Sunday, November 22, 2009

Holiday Hits, Week One

The holiday season is starting to get into gear, what with Thanksgiving this week and all, and it's about time you did your holiday cards, isn't it? ME TOO. Heritage Makers' fabulous sale on customized greeting cards ends tomorrow at noon (MST)! You can get your fully customized, personally designed greeting cards for as low as 79 CENTS if you order through me before then!

You do not need to have the cards CREATED by then; you just need to purchase the credits. They will be active on your account for a year, so even if the 100-card pack is most attractive to you but you don't send 100 holiday cards, you can still use those card credits throughout the year for birthdays, anniversaries, thinking of you's, get wells, sympathies, or any other occasion. This is a GREAT DEAL; don't let it pass you by!

(If this is your first purchase, remember that I can also get you a free month of our premium artwork, which means you can make your holiday cards EXTRA gorgeous at no additional cost!)

Call me before noon MST tomorrow to place your order! 773 860 1108.

Some folks have asked me what the cards look like... since they're completely customizable, they can look like anything you want! But if that's a little overwhelming and you prefer to work from a template, here are just a few examples of the MANY templates you will find in our gallery. Just drag and drop your photos in place, change out any elements you don't like, put in your own text and you're done! (Also, don't forget you can always call on me for assistance.)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Anissa Is The Best Pickle You've Ever Had

Yesterday I was shocked. Today I am grieving. Yesterday I heard the news that one of my blogging friends, Anissa Mayhew, had a stroke (and then another) on Tuesday and is in the ICU.

I call her a blogging 'friend' even though I only met her a handful of times at the BlogHer conference last summer. Yet I call her a friend because she is one of those people who instantly becomes everyone's friend. She is the kind of woman who would toast us all with a "here's to those who love us well, and all the rest can go to hell!". She is vibrant, warm, funny, sarcastic, energetic, raunchy, sassy, and strong. She is a fighter. More importantly, she is ALIVE. You can feel the energy pour forth from her when you're around her. Hell, you can feel it pour forth from her blog entries.

I don't remember the first time I encountered Anissa's blog at, a blog about her youngest daughter's fight against leukemia, but stumble upon it I did, and I was instantly touched. Not just touched in the way that any of us would be for a family with such a fight ahead of them, but also impressed by her energy, her humor, and her strength. I was what you would call a lurker, but lurk I did, for quite some time. When I decided to go to BlogHer this year, Anissa was one of my personal 'celebrity' bloggers that I hoped to meet. Would I have anything to say to her? Would I even have the courage to approach her if I saw her? Probably not. But I was excited about the possibility nonetheless! Then I happened across a guest post she made on Karl's blog, Secondhand Tryptophan, and was compelled to leave a comment. She replied to me and told her I had to stop her if I saw her at BlogHer. Sure, no problem, right! (Secretly expecting myself to chicken out anyway! Because THIS WOMAN IS A LEGEND, y'all.)

And then I found myself at the Ford Ride 'N Drive event, a pre-BlogHer activity where many of us went on a fantastic tour at the Ford plant. And I found myself in a group with a vibrant, loud, sassy, funny lady who looked really familiar. Could it be? THE Anissa? Was it really her? Oh god. IT IS. I'm pretty sure it is! Isn't it? Do I dare go over and say hello? DO I?

I did. And she REMEMBERED MY COMMENT TO HER. And she was nice, and sweet (but still salty! like the best pickle you've ever had!), and friendly, and warm, and open, and everything that I'd imagined her to be from her blogs, AND MORE. And I know for sure that the world is a better place with Anissa Mayhew and her family in it.

Anissa has fought for so much in her life already that it is a shame, a crying shame, that she has another huge fight ahead of her now. But I know she will fight, because the very core of this woman is strength. I know she will overcome obstacles the rest of us could barely dream of tackling. I know this tiny powerhouse will work wonders, and I know she's due a few miracles by now; but at the same time, my heart grieves for her and her family that they HAVE to fight this fight. Anissa is only 35 years old. She has a husband who loves her and three young children who adore her, who NEED her.

God bless you and your family, Anissa. I am not much of a praying woman but I am praying for you all right now. Thank you for being the wonderful you that you are, and thank you for enriching my life.

For those of you that would like to help the family, and can, here is a link to do so:

Her husband will be posting updates on her progress at their family blog, and there may also be additional updates on her group blog, Aiming Low.

Please join me in praying for the Mayhew family.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Craft Fairs This Weekend

Hi everyone! Just a quick note to let you all know that I'll be exhibiting at two different craft fairs this weekend. If you're in the area and have time to stop by, won't you please come in and visit us? I'm sure there will be lots of lovely gifts for the season, and we'd love to see you!

Thanks for supporting local artisans in your community!

Sat Nov 21, 10AM - 3PM
Kahler Middle School
600 Joliet St / Route 30, Dyer IN

Sun Nov 22, 10AM - 3PM
The Community House of Flossmoor Community Church
847 Hutchison, Flossmoor IL

This is one of the craft tiles I made using Heritage Makers scrapbook pages, a ceramic tile, and Mod Podge. Quick, easy, beautiful!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Just Call Me Carleton Sheets!

There are a lot of homes in foreclosure in our neighborhood. The other day, OJ raised the possibility of purchasing one of them, one of the ones at a ridiculously low price, fixing it up, and either renting it out OR moving into it ourselves and renting this one out (the deciding factor being, of course, which house we like better and which suits our family's needs more at this time). We haven't really had a chance to discuss it since but this is not the first time this possibility has been raised for discussion in our married life (though I think it might be the first time HE has raised it, which you know means I'm chomping at the bit to MAKE IT HAPPEN, naturally, since it's been a dream of mine for years now!).

I don't know if this is something we are going to decide to explore at this exact moment or not. There is a lot of planning and work that needs to go into a decision like this and it might end up being the wrong time for us. I DO know that both of us are concerned about me being out of work and are looking for ways to bring in extra income once my unemployment runs out. (Yes, I know real estate and rental properties are not a 'guarantee' of income.) I DO know I have always wanted to buy real estate, own rental properties, and fix up houses. I DO know that it's been killing me that home prices are so low right now because I feel it is the perfect time to buy (because I DO believe home prices will rise again), and we haven't been in a position to buy.

It's been a while since I did any home-buying research because it kind of kills me to shop but not buy (this holds true for every kind of shopping, not just houses, heh; this is why I try not to GO shopping unless I have money to buy things). I know the internet is fallible, but I always turn to the internet to start my research because it's the easiest source - it's right in my living room, after all. Sorting through the muck can be difficult though, especially when it comes to something like foreclosures and buying homes. I love reading about people's personal experiences with things, so I'm wondering... do any of you have personal experience with buying foreclosed homes, fixing up homes, and/or being a landlord? Would you like to share your stories with us?

Here's what I'm NOT looking for. Comments like:
"Oh my god, don't do that!"
"you'll regret it!"
"buying a foreclosed home is a TERRIBLE idea!"
"fixing up homes is such a pain in the ass!"
"being a landlord is such a pain in the ass!"
and so on.

It should go without saying that those types of comments are opinions. As with ANY experience in life, YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary). Furthermore, what you deem to be a 'terrible idea' or a 'pain in the ass' might be something I love to do... the glory of life being we all have different opinions and different things we enjoy.

What I AM looking for is actual stories from folks with experience in this area, with pros AND cons they personally experienced. I love people's stories anyway (that's why I'm a Heritage Maker after all), and in this case your stories might help us, now or in the future!

Likewise, even if you have no personal experience in this area, but you have interest in it and you have a great resource to share (whether it's a blog or a great free foreclosure website or a TV show you like to watch), tell me about it! I might know it already, but then again I might not.

Thanks, everyone. Looking forward to this journey, whenever it happens for us.

photo by Gary Friedman of

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Give It Away, Give It Away, Give It Away Now!

Do you like free stuff? Do you like to win things? WHO DOESN'T?? Here's a list of giveaways and contests all around the 'net, as I come across them. If you are running a contest or giveaway, or have come across one you think should be featured here, please leave the URL in the comments! I will do my best to keep this list updated.

Contests / giveaway that you can enter daily are in RED.

Ends Dec 16, 2010, at 10pm CST

A Southern Fairytale's iPad Giveaway

Ends Dec 17, 2010, at midnight
Me As A Mommy's Kalorik Food Slicer Giveaway

The Baby Birthing Mama's Waffle Maker Giveaway

She's Mommafied's Baby Food Maker Giveaway

Mama B's Food Processor Giveaway

Baby Dickey's Steam Mop Cleaner Giveaway

Crunchy VT Mommy's Deep Fryer Giveaway

Ends Dec 21, 2010

Freddy In Space's Twisted Art of Jes Karakashian Giveaway

Ends Dec 24, 2010 at 11pm ET

Win a Carnival Cruise with BRET MICHAELS!

Being Thankful

It's time to fess up here and admit that I have another blog. Well, I have several other blogs actually, but the one in particular that I'm fessing up about right now is a livejournal account that I've had since 2001. It's primarily friends-only and at this point it's staying that way; I have cultivated a really great friends group over the years and it's become a great place for me to share a lot of my more personal details, my raw thoughts and emotions, and a lot more angst than I'm willing to share in this more public arena. I'll share a LOT here, but sometimes things are just too private for the entire world (yes, even for me, heh).

So yesterday morning I was feeling a little down and panicky for no good reason, and almost posted a real downer Facebook status (because one of the best ways for me to exorcise my mental and emotional demons is to WRITE THEM OUT and then I can move on)... but in a rare display of discretion, I decided Facebook was not the place for it. So I went to my trusty Livejournal and I posted "I'm really afraid I'm going to die before I am able to turn my life into the life I want to be living. And I just don't think that's appropriate as a facebook status so I'm posting it here instead. I guess I should probably talk about that in therapy tonight."

And in response, I got some really good thoughts, advice, and kicks in the butt from my awesome friends. Things like:

"I think most of us spend most of our lives trying to live the life we think we want. I try to focus on what's good now. Otherwise I would go crazy. When I do that, I realize I have it pretty good. Doesn't stop me from wanting to move home or wanting a professor job or criticizing my husband or generally wishing for more, but it helps."

"You can't do that & stay sane, I don't care how much therapy you go to. Live in the moment. Appreciate the eensy bittle things. Just LIVE every moment."

"Two of the quotes I have on my Facebook page:
"Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life." ~ Omar Khayyam
"To dream of a person you would like to be is to waste the person you are" ~ Unknown
I really try to live those quotes each and every day."

I really appreciate the encouragement everyone gave me yesterday about that post. I needed a little kick in the butt. It's hard sometimes to be thankful for what you have, and I guess sometimes I blur the lines between appreciating the life I have NOW (which is a pretty good life, most days) and the goals I want to achieve. Sometimes I get so hungry for those goals that I lose sight of the present and I despair pretty quickly. The therapy is more for THAT... not for making me happy with who I am, because really most of the time I AM - but for trying to deal with this intense need for instant gratification and the fact that I have trouble setting limits in my life. I don't know if it's the therapy, or the blogging, or ten years of ruminating and working towards it, but I finally feel like a lot of pieces are coming together in my life and I really do feel like I'm making a lot of progress on at least one of the issues that has plagued me for so long. (My clutter issues.) And I do feel confident that, once I get that under control, I can deal with roadblock two (my weight) and roadblock three (my finances). I feel more confident than ever that it really WILL all come together, finally. I still have times though where I get really impatient about it, or times when I get scared... especially in terms of my health. I believe I've mentioned it here before, but in case I haven't, I have Type II diabetes. I was diagnosed almost two years ago. It is VITAL that I lose weight and exercise more and eat better to get healthier, and I really feel like my house clutter is tied into some of that (letting things go is as hard for me as letting pounds go, and preparing healthy foods is impossible for me when my kitchen is a mess), and I do feel like I can't tackle my weight and health issues without getting the house in order first. I work on both to a small extent, but I know from past experience that if my house isn't in order, I just plain won't be able to work past that and take better care of myself. I don't know WHY that is; I just know that it is. So I'm working on it. But then something will happen, even if it's not something big; I'll have a day where I feel lousy, or I have this phantom arm pain that we haven't been able to figure out yet (the doctor thinks it's a stress/muscle issue but I really think it's tied into my blood sugar because it happens most often when my eating habits for the day SUCK), and I get freaked out about my diabetes and my health and the damage this could do to my body and the fact that I'm only 31 and I don't want to leave my family mother/wifeless and the fact that I'd really like to have another baby in a couple years but that cannot happen with the state of everything right now, but most especially with the state of my HEALTH (I will not subject my body to that stress in the state it's in now, I just won't, nor would it be safe for the baby), and then I get hung up on dying young and that's when I REALLY start to feel like everything is taking WAY too long to accomplish and I start to despair.

So I need to remind myself... baby steps. The baby steps I've taken have gotten me pretty far, and get me a little farther every day, and a little closer to my goals. I have to keep doing my best, and have faith that the universe and the powers that be will guide me to my goals, and not kill me off too soon (I hope!). None of us get any guarantees in life and we just have to do the best we can with what we have. I've certainly made mistakes in the past; we all have. I'm doing my best to recover from some of those mistakes, and most days now I feel like I'm doing a good job, and doing my best. Most days are good days.

There's an exercise on Facebook right now to post a new status every day from now until Thanksgiving about what you are thankful for. It starts out easy, but I'm sure it'll get harder as the days go on. It can be really hard to focus on everything we have to be thankful for. I'm taking the challenge because it's definitely something I need to do.

I'd like to invite everyone here to take some time to tell me what you have to be thankful for right now. We could all use some positivity in our lives, and a little bit of perspective; seeing what everyone has to be thankful for would be a great place to start.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Do you have your 2010 calendar yet?

Have you decided on a calendar for 2010 yet? What about Christmas gifts for family and friends - have them all picked out? If not, then you should check out Heritage Makers' November Pick Of The Month! This month you can get some great savings on BOTH of our calendars... the traditional 11 X 8.5 AND the brand-new 11 X 16!

As a bonus, you can add three months of our Studio Premier artwork to your account for only $44.95 - a 40% savings!

Personalized calendars make great gifts, and the customization options here are nearly limitless. Contact me here or via email for more information or to place your order today! You can also check out my website for more information.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Old Habits Die Hard

One day. One day can make a HUGE difference.

Yesterday I took one day off from the household routines I am trying to implement, the routines that I believe will keep my house clean. The routines that HAVE been, to this point, keeping the rooms in my house that I'd already finished, clean.

Well, I wouldn't exactly call it a day 'off' because I spent a good portion of the morning shopping for household items. But it was a day off in the sense that I did NOT do my routines at all, not even after I got back from shopping. After shopping, we took a family trip to the park and enjoyed the beautiful and unexpected 70 degree November weather we are having this weekend. Then we came home, had dinner, watched Bolt together, put the kids to bed, spent some 'couples' time gaming together, and had sleepovers with our children. No, the day was not 'off', nor was it wasted at all.

But in not doing my routines, I noticed that the house got mucked up in an almost unbelievable fashion. Especially the kitchen; the counters are covered in dishes and garbage and old food. From ONE. DAY. What a difference! Like a bomb went off.

Here is where old habits die hard. In the past, I have been TERRIBLE about cleaning up after myself. Terrible. I just leave things wherever they are when I am finished with them. (Including dishes and garbage.) This makes the cleaning process much more difficult when it is time to do my routines each day, because there is so much more to pick up all at once. Doing it as I go would likely be much easier. This SEEMS logical, yet it's a skill I appear to be lacking.

I've been working on it. I've gotten much better at throwing garbage out right away; taking dishes to the sink. Putting toys and books back when I'm done with them, and so on. Trying to encourage my family to do the same. We're all learning.

Yesterday was not such a good day in this department. Instead of wallowing in it, I am trying to be much more AWARE of it, so that I can see how damaging it is (and how quickly it filthifies the house!), and CHANGE it.

Starting now, with my daily household chores.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

cleaning when the kids are home is like shoveling when it's still snowing.

I am a bundle of nerves today. Cleaning the house with my entire family home is just not something I am handling very well. I know that it would probably be the best thing for all concerned if I just took a break from it and, after doing my daily maintenance stuff, just spent time with my family until tomorrow, when I'm alone and the kids are in school. But I just couldn't do that. The entire last month was a dearth of productivity around here, and now that I've got the time and my drive back, I feel an almost manic need to keep cleaning - keep cleaning - keep moving FORWARD, everything else be damned! I can't seem to stop but I'm certainly not blessing my family by screaming at them and I certainly don't feel very good, emotionally. I feel a bit like I'm jumping out of my skin today.

So I've been giving this some thought, because WHY would I feel that way if I'm moving forward and making progress? I think it's because I've hit a point where I see myself repeating old patterns and I am really fucking nervous that all of this progress is going to fall apart and I won't succeed at keeping the house clean YET AGAIN. I made it through all my morning tasks, and it was only for three rooms of the house but it felt like it took FOREVER, and I know I can't really use that as an accurate gauge because I was interrupted by kids and dogs and husband and fighting and general life chaos. This week I will have a much better chance to see how long my morning tasks will ACTUALLY take. But feeling like it was taking a huge chunk of my day to just do maintenance, and knowing that what I did today isn't even HALF the maintenance I'll need to do for the entire house, wasn't a reassuring way to start my day. Then, moving forward with the cleaning, it was nice to have my husband helping with some of the big tasks but then, of course, you find things that need doing that have been put off because of time, motivation, and because the house just hasn't been in shape to do anything about it. For instance: our upstairs bathroom faucet leaks every time we turn it on. Water seeps out from around it, and over time it's damaged our paint and it leaves it cruddy and corroded and it's just become gross. A definite problem that needs fixing. So OJ took advantage of the clean bathroom today and took himself off to the hardware store to get a new faucet. Then he came home and took the sink apart. So now there are tools and sink parts around the upstairs, and all the things that belong in the bathroom are in the dining room instead, and I KNOW, logically, this is for a good cause, but I feel like things are being derailed around me and it's really freaking me out. I hear this constant refrain of BACKSLIDING YOU'RE BACKSLIDING YOU'RE BACKSLIDING in my mind and I can barely stand it.

In the meantime, I'm working in the kids' room, and trying to declutter your children's bedroom (especially when they have as many toys as my kids do!) is always tough. What to keep, what to get rid of? And can you get rid of the stuff before the kids NOTICE? Doing it when the kids are home is especially tricky. I ended up throwing all their toys into boxes and moving those boxes into my room / the upstairs hallway so I can sort them one at a time. I've designated bins in their room for each 'type' of toy and I am doing my best to purge. The problem is, I'm already out of bins for the different categories of toy they have and I'm not sure how I'm going to solve that issue yet. I'm also out of time for sorting the rest of the stuff in the hallway because I'm going out tonight, so I have several boxes sitting in my once-clean hallway, freaking me out (BACKSLIDING BACKSLIDING BACKSLIDING!!). And I'm so nervous because I have done THIS EXACT process before, boxing things and going through them to purge and put away, shifting items from room to room; I have done this SO MANY TIMES in the past and it NEVER yields a clean house, so how can I expect it to now? I'm SO NERVOUS that I won't purge enough things to be able to keep this house in order, that I just won't be capable of purging ENOUGH, I won't be able to find places for everything I want to keep, I'm doomed to live forward surrounded by boxes and crawling over piles of THINGS. I feel like I'm stuck in that insanity loop again, doing the same things over and over, crawling out of my skin, CRAWLING OUT OF MY SKIN.

(Boy, I never expected this to turn into the CRAZY BLOG! Seriously, I just thought that I'd start this to help me talk about some of the dreams and goals I have, and talk about overcoming some of the things that I feel hold me back. I had no idea I had THIS MUCH of an issue with my stuff. My hope was that this blog would help other people who have the same troubles. Maybe it will. Right now it seems to have turned into something more like therapy for me though!)

The major difference here is that I am actually taking the things I'm purging straight out to my car, to donate to a charitable organization. I am NOT letting them pile up in my house, no way, no how, not this time. That is the one big difference here, the thing I've NEVER done before, and I am praying it is the thing that makes ALL the difference. I don't trust that process yet because I haven't ever done it before, but I really need it to work. If it doesn't, I don't know what else will.

In the meantime, I am going to do my best to try to deal with the horrible feelings I'm having about purging, and try to calm down about the fact that stuff is creeping out of the kids' room and the bathroom and into my other clean rooms, and trust that my husband will finish the job he's started and put everything back together, and trust that I will finish the kids' room tomorrow while they're in school and it will be much easier, and go out with my girlfriends and try to have a relaxing night of wHine therapy.


Related Posts with Thumbnails