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Monday, December 30, 2013

2013: My Year of Changes

Upon review of my life over the past year, I have found it to be a year filled with lots of firsts, lasts, hellos, goodbyes, and forevers. This is my 2013... My year of changes:

Started 2013 visiting Chicago for the first time.
Celebrated my 5th Wedding Anniversary.
One of the photo's I had done for my husband's anniversary gift.
Celebrated the high school graduation of the eldest son of one of my oldest and bestest with all of my oldest and bestest.
Spent my summer preparing to open my very first Etsy shop.
My first 4th of July at Greenfield Village for a patriotic concert by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra that included live cannon fire and an amazing fireworks show.
My first trip to Mackinaw City, and the UP.
Planned my first themed baby shower.
Joyfully welcomed a new member to the family.
Finally got to say "Hello" to my first Niece/Goddaughter.

Delighted to see the first picture of my first nephew.
I said goodbye to my job of 3 1/2 years, and I had my first table at a craft show.

In a year that was filled with ups and downs, lots of firsts, many celebrations, laughs and great memories shared with family and friends, it is also a year that will never be forgotten. It is with very heavy hearts, we had to say a painful goodbye to our loving, funny, smiley, amazing "Dominator".

It is with tears in our eyes, and love in our hearts that you are greatly missed. 
You will be in our hearts forever! 
Dominick Paul Curley-Keck
September 28th, 2005 - December 18th, 2013

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Craft Show Crafting Part 2

Last night my mother-in-law asked me if I'm reading any good books for Advent. Hmmm... Considering that I have been spending 12-14 hours a day making bows and flowers
In all different styles
Brainstorming and designing creative ways to display all my product
 For the Craft Show that is this Saturday
And I haven't even taken down my Thanksgiving decorations, or put up my Christmas decorations... As lovely as it sounds to sit down and read a good book, I just haven't been able to fit it in. ;) 

As the big day gets closer, I am getting more excited! If you are in the area, stop by and see us!

St. Mary's Christmas Bazaar
December 7th
10am until 4pm
St. Mary Catholic Church
10601 Dexter-Pinckney Rd.
Pinckney, MI  48169

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Craft Show Crafting!

A good friend of mine and I have decided to work together on our very first Craft Show. We are sharing a table, and we have both been busy making new product to sell at the Craft Show and help build promotion for both of our etsy shops, Cinderley Designs and Sheep & Company <---click on the links to view each etsy shop.

I've been making lots of bows of all shapes, sizes, and colors.
Here is a sneak peak of some foundation bows waiting for finishing touches!
And a few bows that have been completed.
I designed my business cards, and finally got them in the mail this week!
Next week I will be working on more fabric flowers and headbands. And, if I have enough time, I have a few more surprise projects I would like to have done in time for the Craft Show. My partner and I have great idea's for our display table, and I'm very excited to see how it turns out! 

For those of you who are local, the Craft Show we are participating in is:

St. Mary's Christmas Bazaar
December 7th
10am until 4pm
St. Mary Catholic Church
10601 Dexter-Pinckney Rd.
Pinckney, MI  48169
I hope to see you there! 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Where In The Devil Is Halloween?!!!

Throughout the years I have come across people who wince at the thought of celebrating Halloween. They wouldn't dare allow their children to go out trick-or-treating because doing so would be participating in the Devil's holiday celebration, or even celebrating the Devil himself! Quite taken aback by these beliefs, I began researching the History of Halloween (before the convenience of google searches), and wrote a paper on this topic for one of my early college courses. Is Halloween truly the Devil's holiday? Quite the contrary!
Nowadays, it doesn't take much to find a plethora of online sources giving the history of Halloween to the masses. Speaking of "masses," October 31st begins the Triduum of Hallowmas. As most may know, November 1st is All Saints Day, and November 2nd is All Souls Day, so how does Halloween fit into this? The word "hallow" literally means "saint"! Therefore, All Hallows Eve (Halloween) literally means "the Eve of All Saints" which is a Christian celebration. No devil so far, but what about the tradition of trick-or-treating?
Trick-or-treating has a vast and rich history in many cultures throughout the world. Does it have some pagan roots in the Celtic culture? Yes it does, but so does Christmas and Easter. Do modern day pagans, and druids celebrate the Gaelic holiday of Samhain on Halloween? Yes they do, but unless you are participating directly in their celebrations with them, it has no direct correlation to our children who dress up in costumes and knock on doors for candy. In fact, some European trick-or-treating traditions began with adult peasants going to the homes of richer noblemen, and offering to pray for the souls of their dead relatives in exchange for a sweet cake known as a "soul cake". Once again we see the recurring theme of Christian practices. So, where is the devil in the Halloween tradition?
Because of the origins of praying for the dead, some cultures believed the dead walked freely on All Hallows Eve. People began dressing up in scary costumes hoping to scare the spirits away and leave them alone. This is also a tradition you will find with people carving scary faces on gourds, and pumpkins, thus creating the Jack-O-Lantern. Over the years costumes have evolved to become scarier and more gruesome. The stories of Edgar Allan Poe and Bram Stoker gave foundation to the creation horror movies. Instead of sitting around the family hearth telling ghost stories of old, people now wait in line to be frightened in haunted houses. Does our American Halloween obsession with scary and evil looking things mean we worship the devil? Does the devil play a part in any of the modern Halloween traditions? Only if you choose to bring him into it! Most people spend their Halloween getting dressed in costumes, having parties, trick-or-treating for candy, or watching a good scary movie with friends without even a single thought spent on the devil. Halloween is time for fun rooted in Christian traditions of praying for the dead... there is no devil in that!

Besides, those of us who grew up in the Detroit Metro Area already know... Devil's Night is the night before Halloween!


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Something Wicked This Way Came...

For those of you who know me, you already know how much I love to decorate for Holidays, and how much I really love Halloween! It shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that my latest crafting project has been all about decorating for Halloween! I have spent the past two weeks putting my Cricut to work once again, and am very delighted with all the new Halloween decorations I have created!

I started out with smaller projects, by making pictures to hang on the walls.

And found the perfect way to decorate the guest bathroom mirror
Then it was time to stretch my crafting "sea legs". I spent a whole week creating two different spooktacular scenes for my dining room walls!
I love the Trick-or-Treaters!
This graveyard took me about 8 hours to make!
Having taken over the living room and dining room with all my crafting supplies, my husband decided to take pictures of my "craft room"... The scary part is, these pictures were taken on a more "clean and organized" crafting day! 

After my wall scenes were completed, I put together a few more smaller projects

I have a couple more projects to get up on the walls before this years Halloween party, but I am very pleased that everywhere you look in my house says it's time for HALLOWEEN!

Do you have a favorite Halloween decoration you look forward to bringing out each year?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Etiquette of Grief

I am not a grief counselor, nor am I an expert in emotional management. However, when it comes to most delicate situations it's always best to use basic manners, and be respectful.

There is no right or wrong way to grieve the loss of a loved one. There is no timetable for grieving, as the healing process takes nothing less than time. The grieving process is unique to each person, and each situation. So how should you act when you encounter a person in mourning or still grieving a great loss? That answer is unique to each person and situation as well.

Some people internalize their feelings. They don't talk about their grief, and they don't want to be forced to talk about it either. They just want to get on with their normal routine, and deal with the loss within the privacy of their own minds. Others may not internalize their pain so completely, but still wish to grieve privately. They may shed a tear or two in public, but still don't want to talk to anyone. They may take their grief into the privacy of their home and only share their emotions with a close family member or friend.

There are also those who constantly need people around them. They need the comfort of warm hugs, loving embraces, and consoling conversations. They may make public posts to share their pain with anyone who will listen, just to help find a way to calm the pain of loss they are feeling. They need to be engaged in a lot of social activities, for fear of being alone and falling into a despair so deep they may never recover.

Some people need only a day or two to mourn, others it may take a lifetime.

The best thing you can do for someone who is grieving is to simply pay attention to the signs and signals they are giving. If someone is a private griever, simply send a note of condolence, be mindful to not draw any attention to the situation, and respect their privacy. These people want to left alone, and everyone should respect that. If they are an open griever, reach out to them as much and as often as you can, for as long as it takes.

Some helpful things you can do that are standard etiquette are:

  • Send a card, flowers, or fruit basket to show your support. This should be done at the time of the funeral, and the weeks following. 
  • Offer to make a dish for the grieving family, or offer to help clean, do laundry, or help with the children and/or pets. Some people may need basic help in area's of life that are routine, and may get overlooked during a difficult time.
  • Offer to help with "Thank You" notes.  
  • If you don't know what to say, "I'm sorry for your loss" is usually best. Sometimes it's best not to say anything at all and just sit with them as a comforting presence. 
  • If you don't know how someone is dealing with their grief, ask a close family member or friend. They will give you the best insight into what is needed. 
It is always important to remember to respect the family's wishes, even if you don't agree with them. Every person, family, and culture has their own way they experience grief. Do not put your expectations on someone else, and do your best to show your support in a manner that is appropriate to each individual.

    Tuesday, September 10, 2013


    Four little letters that mean so much: RSVP. "Respondez s'il vous plait" in English means "Please Reply". These four letters mean the difference between a successfully planned event, and possible disaster. However, with ever increasing demands for the average persons attention, the actual responses received for event attendance are becoming increasingly less. Let's look at what happens when someone ignores these four little letters.
    Think of all the work that goes into planning an event: Renting a venue, setting up tables and chairs, ordering/preparing food and beverages, and these are just some of the basics! While planning and preparing for an event, an accurate head count of guests enables the host to gauge the correct amount of time and space for an event. How big the venue must be, how many tables and chairs, how many place settings (that typically have to be rented or purchased), the amount of food and beverages that will be needed, and the list goes on and on depending on what type of event is being planned.

    Failing to properly RSVP within a timely manner means the host has to assume either you are coming (this is typically what happens if the RSVP states "Regrets Only" and you failed to deliver your regret) and proceeds to order the things needed to account for your presence, or assume you are not coming thereby eliminating your spot at the event. It is NOT okay to show up to an event that you failed to RSVP to and expect to be included.

    Understandably, things do happen that cause us to forget, and it happens. BUT, this should be a rare exception and not a habit! Here are some suggestions that will help ensure to get your RSVP in on time:
    • When you receive an invitation in the mail that includes an RSVP card, fill it out as soon as you open it and put it in a spot for outgoing mail that will be sent out the following day. It will only take you a minute or two to fill it out, and by doing it immediately you ensure it gets done. Consequently, you won't have to worry about it later. 
    • Make sure you pay attention to the "Respond By" date. Be mindful to get your response in on time, and your host will be very appreciative. 
    • Put the event invitation in a place that you will see on a daily basis (i.e. on the refrigerator door, on your vanity mirror, on your home office cork board, etc.). Out of sight = out of mind. Keeping the invite visible will help you remember to get your RSVP in on time. 
    • If you have a last minute change of plans, be sure to contact the host ahead of time. Even if this means that they have already paid for your attendance, they will appreciate you letting them know, rather than not showing up at all. 
    • If you are hosting an event, be sure to include an email for guests to RSVP to. People are much more likely to send an email response then find time in their busy schedules to make a phone call. 
    Forgetting to RSVP to an event is something that happens to all of us. Making sure it doesn't happen every time you receive an invite is something that should be a priority in your social life. Hosting an event has enough stresses on it's own... Please make sure your RSVP isn't one of them the next time you are invited to a special occasion!

    Do you always RSVP to an event?

    Thursday, August 29, 2013

    5 Tips For An Enjoyable Weekend!

     photo b67f339d-4c97-4568-a66e-ace20132d8ed_zpsd1a3fc81.jpg
    It's hard to believe that the final summer holiday is already here! This is the weekend Americans are taking one last advantage of hanging out at the pool, having cookouts with family and friends, and hitting the big Labor Day Weekend sales for "Back To School" bargains. Here are a few quick tips to help everyone have a more enjoyable holiday weekend:

    1. Let go of the stress! Whether you trying to hurry up and finish making a dish, hit a particular sale early, or trying to pack up the car to go camping, things will go alot smoother and even faster if you just relax, remember to breathe, and don't sweat the small stuff. Your dish will turn out fine, and if it doesn't then start over or stop at the store and pick something else up instead. That sale will be going on all weekend, and you will enjoy your shopping experience a lot more if you go shopping for fun! Packing up the car is always a tedious chore, but remember you are going on a mini vacation so why not sing a song while packing to help put you in the holiday spirit!

    2. If you are going shopping, remember everyone at the store is there for the exact same reason... Trying to find a bargain. Remember shopping should be enjoyable since you are buying something new that you didn't have before! Try to take a deep breath or count to 10 when you encounter a rude or forceful shopper who just took the last hoodie you had your eye on. It's not worth ruining your mood or raising your blood pressure! And remember to smile and thank the store employees. They are the ones who have to work long hours and deal with crazy customers on a holiday weekend they would rather have off!

    3. Just expect that you will forget to pack at least one thing. It happens... to everyone... all the time! If you prepare yourself ahead of time with the knowledge that it will happen, then you won't be so freaked out when you realize it actually did! And if it didn't, then you can give yourself kudos for being an efficient packer... This time!

    4. Cookouts, barbecues, and picnics are always fun! While you are enjoying your time with family and friend, remember to be mindful of your surroundings. Try not to be too loud too late if you know there are neighbors nearby who do have to work in the morning. Remember to clean up your mess! Picking up empty cans and bottles, the rouge paper plate that blew off the table, and anything that wasn't there when you came and shouldn't be there when you leave. Your hosts, and/or the park/beach visitors will thank you for your courtesy!

    5. Don't Drink & Drive! That should be a given on any day, but it's a good reminder that bad things can and do happen when you drink too much and get behind the wheel of a car, or boat, or jetski! Just don't do it!

    I hope everyone has a pleasant, and enjoyable Labor Day Weekend!

    Tuesday, August 27, 2013

    Ready To POP!

    It amazes me that I have a 20 year old daughter, yet I have never been an Aunt... Well, not until now that is! I was absolutely delighted when I found out my sister-in-law was pregnant, and immediately offered to help host her Baby Shower. This, of course, is the second large project (that I mentioned in last week's post) that I have been working on all summer.

    Having a slight addiction to Pinterest does occasionally pay off, especially when looking for party/event planning idea's. After teaming up with my sister-in-law Regina, the theme we chose for this Baby Shower was "Ready To POP!"

    Photos are courtesy of my dear friend Jacqueline

    I eagerly put my new Cricut Expression 2 to work and, with my friend Megan graciously loaning me 2 of her Cricut Cartridges, made all the Baby Shower decorations myself. 

    I designed each table centerpiece to be decorative, and ultimately become the prize of the main game.

    We kept the guests entertained with our "Conversational Diapers" table:

    Ken quizzing his sister with answers pre-given by her husband. Really fun!

    And wish cards for the baby:

    Continuing with "Ready To POP!" we made sure all of our food fit the theme too! We served "POPable Meatballs", "Caprese POPS", "Fruit POPS", "Cake POPS", "POPcorn", "POPular Cheeseballs", and "POP & Water". 

    The guests loved the theme, and everyone had a wonderful time! It was definitely worth every minute of planning, and a lot of fun to see it all come together! 
    Me with all 3 of my sisters-in-law, and my new niece!

    Have you ever hosted a theme party? What is your favorite Baby Shower memory?