Friday, April 19, 2013

A little Friday decadence ...

We will be gathering with friends this evening ... and I'm bringing dessert!  I have a reputation ... and it can be tough to live up to sometimes ... but I think this will do the trick.  
My daughter found this recipe about 7 years ago and I don't know where (so can't give appropriate credit).  If you even vaguely like chocolate and peanut butter, you're gonna love this!

Peanut Butter Brownie Trifle

1 pkg. (1lb 5.5oz) chocolate brownie mix
egg, water and oil per package instructions

1 pkg. (5.1oz) vanilla instant pudding mix
3 cups milk
½ cup creamy peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed & divided

12 oz. peanut butter cups, crumbled
6-8 mini peanut butter cups, whole, for garnish if desired

In mixing bowl, combine brownie mix, egg, water and oil according to package directions.  Pour into a 9x13 baking pan and bake as directed.  Cool, then cut into 1" cubes.
Combine pudding mix with milk and beat with mixer at low speed until thickened, about 2 minutes.  
Add peanut butter and vanilla and beat until smooth.  
Gently fold in 1 cup whipped topping.

To assemble dessert: in a large trifle bowl (or other bowl) layer half of the cut brownies, followed by half of the cut candies and half of the peanut butter pudding mixture.  Repeat layers. 

This is how it looks after layering brownie and candy, before the peanut pudding mixture is added.

Top with remaining whipped topping and garnish with peanut butter cups.  Chill in refrigerator for several hours or overnight.   Serves 12.
I put the Cool Whip into a small plastic sandwich bag, then made a small clip on the corner; pressed topping out into small mounds and topped with peanut butter cups.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Moving Forward

On Wednesday, I shared some of the discouragement I've had with my business.  I have to tell ya ... I got some great encouragement!  And I do feel a bit more positive today.

So I started working on my next stack of craft show applications.  Most of these shows will be in the fall and the jurying processes are a little lighter.  I've also participated in some of the shows so I have no reason to believe I won't make the cut for this year.  It's amazing how much easier it is to move forward when you can move with confidence!

For this year, I'm committed to my business.  I set some goals a couple months ago and I'll be doubling down on my efforts to focus and act on them.  And I'm going to try to think "outside the box" ... I can be pretty creative at times ... need to channel some of that creativity toward HOW I do business, not burn it all on my craft.  I like making jewelry .. but I love, Love, LOVE making jewelry for weddings ... so maybe I need to direct some future marketing efforts that way.  The road I expected to travel this year had some road blocks ... but sometimes the most interesting things happen when you detour!

I appreciated all the kind words this week ... thank you, my friends!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Down but not out ....

Life has been a bit hectic these past couple weeks ... but I’m home for a while with no travel plans.  It may be a good time to think.

I’ve been discouraged lately with my business.   Last year, we moved to Wisconsin but it was too late to apply for some of the craft shows I most wanted to participate in.  So I’ve been making those applications this year ... we’ll just say that the results have not met my expectations.  My online sales have never been stellar and they’re showing no signs of improvement. 

So now what?

I have a crafting friend.  She and I are opposites in many ways, but despite our differences, I admire her greatly.  She is a full time crafter, making a living from her work.  She’s single and I know things get tough for her sometimes but she’s supporting herself with her home business.  What is the secret to her success?  What is she doing differently?  Is it just the type of product she makes?  Or is it something else?

I grew up on a farm and in the late 60's, my father came to a crossroads of decision.  He had been farming for nearly 20 years and was very good at it – he was successful.  But farming was changing and the decision he needed to make was either to get “big” or get out.  We had just over 300 acres of land – getting big meant that he needed to purchase more ... maybe as much as a 1000 acres and there would be major capital investments in new and bigger machinery.  He would also need to hire help .... and that would be difficult because all our summer labor help was fighting in Vietnam.  My dad was presented with another kind of opportunity ... so he took it, and got out of farming. 

At this point, I feel a bit like I’m at that same kind of crossroads – I either need to get big or get out.  If I get big, it will mean going from a part-time schedule to a full-time one.  I think I have the self-discipline for that – I homeschooled my kids for 15 years and know how to stick to a schedule.  I’ll need to figure out ways to be more efficient – because I need to do more, but without asking my husband (who has been very supportive and helpful) to take on more responsibility (he's a huge help at shows!!).  It will mean some capital investments in a better camera and better displays.  But going big does not guarantee success.  There is risk.  And unlike my father, I do not have another opportunity waiting for me. 
I love making jewelry.  I’m committed to several craft shows this year and have a few more applications to complete...and I will.  Perhaps I need to be looking in other directions to market my craft – maybe this closing door means there is an open window someplace.   I’m a little down but I’m not out yet.

And maybe one of these days real soon, I’ll get one of those acceptance letters from a show I’m really hoping to get in to.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Monday Mania here's the fine print for Monday Mania!
Get 25% off your special order!!

*Go to my Etsy shop (
(Choose any design with a girl's name (Amanda, Francesca, Olivia, etc),    regardless of the color shown

*Place the item in your cart
*In the notes to seller, state that you want the item in Clear
*In the coupon box, use coupon code "MondayMania"
*Pay for your item

It's as easy as that!!  
There's no limit on the number of Clear items you can order at this discount.
Your order will be shipped within 3 business days.  I'll drop you an email when it's shipped so you know when to expect it to arrive.
Please use discount only for items in Clear color -- the birthstone for April.

You only have until midnight tonight (EDT) ... so don't put this off!!