Thursday, August 28, 2008

10 Things I Can't Live Without... (That I Didn't Have 5 Years Ago)

Okay, round one of my work project is over and done with. I'm catching up on the things I have neglected, and getting back into the routing of things. I still have a ton of work to do at work and at home. But no more programming until 2AM in the morning, thank goodness!

Here's my post of the day - short as it may be!

10 Things I Can't Live Without... (That I Didn't Have 5 Years Ago)

1. Memory Foam Pillow
2. Oral B/Braun Electric Toothbrush
3. Internet Browser Tabs (Tip: Press the CTRL key when clicking a link to open it in a new tab!)
4. SnagIt - Revolutionary Print Screen software - Sounds lame, but it is life changing!
5. Google
7. TiVo
8. External Hard Drives
9. Point and Shoot HiRes Digital Camera (with movie recording - kept in purse at all times!)
10. Crocs (Both my kids can put them on in seconds)

What's on your Top 10?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bare Minimum

That's what I've doing these past two weeks. Bare minimum means getting orders shipped and replying to customer e-mails. That's it.

I have boxes of new product to unpack and mark as in stock. I have QK Silhouettes to put on major sale. I have a website development invoice to send a client (read: hours of work to get paid for!). I have A LOT to do.

But my first priority right now is getting my Order Management application done for work. It is a beast, and it MUST be completed by Friday, and I've been working crazy hours to get it done (many 2AM nights!). So I am REALLY looking forward to SATURDAY. When I can start dealing with the rest of my life.

So, this is why my blogging has slacked. It's why I don't tweet as much as I used to. It's why I haven't sent an e-mail newsletter in a month. And why my treadmill gathers dust. But a paycheck is a paycheck! And I'm ALMOST done! :)

Here are some pictures from my kids' first day back at school:

Monday, August 18, 2008

Tropical Storm Fay

A tropical storm is coming. This has resulted in both of my kids' schools being closed for Monday and Tuesday. My husband's work (FIU) is also closing at 2PM and all day tomorrow. My work? Not so much.

We NEVER close. Unless, MAYBE, a hurricane is 10 minutes away. Technically, I believe it must be a Hurricane Warning for us to shut down. This is absolutely fine for me today, since I still have this huge project to finish. It's easier to get it done at the office than at home with two bored kids (age 3 & 6 - not at the age where they ignore me yet).

Anyway, I'm thankful that all the stock for is in my house - not in a far away warehouse or store. I can't imagine having to lock up multiple locations.

I'm thankful that my husband replaced the shutters someone stole from our backyard, so the stockroom can be protected, if Fay becomes a hurricane and turns our way.

I am hopeful that there won't be any interruptions to order packing or shipping. I'll post any relevant updates here, (e.g., if the post office is closed). I did drop off the morning USPS orders before work, which worked out well. And I'll run to FedEx at lunchtime.

Best of luck with the storm to all my fellow Floridians! Safety first. Stuff second.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My "Adorable" Little Thief

Doodlebug Jolly Holly Days Rub-ons
I realize that a six year old has a limited concept of what is okay for her to take from a closet and what isn't. She sees us take things and use them or move them. So when she took a pack of gum from the pantry and horded it in her bedroom - chewing gum as she saw fit, I didn't get too mad, but I had a word with her. I told her she can't just take things without asking. And she can't chew gum whenever she fancies. She seemed to acknowledge her mistake, especially after I banned her from any more gum.

Well, this weekend I had her help me pack an order. Help being relative to what a six year old can do... she counted bottles of Doodlebug Sugar Coating glitter for me. For her help, I treated her to one low-cost item in the stock closet (I have a stock room next to the garage and a closet in the dining room). She debated and debated between the "adorable" Doodlebug Halloween Sugar Coated Rub-ons ("they have faces.. they are so cute!"). But ultimate chose the other option, the Doodlebug Christmas Sugar Coated Rub-ons. That was Saturday.

Doodlebug Trick or Treat Rub-onsYesterday, she stayed home with my in-laws (in town from Panama, the country). When I got home, I saw the opened Christmas rub-ons on her dresser. And next to them, an opened sheet of the Halloween rub-ons - you know, the ones she DIDN'T pick.

Well, I was not too happy. And she lost both sets. I asked her why she took them. "Because I was really good yesterday." I explained to her that those things belonged to my store. That stealing from my store is not okay. She wouldn't steal from any other store, etc.

So, do I now lock up the closet door? Is it just too much temptation for a six-year old to have a closet full of sparklies that she sees me take and pack and send off to other people? How would you deal with a child that has decided to horde things in her room of random consequence?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Featured Product: KI Memories - Sheer Delights (Transparencies)

One of the many products I fell in love with at CHAS08 was the Sheer Delights collection from KI Memories. They have cut edges and beautifully glossy print. I wanted to feature the collection here and show a few of the sample projects that KI displayed in their booth. I can't wait to get my hands on these!

The Sheer Delights and all new KI Memories products are available for pre-order at {shop now}

Click the images below to view a larger version.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Five Ways to Revive Stickers

Short on time today, so here is the outline of an upcoming newsletter article.

Five Ways to Revive Your Old Stickers
1. Paint them with acrylic paint.
2. Cover them with Stickles glitter glue.
3. Flip them over. Glitter or flock the sticky part. Adhere the non-sticky part. (this works best for shapes (flowers, stars). Some letters can be flipped, too.
4. Embellish them - seen all those embellished stickers at Michael's? It's amazing what a teeny jewel can do to a sticker!
5. Embellish a flower. (see below)

One Easy Way To Embellish a Flower with a Sticker
1. Cut out a circle (1-inch punch tool works well).
2. Put the sticker on the circle.
3. Use a pop-up adhesive (pop-up glue dots or foam squares) to adhere the circle to the center of a paper flower (love Prima!).
4. Adhere the flower to your card or project.

I like to use letters for these as a monogram. They can spice up a gift tag! I also use them as a envelope seal.

I'd love to hear what you do with your old stickers!

Friday, August 1, 2008

In Love with Pink Paislee and Cosmo Cricket

We have added two new brands to our line up... And I have to say, I couldn't be happier! The customer service provided by Rebecca at Pink Paislee and Lindsay at Cosmo Cricket is spectacular and indicative of the quality of their products. A little background...

A lot goes into putting products online, images need to be sized consistently. I may get images that are all different sizes, square and not e.g., 550x450 and 300x300. In the end, I need three images for each product: a large image (550x550 max), a medium (350x350 exactly), a small image (150x150).

Why? Well, if we use a 350x350 image as a thumbnail, the image will be fuzzy from being reduced AND the product thumbnails will take much longer to load! But hovering over the magnifying glass should show a larger image with enough detail to make a purchase decision. And if a closer look is needed, the product details page has a "product images {zoom}" tab with the largest image available. (We set the maximum size to 550, so the layout doesn't look weird on the page).

So, for each product, I must resize three images and associate them with the product (read: data entry). I also need to set up the product name. I include the brand and collection, product type (12x12 paper) for purposes of search engine optimization (SEO) and grouping like products together. Plus I add to the name, the actual name. So, for example, Cosmo Cricket has a item named "Happy Campers." That item on our site is "Cosmo Cricket - Mr. Campy - 12x12 Double-Sided Cardstock - Happy Campers" Long, I know.

I could go on and on about prices, product descriptions, setting up categories and relating products to each other, but I sense your forehead is about to hit the keyboard.

The point I am making here is, after the purchase of hundreds of products at CHA, I have a LOT to do. And companies like Pink Paislee and Cosmo Cricket that make it easier and faster by providing easy ways to get the data and images, by personally answering e-mails at lightning speed, make it so much easier and more fun! And I am looking forward to a long partnership with both of them! I hope you enjoy having their products at