Life is What Happens When You’re Busy Making Other Plans…

Isn’t it so true?!  Anthony and I have had a plan that was well-laid out and were on our way to accomplishing all that we had planned.  We were planning to put our little house on the market next March, planning to build a home in Pennsylvania thereafter and were planning to relocate and build a family near my roots and relatives.  Well, one day recently, after arranging for replacement windows to be put in the entire house (a total of 17 windows), he suggested we sell sooner than planned and I agreed.

Soooooo, now the plan is to prepare our home so we can put it on the market THIS JUNE and we plan to relocate and build within the next 6 months (if possible and all goes well).  We’ve been watching our HGTV and DIY channels, made a list of home improvements and a list of supplies.  We went to The Home Depot and purchased all that we would need for our projects, and now we are working our little tails off fixing the place up for sale. 

Our house is a home that Anthony purchased last year, with the intention not to stay long.  He planned on staying a couple of years and then selling it.  It’s an old house, built in 1941, and it has a cute story.  The community in which we live was built when a local airport (Martin State Airport) was booming.  The employees of Martin State Airport were able to purchase the homes at about $5,000.00.  Many of the homes in the area, though some have changed over the years, are very similar in style and you can definitely see the old community bones.  We live just outside of Baltimore and are within a hop, skip, and a jump from most anything we might need.  Our little town is a blue-collar community and there are many families with children.  It was supposedly the first housing community ever built in the U.S. and I find it charming.

Knowing all of that now, if you follow my blog and wonder why I’ve not been posting regularly, that is why.  I thought I’d inform though, and take you on our little journey of fixing up the house.  So far, we have done some landscaping and undertook the task of replacing the lawn in the back yard…from seed.  I hope it takes, because it was in dire need, a lot of work was put into it and if it doesn’t grow, it’s going to be an eyesore!  We still have some minor cosmetic things to do outside, like painting doors and fixing up the front entry, but most of our tasks are inside tasks.  Our house is about 1100 square feet.  We have a Living Room, Kitchen/Dining area, a sun room, a laundry room, three bedrooms and one bath.  I’d tell you our to-do list, but I think I’ll save it for another day. 

In the meantime, we are just about finished with the sunroom.  We painted and put down new flooring.  Now, I just have to clean up the door and after the windows are put in, it’s good to go!  Our next project to focus on is the bathroom.  We are not gutting it, but we are replacing the sink/cabinet, the hardware, lighting, accessories and are painting.  We don’t have much time, so I’m sure you’ll be getting lots of updates as we move along.  Today, I’m cleaning up the sunroom door and I’m starting to remove the bathroom glass door.  I suppose I should share some pics with you…I’ll do so either later today or tomorrow.  Until then, there will be a house for sale SOON…and we’ve got a lot to do until that time!!

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Bright, NEW MONTHLY GOALS…April Evaluation.

April is coming to an end and it begs that I evaluate my April Goals and contemplate new ones for May.  My April goals were to:

1. Get 350 hearts on Etsy (Check!  Accomplished today!)

2. Reach a total of 30 sales…still have 7 to go…anyone want to buy?  Go to my shop now!  (NO MINIMUM PURCHASE…BUY before April ends and get a FREE PAIR OF EARRINGS!)

3. Drive more traffic to my blog…sporadic.  I tried some new things and although I still have traffic, it is up and down.  Some days I have TONS and other days nothing…I suppose most blogs have that though – up and down.  I’m going to keep at it, but am open to any suggestions to keep traffic flowing.  🙂

4. Get something in a new local boutique – one shop has agreed to carry my wine glasses! (check!)

5. Make new items every day and post new items in my shop regularly.  (I consistently made new items, but was not as consistent with listing as I would have liked.)

6. Post in the forums, blog every day and stay active on Etsy, building relationships and getting to know other crafters. (Well, I almost blogged every day and stayed active on Etsy, though not as much in the evenings as I used to.)  

7. Gain as much exposure as I can. (check!)

Special news…
  I had a really nice thing happen yesterday!  If you follow my blog, you may remember Shannon from greenbelts.  Well, yesterday, Shannon had the honor and privilege of being selected as the featured artist in Etsy’s “Etsy Success Stories!” AND she wore my Lemon Drop earrings in the pictures that they used!!! 

 Yippee!!!  She also included my new “Jonquil Delight” earrings as a favorite of hers below the article!  How sweet is she?  Very!  🙂  So, it goes to show how important it is to develop relationships!  It’s all about networking!


So, for my May goals…I’m giving them thought, with regard that I will need to embrace the challenges that warm weather will brings.  I’d like to hear your goals!  Let’s help one another take off!  =)

 

Date Nights with RedBox

So, Anthony and I love renting movies and one day, the Lord above sent us a gift in a big, redbox.  🙂

 If you aren’t familiar with redbox, it’s a DVD vending machine and they are popping up everywhere.  Locally, we have them at McDonalds, but I know in Pennsylvania, they have them in grocery stores too.  Anthony and I love redbox!  If you don’t rent movies all the time, they are super!  Even if you rent movies on a semi-frequent basis, they are a great alternative to having an account with Blockbuster on line or NetFlix. 

You can go online to review movies and reserve them online, or you can drive right up to the box and rent on the spot.

The rental process is easy.  redbox has a super easy, user-friendly, touch screen

You select whether you are renting or returning  
and it walks you right through the process until you swipe your debit/credit card to pay.  Oh!  And it’s only $1.00 to rent any DVD!  Rentals are good for 24 hours and if you decide to keep them, it’s only $1.00 a day for each day you keep it.  Returns are simple.  You take your DVD back to ANY redbox location and slip the slick DVD case with clear instructions, right in the slot provided.   

     redbox will even send you email confirmations of rentals and returns, just so you feel extra secure.
The best part is that, when you set up an account with redbox, you can rent movies for FREE quite frequently, with the codes they give you in your email or even as a text message to your phone!  Interested?  Go here.  It’s a super deal and if you like watching movies and haven’t tried it out – hop to your local redbox and get started or you can click here to visit their site!

We rented Juno  the other night and LOVED IT!  It is a comedy/drama/romance movie that really hits so many good spots, it’s hard not to like.  It’s about a girl and how she deals with the life event of an unplanned pregnancy.  It won an oscar for best writing and it truly is EXCELLENTLY written, funny and just plain wonderful!  I highly recommend it if you have not yet seen!  View the trailer here.  If you are already a Juno fan, Etsy seller, scissorkix, has these great Juno themed, pinback buttons!
  Click here to view the listing.  They’re only $4.00 for all three!

 

Now, for our Creative Journey : Before this task, I ask – are you still doing your mental dumping?  If not, make time to start it.  They will help to reduce your stress levels, and will improve your clarity and creativity!  Does anyone have a poem or quote to share?  If you’re following along, please let me know!  🙂

Creative Journey Task (Day 5):  Take a walk for inspiration today.  Take in all that you can of the details that surround you.  Open up ALL of your senses.  LOOK, SMELL, TOUCH, LISTEN, BREATH.  Let those things inspire you.  Think of something to create that will reflect your walk and make it.  It could be as simple or as ornate as you like.  (I’m off to take my walk now.  I’ll share my creation tomorrow.)

Creative Journey (Day 3)

Since I invited others to join me on a creative journey, some people who have visited have mentioned a book called, “The Artist’s Way”by Julia Cameron.  If you have not read the book and you enjoy seeking inspiration, INDEED – I definitley recommend it!  It is a 12-week program for people to connect with their creativity.  It requires discipline and a commitment, but it is worth it if you’re ready to truly make some personal discoveries!  The mental-dumping idea is also practiced in “The Artist’s Way,” but in that program, they are called, “morning pages.”

Through the years, I have read a number of books, attended workshops, retreats, events, was an art major, an art therapy major, graduated with my degree in psychology,  and worked at a number and variety of jobs, including nearly 10 years in the field of human services and one fantastic summer college program at Walt Disney World.  Ultimately, I’m picking and choosing from things I’ve either participated in or used in my line of work and I’m sharing them with you.  They are only a small number of the many things that I have found useful.  On that note, today I am drawing from a book by Dr. Stephen R. Covey, that I’m sure many of you are familiar…It’s called, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  The book, as a whole, is another great read, but today’s excerpt is based on, “starting with the end in mind.”

So, for Day Three on The Chatterbox Blog’s Creative Journey…
I am going to ask you to think about something morbid.  Please don’t resist because you don’t like thinking about death.  If you can go to an alternative location it would be great.  You don’t have to, but if you can, I suggest that you go to a church, a graveyard, or a place that you can go to quietly meditate.  It seems that, when done in one of those locations, that the activity is really powerful. 

Once you find your place, I want you to get in the frame of mind of attending a funeral.  Imagine getting dressed, driving to the church and you slowly coming to the realization that you are not only attending a funeral…you are attending your OWN funeral.  Now, think of four people: one from your family, one from your church or community, one from work, and one friend.  What would you like them to say about your character, your contributions and achievements?  This activity may be really difficult for some people, some might resist doing it, others still might laugh about it and question the purpose.  Whatever your response, I encourage you to give it thought and to really consider what you would want said. 

When you finish, you might find that you have discovered your key fundamental values, your definition of success, and it will help you to start over with a clearer understanding of your destination…it will allow you to “start with the end in mind.” 

So being that you are not dead, think about what you are doing with your life NOW.  Do you take responsibility for your behavior or do you find yourself complaining and blaming others?  How are you dealing with the difficult circumstances in your life?  How are you enjoying life’s pleasures?  Are you someone who works hard or would prefer to hardly work?  Are you appreciating those people around you?  How do you respond to others?  Where are you focusing your energies?  Are you living in a way that would result in those four people you chose, to say the things you’d like them to say?  If not, perhaps you should invest more time into the things you hope to be better at.  Only you and your values, choices, words and behavior will determine what people will say about you.  YOU make choices about what you will and will not contribute.  YOU CREATE the image at the end of your life…so start creating!

A SANDWICH OF INSPIRATIONAL PROPORTIONS!!!

I know I’ve said it before, but when I think of people and companies, who inspire me, I think of people who think OUTSIDE THE BOX.  Today, I thought I’d share a sandwich with you.  “What?  A SANDWICH?” You say.  Yes.  A sandwich.  But, not just ANY sandwich.  This sandwich is one of inspirational proportions!  A little while back, I mentioned my longing for home sweet home, and a fellow blogger reminded me of one of the many things back home, that all Pittsburghers likely reserve a special place for (many, right next to their beer)… in their stomachs, that is.

PRIMANTI BROTHERS  PRIMANTI BROTHERS
    

As you can see, these sandwiches have a colossal size and a reputation to match.  They give the phrase, “The Works” a whole new meaning!  Slaw, French Fries, Tomatoes, and whatever meat, cheese and sauce you like, all slapped on sourdough bread.  It may look gross, and may seem like it’s a bit TOO MUCH.  Well, it is kind of gross, but it tastes GREAT, and it may be a bit too much, but you can always share with a friend or save some for later. 

  

They are open 24 hours, so you can stop in after the clubs shut down (even the after hours ones!), or you can stop in and eat breakfast with the early rising blue-collar workers that fuel the city!  Either way, it’s one heck of an eating experience!  If you ever make it to Pittsburgh, this is ONE thing you HAVE to try…just ask anyone on the street for the name of one place you should eat before you leave.  And, trust me when I say, this will be at the top of the list!

Now, you could go to their more recent, Harmar location, but I wouldn’t recommend it, if you want to get the TRUE, Primanti Brothers Experience.  You need to go “DAHN TAHN” (Which is Pittsburgh-ese for “downtown.”  And not just “dahntahn”…you have to make sure you go to the Strip District.  Now, don’t get all worried – I’m not talking about the “adult” district…The Strip District is just a shopping district, where you and truly and authentically experience the Burgh…right by the docks.  🙂

So remember, yes, it’s going to be smothered in coleslaw, french fries, grease, meat and whatever else you choose, slapped on sourdough bread, but it’s going to leave you more than satisfied – so satisfied you might just think you DID visit the “adult” district.  Heh heh.  And that, my readers…is inspiration!  If you make something crafty, does it DO IT FOR THE CROWD, enough to make them rave about it like I just did about a Primanti’s sandwich?  If not, maybe it’s time to reevaluate and ask yourself what you can do.  Trust me…I’m right there thinking with you!  🙂  (Right after I suck the saliva down from thinking about a Delicious, Hot, Pastrami from Primanti’s!).

 

Now, for those of you who have decided to JOIN ME ON THE JOURNEY with our tasks to provide inspiration.  Here’s what we are doing between today and tomorrow…

(Day 2) – Tell a friend about your practice of using the mental dumping exercise.  Become the teacher and explain the purpose behind it.  Encourage someone else to join in on it!  Whether or not they do, you will benefit from sharing.  When you become the teacher, you take increased ownership and personal responsibility for your new task…which will hopefully become a good habit!  YOU ALSO LEARN BETTER WHEN YOU TEACH.  🙂

Seeking Inspiration? Join me on a creative journey! (DAY 1)

Journey

I find that many people are looking for ways to get inspired and are curious about how other people find inspiration.  To this point, I am going to start posting a new series that I will title, “JOIN ME FOR A CREATIVE JOURNEY!  Tasks to help you get inspired!”  I hope you join me and hope you share your experiences as we journey along.  I anticipate it to be quite fun!

Day One:  As we start our creative journey, it is important to begin with a clear mental state.  So, for our first task, I am assigning this…Upon waking up each day, set aside 30 minutes to sit without distractions, with a writing utensil and a piece of paper.  During those 30 minutes, write whatever comes to mind.  Don’t worry about punctuation, or composition.  Don’t worry if it’s disconnected, silly, emotional, senseless, or even if you are drawing blanks and you write, “blah, blah, blah.”  JUST WRITE.  And, write continuously, EVERY thought that comes into your head, as it comes, until those 30 minutes are up.  It will be very important to prioritize this task, as you will find that not doing it will produce a whole different affect.  So, what do I mean?  Well, I’ll help you get your juices flowing.  I’m going to free write and share an example:

 “…so, I’m writing, and I’m not sure what I’m going to accomplish, but I’m writing.  My fingers don’t want to type.  I need to clean up the pencil container on my desk.  I love that dog Anthony gave me…it’s so cute.  He is so thoughtful.  paper.  ugh.  have to find craft shows for the summer.  maybe some local churches – got to look in the local Penny Saver that comes in the mail.  I am looking forward to going home for a visit.  Can’t wait for the retreat either.  Should be fun.  my coffee is getting cold.  I need to pressure wash the porch today and have to get some calls made too.  work stares me in the face.  A woman’s work is never done.  ha ha.  I love taking pictures.  I need a new phone.  My phone is a dinosaur.  At least it functions though….” 

So, you get the point…JUST WRITE.  FREE FLOW WITH IT.  Clear your mind.  Years ago, I started this practice when I began a creative journey for inspiration, and it totally works!  I’ve since gotten out of the practice, but I’m going to start again.  Join me!  Do it daily, and if you are really diligent, do it twice daily – once in the morning and once before bed.  Don’t think of it like a journal, per say, because it’s more like a dumping ground.  Clear your head of all stress, thoughts, anxiety, worry and preoccupation.

  
     

In today’s society, it’s easy to become distracted with all that is going on around us.  It’s not easy to get centered, to clear our minds, or to be available.  When we “dump” all the “clutter,” it opens our minds up for a more productive day and invites creativity.  Try it and see what happens.  I’ll bet you’ll start seeing a difference after the first day.  Go wherever you want to, to do your mental dump.  When I started this practice, I was a teacher and I would write in the morning, while early students would eat breakfast.  On weekends, I liked to go outside and be alone with the chirping birds.  It’s whatever works for you and it can be different every day. 

Please let me know if you plan to join in on this journey, and if you do, let me know when you have started to practice your “mental dumping” and, please share your experiences!  I’m going to be posting new weekly tasks for you all to try, that will hopefully help you to jump start your creative juices!  Looking forward to a great group project and creative journey!  Hope it helps!  Have a wonderful day!  🙂

Happiness Grows At Our Front Door!

I am loving the warmer weather, and nothing makes me happier or more inspired than warm weather with sunshine and the flowers that come along with it…especially fragrant flowers!  Anthony and I have not even lived in our tiny house a year, so it’s exciting for me to see what pops up in our yard!  I was told that the previous owners did a nice job planting flowers, so I can’t wait to see what we discover as it gets warmer! 

     So far, we only have one tiny flower that has arrived, but it IS beautiful!  Our neighbor, Irene, has some lovely jonquils and daffodils that have blossomed, and it just makes me happy, happy, happy to see their beauty!  Yesterday I took some pictures of the beautiful new arrivals and put together a collage of their grandeur.

 

Sundays are for REST AND RELAXATION. :)

Being that I like to look at Sunday’s as a day for rest, enjoyment and relaxation, I thought my theme for today would be exactly that.  Some of you may know that Anthony and I will be moving next year.  My parents have gifted us with some property and we have begun to plan for our future home.  We have selected a site, have started to draw up the floor plans, and it’s just so exciting…it’s truly coming along!  I can’t wait to move back home!  I miss my Pennsylvania roots and tremendously miss being near my family!  I’ve been day dreaming lately, and today, I put together a collage of some pictures from my design folder (inspiration for our future home) that remind me of rest and relaxation.  If you look closely, I’ve also included two pictures of our charming piece of rural property!  🙂  It’s just lovely!

 Rest and Relaxation

A BLOGGIN BREAK

I’m sorry all…I usually blog every day, but I’ve been more focused on creating some new pieces with different materials and I’ve been slacking on my blog.  I do have a new artist to feature, which will be coming up sometime this week, and then I’ll show you what I’ve been up to.  Sometimes we just need a break, so today and tomorrow are mine.  I might post a picture or a poem, or a quote, but it won’t be anything that requires great thought or time.  Until I am back…I’ll share a picture that I’ve been looking at over the weekend.  It’s a cute picture of one of my neices (Ashley) peeking through a play house window, (when she was a little younger) whom I miss very much…  🙂

  Peeking Through

My Newest Creations…

Well, I haven’t been sharing much of my own creations lately, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to share my newest Etsy shop additions with those of you who do not visit the store.  I visit a lot of blogs regularly, but don’t often venture onto my fellow etsy friends’ storefronts!  Awful me – I should probably try to make a habit of visiting their stores at least once a month.  So, here’s my newest additions from Nicole Lee Artistry’s Etsy Store and to make up for my shortcomings, tomorrow I’m going to post some new additions from my fave sellers.  I’ve also got a new artist to debut in the works. Enjoy! (you can click on any image below to learn more about that item)

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