Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Gift of Giving.....

Every year I ask my family for a little list of things they would like for Christmas. This year we even set a spending limit, so you would think it would be simple. Not so.

Out of 7 potential lists, I have received one! In fact, two people said they have no clue what they want.

Light bulb goes on over blogger's head....

Maybe the reason I am not getting any lists is because no one really "needs" anything....

If that is the blessed and fortunate can one family be?

I will continue to drop e-mails and texts over the course of the next few days, and if I don't get any lists, then I will just "wing it". My family is always very grateful for what they receive so I'm sure it will be fine.

I have already made a note on my calendar on 9/1/2010 that says, "Check into the Adopt a Family for Christmas Program." Someone was telling me about a program where you adopt a military family or a family in need and shop from their wish list. Then the organization delivers the gifts to them for Christmas.

Here is what I envision for next year....

Our family picks a date and we meet at a restaurant for a bite to eat. We go over the wish list of the family we adopted. We decide who is going to shop for what items and then we set a time that we will meet back at one of our houses. When we get back to the house with all of the gifts, we'll sit and talk about our shopping experiences and who got the best deals. We will be laughing while we wrap up all of the treasures we found. When we're done, we will pack up all of the gifts in big shopping bags and include a card that just says....from our family to yours...and we'll take them to the drop off place for the organization.

How awesome would that be?

There is someone at work that does this every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas. His comment today was, "Isn't that what this season is all"

Yes, it is and I will share my vision for next year with my family when we get together Christmas Day this year.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Pondering and Planning

I sat in bed last night, clipboard in hand pondering and planning my business strategy for 2010. I am so excited right now. My sales have increased this holiday season, and after 18 months in business....I think I am finally starting to understand what I need to do and NOT do to make my business the success I want it to be. I'm a little slow...what can I say?

I have some things I am going to do opening a separate checking account with a debit card and a savings account for the business. It's so awful at the end of the year trying to separate personal and business expenses. I also think I spend money for the business when I shouldn't be, because there is money in our checking, and I also leave money I make in our personal account where it quickly gets spent.

Besides the fact that I love creating things, and FourDogDay has filled a tremendous creative void for me...there was another reason I started my business. Irv and I don't have a nice pension sitting there waiting for us when we fact, at times we wonder if we will ever be able to retire.

My thought was that if between now and retirement, I could build a successful craft business that would eventually bring in a nice little profit....that we could one day use that profit to supplement our social security. I now see that as a very real possibility.

In order to do that though, we need to know where our money is coming from and where it is going. We need to know what works and what doesn't work when creating and marketing my products. So, like I said....I sat with the clipboard in hand and started to map out my strategy...and let me tell you...I am excited!

We will start at the bank this weekend by opening those accounts. I will close up MyOtherShop as soon as I can, so that all of my attention and energy can be devoted to FourDogDay. I will clear out things I don't plan to make anymore to make room for the new things that I can't wait to start on....and we will carefully select some craft shows for spring and fall.

We are taking control of our business rather than allowing our business to take control of us!

How about you? Do you have business or personal plan in place for 2010? Have you ever done a personal or business financial makeover? If you own your own business, did it take you a while to really figure things out? Please share.....

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Surprise Unveiled

The wait is over....I am about to show you what I made for my living room!!!! First though, here is the cute little table I bought to put my record player on. I found it at that same little shop where I got the other table and lamp. We still need to move furniture around, so I'm not sure where it is going to go, but I think it will work.

Remember when Irv took our big TV cabinet and cut it apart with a saw to make a smaller TV here to see the "before" picture. Well, here it is cut down and painted with new handles. Irv had to put a little mat under the TV for now so it doesn't stick to the new paint, but isn't it awesome?

Okay....I've made you wait long enough. Here is the surprise project.....

Tick! Tock! I made a clock!! (Hope you weren't expecting something really exciting)

I saw these clocks in a magazine and I couldn't wait to try making one. I bought the awesome fabric at IKEA and Irv made the frame. In the magazine they used a framed art canvas....but I will only do that if I can get them on sale. Irv can make them cheaper. I ordered the clock parts online and we just finished putting it together last night! I just love it!

Unfortunately, it was already dark when I took the pictures, so I had to use a flash, but you get the idea.

I looked on etsy and there are some similar clocks, but not too many. That either means that they aren't big sellers, or no one wants to make them. HAHA!

What do you think? Should I make some for FourDogDay? If so, what colors, sizes and shapes do you think might be good? Any suggestions?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's Pouring!

You know how they say, "When it rains, it pours?" Well, it is pouring at our house right now. Over the weekend my dryer decided that 20 years of drying our clothes was enough and it went kapooey on us. Irv has it wired up so we can dry a load here and there, but we decided that for safety reasons....we better get a new one. So we searched all over on line and at the outlets and ended up with a bare bones model at Home Depot for $319 with free delivery and haul away of the relic in our basement.

Okay, not the greatest timing right before Christmas, and in the middle of all of our redecorating, but what are you going to do?

Well, yesterday morning Irv's truck went kapooey too. NOT a good thing. He was using it at work and all of a sudden it just wouldn't start. It wanted to, but no go. Irv drives an older model GMC with 115,000 miles on it. We are very cautious about where we take our vehicles when they need work, so he had it towed to our guy's shop. Our guy called and said that the computerized fuel pump went out and it would be $750 to fix it. OUCH!! Now that hurts.

We really had no choice but to fix it. The truck is still worth a bit and we certainly can't afford another payment right, it got fixed yesterday and we have to pick it up today.

I'm doing my best to smile and say, "Oh, it's okay. It could be so much worse. It's just a truck and it's only money".....but dog gone it...I was having so much fun fixing up the house, and since part of this truck repair will have to go on plastic....I will have to get that paid off before I can have any more fun on my house!

.....but like I said. It could be so much worse.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Back to Work

Wow....Sunday when I was nursing my two day headache, I decided I had to DO something. I am not the kind of person that can go lay down, or sit and watch T.V. I have to be doing something all the time.

I had fabric for two tote bags that I was going to make for FourDogDay about a month ago, along with three Christmas aprons...and none of it ever got done. So I pulled out the fabric for the totes and went through all of the new patterns I have bought and found a GREAT tote bag pattern...the kind that ties at the shoulder...and started cutting them out. I think they are going to be really cute, and I might actually allow myself to keep one of them!! I would love to take a picture and show you, but I left my bag with my camera in it at work!

Irv and I also worked on my secret project too. (It really isn't very secret....I got it from a magazine!) I am waiting for some parts that should arrive this week and then I will finish it and show it to you. It is so darn cool! This one is for my living room....if it looks good....I'll make some for FourDogDay.

Well, that is it for today. Short and sweet. Gotta get ready for work. Make it an awesome day!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Wish Me Luck!

I don't feel well. Nope, I do not. I am tired, I feel heavy....make that I have gained weight, I'm getting headaches, my body aches, I feel blah.

No, I don't need to go to the doctor. I know exactly what is wrong with me and I started to handle it yesterday.

Whenever I fall off the good eating and exercising wagon...this is how I feel...and let me tell you...I fell off a long time ago...have tried a number of times to get back on and I just keep falling under the wheels.

I think Thanksgiving was the "straw that broke the camel's back" so to say. It started Friday morning and didn't end until Saturday night when my head was pounding and I actually felt ill. For two days I lived on nothing but carbs. I ate pumpkin pie, dressing, candied sweet potatoes, a cream cheese apple dip that is about 50% sugar and caramel pecan apple pie. Not exactly a great diet. Yes, I did eat some cauliflower and green beans, but not in the mega doses that I ate the other things. My diet consisted of almost no protein whatsoever. Not a good thing for me...or for anyone for that matter.

The events leading up to the camel's broken back would be Starbucks Chai Lattes on a daily basis, bread, pasta, pizza and cereal. Not that those things are terrible, but I have a problem with wheat and in addition to that, all of those things are carbs. I haven't eaten a good salad in ages. I use to eat salad at least a few times a week. I don't even walk anymore.

What's happened to me?

I think I have gotten so wrapped up in my etsy shops and craft shows that I have forgotten that always, always, always.....we have to come first.

So at the grocery store yesterday I bought a lot of fruits, vegetables, rice, beans, yogurt, nuts and grains. This won't be fun, but I've done it before and I can do it again. I have to do it again, because I can't continue to feel like this. I remember talking about this not too long ago and telling myself I needed to pay attention to what I was eating.....but I didn't. It was just "next week I will do better". Next week never got here, until today.

I would really like to do one of the nutritional cleanses, but since my main problem is sugar and flour, I plan to start there. That will wipe out about 80% of my current diet, but I will be fine. It doesn't take long for your body to stop craving the bad stuff.....I'll let you know when I get there.

Have you ever reached that point when you know you have to make THAT change? Did you? How did you go about doing it?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Dejunking Has Begun!!

The clean out has begun. After our tree cutting trip yesterday, Irv headed for the garage. In our garage is quite a collection of.....junk! A little bit of this and a little bit of that, saved over many, many years and before you know it, you have no room for a car. So, Irv worked in the garage yesterday afternoon and made great progress.

I opened the drawers to my file cabinet and peeked inside. It's the small two-drawer type, but it was so jam packed with stuff from previous years that I had not disposed of that I haven't been able to file anything for months. Instead it got shoved on the shelf above my computer. One file at a time....I went through and saved what needed to be saved and tossed what needed to be tossed. Some could be recycled and some needed to be shredded. I got through the top drawer. Today I will do the bottom drawer and then go through all of the stuff I haven't filed yet. UGH!

I also plan to hit my closet and the closet in our spare bedroom. I have so many clothes in those two closets that I haven't worn in years....and it is going...straight to the resale shop in town! Once those things are done I will be feel so much "lighter"! Then I can just start going through things here and there and donating or tossing.

It is going to feel SOOOO good!!

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