Friday, March 28, 2014

Pulling Myself Back Up

Who would have known? It has taken me a year to pull myself out of the hole of depression that I have been since I lost my job.  I felt better months ago, or should I say that I have had good months since then, but I haven't felt any sort of motivation until just recently.  Can I get an AMEN?!

I finally took the jump and turned my joy of crafting into a REAL business.  I filled out the tax forms a few weeks ago and have flooded my Etsy shop with my hand made items.  I have joined a ton of Facebook pages and am selling lots of items on there.  I feel so good about the future of my business, I can't even begin to tell you.

I want to show you some of the items that I am making now.  I  am making a variety of items so that I don't get burned out making so many of just one thing.  That has happened in the past with many other crafts that I have done.  Now I am juggling four or five things and feeling happy that every day I can make something completely different.

Burlap monograms - Oh how I love burlap.  I have for quite some time.  When I taught myself to make these, I felt like I had accomplished something big!  Here is a sample of some of many that I am now making.

Vinyl - I purchased a Silhouette machine in the Fall and it took me until the beginning of December to get the nerve to pull it out of the box!  Now I use it every day!  I make vinyl decals like these:

And personalized acrylic key chains like these:

I used to hand paint signs and do all of the lettering by hand.  I was never quite happy with my lettering and I took so long to make them that I was basically giving them away.  They were too labor intensive.  Now I use the vinyl in making my hand painted signs like these.  Simple, but I love them.  Working on more soon with stains and glazes.

And since I hadn't done a wreath since before Christmas, I made this:

It turned out to be the best mesh wreath I have made to date and sold within an hour of listing.

My crafting mojo is back and all is good in the world again! :-)

I am linking up to:

Monday, December 2, 2013

Struggling and helping others

If you read my posts you know that in February I was layed off from my job.  I had been there for almost 13 years and at my previous job for 10.  I was a government contractor and since there have been so many federal budget cuts, we lost most of our funding.  I had never been layed off before in my life.  At 49 years old, it is a scary prospect.  I earned the majority of the income for our family.  I received a small severance and then had to go onto unemployment.  I have been looking for a job for months now.  I don't possess an advanced degree and have back issues or I would have taken a retail job a long time ago while still hunting for something better.  My stupid back doesn't allow me to stand for much longer than 15 minutes at a time.  (I've had two back surgeries and will eventually need the whole rod, plates, screws combo when I have a multi-vertebral fusion.) In August my husband's car died and he has taken over mine since we can't afford another.  We have drained everything we had, even the $1000.00 we had put aside for a down payment on a new car.  Unemployment has now run out and we have a choice of paying utilities or our mortgage payment.  They are roughly the same.  After we pay one or the other we will have a whopping $200.00 left over.

I don't want people's pity.  I have worked since I was 15 years old and never expected something like this to happen.  I haven't wanted to share how grave our situation is with our friends.  I know that they will all try to "fix" the situation, but the only "fix" is my getting a job and it may have to be within walking distance, since I don't see us able to buy a car in quite a while.  I don't share my worries with my husband right now, because he is working so hard and stressing out, too.  Besides God, my saving grace has been my therapist that works on a sliding scale. She will even forgo payment and let me pay her when I can afford to. I vent to her, share my worries and work on steps to help me manage the depression.  She is my life raft.  God and my therapist!

I know that we aren't alone, going through such difficult times.   I humble myself before you because I want you to know that there are families EVERYWHERE that are going through things like this.   For several years we have worked with the low income and homeless through our church and other groups. It has been my wish to have my daughter see homeless and the poor as real people and not as society's throwaways. We have been so fortunate in our lives up to now.  Regardless, I know that God is with us, no matter what happens.

Wherever you live or however much money you make, do something kind for someone less fortunate than you. There are millions of people in our own country that are in need. Sometimes it isn't money that they need. Sometimes it is the person next door that is going through a hard time and just needs someone to hear them or hug them. Bring cookies to the elderly lady across the street whose husband passed away and is now on her own.  I know Christmas is coming, but remember that there are eleven other months in the year. Those same folks are still in need after you've packed up your Christmas decorations. Find causes you are passionate about and support them. Some of my favorites are listed below.  Feel free to check them out.

May you all be blessed, today and everyday!

Monday, November 18, 2013

My Simple and Inexpensive Fall Mantle

It got really close to Halloween when I decided I better get around to decorating my mantle.  I do it every year, but I was so busy making so many wreaths, that I got a little behind!

I circled the house and grabbed some items. I started putting things in place and realized that the mantle has seen it's better days.  We have lived in this house for over 11 years.  Most rooms had a fresh coat on them when we moved in.  One thing that hasn't been repainted in the 11 years is the mantle.  Add one more thing to the list.   Fast forward to a few days later when I was browsing the Christmas decorations in Wal Mart.  If found their mesh and rolls of burlap.  The burlap was in two different widths and lengths.  I bought the narrower one in hopes I could use it to cover the mantle.  It turned out to be a little long, so I trimmed the ends and  frayed them slightly.  It looked pretty good, so I put back all of the decorations I had put up there and waaaa laaaa!  All done.

Let me say, this is very inexpensive decor I have up here.  I alternate between having this old dresser mirror on my mantle with a painting that my brother did of a lighthouse.  I keep that up during the warm months.  I attached this burlap wreath to the mirror with a clear Command hook.

  On the left, I used a small galvanized bucket that I purchased many years ago.  I have a bunch of them and they are great for holding items on a desk or small craft supplies.  I literally have them all over the house.  I grabbed some small faux pumpkins and gourds that I purchased last year and propped them up in it.  I had the straw pumpkin from several years ago.  I believe I bought it at Wal Mart after they marked down the fall items.

The ampersand is from Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon and I keep it on the mantle year round.

The two metallic woodland creatures are from Wal Mart and were a whopping $2.97 each.  I like the  metallic addition to the mantle.

The last pumpkin was from the Dollar Tree last year.  I painted it with chalk paint and waxed it with dark wax to age it.  The cloche and pedestal are from Willow House and I almost always have them on the mantle, holding something.

So easy and the only things I purchased this year were the woodland creatures and the burlap, which were $14.00 for all.

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