Category Archives: Holidays

5 Reasons to Support Small Businesses

Hi guys. It’s been a while since I’ve written a post. What have y’all been up to? I’ve been cracking away at Swagbucks, Mturk, my part-time job, and crafts the last month. The holidays will soon be here and I haven’t even started my shopping. I’ve got to get on the ball! I’m going to do my best to support small businesses this season.

Small businesses used to be a staple in this country. Every town had a main street booming support small businesseswith local shops. These days, buying from local people is becoming a thing of the past. And buying local doesn’t have to be at a physical store. There are many crafters and independent sales companies out there, as well.

I’ve come up with 5 reasons to support small businesses.  I hope you’ll consider helping out your local folks!

  1. The arrival of bigger, cheaper companies has helped put a lot of mom and pop shops out of business. That’s not the only factor involved in shutdowns but it does make a huge difference. Big corporations like Walmart will probably always be around. They don’t need our support as much as the little guy.
  2. If we would all support small businesses in our towns, there wouldn’t be so many empty, crumbling buildings in downtown areas. Buying small from local businesses helps the local economy and contributes to a spirit of pride in and for your community.
  3. Many times, small businesses are gift shops with handmade items. At the shop where I work, buying handmade not only helps the shop owner, but also the artist, as they share in the proceeds. Most people really enjoy receiving handmade items; many times the quality is better because it’s not mass-produced-no one item is exactly the same.
  4. Shopping small can build a lasting relationship with the shop owners. They generally have more time to help you and will be more likely to accommodate you in any way they can. This kind of service goes a long way in today’s world. I think small business owners appreciate their customers so much more.
  5. If you support small businesses it helps keep the money in your community. The money you spend isn’t going to a corporation run out of a different town or country. You can generally feel good about your purchases.

A great time to support small businesses is Small Business Saturday. It’s always the day aftersupport small businesses Black Friday, being November 26 this year. Much like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, many small shop owners will have sales.This link will allow you to search for shops in your area. You can also check out Facebook for local shops and independent sellers.

I realize that sometimes it just makes sense to spend your money at big box retailers because their prices are cheaper. But cheaper prices sometimes also means cheaply made. And small stores are not always more expensive. Some have very reasonable prices.

I hope you’ll be able to help your community this holiday season. Get out there and #ShopSmall on #SmallBizSat!

 

 

Fall & Halloween Ideas for Parties & Porch

Halloween is coming upon us fast! Can you believe how time flies? It seems like a few days agohalloween ideas when the redbuds and dogwoods were in bloom here in my part of the world. Now the nights are downright chilly and the days have a soft warmth, which I love. The time is at hand to start coming up with Halloween ideas, as well as fall decorations.

Halloween Ideas for your Party

I turn to Pinterest for ideas for any occasion. There are so many great DIY Halloween ideas, fall decorations, fun recipes, and everything else you could ever come up with. Some of my favorite Halloween pins:

  • This skull cheese ball tickles me. I had planned to make it for our Halloween party, but we’ve decided not to have one and go to a haunted house, pumpkin patch, and other fall goings-on instead.
  • How about this all meat party table? I love it, although I wasn’t going to do this one for our party-too costly. But so cool!
  • Now this one I was so going to do! A bowl of worms, hehe. Only I was going to put alcohol in them for jello shooters. 🙂

Here are some great online stores to get your supplies for your party, costume, and decorations:

  • Dollar Days is a great place to shop for party favors and decorations at wholesale prices. When you sign up for an account with them you get free shipping on your first order. So why not check out the Dollar Days Halloween Store. You may find just what you need!
  • A quirky, outside-the-box online store you’ll want to check out is Things You Never Knew Existed. They have some really cool things. Click this link and receive 20% off all Halloween items!
  • Annie’s has all kinds of craft patterns and supplies, including Halloween. Check them out for some fall and Halloween ideas.

Fall Decorations for your Porch & Lawn

Here’s a link on Pinterest for 27 Fall Porch Decorating Ideas. Love these! Lots of great ideas to pretty up the outside of your home.

You can make pretty wreaths from bittersweet. Bittersweet grows in a large portion of thefall decorations United States. It is a thick vine with leaves and towards fall they develop orange “balls”. These balls open up in the fall and expose pretty bright berries. You can do cuttings for flower arrangements, as well.

Another thing I love for fall (or any occasion, really) is burlap flags and wall hangings. Here’s a really cute one.

I hope you come away from this post with some inspiration. It’s a great time of year for street fairs, festivals, bonfires, and decorating.

If you try out any of these ideas and/or websites, please let me know. I’d love to see photos, too.

Halloween ideas

 

10 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

We all have a special woman in our life, a mother, mother figure, or wife. We want to do gift ideassomething nice for them but coming up with fresh gift ideas can be difficult. Most of us go to lunch or dinner on Mother’s Day. This year, why not think outside the box and give her something she doesn’t expect? Here’s a list of 10 Mother’s Day gift ideas for that special lady:

  1. Relaxation basket. Fill up a basket with items that make her happy and relaxed, things that are good for the soul. My suggestions: a devotional book or journal, chamomile tea, fuzzy socks, good chocolate, lavender lotion. This can be her go-to when she’s in need of a boost.
  2. Massage or facial. Get one together for a relaxing hour of bonding. Or perhaps lay her back in a recliner and give her a facial yourself.
  3. Mani/Pedi. What woman doesn’t enjoy being pampered occasionally? Do this together to make it even more special.
  4. Outdoor concert or festival. Check out websites of your local towns or parks to see if there’s anything going on around Mother’s Day. Of course, this option depends on the weather in your area.
  5. Day trip. Explore an area, stopping at roadside stands, Amish country, or a quaint small town. You may find a hidden gem that will become your favorite restaurant.
  6. Visit a museum. Cincinnati has a great museum with an Imax theater inside as well as a children’s museum. There may something similar in your town.

Bonus: If you know how to crochet, here are some free patterns.

If your funds are low, don’t stress out. There are plenty of things you can do for her that don’t cost much. I’ve got a few low-budget ideas. You don’t need to spend a lot of money as long as you treat your mom to something heartfelt:

  1. Chocolate spoons or peppermint sticks. Dip a plastic spoon or peppermint stick into melted milk or white chocolate until it covers about halfway. When set, wrap loosely in plastic wrap and tie a pretty bow around it. These are great flavor enhancers for coffee or hot cocoa.
  2. Have a picnic. Find a great park with a lake, lay a blanket on the ground, and spread out a nice lunch for your mom. Then feed the ducks and go for a stroll.
  3. Plant flowers for her. Mother’s Day in many areas is a great time of year to plant spring flowers, and she will love the help.
  4. Pick some wildflowers and put them in a vase or old bottle. Attach a homemade card to the bouquet.

Take one or more of these Mother’s Day gift ideas and put your own spin on the occasion. Whatever you choose to do with your mom, you can be sure she will enjoy it. Just remember to make memories with her to look back upon fondly. Mother’s Day doesn’t have to be expensive, as long as it’s a special day.

Crochet Pattern Easter Chick

I’ve got a great, easy, fast crochet pattern for you! First, a little back story. When I was young, my grandma and my great aunt crocheted everything under the sun. They were actually the ones that taught my cousin and me the basics of crocheting. Anyway, one thing they made at Easter was chickens with a plastic egg inside. They would put goodies inside the egg of course. I’m sure they can be used as a hard-boiled egg cover as well. I absolutely loved these chickens! I have no idea what happened to mine. A few years ago I remembered these cute little fellers and began a search for a pattern because it was so long ago I really had no idea how to even begin to make some. Well, I found a pattern and have been making them every Easter since. Here’s the link for the pattern I found.  Thank you April Moreland at The Left Side of Crochet blog!

April’s pattern is great, but I had an idea to modify her pattern and make a smaller baby chick. You know those mini plastic eggs? They fit right inside my baby chicks. So you can make a mama and baby. I’ve been making these this month as a fundraiser for our local volunteer fire department. Keep in mind that I’m not the best at writing out a crochet pattern, but here’s what I came up with.  🙂

  1. Using an H or I hook, ch 12, join with sl st
  2. ch 3, 2 dc in the next st, dc in the next, all the way around, join (18)
  3. ch 3, dc all the way around, join (18)
  4. ch 1, 1 sc in the same st, sc in the next three sts, hdc in the next two, dc in the next 6, hdc in the next two, sc in the next 4, join (18)
  5. ch 6, sl st in last chain from hook, ch 5, sl st in same st, ch 5, sl st in same st (this is the tail)
  6. flatten your work and crochet through both layers of the chick: sc in the next 5, hdc & dc in the next st, dc & tr in the next, 2 tr in the next 2 st, tr & hdc & sl st in the last st, finish off.
  7. for the beak, ch 2, sl st & sc in the last ch, finish off and attach to the chick.

There may be a little trial and error with the opening of the baby chick, depending on your stitch sizes, type of yarn and hook, for the small egg to fit. I have also made these with no egg opening and stuffed it.

baby chick-free crochet patternchicken-free crochet pattern

 

 

Here’s some more links to free, easy crochet patterns!

I hope you enjoy. Happy crocheting!

Ann