to those around you. If you feel like you should bless someone - do it. If you feel you should tell someone you love them - do it. If you feel you are being called to a random act of kindness - do it.  Take on this week “with brave wings” and be someone’s hope and encouragement.  

Xoxo, Allison  

A time for rest.

allison tetzlaff

13x17 o come let us adore.jpg

“Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.” Psalm 116:7

Rest…such a simple and yet complicated concept to a mother and business owner.  For weeks now, we have been working round the clock preparing for the Collective Grace pop-up event, stocking stores, traveling to Austin for ‘A Handmade Christmas,’ and creating orders for shipping… not to mention all that goes along with readying a household for the holidays.

But this fullness is short-lived.  Soon the Christmas music will fade to the “Countdowns of 2017” as the New Year approaches... the pinging of my inbox will slow… the hustle to find the right gifts will stretch into long days spent playing with new presents surrounded by family… and we in the Tetzlaff family will have time for our souls to rest.

The best part of the holidays is now - the orders are shipped, the stores are filled and the garage is closed down until the new year. We will spend endless hours in the car traveling from MN to IA to WI and back to MN and my heart will be filled as we spend time with family doing nothing but 'just being together'. These are the days we'll remember. 

For those of you who have ordered from us this season, thank you for your business. Your signs have been prepared and packaged with love, and I am giddy with anticipation of the photos you’ll share with our art gracing the walls of your homes.  The Lord is so, so good. I hope you're surrounded by those you love and your hearts will be light as we celebrate the greatest gift, the birth of Jesus. Merry Christmas from our family to yours! allison 

Beauty in the Chaos.

allison tetzlaff

 Space designed by the one and only Sarah Martin of Beautiful Chaos. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram she truly is living in 'beautiful chaos' and I promise she will inspire you. www.beautifulchaoscompanies.com

Space designed by the one and only Sarah Martin of Beautiful Chaos. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram she truly is living in 'beautiful chaos' and I promise she will inspire you. www.beautifulchaoscompanies.com

Life. Every. Day. Life is full. The days scoot by so fast and as we're in the busiest season of our business I am left feeling stretched... very thin.... trying to keep myself healthy - body and mind... trying to keep my family in clean clothes, fed and ran to wherever it is they need to go... managing orders, store inventories, new product designs, painting, schedules, marketing... planning and preparing for a store opening... but the piece that I'm struggling with the most is 'being present'. When the lists go on and on I find myself hurrying from one to the next, to the next. Yes, I feel a sense of accomplishment when my to do's are checked off, but I'm left feeling empty because I have not been present in the 'quiet' moments.

When I’m in the presence of my kids and I see them hunched over their homework or creating one of their many masterpieces I catch myself reveling in the idea of what life must look like through their eyes. When school days seemed endless and the weeks drew on forever; when the backyard could transform into a kingdom and the sandbox was my bakery.  I'm brought back to the excitement of getting picked up early from school to travel to Omaha every Thanksgiving to see my cousins where we'd all gather around the table and give thanks.... we'd play tag on the elevators and play spoons in our hotel rooms.... the feeling of how special it was to shop the Black Friday ads with my aunts and cousins to strategize our early morning shopping adventure. It's the tear in my Aunt's eye every time we would leave that I could see how beautiful a family's bond is no matter the distance or how often we would gather. It's these moments and feelings that leave a forever mark on our souls. And I'm learning that time is a relative concept, and it’s reiterated that everything around us is a matter of perspective.

So in these next few weeks of travel and holiday preparation, I’m making a conscious decision to revel in the beauty and magic of the holidays, as I did when I was a kid. I’m committing to pause at our Thanksgiving dinner to breathe in the moment surrounded by friends. I’m committing to playing in the first snow of the season and acknowledging all the blessings bestowed upon me as I shop for loved ones on my Christmas list.  I’m committing to telling the real story of Christmas throughout the month of December, interspersed with some of our favorite traditions and memories.  And I’m committing to being present in every moment of this season, as I will never experience Christmas with my husband and children at this age again. 

I thank God for all my gifts including my family and friends, talents and treasures, and the ability to share my life’s passion with you, my customers.  Have a blessed Thanksgiving holiday with your loved ones.  Love, Allison

 

Be Brave.

allison tetzlaff

25x37 be brave.jpg

“Be strong & courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

In this season of my life, few pieces resonate so much as this.  So many times in life we experience self-doubt and question where we are at and God’s intention for what is going on in and around us.  But as his faithful followers, our job is not to know all the pain or beauty, the stumbles or successes that are about to come our way… instead, we are called to fully rely on him and trust that He has our best interests in mind, even if we cannot see it for ourselves in the moment.

It was the summer of 2008 and I was at home enjoying my second week of maternity leave with my beautiful first born son, Jackson when my employer called to let me know I was being laid off. What? Really? Me? You can't do that... can you? Oh yes, they can...

I went from being on top of the world to being crushed. My identity had been found in my career (I know that's not healthy), but I clung strongly to my work and when I lost my job I felt lost. It may sound terrible but I did not want to be a stay at home mom, I wanted to work. I wanted to travel the world and have a professional career. So, I looked.... and looked.... and looked... and after 6 months my husband finally said, "Allison, why don't you just stay home and be a mom?" It felt like a stab in the heart, I had been defeated.

So I did some soul searching, joined a mom's group at a church where I knew no one (which was not easy for an introvert like me...) This is where I found a relationship with Christ and with time that defeat I felt turned into peace and a sense of purpose I had never felt before. I was able to fully embrace being a mom. I honestly don't know that I would have ever given myself permission to leave my career to stay at home. I love this saying: 'I thank God for protecting me from what I thought I wanted & blessing me with what I didn’t know I needed.' How true is this?! 

So, in 2009 I decided I was going to start a business to give myself a creative outlet and that is when Allison Marie Design was born. I bought a camera, started doing 'alphabet photography' (it used to be a thing... you can google it) set up a wonky website and took my goods to shows around the twin cities. It kept me busy while the kiddos were napping and made me feel like I was 'working and contributing'. So fast forward two more babies, 3 housing moves, some random product creations, learning to paint and 7 years... we're at July 2016 when my husband called to tell me he's ready to leave his corporate job to work with me and would like to have my approval. What? Really? I've got to think through this one for a bit.

'Having a business together' is something we had talked about since dating. We would dream about different ideas... he'd dream about opening a restaurant, owning rental properties, manufacturing parts or some weird thing... let's just say his ideas never included 'home decor' NEVER. EVER. EVER. So, I prayed and prayed and prayed some more and while I was driving I clearly heard the Lord say, 'His job is toxic, he needs to leave.' What? Really? Are you sure?

And so here we are today, the last year has been an adventure. As my dad would say, 'we're just livin' the dream'. It's not easy, it's actually pretty messy and chaotic, sometimes a little stressful. But I wouldn't want it any other way. If you're reading this and going through something hard I pray you cling to God's truth and Be Brave. 'Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.' 

I am truly honored and humbled to have had this opportunity to create a business out of my true passion.  Seeing my art fill the spaces where you gather with friends and family is a gift I never could have imagined prior to 2009.  Thank you, customers and friends, for being part of this creative journey it means more to me than you'll ever know! 

Love, allison

Following the prompt... Collective Grace

allison tetzlaff

25X49 DREAM BIG.jpg

'Dream big, let faith rise' I made this for one of our pastors and I have been clinging to it as we enter into this holiday season. 

Do you have people in your life that push you just a little further than you would typically go on your own? You know, the friend who you tell about an idea and they keep asking you about how you're doing with that idea... or you tell them about a struggle and they ask you what you're doing to fix it... These are my Proverbs 27:17 friends "iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." These friends make me better and I'm so very thankful for them (not going to lie sometimes it'd be easier if they didn't push, call me out, or tell me I'm ridiculous, but that'd be boring) These are the people that make life just a little more 'full of life' and I am so very thankful for them. I pray that you all have some friends like these, they're keepers! 

So, for the past couple years my friend Rachel and I have talked about what it could look like to open an 'occasional shop'... Last year we hosted a handmade Christmas event which was amazing. So, this year we decided to push further and take on a full retail space! Are we crazy? Possibly. Is this the busiest time of the year for our business? Absolutely. Should we have given ourselves more than 2 months to pull this together? Probably. But... the doors and opportunities have opened themselves up. Our favorite makers have said yes to joining us. And we feel God has called us to say, yes to this adventure. So, we're going on it!

Our shop is called, Collective Grace www.facebook.com/collectivegrace and we will be open in Downtown Lakeville, MN from November 30 - December 2. Our goal is to support the makers this holiday season, to promote shopping locally & handmade. So, of course our shop will be filled with all of that goodness - handmade & vintage home decor and gifts. We will have everything to turn your house into a home this Christmas season and will help you check off everyone on your shopping list.

We're dreaming big and letting our faith rise as we go on this adventure. I hope you'll come along with us! 

Love, allison 

 

Keep it simple. Life is good.

allison tetzlaff

There's this special place in Minnesota called, Rochester. If you aren't familiar with Rochester it's about 90 miles from the Twin Cities and is home to the Mayo Clinic - one of the best hospitals in the world. So a handful of times during the summer I pack up my goods, head down to spend the day outside of the Mayo Clinics and am part of a farmer's market called, Thursdays on First & Third.

So, I sit in my booth from 10:00-8:30 and meet people from all over the world. It is in this booth that I feel at home, I feel like this is my 'mission field'. And every time I am here I am touched by someone's story, like Shannon who lost her husband in a snowmobile accident in January, or Kim and Jean who are having heart problems & looking for answers, or Brandon & Katie who are following the Lord's prompt - moving to Seattle and planting a church, or Kirsten who's fighting pancreatic cancer and walking through this journey with her loving husband Eric by her side, or John who's fighting brain cancer for the second time. Then there is Sandra who walked into my booth last Thursday smiling, wearing a shirt that said 'keep it simple, life is good' Sandra is having open heart surgery today and as I was praying for her this morning I was reminded how blessed I am. It is truly a blessing that I get to make art to grace the walls of your homes, but what's even more of a blessing is that you open your heart & share your stories with me, thank you.

Let's keep it simple and share love everywhere we go - because God is good, all the time. 

The official sign of summer!

allison tetzlaff

Well Rochester & Southern MN friends I will be back this summer for Thursdays on First and 3rd! Every winter I anxiously await for the letter whether I'll be accepted into your amazing market & on Monday the good news arrived in my inbox (insert happy dance!). I'm already stirring up some new & fresh ideas for you all! So clear your Thursdays and make sure to come and visit me. 

And here's a fun video I put together today - needless to say my videography (if that's a word) skills are not good - it may have only taken me 3 hours to create this... so please take the time to watch. I get asked all of the time - 'is each sign really hand painted?' The answer is yes. yes it is - each and every sign. Thanks for supporting me and letting me do what I love - truly blessed. 

-allison 

Following the prompt... Romania?!

allison tetzlaff

You guys I feel like I have just come up for a breath, for the first time in the last 4 months. Do you ever feel that way? Like you've just been running on auto pilot, trying to stay focused on the to do's, trying to stay intentional with priorities, running on tunnel vision getting from one place to the next, while trying not to forget to pick up a child somewhere along the way...

Last week I started reading a fiction book... have been playing game after game with the kiddos... started some small house projects... picked up the phone and caught up with some good old friends... and it's from talking to these friends that I realized I haven't shared with many of you that I'm going on my first mission trip in April to Romania. 

It's one of those things that God lined up so beautifully and I wasn't looking for it. I just love the way our lives are orchestrated and how following God's prompts can be such an adventure and honestly you never know what he has in store for you. He has more in store for us than we could ever imagine - it makes my heart happy.

So, for the last few years I've had my heart set on getting back to the beautiful country of India for a mission trip. For those of you who don't know I used to travel there for work but haven't been for 9 years... and I long to be there again to see those beautiful people and immerse myself in their fragrant, colorful, passionate lives. But, last fall my friend called and I asked her if she signed up for her mission trip to Romania that she was planning to go on. She said, 'no'. After what I felt like was me lecturing her on all of the reasons she should be going on this mission trip, I got off the phone and realized I was being called to be on this trip. She came over to visit that night and I asked her if she signed up yet, she said 'yes!' And my reply was, 'awesome I'm going with you!'

Do you ever have those moments when you just hear the Lord so clearly speaking to you? I don't know if it's age or I have a deeper relationship with God, but in the last year I have heard him speak louder than ever before. So, I signed up and off I'm going in less than 50 days to Romania! We'll be in Bucharest working with a missionary who's mission is to help Romanians become entrepreneurs and helping them use their resources to educate Romanians about sex trafficking. I don't know exactly what it will look like, but what I do know is that God is good and faithful and has a plan for us all - from here in MN to across the globe in Romania and everywhere in between. He has a plan, hopes and dreams for each and everyone of us. You guys just grab on to it, listen for his prompts and don't be afraid to follow them, it will be good! 

So with all of that I am humbly asking for prayer - for my family while I'm gone, for safety for our group traveling and for us all to be obedient to God's prompts as we travel across the globe to be the hands and feet of Jesus. 

If you're interested in donating follow this link: https://my.rivervalley.org/default.aspx?page=10302#!/teams/212

Click on 'donate' (set up a quick account) & scroll to my name:

Thank You!

Hope you're all having a wonderful week - time to get back to painting! -allison

Dear 2017

allison tetzlaff

A new year, a new you... that's how it goes, right?

I'm not promising a new me or asking for a new you, but declaring that this year will be a good year. A year that I'm 'intentional' with relationships & time. 'Intentional' was my word last year and will be again this year - I have a sign that sits on my desk reminding me daily. It's not easy for me -  I get wrapped up in projects, ideas, work, the list goes on and on... I know this year will be filled with excitement and disappointment, laughter and tears, anticipation and fear... but through it all I am going to lean on the Lord & his promises. The promise that God is always by my side through it all and because of that I can live by his grace and in his joy. 'Joy of the Lord' by Rend Collective will be my jam for 2017! 

Though tears may fall
My song will rise, my song will rise to You
Though my heart may fail
My song will rise, my song will rise to You
While there’s breath in my lungs
I will praise You, Lord

In the dead of night
I’ll lift my eyes, I’ll lift my eyes to You
When the waters rise
I’ll lift my eyes, I’ll lift my eyes to You
While there’s hope in my heart
I will praise You, Lord

The joy of the Lord is my strength
The joy of the Lord is my strength
In the darkness I’ll dance
In the shadows I’ll sing
The joy of the Lord is my strength

When I cannot see You with my eyes
Let faith arise to You
When I cannot feel Your hand in mine
Let faith arise to You
God of mercy and love
I will praise You, Lord

Oh You shine with glory Lord of light
I feel alive with You
In Your presence now I come alive
I am alive with You
There is strength when I say
I will praise You, Lord

When sorrow comes my way
You are the shield around me
Always You remain
Like courage in the fight
I hear You call my name
Jesus, I am coming
Walking on the waves
Reaching for Your light

From the Tetzlaff Family to yours Happy 2017!

Then I am strong.

allison tetzlaff

So does anyone else have this end of the summer wave of emotions flooding over them? I don't even know where to begin so I'll just say when I sat down at my desk this morning & looked at my calendar - this verse was exactly what I needed a reminder of & I thought you may too :) 

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor. 9-10

-allison

A Family Affair

allison tetzlaff

So... Allison Marie Design is officially a 'family affair'!!! 

My husband's last day with Corporate America was yesterday and he is coming along side me to help with the every day operations over here. It's been a dream of ours, since the day we said 'I do', to have a business together. We don't know exactly what this looks like (we have lots of ideas), but does anyone really know what 'this looks like'? I like to think not - it's part of the adventure - I keep thinking to myself - 'we need a sign that says, THIS IS OUR GREAT ADVENTURE' because it truly is.

We feel blessed by how God has orchestrated the growth of this business and has put the right people into our lives to help and encourage along the way. Our goal is to fill homes with encouragement, inspiration and truth and I am truly humbled and grateful for each and every one of you who are supporting us on 'our great adventure'.

Thank you! -allison

STAY TUNED!

allison tetzlaff

You guys! Welcome to my new website - We don't have all items listed yet and it may take us a couple more weeks - but pop on over to Facebook (www.facebook.com/AllisonMarieDesign) or Instagram & you can peruse through my work in the mean time!

I have some super exciting news to share this week, so stay tuned! (and no I'm not pregnant)... -allison