Friday, December 31, 2010
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!
I'm not going to take up a lot of your time, it's New Year's Eve and I know most of you are ready to ring in the New Year in style and with festivities. Not me, I'll be home watching TV, playing Wii, cooking tomorrow's traditional dinner and maybe sipping some champagne.
It's nice to be content staying home, enjoying the moment and looking around to see if any magic happens with the stroke of midnight. It would be nice if the dishes in the sink suddenly cleaned themselves, I know wishful thinking, I mean the calendar won't even hang itself.
From my home to yours I wish you all, a great New Year, a prosperous year and may all your dreams and wishes come true.
See you next YEAR!!
Friday, December 24, 2010
It's been a while since we've been together and nearing the end of the year, I feel it's time to share some thoughts with you.
I've spent the last month picking items from ETSY adding them to my blog's favorites as gift suggestions, I've even purchased a few myself. I hoped you dropped by and enjoyed the suggestions and found something from my list to purchase for your friends and family.
During the month like most I've been busy preparing for the holidays and the upcoming year, looking forward to both, joy for the new and sentimentality for the past. There is always so much we wish we could have accomplished this past year and so much more we want to accomplish this coming year. Rest easy my friends, there is always time. Remember there is a time to work, a time to play, a time to pray.
For the upcoming year I would like for us all to be happy even during trying times. Be healthy, take care of yourselves, if you're no good to you then you're no good for anyone else. Be giving, at all times, if only a smile to a stranger, it all comes back. Play and laugh often, it's good for the soul but above all pray. Pray for healing and love for yourselves, friends, family, your enemies, the world. Like it or not, we are all in this together. On this note I want to say....until 2011
Be safe, be kind, be joyous!
PS - Please, hang up the phones, no texting or drinking while driving, the life you save might just be your own.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
See anything of interest just click the pic and you will be swept off to that shop. Remember these are just a few of things I like for both men, women and children.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
I'd like to take this time and wish everyone a 'Happy Thanksgiving', and may blessings abound.
I will however, post in between the holiday festivities, all fantastic giftables every other day, starting today. My gift ideas and finds will be to your immediate right of this post.
Hope this helps to make your shopping a little easier, there are many many items that are wonderful found on Etsy.
Visit often, for the selections will change regularly.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
I'd like to introduce you to one of my Veteran's. His name is Aaron James Day, my late husband. He was born an only child to Mr. and Mrs. James Day, November 23, 1956. He was the apple of his mom's eye, after being told she would never conceive.
He attended Ottawa University, in Ottawa, KS on a basketball scholarship. being the sportsman that he was, he also played football where upon during a game his right knee was taken out and hence lost his scholarship.
Upon leaving school he joined the Marines, fours year service 1977 - 1981, during a time of peace and I know to some that doesn't mean much, but he served,just the same. Trained marksman.
After he was discharged he married his first wife and fathered three children, two boys and one girl. Now here's the clincher, we had two girls and two boys, our boys were twins, one was still-born. Yes, this only child had a house full of kids that he loved dearly. We had a running joke, the take on an old movie, ' Yours, Mine and Ours'. You see I had four of my own when we met. We also harped on the other movie, 'Cheaper By The Dozen'.
He was a good father and loved kids. He was a big kid himself. He willingly changed diapers, walked the floors at night when they wouldn't or couldn't sleep. He took care of them when they sick, made doctor appointments and spent his spare time at school. On the first day of school, he would take them all to school, meet the teachers and offer his services. Aaron, would find time during every month to have a day where he would do things with the girl's and a day for the boys, I was never invited, I was told to do my thing. He celebrated every birthday, including mine and our anniversary. He never forgot. He would sing to children and coo to them. My girlfriend use to call him the 'Baby Whisperer'. To me, he was Mr. Mom. He could magically calm any child, not just his own.
We would stay up for hours after the kids were asleep playing card games, Nintendo, Sega or what have you. We always had some competition going on between he and I and even the kids. I still have the notebook that we used to keep score from our card games and games like Homerun Derby, Tennis, Hockey and Dr. Mario, just to name a few.
I use to be an avid seamstress, he loved to sit and watch me work, he marveled at each completed outfit. When the schools instituted uniforms, I made them for all three kids that were in school at the time. He couldn't' believe what I did with ten yards of blue and ten yards of white, they were suited for the year. Our youngest son the twin was premature by two months, and I made his clothes using Cabbage Patch Doll patterns, a tiny little thing 3 1/2 lbs, that now stands 6'1/2" at 16.
One day mid-October, the 11Th of 2000, to be exact, he failed to come home or call after work, he always called me at lunch or sometimes on break. The 12Th no call before I went to work, later that afternoon, my father-in-law and wife showed up at my job to inform me that he was in the hospital, my worse nightmare had come true.
Yes, nightmare, you see I had seen this in my dream about six months earlier and again a month before it happened. I shared the second dream with him and asked him to be careful. He was a brave man, he was my strength and use to tell me that if anything happened remember he was going to Jefferson Barracks for burial. He was in a coma, found not far from work, beaten and unconscious. The area in which he worked was not far from a housing projects with a high crime rate. He vegetated for seven months before he died, severe brain damage.
This Veteran's Day, his birthday, that sometimes fall on Thanksgiving, Memorial Day and everyday we miss him. He was the love of my life. He taught me a lot about love, life and survival. He taught me 'No' was not acceptable, he made me a Marine. Without him I would not have been able to bury my mother seven months before he passed. My father passed eleven months later and I was left to raise five young children alone. I want to say 'Thanks, for being a part of my life and leaving me your strength'.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
Where has the time gone? A good question, I know most of us don't have a real answer to.
I've been spending my days running kids to doctor appointments, having car accidents, comforting the best I can, a friend that found out they have cancer. The joy I get from this isn't much accept I don't let them talk about their illness. That's not up for discussion. They try and tell me I don't understand, but I do. My question is do you want to live or do you want to die? Of course they want to live, so that's what we deal with, living.
Another friend lost his youngest brother to a stroke, the young man rode his bike religiously, exercised, and built like a brick out house (remember that saying?).
The doctor said he had the heart of a 20 year old and he was 52.
Some how in between all this and sometimes chauffeuring the cancer patient when his daughter can't, I've found time to put my skills to use. I love this new found skill. I had wanted to knit since I was in high school and seemed never able to figure it out. I could get the stitches onto the needle but not off. I didn't understand what I was reading and there was no one to ask for help. Back then knitting wasn't a thing a lot of people I knew did and there weren't a lot of crocheters either.
Now with all that said and done, I want to share my finished project with you. It's a style that was popular in the 50's, when I was born, it starts as a plain shrug and of course that wasn't enough for me, I added a leaf trim for finishing. Now I just love it, hope you do too.
I developed a pattern for it and if you like and seeing that you are a reader of my blog, I will send it to you free for the asking. Contact me at http://www.newdaycrochet.etsy.com
Friday, September 24, 2010
The end of Summer Celebration here in St. Louis isn’t the Labor Day barbeque, no, not for us. It’s the Great Forest Park Balloon Race. As most of you know, Forest Park was the home to the 1903 World's Fair.
I’m writing today to share a few pictures of Saturday’s 38th race. There wasn’t much wind this past Saturday so the balloons didn’t escape the park’s boundaries, but what could be seen in the distance was beautiful just the same.
The race is by invitation only and there are pilots from all over the US. The Energizer Bunny leads the way and marks its landing spot with an X. The other balloons follow and pilots attempt to drop a bag of birdseed closest to the target.
You see we call it a race when in actuality it isn’t it’s more like target practice.
Because of the lack of wind, I didn’t get a chase to enjoy the way I’m use to, I usually with the kids drive all over the county by spotting balloons and making my way there for pictures over the different parks throughout the city and county. To see them hanging over the trees, catching over a small pond or lake throughout the first suburban area they float across and the last park where they usually land.
Hopefully next year there will be more wind and a clear day for what I like to considered our end of the summer the beginning of autumn crossover celebration.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Early July, my college bound daughter took my oldest daughter and myself on a'Wild Goose' chase. Yes, I said that. Allow me to explain.
Earlier this year her dad had surgery, he's a diabetic. She was fretting about how far she should go for college, Ball State had a fantastic Construction Management program so this is where she wanted to be, but it was too far away in case there was an emergency with her dad. My oldest and I convinced her to follow her dreams and let us worry about emergencies and how they would be handled.
So, she made all arrangments for myself and my oldest to accompany her to orientation, we had a room on campus, the whole nine yards. We leave the night before orientation on this five hour drive. We arrive a half hour before check in, okay that's fine. We check in, pay for the room and off to orientation we go, which by the way was suppose to be optional for parents.
After sitting through the first hour of orientation, my oldest daughter and I decided we needed to go to our room and freshen up, after all we've been up all night on the road, only to find out that we could not access our room until 4:30 pm. Can you imagine the look of shock on our faces. It's July in Muncie, IN, it's hot and you got my money without telling me how long I had to wait for a room, talking about customer service.
The campus was beautiful but not enough to keep me awake. During one part of orientaion, front row seat, smack dab in the speakers face, I fell asleep. So much so that I was told I was snoring by a nudging older daughter, "Mother, you're snoring", I tried, I just couldn't stay awake and by now, I've covered almost all the campus on foot and it's 2 o'clock in the afternoon.
After having gone through a day and a half of torture at this campus, this young lady decides a week before school that she doesn't want to attend Ball State, instead she wants to be closer to home, three hours away. At the last minute we enrolled in the University of Central Missouri. Don't you just love it.
I dropped her off the 16th of August and for Labor Day weekend I was on the road again picking her up for a weekend at home and to do laundry and I am now on my second care package from home. I think if it was me, being away from home I'd take advantage of the freedom. Not my kid, no she calls at least three times a week, IM's me on Facebook and oh yes, I must play games with her online. Thinks she misses me. I miss her too.
Ball State, Muncie, IN was founded by the Brothers 'Ball' of the Ball Jar company. My family used their products for years, I found it funny, of course I've given up on canning.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Getting the Word Out
We’ve covered a lot up to this point and there is always more to know. I’ve made several banners preparing for the upcoming holiday season and a few to represent the upcoming fall season. During the past week I’ve given thought to how to get the word out, ‘It’s that time of year.’
Last year I instituted a lay-a-way plan in my shop for items over a certain dollar amount. Now is the time to announce you’re ready to do custom made items to assure delivery for the holiday. Get out your mailing list and notify your customers you’re ready to accommodate them for the holiday. Let them know if you’ve added a new line. You can do this by sending out a brochure, postcards or use your blog. If you don’t have a blog, start one.
This doesn’t have to be a costly event. You can make each of these items by using your Microsoft Publisher program. I use Microsoft PowerPoint to make my banners, you can also use Paint, but I find it difficult to work with.
Insert your logo or your holiday banner, pictures of your featured items with descriptions, no prices (you want to bring them to your site).
Offer coupons to repeat customers, free shipping on select items for a limited time. Put links to your store in all your social networking profiles. Offer gift wrapping if you don’t already.
Post new items on your blog, people love to see what you’ve done or what you’re working on.
With all this in mind, remember there holidays throughout the year and you can even invent some of your own.
I hope this helps your holiday season a little brighter,a little easier and prosperous for you.
Have fun putting your shop together and keep me posted, I would love to see what you've done.
Above is one of my new holiday banners, made using PowerPoint and clipart from Microsoft.com, it's free.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to rethink your holiday themes or come up with one for your online store. I’ve used mine now for two years and it’s become stale and dull to me. I’m thinking more red than green; I need brightness, something cheery. What I’m trying to say here is that everything has to change from time to time and if your customers get use to that same holiday theme you’ve displayed for years, they will assume there’s nothing new to be seen or purchased. Maybe that nothing’s has changed but a new banner or theme will catch their eye and they will stay a while to see what is new if any. So think of redesigning your site from time to time to keep it fresh.
Make buyers comfortable about your business. If you’re working within your own personal site make sure your checkout page is encrypted and secure and the license is prominently displayed. Shoppers look for security when checking out. Let’s not lose a sell because we are not secured.
Publish your store’s policies, refunds, cancellations, exchanges and shipping. Make this information accessible for your customers by a simple click of a mouse, along the bottom of the page, or in the left or right margins of your page. Make visible the type of payments you accept and if nothing more use PayPal Shopping Cart.
Announce specific shipping and delivery dates if possible is not a bad idea, i.e., “Orders placed by November 7th will be delivered by November 14.” Shoppers want to be assured that their gifts will arrive in time.
You may not be placing your Holiday banner or theme into play now but you could post in your shop’s announcement that there are ‘x’ amount of days to the ‘Big’ day, a call to action. I've added as you can see a counter to my blog, free at http://www.timeanddate.com.
When describing your items use useful search terms as much as possible, for this is how your customers will find you and or your items. If you ship internationally, think in what language they speak in picking your keywords. For instance, some call a shirt a blouse whether male or female, a sweater can be a jumper or vest so think in terms of the markets you want to reach. Remember, the internet works on search engines.
Monday, August 2, 2010
For those of us that make and ship items for sale, we have less time to prepare. I would give us about 134 days to Christmas.
Considering the time it takes to ship and the time it takes to make we need to get busy and start thinking ahead for this year and next. Some of the big box stores in other countries have already started their holiday season, toys, gifts and decorations are already at hand.
I realize that some of us are dealing with triple digit heat, but the holidays are right around the corner. Years ago, my mom and I use to start shopping in January, that’s right, January. Of course that was when lay-a-ways were in abundance and stores knew how to turn a buck.
I appreciate a good lay-a-way. Sure it ties up inventory but that inventory will and can sell with a reasonable lay-a-way policy.
What is a reasonable lay-a-way policy, don’t expect a $300 item to be purchased within a 30 day period, if that was the case it wouldn’t have been laid away in the first place.
So far in the first three blogs of ‘Ready for the Holidays’, we covered:
1. Update your product catalog and inventory.
I’ve gone through my products and I see a need for additions and improvements,so
I'm working on it.
2. Make it easy for your customers to shop for gifts.
I’ve made a list of items I feel would be great for gifts and also added categories to the list.
3. Give your site that ‘Holiday’ flair.
I’ve had the same banner for the past three years and I feel a real need for a change, so I’ve been working on a new.
So, what have you been up to? Have you started readying your shop for the holiday? How’s it going?
Next week we’ll talk about some more issues we can pursue in order to ready ourselves for the upcoming holiday season.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Now is the time to start thinking about your holiday enhancements as the holidays draw near. You can update your home page or completely revamp the site to announce the upcoming holiday.
You want to supply your customer with what they’re looking for and make the process easy and fun. You want your customer to remember a positive, fun holiday experience. You want to keep the coming back season after season.
Refreshing your site from time to time keeps it fresh. Celebrate holiday themes, be familiar to your customers but also be surprising, keep them coming back to see what you’re up to next.
If your e-commerce software does not allow for multiple site designs, change your banners to meet your holiday needs. Make your changes for the beginning and the end of each season.
This can be a daunting task, but it keeps your customer’s coming back for a look see and a sale. My neighbors celebrate every festive occasion in a calendar year and month. I love it, so let’s work this into our e-commerce sites.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Ready For the Holidays?
With the gift-giver in mind, is your website ready? Is it easy to maneuver? If I came to your site would I find a jumble of merchandise or find your merchandise broken into down categories? If your site shows a mixture of items on a page, categories are a good idea. Navigation is important, so walk through your website to find any potential changes you can make.
Visitors that are looking for gifts will be shopping by categories, etc. gifts for mother, father, and brother and so on. So you would want your navigation to suggest pages like “Gifts for her” or “Gifts for Dad”. Keeping the budget shopper in mind, it wouldn’t hurt to have a gift price range if your sight set-up allows (e.g., “less than $50”, “$50 - $100).
Even though it’s July, almost August it’s time to get cracking on your Holiday ideas, merchandise and website setups. Grab that note pad and start brainstorming.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Are You Ready For the Holiday?
It’s the middle of July and it’s time to start thinking about the holidays. I’ve personally noticed that the decorations for the fall celebrations are beginning to come out with school supplies. What’s the rush? Its simple some of us like to shop early, get a head start, not feel the rush so we can enjoy more. With the state of our economy starting early allows us to stagger our purchases and see a silver lining before the dreaded rush that some people enjoy sets in.
Now is the time to start looking at inventory on hand and thinking of future inventory for the month of August starting and running as close to the holiday as possible. What do you have available for the holidays. What do you have on hand that would make great gifts or what do you need to add. What do you have to fulfill a need or what do you need to add to it. School starts in August in most places and so does the holiday shopping season for a lot of people.
If you have any inventoried items you were waiting for the right time to place in your shop either online or not, now are the time to get them out and stocked, ready for the holiday. Beef up that inventory; give your shoppers a selection of the best you have to choose from. Determine which items you have that are your most popular, best-selling items. Make them available. Add new products to your store.
Good product information is important; update your descriptions if you haven’t done so in a while. Use past customer feedback for items already sold, this is a useful tool. People love to read reviews. Highlight these compliments to help enhance your sells.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Now that you've discovered your niche, it's time to learn how to spot retail trends. Best described as the marketplace, whether the product will sell. We would all love to get in on the ground floor but often times that doesn't happen. So let's at least try to gain some ground by the third floor. There are several ways to do this.
First to understand retail in it's broad sense, selling products to the public. These products are our handmade items to be sold either directly to the public (retail) or to sell to retailers (wholesale).
First to determine the trends, we must look at what is selling in the marketplace. Next we shouldn’t allow our like or dislike of a trend prohibit us from joining in. For example, I don’t like the mixture of pink and chocolate but I’ve had clients who do. Give your clients what they want.
In spotting trends, you need to know if your target market is local or national. If you're selling on the internet you can reach a large audience, use it to your advantage. What one wears in the middle of the US is gonna be different from the West Coast and that coast is going to be different from the East. Use your TV time to spot trends, such as movies, sitcoms even daytime drama. I loved watching Dallas in the 80’s, I could never tell you what was going on but I could tell you what someone was wearing, about a table or lamp in the background. You get the idea.
Below is a list you might find useful:
The Crafts Report
You can learn more about your business in their Industry Information Statistics area. Find craft organizations both local and nationally.
Information for crafters about buying trends and business principles.
Information for craft show opportunities.
Festival Network Online
Site for craft fair listings both in the US and Canada
Color Marketing Group
Created to forecast color trends one to three years in advance.
Feel free to post any helpful links you might have, that we may create a successful business together.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Knitting and crocheting is such a broad category, there are so many different items one can make, some time consuming, some quick. I think about all the items I’ve made and try to figure out which ones I derive the most enjoyment from (one that I can do over and over again). I’ve found that I have done more shrugs than anything else, so this is truly my niche anything else I do is secondary. I can also see that shrugs can easily turn into midriff sweaters and possibly cardigans in the future. With all this said this is one way of adding to your niche. But remember, one item at a time as to not be overwhelmed.
SCORE: Counselors to America’s Small Business
SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) is a nonprofit organization with about 400 chapters in the United States. They have volunteers who provide training and one-on-one business consultation at no charge.
We are in this to make a living doing what we love.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Find a particular interest or ability for making or doing something.
Here are some key questions to help find your niche:
Or maybe your niche is teaching or holding seminars on what you love as opposed to sells.
Choose a craft that you’ll love making over and over again. Make it challenging but easy enough
2. Do you know how to make it well? The one thing you cannot compromise on is quality of
Last but not least….
3. What will your first product be? Yes, one product. This keeps one from becoming
Your see finding your niche can be as simple as choosing your college major. Do what you love,
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
It dawned on me the other week that I have been someone’s mother for 40 years. Wow, that’s a long time, it’s a life time, I thought. I became a little depressed and then melancholy.
It hasn't been all bad nor has it been all good. Like most families we have had our ups and our downs, our ins and outs.
Two on their way to college this fall and three yet to graduate.
Meet the Graduates: Missy and Marcus
The grads at dinner, I'm the one with the camera.
I have a friend that’s a shrink, yea I said shrink ( :D), and we talked for hours after I expressed the thought of having been a mother for much of my life. After sorting through what I thought was bothering me, we came to the conclusion they’re getting older and I’m getting better.
I had to admit that I am a lucky woman. Seven kids, all normal as far as normal goes. No health problems other than growing pains. We gather for birthdays and dinner on Sundays. We hang out in the kitchen mostly and sometimes some of us gather in my bedroom to watch movies on Sundays. Sundays is our day to come together after a busy week to enjoy being a family. And of course there are the holiday’s that goes without saying.
My oldest daughter knows I hate driving now, so she saves her shopping at certain stores so we may go together and to get me out of the house, away from the yarn, needles and hooks we may stop for a bite to eat. She’s grown into such a wonderful sensible young woman; we’ve gone from mother and daughter to friends.
They make me laugh and they love to play, especially with me. I’ve learned to lightened up a little and not take life so serious and enjoy them being kids. Enjoy having them in my life and know that for having had them has made me a better person.
Some of their friends think it is strange to be friends with a parent online, they all have Face book accounts, so we rib each other regularly, compete in games and when they’re away from home they connect when they see me online, it get’s hilarious at times. Not all their friends feel that way; some of them are my friends too.
The argyle vest is a young man I've known to be at my house for years with my kids, majoring in international law and Chinese. Headed to China this fall to study.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
What Have I Been Doing ?
It’s been a long quick four months. I had a birthday in February; as a matter of fact February is a busy month for me. First there’s my birthday, the 12th, then my youngest daughter and youngest overall, is the 21st, last but not least my second oldest daughter’s day is on the 26th.
My birthday was spent trying to get my plumbing fixed during the day and escorting second oldest on her Senior Night, in celebration of the last year she plays basketball for her high school. Something I was proud of but didn’t really like standing center court all that much. I more or less felt like a lab rat. I don’t like being the center of attention. The pictures aren’t that great, but I’ll post them any way, you see I couldn’t man the camera and be in the picture at the same time. L to R: Ladara, Missy, Me
The youngest turned 14 and we all gathered to dine out at Ponderosa, her choice and it was interesting to all them all together with the exception of one, my second oldest son, he had a track meet. I never realized how silly my kids could get and I do need to laugh more often and they seriously saw that I had a few good ones that day.
I’d share those pictures with you, but somehow they’ve seemed to have disappeared. I hate when my computers crash and someone does the work other than my usual guy.
Arriving at the stadium, my youngest son, oldest son and the Scholar Athlete in foreground,
The young lady in this picture was awarded Scholar Athlete of the year, grade point 3.0 and above and at least one letter in sports to qualify. She received tickets for a Cardinals game. I hadn’t been to a game since high school and we have a new stadium, it was really a thrill to see all 136 students from the surrounding areas being honored that night. I’m going to miss her when she goes off to school this fall. Why is it so hard to let them go?
Waiting for the game to start, me, my youngest and the athlete.
The Arch The Old Courthouse ( in foreground)
A view of the Illinois treeline between buildings.
Next month another adventure, a trip to Ball State University for orientation for this young lady and sad sweet goodbyes for another door opening in her life. They do grow up fast and this has been a wonderful year for her and me. She’s grown a lot and we’ve grown closer.
Thanks for allowing me to share.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
My latest project in my learning to knit series is an experiment in cabling. I wanted to see what it would look like to cable a complete piece without doing the usual cable, the intertwined, the one that looks like a figure eight.
Either way you turn this neck warmer, the cables all run in one direction.
Below are pictures of the set worn seperate and together.
Neck Warmer - Rolled Down
The complete set, neck warmer worn upright and below with the neck warmer rolled down.
In the near future I am going to offer this pattern free to my Follower's for their personal use before posting it for sale.
Friday, January 22, 2010
I thought it was time to learn a little more about knitting, I've always been intrigued with cables. So this being my first practice piece and learning to use a cable needle this is what I came up with. The above is a picture of my cabling lying flat and below you'll see I really had fun, I decided to make a headband or as some call it, an ear warmer.
Now watch how these pieces takes off, I really had fun with these pictures
and EAR WARMER