Life is GOOD!

Some mornings are frustrating from the very beginning. My first clue, as I am stumbling down the hall with my eyes half closed, I step into cold cat barf. I suppress the urge to scream as I hop down the hall on one foot so I don’t spread the joy.   I grab paper towels and spray cleaner and clean the gross crap off my foot first. When that is cleaned up I run for the coffee which is so very necessary to get me through my mornings. COFFEE!   But wait…..the fancy automated coffee maker did not start. So I push the manual button as I stare longingly at the empty carafe. Must have my coffee.

To kill time, I start my computer only to find there are three bazillion updates waiting to load! I watch the counter 3 of 468, well this is going to take awhile. I really didn’t need to get any work done, at least not in the near future, as my computer continues to count down the numerous updates. COFFEE!

I stumble back down the hall to get my glasses so I can see…..yes that is the kind of morning I am having, I forgot my glasses when I got up and I really need to see.   On my way back out to check on my coffee, I peek into my daughters bedroom to see her peacefully sleeping.   A beautiful calm look on her face and suddenly everything is fine. Life is good.

Visit my new Etsy Shop Dragonfly by the Creek @ https://www.etsy.com/shop/DragonflybytheCreek

#DragonflybytheCreek

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Being a Small Business Owner

I have found that owning my own business has its ups and downs.  And much like a manic-depressive person the ups are glorious and the downs are debilitating.  Although my Dragon Alley business is not a traditional “brick and mortar”, it still brings in much needed income for my family.

So what do I do when my business is down, I evaluate.  I take a look at my online listings, and make improvements so they can be seen on mobile devices.  I make sure my descriptions are short to the point and clear.  I look at the product that is not moving and put it on sale.  If it isn’t moving, get it out of your store and move on to something that is more appealing to your buyers. Also diversify your product.  If you have one product, what do you do when everyone has bought that one product and no longer needs another?  You find another (or several if you are smart) product that is attractive to your buying audience!

I have also started doing Arts & Craft Shows.  Yes they are a lot of work but the benefits you get from meeting other crafters, that are having the same problems, is a HUGE bonus.  Ask them what they are doing to get out of their slump.  Exchange business cards and create a group that meets at least once a month to brain storm ideas.

I have also started attending seminars and free classes put on by my local Chamber of Commerce.  Yes, the city you live in wants to see Small Businesses succeed.  Small Businesses are the back bone of the economy in any area.

So read, learn and get out there and Support Small Business like yourself!

Here are some of my links.  Stop by and see me!

http://stores.ebay.com/Dragon-Alley-Journals

http://dragonalley.webs.com/

https://twitter.com/DAJournals

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Homemade Gifts for Holiday Giving – A Year of Living Cheap!

This year I will be making my Holiday Gifts!  This is a great way to save money and to make a one-of-a-kind gift for the special people in your life.

Several easy homemade gift ideas are:

Simple leather journal

Soy container candles, scented or unscented

Beaded bracelet

Leather draw string bag, pouch

All of these are simple DIY projects and only take a couple of hours, tops.  You can do an internet search and watch a video or get the step by step instructions.  IF the instructions go on and on, do another search with the word “easy” in it.  None of these projects are “Rocket Science” and any beginner can accomplish every one of these.

I melt the wax for my soy candles in the microwave in a “microwaveable safe glass bowl”.  It is easy, fun and I love the fact I have candles made by me in my home!  When making the leather draw string bag, there is no sewing if it is round (like a dinner plate)!  Punch holes evenly spaced, run a string or leather lacing and it is done.  You can choose to decorate with beads or if you are using suede leather you can paint on it.  It is really simple and fast.

So choose your project, don’t go overboard when getting the supplies.  Simple is always better and won’t hit you in your pocket book like a bomb went off. Your friends and family will love the gifts you made just for them and you will not have to touch those credit cards this year!

If this is not your cup of tea, then support local crafters and go to a craft show to get your unique handmade gits!

http://dragonalley.webs.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dragon-Alley-Journals/156515134449134

For great Custom Books, Leather Journal, Planners @ http://stores.ebay.com/Dragon-Alley-Journals

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Discounts for Seniors – A Year of Living Cheap!

I recently read an article posted by Chuck McDonald on FaceBook about Senior Discounts and felt it was worth reposting in my blog. 

As I was waiting in line behind an older gentleman at Wendy’s recently, I heard him ask for his senior discount. The girl at the register apologized and charged him less. When I asked the man what the discount was, he told me that seniors over age 55 …get 10% off everything on the menu, every day. (But you need to ASK for your discount.)

Being of ‘that’ age myself, I figured I might as well ask for the discount too.  This incident prompted me to do some research, and I came across a list of restaurants, supermarkets, department stores, travel deals and other types of offers giving various discounts with different age requirements. I was actually surprised to see how many there are and how some of them start at the young age of 50 .

This list may not only be useful for you, but for your friends and family too.

Dunkin Donuts gives free coffee to people over 55 .
If you’re paying for a cup every day, you might want to start getting it for FREE.

YOU must ASK for your discount !

RESTAURANTS:
Applebee’s: 15% off with Golden Apple Card (60+)
Arby’s: 10% off ( 55 +)
Ben & Jerry’s: 10% off (60+)
Bennigan’s: discount varies by location (60+)
Bob’s Big Boy: discount varies by location (60+)
Boston Market: 10% off (65+)
Burger King: 10% off (60+)
Chick-Fil-A: 10% off or free small drink or coffee ( 55+)
Chili’s: 10% off ( 55+)
CiCi’s Pizza: 10% off (60+)
Denny’s: 10% off, 20% off for AARP members ( 55 +)
Dunkin’ Donuts: 10% off or free coffee ( 55+)
Einstein’s Bagels: 10% off baker’s dozen of bagels (60+)
Fuddrucker’s: 10% off any senior platter ( 55+)
Gatti’s Pizza: 10% off (60+)
Golden Corral: 10% off (60+)
Hardee’s: $0.33 beverages everyday (65+)
IHOP: 10% off ( 55+)
Jack in the Box: up to 20% off ( 55+)
KFC: free small drink with any meal ( 55+)
Krispy Kreme: 10% off ( 50+)
Long John Silver’s: various discounts at locations ( 55+)
McDonald’s: discounts on coffee everyday ( 55+)
Mrs. Fields: 10% off at participating locations (60+)
Shoney’s: 10% off
Sonic: 10% off or free beverage (60+)
Steak ‘n Shake: 10% off every Monday & Tuesday ( 50+)
Subway: 10% off (60+)
Sweet Tomatoes: 10% off (62+)
Taco Bell : 5% off; free beverages for seniors (65+)
TCBY: 10% off ( 55+)
Tea Room Cafe: 10% off ( 50+)
Village Inn: 10% off (60+)
Waffle House: 10% off every Monday (60+)
Wendy’s: 10% off ( 55 +)
Whataburger: 10% off (62+)
White Castle: 10% off (62+) This is for me … if I ever see one again.

RETAIL & APPAREL :
Banana Republic: 30% off ( 50 +)
Bealls: 20% off first Tuesday of each month ( 50 +)
Belk’s: 15% off first Tuesday of every month ( 55 +)
Big Lots: 30% off
Bon-Ton Department Stores: 15% off on senior discount days ( 55 +)
C.J. Banks: 10% off every Wednesday (50+)
Clarks : 10% off (62+)
Dress Barn: 20% off ( 55+)
Goodwill: 10% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Hallmark: 10% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Kmart: 40% off (Wednesdays only) ( 50+)
Kohl’s: 15% off (60+)Modell’s Sporting Goods: 30% off
Rite Aid: 10% off on Tuesdays & 10% off prescriptions
Ross Stores: 10% off every Tuesday ( 55+)
The Salvation Army Thrift Stores: up to 50% off ( 55+)
Stein Mart: 20% off red dot/clearance items first Monday of every month ( 55 +)

GROCERY :
Albertson’s: 10% off first Wednesday of each month ( 55 +)
American Discount Stores: 10% off every Monday ( 50 +)
Compare Foods Supermarket: 10% off every Wednesday (60+)
DeCicco Family Markets: 5% off every Wednesday (60+)
Food Lion: 60% off every Monday (60+)
Fry’s Supermarket: free Fry’s VIP Club Membership & 10% off every Monday ( 55 +)
Great Valu Food Store: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)
Gristedes Supermarket: 10% off every Tuesday (60+)
Harris Teeter: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)
Hy-Vee: 5% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Kroger: 10% off (date varies by location)
Morton Williams Supermarket: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)
The Plant Shed: 10% off every Tuesday ( 50 +)
Publix: 15% off every Wednesday ( 55 +)
Rogers Marketplace: 5% off every Thursday (60+)
Uncle Guiseppe’s Marketplace: 15% off (62+)

TRAVEL :
Airlines:
Alaska Airlines: 50% off (65+)
American Airlines: various discounts for 50% off non-peak periods (Tuesdays – Thursdays) (62+)and up (call before booking for discount)
Continental Airlines: no initiation fee for Continental Presidents Club & special fares for select destinations
Southwest Airlines: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount)
United Airlines: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount)
U.S. Airways: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount)
Rail:
Amtrak: 15% off (62+)
Bus:
Greyhound: 15% off (62+)
Trailways Transportation System: various discounts for ages 50+

Car Rental:
Alamo Car Rental: up to 25% off for AARP members
Avis: up to 25% off for AARP members
Budget Rental Cars: 40% off; up to 50% off for AARP members ( 50+)
Dollar Rent-A-Car: 10% off ( 50+) Enterprise Rent-A-Car: 5% off for AARP members Hertz: up to 25% off for AARP members
National Rent-A-Car: up to 30% off for AARP members

Overnight Accommodations:
Holiday Inn: 20-40% off depending on location (62+)
Best Western: 40% off (55+)
Cambria Suites: 20%-30% off (60+)
Waldorf Astoria – NYC $5,000 off nightly rate for Presidential Suite (55 +)
Clarion Motels: 20%-30% off (60+)
Comfort Inn: 20%-30% off (60+)
Comfort Suites: 20%-30% off (60+)
Econo Lodge: 40% off (60+)
Hampton Inns & Suites: 40% off when booked 72 hours in advance
Hyatt Hotels: 25%-50% off (62+)
InterContinental Hotels Group: various discounts at all hotels (65+)
Mainstay Suites: 10% off with Mature Traveler’s Discount (50+); 20%-30% off (60+)
Marriott Hotels: 25% off (62+)
Motel 6: Stay Free Sunday nights (60+)
Myrtle Beach Resort: 30% off ( 55 +)
Quality Inn: 40%-50% off (60+)
Rodeway Inn: 20%-30% off (60+)
Sleep Inn: 40% off (60+)

ACTIVITIES & ENTERTAINMENT ;:
AMC Theaters: up to 30% off ( 55 +)
Bally Total Fitness: $100 off memberships (62+)
Busch Gardens Tampa, FL: $13 off one-day tickets ( 50 +)
Carmike Cinemas: 35% off (65+)
Cinemark/Century Theaters: up to 35% off
Massage Envy – NYC 20% off all “Happy Endings” (62 +)
U.S. National Parks: $10 lifetime pass; 50% off additional services including camping (62+)
Regal Cinemas: 50% off Ripley’s Believe it or Not: @ off one-day ticket ( 55 +)
SeaWorld, Orlando , FL : $3 off one-day tickets ( 50 +)

CELL PHONE DISCOUNTS :
AT&T: Special Senior Nation 200 Plan $19.99/month (65+)
Jitterbug: $10/month cell phone service ( 50 +)
Verizon Wireless: Verizon Nationwide 65 Plus Plan $29.99/month (65+).

MISCELLANEOUS:
Great Clips: $8 off hair cuts (60+)
Supercuts: $8 off haircuts (60+)

NOW, go out there and claim your discounts – – and remember — YOU must ASK for discount —- no ask, no discount.
I Know everyone knows someone over 50 please pass the one on!!!!!

The Science Experiment – A Year Living Cheap

Do you grow your own food?  Do you can, pickle, or jelly.  If not you should.  When vegetables or fruit are on sale you should take advantage and can or freeze for the future.

This weekend my sister made Bread & Butter Pickles.   This assures (unless her husband gets into them) that she has a supply of great pickles all winter and it saves her money.

My husband and I started 3 gallons of Apple/Cherry Wine.  This process takes about 6 weeks in warm weather and up to 6 months in cold weather.  It is well worth the process and the wait.  I have people begging for a bottle of my wine AND it is so much cheaper than the $20.00 a bottle you will pay for a good wine, and mine is soooo much better!  Plus lots of fun and very satisfying when you are enjoying the finished product.

I will also make my own jelly & jams for the winter.  You can make them from fruit that is on sale, from your own garden or apple jelly is good made from canned juice!  This jam is such a treat and so good with a hot cup of coffee or tea.  I also give my creations as gifts, and people swoon over them!

Don’t think you are crafty or creative enough?  Do a search on simple jam recipes and you will be amazed how easy they are and you don’ need fancy equipment to do this.  Sure you kitchen may look like a science experiment gone wrong, but it is fun and fulfilling!

Save money, have fun and amaze you family with your yummies!

Come and see my latest journals at http://stores.ebay.com/Dragon-Alley-Journals

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Buying on the Internet

Most sellers on the internet are good, honest people trying to make a living or extra income for their family.  But YOU as a buyer have responsibilities too.

Any time you buy on the internet or even from a catalog, be sure and read the description of the product.

What are the measurements?

What is it made of? (will you have to iron it)

Is it dry clean only? (adds to the overall cost of the item)

What is the condition? New, Used?

Is it for indoor or outdoor use?

Do they have a return policy?

I had a gentleman buy a leather bag I had made that was for a Notebook Computer, he wanted it for a Laptop and was angry because it was too small.  When I asked him if he read the description he said “No”.  I had him return the item because as a seller I value my reputation.

ALSO read what the seller is charging for shipping and how fast you will get the item.  If you are ordering something for a gift you need in less than a week and the shipping is Media Mail, you won’t get it in time.  Upgrade the shipping.  Also how much are they charging?  You can go out to the USPS site and see what is a reasonable charge for the weight and size of the item.

If you are unsure about the item, ask for more pictures.   The seller that won’t give you more pictures has something to hide or is too lazy.   Either way you don’t want to do business with them.

There are LOTS of Artists and Crafters out there who make quality products and would be glad to give you as much information as you need.   They want your business.

Remember, Buy From Local Small Businesses this Holiday Season!  Got to Craft Fairs and to your local Farmers Market and you will find great gifts.

Dragon Alley Journals at http://stores.ebay.com/Dragon-Alley-Journals

Support Your Local Arts and Crafts

Support Small Businesses

Artists and Crafters are Small Business Owners.  We give birth to our creations out of love for what we do and also to support our families through the income we make.  We need your help to stay in business.

This Holiday Season shop at your local Small Art/Craft Businesses.  Go to one of your local Craft Fairs and you will be surprised at the wonderfully unique gifts you can purchase for those you love.  You can buy art, baby gifts, pet items, pottery, candles, leather craft and lots more.  The choices are endless!  You can also purchase practical items to use around the house.

I bought the best tea towels at a local craft fair a couple of years ago, very absorbent.  I was smart enough to get this crafters business card so I could order more when I wore them out.

So go to the internet, search on Local Art and Craft Fairs and support Local Small Business Owners.  Go to your local Farmers Market or the local Art Walks and have fun!

Visit me at http://stores.ebay.com/Dragon-Alley-Journals