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.

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.)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Please Pass The Mustard

I am so loving the Fall 2014 Pantone color trends. I found a few mustard yellow goodies to share. It's not too early to start thinking about Fall, is it?

Mustard leg warmers                    Mustard yellow purse

               Indonesian beads                           Mustard and army green dress

Monday, August 4, 2014

My Social Media Action Plan

When it comes to running a business it is very important to have goals.  It is equally important to be very clear with your goals in terms of specific details, a means of measuring the success of your goals, and setting up a timeline in which to carry out those goals.  Otherwise you might as well wish on the first star you see and hope for the best.

This month I have three goals I will be working on. Today's post focuses on my first goal; creating a social media action plan.  I have accounts on facebook, twitter, google+, and pinterest, and I have been posting to each of them, but not consistently and not with a deliberate thought as to the content.  As a visual learner, I am all about charts. I am also an old school type of person.  I didn't see a template I liked so I grabbed a piece of notebook paper, my trusty ruler, and the all-important colored markers.

For facebook, twitter, and google+ I am starting with six categories for posts; humor, me (something related to my shop), question, informational, quote, and share (blog posts and items by others I like). Below is just the first week. I plan on one post from each category once per day on each of the three sites. I figured out how to schedule posts for facebook and twitter, but not google+ yet (other than blog posts, which will post automatically), so those I will be entering as I do them, or until I learn how to schedule those, as well.  The "me" posts and the "share" posts are blank as I haven't planned those yet. I staggered the time and the day for the posts.

I have the quotes written on a separate piece of paper so I can keep track of which ones I have already used and I made a separate bookmark folder to keep track of links for informational posts. The images for my humor posts are saved on my computer.

I will be working on next week's schedule throughout this week, so I am not working into the wee hours on Sunday night, like I did last night. I'm sure this will get easier and more automatic as I go.  The plan is to add more posts throughout the day as I get a handle on my new system.

For pinterest I plan on posting three pins in three separate categories per day. (I usually post more, but this is my minimum goal and I will be keeping track of these, as well. I have made a list of my boards, so I know which ones I need to post on for any given day).

Of course, a good plan needs to have some form of measure to judge its success...or failure, so it can be tweaked as needed.  Below I have listed my beginning followers/fans for each of the sites, plus I added my Etsy followers and shop likes.  At the end of the month I will again record the numbers and take note of any changes.  I will also keep track of the best post per site (noting the category, day, and time of day).  This may take longer than one month for any definitive results, but I haven't done this yet, so I am curious to see how this turns out.

I would love any comments you may have on my action plan. I'd also love to know how you keep track of your goals. If you have a blog post on this topic, please share your link below.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Setting Goals AND Reaching Them

Like so many others, I have set goals for myself; weight loss goals, organizational goals, financial goals, goals for the New Year, and business goals.   In way too many cases, I end come up short of reaching my goals.  For me, and maybe for you, too, the problem does not lie with the actual goal(s), but in the execution...i.e. lack of planning.

This month I have decided on three goals to work on, AND exactly what I need to do to reach them. I am a visual learner, so charts and graphs are a must to help me keep on track. I ordered the Work @ Home Business Pack from TidyLadyPrintables on Etsy. It's just what I need, well-organized and colorful.

I especially like the Daily and Weekly Business Planners and What's Going on this Week (weekly scheduler broken down by day and 1/2 hour increments). I put the pages in plastic page protectors and use wipe off markers so i can reuse them over and over.

A bar graph will show my progress for two of the goals and help me stay focused.

I decided on three main goals for this month. (While getting more sales is something every small business owner wants, this is not one I chose, as I can only control what I do, not what others do.)  Each of these are written on a S.M.A.R.T. goal chart, so I can track my progress. In case you may not know S.M.A.R.T. goals are Specific (the details; what, why, how), Measurable (How will you know when you've reached your goal?), Attainable (realistic and achievable), Relevant (How does this fit in with your overall business plan?), Time-Bound (set dates/benchmarks).

This month I will be working on making my photos more cohesive, adding items to my shop, and creating a social media plan of action.  My next post will focus on my first goal; my social media action plan.

By setting S.M.A.R.T. goals and tracking my progress with graphs and charts, I am confident that this will be a great and productive month.

So, who's with me? Today is the day to set your S.M.A.R.T. goals.