Saturday, December 30, 2017

New Year , New Me.....

Hello Friends,

It seems I have abandoned this blog since April 2016!!! Shame on me!!! What can I tell you, I have been overwhelmingly busy.

I should take a minute to reflect on what has occurred since then.... Well, I am still  working at the hotel, I am still caring for my parents, Dad is now 87, and says hello every Saturday via my Facebook pictures, Mom is now 75, still in the wheelchair unfortunately, but sewing up a storm and trying to garden where she can.

Keith has been working for Harbor Freight for about a year and a half. He seems to like it, and wishes they would give him more hours. 

I still try and papercraft where I can. I did not get the Christmas cards completed this year.  Just over scheduled myself- like normal- and something had to give.

In March I joined LulaRoe as a retailer, and had some mild success. I have taken a break from my sales, since summer because my work life becomes hectic. Along the way, the company made some changes that were difficult for me to weather. I am still active with Lularoe, but not Actively selling currently. I want to keep the door open, as I put a lot of time, energy and $ into it, but currently, I'm not feeling it. I still love the clothes, and wear them daily, I just need a break, from everything really.

That is the feeling of 2017 for me- exhaustion. We had the best revenue year ever at the hotel, the daily needs of my family don't seem to slow down, and well... I turned 50 this year. It just takes more energy for me to accomplish everything. I feel genuinely blessed every day, for all of the things I have in my life, my family, friends, work I enjoy, and I also feel really tired, a lot.

So as I was organizing and cleaning the house today, I was thinking about how I can make 2018 a better year for me and my family.  I need to reduce stress, my doctor says, and I have made a lot of positive changes in 2017- I am now dairy free for 3 months- and there have been great benefits in how I feel. I also started acupuncture treatments, for stress and pain management. It's all helping, but I need to dig out the root of the problem to have a more healthful year. For me, that is stress, and the #1 culprit is financial stress.  With a brand new year facing me, I decided to face everything and rise, instead of Flee everything and run, which I have been too quick to do.

I have been trying to buy the house we rent since summer. It seems to be one setback after another, and none of it moves very fast. I expect to complete the transaction in January, but it will take some lifestyle adjustments to be able to enjoy this major milestone.

So- today , I made a budget. I have set up my coupon organization, and I have set some goals. There are few places in my budget where I can actually save money. Groceries is one place for sure. I went back and watched a lot of couponers, housewife financial planners, and such on YouTube. I came up with a basic plan, and then cleaned the house. I always like to start things fresh. Plus today it is snowing in NJ, so I took advantage of being housebound.

My goal is to save $200 in January,  I figure, I have to start somewhere.   My first project will be to make a coupon envelope to take to the stores with me.  I plan on doing this over on Ustream at about 4pm EST. I used to love to craft online with all of you.   So if you are interested in my 2018 New Year , New Me journey, I promise I will attempt to detail it on the blog, and hopefully have a stamping project or two along the way.

Happy New Year!

Hugs,
Laurel

Monday, April 4, 2016

Card Kit Divas - Facebook Swap group

Hello Friends,

 The feedback I have received from the Address Tag swap, has been great! I am so happy that everyone enjoyed receiving their tags. If I could ask a favor? If you have received your tags, please put a comment on the address tag post here on my blog. Just trying to keep up on who has received so far.

 Over the weekend, we were treated to a Ustream from the lovely Julia, sharing her Secret Sister Swap box from Robin. So many beautiful things, Robin did an awesome job! We all were chatting as we do, and Julia mentioned it would be fun to have a card kit swap. So, we created a facebook group for just that. It is a secret group, so if you want to be in the swap, it is a monthly commitment until the end of the year. You have to be invited to the group. We are taking signups until 4/15/16. Just let Julia or I know and we will add you.

 Here are the basics:

 A2 size card, you make one kit per participant each month. We recommend you make a card design for the theme of the month, take a picture of it, and upload it to your gallery on the group. This way when the swappers receive your card kit, they can have a point of reference for what you designed.

 Card Kits need to be mailed to me to be received by the end of each month. I will swap them out and mail back to be received by the 15th of the following month.

 If your card design, contains die cuts, you should include them in the kit. Likewise for stamped images. Basically, the recipient, should only need a basic class kit to complete, i.e. paper trimmer, ruler, adhesive, scissors, foam dots etc.

 If you are international, please join us! I will send you a PayPal invoice for your postage on a monthly basis. Domestic folks, please include the self addressed Stamped Envelope with your monthly submission. Postage should be the same amount to return to you plus $1.00.

 Here is my address:

 Laurel DeViney
 4 Hartford Drive
 Egg Harbor Township, NJ 08234 USA

 Here are the monthly themes:

 April: Birthday

 May: Thinking of you/Get Well

 June:Summer

 July: Christmas

 August: Funny

 September: Sympathy

 October: Thank you/ Gratitude

 November: Friendship

 December: Congratulations

 Please design a card to suit the theme. It can be anything within the theme, get creative! Then create a card kit for each swap participant.

 If you would like to be added to the group, please send me your Facebook Name, and I will add you! Please send requests to ldeviney@comcast.net. Please include your contact details: e-mail, snail mail address, international- proper PayPal e-mail address.

 Thank you all so much!
 Hugs,
 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Address Tag Swap update

Hello Friends,

 Just wanted to pop in and give you all an update on the Address tag swap. I think I have received them all. We wound up with 15 in the swap. I have completed swapping them out, and will be mailing them out this weekend.

 I have been working on a little gift for the participants that I will finish after a supply comes in on Thursday, then it's off to the post office. So watch your e-mail for Paypal invoices for postage if you are international. I think you will love the tags, so really beautiful.

 Thank you all for participating!

 Hugs,
 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Address Tag Swap Details- Sign ups closed as of 2/3/16.


Thank you for signing up for the Address Tag Swap!

 We have 17 participants.  You will need to make 16 Address Tags to send in for the Swap. If you want one for yourself please make 17.  All tags do not have to be the same.  Your details should be on the tag and include: Name, Mailing Address, Screen Name, Birthday  ( Month , Day) at a minimum, but you may also want to include blog address, etc. If you did not comment on this post, then you are not in the swap. I tried to be as specific as possible, and yet I still received tweets, and no blog comments.  17 is the final number. For this round I will not make any additions, it is too hard to track. :) Sorry......

Please have your tags in the mail to me by 3/1/16.  Kindly send me an e-mail once they have gone postal.  International participants, please make sure I have your e-mail address attached to your Paypal account, as I will send a PayPal invoice to you for your return postage.

My Address for mailing:

Laurel DeViney
4 Hartford Drive
Egg Harbor Township, NJ 08234
USA


Happy Swapping!!!!
- Laurel



Hello Friends,
What a difference a few months makes! I was just reading my last post, and since that time, I have unpacked, and set up my new studio, moved my entire family into the new house, and weathered the holidays. Right now, as I type Blizzard Jonas, has left about 14" of snow outside my front door.

It is all a blessing. We are warm , safe and dry, well fed, and together. I cannot ask for any thing more.

So , I managed to watch a few streams lately, and many people seem to be address collecting, or updating their address books.Whilst unpacking, I found the rolodex swap cards from a few years ago. I personally, was looking for an easier way to keep track of everyone's details, including their birthdays. So , I came up with an idea. Why not have everyone create a tag, complete with their details, and send it in as a swap. Today on Ustream we sorted out the details and the Address Tag swap was born. Here are the particulars:

If you want to sign up, please do so by leaving a comment on this post, and ALSO please send me an e-mail: ldeviney@comcast.net. There are many new folks in the group and I may not have your contact info.
I will take sign -ups until 2/1/16. If you would like to participate, here are the ground rules:

1. I am not your referee. If you do not want someone who signs up for the swap to have your contact details, than you must bow out of the swap. I do not want to be put in a position where anyone is uncomfortable. 
2. If you sign up, and then flake, I will not send you any swaps. If you send in, you will receive.
3. Please create a #8 size tag. This is the same tag on the Tim Holtz tag die. The dimensions are 3"w x 6"tall. The tag does have a hole centered at the top.  This will become important, because we intend to create rings of tags with our crafty friends details. If you need tags, please let me know, and I am glad to cut them for you out of cardstock.  Postage is up to you.
4. Once we get the total number of sign ups, I will post here how many tags to make.  I recommend keeping the tag as flat as possible, and enclose your details on the back, is an option. In a concise manner, ( computer text is recommended) Please include the following information at a minimum:
Name, Screen Name, Mailing Address, Email Address, Birthday- Day and Month only, and your name or screen name on any social media sites you are on.

You are welcome to include any other information you choose, re: blog address, Craft related Sales sites, Phone numbers, or anything else. Just remember, you are willfully releasing that information to the group.

You will have until 3/1/16 to get the swap in to me.  I will swap them out, and distribute back to you within a few days.  You need to include the following in your package to me: 1. A SASE- A Self Addressed Stamped Envelope. 2. Your completed Tags.  Please place enough postage on your SASE to cover the postage back to you. Whatever it cost you to mail it to me, it should be the same going back to you. International folks, I will send you a PayPal invoice for the postage, once I have completed the swap.  The size of the SASE will be determined by how many participants we have. If it gets to large, I may split us up into groups and do 2 rounds.  The original thought was the tags could fit in a #10 business envelope, but if interest is high, this may turn into a 6x9 manila.

On a  few upcoming Ustream shows I will be working on the covers for our address tag rings. You are welcome to follow along, or create something else to place them on.  Most folks in the discussion, were thinking of placing them on binder rings, and they should be made of cardstock. You can lightly back  them if you want, but to keep the weight down, cardstock is best.

My Address for mailing:

Laurel DeViney
4 Hartford Drive
Egg Harbor Township, NJ 08234
USA


I hope you will join us for the fun. Tag! You're It!

Hugs,

 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Happy Holidays and a new home

Hello Friends,

 Its been a few months, I know. Been busy packing! and now I am happy to say we are in our new home.

 We managed to get the old house packed up.  It was a literal game of beat the clock, we made it through. POD was moved to new home last week, and today with some help of some dear friends, we managed to clear the garage, and unload the POD.

 My parents move in this weekend. So we are in the home stretch. We found a beautiful home, large enough for all of us

. A wonderful Thanksgiving was had by all. We are looking forward to a small family Christmas, lots of togetherness, and a few gifts. but it is all about being together

. I never thought it would happen, and it is so hard but we are getting there.

 I hope all of your dreams come true this holiday season.
 Hugs,

 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Blue Skies and grateful for literally everything

Hello Friends!

 It has been a long Summer, and a lot of turmoil in my life. I am happy to report perseverance pays off! If you follow my blog, than you already know of my family struggles. Glad to say, Dad's health is pretty good. He still requires monitoring and a lot of assistance, but the good days out weigh the bad ones lately. :)

 I don't know when I decided to pursue a potential rental home for the entire family, but I am sure glad I did. I have been researching the real estate listings for purchase or rental for about 3 years. As I still have some financial burden to clear up, and the the new pressures of my parents lease ending 12/31/15, I guess a light bulb went off. I was extremely fortunate to find a 5 bedroom, 4 bath home, with a first floor bedroom and full bathroom ( My Mom requires this), on the third day it was listed for rent. Keith and I got in to see it, and immediately knew this would suit everyone with very few changes. We wrangled the family and wound up getting my Mom in to see it, and she was as impressed. I filled out the application on the spot. About a week later, I got to meet the owner. He is a wonderful family oriented gentleman, who I feel really cares. This week I pay the deposits, and it will be available 11/1/15 for us to move in.

 I opted to rent for a few reasons. Primarily I may not need a house so large in five years. With careful planning, I should be able to clear my financial burdens, and be in a better position to purchase a smaller home, when the time comes. The other reason, is to attempt to purchase a home of this size now, may make it more difficult to sell in the future, and certainly cost more than I want to spend at present.

 So now the panic sets in, and all of the work. I have begun packing up my craft room, and I am so happy I will have one in the new place. I am taking all suggestions for packing up supplies and designing organized spaces! The new room is off the Master bedroom, sort of an office space that is 18 x 12.

 The new place has a fabulous basement as well, Keith is planning to put up his pool table and make a great men's den. We plan on converting the formal living room to my Mother's sewing room.

 There is a nice sized room with a full bathroom adjoined for Bob, and we plan on taking the other 2 bedrooms and making my father his own room, and a guest room/office in the other.

 Now it is time to pack up all of the things from our house, and get ready to shift it over. Such a task! I keep thinking positively, and I know that we can do it!

 Thank you to all who have given me support and friendship over this difficult time!

 I can see blue skies and I am so grateful for everything and everyone in my life right now!

Hugs,
    

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Update

Hello dear friends,
I try to keep this blog clear of problems, and art focused, but my life dictates differently lately, so I thought I would try and answer all the questions I have been getting recently regarding family life. I saw my friend Paula Journal Artista put it all out there recently, so I thought a little honesty might help.

As many of you know, my Dad took very ill in April. He has congestive heart failure, needs a valve replacement, and has been deemed too high risk to undergo a surgery. He also was told he does not have long to live. As he is always the underdog who beats the odds when it comes to health care, we have been providing him support care, with daily visits, chores, medication monitoring etc. He has good days and bad days. Days where he remembers everything, and days where he does not know what day it is. It is a difficult struggle, and I have become his parent which is even more difficult to bear. My Mom is still fighting her diabetes, and remains in a wheelchair. This limits her ability to help out with Dad. Add to that the fact that they no longer drive, and have been married 51 years, and you get the picture. They get no break from each other, as Dad needs monitoring all the time.
My job is as stressful as ever. Summer at the shore is a time where millions of dollar are at stake, literally, so I am a working fiend May-Sept.  A typical day is 12 hours, and most of it on my feet, which hurt a lot most of the time.


My darling Keith, still struggles to find work, as in our area with casinos closing, and foreclosure rates skyrocketing, there is no work. I am grateful he helps out with my parents.
We have a friend, who recently lost his mother,  as well as her home where he lived , who has moved in with us. He also was let go from his job not long after he buried his mother, and work is not available.
Depression is always knocking at my door, but I just don't have time to entertain it. I am the only source of income for  for my family aside from. my parents retirement income which does not go far enough.
I have long felt the solution would be to buy a bigger home, move my parents into it with all of us. I even found the perfect place. Then I started down the road to finance. So very difficult, as when you have been carrying others, for literal years, you tend to amass some debt.
Selling our current house is not an option, as we are in foreclosure. Not in my name, but in Keith's.
I have called in every avenue I can to be able to pay off my debt, and then I am told I can become financed.It just is not enough money. I am selling off my art supplies, (see former post) at a deep discount, and I managed to raise $50.
It is a daunting, depressing task.
I feel as though , I am playing beat the clock with my father's health, and the answer is to buy a home where we can all be together, and he can be comfortable.
I just want to do this one thing for them, and there are road blocks at every turn.
I have spoken to many professionals, in finance, and there just are no easy answers. So this is my truth, and what I contend with on a daily basis. This is why I have vanished from all of my art work, and online friends.

If you would like to help I set up a Go Fund Me campaign:gofundme.com/zqayt7y



I cannot thank you all enough.