Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas 2016

Merry Christmas to one and all!

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas.  See you in the new Year!

Friday, September 30, 2016

I'm Taking a Blogging Break

Thanks so much to everyone who has been emailing me and asking where I've been.

Sometimes life just gets busy, doesn't it?  This past summer has been one of the busiest I've had in a long time.  My daughter bought a  house and moved out so we spent about 8 weeks helping her to remodel it.  It was a huge job but she's all moved in and happy as can be.  She bought a German shepherd puppy and has been busy training him.  I'm so happy for her as she starts this new direction in her life, but I'm not going to lie - I miss her terribly.  We still see her a lot, but it's just not the same as having her at home.  I'm sure a lot of you can relate.  Anyway, I am enjoying not having to worry about whether or not she's going to be happy with whatever I cooked for dinner.  LOL!

Last week my beloved dog passed away.  Honestly, he was the best dog I've ever owned and I am heartbroken.  My husband bought him for my birthday 15 years ago.  When he brought him home he told me my birthday present was out in the car.  When I went out and opened the door, all I saw was a little tail sticking out from under the front seat, and it was slowly wagging back and forth.  When I pulled him out I was delighted to find the smallest, scrawniest little dachshund you ever saw.  Well, my heart just melted and from the second day we had him, Petey has slept at the bottom of the bed, snuggled against my feet.  He was my constant companion and he always went to Kentucky with us.  Every night when I worked on blog posts he would lay next to me on my front room sofa.   I miss his soft, warm body pressed up against my thigh.  His passing left a huge hole in my heart.

Louie and I are still geocaching, mostly with my parents.  We try to get out on weekends and explore new places.  I don't see that stopping any time soon.

Additionally, I've been busy with going to estate sales looking for vintage items to sell.  I'm also kept busy making bracelets that I've been selling through my Etsy shop as well.  So if you're looking for unique gift ideas, pop on over and take a look.

I've just been too busy to blog lately so I think I'm ready to take a break from it for awhile.  I'll still be visiting everyone else's blogs and leaving comments.   If anyone tries to leave a comment here, you won't be able to.  I've been getting hit with a ton of spam comments lately for some reason, so I turned off the comment section.

I may be back blogging later when things quiet down, so in the meantime, everyone have a great autumn!  Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Gear Review - Lewis N Clark Large Dial Combination Lock

Gear Review - Lewis N. Clark Large Dial Combination Lock

I recently received and used the Lewis N Clark Large Dial Combination Lock when I went on our trip to Key West.   It's TSA approved and I also really liked the fact that the numbers are a little larger than the norm.  That made it so much easier for me to actually see the numbers in addition to moving the tumblers around.

The only problem I had with it initially was changing the factory set combination number to my own number.  The directions on the package were hard for me to follow for some reason.  But have no fear - they now have a one minute video on the web page that easily explains how to do it, so that's no longer an issue.
From the Lewis N. Clark webpage:

Available in black, pink, red, blue, and green, this large dial combination lock is a must-have on many travelers' lists. It can either blend in or stand out depending on your preferences, and will always securely lock your luggage. 
• Zinc alloy and steel construction
• Three large dials are easy to see and use
• Resettable 3-dial combination
• 2.5in x 1in x 1in
It's a great little lock that I also use on my gym bag.  I'm sure you could find plenty of other uses for it as well.  
I'm a big fan of their products!  Whether it's electronics, outdoor gear, travel security, or packing solutions, they have you covered.  I own several of their products already and I like and frequently use all of them.  They are well made and perfect for travel.  Check out the Lewis N. Clark company .

(I was given this product in exchange for an honest review.  Lock photos property of Lewis N. Clark and cannot be reproduced without permission)

Monday, July 18, 2016

Book Review - Fishing for God - and vice versa

Fishing for God - and vice versa by Bill Rooney

If you spend a lot of time outdoors, as I do, then I'm sure you have come to appreciate the beauty of nature.  I like the quiet of a sunrise, the coolness of dappled shade in the forest, the exploding colors of a sunset and throughout it all, I sense and feel the closeness of God.  Fishing has afforded me the opportunity to experience the hand of God in more ways than one.  I was just given the opportunity to review a book that so nicely sums up what I have felt and experienced, but was never able to quite put into words.

(photo courtesy of Kim Scornavacco)

Fishing for God - and vice versa was written by Bill Rooney, who has spent a lifetime fishing around the globe.  He served as editor for several outdoor publications, with fifteen years on staff of Outdoor Life Magazine, including six as managing editor.  He brings first hand knowledge, insight and experience to his book and he delivered it in a charming and humorous way.

Fishing for God is more than short stories about fishing - it's also a fun how-to with tips on "can't miss lures" like Crickhoppers, Rebels and Rapalas.  Interspersed between his recollections is a guidebook on fantastic fishing locations like Clinch River in Virginia, the Big Island of Hawaii, Lake Tohopekaliga in Florida, and many more locations where Bill can point out the best spots to land a good one or haul in more fish than you ever dreamed possible in a day.

Everyone has a favorite fish that they like to pursue - what's your pleasure?  Salmon, bass, bonefish, muskellunge and trout all make appearances in the book along with tips on bait and tackle and some fun anecdotes thrown in for good measure.

Bill enjoys the company of a select circle of friends on annual camping and fishing trips, and he regales the reader with stories that produce gut busting laughter that only the antics of close friends can induce.  The chapter Hunting for God is full of interesting tales with titles like "The Day from Hell,"  "Footsie with a Griz," "You Know it's Gonna be a Bad Day When," and "Death by Cow."   Bill tapped his wide circle of friends and business colleagues who contributed to this chapter and you will find yourself quickly turning the pages to find out what happened next.

George W. Bush shares the "Lure of a Lifetime" and why he was the big one that didn't get away.  Curtis Strange had a really strange fishing experience that I could relate to because it has also happened to my husband.  It's one of those "once in a lifetime" experiences that you almost have to see to believe.  And comic strip artist Jack Elrod tells the unusual story about the day he caught 2 bass on one lure at the same time.  Fun stuff!

The reprinting of Bill's 1981 Editorial "Letter to a New Daughter" in American Forests Magazine will bring a tear to your eye.  The story of a "Naked Editor" caused me to laugh out loud, and the time Bill sunk a treble hook deep into his thumb will cause more than one reader to nod their head in agreement, including myself.  Been there, done that!  Bill ends the book with a reprinting of "The Road to Tinkhamtown" by Corey Ford. This is an article that will make you sit and think and remember.

Bill lives his life as a Christian and shares with us the deeply personal story that led to a four year journey as a Marriage Encounter Counselor.  This experience opened up new avenues in his life and shows how God works through us to make us "Fishers of Men."  Bill's fishing theme runs through this book in more ways than one and it wove across the pages like a lure at the end of a line and tugged at my heart.

I have found a kindred spirit in the form of Bill Rooney.  We share a love of the outdoors, fishing, horseback riding, hiking, campfires and God.  This is not a book that preaches to you, or tries to save your soul, nor does it make an attempt to convert you.  It is merely one man's journey and how he experiences the hand of God while out in nature, enjoying past times like fishing and hunting.  The next time you're out in the woods, on a lake, standing atop a mountain, or knee deep in a stream, close your eyes, breathe deep, open your ears and listen for the voice of God.  Bill summed it up nicely in this book and it helped me to take the time to better appreciate the world around me.  I think it will have that effect on you too.

Fishing for God - and vice versa is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Xulon Press.  If anyone would like an autographed copy, please contact me for the author's email.  He would be pleased to ship out an autographed copy for $ 20.00.

Only God can bless you with a morning like this....

(photo courtesy of Kim Scornavacco)

(I was given an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.  Book Cover image is the property of the publisher and cannot be reproduced without consent.) 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Estate Sale Finds 06-27-2016

I know I've kind of been off the grid lately but we have been super busy.  We went right from our trip to Key West to Kentucky Lake where my parents joined us for some rest, relaxation, geocaching and some brutal games of Rummy cube.  I still have to catch up on those posts.

Anyway.....  We haven't been to an estate sale in a few weeks so of course on our first weekend back home we spent 2 days getting knee deep in junk treasures.  I picked up a bunch of stuff and who knows when I am going to have time to clean, photograph and list everything.  Let's just say that my office is stuffed to overflowing.  I need an intervention!

Check out the patina on this fabulous galvanized vase - I just love it!  The old time candy jars are always fun to find and this one was in great condition.

The Corian cutting board looks brand new and I picked up the huge "B" for Chablis because that's her nickname.  I have a feeling she will repaint the "B".

I was drooling over the vintage paper dispenser and I bought it with every intention of hanging it at the lake house.  Truth be told, I paid a little more for it than I usually would have, but I really wanted it.  Then..... I looked it up on-line and saw what they are selling for and I may list it in my shop.   I don't know, I'm torn over it.   Maybe I'll list it and see if it sells - if it doesn't, well, then I'll be forced to hang it at the lake.  We'll see.  The boots are kids size 1 Laredo cowboy boots and are in excellent condition...

I picked up these 2 pillows and will re-cover them with material to match the vintage rocking chair I just re-finished for Chablis.  Which reminds me -  I never did a post on the 400 mile Kentucky yard sale because I took a bunch of pictures of all the stuff we bought and then I deleted the photos on my camera card because I thought I had already loaded them onto my laptop, but I didn't.  And that pisses me off because we went 50 miles in one direction one day and then 100 miles the next day and now I'm too busy to re-take photos of everything.  I'm losing my mind.  Maybe one day I'll just show you the finished pictures of the rocker.  It's pretty darn cool.

This is a Columbia shirt that I'll be selling...

I usually wear an old blue work shirt when I'm fishing and the one I currently have is about 20 years old, threadbare and is literally falling apart.  I picked up this one to replace it...

The birdcage will be painted, distressed and listed in my shop.  The Readers Digest is from 1934.  Isn't that cool?  I like the blue color...

I always pick up advertising tins when I see them - they are great sellers for me when I can force myself into selling them.  I do actually use them for craft storage, altho they also look fab sitting on shelves around the house.  I usually list them in my shop and enjoy looking at them until they sell.

Chablis asked me to keep an eye out for clay pots for her.  For some reason they have been scarce at the stores lately.  Two of these were brand new, never used...

I've been looking for a metal colander to use for fish at the lake and Louie scored this one for me.  It's super heavy duty too...

These might be my favorite find of the weekend except for the paper dispenser - 2 lanterns that have the most awesome patina and they are gorgeous!  I'm giving them to Chablis to add to her lantern collection.

One of the estate sales we went to had photos on-line of some of the items they were selling.  They had a whole set of kitchen canisters, you know, flour, sugar, coffee, tea, grease, cookies and about 10 spice jars.  They all matched this cake plate and I wanted them for the lake but they were snatched up by somebody else.  Darn them.  Anyway, the kitchen canister set thieves over-looked this matching cake plate so I grabbed it up.

It needs a super good cleaning but it's pretty nice.  I'm tempted to keep it but since I don't bake a whole heck of a lot and I didn't get the rest of the set anyway, I will probably sell it...

Louie bought the coke tailgate grill for me to re-sell.  It needs a good cleaning as well..

Louie also scoped out this vintage South Bend fly fishing rod.  It was leaning up behind a cabinet in a basement work shop.  It pays to be snoopy and believe me, we have no problem being snoopy.

We don't fly fish but it would look kind of neat hanging on the wall, don't you think?  I'll probably try selling it tho...

Louie was on a roll this weekend.  He bought this for washing his boat...

I do love advertising tins, as you already know.  But Chablis will get this tin because she eats Mac and Cheese like three times a week.  She considers it a food group!

Here's a cute little oil can and a brass water nozzle.  Both will be listed in my shop.

Movie reels and their tins.  This is something I've never bought to re-sell so I thought I'd give them a try...

A good seller for me are pants hangers.  Most of the time I find them forgotten, stuffed in the back of a closet.  Most people don't give them a second glance and just discard them.  These I found in a box at the bottom of the linen closet under a pile of hand towels.   Remember, when you're looking for treasures, poke around in the back of closets and cabinets - you never know what you may find.  I'll never get rich off of them, but people, they are money makers!

Would you believe that I was looking for a wrench the other day and couldn't find one anywhere?   And I'm married to a contractor!  So I snapped this one up and it's already been stuffed into my craft apron.  I'm also keeping the whisk broom, which I'll use in my car.  I've been looking for one of these for the longest time.  Who would think whisk brooms are so hard to find?

We needed some steak knives and the ones in this Philippe Richard set are super.  The butcher block holder is in real need of a cleaning.  I think I may wash it, re-stain it, keep the knives and sell the butcher block itself.  I've seen them go on-line for some good prices.  What do you think?

Well, that's it for this week.  Looks like I'll be busy for awhile listing everything.  What did you like the best?

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Fathers Day 2016

Happy Father's Day to all you dad's out there!  Wishing my dad the happiest of days.  Thanks for being such an inspiration and wonderful role model to me.  What would I do without you and your fried potatoes, iced box cookies and poke's in the forehead???

I like the quote I recently saw that sums you up perfectly..." If Papa can't fix it, we're all screwed."  You are forever my hero and the man who can do anything.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Book Review - Store Focus

If you own an ETSY shop or are thinking about opening an ETSY shop in the future, then you will be interested in Store Focus, a book I just finished reviewing.  Store Focus, by Barbara Jean, is a journal for Etsians and the perfect guidebook to help you get started, get organized and most importantly, get focused!

Navigating Etsy can be confusing for beginners and this is where Store Focus really shines  -  it gives you useful information and a place to jot down your notes, ideas and creative thoughts.  It will help you navigate the Etsy world of shop names, tags and keywords, categories, shop announcements, and messages to your buyers.  

Work on the 3 P’s - products, pricing and promotional strategies by using plans provided in the book.  Organizing your supplier information is a breeze when you use the supplier info pages.  Confused about retail pricing?  That’s always my most difficult area.  I loved how Barbara broke down Gross Profit Margin into a formula I could understand and use.  This page right here was worth the price of the book!  

Keep all your ideas in one spot and feel free to doodle – who knows where it may lead.  Just do it in the journal so you don’t lose your ideas on a random napkin or slip of paper. 

Have you thought about Social Media?  What are your goals?  Barbara suggests loads of platforms you can utilize and your journal is the place to lay it all out.

Links to Etsy Facebook Groups and resources for tags, keywords, marketing, titles and SEO are all provided here for you.  Don’t know what SEO is?  Well, buy the journal and save yourself the problem of figuring it out on your own. 

Once your shop is up and running you’ll want to keep track of important stats like page views, favs, traffic sources and of course, revenue!!  Twelve pages for shop stats will keep you organized for an entire year.  Everything is at your fingertips and you can easily carry the journal around or slip it into your purse.

The only thing the journal doesn’t include that I would have found useful would have been a section on how to figure out your product shipping costs and exploring the maze of post office shipping supplies.  That’s always been a landmine for me and I feel it would have been a helpful addition.

Store Focus can help you tweak your existing Etsy shop too.  There’s always room for improvement, right?  Well, I have exciting news – Barbara is taking pre-orders & will place a bulk order next Monday.  It is regularly $18.95, but for her launch promotion it will be $16.95 plus free shipping for US customers, and discounted shipping for International customers.  Also, as part of the launch, she will be signing copies, and there are 4 printable pdf bonuses as well.  After the pre-sale ends, she can order the books in onesie - twosies, or you can get them off of Amazon.  So please, if you’re interested, follow the provided link and pre-order your copy this weekend:  Sun Lion Publications

(I was given an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.  Images are the property of the publisher and cannot be reproduced without consent.) 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Key West - Day 6

Thanks to everyone for sticking with me through 6 days of our trip.  On our last day we got up early, ate breakfast and then headed out to Key Largo.  We had booked the 4.5 hour snorkel tour at John Pennenkamp Coral Reef State Park for early afternoon.  We got there in plenty of time, so we signed in early.  Good thing we did too - they were packed.  I highly recommend making reservations in advance for any of the activities you want to do here - everything was filling up quickly and we were there by 11:00 am.   Fortunately they are highly organized and used to dealing with crowds, so the process moved along quickly.

Once we were checked in we grabbed some lunch at the snack bar - they don't have a huge selection and we ended up with some sub sandwiches.  I suggest you stop and grab a meal before you get here if you'd like something more substantial.

After that we walked over to the aquarium.  We both enjoyed that and it's free!

The next few photo's are a really good example of the color and types of fish we saw on the reefs the entire trip.....

After the aquarium we grabbed some ice cream and headed over to the boat.  We went to 3 locations and each was slightly different.  The cost of the 4.5 hour tour is $ 38.95 and I thought it was well worth it.

Our favorite stop on this snorkel trip was getting to see the Christ of the Deep statue.   Unfortunately, by the time we got there, there were also 2 other boat loads of people there and it was a feeding frenzy as everyone was headed over to the statue at the same time.  Tradition is to swim down and touch the hands of Christ.

(credit - google images)

Chablis headed over, swam right down and touched it...

I tried 3 times but between the buoyancy vest, the current and the multitude of swimmers, I just couldn't swim hard enough to reach it.  I was exhausted and had to head back to the boat.  I'm not used to not being able to do something, so that was a real reality check for me.  I was so disappointed and frustrated with myself, but at least I got to see it.  The only advice I would give to the snorkel tours would be to somehow scatter their arrival so that so many people weren't trying to get to it at the same time.

Despite that, it was a fun afternoon.  If you do the 4.5 hour tour I advise to bring plenty of water and some snacks.  They supply a water bucket but we went through it really quickly and after 4 hours we were starving and we hadn't remembered to bring a snack with us.

After we returned to shore we headed over to our hotel -  The Hampton Inn.  This was by far our best hotel of the trip.  When we were checking in they had a tray of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies sitting on the counter - I'm ashamed to admit that I scarfed down 3 of them while we were checking in!  The room was very clean and they had a really nice beach on the gulf side that we didn't have enough time to use.  Since we were so hungry we took fast showers and headed down to The Fish House for dinner.  We had a great dinner.  We started off with the Smoked Fish Dip appetizer - OMG - it was excellent!  They gave us so much that I could have easily made a meal out of just the dip.  This is what what left after we already ate half of it....

I had the stuffed shrimp...

Chablis ordered the Fried Grouper...   Both were very tasty and they were large portions.  Another winning meal!

 Afterward dinner we went across the street and grabbed a geocache Castle in Key Largo.   It took me about 5 minutes to find it and believe me, I was working fast because the mosquitoes were out in droves.

Our full afternoon on the sea left us exhausted and ready for bed, so we made it an early evening.  Our room was a ground floor room and Chablis noticed that a laundry room and gym were conveniently located in the building next door.  When I woke up at 7 am the next morning I took all our clothes and bathing suits over and threw them in the washers.  While they washed and dried I did a few miles on the treadmill.  Let me tell you, it was nice to go home with clean laundry and not have to worry about it when we got home.  Hampton Inn gets 2 thumbs up for a winning hotel!

I want to leave you with a few last photos from Key West that I didn't get to include on my Key West posts.  One night when we were walking down Duval we ran into Harley and his pet parrot - Bones.  We had a lot of fun taking photos and talking to Harley....

Bones liked to give kisses....

I think these pictures perfectly sum up our Key West trip - crazy and a lot of fun.  We packed a ton of activities into 6 days.  I know it was probably a little whirl wind for some people, but Chablis and I enjoyed it and we got to do everything we really wanted to do, except for the catamaran ride that got rained out.

So long Key West - we had an awesome time!!

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