It’s been 3 years…

I have finally logged back in after three years of nothing. Three years of nothing. I wasn’t crafty. I barely functioned. It felt like my job had consumed me. And it did. I had to work to pay the bills. I dutifully dressed everyday and drove to a job that was eating at my very soul. It was terrible. I endured verbal abuse that is unbelievable to most. And I was the Human Resources Manager! The abuse was coming from the top of the top. What do you do when the person that signs ALL the checks turns into a monster? I had worked at this place for such a long time and I knew it was an unconventional job from the start. For the longest time I felt like it was all my fault. And it partially was…But it allowed me the flexibility one needs when you have kids that get sick, or need to be picked up early. I didn’t have to arrive at a certain time, just before 10 am. That is not too bad. For a while the pay was good. Then I guess they figured they were getting a bargain so I went two years without a raise.

I became pretty depressed. Like go home sit on your couch and don’t move until bedtime. I had to force myself to get up and do activities, like cooking. Ugh. It really sucked. I made up my mind to find a new job and set out to do so. But…the whole flexible thing really made the choices narrow. Like really narrow. Plus I live in an area where commuting was going to be necessary in order to find a job that would pay me what I needed. But wait, my kid starts school at 7:30am and gets out at 2:30pm. Sure there is afterschool care but I have to get back by 6pm for that. With an hour long commute (if I’m lucky) as a given, I realized I needed to be really careful about the next job I took. Talk about anxiety. Make enough money to pay rent (I live in the Bay Area, not an easy feat), pay bills, flexible, and not filled with people that make me feel bad. I didn’t want to end up homeless.

Around the end of 2014 I started to feel desperate for a new job. I networked my butt off. I went to a ladies mixer event for business women which was similar to what I imagine speed dating to be like. I updated my linkedIn and networked like crazy. I got an Indeed account, a Monster account, and signed up for the alerts from city and county jobs. Everyday during the workweek I put out 5 resumes, on the weekend we would take a “fun” trip to the library or Barnes & Noble (I had no internet at home) where I would send out over 20 resumes and applications. I scoured Craigslist and networked some more. I went on interviews, I was charming, but I wanted too much money. I felt like screaming, “for Human Resources?”. You can’t pay someone $15.00 an hour to manage that responsibility, unless you expect labor violations due to the person not knowing what they were doing. sigh. And so it went, I didn’t share with anyone that I was looking so I wouldn’t have to endure worse treatment at my job, should my boss find out.

Nothing hurts your psyche more than getting shut down over and over and over again. Why couldn’t I find a job? Maybe all the awful things my boss said to me were true. And then it hit me. Why was I limiting myself? I had been helping advise/run the company I was at for almost nine years. I was not just a human resource person, I was an accountant, I was a manager, I was a payroll specialist, I was document control. I was whatever I could do.

That was the turning point for me. I started applying for different jobs. I got a part-time job populating a database for an online auto parts store. This lifted my spirits and renewed my faith in my brain. A friend of mine had a start up and I asked him if he was hiring. And he wasn’t but he said he would let me know when his company was at the point when they could afford to hire people.

So I continued plodding along. I kept my chin up and tried to stay positive. Then it happened, all the drama. Someone else at my work found a new job. This poor soul had also been abused. He was called the F-word, told to watch himself because he just bought a house and “what if he couldn’t pay for it anymore”, and on and on. About a week after he gave his notice a girl in my office that I am convinced is crazy, told my boss that I “got” the other guy his new job. No, no I didn’t. I need to get my own job. Anyhow, he went crazier than normal and cut my hours based off of what she said. He even confronted the other guy with her in his office to see if I got him the job. Still no.

That is when a good friend told me to just take anything. All I needed was good pay. I didn’t need to plan on a career but just to take any job so I could get out. So I did. Wow was I happy. I quit that horrible job and took a new one. It was not flexible, it was not pleasant, but it was better. Then it happened. My friend called, his company had just enough money to hire me, it was flexible, super flexible. So I quit. And it was great.

Now I am working on cleaning up the mess I made when I sat on the couch. Maybe that will be a post, how to clean up a mess like a boss. But for now I am going slow and enjoying being able to breath and believe in myself. And bonus: my new boss isn’t a selfish beast that demands that when bagels/donuts are brought in no one is allowed to eat them until he shows up and picks the one he wants. Now I am happy, appreciated AND I don’t have to worry about getting fired over a bagel.

Happy Halloween Eve

Or would it be “Happy Eve of Halloween”? I’m not sure. All I know is that I have two more boxes to spray paint green for my son’s costume. And I’m not feeling well. And it is not the best spray painting weather. Oh well. I think his costume will be pretty straightforward…a bunch of green boxes so he can look like the green monster thing in this picture (creeper):

Just in case you don’t know about Minecraft, it is a PC game that consumes the minds of young children and teens. I think of it as a virtual Lego world, except there are monsters. They get to build and buy things for a heavily pixelated game. Don’t let the graphics fool you though, it is a pretty well designed game. My son tells me it is educational, he is learning how money works. I’m not sure about that one but he likes the game and as long as he is doing well in school I let him play it.

If it is a failure we still have a homemade Max (from Where the Wild Things Are) costume or a homemade Waldo costume. However, my child has already been both of these in previous years and wore both of these to Halloween parties this year. That means it is crunch time. I just hope our boxes work out and that it doesn’t rain on Halloween.
Anyone else doing a last minute costume crafting project?

Fall Snapshots

A view of the orchard

A view of the orchard

Peach Raspberry pie

Peach Raspberry pie

Playing on the tractor

Playing on the tractor

Antique Merry-go-round

Antique Merry-go-round

The weather in California was beautiful this past weekend. We decided to take advantage of the great weather and go to a nearby apple farm. Even though we missed the window for picking your own apples we still had a great time. They had a little antique store and I found something sweet for my mom. We ate pie with a huge scoop of ice cream and found some goodies in the store. My son had a blast climbing on hay bales and playing on an antique tractor while I watched and took in the sunshine and fresh air. I’m thinking a return visit is in order in the next couple of weeks.

Photography & Phones

I have a great camera at home. I like taking it to sporting events and taking action photos. That has been my claim to fame is that I can catch some awesome action shots. What I need to work on are the close up shots, the arty shots and still shots. I should be practicing or taking a class. Instead I find myself leaving my bulky camera at home and taking pictures with my iPhone. Even when I’m at home I find myself taking pictures with my phone. Sad, I know. At least on the iPhone I can apply different filters without using Photoshop. Then again, I know I lose clarity on my photo when I do this.

Bottom line- I know I need to learn how to use the functions on my camera so I take better photos. I love taking pictures but I am not always happy with the results. Perhaps a photography class is in order? I don’t have time for a class right now but a few bloggers I follow have posted tips that I can use. Maybe it can be a substitute for a class? 😉


Have a wonderful weekend! ~lauraj

Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothie’s & Preserving Summer



fruit milk base

Finished ProductIt is getting cold now. I cannot believe we are in October! It seems like summer was just the other day. Darn. I like sweater weather but I miss all the fresh fruits that summer brings. Especially strawberries.

I live in an area where strawberries are harvested, packaged and shipped to far away places. These same farms let people pick the fresh berries by the bucketful. It is great. The kids like to walk around the fields and find the fattest, juiciest strawberry. They stop and hold the berry over their heads, shouting to the rest of us about their amazing find. It is really hard to not eat the berries before we get home.

This summer I decided I would try to savor summer all year by making my own berry base for smoothies. I picked up some fresh strawberries and rhubarb. I chopped up the rhubarb and pureed it with the strawberries. I used a Bella personal blender and now I know why people are always asking what the best blender is to buy for smoothies. (And what is the best blender? I obviously don’t have a clue as I used the same one I use when I don’t want to share my smoothie.) Anyway, I put a little milk in mine to give it a good consistency. ‘t want to use milk you can use water and a bit of honey. I didn’t use any sweeteners because I want this as a base for smoothies OR milkshakes. Once everything was pureed I poured the base into my ice cube trays and froze them.

I made milkshakes the other day: two scoops of vanilla ice cream, a little milk to get it all moving and two of my base cubes. So yummy!

I do like smoothies in the morning so I will be popping two cubes in with some honey and a handful of spinach.

Have a great day!

Yay for Friday!

This week was crazy busy. I finished my big push and was able to get everything done. I made some new things for my shop, (soon to be listed) my good twitter buddy, @nycvictory told me I should stock up my store a little more. I am taking her advice. She has tons of pretty things in her shop, check her out at:

The best news this week was my first sale since reopening my shop! It is amazing the boost in self-esteem a sale will give you. I shipped these pretties to a customer along with a little surprise.

First Sale

First Sale

A gift with the sale

I am also participating in a large consignment sale this weekend. There was quite a bit of bagging and tagging going on. Plus making sure everything was clean and free of stains. For an extra challenge the power went out on me while I was doing all of this. Good thing I have plenty of candles! I am pretty tired though. Working by candlelight is not the best working environment. I am hoping to make some good pocket change for my items. I am planning a Disneyland trip and am saving up so I can afford everything we want to do while visiting.
This weekend will consist of soccer and crafting. I am hoping to get some miscellaneous painting done this weekend. And I have some linens I want to dye or fade, I haven’t decided yet. I also have a new muumuu and am tossing around ideas for an upcycle project.

have a wonderful weekend! ~laura j

Gearing up

Tomorrow is October already! What?!? Everything is happening too fast. I feel like someone hit the hyper speed button and I’m trying not to panic. I received my Square in the mail last week, started looking around for Holiday boutiques I can sell my creations at and am trying to ramp up making things to sell. I made a list of things I want to sell and have a list of things to buy. Hobby Lobby here I come!

It is kinda scary trying to balance everything. I still have a day job, I still have kids with hungry mouths, I still have a messy house…but I have added to the equation by trying to focus more of my spare time on making a business out of creating. My goal right now is to take my youngest to Disneyland for his birthday. I figure that is an attainable goal. I am not quitting my day job any time soon. I have been tweeting more and networking more and it is starting to pay off. I just need to get my blogging down.

So off I go again. I need to finish up at work then hit Hobby Lobby for some supplies. I think I will start my dishwasher as soon as I get home and get dinner started right away in the hopes of settling down with my projects before bed. I am excited for what is to come and realize that I can make it happen, I just need to “keep swimming” [Disney’s Nemo reference]

A peek at what I have in my shop.

A peek at what I have in my shop.

Have a great week ~ lauraj

Commitments & The Square

I have decided to take my craftiness to the next level. I am going to sell some of my handmade and thirfted items at Holiday Bazaars this year. I have gone online and ordered the Square reader. It says it should be here in 7-10 days. I set up my tax and banking information and then became super giddy thinking about taking my first credit card sale. Then I woke up this morning…

The realization of how huge a commitment this is hit me. I need to make patterns, choose fabric, cut fabric, sew, label, sand, paint, and order business cards. Whew. Now I feel a little overwhelmed!

I just need to remind myself that everything doesn’t have to be perfect. I am hoping that the Square reader works well. It was super easy to set up. I put my county tax rate in and it automatically adds it to the cost of my items. I put my checking account in and that is where the money will get deposited, (in 1-2 days). Even the fees are easy. You can pay monthly or pay 2.75% of every transaction, not bad!

I am pretty excited and nervous to find out how this adventure will go. I keep telling myself not to be afraid, to make the jump. Reminding myself that I have nothing to lose. And so here goes the commitment. Phew. Scary!

Thanks for listening.

~laura j

Labor Day Weekend


This gallery contains 4 photos.

I hope everyone had a nice break over the weekend. I do sympathize with those that had to work. I spent many years working in retail and never had a three day weekend. Anyhow, this was a great weekend of … Continue reading

Bikram Yoga, Yes? No?

I have some serious back issues and tried “hot” yoga a while back.  I noticed a serious difference in the way my body felt after the first two times. Then they had problems with the temperature-it was going over the “normal” temp of 105 F and 40% humidity. This was bad and made me feel like I was going to die.  I didn’t go back.

Well, it is a year later and the yoga studio is about a year older which means they have probably worked out the kinks in the temperature. And so, I am thinking I should give it another try. I have a few concerns. My friend that accompanied me noticed her skin seemed to have aged. I don’t need my skin aging any faster than it already does. The other concern is that it is expensive!  I guess I shouldn’t cry about the cost though. After all, can you put a price on your health?

Here are the poses. I guess I could do them in my living room to save money...

Here are the poses. I guess I could do them in my living room to save money…

Have a happy Wednesday! ~lauraj