How to Celebrate Running Your Car Into the Ground… (and a lovely surprise sale from a special guest!)

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Hi folks! We are celebrating finally paying off both of our cars… yippee! My husband’s vehicle is a wonderful hybrid truck that we love and is the car we choose whenever we are all together, going on family trips and around town and such. But my car… that’s another story.

It’s a beat up minivan that we got when our first child was born. It has taken us across the country, taken us through our life… taken me to the hospital to deliver my son… taken us from our starter home to our lovely permanent home in the woods… it’s a piece of us. It takes us to the beach and camping, and it’s great because its the kind of car you don’t care if you track mud and sand into it… it’s totally filthy at all times, with crumbs and gunk in every nook and cranny.

So… do we invest in a new car or run this one into the ground? Visions of a new car, one with a sun roof… one that we would likely be teaching our kids to drive in, one day, years from now… one with a GPS system… one that is hybrid… all so tempting. Tempting.

Yet. Not only does this car feel like part of the family, it just makes so much more financial sense to run it into the ground. Why not drive a free car? With this new goal in mind… we wanted to push all thoughts of a new car out of our mind, and embrace this lovable minivan once again.

How to do that? Well, this is how we did it. Take one car, that you are sick of but which you are committed to re-loving… appreciating… enjoying. Take two kids who you love more then anything in the world. Take one AWESOME Etsy shop, run by an amazing mother and woman… and artist who creates car decals and helps bring smiles to folks all around the world.

I let each of my kids decorate their own *side* however they wanted… and I got the back of the car. Miles wanted “Rock On” in that particular font, polkadots, and a red stripe! He did put it together all by hisself… love it!

You get this: one grey afternoon turned into a party in the garage. One grey dinged up and scratched up minivan turned into a canvas of fun and joy! One chance to drive around your life and bring smiles to the kids in the backseat of your car… and the cars next to yours. I can’t tell you how many parents drive right by, not noticing us… but how many of their kids are waving and smiling at me from the backseat, happy to see our polka dotted car trucking along.

Clara wanted a purple ragged panel, with the words “Fitting In is Out” over it, then polkadots and a kitty with crossbones in the window! Awesome!

The decals come from Tonya’s Etsy shop called Tonyabug… you have to check out her lovely decals for cars. The pictures will cheer you right up… lovely bugs and mini’s all fancied up and looking happy. The decals were extremely high quality, stick very securely and were made in the exact colors we wanted.

I wanted “Reach For Joy” with Tonya’s lovely flower design around the liscense plate. Truth be told, the kids were better at applying the decals then I was… I accidently twisted some of the stems… but it still makes me smile! And the happy flowers distract me from all the dings in the bumper!

Tonya was nice enough to write a guest post and offer a special promotional sale to my readers… so make sure if you feel inclined to spruce up your own ride, you mention you found her shop from Laura at Heartsong! Here she is:

Hello! I am Tonya Bird Willow of Tonyabug, decals specially created for Volkswagen Beetles. I started fantasizing about making these decals in 1995, when New Beetles were truly new, and I was working in a sign shop. Cutting vinyl to make stickers is a fun instant gratification process (once the design is created). I actually started making them about 10 years later when thoughts of this business would keep me up at night. My first design was fields of daisies, of which I am the most proud. I drew, scanned, refined every single flower and stem, then fitted the fields of flowers perfectly to the VW Beetle.

(Clara’s finished side of the car)

My favorite thing about making these decals is the relationships I form with customers. There are some people I never would have met in this world if it were not for me selling them decals, and now they are truly friends of mine. (Like Laura!) I LOVE getting emails from customers whose words literally squeal with delight for this thing that I do. I am truly grateful for Etsy, and that community of artists (like Laura!) for giving me a venue to be creative and to sell my work.

(Miles’ finished side)

From a business standpoint, Etsy and Tonyabug has allowed me to learn and grow at my own pace about the process of creating for customers, building a business, selling online. Who knew that people in the UK would be a significant customer base for me?

I am also an art teacher, working part time at a private school. I teach classes at an art center, and sell jewelry and pottery I make at their gift shop. And I am back to making signs, too. I am blessed to have so many creative outlets. My hope is that Tonyabug will hit a tipping point that would provide me the time and resources to dedicate more energy to it, developing and creating new design ideas.

I am also a mother to two beautiful, brilliant daughters.

(If you ever see this car, driving down the street… make sure you honk and wave at us!)

I am ever so grateful to Laura for giving space in her blog to Tonyabug! In expression of thanks, if any of you lovely people reading this would like to purchase some Tonyabug decals for Christmas, I will either refund you 10 percent of the purchase price, or throw in extra stickers of the variety you purchased, just for you mentioning this blog.
Tonya Bird Willow

The kids were so happy when we finished with the car. I know the years will fly by and they will be driving this car before we know it. And you know, I think we all win here, because they can finish running this particular crazy van into the ground, and *I’ll* get the new hybrid with a sunroof. Perfect. It all works out! xoxo