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.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

My Wild Backyard...Toad Camo

When I was a kid we went camping every Summer at Seashore State Park on the bay near Virginia Beach. It was the best; no electricity, no cell phones or other electronic gadgets (basically because they didn't exist yet) and we had to hike to the outhouse...with flashlights. The campground was all filled with a maze of paths and overgrown obstacles. One of my favorite memories is hunting for tiny, perfectly camouflaged toads. Of course, I always let them go. The fun was in finding them.

Now I'm all grown up and don't have time for such childish things...yeah right!  There's always time for fun and the joy of discovering nature, especially in my own wild backyard.

If I sit very still no one will see me...
You can't see me, right?

Peek a boo...I see you.

Why, hello little one. Aren't you a cutie?

I love exploring in my backyard. I wonder what I'll find next? Do you have any cool critters in your backyard, too?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Now We're Composting!

If you consider yourself the least bit "green," "Eco friendly," or are consciously trying to shrink your carbon footprint, then composting is something you should know about and incorporate into your daily life.  It's great if you have a big space, but even small areas can be used. When we lived in a townhouse in Philadelphia we had a small compost area in front of our home, right behind our tiny garden.

But now we're in a community that is much more suited for composting. Lower Slower Delaware may be a tourist destination for its beautiful beaches and tax-free outlet shopping, but it is still mostly farm country. Chicken farms and local corn are everywhere.  And we now have a yard and a place for a proper compost area, surrounded by lots of trees.

I recently went to a class at the local library on composting by a Delaware master gardener, Carol Kinsey. That is one lady who sure appreciates the value of composting. She was both knowledgeable and enthusiastic. I was already composting, but after that class I changed things up just a bit. So, I thought I'd share what I learned about composting with you, so that you can benefit from it, too.

My husband brought home some pallets just so I could make a compost bin. (Awe, he does love me.) I picked a spot in the yard near the shed, along the tree line. I wanted the bin to be sturdy, but easy to disassemble, so I tied the corners together at the top and bottom with rope. If you have zip ties they work well, too. You will make a box, but with no bottom and no top. The reason you want it to come apart easily is so that you can turn the mixture.

Check out the one I made.

It's best to have pallets that are all the same size, but when you're working with free materials you work with what you've got. I recommend adding chicken wire to the bin to help keep small thing from falling out, or critters from getting in. (I did get some, just need to attach it.)

The next step is to fill it. The ideal ratio when composting is 3:1,  3 parts "brown" to 1 part "green." Your browns are your carbon source. These include leaves, newspaper, wood shavings and sawdust, paper towel. Your greens are the nitrogen source. These include grass clippings, old vegetables, coffee grounds and the filter, tea bags, egg shells and the carton. Manure from animals that do not eat meat is excellent for your compost bin, too. (As for me, the only manure I'm adding comes from our gerbil.)

Here's my little helper adding the bedding from his gerbil's cage. (How cool is that? The bedding, the food, and the manure are all good for the compost bin.)

I keep a large coffee can in the kitchen for coffee grounds and veggie scraps so I am not constantly making trips out to the compost bin. You do not need to cover it; it doesn't smell. It's actually better if you don't. Otherwise it gets real funky real fast. (Just trust me on this one.)

After every time I add compost from the kitchen I shovel enough leaves onto the top to cover everything. This keep the ratio as close to ideal as I can get it, plus it keeps things tidy. Our home is bordered by a vacant lot, so we never have to worry about having enough leaves. See what I mean?

Here's a close up of the compost bin in action.

You will want to keep it moist, so if you're in an area that doesn't get a lot of rain, you'll need to hose it down once in a while. You want it wet, but not saturated. Then just wait. In a few months you'll have the kind of compost your garden will thank you for.

Just remember...

So, what are you waiting for?

The above image is from an informational brochure I was given at the composting class. Click here to see the brochure in its entirety.

Friday, June 6, 2014

My Wild Backyard

I was in my backyard the other day and I happened upon this very interesting little guy.  It was on the roof of my shed just about at eye level. I'd say it was a tad bit bigger than an inch long; big enough to make me not want to bug it, but small enough, and so well camouflaged that it could have gone completely unnoticed.

So I googled it and came up with some facts.

  • It is commonly known as the Eyed Elator, Big-eyed Elater or Eyed Click Beetle.
  • It is a beneficial insect, meaning it's a good one to find in your yard or garden.
  • Larva measure up to 2 inches while adults are around 1 1/2 inches.
  • In the larval stage, they are "ferocious meat-eaters that dine on many other noxious wood-boring larvae, including those of wood-boring beetles." Yum!
This information was obtained from Galveston County master Gardeners, Beneficials In The Garden; Eyed Elator 

I wonder what I'll find next.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Don't Pull That Trigger!

So, if you check my last blog post you will notice a rather big chunk of time has elapsed...yet again. Well, I got caught up on my Hustle, then I got caught up on what to write and what pictures to post, and then one day turned into a week, and a week into a month, and by then I had lost my bloggin' mojo.

Well, I did take notes on my Hustle, (yes, I'm one of those), so I thought I'd share the rest of the days, just in case you may want to work on your own Hustle, or you are curious about my story. I would highly recommend you go to Jon Acuff's facebook page and keep an eye out near the end of the month for your opportunity to sign up for the 30 Days of Hustle newsletter and find the facebook group of the same name. By now, there are quite a few sub-groups devoted to specific Hustles.

Days 10 and 11 deal with your triggers, or to put it in other words, those detractors that keep you from working on your goal.  I'll be honest. This was not a favorite exercise of mine. Does anyone really like taking a long hard look at themselves and identify those traits that we would just as soon keep hidden? See, you can't make excuses when it's you. You already know the answer(s) if you just let go and get real with yourself.

Day 10's assignment was to identify my triggers. I could have come up with a shopping list full of triggers, but I chose just four, which I think are my biggest detractors:
~ADD behaviors (too many ideas fighting for my attention, unable to focus on one project long enough to finish before another one jumps into the spotlight. I am easily distracted. You could say I suffer from Ooh Shiny Syndrome.)
~Fear of Failure (I'm actually quite good at it, but I still get that sense of foreboding that this is just another thing I'm not going to succeed at, and that is really scary. What if I'm right?)
~ Self-Doubt (What if no one likes my stuff? What if they say my items are not made well or cost too much or are not special enough, or, or, or...?)
~Insecurity (I might as well lump this one with fear of failure and self-doubt. They are all interconnected.)

Day 11...Turn your triggers into an if/then statement. (As if Day 10 wasn't hard enough?)
OK, here goes:
~If I get distracted I will check my To Do list. (This actually works quite well for me.)
~If I am immobilized by too many ideas I will chose one that is ready to go (one that does not require me to go out and buy anything.)
~If I hear my nagging inner voice reminding me that I have failed at everything I have ever tried to do, I will think of all the great quotes on failure. (Robert Kiyosaki, Dave Ramsey, Albert Einstein are my favorites.)
~If self-doubt and insecurity start to take over I will remember the video clip of Stuart Smalley and his famous mantra...

So, if I asked you to identify your triggers, could you? Would you even want to?

Go ahead. Go have a look. What's the worse that could happen...you find something about yourself you don't like? Good, then that's where you start.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

See It, Be It

Jon Acuff really has us working hard on this, but I'm thankful for the kick in the butt. Really, have you ever tried to kick yourself in the butt? Not easy and definitely not the same motivation.

So here's the next two days in the challenge:

Day 8...Vision Time. I decided to create an inspiration board using magazine pics and words, plus some pics I got off the net, that will keep me motivated to not give up on my goal. Yeah, I could have done a virtual board, but I'm old fashioned. I like the whole process of hunting for just the right picture or words and moving them all around the board just so.

Day 9...Take your goal and cut it in half.  Well, since my goal was to find a full-time job or get my Etsy shop moving in the right direction (not quite sure how to cut that one in half), this is my new goal:
~To find a part-time job and as far as my Etsy shop goes I had planned to get two new product lines going, so I'll focus on just one for now.  One involves making wearables from recycled/upcycled clothing and the other involves making new items from large pet food bags. I'm going to work on the clothing line for three main reasons; 1)I'm being over-run by sweaters and my husband will kill me if I buy anymore, 2)I don't have anything from my shop that I can wear, which is a great way to get the word out about what I can do, and 3)I've let my fear of the serger hold me back long enough.

I'm a sucker for finding songs that fit my mood. I just couldn't let this one pass. If you have issues with the Rocky Horror Picture Show or seeing men in women's lingerie then you probably don't want to watch this one ;)

"Don't Dream It, Be It"

Monday, January 6, 2014

Getting The New Year Of To A Good Start

And so another year has come and gone. A brief review of my goals from last year are mixed. I was able to blog more, but then when Summer hit and things got busy, I fell behind and lost my groove.  I did add new products to my shop line-up, but I did not have as many items in my shop as I had wanted.  I did not go to any craft fairs, due to a lack of finances. No money, no booth fees and no canopy, which I would need even if I had the booth fee. (But the past is the past, time to look to the future.)  And I won't even go into the loosing weight thing...

Well, now it's a new year and a new chance to work on my goals.  So, how is this year going to be different? Is this the year I finally get my act in gear? That's the plan, and I'm sticking to it.

Easy one first.  Me, or more accurately, my whole weight/health thing.  I am exercising at least a little every day, which is better than not doing anything. It's a starting point. The difference is I am writing down everything I do in a fitness journal. I remember back before I was really a "grown-up," (no kids, no real bills, still living at home) I was so into weight training. I went to the gym 6 days a week for two hours every day, and I kept a fitness journal. That journal really did help me stay on track and give me a little push to do better the next time. Nothing fancy, right now it's just a piece of notebook paper, but I want to get a small notebook I can carry around with me, so I don't miss anything.  I record the date, the exercise and how many times I did it, if there are repetitions involved. If I walk, I record the distance. (Back in my heyday I would do crunches for the duration of a whole song and not count reps, in which case I would write the name of the song so I know how long I did them.) So, there's the first one. I might add a food journal with that. Still contemplating...

Workout and fitness printable mini planner by Sweet Simple Life

Now for the biggie. Getting out of debt, or at least ending the year with less debt.  As some of you may know I live in a lovely little resort area near the beach. It's beautiful and a great place to raise a family, if you can find the work. This is the off-season and jobs are hard to come by. I know, I've been looking every day. So, either I find enough work, be it full-time or a combination of part-time gigs to bring in some more money or I figure out a way to make my Etsy shop, TheGoodOleDays a successful venture.  My game plan? To help me stay motivated and hold myself accountable I've signed up with Jon Acuff's 30 Days of Hustle.  Jon is the author of two really great books I've read and recommend, Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work That Matters and Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job & Your Dream Job.

Each day brings a new task to focus on. This is a recap of the first week for me, thus far.
Day 1...What is your goal? Easy peasy. To find a full-time job or get my Etsy shop moving in the right direction.
Day 2...Why? Getting out of debt, getting a good night's sleep, being able to dream beyond basic necessities...really the list is endless, but these are the biggies.
Day 3...How will you accomplish your goal? 1) Scheduled blocks of time devoted to job hunting and working on my shop. 2)Apply for jobs that I am qualified (or overqualified) to do. 3) Getting up earlier so I can be more productive.
Day 4...Fun; How to making working towards you goal enjoyable.  1) Listen to music when I sew. 2) Make an inspiration board. 3) Sewing IS fun!
Day 5...When are you going to work on your goal?  Mondays and Fridays are limited because I am a caregiver for my mother. (Actually, my schedule could change at the ring of the phone.) Tuesday-Thursday are my real work days. Mornings are for job hunting, then I move on to my shop until the kids come home from school. Before bedtime I check my email for replies to applications I've sent and see if any more jobs have been posted.
Day 6...Where will you work?  The computer and the kitchen table. (One day I'll have a sewing room all to myself.)

So, I know this is a long one, but it's been a while.  Do you have a plan of action for making your dreams a reality? Here's to us and a great and productive new year!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Putting Christmas In Perspective

Ah, Christmas. A time of mistletoe, pictures with Santa, strangers warmly greeting each other as they pass by...(I'm not going to comment on the spectacle that was Black Friday. The images speak for themselves.) As you know, I'm an old fashioned kind of gal. I like things simple, and I love the Christmases of days long gone by.

I love to hear my grandmother tell of the candles (yes, real candles) on the tree, fresh greens draped on the mantle, and new doll dresses lovingly sewn by her mother for a well-loved baby doll. It was the time of the Great Depression. There wasn't much money for new, shiny presents. Jobs were hard to come by, rations were commonplace. And yet, Christmas still came, somehow it still came.

Times have been tough for many of us these days, as well, though hopefully not as hard as it was back then. Christmas just can't be about shiny new gadgets and electronic devices. I, for one, am taking a step back. This will be a creative Christmas. The boys obviously don't have dolls I can make clothes for, but I do have a few ideas that I think they will appreciate.

Won't you take a step back with me? I don't mean go back in time or take away the gadgets, but find some way to make it truly a special time. Create your own Christmas cards, make ornaments or gifts for family, cook up something yummy.  I'd love to hear your ideas.

As for me, I'll be sharing some of my ideas here.  (Just don't tell the boys. I'd hate to ruin the surprise.)

Monday, December 2, 2013

Monday Mojo...With A Little Help From My Friends

We all have those days when we feel the weight of the world is resting not so firmly on our shoulders.  When you're feeling that weight, just reach out to your friends. They are they, even if you don't know it. No man (or woman) is an island. We are social creatures. Let your friends help you through the rough days.

I am thankful for my friends, and I hope you all know who you are, when my days are heavy and I need a little help. This one is for you, because I could not do this alone.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

You're Thankful For What?

I've got a Toyota Matrix. Got it when Little Man was a baby because I knew I couldn't keep crawling into the back of my Saturn Coupe much longer to strap him into his car seat.  Now Little Man, and my Toyota are both 10 years old. For a person, that means he's still got a lot of life left to live, but for a car, not so much.

My awesome, reliable car now has over 192,000 miles racked up under the hood and it desperately needs a new clutch.  Let's just say you do not, ever, want to get stuck behind me coming out of a full stop. My car chugs along at snail's pace for quite a while now, like a little old lady pushing a walker.  Pushing the gas pedal to the floor or pumping it does no good. Neither does yelling at it or pleading with it. Believe me, I know.  And no matter how close you get behind me, flash your high beams, or honk your horn and yell obscenities, you cannot intimidate it, or me, to go any faster. Just not going to happen.

But, and here's the strange part, I have learned to be thankful for my slow little car.  It has taught me to relax, slow down, and enjoy the ride. It's kind of zen-like and freeing to not be caught up in the race. I'll get there when I get there, until the day I won't.  So go ahead and stress yourself out trying to make me go faster. I'm good.  Better yet, why don't you just pass me? I'm in no hurry.

(So, yeah, I know the car needs to be fixed. We're working on that, but for now I'm also doubly thankful we live in a small community where most of the speed limits are 30 or slower. Yeah, for Lower Slower Delaware.)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Monday Mojo...Yeha Noha (Wishes of Happiness & Prosperity)

Too many Mondays have passed without a Monday Mojo, and for that I apologize. I missed it and I know some of you did, too.  I know many of my choices have been silly and upbeat, but with Thanksgiving only days away, I thought I would chose something especially for the holiday.

I came across the CD, Sacred Spirit, one day while shopping in a bookstore. I was overcome with a sense of peace and reverence. Of course I bought it and it became one of my favorite, go to Cd's.  The song I chose for today, "Yeha Noha" is one of my favorites.

I hope you enjoy this Monday Mojo and I wish for you much happiness and prosperity, whatever that may mean to you.