Friday, July 30, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Seriously?!? Who wouldn’t want something free, that they supposedly love, with no strings attached or any catches? Well, apparently they’re out there!
Back in May my parents had a community yard sale, and I went over and participated with them. Since I now have a handmade craft shop on Artfire, I thought the yard sale would be a good way to promote it. So I decided to do a real live giveaway – anyone that was interested could sign up on a list to win a free pair of earrings. I had a specific design picked out for the earrings, but I was leaving color choice up to the winner – semi-custom! I would then either drop them off to the winner’s house, meet them somewhere to hand them off, or even ship them at no cost to the winner once they were completed. I managed to get 6 interested ladies to sign up, and picked a winner that night with a computerized random number picker that my hubby created for me with his programming skills (because at the time, neither he or I knew about random.org). I e-mailed those that left their e-mail addresses to let them know they didn’t win, but if they were still interested in anything they could browse my online shop, and I called the winner to let her know she won and find out what color beads she wanted. I had to leave a message for her, and finally got in contact with her almost a week later. She told me she wanted something along the turquoise and silver scheme, and when I told her I could have them completed in a day or two since I had to go buy the beads, she said she would be too busy that weekend to collect them. This was also the same week/weekend that hubby and I were going to his parents for his brother’s college graduation. So, I wasn’t able to complete them before we left, but did get them finished later the following week. I called her back on Memorial Day to let her know they were finished and figure out how to get them to her. She actually answered, and as soon as I said who was calling (“Hi, this is Steph calling about the earrings you won”), she gave me a very rude, short response of “Today’s not a good day, call back on Tuesday.” CLICK! I know it was a holiday, but wow, I couldn’t believe that response! I’m calling to give you something free, that I designed specifically to your liking, and that’s how you respond to my call?!? But, I did call her back that Tuesday, and again had to leave a message… Needless to say, I haven’t heard from her since! I’m very torn here – I feel as though I shouldn’t have to try sooo hard to give away something free to someone, but at the same time, from a business standpoint, I feel like it doesn’t look good on my part to “give up'” and not communicate with possible future buyers. But at this point now, is it really worth my time and energy on this one person who probably won’t even remember the earrings or the yard sale where she signed up?? BTW – this is the pair of earrings created for her:
For my first giveaway, where the item cost and such was coming out of my own pocket, I didn’t pick one of my more costly items, but I think they’re still pretty, and FREE! The woman said she absolutely loves earrings – she even reminded me of the pair that she bought at the yard sale (one of my old prefabricated, store bought pairs that I was just trying to get rid of).
So, here I am, stuck with a pair of packaged up earrings created to this woman’s specifications, and no response from her. At this point, I feel it’s too late to see if one of the other people that signed up wants them, especially since the point of the giveaway was semi-custom made, and these are the colors winner #1 chose for herself.
What would you do in this instance? How would you handle it, would it bother you as much as it has bothered/offended me? Have you ever had a giveaway winner sign up for your freebie and then not want it?
Really, I ask again – who wouldn’t want free stuff?!?
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Well, actually, yesterday was my birthday, but we were gone most of the day and I was exhausted when we were finally home at night. Don’t mind the droopy icing – it was a hot day and the cake spent some time in a hot car so until I got to take the pic, it got a little droopy (kind of like my eyes last night too!).
We started off the morning going to the Shady Maple Smorgasbord for breakfast. It’s this huge buffet place in Lancaster, and when you go on your birthday, you get your meal for free! :) I love their breakfast buffet, especially the made-to-order pancake grill. Best pancakes ever – I get the cinnamon chips only, but you name it, and they will probably be able to make it! After that, we spent some time in the gift shop, and then headed to another little shopping area called Kitchen Kettle Village. I love going there and sampling all the goodies in the food shops and looking at all the little trinkets and souvenirs. I even got a birthday present from hubby while we were there! :) It caught his eye first, he thought I would like it, and showed it to me, and I ended up bringing it home:
I don’t think jewelry has to be full of diamonds or super expensive or come from a fancy schmancy jeweler to be beautiful…this certainly doesn’t fit any of the categories above, and I think it’s one of the prettiest necklaces I have ever owned. :) So, after walking around for too long in flip flops that weren’t made for extended walking (funniest moment of the day: I ended up losing one through a set of steps going up to the second floor of one of the shops – it literally fell through the steps back down to the first floor, and hubby had to retrieve it for me…thankfully it didn’t land on anyone’s head or break any merchandise!), and eating so much junk from the buffet and then sampling the goodies at the village, we left with this necklace and a really yummy looking loaf of cheese bread (haven’t even sampled that yet, but looking forward to eating some later!), and started to head for home…that is until my mom asked me the one question I couldn’t resist saying yes to (much to hubby’s dismay) – did I want to stop at the Flower and Craft Warehouse? OF COURSE!!! Imagine the biggest craft and gift store you have ever been to, with reduced prices! Needless to say, I came home from there with some new beads and jewelry supplies, and a wooden coaster set to decorate for a new project. I hope to get to the jewelry this week, because I bought seashell/beachy beads, and since I’m going on vacation very soon, I’d like to wear it then (so look for pictures later this week). Finally, we made one last stop in Lancaster at a local farmer’s stand for some fresh picked produce, stopped for the cake on the way home, and came home for a short while to decide on dinner. We ended up at a little sandwich shop here that hubby and I had never been to, but my dad loves because they brought back the famous “Reading Fair Mushrooms”. Now we’re in trouble, because even though we haven’t been eating so great recently, we are still trying to eat better, and this place is now my hubby’s favorite local sandwich shop. It’s called Oliver’s Place, and mainly serves your typical sub shop fare, but they have a few items that intrigued us, and were absolutely delicious! We split and shared a wrap filled with prosciutto, salami, provolone, tomato, lettuce and onion and a panini made with fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, tomato, and pesto. The fries were some of the best fries I have ever gotten from a place like that, and it was a nice little place. Nothing fancy or especially spectacular, but had a nice 50’s diner feel with very nice people. I’m sure we will definitely end up back there more times than our Wii Fit would appreciate. (If you live in the Reading area – go there! It’s delicious!) Finally, we ended up at my grandmother’s place to eat the cake, play a couple Wii games, and come home exhausted and way too full of junk. Overall, it was a pretty good day! :)
Friday, July 16, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
I have definitely been more motivated this week, in the crafting department anyway. I haven’t finished a whole lot of anything yet, but I’ve at least been working on things a little, which is certainly a lot more than other weeks recently! So, here are some of my accomplishments this week so far:
I booked our vacation to Ocean City, MD last night. We are going to get away and relax for my hubby's 30th birthday! We’ve never been there before, and I’m extremely excited to go. We have been on a couple overnight stays or weekend getaways (2 actually – NYC overnight for our 1 year wedding anniversary, and Baltimore for a weekend in Nov. 2007) since our honeymoon, but no real extended vacation since then. We’re not big ocean swimmers or anything, but it will be nice to just relax on the beach with books, take walks along the ocean, and just have nothing real to worry about for a whole 5 days.
I bought metallic silver spray paint. I had started to decorate a wedding themed photo frame over a year ago. The idea was to paint it silver, then use white ribbons, stencil some white words, and throw in some of the double heart charms I bought for a few projects from my own wedding somewhere on there too. I bought a better frame than my Snowflake Photo Frame, sanded it all down, and began painting it with silver acrylic paint. I can’t even remember how many coats I was up to with the acrylic paint, and it still isn’t smooth or consistent enough for my likings. I thought the spray paint would work better, but I was a little nervous about the silver part – the acrylic looked nice, and I was afraid the spray paint would look tacky. So, this week, I sprayed over the frame with the new paint. I like the silver look, but it’s still not quite smooth enough for me in some areas, so I’m going to have to re-sand and re-paint. I was going to do that today, but I prefer to do it in my garage with the door open, and it was extremely rainy, then extremely humid today, so I didn’t think the paint would dry very well. Hoping to get to that tomorrow.
I made myself a new earring/necklace set! I had some beads I bought a while back that I hadn’t done anything with yet, and I was finally motivated to create something with them today. It’s my favorite set so far! :) I’m calling it “Blue Beach”. It’s made from 2 different sized white shell beads and round light sapphire shell beads. My birthday on Saturday motivated me to create it, because I want to wear it that day and feel pretty. :) The upcoming beachy vacation was also a good kick in the butt too – I like to take all my pretty clothes and jewelry with me on vacation, it makes me feel even better. Here it is:
I found this new way of photographing my jewelry from looking at other people’s online shops and blogs, and I am so much happier with the result of my pictures this time. I even had the perfect dishes for this particular set! (Sandbar from Pfaltzgraf) This specific set is mine for keeping, but as long as the beads are still available, I will definitely be adding it to my Artfire site! So, guess what that means? Craft store, here I come!
I’m hoping to be able to at least finish all the silver painting on the frame tomorrow now, and work on some sachets for a friend who requested I help her make them for Christmas gifts. I haven’t tackled them yet because my
very old and decrepit free sewing machine that I got from my parents started to give me trouble last time I used it. I almost broke the needle a couple times because the tension has decided to turn on me and not loosen up, so I may now need to take my grandmother up on her offer of giving me her old sewing machine, which is certainly in better condition than the one sitting here collecting dust now. Hopefully I will at least be able to start on them this week yet – I also have to make some jewelry that my other grandmother requested for a birthday gift for her friend (yet another excuse for a craft store trip!).
It might not seem like much to some of you crafters out there, but the rate I’ve been going lately, these are huge accomplishments for me!
Monday, July 12, 2010
So, hubby has a lot of vacation time, not including the days he can carry over into next year, and has been told he better start figuring out when to take it. His birthday is coming up in about 2.5 weeks, and he has been saying he needs a vacation. The problem with this is in order for it to be a real, relaxing, fun vacation, we actually should go somewhere – hubby works from home now, so just taking a week off and sitting around the house isn’t much of a true vacation. We’re missing out on a beach vacation this year that we would have taken in August, since the twirling group I teach with isn’t doing their annual performance trip to Wildwood this year, and even though neither of us are much of a beach-goer, I was a little disappointed that I wouldn’t get to take that trip this year. So, I thought about trying to find a beach destination that would have enough other stuff for us to be occupied with, that was affordable, and that we could book for the week of his birthday, which is very fast approaching now. We’ve pretty much settled on Ocean City, MD, since there is also Assateague nearby and the town has free activities almost nightly. I have never been there before though, since I missed my senior week trip in high school for my dance recital, so I don’t know anything about the area, the hotels, the boardwalk, the dining, etc. I think I might have found a good hotel deal, but looking at all the different available hotels and packages offered, I feel overwhelmed! So, I’m hoping to get this all booked within the next two days – have any of you been there, have any recommendations, tips, info about parking, dining, etc.? Feel free to comment and let me know!
I also went to a craft show on Saturday to see my friend who was set up selling her handmade bags, purses, pillows, and other sewing crafts (she doesn’t have a website yet, but is looking into it now with some suggestions from me (: ). I did buy a purse from her (very cute little hand tote that’s blue and white striped with some silver sequin accents – sorry no picture at this time), and after walking around, got a few other ideas for some new crafts to add to my craft menagerie (don’t know if I used an appropriate term there, but it sounds great to me!). I also realized that I’ve been in a craft slump lately, and haven’t started or finished any projects in weeks! This prompted some motivation to get things done and accomplished this week. I have a very puny collection for sale on my Artfire site, and even though I have yet to sell an item, I have a few projects already started, a few that need starting, a few projects that I was asked to make as gifts for people (no income though – just materials reimbursed or given for free) and lots of new ideas that I’d love to buy supplies for and get started, and I’d love to add to my shop on there. I wanted to start a “Scrapbook Saturday” post to motivate myself to work on my personal scrapbooks that have to be finished, and haven’t done that yet either. Overall, last week was pretty blah I guess – I didn’t do much of anything, and I didn’t even post much of anything on here. Now I’m motivated to get things done this week – here’s hoping for some productivity! I’ll try to update on my progress this week!
Friday, July 9, 2010
Sunday, July 4, 2010
I hope everyone had (or is still having) a happy and safe 4th of July! We had an impromptu get together at our house today, something I hadn’t planned on before, but it was very nice. My dad basically said to me the other day, “I bought some steaks – do you want to grill them on Sunday?”. So, I said if we were going to do that, we might as well open up the invitation to the rest of the family. We ended up with my parents, my aunt and uncle, and one of my grandmothers. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and their dinner. It was my second time using the grill! And apparently, I’m 2 for 2 – everyone said everything came out very good. :) It’s somewhat of a pain to clean though, because stuff gets burned on, and since it’s porcelain coated, I can’t use certain things to clean the grates. Any of you have porcelain coated grill racks with some easy and safe cleaning tips? Please let me know! Anyway, back to the awesome food (which my Wii Fit might not be happy with tomorrow again…oh well): NY strip steaks marinated in balsamic and roasted onion marinade, corn on the cob, baked potatoes (made on the grill), salad, and cantaloupe and strawberries with FF Cool Whip for dessert! I also made drumsticks coated with light BBQ sauce for my aunt – didn’t get to try them yet, but I have leftovers. :)
Now onto some nostalgic stuff…hubby and I have gone to the Point Pleasant, NJ 4th of July fireworks for the last 2 years. That is one of the best fireworks shows I have seen (other than Disney, of course, which is THE best!). The one thing I really enjoyed living in NJ…being only 15 minutes from Point Pleasant, and going on the 4th to walk around, eat at Martell’s, pig out on junkie boardwalk food, watch the awesome fireworks, and grab the biggest waffles and ice cream I’ve ever eaten before heading back home. So, since I couldn’t be there this year, here are some favorite shots from last year:
Happy 4th of July!
Friday, July 2, 2010
Thursday, July 1, 2010
My five “happy’s” for the week:
- The baton twirling group I was a member of from the ages of 5-26, and now help out as an instructor, had a performance tonight. I didn’t get to watch much of the show, but I was helping out with the behind-the-scenes and “stage crew” stuff, and that feels good. It gives me a sense of feeling useful and accomplished.
- I got to see my athletic training mentor at the show tonight too! I haven’t seen her in at least 4 years, and I didn’t really get the chance to go have a conversation with her, but I found her on Facebook, sent a friend request and a message, and maybe we can get her adorable little girl to give the group a try and sign up! I was nervous to see her before, when we first moved back to the area, since I’m not in the sports medicine field anymore, but I have come to terms with my life and decisions, and I don’t feel so nervous to talk to her now.
- I will be collaborating on a new baton routine with another instructor for some of the newer members (high school age group), and I am super excited to start that (as well as very appreciative for the opportunity)! I’m not used to working with that age group for a group routine, but they are good girls and eager to learn, so I think they will end up with a great routine and will shine in the shows just like all the other members. I’ve been helping out in practices as needed, but haven’t had the chance to really be creative since I came back, and now I have that opportunity. :)
- It was a beautiful day today – warm, but not sweltering, with a very nice breeze. It’s the first time I’ve had my AC off in a little over a week, and it’s nice to be able to feel comfortable while saving energy. My hubby has off tomorrow to go to an appointment with me, and is off on Monday for the holiday as well (even though it’s really on Sunday)!
- My Topsy Turvy tree is finally starting to produce some produce! LOL, sorry, had to go there… I have quite a few plum tomatoes started, there’s a few flowers blooming on the zucchini plant, and I have one pepper started with a bunch more developing flowers. I had to spray it for bugs the other day, because my herbs were starting to look like swiss cheese, so I can’t use any of the herbs for another 2 weeks now, but I’m happy to see less destruction and no more bugs!
As you can see, most of my happy’s this week pertained to the twirling group. I missed being a part of it so much while I lived in NJ, and being back has felt good. This week especially felt great! This is a post all about happiness, so I will only speak of that part of this week. I did receive some bad news at the beginning of the week, but it’s definitely not something open for discussion or comments on here, so I’m concentrating on all the good things from this week, as that’s what this post is all about!
Hope everyone has a fun-filled 4th of July weekend planned!