Monday, March 31, 2008

Image is everything - logo design

Wow, I can't believe it's already the end of March. One quarter of the year gone!

It turns out we only had one viewing on the weekend. It was the 3rd time these people have come to see the house. They love the house, the love the location in the subdivision (we are on a cul-de-sac with 2 other homes), but they are not sure about the town. So it's a maybe something will happen. The other showing was cancelled.

However life goes on, and some good things are happening. Angelique from Peach Tree Bliss has been working on a logo for my Search Me Toys. She designed the logo, some tags, and a couple of banners. You can check out one of the banners here. I'm so happy with them!


Angelique had me fill out a logo design brief. I told her I wanted an image with simple lines and a "cartoony" feel. The 3 keywords I picked that the logo should represent were searching, kids, and fun. I think she captured the perfect logo to represent these words, don't you?

When I had my dog biscuit business, I was asked for business advice from many, many entrepreneurs starting out. I told all of them to get a professional logo made, as well as professionally printed business cards and promotional materials. Image is so important, and so many new businesses fail in this area. i'm not just talking about stores, I think every business should do this...stay at home, etsy, artists, etc etc. It doesn't have to cost a fortune, and is money that in my opinion is well invested.

So, what are you waiting for? I'd highly recommend Angelique, but there are lots and lots of graphic designers around. Find a person that's right for you.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Viewings and Musings

Feeling optimistic today. We had a viewing yesterday, and another one booked for this afternoon. The coming of spring might just bring a buyer for our Ontario home.

In the meantime, I am dreaming about gardening in Nova Scotia. Our DIL emailed some photos last night. She and John's son are checking on our NS home for us until we get moved out there. This photo is taken from the foundation of the original barn, looking up towards the front of the house. There are 2 original foundations on the property...one from the barn, and one from the original homestead.

I'm hoping to create some gardens within the old foundations. Any suggestions for flowers?

Here's a photo of some of the treasures that DIL found before the snow came. Some of you may think that it's junk. But I truly think they are treasures...part of the history of the land and home we'll be moving to. Cool.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Jingle Jangle bubble gum

Jingle Jangle. You can't get much more bubble gum than this song. Everytime I listen to it I feel so GREAT!

This song really takes me back. Some of you will be too young to remember it when it was released. Some of you will be too young to remember 45's.

My best friend Leslie F and I used to sing our hearts out to The Archies. We used hair brushes as microphones and argued over who got to be Veronica. Somehow Betty was never our first choice!

It's Friday! Enjoy your weekend everyone. And take some time for a little bubble gum in your life.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Before and After Staging

On Tuesday we had an open house for the realtors from our agent's office. Our agent also brought a professional home stager.

It was decided that over all we had done a good job at staging our home, but there were a few things left to do.

Paint the kitchen a more neutral colour (it was a muted orange) and paint the powder room on the main floor a more neutral colour (it was a lime green). Rearrange the furniture in the living room and add decorative pillows to "soften" the look of our black leather loveseats. (leather is a necessity when you live with 3 dogs and 1 cat) Add a plant to the top of our kitchen cabinets. Put yellow towels in the master bathroom instead of blue towels. Add a decorative pillow to the bed.

So, I spent Tuesday afternoon priming the kitchen and powder room. Tuesday night John and I moved furniture. This caused a major upset for about an hour when we couldn't figure out how to put all the wires back into the unit we have for high def tv watching. Thank goodness we figured that one out! Wednesday was spent painting both rooms a neutral colour (a very soft cream colour). Then we were off to the store to purchase a bunch of decorative pillows. It was my lucky day because the pillows were all discounted. ($3, 2 for $7 each, and 2 for $14 each) I'm not a Walmart fan, but it does have its uses.

Here are a few before & after shots.

Living Area Before Staging
Living Area After Staging (there's now a large spider plant on top of the kitchen cabinet that's showing in the photo)
Kitchen Before Painting
Kitchen After Painting
Kitchen Before Painting
Kitchen After Painting

It was decided that the pocket door in our kitchen (off the front door entrance) should be closed for viewings. The photo above shows the door closed.

Okay, so now we're ready to sell!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Fun at Funky Finds

Check out Funky Finds for the March Childrens Goods Giveaway.

You might win yourself a Zoo Crew Search Me toy! You could be one of 15 Funky Finds readers to win 3 items each. The total value of the prizes is over $1000.

Good luck!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Mr. J!

It's our grandson's 3rd birthday today. Happy Birthday Mr. J! He and his mom are visiting his aunt and uncle and cousin down on the east coast. They are supposed to be visiting us too. When their vacation was booked 4 1/2 months ago, we had no idea that we'd still be here in Ontario trying to sell our house. Oh well, such is life.

You might remember that I made this for his birthday. He's a big Thomas the Train fan, so he'll also be getting a Thomas train and card game. And...one of my special edition Search Me birthday bags.


Happy Birthday Big Guy!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

6

Today is our 6th anniversary.

We've been living together for almost 15 years, but officially it's our 6th.
I designed our rings. Well, I have a ring and John wears a pendant. The front of my ring has our 3 initials. H in the centre, and J and S out to the sides.
Beside the S is a scottish thistle, for my Scottish heritage.
Beside the J is an english rose, for John's English heritage. Only it turns out his ancestors were actually from Ireland. So it has morphed into a wild irish rose.The 2 flowers are entwined across the back of the ring.

I love my ring and am so happy I found a jewelry designer who could bring my vision to life.

And...I love my man. I'm so happy I found my life partner. Happy 6.

"I love you not only for what you are,
but for what I am when I am with you."

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Staging a home

Our current house listing expires on Friday. It's been 5 months since we listed the house and we haven't sold. Despite the fact that it's been the worst winter for snow in 30 years, I think if we had the right agent and had the right price, it would have sold by now.

So...we are switching agents on Friday. We're meeting with the new agent tomorrow, but it looks like a big price drop is in store. It's quite disappointing. We didn't set the original price. Our agent set the price, and we actually listed $5000 less than the agent suggested. We dropped the price 1 month ago, and again used a price $5000 less than the agent suggested.

I thought I'd document what we've done so far to "stage" the house for sale. The new agent is bringing a professional stager tomorrow, so I'll let you know what else she suggests.

1. one bedroom full of furniture left the house with Cody when he moved to Toronto
2. painted "Cody's Condo" aka the upstairs tv room
3. painted all the baseboards on first level
4. sold at auction: desk, papasan chair, dresser from workshop, display shelving from workshop, various prints, boxes of "stuff", china, cabinet - total received $565.50
5. 4 garbage bags of clothes and 4 boxes of stuff donated to Salvation Army
6. desk chair to son in Toronto
7. removed 11 paintings from walls and patched and painted
8. rehung closet door in spare bedroom, patched hole on bedroom door and painted both
9. sold at auction: generator - received $1445
10. removed one loveseat from living room and moved downstairs to office
11. moved set of shelves from office out to garage for storage
12. 3 boxes of books to used book store
13. over 20 garbage bags shredded paper to recycling (that's what 3 years in municiple politics and 10 years for 2 businesses will get you!)
14. two SUV loads to the dump
15. personal photos removed from refrigerator, living room, desk top, spare room
16. one business sold and 24 bins of dog biscuits & packaging moved to new location

Phew! More to come...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St Patrick's Day!

I have a wee drop of Irish in me, but after several generations it's fairly diluted. My Scottish ancestors would probably deny the mix of Irish in the genes.

Searching the house, I came up with a couple of green things for your viewing pleasure... An original piece of art from 2007 done in acrylic paints by L. Thompson of Sudbury, Ontario. I found it on ebay one day and love it. I was embarrassed by how little I paid for it.
A green bottle that I intend to keep forever despite the fact that there's a chip in the lip of the bottle. It used to belong to my mom. She had some weird and wonderful bottles displayed on some open shelving that went up the stairwell in our home. Our home had the bedrooms on the main floor and the living and dining rooms and kitchen on the upper story. I've never thought about it before, but I love bottles of all shapes and sizes. It must be based in memories of my mom and the home I grew up in.
May you always have walls for the winds, a roof for the rain, tea beside the fire, laughter to cheer you, those you love near you, and all your heart might desire.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Vintage Loveliness

Spring is in the air today, despite the fact that we have piles of snow laying around. You can feel it in the sun, and that makes me feel great! A little while ago, I was feeling inspired after visiting lots and lots of talented jewelry makers in blogland. I started collecting vintage pins to repurpose into necklaces.

Then it dawned on me.
The talents I do have don't lie in that direction. So I'm "destashing" the vintage treasures. If you're into that sort of thing, you can find them here.

I'll be adding more to the shop in the next few days.
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

buttons and snow

I found some buttons for my sweater at Twisted River Clayworks. As you can see, they are blue buttons. Maybe an odd choice for a red sweater? But the yarn has flecks of different colours and lots of the flecks are blue. I thought rather than getting some red buttons (do you realize how many shades of red there are?) that may not match, I'd go for contrast. I think the buttons are fantastic...and one of a kind too! I'll use the four round buttons on the sweater, and the bonus rectangular button for some kind of yet to be determined project.

And I love this creamer.

Now... I want to show you a photo of the snow on our street. These are our neighbours playing on the small mound at the end of their driveway. We're only about two snow falls away from breaking the snowfall record from 1970-71. The wood showing in the photo below is the top of our 4 foot fence.Needless to say, our 3 large dogs can't get into the backyard. We have a small space cleared for them off our deck but we need to take them out for walks to get their exercise these days.

That's a lot of snow!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Finally...it's finished!

No, we haven't sold the house yet. But I am celebrating nevertheless. After 14 months and lots of procrastinating, I've finished my sweater. Well, almost finished. Everything is done but I can't find buttons I like. I messed up the button band a wee bit, but I don't think anyone will notice but me.
This style is a big change for me. The other sweaters I have knit for myself are all pullovers, and all a fair bit longer. This is the first waist length sweater I've done. As many women are, I'm very critical of myself. Let's just say my rear portion is not my favourite. Therefore, it's been cropped out of this photo!
If you're wondering what's in my hand...it's a remote for the camera. One of the best $15 purchases we ever made. No more running back and forth with a timer. It's especially handy when we're out and about. I've lost count of the times I had to run across beaches, rocks, etc to try to get into a group photo. Sometimes the aforementioned rear portion of my body ended up in the shots. Can't have that.
Now, where can I find me some buttons?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Adventures at home #2

Our son, DIL and Miss M visit our home in Nova Scotia every week to make sure everything is okay. (they live one hour away) Doesn't it look lonely and pining for us? This photo of the back of the house was taken a couple of weeks ago. There's no snow there now. But...we have LOTS of snow here. We received over 50 cm this weekend (that's over 20 inches) and looks like we're going to break the all time record for snow fall in this area that was set back in 1970-71.
Here's a photo of Miss M with her sled. Miss M and her mom and dad spent the night at the house...with air mattresses and sleeping bags. The next morning was sledding time.

I think Miss M has the right idea. This is her dad pulling her around 20 acres! I think he had a nap when he got home.

Can't wait to get there!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Skeleton keys in all shapes and sizes

I have been fascinated by skeleton keys for years now.My sister used to have a bunch of them hanging on her wall. She introduced me to auctions many years ago, and she had the most ecclectic collections of things. She had the Shabby Chic style before it was a style. I finally have some of my own skeleton keys. They are fabulous! Twenty of them in all sorts of shapes and finishes. I don't know what it is about them...they just seem sort of romantic. All that history. Who knows what they unlocked and the secrets they kept.
Now...what to do with them? Any suggestions?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

flounder

This is me.floun-der n. 1. struggle awkwardly without making much progress; plunge about 2. be clumsy or confused

Although I signed a clause in the sale of my business that said I was to be available for 90 days to answer questions, I find I am not needed.

Although our home is listed for sale, no one is interested in seeing it just now.

Most of our personal belongings have been stored away to de-personalize the house, so I feel like I'm visiting a hotel rather than living in a home.

Although several people asked me, "but what are you going to do?" when told I was selling my business, I didn't think that finding the answer would be a problem.

I find I am in limbo, looking for answers without knowing the right questions to ask.

Flounder.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Music Monday

One of my favourite singers....Rita Chiarelli from Canada. If you like the blues, you'll love Rita. There's not much available on YouTube, but this one is one of my favourites. If you're interested in buying one of her cds, I'd recommend you start with Breakfast at Midnight.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

White outs and black outs

Yesterday we were off bright and early to attend the last session of Mr.J's gym class. Well, maybe it was early but it wasn't so bright. We ran into a bit of a snowstorm along the way. Nice. It's at this time of year that it seems winter is never going to end. According to the papers, we've received almost 10 feet of snow so far this winter. Thank goodness we've had a few melt downs along the way.
We did mange to make it to Mr.J's class. That's him doing the crab walk on the parallel bars with his mom. He never had the courage to do it before, but had to get it done for his Baba (aka Grandpa) John.
Here he is on the balance beam. Notice the tongue (helps the concentration).

And...his official certificate of achievement.All these photos were taken after the class had ended. Photos are not allowed during class because we live in the age of fear of stalkers and pedophiles. We weren't allowed in the gym to watch the class, either. We were tossed out and had to watch from the windows in the hall. John wanted to know from the staff member what part of Russia we're living in....a little embarrassing but really he has a point. I can understand not allowing cameras in a change room, but a gym class? Taking photos afterwards isn't quite the same. The times are what they are, I guess. But it's a little sad all the same.

But, we couldn't let some silly rules get us down. After class, the four of us headed out to breakfast. Yum. A light meal (ha!) of Eggs Benedict for me. Then home to walk the dogs and walk some of those calories off!