The Big Chill

{Source: Via Apartment Therapy}

Why hello there. So guess what? I survived my first surgery. Crazy, huh? I guess 'em doctors do know a thing or two. Nothing to worry about. Just a little surgery-smergry.  Thank you to every one for all the well wishes! I do have to say though a funny little thing happened during  this past week of recovery. I did something I haven't done in a looooooong time.

I rested. No kidding, I slept like the dead!

It was foolish but I have to admit prior to surgery I pictured spending one day recovering in bed & the rest of the week off feverishly (but slowely & a little painfully) working away on shop orders, crafting, cleaning out closets, & yadda, yadda, yadda. After all when you have alot on your plate you have to make every free minute count, right? In reality, this is how my week went:

Get a glass of water. Take a nap.
Brush my teeth. Take a nap.
Walk down the stairs. Take a nap.
Pet the dog.Take a nap.
Pin a recipe. Take a nap.
Roll over in bed. Take a nap.

You get the point. I liked my naps this week. ALOT.

The hubby commented that perhaps my body needed the rest alot more than I realized. 
Honestly, I couldn't agree more.
So with that being said instead of jumping right back into the hustle & bustle of things this week I am going to take another week off from the bloggity-blog & hold on to that inner stillness for just a little longer.

Hope you all have a delightful week & can't wait to catch up with all you lovelies!

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My Foster Blogger & You're"Never" List

Well, my dear peeps,unfortunately, I found out this week that I will be having surgery tomorrow. It is far from brain surgery but regardless it still scares the poo out of me. Despite the hubby trying to convince me that people can't die from pre-surgery panic attacks I still decided it would be wise of me to find a back up caregiver to my blog here.  A foster blogger if you will.

So I told asked my friend, Erica, to take over incase there are monkies performing surgery on me tommorow. She seemed thrilled. Never mind the fact that Erica has never blogged in her life. All I know is that she tends to like me better on the days in which I post about food.

Any who, so this whole surgery-smergy thing had me thinking about my list of nevers. Everyone's got one right? It's that mental check list of things that you've never done or had happen to you. Of course they always include the fun bucket list like items like "I've never been to Australia" or "I've never ridden on a motorcycle".  But there are also those particular little things on your list that you've never experienced that you're actually kind of proud to brag about!  Here's mine:

Yeah, see that X through the last one? When my doc decided to break it to me that I would need surgery one of the millions of things going through my head was "Dude, you're really messing with my never list".

So what "bragging" items do you have on you're "never list"?

PS. I have a few pre-scheduled posts but will take it day by day during my recovery in regards to my blogging. So we'll see....either I will be bored out of my fricken mind & post like crazy{I don't take to bed rest very easy} or I'll be a zombie and things may be quiet around the DN for a few days.

PPS. I'm also going to apologize ahead of time for any blogging that may happen under the influence of meds.
If I say anything crazy I'll just blame it on Erica.

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Hot Diggity Dog! It's Valentine's Day.

This is what us people who don't have kids do.
We decorate our dogs.

Sianna & I wish you a delightful Valentine's Day!

Anyone have some sweet plans to celebrate?

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12 Last Minute Valentine's Treats

Tomorrow's Valentine's Day! Still looking for some sweet inspiration? Here are twelve yummy last minute treat ideas to make for your loved ones.
Chocolate Sandwhich Cookies|All You
Rice Krispies Treats|Babies,Paper and Song
Sweet & Salty Mix|Apple a Day
White-Chocolate Cherry Shortbread|Better Homes & Gardens
Sweet Heart Cupcakes|Glorious Treats
Strawberry Two Ingrediant Fudge|Cupcakes & Cups
Glass Topper Valentine Cookie|Cupcakes & Cups
Strawberry Mousse with Meringue Hearts|All You
Lovin' Spoonfuls|Disney's Family Fun
Heart Candy Dots|Martha Stewart
Heart Sandwhich|Cutest Food
Love Potion Smoothie|My Dream Sample

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Friday's Dose of Delight

Happy Friday my friends! I hope everyone has a weekend planned full of what ever it is that makes your heart content; relaxation, crafting, shopping, gator hunting. Like I said whatever makes you happy.

Here's this Friday's Dose of Delight; mini, mini round-up of two things that have inspired or delighted me this week.

Honestly, if you follow me on Facebook then you should have known this was coming! Andrea, of The Cottage Market, revealed her recently organized craft supply room & holy tamale this is like a crafter's dream!!! See all the details here & then go grab yourself a rag cause you're drooling.

Okay, okay so I fib this store, Uncommon, didn't just catch my eye this week it was actually one of the first stores I fell in love with when I first opened an Etsy account.
It's awesome, whimsical, & unique & plus the sellers are from near my hometown so fist bump on that!
Check them out here.

Hope everyone has a delightful weekend!

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12 in 2012 Progress & How to Hold Yourself Accountable

 {Goals Clipboard from Decoy Lab}

If you're ever struggling at holding yourself accountable start a blog. There are no penalties or readers who are going to threaten you with wedgies & swirlies if you miss your goals. Truth be told, the motivation to be more accountable for yourself is behind the fact that you shared your goals with the "world" & who likes to report back that they've accomplished absolutely nothing? Not me! Not interested in blogging? Then I suggest writing your goals down on a piece of paper & then giving it to that one person in your life who is annoying & nagging & likes to remind you over every extra large milkshake how you said this was the year you were going to chanel your inner Giselle...swimsuit & all. Nah...see blogging about it sounds soooo much more fun doesn't it?

So as some of you know I'm participating in Live Delightfully's 12 in 2012 series in which I am blogging about 12 various goals I set for myself for the year 2012.

Instead of making excuses {spent most of the month of January in bed with some form of some kind of flu...stomach flu, cold flu, lazy flu, etcetera} for every goal I have not started on. Today I will just be sharing the few goals
I have made progress with.

-Lose 5lbs by March 31st -Since I was sick most of January I got a great start on this goal. See, there's always a silverlining. I've also been making it point not to eat until I feel like barfing & more to the point of putting the fork down when I'm semi-satisfied. I did drop between 2-3lbs but I'm pretty sure I just gained it all back over Super Bowl Sunday.

-Read the full "Twilight" series & then watch all the movies- I've made it through the first 2 books & movies. Let's just say I'd be okay with just reading the novels & skipping the movies. Anyone else familiar with Twilight series & agree with me? 

-Organize all of our home's closets-Three down & like a bajillion more to go. I'm afraid by time I finish them all the first ones done will be a disaster again. You vicious little cycle.

-Design & introduce a new stationery line-
So I've got a new product idea I've been wanting to introduce & actually spent a little time this past weekend thinking it through & researching some materials for it. That's progress, right?

-Start a Delightfully Noted newsletter- Does it count if I've signed up for some newsletters in order to get an idea & be inspired for designing my own format? We're talking baby steps here people.

-Prioritize my time better- They say even the small things count! In the past few weeks I've really been working hard on limiting the amount of time I allow myself to work on orders. I have a bad habit of coming home from my day time job & then working till bed time. I know my customer's appreciate speedy service but there's no need to feel like I have to complete all orders within minutes from receiving it. This standard I set for myself was begining to consume me & I was leaving very little time for other things in my life. Now I set an internal time for myself & when the clock strikes whatever is done is done. I walk away. What's the worse that can happen if an order has to wait till the next day? I'm still providing prompt service & my customers are still happy.

How are you doing on your goals for the year, month, or week? Have any tips on how to stay focused on the goals you want to achieve? Please do share!

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Opening an Etsy Shop: Top Ten Things You Should Do to Get Started

Bravo!You've decided to take the leap of faith & open up your own Etsy shop. But before you list that first item here's a round-up of the 10 most important things I believe you can do in order to prepare yourself for a successful on-line experience:

Read, Read, Read
Knowledge is power. There is no such thing as too much reading when it comes to running your own shop. There is a wealth of information available to you on the internet. Use it! Prior to opening Delightfully Noted I spent three months reading anything & everything related to Etsy & the handmade world. You'll be amazed at the knowledge you will gain from sites such as the Etsy blog & forums, Handmadeolgy, Handmade Success, & Oh My! Handmade just name a few.
{Creativity Print from Life's A Journal}
Create A Name For Yourself
Choosing a shop name is fun but it's also probally one of the most important things you'll do for your business. You want something that reflects your shop's style, is memorable, easy to pronounce, & most importantly can be picked up by the search engines. However, before you settle on a monikor make sure to check for any legalities such as trademarked words or stores with similar shop names. You can research trademarked words & phrases by visiting the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website.

Check'em Out
Whether you plan on selling handmade cards, jewelry, or vintage purses I recommend perusing the shops of other sellers in the same category. Find out what's hot? What is & isn't selling?Are your item's prices going to be competitive? This exercise isn't for you to copy other sellers because let's face it as Ingrid Bergman once said "Be yourself. The world worships the original". You may find after browsing other similiar shops that there's a niche that isn't being filled. Maybe you sell soap. There are a TON of soap sellers in the world but maybe you notice no one is marketing to the individuals with sensitive skin. There you go, now your inspired!

Make it Legit
Don't let the legal issues behind selling online intimidate you! In most cases the paperwork required to obtain a business license & sales tax ID is really quite simple to fill out. The laws & sales taxes vary from state to state so I encourage you to contact your state & local officials to find out what is required of you. This site, Go to Great Panes, has some very helpful basic info regarding registering your business & there is also this wonderfully informative article from the Etsy blog regarding sales taxes. Before you even think about listing your first item make sure your shop is legit!

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
One of the most determing factors of how well you'll do on Etsy will be based on the quality of your product's photos. The truth is good pictures lead to sales. Good news! You don't need to have a fancy schmancy camera to take great, professional looking pictures. Dig out your camera's manual & read it {gasp!}. Learn how to use your macro setting, practice styling your photos, take pictures from different angles, & experiment with light. The best photos are taken during the day {crying out loud turn off your flash!} in a place where there is a lot of natural light. Lastly, learn how to edit your photos. Most cameras come with basic photo editing software or you can always find free services on-line. Cropping, brightness, & contrast are about the only three words that exist in my photo editing vocabulary.

Bookkeep Like Your Life Depends on It
I get it. Bookkeeping is boring but you will thank yourself later {especially when it comes to tax time!} if you start off financially organized. Plus, how else will you know if you're turning a profit if you aren't keeping accurate records on your biz?  Designate a folder or envelope for all of your paper receipts. I also find that it is efficiant to create a "folder" in your business email account to store all of your on-line invoices from places like Etsy & Paypal. Lastly, you'll want to select a bookkeeping software program {unless you're old school & choose to use a paper ledger} for tracking income & expenses. Programs such as Outright, Microsoft Excel, & Quickbooks are favorites among Etisians.

Got to Keep it Seperated
I highly recommend having a seperate bank account for your business money.  Mixing biz & personal finances in one account can become hairy & disorganized. Personally, I've been very satisfied with my ING Orange account.  There are no fees or minimums required in order to open an account with them. Even better, I can connect it to my store's Paypal account & easily transfer money between the two.

Ship Shape Shipping
Figuring out shipping for my shop was probably one of the most overwhelming parts of getting started.  Ugh, & international shipping! I practically peed my pants everytime I thought about it. I finally saw the light when I came across this article full of basic shipping tips over on Go to Great Panes. I have to also note that purchasing my own postal scale was seriously the best $30 I have invested into my business.

Show Me the Money
After registering & upgrading your Etsy account to "seller status"you are going to have set up your payment methods. There are four options in which a customer can pay you; Paypal, check, money order or "other" {typically used for gift certificate purposes}.The step-by-step guide on how to set up your payment methods can be found here in the Etsy Seller Handbook.

Stellar Store Front
So you've read until your blue in the face, you've picked a store name you love, your business is registered with the state & now you're ready to let the world see what you have to offer! It's time to set up shop & list your goodies! Make sure to create a store front that is warm,  inviting, & informative. You can accomplish this by designing an avatar & banner relective of your shop's style, filling out all of your shop's sections, writing clear & concise item descriptions, & appropriately tagging all your products. Most importantly prepare to provide your customer's with a great on-line shopping experience!

There you have it the top 10 things you should know to prepare yourself before opening your own Etsy biz! Is this all you need to know to run a successful shop? Heck no! But I believe once you have a good basic foundation other factors such as promoting, improving your tags, & search optimization are things you can learn along the way.

Are you a fellow Etisian? Anything you'd like to add? Was there anything you felt was important to know before setting up shop that I may have missed {I'm writing this while a neurotic dog has been whining at my feet for the past hour so pardon me if my brain isn't functioning at its normal level of intelligence {which is like genius level by the way}  And now she's trying to smoosh herself between an armoire & the wall. Any body want her? Annnybody? Bueller? Bueller?}?

Daydreaming about selling things on Etsy? Questions?
 Feel free to comment below or email me if you'd like!

{Introduction} The Spark Plug Series:Etsy & Small Biz Tips

As we all know there's a science behind selling handmade goods or opening your own biz. I don't anticipate, as the owner of my own online Etsy shop, to be winning any scientific achievement awards anytime soon. A matter of fact I'm quite sure there's still a lot for me to learn when it comes to selling my handmade paper goodies. On the other hand I feel that I've been able to manage a pretty steady pace of sales on Etsy, well, at least enough to keep me plenty busy between my full time day job & blogging while still hovering a little bit behind that "she's going to lose it" line.

{Art Print from Wicked Paper Co.}

Since I opened shop back in the Fall of 2010 I've experienced some of the ups & downs of running your own biz {like beating my new printer to near death at one in the morning during the holiday crunch time} & I've also have had the pleasure of developing quite a fun on-line friendship with another Etsy seller. This gal has helped me tremendously! Any time I had a silly question or just needed to vent to someone who could relate she was right there for me. I'd like to pay it forward now. So this month I'll be starting a new thing called the Spark Plug Series; a series full of tips, tutorials, & how-tos for all the small biz go-getters out there, or as I like to call them "spark plugs!" Not only do I plan on sharing what has & has not worked for me but I am super excited to open this series up to other sellers who have found success & are willing to share a secret or two with us as well! So whether you've already taken the leap & opened up your own shop or you've been daydreaming about selling your handmade jewelry or scarfs or taxidermy hamsters or what ever it is then I am hoping this series can be of some help to you!

The Spark Plug Series will be featured every other Wednesday & tomorrow we're starting off at the bottom {or top depending on how you look at it}; the top things to know before opening up shop!  If you're already an Etisian or small biz online seller I'd love for you to stop by as well & share what may have worked for you or things you wish you knew before you took that leap of faith.

See you on the flip side.

PS. If there are certain topics you'd like to discuss in this series please let me know in the comments below or feel free to send me an email!

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Simple Chrysanthemum Bookmarks

For some odd reason I never seem to have bookmarks when I find that rare opportunity to jump into a novel. I'm always using those obnoxious insert cards that fall out of magazines all the time. Resourceful yes, but pretty, not exactly. This weekend I happen to be pondering over what to do with some leftover chysanthmum beads.  I am a firm believer that when one encounters a creative rut you go picking! As creative peeps how many of us can deny that we own a pile of unused craft supplies that just sit around reminding us of all the moolah we've dumped into places like Michael's & Hobby Lobby? I find inspiration is often hiding in that pile & in some severe cases stray cats are too.

As luck would have it I came across some alphabet paper clips I had purchased years ago. Ding, ding, ding....I had an idea.

Chrysanthemum bookmarks!
I just used some jewelry metal glue & adhered the chrysanthemum beads to the top part of the paper clip.

Instant bookpage glamour.

Hope everyone had a delightful Super Bowl weekend!
Any favorite commercials?
Madonna's performance...yay or ney?

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Linking here:

Friday's Dose of Delight

I don't have much to say. In case you aren't one of my FB peeps {you really should be}, instead of spending time writing up this post I got distracted & ended up spending twenty minutes going through the starting line up of Puppy Bowl VIII. This is what happens when you go hours locked up by yourself in a hotel in the middle of Iowa. So with out further adieu, here is this week's Dose of Delight; a mini round-up of things that inspired or delighted me this week!

I don't think I've ever seen Chinese soup spoons used in such a hip way! I am infatuated with this DIY wall decor found over at the The Silly Pearl blog.

Ever heard of the Knock Knock store?
It's this witty online store filled with all kinds of fun & humerous paper goods & accessories like this Social Media citation note pad. Seriously, who can't think of a person or two, or three, that couldn't use some guidance with online etiquette?

Hope you all have a delightful weekend! I can't wait to get home to my pups, my own bed, & oh yeah, the hubby. Smiles.

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DIY Personalized Lap Desk for Kids

So my first attempt at cutting vinyl with the Silhouette Cameo {aka Miss Cameo} was for this personalized lap top project for my niece's birthday.  
You may remember a few weeks ago I shared the handmade earrings & jewelry card that I created for her. Well, during Christmas, Santa brought her a lap top which I happen to know she was wishing for only because I came across her note to him while "accidentally" eating some of the cookies she had left out for him. Don't judge. Any who, I thought a personalized lap desk would be a great birthday gift to go along with her new computer.

I found this perfectly pink & girlish one at Hobby Lobby.
  After downloading a butterfly graphic from the Silhouette store I created my design on my computer & then had Miss Cameo do the printing and cutting of the vinyl. Then all that was left to do was to adhere the vinyl to the lap desk {I make this sound so simple but truthfully this was the first time I used my Silhouette & this creation was after I spent 4 hours & a lot of wine trying to figure things out...perhaps, the wine could have something to with it taking 4 hours BUT again there you go with that judging thing!}.
Even if you don't have an electric cutter you can still do this project!  There are plenty of vinyl sellers on Etsy that you can purchase personalized names or words from. I told you before I got your back!

I still plan on sharing a tutorial with tips & things I've learned on how to cut vinyl but right now it pains me to think of that night. So stay tuned.

Speaking of personalized things anyone remember the first personalized item they received as young kiddo? 
Mine was a little ballerina jewelry box!