Archive for January, 2012

That said, I will not sit idly by and accept my own home as done.  I have visions of doing some decorating, but right now time is taken by other, more pressing things.  Creating a home and keeping a home are two different things ~ both are important to one’s comfort and well-being.  These days I’m concentrating on keeping.

Pre-prison Martha Stewart was sort of my hero.  Well, maybe “hero” isn’t the right word.  More like inspiration.  I wanted to be a homemaker extraordinaire and she was a good reference.  Watching her old show, Martha Stewart Living, was always calming for me.  The opening theme song was so gentle, and so was Martha’s way.  Her new show is way too hyper and so uninspired and frankly I can’t stand listening to her talk without a script.  Martha Stewart pretty much let me down.

I like a gentle approach to facing the huge task that is homekeeping.  I found it in a book called Home Comforts.  In fact, I might have learned about the book on Martha’s old show.  It’s a big, fat book that covers everything homekeeping.

Why am I telling you all this?  I can’t really say for sure.  I do know the month of January started off horrifically for me and I needed some serious grounding.  I wanted to escape all the buzzy stuff in my head and was stuck in a gear that just wasn’t working for me.  I didn’t know if I should immerse myself in my business, in my personal life, or just run away from both.

I came to a conclusion that my house had become chaotic.  It wasn’t out of control by any means, but there was stuff everywhere, not organized, and I’m embarrassed to say a little dirty.  I also realized that when my house is in disarray I can’t function properly.  That’s when I decided to pull out Home Comforts and get inspired about tackling the homefront.  Not in a big, thunderous way, but in a calm, quiet, methodical way.  Something I could ease into and keep motivated with, like the old Martha would do.

Since picking up the book and easing into a routine I’ve begun to feel much better.   Being surrounded by tidiness and cleanliness inspires me to maintain that level.  It also grants me complete attention to other things I want to do, like my crafty work, without the nagging feeling that I should be dusting or scrubbing or other such thing.

If you’re anything like me you sometimes feel out of sorts and don’t really know why.  Try getting into a cleaning routine in your house.  Home Comforts is a great book to get you started and a wonderful resource for all of your homekeeping questions.  When your home is in order, neat and clean, you’d be surprised how relaxed you feel.  When you get into a routine it doesn’t take much to maintain the order and cleanliness.

Trust me, sitting down to read a magazine is much more enjoyable when there aren’t big, old lint clumps all over your rug.  You’ll be apt to cook a more elaborate meal if your kitchen is tidy and clean.  When the master bathroom smells lemony fresh imagine how free you’ll feel in the adjoining bedroom.  (I can’t believe I said that, except it’s true!)

Make the most of your home and keep it well.

(I haven’t been compensated to endorse the book Home Comforts.  My recommendation comes straight from the heart.  If the author or publishers wish to thank me for the glowing review they can feel free to send cookies.  After eating them I will promptly clean up the crumbs.)

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A Stranger’s Eyes

Sometimes we wander around through life feeling a little less than we expect from ourselves.  We compare ourselves to others and in our own minds don’t really measure up.  Who doesn’t want to be the best at something?  To own the most premium thing?  To be the most popular?  The thing is, we may actually be able to achieve greatness, and even be the greatest, but it probably won’t last forever.  Then what?  Back to feeling small and insignificant.

Here’s a little trick to cure those substandard feelings.  Try to look at yourself and your life through a stranger’s eyes.  Maybe not even a stranger, just someone other than yourself.

During some entertaining this past Christmas season I heard more than once how nice my home is.  How cozy this room is.  Having persistent insecurities about my ability to make a house into a home I dismissed these compliments as polite comments by my guests.

Just the other day someone said to me, “you’re so lucky to have a fireplace.  If I had a fireplace I’d light it nearly every night and watch a movie or work on a project or read a book.  You have such a relaxing house.”

This past weekend I decided to give my inner critic a break.  I took some of these compliments to heart and decided to take advantage of things I have at my disposal but my ignore.  I lit a fire in the fireplace and looked at the room as though I’d never seen it before.   Then I paged through a magazine, watched some TV, and basically just enjoyed the moment.

My house isn’t the most beautifully decorated, nor is it as clean and tidy as it should be.  My business isn’t as successful as some others are.  My blog doesn’t have national acclaim.  Despite my falling short of perfect I took time to appreciate all I am blessed with and indulge in my surroundings.  I looked at my life the way a stranger might ~ the way I might look into an envied stranger’s life, and saw I have indeed accomplished much and will continue to thrive.  The only person I have to compete with is myself, and if I don’t feel like competing I’ll be lounging around, basking in the success and hard work I accomplished when I did feel like competing.

See yourself and your life through a stranger’s eyes and you might see the person you’ve been trying to be all along.

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Under Construction

A break for the broken. I’ll be back in a while.

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Everybody knows a good business will strive to keep its production costs down.  When the cost of a product is lower, the retail price will be lower ~ at least it should be.

I was commissioned to create a set of note cards and needed some A2 envelopes.  Invitation-size envelopes.  In the past I got envelopes at Office Max, so I headed to my local store only to find that Office Max is the Devil.

There they were, all of the envelopes, and among them were the A2, invitation-size envelopes.  Yay, I thought, until I saw the price.  A box of one hundred envelopes was, and I’m not kidding, $18.50.  Envelopes!  That’s $.18 a piece!  I never paid that much in the past!  To add insult to injury all of the envelopes had the Office Max label and there were no others to choose from.

There was no way in hell I was going to spend $18.50 for a box of stinkin’ envelopes.  I walked out of the store vowing never to return again.

Charlotte reminded me of a place where I could most likely find what I was looking for at a price much more reasonable than the Devil was charging.  Anchor Paper Express.  When I walked into the store I immediately decided to start making more paper crafts.  This place is a scrapbookers heaven!  I even told the lady behind the counter I loved her more than Michaels and I wasn’t kidding.  The papers were divine, the punches and cutters were plentiful, there were inks and dyes and pigments, embossing plates, and a number of other gadgets and instruments I wasn’t even familiar with.

Here’s the best part: you pay for paper and envelopes by the pound.  Fancy paper and matching envelopes.  By the pound!  That’s genius!  Mix and match to your heart’s content.  However, I couldn’t find plain, white, A2 envelopes in the gigantic paper/envelope warehouse part of the store.  I asked the woman behind the counter (the one to whom I professed my love) if they had what I was looking for.  But of course!  Guess what?  Plain, white, A2 envelopes, the ones selling for $18.50 at Office Max, were sold at Anchor Paper Express in a box of two hundred and fifty for…$10.  That’s $.02 a piece as opposed to $.18 a piece at Office Max.

Can you say cha-ching?!

I wasn’t kidding about looking into doing more paper crafts. Anchor Paper Express totally inspired me, and now that I have two hundred and fifty plain white envelopes you’ll surely be seeing some new products coming out of the Auntie B’s Wax World Headquarters very soon. And lucky you, I’ll pass on the low cost of production to my customers.

Thanks, Charlotte, for the suggestion to check out Anchor Paper Express. And Anchor Paper? I really do love you.

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