I am Lovin'TheGoodOleDays!

Welcome to my blog. I'm glad you're here. You'll find information about my shop; favorite recipes; features of other crafters and artisans; tidbits of beach living; and the ups and downs of life.

Yes, there were some things about the past that were definitely great, but everyone's list is slightly different. This blog is my contribution to the things that make life great, and not so great. Like all things, this blog will grow and change as I do. Come grow with me.

Friday, February 27, 2015

A Hotel Review I'd Rather Not Give

The Days Inn Hotel in Wilmington Newark, Photo Courtesy of HotelPlanner.com

So, this past weekend I had to make a trek up to Wilmington for a project. I needed to be there by 7 am Friday and Saturday. It's a good two hours north of me, so I decided to stay overnight so as to not have to leave the house at 4:30 both mornings.

Sure not used to seeing this kind of  weather in Delaware

I used my DubLi account to search for a hotel in the area. With my membership I would get 9.8% cash-back from Hotels.com and I found a Days Inn less than 15 minutes from the meeting place. It had a three star rating, plus the room was discounted from $79 down to $59.

The hotel was conveniently located right next to the Concord Mall and there were plenty of places to eat within walking distance. Since it was below freezing, walking anywhere other than to and from my car was out, but it was still good to know.

The front desk clerk was very courteous and helpful and the lobby was clean and inviting.  My room was around the side and even though it was just me, I had chosen a room with two beds because it was less than a one-bed room.

The room itself was nice and clean. This was my bed for the night and it was so comfortable. It had been such a long day and all I wanted to do was crawl under the covers with my book. 

However, I must have jinxed myself by sending my husband a text message that I was going to get a good night's sleep, because a little before 11 pm I was awakened by loud voices, a door slamming, and the kind of loud, thumping music that makes the walls shake. I was hoping they were either getting settled in or getting ready to go out. But that was not to be the case. About 20 minutes later I called the front desk to let them know what was going on. A few minutes later the phone rang in the next room and I could hear a very angry woman's voice demanding to know who had complained and what she would do to them. They did quiet down, but not for long. Cars pulled up and dropped off even more people and the volume went up yet again. At this point I cranked up the heat in my room to help drown out the noise from the party-goers. Either someone else called the front desk or had enough because suddenly people ran from the room and took off in various directions as someone from inside the room shouted that the state police were on their way. Finally, I could get back to sleep...

But, alas, not long after the police left the party kicked back into high gear. The heat was uncomfortable and I got up several times to turn it down only to hear the party raging on, so I would turn it back up and just deal with it. I needed to get some sleep. I tried it again at 4 am and they were still at it. This time I called the police myself. They did come, and I was sure that would be the end of it...

When my alarm went of at 5:30 I turned down the heat for the last time and surprise or not, they were still up, not that it mattered to me anymore. I got ready for my day and was gone in 30 minutes.

While the hotel itself was nice, the fact that I had to put up with this drama all night was unacceptable. I had booked my room in advance. This could have all been avoided if the hotel had not put us next to each other. I'm sure there were other guest who actually wanted or needed to sleep and it just baffles my mind how, after the noise complaints to the front desk and two visits from the police, that these people were even allowed to stay there. I did consider asking to switch rooms, but it was freezing outside, and the moment I opened my door they would know I was at least one of the people who had complained and I was actually afraid for my own safety. When I left in the morning I left as quietly and quickly as I could, not even waiting for my car to warm up, because I didn't know if they were going to come out when they heard me start my car.

To top off my visit to Wilmington, what should have been a two hour drive home turned into four due to yet even more snow.

This is fun...Not! 

Yup, if  I have to do another two night stay, I'll either be staying elsewhere or getting up at 4 am, from the peace and quiet of my own home. Sorry Days Inn.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Meeting 2015 Shop Goals By Setting Monthly Goals

Every year folks far and wide make New Years Resolutions or goals. I've done it...and failed right along with countless others. And, just like a lot of them, I'm going for it again this year. But this time I've got a plan. I sat down and wrote out my long term plans for each of my shop goals and then I am breaking down my goals by month. I have them printed out and stuck (right at eye level) next to my computer, so I am constantly reminded of what I need to do and by when.

While January was not a total success, it was not a total loss either. I started a discussion thread with The Etsy D-Listers aka The Dteam (my Etsy family) to help me stay accountable. I ask you, kind reader, to also be my accountability buddy...and if you ask I'd be more than happy to do it for you, too.

I'd love to hear you thoughts or advice on my goals so far. i actually have my goals picked out for February, but I'm saving that for another blog post. Would you like me to help you stay focused on your goals? Just leave me a request in the comments below.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Forgotten, But Not Gone

It's true. I've been remiss in my literary duties here. I have been gone, but hopefully not forgotten. However with a new blog color scheme (I hope you like it) and some new blog post ideas in my head just itching to get out into the virtual world, I am ready to get this show back on the road.

This particular blog post is one I have been planning for quite some time actually, and truth be told, I'm not sure it's actually ready to post, but I figured I can save other photos for a follow up post.

"Forgotten, But Not Gone" came to me as I was driving around Lower Slower Delaware, observing the many abandoned structures, just left to decay. What did they look like when they were occupied? Were there giddy children chasing each other up and down the stairs? Did the smell of fresh baked bread draw a hungry family toward the kitchen? Why were they abandoned? And how long ago? How long will it take for them to all but disappear into the surrounding environment that grows around them? Am I the only who mourns their loss?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Labor Day on El Galeon Andalucia

Labor Day. The un-official end of Summer. Quality time with the family. We decided to head down to Ocean City (Maryland) to check out the Spanish ship, El Galeon Adalucia. Monday was the last day it would be there before it set sail once again.

It was a beautiful Summer day; hot, but with a nice breeze. We actually found a free parking spot less than a block away. (If you've ever been to O.C. you know how hard that is to come by.)

And there she was. My pictures don't do her justice. She was really quite grand. It was so neat checking out the different parts of the ship and learning its history. Enjoy the tour.

                      The Mast overlooking the bay.     The bell that I can't believe my son didn't ring.

There were two cannons on the deck and two rows of them down below.

                     A little history about the ship.  The view of the upper deck behind the wheel.

The guys chose some props to make the picture more authentic. I came prepared;)

So, while it was a really neat ship, and we all enjoyed checking it out, especially my history buff husband, I realized that I am much more comfortable on dry land. Bummer, but now I know not to waste my time dreaming of taking a cruise of living on a houseboat!

So happy together <3                 Now, that's a view!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Just Slap a Big Ole "L" On Me

If you were to ask how my August goals turned out I would pretty much say this would have been a good month to hang out on the beach. I didn't, but I might as well have. Yup, I'm on the road to Loser City.

So, let's see...my goals for this month... If you want to read the post I wrote at the beginning of the month, you can find it here. And how did I do?

My social media campaign blitz was a bust. As you can see from the post I did about the Week #1 update, I was really giving it my all.  So, what happened? Three main things:

  1. Lack of tools to analyze posts. Facebook was the only one I could really track. With Google+ and Twitter I had no data to work with. (Wouldn't you know it,  Twitter added analytics at the end of this month.)
  2. Time. It took more time to find and schedule posts than I had anticipated.
  3. The results were pretty dismal. Regardless of the type of post, and the increased frequency, the views and engagement were about the same as they were before.
My second goal was to have 70 items in my shop. Yeah, that did not happen either. Why not?

  1. I did not set a realistic goal for how long it would take me for each piece, or add in the distractions from trying to work out of the home. I was off to a good start, but by the end of the 2nd week I was already behind. Momentum lost.
  2. Family (including the fur babies) always came first, then the paying job, then if there's time left over I could work on my shop. 
  3. I did not plan exactly what I was going to make.

My third goal was to retake some of the photos of my aprons, my cloth napkins, and my checkbook covers. There were days early in the month that I could have gotten this done, but I told myself I still had plenty of time. Yup, I am a procrastinator, big time. I know it, and yet I haven't overcome this obstacle I keep putting in front of my self that blocks me from being more productive. (I wrote this blog two days ago, except for this last part. I waited to finish writing this post because I still was hoping to get this one done.)  On Friday I ended up running all over doing errands, I worked on Saturday, and today we have plans for the family to spend quality time together.

So, if you've had a goal that you fell short from reaching, how did you handle it? Did you give up the dream? Did you shake it off and set more attainable goals for the next time? Did you stop setting goals?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Reveal...The Living Room

Well, I knew the hardest thing to do would be to go through my books and papers, so I tackled that first, but once I started it wasn't so painful. One might see my assortment of really important stuff and see me as a hoarder, but for me it is that "What If." What if I need this? What if I want to read this? What if I go back to teaching?
  • If I needed it that bad, I'd be using it or would have used it in the recent past. If not, it goes.
  • If I want to read it, I would have by now. Let someone else enjoy it. I can get it at the library if I get around to it later on.
  • If I ever go back to teaching, well, things change, and whatever I have will have been replaced by then with newer and better methods.
It's time to let go of the what if's that are cluttering my life.

Another thing that really helped me with this project was to look at as if I were moving into a tiny house. Tiny houses do not have room for clutter or what if's. Besides, I feel calmer and work more efficiently when my world around me is not in chaos, but isn't that true for most of us?

What I ended up with was a clean, un-cluttered living room, a full trash can, and a box-load of goodies for a yard sale.  And without further ado...

And to remind you of what this room looked like last week, here's the link to my blog post with the before photos.  Looking forward to next week's challenge.

Monday, August 18, 2014

I Accepted the 91 Day De-Clutter Challenge

I came across the 91 Day De-Clutter Event while browsing on facebook last week.  My home could use a "little" de-cluttering and the time frame looks reasonable, so what they hey.  I'm in. 

As you can see Week #1 focuses on the living room, and yes, mine could use some work.  Our biggest problem is a too small home and not enough storage space. This week I am going to find things we don't absolutely need and decide if they will be put aside for our upcoming yard sale or donated to my favorite thrift shop or headed for the trash.

The challenge couldn't be easier.  There are two options; a quick de-clutter method or a more thorough detailed method. This week, I'm opting for the detailed approach.  To go with this challenge, even though it makes me cringe, I am taking before and after pictures. (To put things in perspective, I have moved A LOT.  In my whole adult life I don't think I've lived in any one place longer than three years. I've gotten used to boxes. I do not like it, but it's the truth.)

So, here are my unedited before pics of the areas I will be working on.

                                           (Sophie stays.)                   The curse of the horizontal surface, plus a recently
                                                                                      re-acquired box of photos. The boxes under the
                                                                                      futon are for work. They have to stay.

                                     I used to have a nice desk         The books. This will be hard. A
                                     and I will again. I miss it.          bookcase would help a lot.

Wish me luck...I'm going in.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Feeding my Fabric Addiction

So, I went to the fabric store to pick up my sewing machine and this happened...

There were so many gorgeous fabrics and it's been so long since I bought any new fabric.  These called out to me: their soft, silky texture; their new fabric smell; their potential to turned into something perfect for Christmas.  My first thought is to make more "quilted" ornaments, like this one.

(To my loving and supportive husband...I did not use your card to feed my fabric addiction this time.  I was going to tell you, honestly I was...Surprise!)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

August S.M.A.R.T. Goals, Week 1 Update

Social Media Action Plan

August 1st I decided on my shop goals for this month.  If you didn't see that post, you can go back and read it here.  My next post focused on my social media action plan.  You can read all about my plan right here. Today, I am giving an update of how that's going.  I will also add the two other goals I had set for myself; retaking photos and adding items to my shop.

First, a recap of my social media campaign blitz. I had planned on sharing one post from each of six categories; humor, me (something from my shop or a blog post), a question or fill in the blank, an informational tidbit or link, an inspirational quote, and an item or blog I came across that I thought others would also like.  The sites I am focusing on are my facebook page, twitter, and google+.  I also have pinterest, but I am sharing different content there.

Did I mention I'm old school?  So here it is in all it's glory.(?)  OK, well, at least it's written down and I think I did pretty well with it.  I coded the categories with a letter (or symbol) and a number so I could chart them easier.  Below are close-ups so you see it better.

I decided to only share the humorous post on my facebook page.  I didn't think it was appropriate for google+ or twitter. My facebook page is more casuals, while twitter I tend to focus on helpful informational links and more serious posts, and google+ seems more professional, as well.

So this was my posting schedule, for the most part.  I did well with facebook and twitter, but not so much with google+.  Until I get my website up, my google+ account is not a business page, so I cannot schedule posts in advance.  (If anyone knows of a way to do it, please let me know.)  As you can see there is not as much green in my chart, nor are there many S's.  I did not schedule those (items and blog posts) because I thought I'd share them as I came across them, but you can see how well that worked...or didn't.  I also need to share more about me, which involves writing blog posts in advance, so I can focus more time on sewing.  Perhaps my blog should be my focus for September...

The results:

  • My best post for facebook was a question I posed, with a reach of 59, 2 comments, and 3 clicks  (Definitely nothing to brag about, but it is what it is.)
  • My best post for twitter was an inspirational quote, with 1 favorite and 3 retweets. (I haven't figured out how to find statistical information yet on twitter. If anyone can point me in the right direction, that would be great.)
  • My best post for google+ was a fill in the blank question with 2 comments. (Since I don't have the business account, I don't have access to any real stats, like reach or views, so all I have to go on are +1's, shares, and comments.)
This week I am working on scheduling shares, but I am sharing different items on facebook and twitter to provide more variety and help more shops get exposure. I am also starting at 6am and not scheduling on the hour.  So that's it for the first week.  Scheduling does ensure I post more often and planning categories makes me aware of the content I am posting.  Stay tuned for next week's update.

70 listings In My Shop

I started the month with 54 items and my goal is to end with 70.  This means I need to make 16 items, with a mini-goal of making four new items per week.  I made this chart below and have it taped to the wall right next to my computer. Yes, it is basic, and again, old school, but it serves the purpose.  I have three columns which I am tracking; Make, Photos, and List.  By the end of the month I plan on having the whole chart colored in.  I also have a calendar so I can mark off the days.  ( I am one of those who works best with a deadline, so seeing the days pass gives me the push I need.)

Color codes...Blue--Make, Pink--Photos, Orange--List

So, I am on my way.  I have one more item that I'll be finishing up today and I'll be picking up my sewing machine from the shop this afternoon, so I will once again have that to work with, which will get me moving along faster.

Retake Photos

I know not all of my photos have the same look or feel about them, so I have decided that it's time to just get this over with instead of stewing on it.  My apron photos were taken when I lived in a different home, so I will be retaking those so they have the same background as my new photos.  I also want to retake photos of my cloth napkins in a table setting and also all folded the same way, and I want to show the checkbook covers in a real use setting.  I have not started with this goal yet, as I was focusing on figuring out my social media action plan, but here's the chart, nonetheless, just to prove that it's up and ready to be filled in.

How are your goals coming along?  Only 19 more days left this month. (No pressure.)