Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Everyone!


I hope your Christmas celebration was wonderful and that you got the opportunity to spend time with family and friends.   If you did not, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas anyway.  

Christmas gift giving was a little toned down this year due to financial "tightness" but I think it was the best one yet!  We had a wonderful dinner with our kids, our new son-in-law, and my in-laws, whom I love dearly.  We got some nice gifts and watched movies and just enjoyed each others' company.  My husband cooked the big meal which is a major blessing to me!  As I write this, I'm enjoy a cup of coffee made with my new coffee maker, a gift from Mom, Dad, and Santa!

I was especially happy to see that some friends of our, Brian and Liz, got to enjoy a wonderful Christmas Day with their young family.  You see, Brian was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor and underwent neurosurgery about 2 weeks ago.  He is still in the hospital as he recuperates and is preparing to start chemo therapy and radiation to combat the remainder of the tumor.  He and Liz have 3 small children, ages 7, 5, and 3, so it was very important to them to have a nice time for the kids.  They got to stay in a special "Inn" room at the hospital (paid for anonymously by some kind soul--wish I could know who so I could hug them!) and they had such a wonderful day that their oldest said she'd like to do it again next year!  (Don't think Mommy wants that!)  Please keep this young family in your prayers.  They have a long road ahead of them medically and will need a lot of support, both spiritually and in other ways.  We love them dearly!

I huge surprise for me was the email I got yesterday saying that I had won a $1,000 gift card in the Christmas Day drawing at Shipwreck Beads in Lacey, Washington!  I was sure it was a scam, but they provided a number to call and today I called.  It is REAL!  I have never won anything like that before--ever!  This will take my jewelry making to a whole new level!  To have that much money to spend on supplies is like putting a kid in a candy store for me!  I have to wait a few days before I start ordering because I'm in such shock I can't even figure out what I want to get!  Thank you Lord!  This is just the "shot in the arm" my new jewelry business needs!

Well, that's about it for today.  Again, I hope you all had a Merry Christmas or a Happy Holiday!  Peace on Earth!  Good will to men!

Looking for that special something for yourself now 
that Christmas is past?  
Check out DaisyLu Designs for that special something!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Argh! what a morning!

First let me say that I am VERY grateful that things turned out fine, but boy did my morning get off to rough start!

It started with a "fraud alert" from my bank, which was questioning a charge using my debit card to an online merchant.  It was not my charge.  Fortunately they caught it and have removed the charges but of course now they have to get me a new debit card, which is a bit of an inconvenience, but very necessary.

I had decided to drive to work today and went to the car to find it completely frosted over.  Grumble grumble, I turn on the car and start the heater and grab the scraper to start defrosting my windows.  I slammed the door and "boink" it pops back open.  After several tries, I decided it was just frozen so I'll scrape the windows and then it should be fine.  Nope.  Still won't work.  No seatbelt in the way, the latch just appears to be frozen solid.  Oh, I'll get some de-icer!  Nope.  It's completely out.  Sigh.  I guess I'll take the bus after all.

Like I said, it was a very inconvenient morning, but I thank the Lord that there were safeguards and backups in the place.  If the bank had not caught the strange looking transaction, someone might have milked all of the money out of our account.  If Seattle didn't have a metro bus system, I might have had to take a cab to work or stay home.  It helps to look on the bright side!

It's "cyber-Monday"  the day when a lot of shopping goes on at work--check out DaisyLu Designs to do a little shopping for you!   Remember to use the code TURKEY for 30% off your order or TURKEYTROT for free domestic shipping--coupon codes end at midnight tonight!

 P.S.  I did get my Christmas cards ordered and got a screaming deal from using my Coke reward points...and people think I'm crazy for entering those codes!  You should check out Snapfish.com for lots of great deal!
Photo Card
View the entire collection of cards.




Photo Card

Kaleidoscope Snowflakes Christmas
To view our unique Christmas card designs, click here.
View the entire collection of cards.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday

So it's official:  the "Christmas Season" has begun. 

Today the stores are filled with shoppers hoping to snag that great deal advertised all this week--rock bottom prices!  Some stores started "Black Friday" at 6:00 pm on Thanksgiving--talk about getting a head start!  Personally, I feel very bad for the employees who had to give up time with their families to work on Thanksgiving, but I guess it is what it is.

I am a typical Black Friday avoider.  If I do any shopping that weekend, it's either at the grocery store or online.  I went shopping on Black Friday one time with the intent of getting my shopping all done with minimal financial damage.  It is an experience I have not repeated since.  I didn't do all that well on my bargains, it was hard to find a parking space, and one woman actually jerked a sweater out of my hands!  No thank you! 

Today I broke my rule--I did venture to the mall because one retailer had programmable coffee makers for $8.00.  I foolishly thought that at 10:30 am they would still have some--NOT!  The sales clerk said they had over 100 of them and they were all sold within the first hour (6 to 7 am).  Oh well, you snooze you lose!  I did venture upstairs and made one other purchase that I had seen advertised--I was luckier on that one.

So, I got in my car, went home, and have already done a little online shopping.  Why not?  You get the same selection, the same prices, and a lot of stores are offering free shipping.  Plus there's no frustration with lines, parking, and you can take a break and come back later.  I love it!

Of course, not everyone is like me--some people LOVE to shop in person--obviously a lot of them do.  I'm just not one of those people.  Hey, to each her own! 

Whether you like to shop in person or online, you will want to take a look at the DaisyLu Design shop this weekend.  You get your choice of two different deals:  30% off your order or free domestic shipping!  Come on over and take a look!

Coupon code TURKEY for 30% off your order.
Coupon code TURKEYTROT for free domestic shipping.
Offer is good through Monday, November 26!

DaisyLu Designs:  handcrafted jewelry and crochet items.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

How to make your own business cards

When I was at the craft show on Saturday, I asked a couple of the vendors if they were on Etsy.  One said no, that the whole Etsy thing overwhelms her.  I handed her my business card and said she should check it out.  She commented that even setting up a business card seems overwhelming to her.  I realized that there might be others like her out there, so I decided to try putting together a tutorial on how to set up your own business cards.

First I have to say that there are so many easy to use products available now that you can print almost anything yourself and save yourself a lot of money.  Probably the biggest name brand in printable products is Avery, and they do produce a good product.  I tend to gravitate towards their materials because they are readily available, not too expensive, and easy to use.  Plus, they have an awesome website with lots of templates to use.

For my business cards, I use an Avery business card product, number 8371.  The product number is important because you want to be sure that the template you use for your cards will work on the blank product you purchased.  There's nothing more frustrating than cards that won't line up correctly!

Avery Business Cards for Inkjet Printers 8371, White, Matte, Pack of (Google Affiliate Ad)


If you buy a "generic" check to see if it references an Avery product it is compatible with.  A lot of big box office suppliers sell their own store brand and these are good to use if they are compatible.


Here is what I did to make my own business cards:

1.  I purchased Avery blank business cards, number 8371.

2.  I went onto the Avery website to download a template that would work with these cards.

Go to http://www.avery.com/avery/en_us/ to get started.  Once there, click on the "Find a Template" button. 




Next enter the product number of your printable product and click the search arrow.  In this case, the number was 8371

 This will take you to a page with lots of templates to choose from.  In this case, I chose the blank, wide format.

Next click the button to download the template to your computer and follow the instructions on the screen:

Once you get the template downloaded, go ahead and open it.  You'll see what looks like a table with 10 spaces per page:


This is where you'll design your card.  You can make it as simple or as ornate as you like.  You do want to make sure you have basic information on it.  Just design the card in one "cell" or rectangle of the table like this:

When you're satisfied with your layout and design, highlight the text to copy it, then paste it to the other cells, like below:


Be sure to SAVE your card layout--you don't want to have to do all of that work again!  Next print your cards.  I recommend printing a test sheet or two on plain paper before using your printable business card  stock

Have fun making your cards!



DaisyLu Designs is offering FREE gift wrapping for the upcoming Holiday season.  Be sure to check the beautiful items available!









Monday, October 29, 2012

Craft shows

Wow, its been a while since I posted!  I'll try to do better.

Sales on my Etsy shop have been pretty good, considering that its really new and I'm still learning a lot about promoting, etc.  I've decided to do a local craft show on December 1, because it seems like a good way to make some sales plus promote my shop.  As usual, I'm researching like crazy, because that's just the kind of nerd I am.

I have read several good blogs on craft shows and learned quite a bit, but decided I need to see this stuff in action, so I've scoped out local craft shows prior to mine to see how its done.  Now, I am not new to craft shows as a customer, but am as a vendor, so my focus in going to these is to observe other vendors and how they promote their goods rather than buy anything.  (I may buy something if it looks good, though!)

The first one I went to was this past Saturday in Kent, Washington.  It was pretty small, but had 3 or 4 jewelry vendors.

The first thing I noticed was the range in prices.  Some people had their items priced very low (under $10), while others were more mid-range ($25 - $35).  No one seemed to be selling much, although I did show up around 1:30 pm, so maybe sales were winding down.  I talked to one vendor for awhile about selling at craft shows, and she said that sales had not been that great.  She also encouraged me not to base my decision to pursue the craft show circuit on one event.  She said she had been selling her jewelry for 9 years and some were good, some not so good.  I figure if she's been doing it for 9 years, she must have more good days than bad.

The other thing I noticed was that the booths with some really unique, pricier stuff were not staffed by anyone when I went by the first time.  When I went back to the first one, the vendor was still not present.  At the second one, she did eventually show up, but then when I started asking questions, she answered a cell phone call and was clearly too busy to talk. 

So here is what I took away from my first craft show reconnaissance mission: 

1.  Keep prices reasonable.
2.  Know that some craft shows have better sales than others.
3.  Be present at the booth at all times.
4.  Don't talk on the cell phone when a potential customer is present.

More later....

Looking for unique, affordable gifts for Christmas?  Check DaisyLu Designs for all of your gift giving needs! 


Friday, September 7, 2012

Why do we care so much?

We are in the final months of the National Election for 2012.  This is one of our biggies--the President gets elected this time.  No doubt everyone has heard the sound bites, seen the ads, listened to some or all of the national conventions, and had discussions with friends about who is the best candidate.

I'm not about to open up the can of worms about which man is best for the job of president.  I'm sure all of my readers have already decided or are at least leaning one way more than another.  No, my post today is more about the question:  Why do we care so much about what we think or about what others think about the Presidential election?

I'm sure everyone knows someone who prefers a different candidate than they do--who doesn't?  We all see postings on Facebook, Twitter, forwarded email, and the like.  We hear people discussing it at home, on the bus, in the grocery store, at church, etc.  Everyone has an opinion, whether they share it or not.  But why does it "push our buttons" so much to talk about this stuff?

I mean, think about it.  I can disagree with people about which foods they like, which sports team they like, what color they like--all kinds of stuff.  And while I will try very hard to avoid arguments about religion, politics, or even child rearing practices, encountering an opposing opinion raises emotions that other topics do not--even if I don't show it, it still does.  Judging from what I've seen and heard around me, it does the same for others.

So why is that?  Why do we feel so personally offended if someone disagrees with us about some topics but not about others?  Is it because we want to be on the side of the winner?  Is it because we want to be able to say "I told you so"?  Is it because we really think that voting in one candidate over another will make that big of a difference?   Do we believe our candidate will win if we can just convert others to vote for him?

I suppose it could be any of these things, but I believe it may go a lot deeper than that.  For whatever reason, I think who or what we choose to support in politics is a kind of representation to the world of our own personal values.  There is something about that candidate or that policy that represents a piece of us, whether it be our values, our priorities, or even our fears.   When someone disagrees with our choice in politics, we take it really, really personally.  It probably isn't even rational, but on an emotional level, we feel like we've just been told that our values, our priorities, our fears, or whatever are misplaced.  On some level we feel like we, as people, are being rejected by those who disagree with us.  This may be even more pronounced with close friends and family.  I know I find it a lot easier to ignore opinions of people I don't know.  But people who I know and respect and love, well, its a little bit harder to ignore them.  It's a little bit harder not to take it so personally.

Maybe I'm the only one who feels this way, but I really do think it has something to do with emotional vulnerability for a lot of people.  I don't know about you, but it helps me to realize this.  If I can be aware of the "irrational" reaction to differing opinions, I have a better chance of being able to recognize it for what it is and remind myself that just because my friend and I don't agree on politics doesn't mean that they are rejecting me, just that they have a different opinion.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Do what you love, and the money will follow

I have to say that I have often heard the adage "Do what you love and the money will follow."  I have built a career in Psychology, first by going to graduate school, earning a PhD and then teaching or researching, whatever is needed.   While I really like psychology and doing research, I'm not sure that it is my "passion" so to speak.  It's a fascinating topic and I love talking about it, but, well, you know.

For a long time I thought that "thrifting" was my passion.  I do enjoy reading articles on saving money and trying to find ways to pinch pennies.  I subscribe to blogs and email newsletters about thrifting.  I even have EVERY SINGLE ISSUE of the Tightwad Gazette, the newsletter published for a few years by Amy Daycyzyn, the "tightwad" from Maine who made enough money to have a healthy nest egg and retired from publishing her newsletter (God I still miss Amy!)  Anyway, I really like thrifting and talking about it, but there are plenty of people out there who write very good newsletters and books on it and frankly, I'd rather read about it than write a book on it.

A few years back I re-discovered crochet.  I started crocheting a lot when my son was involved in Bible Quizzing.  I could take a project to the all-day events and crochet to stay busy but not miss hearing what was going on with the kids' answers.  First I finished an afghan I had started years earlier, then I moved on to baby blankets and started giving them away.  I made hats while I watched TV and even made a few pillows and ponchos for gifts and for a school auction.

As I've mentioned in earlier posts, I recently took a cut in my hours at work.  This led me to start looking for work to replace it, but I started thinking about crocheting items and maybe making some earrings and selling them on Etsy.  Seemed like a good way to fill my time while I looked for my "real" job, right?

Well, I had no idea that I had just discovered my passion!  I still do a lot of the crocheting, but honestly I think the jewelry is what gives me the most enjoyment.  I can get lost in making jewelry for hours at a time and look up and wonder where the time has gone!  I love learning new techniques and experimenting.  Even when I mess things up, I honestly don't mind very much.  If something I make doesn't turn out the way I wanted it to, I just take it apart and start over.

I also love learning new things.  Recently I learned how to tie slip knots that are adjustable, so I made some really cute bracelets and posted them for sale on my Etsy site.  Here's one of them:


 

Click here to see this bracelet at DaisyLu Designs!
Yesterday I watched some videos on how to make wire hearts.  I thought they looked really cool, so I decided to give it a try today.  Learning always takes a few tries, so I kept the practice hearts to see if I was improving.  I think I did, but you, dear reader, can decide from the photo below:



I think I'm getting better at making them, but they're not "quite there" yet.  That's okay, I had a great time practicing!  

Anyway, I'm doing something I really love doing....hopefully the money will follow!


Come on over to DaisyLu Designs to see the fabulous 
items for sale there! 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

This thing called life...

Wow--what a weekend.  In some ways I feel like I experienced a little bit of everything in terms of life events.

First, my husband and I attended the life celebration service of his cousin who passed away recently.  She was only 60 and left a very loving, large family behind.  She battled cancer and gave it a good fight.  She is in heaven now and I'm sure is pain free at last.

On the tails of the service, we went to the home of my brother- and sister-in-law with the rest of the family and had a great time catching up and having fun.  New bonds were established and old ones were repaired.  It is my hope that these new bonds will be allowed to grow strong over the years.

Up next was the news that my stepdaughter and her fiance "jumped the broom" while away visiting her mother.  We had been planning on a January wedding, but they were just too anxious to get started and went ahead with the nuptials without us.  We were very disappointed not to be there for the ceremony, but wish them well and hope they will have a long and blessed marriage.

Finally, I found out that a friend is due to have a second child early next year.  This wasn't a total surprise (I knew she'd have another one sometime!) but given the events of this weekend, seemed kind of nice way to wrap up the "circle of life".

So, a death, a reunion, a new marriage, a new life.  All are significant events in the life of any person, anywhere in the world.  I don't care who you are or where you live, you can relate to all of these events if you have lived a few years.  The common denominator for all of these things for us this weekend  was love and family.  I guess when you get right down to it, those are really the important things, aren't they?  The Lord made us to be in relationships with each other and with Him.  We don't always get to have the events of those relationships happen when we want them to or exactly how we want them to, but when things go right, they really go right.  And sometimes even when things go wrong, a few blessings come out of it.

I'm rambling...my feelings and thoughts are in a jumble, but I just know that in all of this, the Lord is smiling.


Check DaisyLu Designs for handcrafted jewelry and crochet items for the perfect gift for that special someone or yourself!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign

I am the mother of four kids.  Teenagers, to be exact.  They are pretty good kids overall, but they can be darn messy!

The other day my oldest complained that someone keeps stealing her towel, leading to using a new towel, leading to no towels, leading to having to wash towels.  I prefer the kids use one or two towels per week to save on laundry, so I was sympathetic to this. 

To solve this problem, I decided to make a name tag to go over each kids' hook.  No confusion about who's is who's.  This morning I made the tags--we'll see how that goes.

While I was in "sign making" mode, I decided to make a couple more.  One is for the dishwasher.  It's actually two signs, one that says the dishes are dirty, and one that says they are clean.  I have to do this because at our house, people think that putting dishes on the counter or in the sink near the dishwasher means that they will magically "jump in" to the machine and get washed.  Sorry folks, no magic, it's Mom doing it.  So, I made two signs.  But I added a little something to the bottom.  On the one that says "Dirty" I added:  "Am I full?  Please turn me on!"  To the one that says "Clean" I added:  "Am I done running?  Please empty me!"

Now I was on a roll.  I decided to make another one to put in the living room that says "Done with that dirty glass/dish/can?  Please take it to the KITCHEN and put it in the DISHWASHER!"  (Whereupon they will encounter the "clean" or "dirty" signs)  I may have to duplicate this one to put in various places around the house--one for each room should do it.

What other signs could I make?  Hmmm... how about
  • "Turn off the TV if you're done watching it."
  • "Lock the door" (oh wait, I already have one like that)
  • "Replace the toilet paper if you take the last roll"

And maybe one more:  "You are loved."

Feeling stressed from parenting?  How about a nice little gift for yourself?  Visit DaisyLu Designs!




Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Celebrate your independence!

Happy Independence Day everyone!

Today marks the 236th anniversary of the day that our founding fathers and mothers declared our independence from Great Britain.  We love to celebrate this day with displays of red, white, and blue, cook outs, and of course, fireworks!

I love Independence Day.  I think it's one of my favorites because it commemorates a happy "decision" that was made 200+ years ago.  We drew our line in the sand.  We said "That's it.  We've had enough and we're not going to take it anymore!"  Of course, there was a lot of really hard work and lives sacrificed that followed that day, but I'd say it was worth it.  We Americans enjoy a level of freedom that is experienced by no other country in the world.

Regardless of your political affiliation, this is a great country to live in.  In America you can:

1.  Worship in the church of your choice
2.  NOT worship if you don't want to
3.  Vote in every election you care to
4.  Say whatever you want about the government (as long as you're not threatening someone)
5.  Read whatever you want
6.  Enjoy "due process" if you are accused of a crime
7.  Own property, regardless of your  social "status"
8.  Say what you want to say about pretty much anything

There's lots of other freedoms we enjoy, but you get the idea.

Is the USA perfect?  No.  There are lots of times that government officials mess up, break the law, lie, etc.  There are times when people forget that others have rights, too, and try to take them away.  There are people who go hungry in our country.  But does that mean we live in a bad country?  No.  It doesn't.  It means that this country is comprised of human beings who make mistakes.  Sometimes we learn, sometimes we don't.  Sometimes in  the process of learning we end up making new mistakes. 

Nevertheless, we try.  We try hard to do what's right.  So whether you're a "liberal" or a "conservative" or something in between, be proud.  We aren't perfect, but we are American...and that is a real blessing!


Shop DaisyLu Design for earrings to celebrate this special day!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Anointing Prayer

Today was a first for me and many others at our church, Lakeview Free Methodist.   Today we held anointing prayer during communion.

I have seen anointing prayer done before at Lakeview.  It usually is done when someone is very ill or has a very serious prayer request.  Prayers are said and they are anointed with oil.  This is not some "voodoo" magic trick.  It is Biblically based and several passages in the New Testament make reference to praying together and anointing followers with oil.

Today, however, I participated in the service as one who was doing the praying and anointing.  I was invited to do this by my friend, Glenda, who has been leading Lectio meetings once a month (more on that another day).  I decided to try it, and went for the training.  Basically, we were trained to listen to the prayer request from the person, listen for the Holy Spirit and what is being conveyed from the Lord, and then praying.  This is followed by anointing and a blessing.

I was kind of nervous about doing this, so Glenda paired me with another person, Susan, who has done this type of thing before.  I was surprised by two things:  first, the number of people who came to request prayer.  I honestly thought we'd be lucky to get one, but we got several.  I was also surprised by how easily it came once we got started.  Finally, I was surprised at the nonstop goosebumps I was getting the whole time and for a while afterwards.  This was not from being cold but kind of an "electric" feeling.  I truly believe the Lord was present and working through Susan and myself.  It was very powerful.

I definitely want to do this again.  I hope others get the opportunity to do so as well.


Saturday, June 30, 2012

Photography


I just added some more items to my Etsy page, and I have to say that for me, getting the photos right is more challenging than creating the jewelry!

I am still learning about getting good photos and don't have a lot of knowledge about lighting, f-stops (whatever those are) etc., so I just kind of have to experiment.  I did find that using my husband's tripod made a huge difference in the number of retakes due to blurry photos.  I also am finding that a plain white background is typically best for getting a good clean shot.

Today I experimented with putting some flowers in the photos--in most cases just a corner of the photo.  I really liked how the end products look.  Having the flower in there really adds that "something" to the shot.  I'm not sure what else I might end up using, but I'll experiment.  Below are a couple of examples of the difference having the flower made.



I don't know what it is, but it just makes it look a bit more "special"!  I'll have to start keeping my eyes open for cool stuff to include that won't detract from the item I'm actually trying to sell.

It's really neat having this Etsy shop.  I haven't made a sale yet, but I know I will!  I just have to be patient and keep promoting.  I'm having a great time making items to put in it, so that is probably the most important part!

As always, come on over to my shop, DaisyLu Designs and see what is available!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

DaisyLu Designs is born!

So I've started an Etsy shop!

I've been thinking about opening a shop on Etsy for quite a while, since I love to crochet various things and make jewelry.  I finally got the time and the additional motivational push to give it a try in the form of a cutback on my hours at work. 

It's kind of interesting how this all came about because what can seem like a bad thing has turned out to be a pretty good thing.  First, I was told that due to budget cuts, my hours had to be cut.  That stunk--big time.  I was happy to still have a job with benefits, but earning less money was not going to be fun! 

I had a month to prepare for the "big cut" and while I was waiting for "it" to happen, I was thinking about ways to either supplement my income or replace my job altogether.  In a previous life I taught college classes in psychology, so of course I started putting out feelers for part-time faculty positions and looking for full-time positions as well.  Full-time faculty positions in Experimental Psychology are tough to come by and when you're not willing to move, well, it's even harder.  In any case, I figured the Lord would provide in some way or another, so I tried not to worry to much.  I do have a couple of leads on things, but I will probably be earning less through the summer.

This left me with more time on my hands and so I started investigating the idea of setting up an Etsy shop.  I checked out tons of books from the library and read things online.  I started talking about it with a few friends to see what their reaction would be--they thought it was a good idea.  Then, as part of a class my husband and I are taking through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University, I heard as inspirational of a message as I could ever hear.  Basically it was: Do what you love and the money will follow.  Don't do a job just because its a paycheck.  Wow--it really spoke to me, and I really felt that God was saying "Go on, try it!"

I have heard of people who are so successful at it that they eventually quite their day jobs.  Wow--could that happen to me?  At this point, I don't know, but I can say this:  it feel AWESOME to be excited about making products and setting up my shop!  Since I opened it with a few items on Sunday, I'm constantly thinking about what else to make to put in it, and excited to get to work!  It's exciting too because I don't like to be doing the same thing over and over...I like to learn new things and try out new ideas.  Since I like to crochet lots of different things and like to make lots of different types of earrings, I think it will be pretty hard for me to get bored!

So I know you're dying to know--what is this shop called?  It's DaisyLu Designs and I've named it after my grandmother, Daisy, and her mother, Lula.  More on them later!