So…I Quit My Day Job

 

 

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Taking Care of Business

 

 

Happy Holidays friends and an especially Happy Holidays to me. I have just embarked on a new adventure…Self-employment. EEEK!

This new adventure has been in the works for about six years now, when I first started making and selling jewelry on Etsy. I read the “Quit your day job” stories on the Etsy blog and dreamed of one day being able to work from home doing some kind of creative business. My online business has been slowly and steadily growing. My problem has always been that I have never had as much time as I needed to spend on my jewelry business and my blog to be successful enough that it would support me financially. It’s a catch 22 really. How do you find the time and money to work on your business when you have to work a “real” job?

I have been very blessed and made some smart choices over the past six years since I moved to the United States from Canada and started my new life with my husband. Our little house is completely paid off, I am completely debt free and the only bill I have that comes in my name is my cell phone bill. My husband takes care of the utilities (which are quite affordable when you live practically in the middle of nowhere) We split costs like groceries and other necessities. We both like to save our money like little squirrels hoarding nuts so we have a safety net in case of emergency.

I have been working in the shipping and parcel delivery service for the past six years. I started working at a Mailboxes Etc. type of place when I first moved to America. Then I got a job at one of the largest parcel delivery companies in the world. I won’t tell you which one but you could probably  figure it out 😉 I loaded trucks in the middle of the night for a year. Then I had a baby. Then I got a promotion to be a supervisor on the evening shift. All the while I was plugging away as best I could with my jewelry business and my blog. The thing I noticed was that when I put the time and energy into my business, I got results. Unfortunately with a “real” job and a baby I didn’t have the time or the energy to do much of anything except make it through the day without ripping my hair out.

Now that my daughter is two and is getting more and more independent I am freed up to spend more time on my creative business. I had been unhappy with my “real” job for some time. The upper management was so bad and it trickled all the way down to me. As they say sh*t rolls downhill and I got a whole lot of crap tossed my way. I have had my share of bad jobs, trust me. I used to do bikini waxing for a living. I left that job to work at a call center. You believe me now don’t you? I’m a pretty tough cookie and I work hard, but everyone has their breaking point. I had many nights where I called my husband from the bathroom at work sobbing because I was being treated so terribly and I wanted his support to leave. I always had his support, but I was the one holding myself back from pulling the plug. There are a lot of justifications for staying at a job you hate. The pay is good, you like the people you work with, any other job you are going to get is going to suck too because it’s called “work” for a reason.

I was lying in bed for most of last weekend, reeling from the prior brutal week and feeling anxious and depressed about my situation. After a good chat with my parents and my husband I thought, “what if I just didn’t go back?” So I decided that I wouldn’t. I called my boss, told her that I was too stressed and it was negatively affecting my personal life and after three and half years working there they would have to find someone else to fill my position. I hope one day everyone I worked with will have the opportunity to do that too because it feels amazing.

I have been doing so well with my business and December is by far the best month of the year for sales. I always wished that I could have more time during the holiday season to work on my shop. I wondered what I would be capable of achieving if I had the time. During the past six years of only working part-time on my business. I have managed to make tens of thousands of dollars in sales, I have had my work published in two magazines, I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to work with Go Daddy and Danica Patrick in The Big Leap contest. What can I achieve now that I have the time, saved the money and gained six years of experience running my own online business?

I guess I am about to find out!

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The Grinch that Stole My Parents X-mas

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Here’s a fun Christmas display my parents have started putting up on their front lawn. The Grinch!

It’s a simple way to add some Christmas cheer to your front yard without having to climb ladders, hang off rooftops or any other treacherous light hanging shenanigans. When I was in elementary school my parents were hanging the Christmas lights on the house and my mom fell off the ladder and landed on the van. Ouch. She had to wear a neck brace for some time. This Grinch display is much safer.

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You can use a projector to project the Grinch image onto a sheet of plywood. Trace the Grinch and his little dog and cut it out with a jigsaw, then paint your characters. Add a few strings of lights and you are good to go!

I think I might make one of these next year. I could go all out and do all-Grinch themed Christmas decor.

How do you like to decorate your outdoor areas for the holidays?

 

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Make this Blog Better- Take my Short Survey

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Hey friends,

The year is winding down and before we start off 2016 I thought it would be a good time to see how I am doing on this blog. What posts do you like to read on Crafty Little Gnome? Is there anything you want to see more of? Less of?

This quick survey is only 7 questions long. It will only take you a minute and the feedback is very helpful to me. Feel free to answer honestly- the results are anonymous.

Help me make 2016 my best blogging year ever!

Take the survey here

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Space Saving Ideas for Your Garden

 

family-44.JPGNot everyone can have an enormous garden with plenty of space. Even if you do have a large garden, you might be trying to do a lot with it. It’s hard to have room to grow vegetables and beautiful flowers, while leaving space to sit and eat and let the kids run around. If you’re trying to fit as much into your garden as you can, there are lots of space-saving solutions you can use. Even if you only have a small patch of grass or a tiny patio to use, you can still make the best of what you’ve got.

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Keep Things Portable

One way you can use your outdoor space as best as you can is to keep everything portable. You can have furniture that you can easily fold up and store away when you’re not using it. Plant everything in pots that you can pick up and move when you need to use the space for something else. If the kids have any outdoor toys or play equipment, make sure they can be put away without too much effort. You can even find a large container, such as a child’s sandpit, that you can plant an entire flowerbed in. It will give you the flexibility to move everything around whenever you want.

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Plant Upwards

Whenever you don’t have much space, using vertical space is essential. Inside, you would buy bookshelves that go up the walls, for example. Out in the garden, there are plenty of ways you can go upwards instead of outwards. You can buy cordon fruit trees, which are columnar trees that are great for saving space. You can also make use of lots of different planting tools and containers. For example, you can use a trellis or hanging baskets to make use of walls and roofs. You can even create your own planters to make a tiered garden using whatever you have available. For example, you can hang pieces of guttering underneath each other.

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Windowsills

The windowsills both inside and outside your house can be excellent for extending the space you have to grow plants. You can put containers with flowers or herbs on your kitchen windowsill or the outside of your home. If you have a balcony, that gives you even more space to keep your plants. Not only does it help you save space, but it makes the outside of your home look lovely too. Put flowers at the front and back of the house to show off to your neighbors.

 

Rooftop Gardening

If you have some flat roof space you can use, it can make a great space for a small garden. It will give you a bit more room to grow things or to sit outside. It can be an excellent way to create a green sanctuary in an urban environment. Just make sure it’s safe to use your roof before you decide to start using it
Having only a small outdoor space shouldn’t stop you from spending time outside. Use as much space as you can in inventive ways to make the most of it.

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December- Time to create your ideal garden?

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It’s December and gardening is probably the last thing on your mind as we approach Christmas. This time of year, before all the plants start to sprout and grow again is the perfect time to evaluate your outdoor areas and make plans for the next season. Creating the perfect family garden will give you and your family somewhere to bond and spend time. What could be better than stepping outside and having your own personal paradise right on your doorstep?

Include Pretty Flowers and Plants

Pretty flowers and plants are going to make your garden so much more attractive, and all you have to do is plant them then watch them bloom. Just make sure you research the right flowers and plants for the time of year and your climate, as they might be short lived otherwise. There are some flowers and plants that are very easy to maintain and practically bulletproof. It all depends on how much time you have to keep your garden looking great. If you do a simple search online, it’s so easy to find out how to grow roses and other flowers.

 

Install a Pond

Having a pond can be fun and educational for kids. Plus, it’s a nice relaxing feature to have when you just want to sit and chill. Just make sure you watch kids around the pond and have a safety cover over it when you’re not in the garden. My nephew has a koi pond and its fun to watch the fish swimming under the water. Unfortunately my dog likes to jump in and go swimming so use caution if you have dogs that love water.

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Have a Play Area

A play area for the kids can be really easy to make. All you need is some wooden play equipment and you’re good to go! You can have slides, climbing frames, sandpits, and more. Whatever you have the room for and can afford. Just make sure you put them together properly and keep them in good condition.

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Plant Fruit and Veggies

Plant your own fruit and veggies for your family to enjoy. You can all water the vegetable garden and take care of it together, which can be a great bonding activity for everybody. It could be one of the things you do with your weekends as a hobby. It’s one of the healthiest hobbies you can have!

 

Create Somewhere to Relax

 

All gardens need somewhere to relax. You could have a hammock, or a simple table and chair set up. A relaxing corner under a tree could be just what you need to watch over the kids as they play.

 

Make sure your garden is practical for your whole family. You want them all to be able to enjoy it and relax in it in their own way. If you want to attract wildlife to your garden as an educational tool for kids, make sure you always supervise children when playing. Your garden should feel like a place you can go to relax when things are stressful at home!

 

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CanvasPop’s Win Your Christmas Giveaway

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And to celebrate, my friends at CanvasPop are giving you the chance to win your Christmas. Featuring prizes from VISA, Apt2B, Toys R Us, and Best Buy, CanvasPop has got the perfect prize pack to help you fill up your stockings with gifts for the whole family.

Prize pack includes:
• $1,000 VISA Gift Card
• $200 Best Buy Gift Card
• $200 Toys ‘R’ Us Gift Card
• $400 Apt2B Gift Card
• $500 CanvasPop Gift Card
• Samsung 40” 1080p Smart TV

So what are you waiting for? Enter now to win this awesome prize pack and make this Christmas one to remember!

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Additional Contest Details:
• The Win Your Christmas giveaway will run from December 2 – 11, 2015.
• The giveaway will close on December 11 at 11:59PM (Pacific Time).
• The winner will be notified via email on December 12.
• The contest is open to residents of the US and Canada
• Individuals are limited to 1 entry per email address but may gain additional entries through entry methods specified on the giveaway landing page.

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30% off at Crafty Little Gnome Jewelry

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The weekend after Thanksgiving is unofficially the start of holiday shopping the US. I’ve got a great deal going on in my shop this weekend. 30% off everything! I have some fun new items in stock and old favorites. Check out these brand new necklaces:

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Geode Slice Lariat Necklace

 

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Amethyst and Skeleton Key Lariat Necklace

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Copper Wrapped Citrine Necklace

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Citrine Lariat Necklace

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Soufeel for Christmas

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope you all had an amazing Thanksgiving if it’s a holiday that you celebrate! One of the things I am thankful for is the folks over at Soufeel for sending me another gorgeous bracelet to show you all!

The charms from Soufeel are 925 sterling silver and can
fit Pandora and Chamilia bracelets. They are great quality for a great price. They have a huge selection of charms including a ton of Christmas themed charms.
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My bracelet arrived in this gorgeous little box with a ribbon. Perfect for gift giving. I chose five of the holiday themed charms. These rose gold and silver charms are my absolute favorite.

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Soufeel has a huge Black Friday promotion and is offering free worldwide shipping on orders over $50 and a 365 day return and exchange guarantee.

When you spend over $69 they will send you a free necklace and for orders over $99 they will send you a free sterling silver bracelet. This is the perfect time to pick up something special for Christmas for your loved ones or for yourself!

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Go check out their website and start building the perfect bracelet today!

 

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Vintage Gumball Machine Vase

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Hope you all are having a good weekend. I just wanted to share this cute vase I made out of a vintage gumball machine. I was challenged by my friends over at BloomNation to create a blog post on how I incorporate flowers into my home decor. If you haven’t heard of BloomNation before, they are a flower delivery service that supports local florists through their online marketplace. I love flowers and decorating with them so this was a fun challenge to participate in.

I have had this vintage gumball machine for some time. I found it at Goodwill. I screwed off the lid and removed the mechanical pieces from inside and placed a small glass of water on the base. Then I put the Jelly Belly glass piece back on top and stuck the flowers in.  It took all of about five minutes. It’s a little bit wobbly but if you wanted to create a permanent vase you could glue to glass pieces together with silicone.

I think this would be a fun centerpiece for a baby shower or kids birthday. What is your favorite way to decorate with flowers?

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Our Trip To Slab City and the Salton Sea

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Hey Friends,

Several weeks ago Rob, Chloe and I traveled down to Niland California to visit my in-laws for a week. We visited a very offbeat part of California. I wrote about our vacation for Offbeat Home. Head on over to read about our travels!

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