Life Update

It's been nearly 2 years since I've posted here. I kind of gave up on the blog. I'm not even sure why I'm writing this post, other than to have it to look back on one day, if I don't delete my blog entirely.

Since I last wrote here, we sold our home and moved to a new town, the pandemic hit and flipped everyone's lives upside down, and I started a new job.

Let's start with the good. We sold our home in early 2020 (we had our open house 2 weeks before the pandemic shut everything down and the house was under agreement less than a week after we went live) and built a brand new house in a new town while we lived in an apartment. We moved to our new town in December. 


We LOVE living here. We are at the top of a hill, and the view and the sunsets from our front door are unbelievable:



We live in a beautiful neighborhood, with friendly and welcoming neighbors. Austin made friends immediately with a dozen or so kids nearby. Our biggest concern changing towns was whether he'd be ok, and he's doing great - despite being entirely remote for school this year. He's out most afternoons playing in someone's yard nearby. Our yard has a huge hill in the front where all the kids would come sledding over the winter. Our yard here is 4x the size of our last one. 

It is so quiet and peaceful here - in the winter you'd walk out at night and you could hear a pin drop. I love the small town vibe. The town pages on Facebook aren't filled with arguments and insults and complaints, but rather helpful and friendly advice. We are quite a bit away from my family or any of the "big box" stores, which means when we need to visit them or run to Target it's a half day trip. This is our "forever" home (at least until Brad and I both retire and need to downsize/move to someplace warmer). I never really felt attached to our last home - this one, perhaps because we watched it go from an empty lot to a home we chose everything about, is our dream home. I felt like I'd already lived here by the time we moved in. 

We chose some upgrades like hickory flooring throughout the entire house and a larger deck. Once we moved in we started a few projects like a closet system, finishing a single room in our basement for movie and game nights, and we're about to have a patio and a shed installed out back. We never did anything major to the last two places we owned, so we want to start off right and be able to enjoy some of these things for years to come.

During the summer last year, between our homes, we lived in a 2 bedroom apartment with our dog and 2 cats. Thankfully, the apartment building had a pool, because with the pandemic hitting and not really being able to go out and do things, the beautiful heated pool was a welcoming escape from everything happening in the world. Honestly the apartment was fine - we only really felt the cramped space towards the end when we could see the light at the end of the construction tunnel. It was so worth it in the end. 

We did visit Disney during August of last year. What a "different" experience that was. We did have a great time, and the vacation was nice after having our cruise last May canceled, but during Covid times I think Disney is missing a bit of the "magic." That being said, we were able to ride so many more rides than usual due to not needing fast passes and lighter crowds. We had the pool mostly to ourselves for a majority of the trip. And our flight home had only 26 total passengers. We also made sure to quarantine for two full weeks when we got back, which was easy with Brad working from home. We'll be heading down again in a few months, and have our fingers crossed fireworks might come back by then.

With school closing in the spring, Austin never had to worry about going from the apartment to his school. We enrolled him in the new town for the fall and we had the option of going full remote. Since we'd have to commute almost 30 minutes to get him to school, remote made sense for us. He'll be in a new middle school next year, so he's staying remote for the rest of this year. But there are a lot of kids in his grade in our new neighborhood, and he made a few other friends in the same grade over the remote classes, so he will already know plenty of them going into middle school. 

With the pandemic shutting everything down, Brad has been working from home for over a year. He goes into work a few days a month but is otherwise home on Zoom most of the day. I continued working at a local craft store up until a few months before we moved. I will say, working with the public once we re-opened really bumped up my anxiety, so I couldn't wait to quit. Which is too bad, because when I first started that job I really enjoyed it. 

But after we moved, my realtor contacted me and offered me a job as her assistant, and I can work from home. I never ever thought I'd be involved in real estate (and I will never be a realtor myself) but it's something new and really interesting to see what goes on behind transactions. I get to be home with Austin and the work is completely flexible - some days I'm busy for hours and some days I only have a few things that need to be done. I can run errands when I need to. It's the perfect job, really. 

I shut down my Etsy shop at the start of 2020 knowing we were getting ready to move and I decided recently not to reopen it, at least for now. I no longer feel a need to try and sell things I make. I want to craft for ME, or make cards for friends and family, and not feel the pressure of needing to make money from those things. I think I like keeping my hobby a hobby and not my work. It also makes me feel less guilty about bouncing between hobbies. Sometimes I feel like crocheting or diamond painting, and sometimes I feel like paper crafting. There are enough things on my daily "to do" list that I don't need crafting to be one of them anymore. I also don't feel like making YouTube videos anymore or blogging all of my craft projects. 

That's really all I felt like saying today. Our lives have been a roller coaster for the past several years and it's nice to have things begin to settle down. We get our first vaccine doses within the next few days, and I hope everyone can get vaccinated so we can get back to some level of normal. Stay healthy. 

New Hobby

Yes, I know I haven't updated in half a year. I have no excuses. Just haven't felt like writing.

Now that that's out of the way...I picked up a new hobby back at the end of last year. I taught myself how to crochet. Working at a local craft store I was seeing all the gorgeous soft yarn we had and I just needed to learn how to use it. I tried knitting and after 7 solid hours I was just frustrated with it. I think my tension was too tight - it hurt my hands. I tried crochet the next day and haven't looked back. Crochet was EASY!

So I've been making lots of pretty things...and collecting even more pretty yarn. :)

I started with granny squares! And I thought, yes! I'll only ever make granny squares (or circles) of all kinds so I can use so many colors of yarn.









Then I thought, no, wait, I'm going to make mandalas! Those are even cooler than grannies!


Then, of course, I had to make myself a pin cushion for my needles.


From there, I made a cotton towel for the kitchen to dry our hands on. And then I made some matching placemats and coasters.



Then I decided 3 weeks before it was needed to make my first afghan.


She loved it, by the way.

I made a kitchen scrubby, and some face scrubbies.



I made a bag, and had my mom line it for me. (I'm super proud of this one, and the colors are SO pretty!)


I made a bathing suit cover in the week before a trip to Disney earlier this month, and finished it on the plane!



And I have just recently started on making chemo hats for donation. I'm doing adult and children's sizes, but am still looking for where to donate my children's hats. My mom has a friend that works for Dana Farber and can take the adult ones for me.




So that's pretty much what I've been doing. I've also been decluttering - we donated/passed on/tossed so much stuff this spring - 2 car loads to a local Scout troop yard sale, 2 car loads of kids toys to a friend nearby, 2 boxes of books to the local used bookstore, 2 car loads of boxes and styrofoam to my mom for shipping, and bags upon extra bags of pure trash and bulk pickup items in our garbage. We cleaned and organized our attic and garage. The house is looking SO good. And we've been traveling a lot.

I have not felt like making YouTube videos. I haven't felt like blogging. I haven't even been making cards recently, but I do have a craft fair this fall so I'll be getting back to those soon. I have been very busy, just not with the stuff I expected to be busy with. I am enjoying not working in an office and instead embracing my retail crafty job for now, while I can.

Talk to you guys....at some point. :)

Small Update

Just popping in with a small update as to where I've been. About a month ago, I picked up a part time job...at a local craft store! It's a HUGE change from my former job as an accountant, both in job type and obviously monetarily, but so far I love it. I get to stock crafty stuff (which satisfies my need to organize), I am meeting other crafters, and I get to make a little extra cash while I'm at it. The job is suuuuper flexible with hours so I can work while my son is in school and get out in time to pick him up in the afternoon. It gives me time to work on my craft business as well. I do need to get used to being on my feet for hours at a time, and how to continue to fit everything else around hours that change each week. But as I said, I am so far loving it!

So that's where I've been lately! Other than that, not much is going on. I'm working on stocking up for my last craft show of this season and filling my shop with items. This week I put up holiday earrings, so if you're interested, please check them out here! Here are a few pics of some of them below, but I have a lot more.




As the holidays approach I'm trying to make some gifts for my family, and I'm already thinking ahead to 2019 and what next year will bring. I'll update here when I can or have something new to share with you. :)

Card Share - Stampin' Up! Birthday Wishes For You


I've been working on creating items for my upcoming craft fairs this fall. I'm bringing handmade cards and earrings, along with a few other items. Yesterday I spent time making a bunch of cards using the same card set, and I wanted to do a quick card share. Each of these use the Stampin' Up! Birthday Wishes For You stamp set (and yes, I will use the SU copyright stamp on my item as per their Angel Policy).

I stamped all of the images onto card stock and then colored them with my alcohol markers and added them to card bases as I went. Each card is a little different, mostly in color scheme but some in layout. I love how they turned out.









There you go! Just a quick card share for some inspiration for you guys. :)

Ohuhu Marker First Impressions - Copic Marker Alternative - Cheap Alcohol Markers!


The other day while browsing YouTube I came across a set of inexpensive alcohol based markers available on Amazon from Ohuhu. I had a gift card and they are really cheap (less than 50 cents a marker), so I thought I would go for it. I ordered the set of 100 Ohuhu markers, but they do come in sets of 40, 60, and 80 as well.

I received them today and filmed an unboxing/first impression video for you. Well, really for Shannon, but you all can watch too! Please check out my video below:


As I mentioned in my video, after testing them all, I found none dried out or cracked. Just one cap that had a little melty thing going on, but it didn't affect the marker or it's ability to close.


Here is my full color swatch chart of the 100 set of Ohuhu markers. As you can see there is a really great range of colors, and they even include a few neon colors, which is kind of neat (not sure what I'll use those for though!).


Anxiety, Vacation, Fall Craft Fairs

Good morning. It's been quite some time since I blogged. I have really good intentions to keep up with things here and on my YouTube channel, but then life just...happens...and before you know it, it's been over a month and you haven't posted anything.

We hit Disney again last month (where else?), staying at the Old Key West resort. I think this may be my new favorite resort. It is entirely a DVC studio/suite resort, though I do believe if there is availability you can book it for cash. It has a boat to Disney Springs, and the vibe is so chill and relaxed. We absolutely loved it. Each room was like you had rented a condo, rather than being part of a resort hotel, the way it is designed. We had a "quiet" pool not far from our room that we visited almost every day. It was just lovely. Our room even had a view of the golf course off our patio. We plan to book there again next summer.


We had a lovely vacation. We even spent a day and night over at Universal and Islands of Adventure, which Austin has never been to. We hung out with my brother, who lives in Florida, for the day, and he had a blast taking Austin on rides. The Mummy was a huge hit (my favorite too), and seeing Diagon Alley for the first time was pretty amazing. I even managed to catch the Gringotts dragon breathing fire:




Since we got back I've been preparing for three craft fairs I am participating in this fall. I plan to bring my handmade earrings and cards, but I have a lot to make before the first show date! So I have been in my craft room much of the day, while also trying to keep up with housework, Austin being back to school, and other stuff of daily life.

I did finalize what I want for my booth display - I have a custom table runner on the way (they sent me the wrong one the first time). I have displays for the earrings and the cards, including some inexpensive wood storage drawers from Ikea. I'm very excited but also very nervous as I haven't done a craft fair since Austin was a baby. I hope I'm prepared enough! I plan to put out my tables for a practice setup (minus the products) this weekend, so once I do that I'll take a few pics and post them for you guys.

Other than that, I've just been trying to manage my anxiety, and I'm failing at it. My anxiety has been in overdrive ever since last fall. I think I had this plan of how things were going to go and suddenly things were chaotic and unknown and it's just put me in this state of constant worry and fear and panic. And when I say constant...I mean constant. At any given point in a day, my mind is focused on exactly what could go wrong. I lay awake at night worrying about a gas leak, or a break in, or that Austin's going to suddenly stop breathing down the hall and I won't know about it. I have mentioned before (I think) that I have this constant fear of him choking or falling down the stairs. I mean, ridiculous things, I worry about ALL.THE.TIME. I have an intense fear of certain bridges that I never in my whole life had before, ever since the bridge collapse in Florida. I panic about being stopped under them, or stuck over water.

And then I'm obsessed with true crime and missing persons, so I watch those videos on YouTube and that only makes the anxiety worse, but I have zero willpower to turn away from them!

It's very clear that if I stopped watching negative things...if I laid off caffeine, got enough sleep, exercised and took care of myself, and let go of social media, things would be "better." But I am clearly not making my mental health a priority right now, because I feel like I can't, and so I'm in this state of constant anxiousness that I can't turn off because I'm not willing to do the things to turn it off. I'd like to say I hope I can do so soon, but...you know me and following through on things.

Alright, enough for today. Thanks for listening, if you're out there! Even if I have nothing productive or interesting to say. I appreciate you taking the time to read.

The One Where Everything Goes Wrong - Watch Me Work

I asked on Facebook yesterday what you'd like me to film, and a couple of people commented a birthday card. One commented suggesting a purple birthday card, so that's what I went with. This card uses purple and aqua, which I think is such a lovely combo.

Note: I use a lot of Stampin' Up! products in this video but I am not a SU demonstrator.


I filmed this card, which you can watch below.



As you'll see from watching the video, things just didn't go smoothly. The Stampin' Up! markers...I hated. They bled with the Memento Tuxedo Black that I always use with my Copics and Spectrum Noir markers. Am I using the wrong ink? I'll consult Google soon. I also later cut something wonky. I notice a Stampin' Up! watermark on my patterned paper after attaching it to my card. And my mat gets offset on the video so the last few minutes are filmed with a crooked mat. All in all, not my best day. But I left all those mistakes/issues in for you to see that what may look like a nice card in the photos, doesn't always get made perfectly the first time. :)


Supplies used:

Stampin' Up! Highland Heather ink
Stampin' Up! Highland Heather card stock
Stampin' Up! Sycamore Street DSP
Stampin' Up! Birthday Wishes For You
Copic marker BG23
Stampin' Up! Pool Party Blends Markers combo pack
Stampin' Up! Candy Dots
Mini Glue Dots
Memento Tuxedo Black
Scotch ATG

Floral Earrings

This weekend I spent time making several pairs of new floral earrings. They just went live in my shop! Come check them out at vegasgirldesigns.com!


I love how these turned out - I need more colors of the floral fabric for sure!

Vegas Girl Designs New Website

It's been a bit since I posted but I've been sick for about a week now and pretty much being a slug at home. Stupid summertime cold which I suspect I caught on a train last week. I haven't been sleeping well and I have had a splitting headache for two days. Hoping I can feel better tomorrow so I can take Austin out to do something. He's been very sweet though, bringing me water because I had said my head hurt. He's a thoughtful little guy.

I did do something I am pretty excited about during this downtime. I wanted to create a standalone website for my online shop. I'm still on Etsy as I like how easy it is to use and I like the community aspect of it. But I wanted to be able to have a direct site to have customers be able to see my entire product line. Some things I can't really put on Etsy. Some things also don't make sense to continue putting on Etsy (older digital products, for example, as I price those very low and it isn't beneficial to me to continue paying Etsy fees on listing them).

I spent a few days researching what option I should go with. Did I want to build a site from scratch such as with WordPress and WooCommerce? Did I want to try Shopify which has all the bells and whistles ready to go for me? Or did I need something simpler. In the end, for now, I have decided on Pattern by Etsy. But boy, was it hard for me to get opinions on this platform. A lot of the articles I read were outdated, as Pattern has updated features and theming since it's launch. It is limited in the theme options, but I do like that everything is done through Etsy's checkout - which to me, means my customers can trust it.

Shopify was too expensive, in my opinion, for where I'm at in my business right now. But I am open to switching in the future should I need a more robust site. I've ruled out WordPress and WooCommerce even though it has very high reviews as I am just not ready to spend a ton of time designing a site. As my husband put it best, do I want to spend all my time setting up a website, or creating?

So here is what my new site looks like. I like that it is a clean design and organized. It's simple, but has what I need. You can check it out at vegasgirldesigns.com if you want to see more than this screenshot below :) (Pretty please go take a look?).


Even though I've decided to stick with Pattern by Etsy for now, I'd love for anyone with experience with Shopify or other websites to leave a comment and let me know what they like or don't like. I did check out Indiemade and that one also looks like a really great option. When I'm ready to take on something a little more complex, I want to be prepared before I start!

I know I've been neglecting my YouTube channel as well for a bit. With Austin home during the summer, being sick, working on earrings, and having random stuff going on, I just haven't been able to make it work. I definitely don't want to record when my voice sounds so terrible either. But it's not dead, I haven't abandoned it, and I'll be back soon.

Weight Loss Update and Small Rant

Just a quick one today - as for weight loss, now down 12 pounds. All without exercise, done just by reducing the calories I'm consuming. I eat what I want, but I eat less of it. I don't deny myself something. We've gone out for ice cream, ate what we wanted for the fourth of July, and I'm still losing. It kind of makes me sad when I think about how much I must have been consuming before.

Speaking of the 4th...I went out that morning and got my kiddo a $20 blow up pool from Big Lots and it is all he can talk about still. He LOVED IT. This photo was taken during hour...three, maybe? The water was nice and clear when we started but he spent a solid four hours running across the back yard to jump into the pool. Then he wondered why it got so filled with grass and dirt. Gee? I wonder?


As for my small rant...it's more of a "this is getting creepy now ok please stop thank you." I've had this happen a few times, but for example, a few weeks ago, I merely spoke to Brad about a new liquor store I noticed nearby in town, and a few days later, an ad popped up for it on Instagram. First ever local ad I've had. I never searched for the store or typed it or texted it or anything. But I suddenly get an ad? THE PHONE IS LISTENING.

Yesterday I ordered a couple of bathing suits from Torrid from my computer. I never searched on my phone, but I did Snapchat pictures and a few remarks to Shannon. Today, the top three ads on my Instagram feed are bathing suit ads.

IT'S CREEPY AND I WANT IT TO STOP.

How do you avoid this? I mean, Snapchat?! I know you can browse in private mode, but when your phone is picking up your Snaps, or your texts, or YOUR FREAKIN' VOICE and targeting you for ads...that's messed up. I hate it and it makes me feel like I'm constantly being watched. (Which, let's face it, I'm sure we are, in some way).

Rant over.