Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Back to School - BBA Challenge

This month it's my turn to host the Blogging Business Artisans Challenge. My topic...Back to School.
"With the little ones headed back to school this time of year, create a fun back to school project. It could be something fun to do with the kids, something for them to give their teacher or just one last fun thing to do with them before they return to school.
Don't have kids, tell us what this time of year means for you. Do you still love to play with school supplies? Do you love that the local spots won't be so crowded with tourists?
Tell us all about it in a blog post."

I have to admit that I still peruse the school supplies every year, even though I haven't been in school for several years now. There is just something about fresh new supplies!
But instead of buying this year, I made one of the supplies myself! I always have tons of paper left over after making guest books. And I have tons of chipboard left over after making name albums. So I put the 2 together and made myself a nice little notebook. I always take tons of notes during the holiday season to keep orders straight, so this will be coming in handy very soon!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Leatherette Coasters

 Last week was mostly a nice, quiet week at home getting caught up on work. I was even able to get a new item made and listed!

These Leatherette Coasters look and feel like real leather.

They come in both light brown and dark brown and sell as a set of 6.

Okay, now tell me...How many times do you make a new item and wait FOREVER to list it? I just went through some of my photo files over the weekend and wrote down all the items I have pictures of waiting to be edited and listed. There are probably 30 items!
So I'm pretty proud of myself getting these made, photographed, edited and listed within a week's :)

Monday, September 28, 2015

Back to Business

Thank you for letting me share all about our Chicago trip last week. And thank you for those that stopped by and commented! Today I'd like to get back to business and talk a little bit about Etsy's Vacation Mode feature.

During our trip was the first time I've ever put my shop on Vacation Mode since opening in January of 2008. For every other vacation I've taken (even a week in Mexico!) I've left my shop open and answered questions and sent thank you convos to buyers.
I have to admit, I was a little scared using vacation mode. I'd heard horror stories about not getting back into Google's search for weeks and "losing your place" in Etsy's search. But I had also heard from a couple friends who had recently also put their shops on Vacation Mode with no trouble. So that put my mind at ease a little.

And to tell you the truth, it didn't take long for things to be right back to normal. I had nothing to worry about. I think it helped that I had a few orders that were waiting to come through when I left. So those orders came through immediately after I returned since my buyers were already lined up and waiting. I also think it helped that I had a handful of items that had expired while I was gone. So renewing those got my shop back into search rather quickly as well.
So my advice...Enjoy your vacation! Don't be afraid to put your shop on Vacation Mode a few times a year. While I won't use it for little weekend getaways, I will use it more often in the future.

What advice or thoughts do you have about Vacation Mode? Please share in the comments.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Chicago - Part 4 - AC/DC

Our last day in Chicago was our most anticipated and what initiated the whole trip to begin with...AC/DC!!!

We did start out the day by visiting the Shedd Aquarium first. While it was mainly just a bunch of fish (what did you, there were quite a few cool exhibits. And we took in a water show as well.
My favorite fish are the brightly colored ones. Big and small, I love their color! This cute little turtle got to join them in their tank :)

And this blue lobster is said to be one in a million.

The water show included beluga whales.

And a sea lion that actually came right up on the platform for his show :) on to the ROCK!!!
AC/DC did not disappoint!! The entire show rocked! It's kind of hard to tell from this angle, but the stage was a huge pair of horns.

And all those red flashing lights you see in the crowd are light-up horns you could buy as a souvenir. They were everywhere!

Brian Johnson (lead singer) and Angus Young (slide guitarist) put on one hell of a show!

Angus did his famous Duck Walk all night long. And had a huge guitar riff at the end. They even had an entire stage extension for him! It even rose up in the center where he laid on the stage and spun in circles while still playing his guitar!

I wish I had gotten some better videos, but I did manage to get this clip before my camera went kaput. 

For a group of guys, mostly in their 60s, they still know how to rock a full house. This show was completely sold out and we talked to people who had traveled from Florida and Texas to be there!
 I don't know if these guys will ever make it back to the US to tour again, but I can't recommend seeing them enough!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Chicago - Part 3

 One of the highlights from our trip to Chicago was meeting up with fellow Etsy and blogging friends Paige and Rose. It's always so fun meeting people in person that you've "known" for years on the internet. We had a great lunch and some great talk. I just wish we would have gotten a few more pictures.

 The rest of that day, Jesse and I just walked around the city taking in all the beautiful sites. I love all the ornamental designs. The great architecture and detail in everything!

 The town we live in is called Essex, so it was pretty cool to come across Essex while in Chicago :)

 While we didn't visit the Sears Tower, we did walk past this giant several times while in the city. It looks like a million bucks with those mirrored windows!

And I just love the old clocks and detail of the beautiful Wrigley Building! The blue sky and puffy clouds look pretty nice here too :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Chicago - Part 2 - Navy Pier

  For our first full day in Chicago, we visited the Navy Pier. I'm definitely no fan of heights, but I knew I wanted to ride the Ferris Wheel no matter what. I had to do a little convincing to get Jesse to go with To be honest, once you get moving, you pay more attention to what's in front of you and around you than actually looking down. I wasn't scared for even a second...and that's saying a lot!

A beautiful shot of the sailboats on Lake Michigan with that great skyline in the background.
 Ferris Wheel Selfie :)

 Another thing we decided to do while visiting Navy Pier was ride a tour boat. We chose the Architectural and History Tour given by the Seadog. Neither Jesse and I are much into history, so we were a little worried about that part of the ride. But we had the best guide who made the entire 75 minute tour lots of fun.

And of course I loved getting to see all these awesome buildings from the water. Cruising from Lake Michigan down the Chicago River was so much fun!

 A beautiful light house on Lake Michigan.

 We pretty much spent the entire day at Navy Pier just walking the strip and taking in the beauty. We did a little shopping, got lunch and enjoyed the beer garden later on :)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Chicago - Part 1

 As I mentioned last week, Jesse and I had a long weekend in Chicago recently. What a great city and what fun we had. I decided to break this into a few different posts so I don't overload you with photos all at once.
That top photo is one I took while still on the train and played with it in Photoshop. One of my favorite parts about the city is the skyline. As I mentioned before, we don't have buildings like this near us, so it was a beautiful sight.

On Saturday morning, we got up bright and early and headed to the train station. If you're ever visiting a city where you won't need a car or plan to take public transportation, I would suggest Amtrak in a heartbeat. This brilliant idea goes out to Jesse! The train ride took about the same time as it would to drive, and was even less expensive! Parking your car in Chicago is crazy expensive and we never would have survived city So Amtrak was the perfect plan!

After a long day of traveling, we knew we just wanted to get some food and relax a bit. There was a great restaurant very close to our hotel with awesome Bloody Marys. The best part was, they were made with Uncle Dougie's Bloody Mary Mix. Jesse's uncle Doug passed away a couple years ago, so we knew the drink was meant to be :)
If you visit Chicago and plan to do a lot of sight-seeing, I recommend staying on Michigan Ave. We stayed in the 300 block and could walk to pretty much everything we wanted to see. In fact, we just happened to stumble upon Millennium Park on our first night. It was just a couple blocks from the hotel!

Of course we had to get a selfie with the Bean :)

Stop back tomorrow to hear all about Navy Pier!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Friday Features - Chicago

As I mentioned in my last post, I was going to be away from my shop and blog for a while. The reason...we went to Chicago!! I still have several pictures to go through and edit. So for now, I'm leaving you with some fun Chicago themed Etsy finds that sum up our trip.
Skyline Canvas
 One of my favorite things about Chicago is the skyline. As a country girl, I don't get to see skylines very often, so it was a nice site :)

Ferris Wheel Pillow
One of our favorite parts of our trip was the day we spent at Navy Pier. Loved the Ferris wheel!

Chicago Flag Pint Glass
And we stopped at several local pubs to have a drink or two while walking the streets site-seeing.

AC/DC Poster
And the main reason for our trip was to see AC/DC at Wrigley Field!

And I got to meet up with 2 other Etsy/Blogger friends!! I can't wait to tell you all about it and share my photos!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Life Lately

As it seems to be the routine this summer, I took another blog break while things were crazy busy around here! My parents got here on the 22nd and we celebrated 3 birthdays within that time. My grandma turned 85, my grandpa turned 86 and Jesse turned 39 (the big 4-0 next year!).

We also got in tons of boating and even a little camping. We took Harley for a long weekend up to some timber that Jesse's family owns. I think it was the best weekend of his life! He even got to be off his leash out there, which never happens at home.

I spent quite a bit of time with my parents, of course. My mom and I picked up the new seats for my Rambler and I can't wait to see them in the car! It's in for paint right now, so I should have it back in about a month to get the new carpet put in and the seats will go in then as well.

My dad and I spent a day together tearing apart the car to prep it for paint. We took off the bumpers, trim and all other metal to help get it ready.

My mom and I also had a girls' day in the city eating out and getting our nails done. (of course, mine are pink).
And we got to take my parents out for a day on the boat as well. It was so fun getting to bring them along and show them what we do for fun all summer :)

We wrapped up the weekend with some Labor Day festivities. My town always has a big celebration for Labor Day complete with a carnival, kids games, flea market and parade.

I would say that things should be getting back to normal, but life is anything but normal right now. I've been playing catch up the last couple of days to get all my orders finished up as my shop will be closed from Sept. 11th - Sept. 16th. More on that in a couple weeks!
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