Category Archives: NewVentures

A New Way to Think About a New Day . . .

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Last fall I lit up when I read “Short Monday Poem” by Ellen Grace Olinger on Poems From Oostburg, Wisconsin:

Monday
and planning
the week
what will grow
what should rest

What a lovely way to frame a new week . . . or month . . . or year . . . or even a day. Now when I make a to-do list, I find myself prayerfully asking, “What needs to grow? What needs to rest?” I even made a chart to share with my writing group. We can put our writing or personal goals at the top (Find more time to write? Feel more energized? Learn to ______?) and then list what needs to grow and rest in order to accomplish the goal. Thank you so much for inspiring me, Ellen!  P.S. My blog is on my “rest” list for a bit while I finish three big projects for work. I’ll be back for Valentine’s Day! ♥

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A Quiet Way to Help . . .

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Drawstring Bag1. In a ziplock bag, put:

  • individual containers of easy-to-open, nonperishable foods
  • a bottle of water
  • some napkins
  • a spoon
  • and some hand sanitizer or a small bar of soap.

2. Put the filled bag in your car, tote, or backpack to give away . . . you’ll know when.

3. Repeat. ♥

P.S. This lovely drawstring tote was made by one of the great-great-grandmas in my family. She would be so happy to see its new job!

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Give Thanks

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In my Sleepover! post I told you about Shantilly, a new crafty business launched by my daughter-in-law Shannon and her sweet mom and sister. Their popular handmade items include different sizes and colors of chicken-wire frames to use for memo boards.  (My friend Karen bought one for each of her nieces for Christmas!) With mine, I made a new wall decoration for our upcoming Thanksgiving dinner. The letters are snipped from a remnant of the burlap I used for my mini-screen bag, the teeny wooden clothespins are left over from my t-shirt garland kit, and for a-la-mode I pinned on one of my fabric flower brooches. I just love it, and the best part is that I can update and reuse it for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and more! Thank you, Shantilly! ♥

Give Thanks

The Good Neighbor Awards and Giveaway Winner!

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Good Neighbor AwardTHANK YOU for helping me celebrate my second blog anniversary with another amazing outpouring of nominations for the Good Neighbor Award! For every blogger listed below, an avid reader (or more than one!) took time out of her busy schedule to send me an email telling me how much she would love to have you for a neighbor and why. Isn’t that just the most lovely compliment?

  1. First, I’ll share the comments, in no particular order.
  2. Then I’ll list the blogs that were nominated in ABC order. (Be sure to click on the links to find some new friends!)
  3. Finally, I’ll announce who got the most nominations and wins the giveaway. Here we go!
  • Living next door to this blogger would be great. She could help me with my photography skills and I know I would learn so much from her.  She is such a sweet person and I feel a kindred spirit with this lovely lady.
  • She’s my twin but she doesn’t know it . . . we must have been separated at birth!
  • She’s so stinkin’ funny!!!
  • Her home sounds like quilt heaven. Imagine being able to visit any time I’d like!
  • Because of her, I can’t throw ANYTHING away without first pondering how to reuse it in a creative new way.
  • I would like to have her as my next door neighbor to have a cup of tea together because she is so friendly and cheerful.
  • I love the ideas she has for different crafts, plus she just sounds like the kind of person who would make a great neighbor.
  • She’s Wonder Woman in disguise!
  • Her tips make my life easier.
  • She makes me look forward to getting older because she has so dang much fun!
  • Her patterns and tutorials inspire me, teach me, and stretch my limits.
  • Her DIYs are to DIE for!
  • I so admire how she balances her family, job, and creative pursuits. I hope to be able to do that someday, too!
  • She’s SO sweet! What’s not to like???
  • Her cards and paper crafts are a delight to the eyes.
  • I’ve learned so much about how to make my home more company-ready and hospitable from her, something that’s very important to me.
  • Her OOTDs are so inspiring! I’d love to be able to recreate something similar from my own closet. If she lived next door, she could help me!
  • Her blog is WAY better than Pinterest!
  • I love, love, LOVE the jewelry she designs and sells! It would be so much fun to watch her in action!
  • She has given me lots of good advice, both knowingly and unknowingly. I just love the way she thinks things through.
  • She’s so creative, yet so humble . . . I can’t imagine a nicer neighbor to have.
  • She was one of the very first supporters when I joined the blogging world and has been a super bloggy friend. Even though we live in different countries, I feel that we are close friends and close neighbours. I am always inspired by each one of her posts. She always leaves me thinking a bit more deeply about the simple things in life.
  • She’s REAL! And not many people are real these days.
  • Her sense of humor never fails to brighten my day.
  • She always takes wonderful photography and it would be so neat if she was my neighbor and could teach me how to take better photos!
  • She makes me laugh every day.
  • I would love for her to drop in for a cup of tea and show me her latest ideas. I would like to tell her some kids’ craft ideas of my own and she could use them in her own work.
  • Her gentle, loving personality comes through her art.
  • I want her craft room! Please, please, please move next door and help me!
  • Her blog is many things to many people (crafty, witty, funny, sweet and always, always kind and caring).  I never would have dreamed that a woman I met through blogging would one day become one of my dearest friends.
  • I wish she lived next door for a hundred reasons:  we have an amazing ‘kindred spirit’ connection. If she lived next door we would share walks, talks and cups of tea.  We would craft together, visit antique shops, eat falafels and be there for each other (as we are now) through thick and thin.
  • She makes me laugh. She makes me smile.  She loves animals and children and shows her care through words and deeds.  I would be one lucky woman to have her living next door.
  • Her life seems to be a lot like mine was 15 years or so ago, when the youngest kid was just starting school and the oldest was starting the teenaged years. I’d love to have her next door so I could say every morning “You’re doing a great job! They’ll be fine!”
  • I love how she weaves her faith in God into her everyday life. It’s hard to do that without being preachy, but she nails it.
  • She’s always nice and encouraging and seems like a fun person to be around.
  • She has a variety on her blog but what I would love to learn from her is paper piercing. She has done some amazing birds and I have bought one of her cushions, so beautifully made.  Very inspiring and very creative.
  • I’ve learned so much from her about how to promote my business through my blog.
  • Her recipes are so amazing that I just want to lick my computer screen. If she lived next door, I’d always leave my window open so I could enjoy the good smells coming from her kitchen.
  • They make me laugh!!! They need to move to my neighborhood so we can go shopping together.
  • She could check my patterns and find the errors! (That’s selfish, I know . . . LOL!)
  • She has a great blog full of wonderful craft projects to do with your children.  They are inexpensive and fun projects that promote lots of creative play. She would be fantastic to have as a neighbour, endless ideas for me!
  • She cares for the world and everyone in it. I admire that.
  • There are actually two ladies that I would like to have as neighbors. They are both so generous with their time and talents. I look forward to their posts. They lift my spirits and make me laugh. They are also wonderful at teaching their particular craft.
  • She’s so open about sharing the ups and downs of her life . . . I need someone like that next door!
  • She helps me so much over at my blog. When I get stuck with how to do things, she just writes me a lovely clear instruction and I am away. She is kind, generous with her time, has a terrific sense of humour and talented at crochet! I wish she lived nearby.
  • Her writing voice is so witty. I’ve learned a lot about writing AND life from her!
  • I’m so much more organized since I’ve “met” her through her blog. If she lived next door, I’d hire her to help me get my whole house in ship-shape.
  • I never heard of “refashioning” until I read her blog. Now I see it everywhere, but hers are the best of the best! I’d so love to learn from her.
  • I want her to move next door so I can see her collections and so we can go thrifting together. What fun we’d have!
  • I’d invite her over for coffee and get her advice on redoing my living room . . . or kitchen . . . or family room . . .
  • Her tablescapes never cease to amaze me. They make me want to entertain every night just so I can create such prettiness!
  • She could teach me to crochet and make me laugh!
  • She helps me keep things in perspective. I need a next door neighbor just like her!
  • She ALWAYS “likes” and comments on my blog posts. That means SO much to me!
  • Her refashions are beyond words! Maybe, just maybe, she could teach me to do that!
  • It is one of many grandparenting blogs I read, but it is above and beyond because of her exceptional photography, quilting, decorating, gardening, shopping skills, and it is an all around fun blog. She has a great sense of humor and I could picture myself sharing a cup of coffee and dessert with her and enjoying the conversation immensely.
  • Where do I begin? I use her recipes! I try her decorating ideas! I pin her crafts! She simply inspires me with each and every post. How wonderful it would be to have her as my next-door neighbor!

Blondies BEARista

Boomdeeadda

Crafty Staci

Crafty Sorcha

Crochet with Tamara

Curtain Queen Creates

DaniellaJoe’s Blog

Diary of a MadMama

Easy Crafts for Children

Empty Nest Feathers

Factotum of Arts

Fashion and Fun After Fifty

Gardening Nirvana

Grab a Coffee

Grandparents Plus 2

Green Door Hospitality

Homespun

Horsemark Cards

House of 34

Images by T. Dashfield

It’s Sew Anny

J.E. Creations

Jewels for All

LCs Cottage

Lightly Crunchy

Lili and Mums

Made with Hugs and Kisses

Memories-Keepsakes-Gifts

Neaten Your Nest

Nice Piece of Work

Now at Home Mom

North Story

On the Upcycle

Pride in Photos

Projects by Mtetar

P.S. I Love Soap Co.

Rainbow Junkie Corner

Second Hand Roses

Spilled Cookies

Stacy Sews and Schools

Swistle

The Adored Home

The Frugal Crafter

The Little Room of Rachell

The Original Thread

The REmissionary

The Renegade Seamstress

The Thinking Closet

Time with Thea

Treadlemusic

Vicky Myers Creations

Winter Owls

Please pick up your button above to display on your blog (if you wish). Nothing is required. I just want you to know that you’ve made a big impression on someone (or many someones!) and that we’re all grateful you’re sharing your life with us. Aaaaaaaaaaaaand . . . the blog with the MOST nominations is . . . Crafty Staci! Click here to read about your prize, Staci, and if you choose to accept it, please email me and I’ll send you my mailing address to get the ball rolling. CONGRATULATIONS! ♥

Three more days until the awards and giveaway . . . and some free books!

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It has been SO much fun to get SO many email nominations for the Good Neighbor Award this week! I’ll be posting the results this Sunday, September 22, so you still have time to send me the names of your favorite neighborly bloggers! Click here for details . . . and remember that the blog with the MOST nominations wins a prize like the one below! (Click here for a description . . . all made from last year’s winner’s beautiful but no-longer-needed sundress!) Also, I got an email from author/blogger Geraldine Hartman of Veggies, Yarns & Tails and she is offering Kindle versions of ALL of her books for FREE this Saturday and Sunday, so be sure to check them out! (Remember . . . you don’t have to own a Kindle–you can download the app here for your smartphone, tablet, or PC.)  Thank you, Geraldine! ♥

Prize Collage

It’s “Good Neighbor Award” Time Again!

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Good Neighbor AwardFor my first blog anniversary last September, I celebrated by hosting the Good Neighbor Award and giveaway. It was so much fun that I want to do it again this year!  Here’s the scoop:

AWARD: Simply put, the Good Neighbor Award is for someone you’ve met in the blogging world you wish could be your real-life neighbor.  To nominate a blogger, simply email me (to keep it a surprise!) at k_scraper@hotmail.com, including a link to the blog and why you’d like this blogger to live next door. Is it to cook, sew, craft, shop, or write together? To learn to do something new? To be inspired? To visit over a cup of tea? Nominees will receive the award button on my second blogiversary, Sunday, September 22. (Click here to read about last year’s nominations!)

GIVEAWAY: The person with the MOST nominations will be invited to send me a formerly-loved garment that I’ll make into some fun treasures and return. (Click here and here to read about last year’s winner!) Thank YOU for being MY good neighbors the past two years, and I hope to hear from you soon! ♥

“Whether you think you can . . .”

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Sign GirlsGuess what??? My sweet daughter-in-law Christin and I ran our first-ever 5K today!

Our route took us around the river in Wichita, KS where we saw lovely grass, flowers, trees, birds, bridges, and statues.

We got t-shirts, medals, chocolates, and champagne when we crossed the finish line.

The race directors had inspirational quotes all around, and we helped earn money for lymphoma research.

Dave, Kyle, Ally, and Kira were there to cheer us on. And the weather was PERFECT!

What a fun way to start the weekend . . . thank you for being my running buddy, Christin! ♥

Stuff

The Green Crafts Lifestyle (and their special promotion starting this Friday . . . and a new call for submissions!)

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Book CoverIn June, I wrote in this post about our crafty upcycling friend Mahe (aka MZ) that included a call for submissions for her new upcycled craft book. The Green Crafts Lifestyle is now out, and it’s amazing! It includes sections on paper, plastic, wood, metal, and fabric and has projects from 20 artists around the world, including four of my bloggy friends:

Along with 35 projects detailed on nearly 200 pages of photographs and step-by-step directions, you’ll find author bios and photos with links to their blogs, websites, and other online contacts.

Now for the promotion! To provide all crafters with a chance to learn from these techniques, Mahe’s Altered Upcycling business will provide unlimited FREE Kindle copies of The Green Crafts Lifestyle this Friday, August 16 through Sunday, August 18! Kindle doesn’t restrict you to its device; you can read the book on any PC machine or tablet with the free Kindle App. Simply click HERE for your free copy.

AND . . . drum roll . . . MZ is looking for MORE submissions from MORE of you! In her words: “We need talented artists, crafters, and upcyclists to provide projects and tutorials based on upcycling and green crafting. Altered Upcycling will take submissions for Part 2 of “The Green Crafts Lifestyle” series, and the project submission deadline is August 31, 2013. Please make sure you send tutorials that upcycle wood, plastic, paper, glass, or fabric. The tutorials must be in MS Word format with the pictures embedded in the doc file. I will also need a photo of you as well as an artist bio and links to your blogs, Etsy shops, etc. Please email tutorials to thecraftycan@gmail.com. Let’s save the world one craft project at a time!”

Thank you, Mahe! ♥  P.S. If you haven’t entered my “Catch-up Giveaway,” please click HERE!  

Shout-Out x 3

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1. INDIEGOGO: How cute are these T-shirts??? Please check out the fun-loving, talented Sheri (center) at her creative blog Awesomesauce and Asshattery (with lots of other info and links here), and then take a moment to watch the campaign video for her innovative Indiegogo business. Hats off to your newest venture, Sheri! ♥

DIY Dork Trinity

2. LE TRANGO: My bloggy friend Christina of Le Trango is offering this FREE desktop wallpaper HERE and (fingers crossed!) may have new ones for each upcoming month! I just love her whimsical designs and Etsy shop . . . check out this post to read more about this talented artist and find all her links. Thank you, Christina! ♥

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gift-card3. Design-Her-Gals: In March, I posted that Design-Her-Gals (the fun web site where I make my gravatar gal gift cards and writing business cards) was up for sale. Long story short, they closed, then they found a buyer, and now they’re open again! And, if you’ve visited before, you’ll find all your previous “gals” still in your “dressing room” ready to go! To use Design-Her-Gals, simply pick your “you,” dress and accessorize yer, and put her on business cards, mailing labels, notecards, aprons, mugs, caps, luggage tags, and more. They also have print-order and print-at-home options available. Even if you’re not in shopping mode, you can play on their site and get on their mailing list for special offers. Click here to read about the new owner, Dawn Espinoza. P.S. Some other bloggy friends who’ve created Design-Her-Gals are Doctorate Housewife, A Ponytail Kind of Day, and Boomdeeadda. I just love them all! ♥

 

Drama Queen Seams

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Drama Queen SeamsThank you to Jeanna at Drama Queen Seams for such a lovely post about the recent Origami Owl Living Locket giveaway sponsored by designer Tiffany Scraper! You MUST see all of Jeanna’s stunning photos wearing her new chain, locket, charms, and tag!

Please contact Tiffany at thehootsuite@gmail.com, her Facebook page, or her web site if you have any questions about creating your own Living Locket or becoming an Origami Owl independent designer.

And be sure to check out Jeanna’s amazing creative talents as well in this Shop Love! post, on her blog, in her Drama Queen Appeal Boutique, and on her FB page. ♥

The Origami Owl Blogger Locket Winner Is . . .

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PackagingThank you SO much to everyone for entering the Origami Owl Blogger Locket Giveaway and for all your lovely, encouraging comments. Seriously, every time a new one popped up, I said to myself, “Oh . . . I hope SHE wins!!!” But the time came to draw one name out of the hat, and the lucky winner is . . .

Jeanna of Drama Queen Seams!

Congratulations, Jeanna! As soon as you email me your mailing address, I’ll send your prize and Tiffany will send the extra charm you chose—the crystal clear crown. And for all of our other blogging friends . . . thank you again for your enthusiasm and support for small businesses, and feel free to contact Tiffany at thehootsuite@gmail.com, her Facebook page, or her web site if you have any questions about creating your own Living Locket or becoming an Origami Owl independent designer. You’re the best! ♥

Blogger Locket Giveaway (Hmmm . . . wish I could win this!)

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LocketMy lovely art teacher daughter-in-law Tiffany just became an independent designer for Origami Owl. Have you seen these amazing “Living Lockets” yet? You choose your locket size and design, fill it with hand-picked charms, and (if you like) add plates, dangles, and tags. Then you either purchase a chain or wear your creation on a chain or ribbon you already own. They’re absolutely beautiful! So Tiffany and I put our heads together and came up with a “blogger locket” giveaway that we think you’ll love! It includes:

  • the large silver Living Locket with crystals,
  • 5 charms: a laptop computer, a camera, a pair of scissors, a cup of coffee (or tea!), and the April stone,
  • an 18-inch silver ball station chain,
  • and an “Inspire” tag that can be worn either with the locket or separately.

You can see close-ups of all the components below!

Locket Collage

To enter this giveaway, you only have three easy steps to follow:

(1) “Like” Tiffany’s Origami Owl Facebook page here. (But if you’re not on FB, no worries! You can still enter by skipping to Step 2! :))

(2) Go to Tiffany’s Origami Owl web site and find your favorite charm here. (Click on “Charm Collections” on the “Living Lockets” page.)

(3) Leave a comment below telling us you’ve liked the FB page (see note on Step 1) and what your favorite charm is.

That’s it! A week from today (Monday, April 8) we’ll draw a name out of a hat and announce the winner right here at Pillows A-La-Mode. And not only does the winner get the blogger locket, but Tiffany will mail her the other charm she chose, too! So please join in the fun, and thank you for visiting Origami Owl today or anytime from my Shop Love! page above. ♥

P.S. I forgot to mention that Origami Owl’s packaging is amazing—a drawstring bag for the tag and a “fortune cookie” made of kimono fabric to keep your locket in, all delivered in a cute little take-out box! Oh, and Tiffany has also put together a Shutterfly book with design ideas. You can check it out here.

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A Design-her Gals Goodbye . . . OR a Business Opportunity?

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Gift CardLast September I wrote a post about how I designed the gravatar I use for my WordPress blog and gift tags. I was very happy that many of you checked out the Design-her Gals business, and some of you even made and shared your own “gals!” For example  . . .

  • Just look at this fun version of Liz at A Ponytail Kind of Day with her Cavalier King Charles and Diet Coke!
  • And this fun version of Kelly at Boomdeeadda with her camera and cats!

Now, sadly, Design-her Gals is closing its doors on April 15 . . . UNLESS someone else takes over the business. Could that be one of you? If you’re interested, please explore their web site and then email the owner, Jeanne Fitzmaurice, at Jeanne(at)designhergals(dot)com. As Jeanne says, “Spring is the perfect time for a new owner to lead Design-her Gals forward with a fresh perspective!”

And ALL of you can use the promo code GOODBYE to get 35% off business cards, notecards, and other paper goods with your very own “gal” on them (in an outfit and accessories YOU put together!) through the closing date. Remember that a portion of every purchase also supports Stage IV breast cancer research! ♥

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I’m getting ready for my biggest refashion yet!

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Christin's Dress Collage

DancingPatternThis beautiful bride, Christin, now has an amazing 8-year-old daughter, Allyson, and I’ll be transforming Christin’s wedding gown into Allyson’s First Communion dress!

Allyson chose Butterick 3350 with sleeves, scalloped neckline, and straight hem.

I’ll admit I’m a tiny bit nervous about working with and on two such important dresses, but I’m excited about it, too!

And I have a cheerleader! My dear friend Faye transformed her daughter-in-law’s wedding dress into the stunning First Communion dress below for her adorable granddaughter, and she’s only a phone call away if I need advice and encouragement.

Watch for the big reveal in April . . . and wish me luck! ♥

Briana's Dress Collage

Cozies for a Cause!

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3 CoziesMy blogging friend Kayla of The Art of Creating Joy has some exciting plans!

She is raising money for a mission trip to India in the fall!

To jump-start her funding, she has opened an Etsy shop featuring these adorable handmade knitted and embroidered coffee and tea cozies.

I chose these three and can’t wait to give them as gifts!

Now she even has one in French!

Click here for Kayla’s blog and here for her shop from this post or anytime from my Shop Love! page above.

She’ll keep refilling the shop as her supporters keep ordering.

Thank you for my fun purchases, Kaylee, and thank you most of all for your vision to help the world. ♥

Lunch with Friends

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A common recent lunch-with-friends topic is how to know when it’s time to make a change—any kind of change. Most of us comment that we’re extra content with our lives right now, but we remember some of the big, sometimes scary changes we’ve made in the past and know that we may have to make new ones someday, too. Although a big part of the conversation is about prayer, we also marvel at the way inspiring quotes or words from songs and poems—whether funny or serious—often come our way just when we need them. I love this “chic chick” question (it’s on a pillow!), and another friend shared a “chapter” quote she keeps on her bulletin board. Here they are . . . just in case this is a bit of the inspiration YOU need today. ♥

One Year Award and Giveaway!

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UPDATE on 9-22-12: Click HERE to read the heartwarming results of this post!

One week from today is the anniversary of my first WordPress blog post! Since I’ve discovered how many people around the world I’d love to have for next-door neighbors, I’d like to celebrate with a new award and giveaway!

AWARD: Please nominate a WordPress blogger (or lots of them!) for the “Good Neighbor Award” in an email to me at k[underscore]scraper@hotmail[dot]com (to keep it a surprise!), including a link to the blog and why you’d like this blogger to live next door. To cook/sew/craft/shop/write together? To learn to do something new? To be inspired? To visit over a cup of tea? Nominees will receive the award button on September 22.

GIVEAWAY: The person with the MOST nominations will be invited to send me a formerly-loved garment that I’ll make into some fun treasures (a-la “What can you make with a flannel shirt?” or “What can you make with a lace tank?” or “What can you make with a polo shirt?“) and return. THANK YOU for reaching out in friendship this past year, and I hope to hear from you soon! ♥

Design-Her-Gals

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If you’ve ever wondered where my WordPress Gravatar originated . . . now you get to find out! It’s from one of my all-time favorite online businesses called Design-Her-Gals.  If you LOVE putting together outfits, you’re going to love this site! You pick your “you,” then dress and accessorize her and put her on stationery, business cards, mailing labels, notecards, aprons, mugs, caps, luggage tags, and all kinds of other cool items. PLUS, Design-Her-Gals supports research for Stage IV breast cancer. PLUS, they have the BEST sales! For example, right now they have 37% off all their stationery and paper products! They even have print-order and print-at-home options available! So, even if you’re not in the market for something like this right now, please explore their site when you get a chance, and get on their mailing list, too, so you’ll know about their frequent sales. I have a card for my writing business in one outfit and square gift cards for my sewing and crafts in this outfit . . . and check out the fabric swatches and sewing machine! ♥

 

New Year’s Resolutions

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As writers, we know all about the “magic of three” . . . beginning, middle, end, The Three Bears, three adjectives, three wishes, three clues.  Three items create a pattern but don’t produce a mundane list. Comedians set up jokes with two scenarios and use the third for the punch line. Decorators use three candles on a mantel, and chefs use three garnishes on a plate. Even military officials use the “Rule of Three.” According to neuroscientist Tina Sellig, “The military has found that people can only track three things at once . . . when they experimented with a ‘Rule of Four,’ effectiveness dropped precipitously.”

Based on this real-life evidence, I decided I should stick to three New Year’s resolutions this year:

(1) Walk 10,000 steps a day. This may be a bit of a challenge since I work at a desk now instead of an elementary classroom, but check out my new pedometer! 

(2) Start a “Year of Homemade Gifts” project, with photos, links, and tutorials posted on PILLOWS A-LA-MODE. (Hopefully those are cheers I hear, not groans! :))

(3) Host a resource-sharing gathering for women sometime this year . . . more on this to come.

These, along with time spent with my family and friends and writing projects fill me with anticipation for 2012. Happy New Year, and may God bless you and yours! ♥