Monday, December 3, 2018

Part 3 Decorating the Home and Taking Care of Family During the Holidays

The holidays are about decorating, right?  You are only half right.  In fact, I would be happy if the house was not decorated, meaning I am not going to stress out if I do not have any decorations.  You do not have to be elaborate with the decorations.

This reminds me of a little story called, “A Charlie Brown Christmas”.  In the story, turned in a 30-minute television special in 1965, Charlie Brown is in search of the Christmas spirit, so Lucy suggested that he direct the Christmas play.  Meanwhile, Snoopy, his dog is decorating his doghouse.  Now, how many dogs you know who can do that?

If you know the story, you will see that Charlie bought a little tree, whose pines keep falling, and brought it back to the school, to which the other children made fun of the decision he made.  So, after his friend, Linus talked about the true meaning of Christmas, Charlie Brown took the tree and gave it an ornament from Snoopy’ s doghouse, which won first place.  He places the ornament on the tree, and it falls over, devastating him more than when the children made fun of him.  If your decorations feel like Charlie’s then you are missing the point of my analogy. 
If you have very little decorations from the beginning, you can always do what the children did to the tree after Charlie left.  They were secretly following Charlie Brown to see what he was going to do next.  When they saw him walking sadly away they decided, with Linus’s help to fix the little tree, and when Charlie came back to the tree, it has been transformed into this beautiful little tree, and they wished him a “Merry Christmas” and sung.  One day during the season on the My Ambiance Life blog, I may talk about the true meaning of this cute, little show.
How are your decorations?
Obviously, in the story, we see two decorators, Charlie Brown and Snoopy. Charlie decorates very little, entertains very little (See A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, equally as funny, yet meaningful).  He is not the life of the party, and this is the same kid, who is modeled after Charles Shultz’s childhood, who got rocks in his Halloween bag (It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown), never got to kiss the little red-headed girl (You’re in Love, Charlie Brown, It’s Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown, and Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown), and finds out that he is not the first owner of Snoopy (Snoopy, Come Home).  If this is you, take solace in knowing that you are not alone.  Snoopy, on the other hand, loves to decorate, cook, and dance.  This is not a chore for him.  Nothing phases him, and he is glad to do it.  Snoopy also takes care of his own (to a certain point).
This is not a comic strip.
Of course, I am comparing real life to a comic strip, and we are not adults who go “Blah, Blah, Blah” when we talk.  This is the real deal, and this is Part 3 of a 3-part series on the holidays.  Part 1, covered on My Ambiance Life, introduces you to the series, and in another post, talks about taking care of you and your mental health during this time of the year.  Part 2, which is on P. Lynne Designs blog, talks about going homemade for gifts and decorations.  In Part 3, I will be tackling how to decorate and entertain on a budget, organizing everything, and taking care of your family during this time.  I hope you will take from this tip on how to decorate like Snoopy on a “Charlie Brown” budget.
Decorating on the cheap (or fake it til you make it).
I like nice things, and I love decorating even more.  Sometimes, especially the last couple of years while I am trying to pay bills and putting together my business, P. Lynne Designs, I may not have the fancy stuff to decorate and make my home livable.  In fact, sometimes it is hard to do so.  I know what I like and do not like.  I try to come up with ways that I can do that on a budget.  December is the month where I draw up my budget for the next year, so I have to know how much I am allowing myself to spend on new decorations.
Last year, I went to Dollar Tree, and in a way, I have become sort of a Dollar Tree snob.  Now, I do not buy everything at Dollar Tree.  I do go to Target, Walmart, Ikea, and even At Home if have to.  I also look to see what I can make, now that I have a Cricut Maker to use and a new sewing machine.   This year, I have to be careful because of the cat.  I want to make sure that I do have cat-friendly products, so I nor my nephew have to run to do an emergency run to the vet.  I am also working on a budget of $200 (low end) to $500 (high end), but closer to $200. 

One of the things I do advise to signup with lots of rewards programs.  I have signed up with Ebates, Be Frugal, Dosh, and Acorns.  Each one of these programs, I linked my debit card to that program.  The way these programs work is you shop as normal.  When you go to a store that one of these programs are attached to, you will get money back.  It may not happen right away, but it is like paying yourself for shopping. 
Ebates (which I have been with since 2010), sends a “big check” 4 times a year, which I am not happy with (I want to be paid once a month, LOL), allows you to shop both online and in store.   With the in stores, you have to activate online in order for your card to tell Ebates you have been shopping.
Be Frugal works the same way as Ebates, except you do not have to enter a debit card on your account.
Dosh and Acorns work the same.  You put your card number in, and every time you shop, you are automatically given a cash back to our card.    
Entertaining your guests.
Plan your holiday dinner NOW, if you have not already started.  You can find some great deals similar to the ones I mentioned above.  I am a member of Kroger and Giant Eagle rewards program.  If you do not have time to shop, use the delivery programs, such as the ones that Kroger has or Shipt.  Be mindful of food delivery services as some do have a fee. Shipt is $99 yearly or $14 monthly.  So, if you do not have it in the budget or will be shopping on the way home from work, this may not be a good fit for you and your budget.
The way to create a budget is to figure out how many people you will have over for dinner then figure out the cost per person.  in the case of my family, which includes my parents, brother and wife, sister, me, oldest nephew and girlfriend, my brother’s youngest, and my sister’s two children (oldest is my brother’s child), this adds up to 11 people.  I am going to round up the price from USA Today estimate of $49.87, reported in 2016 to $55.00 in 2018, and we have the cost down to $5 for each person.  Of course, you may have more or less depending on where you live.
Last on this part is family.
Family, rather you are married, single with or without children, or with a partner, is important especially this time of the year, and it is important that you do not leave them out.  So, I combine this segment into something I like to call, “divide and conquer”.  
The way it works is a combination of organizing teamwork and individuality, and everyone has to cooperate to get things done.  You are the overseer of all things.  In decorating, do the task at the same time, but assign each person with a task.  Someone gets and decorates the tree, another hangs the garland around the house.  You have little children, they can set things up like the nativity scene, the Menorah, or unity candles for Kwanza, anything that is safe for them to do.  No glassware type stuff and only if they can handle it. 
For cooking, you can have a potluck if you have extended family.  You provide the meats and main stuff while you have someone bring in the side dishes.  See how that works.   If you are sending out cards, one person can address the cards while the other can sign the cards.
In between all of that hustle and bustle, rest, take in a movie night with your family.  See other decorations or have story time with the kids.  Do not forget some coupling times as well.  It is more important to be with family then to plan for the annual holiday party at your house.  Have a family get together with the kids.  My family gets together on Christmas Eve, have our main dinner, maybe open one present (save the rest for in the morning), and have movie night of whatever is on Netflix or Hulu.  Not sure about this year since mom and dad are asked to do the reading of the final advent candle at church, but we will make it work.
This concludes this series on making the holidays work without the stress.  Please check out part 1 on My Ambiance Life and part 2 on P. Lynne Designs blogs.
Until then, my Peace come upon the Earth and have fun.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Your Food is Ready for Delivery

(c) 2018 by Various Websites such as Shipt, Amazon, Walmart,
Blue Apron, and unknown restaurant.
Photos Arranged by P. Lynne Designs
Disclaimer:  I have links to many of the services you will see on in this post that I may or may not receive a small commission.  The commission helps me with maintaining this blog and other business things.  I like to inform readers of these services and you are not obligated to make a purchase. Thank you

A few years ago, I wrote in my blog, Simply Organized Crafts, an article on home meal prep services.  At the time, I was a willing participant of Blue Apron (not sponsored).  By willing participant, I bought the service with my own money.  The blog post was not a sponsored post, and I did a review on what I thought about it.  I also did a product review on my YouTube channel.  You can watch it here.   The reason I loved Blue Apron (and other home meal services) was the convenience of having to prepare a meal, delivered to your home, and you do not have to go out or hunt down the ingredients at an international food store which you are not familiar with.  You get a hot meal with your family which you actually cooked, and you get to spend time at the dinner table.  This is something that experts say we no longer make time to do anymore.  The food is fresh, and it can make time for couples and or families to share together a hot meal. From there came grocery store home delivery services.
Grocery Store Delivery
Grocery stores looked at this and felt that people no longer wanted to shop in their stores, especially when Amazon offer food delivery services, and with the acquisition of Whole Foods, other chains were starting to feel the pinch of fewer shoppers to their stores.  So, they started delivering food to homes as well.  Companies like:
Curbside (by Giant Eagle)
Kroger Grocery Delivery (formally known as Clicklist)
Started popping up for home grocery delivery, turning the dreadful grocery shopping trip into a wonderful experience. Just think, you go to an app on your smartphone, pick out the items listed, select how many you need, and put it in your virtual shopping cart.  Two seconds later, you are in virtual checkout mode, paying for groceries via debit or credit card (sorry, not available for those with an EBT/Snap card).  A personal shopper is picking out your groceries and other items and getting them prep for pickup by you or delivered to your location of choice.  How convenient is that concept?
Restaurants want some love too.
Since I no longer have the blog, I cannot refer you to the post on home grocery or home meal prep, but that is not the point to this post.  I am here to talk to you about the convenience of coming home, too tired to cook, and having a hot, delicious meal delivered to your home by your favorite restaurant faster than you can say, “pizza!”.  This service was started by the concept of delivering pizza and has grown to include steak, cakes, bubble tea, and even sushi for starters.  Services like Grub Hub, Door Dash, and others have made it fun to eat out, and the best part is you get to stay at home, warm and comfy in fall and winter months with your family.  Even Uber is getting into the act.  Not only do they deliver people to their destinations, but they will also deliver your food as well.
I started using Uber Eats a few months ago.  I was bogged down with working and too tired to cook.  Actually, I was close to running out of my monthly stash, and I wanted something different.  I ordered a dish from a local Italian street food place called Piada, and order a bowl dish and some cannoli chips with a spread for dipping.  I paid by debit card, including the delivery fee of $4.99, and in 20 minutes, I was eating my meal and continued working.  The last time I used it was 2 days ago when I ordered a Poke Salad (not very good) and some Thai Iced Tea with Ginger in it (it was very good).  My total was $13.00 for the meal, plus a delivery fee charge of $6.99, making the total, $21.99.  The difference between the two delivery charges depends on the distance between the eating place and your home.  In other words, mileage for the driver.  Could I have gotten up and driven the place?  Yes, I could have, but once again, I was bogged down with work, and having no time to cook.
I Need Some Backup For my Claims…
Certainly, I am not the only one who uses these services.  Yesterday, I asked my Facebook friends if they have ever used a restaurant delivery service like Grub Hub, Door Dash, or Uber Eats, and out of 1,080 friends, I got 3 answers.  A friend uses it at least once a week, another only use it for pizza, and the last friend uses it by ordering and picking it up herself, while a family member uses it for pizza only.  She also mentions that she mostly cooks and take out (which is where all of this originated from) is very rare in her home.  I also asked if it affects the family dynamic by not cooking together and the last person who answered my question said that it does not matter if the meal is home cooked or not, what’s important is the family sits down for a meal together.
Family Matters
I happen to agree with my friend.  We need to sit down to eat together as a family, no matter where you are; no phones or computers, sit down and have a conversation with your children, your spouse or partner, a roommate, your parents, or anyone who is living with you.  A person does not need to feel like a guest in their own home.  During this time, play a game called, Catch-up.  In this game, the rules are very simple. 
Ask the people around the table how their day was before the meal was prepared or delivered.  You do not have to ask for report cards, reprimand a child for not taking out the trash, or ask a spouse where the water bill was $200 this month.  This is a time of peace, good conversation, and a hot meal.  Enjoy each other, and the only rule is to leave the electronics where they are.  No phone conversation, no texting, no playing the latest game, and no scheduling of play dates, hair and nail appointments, or in my case, business appointments.  If there has to be a problem to be solved, do not come to the table mad, explain in a calm, peaceful way, and listen with intention.  Do not criticize the person in need and do not belittle them.  It is not easy for them to come to you in the first place. If you must correct people, especially children, do it in a calm, peaceful manner.  I am not trying to tell you how to parent, but if you want a peaceful time to eat and enjoy a meal, this is not the time to yell and scream at a person.  The world is stressful enough without making dinnertime a place of stress as well.  Not only that, it does nothing for the digestive system when you are trying to eat, and you tense up due to stress at the table.
There are some many ways of getting hot meals today.  This includes cooking the traditional way (going to the grocery store to pick up what your heart desires or have it delivered, and sling pots and pans), home meal kits (prepare a meal based on a recipe and ingredients, handpicked by a company, delivered to your home, and slinging pots and pans for a delicious meal); or order in (restaurant prepares the food and you either pick it up or have it delivered to your home).  It is not a new concept.  Even fast food eating places are getting into the act.  You can order McDonald's, Wendy’s, or White Castle from the comfort of your own home and have a company like Uber Eats deliver it there.  Some call it lazy while others call it a convenience.  I am on the side of convenience.  Some people cannot cook, nor do they want to.  I have also done the traditional, “order pizza in, skip the lines to get a table.”  I do have one delivery service, who I do not recommend, but only because the delivery fee was $36.00.  I cannot remember the name of the service, but for the same meal from the same restaurant I was ordering from, the delivery could have been $6.99, the same fee as the one I ordered from two days ago.  (they are within a block from each other).   This is the only thing that I have to ask you to watch, the delivery fee.  Ask yourself before you put in your debit or credit card number if the food and the delivery fee worth it, especially if you are on a budget.  It may be more convenient for you to drive over and pick it up or not order at all.
Also remember, it is not if the food was cooked by you or Mickey D’s (McDonald’s), what matters is family, and it is more important that you spend time with them. 
I want to thank my three Facebook friends for answering my question, Friday.  I will have more questions to help me with future blog posts later on, and I do not have to mention your name unless you want me too.

You have a blessed day.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

As Summer ends and School Begins.

Yes, these look like they could be a bargain,
but check again.  The photo was taken at local Walmart
by P.Lynne Designs
This is the second post I have started.  The first one has already posted.  I have not looked at the views.  Perhaps, it will go viral, or not.  I am not going to wrap my brain around it.
What I am going to try to wrap my head around is the fact that it’s that time again.  What do I mean by that?  If you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, or uncle, you know that time.  It is time for back to school shopping. 
Now for some, the school year blends into one seamless motion, otherwise known as “All Year” School.  It is when the kids go to school from January-December, taking the usual spring and winter breaks, but take 1-3 weeks off for summer break.  This allows parents to take the iconic family vacation but also allows them to work normally, without finding a babysitter. 
For others, it is the traditional, “September-June” or now the “August-May” School year.  10 months of studying and learning, followed by 2 months of family vacation, summer camp, summer school, while parents find the babysitter.  Most babysitters charge enough that you need a small loan to pay for them.  Do not forget the local neighborhood pool, theme parks, and family outings. (Personally, I do not like saying “picnic” because of the origins of the word, please search for it.).
Shorts are now on clearance at Walmart
Photo taken by P.Lynne Designs
Summer is also the time when we go shopping for back to school, and this is the main topic for this post.  As a child, I used to love going “back to school” shopping.  I have never won a uniform, so my parents did not have to deal with that.  OK, I did, the gym uniform.  I remember we have two choices:  a white blouse with navy blue shorts or a unitard (combo top and shorts).  I always choose the white top and shorts because I had bladder issues and was afraid that if I played hard enough, I would not get out of the unitard in time to go, and you know what happens when you don’t.  I can now rock a mean onesie though. 
Anyway, I would have in mind what I wanted mom to get, and that was when the small but stern fights in the store would begin, but my sister was the worse.  She would walk around the store half the time with her lip poked out.  Mom would finally give in to something we really wanted.  She had no problems with my brother.  He agreed to everything mom would put in the cart. (suck up, LOL).
Side note: My parents raised my oldest nephew.  One year, my nephew, who is now 22, wanted everything Pokémon, including underwear, and got it.  I guess as a grandmother, you do things differently for your grands then you do for your children.
School supplies were my thing.  The latest notebooks, binders, planners, pens, and pencils.  You name it, and I wanted it.  This past weekend was “no tax” day, and once again, I missed it. It is a good way to save while trying to shop for clothes, supplies, and all things, school.
I have some tips on how to shop for school.

  • When they get out for the year, rather your child goes to a private, public, private-public (otherwise known as charter school), pre-K, college-bound, or whatever, please do an inventory check when they get out.  My mom did this for a while, and it saves dollars, which is what we want.  Have your child give you their unused supplies and look through them.  If there is anything they can use for the start of the new school year, use it.  Unless it is a new school (5th grade transitioning to middle school; high school to college), it is not really cost effective if you buy 5 new spiral notebooks and have 5 unused ones sitting at home.  Same with pens, pencils, and other stuff.
  • Get your child’s supply list from their school and stick to it especially in high school.  There may be a particular brand that is more cost-effective than that $5 notebook your child has been eyeing.  If they really want that notebook, have them save for it, buy it themselves, but use it at home.
  • Catch all the sales.  Staples and other stores are good around this time of year for school supplies.  At the same time, they may issue limits on the number of supplies you can get in each category (ex: Buy 3, get 2 free with a purchase of $50 or more).  Reading the fine lines of a sale will prevent the “I did not know” when you get to the checkout.
  • If you can shop without your child, do so.  While it is nice to get your child a toy every time you shop for supplies and clothes, it can add up.  Plus, a child may have everything by the time the holidays roll around.  Save a headache and the extra bucks by not taking children with you.
  • If you must take them, please explain to them why you are going to the store and this trip is a “no toy” trip. Stick to that.  By “no toy” means you are not getting anything extra either (that new book you have been dying to read or that top and it is on sale).  You need to set an example for your child.   This goes for the spouse as well.
  • Big name stores are not the only source for shopping and discounts around this time of year.  Mom and pop stores (otherwise known as small businesses) will have some deals as well.  Take a look around these stores, who may have a bigger discount than you think.  The rewards include getting on their mailing list and being the first to shop before the mainstream public can shop the latest collections.  You may also find that one-of-a-kind piece that would look good on your little one (or big one).  Also, a lot of these stores are handmade items, sewn by the owner, no middle person involved in the process.  This is one thing I have a personal testament to because I own a stationery company.  The only people I pay at the moment are my wholesale suppliers for my materials.  I do not have any fancy machinery to maintain, just my computer and die cutting machines.  The money I make goes towards the things I need, like supplies, paying my business bills, and maintaining my household.  Other business owners are paying for their child’s dance lessons, or just getting by.  I will touch on why prices are so high for handmade business products in another post.
  • Looking for a good backpack
    The photo was taken at a local Walmart
    By P. Lynne Designs
  • Use online stores too.  I know there is a huge debate about this topic so I will make it brief:  if it saves you time and money, order online.  Do not order because everyone is doing it.  If there is a cheaper price at a traditional store than an online store (after all, you are paying Shipping and Handling and now sale tax for these items), use your gas and go shopping.  If you do not have the time to go, and you can get that item from Amazon in 2 hours or less, and you save money, shop online. 
There is no right way to go shopping.  Everyone needs to have a back to school budget, and how you maintain that the budget is up to you.  Find bargains, discounts, and institute a few routines along the way will make a smooth transition into the new school year. 

Now I am issuing a disclaimer, which should have been at the beginning of this post:  I cannot help you out with your child’s grades during the year.  I can issue pointers, but if your little Einstein refuses to study with all that stuff you saved to get, then the best advice I can give you is start taking away the electronics.  That should get their attention.  Have a great start to a new school year, and God bless you. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Planning to Shop for Your Room

Planning to Shop for Your Room
Image by P. Lynne Designs
In my previous blog post, I started talking about the art of organizing your room, by first decluttering to get rid of the stuff.  I also mentioned that recycling it the best way to go, and you can do that by re-purposing or make someone else happy with it.  You can also toss it if torn beyond repair. 
Once you are done with decluttering, you can determine this, start organizing. 
The Main Thing that Needs to be Organized…
My craft room is a hot mess.  I can work in it, but I need to put things in drawers, shelves, and make cubbyholes (more on that in a moment).
My craft room is actually the dining room.  I decided when I moved in that it was to be a home office, and then the crafts started coming downstairs. One. At. A. Time.  Soon my computer table doubled as a crafting room/filming room/eating room (because I like to eat while I work).  My dining table got pushed up towards the sliding door, making that the eating area.  My living room became this mixture of living room/storage area for the crafts and baskets.  Yes, this is my bottom half of the condo.
Make a plan
This is one of the first things I do whengettingt ready to organize a space.  Using my Craftroom as an example, I am going to go through this process. 
1)      Determine what is the space is being used for.  Even if you are remodeling the area, writing down this is part of your plans for this space helps you focus on what needs to go in that space.  In my case, this space will still be a craft room/home office.  Since I have occupants, this is the only space to put it.  Before, I could have transferred it to my second bedroom.
2)      Make a detailed plan for what this space is used for.  Why did I repeat what I just said?  Because sometimes, people are funny in saying, “I am making a craft room, and turn it into a laundry room. So, my detailed plan for my room is to “make and product crafts for myself and others (both paid and gifts), writing (freelance and blog post), stationery products, and to relax on the computer at the end of the day”.  Now, experts say that you cannot relax in the same room you work in.  I do not have that luxury to do what the experts say, even before the occupants.  Why?  Because my second bedroom was not set up that way, and when new carpet was put in 2013, I tried to get my parents (who are the owners of the condo) to see it that way, but they talked me out of it.  My mom said that I would not like it. At the time, I could keep the security system on, and I would have more walls. Do not listen to others when you know what’s right.  Make these plans, ask people what they think, but it up to you to make that decision.  You have live with that decision unless you have money to blow, and I do not think that most of us have that decision.
Work with your favorites
1)      What are your favorite stores?  What stores speak to you.  This is a general question to answer.  My favorites are (keep in mind that most are U.S. based stores):
a.       Target.  That bullseye gets me all the time.  I love the layout and the prices (when they are on sale). You can find bargains if know where to look.
                                                               i.      Ikea.  I know it is now a United States based store, but I feel like it.  The store with the funny sounding name and brands that you need a translator for has gotten me with their prices (yesterday I walked out with 7 items under $20). 
b.       Any craft store like Hobby Lobby, Joanne’s, or Michaels.  You know I craft, but in the last few years, the craft stores have been increasing in Home décor and organizational items.  
c.       Walmart.  I do not like them thenthe way I used to when they sold Cricut machines, but for home décor and organizational items, I still love them.
d.       The Container Store.
e.       Amazon.  Enough said.
2)      Go online, not to the store.  All the stores I mentioned above are online, so go online to shop, but put them in Wishlist form.  Go wild, but not too wild.  Still, check prices, but places like Amazon will tell you when the price has gone down, increased, or go on sale when you register to get notices.
3)      Now go Shopping.   With list in hand, go to the brick and mortar store (yes even with the Amazon list), check to see if that same item can be purchased for less.  You may find a better price.  Sometimes it is higher.  Sometimes they may beat the competitor’s pricing.  You will never know until you go. Take your budget with you.  Do not buy anything with a credit card, if you do not have to.  Debit cards are different.
Takeaway moment:  Just like in the My Ambiance Life blog, I will give you a summary or little bit of takeaway moments.  This takeaway moment is brought to you by the words “plan and shop”.  (Sorry for the Sesame Street take on it).
  • Plan your organization.  Know what the room is used for and why is it being used that way.  Plan your furniture and other things to go in the room.  Now is the good time to plan your budget.
  • Shop.  Pick your favorite store.  One store I forgot to mention is your own home.  You may already have a piece of furniture that might look better in the room you are organizing than another room. It saves you time and money.  Go online and make a wish list.  Finally, go shopping WITH YOUR LIST AND BUDGET.

Once you do all of that, you are ready to get to organizing and decorating.  Good luck.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Decluttering the Home

Decluttering the Home

Hello, and welcome to my first official post of this newly named blog, At Home with Tricia's Baskets.  I had to decide on which direction Tricia’s Baskets needed to go, and with much prayer, crying, pouting, and submission (which most religions including Christianity practice, and should practice daily), I have concluded (with God’s help of course) that I have come too far with this blog to just put it down.  Even though the company let me down and I have decided an exit date if the company comes back before then (June 30th, which also marks the end of the selling season, July 1st starts the new one), I should press on.
I have outlined in the previous post the plans for At Home with Tricia's Baskets, which may go through changes with the new blog, such as a platform change, so far, I am satisfied in the direction I am going.
Let me shut up about these changes and get to the real reason behind this particular post.
My home has changed…
When I was writing Simply Organized Crafts, I had mentioned that I live in a condo for one.  Since that time, I have acquired tenants who live with me.  They are my nephew (22), his girlfriend (20), and a cute cat, named Gizmo.  So, the home now has 4 occupants.  When you have other people living in your house, especially after living alone for over 16 years (2 apartments and this place), adjustments need to be made.  I had to ask myself these questions:
1)      How long are they staying?  My nephew and girlfriend arrived in August 2017, and they were camped out on my living room sofa.  Not good.  I moved them into my second bedroom after it was apparent that they were not trying to find an apartment. He was in between jobs, she was not working at the time, and my father told my nephew that he can move back home, but not the girlfriend.  Guess who got them?  I would have to say the only problem has been switching the cars when one of us has to leave. I am only allowed 2 spaces; one in the garage and one directly behind, all other vehicles associated with this condo have to park in the overflow parking. The cat came later.  Adjusting to a cat (and the occasional dog visits by his other pet, a mini-husky mix name Strype) has been challenging since I have no pets. So far, it has been 7 months.
2)      What is the purpose of them not finding any other lodging?  No money.  They stayed in a hotel for a week, so they had to come here. 
3)      Exit date of Casa De Patricia?  Who knows, but a friend of mine told me last Sunday that I have to give them a date, and she is right.  I have been too soft on them.  I am left babysitting the cat (she is under my feet as I type this), and I need to get stuff out of the corner near the stairs.  So, if you have this problem, give your guests a date to exit Casa De (insert name here), and remind them.
The kitchen is pretty much well taken care of.  The girlfriend organized it herself, I just have to put things where I need it when they leave.  For now, it stays. The living room can use a little touchup, with my stuff in the corner from the second bedroom, as well as the bookcase that I may put in my bedroom. 
Let's Get Started 
I would like to show you how to organize your room.  We will start with decluttering, and in the next post, I will tackle how to plan and shop for your room, this includes shopping in your own home to save money and time.  In the last post, I will show you how to organize what you bought so you will not have to organize in this manner but every 5 years or when you move. 
Decluttering the stuff
I am organizing my craft room.  You may be decluttering the closet, something else that I am doing, but for this post, I will use my craft room as an example.  I have been decluttering this room, slowly.  Keep in mind some things when you are decluttering:
1)      Can I still use it (wear it)? Does it have holes that should not be?  If so toss if it is not usable.  
2)      Do you want it or need it?  If you can still use it, by all means, use it.  Set a date, say “a year from now, if I am not using this pink cardstock, I need to repurpose it by giving it to someone who needs it.”  This need could be again, donate it to a school or nursing home, or sell it.  Find a place to put it for now. 
3)      Donate. As mentioned before, if you cannot use it, donate it to someone who can.  Your donations are taxable at the end of the year, and someone can always use it.
4)      Sell it.  If it is in excellent (never used) to gently used condition, you can always sell it.  I have run into a lot of and belong to many destashing groups on Facebook and other social media sites.  Some are specific groups (like Rubber and Clear-Mount Stamps: Sell, Buy, or Swap Group or Columbus buy, sell, trade), brand specific (Longaberger ISO (In Search Of)) or generalized (Destash Divas).  Be sure to check the rules of each group BEFORE you join, introduce yourself, and you may get something that you are looking for or have someone to take that 50 spools of Persian White yarn off your hands.  Also, be sure to use the Facebook Marketplace if you are not up to joining any groups.  Name your price and prepare to negotiate down your price (rather stick to that price), especially if you need some room for new stuff.
5)      If joining groups are not your thing, or you are not on anything social media sites, the best way to go is to sell your stuff on Ebay.  Keep in mind that once your stuff sells, Ebay takes a percentage of that sale (3% and up depending on the item and how much it sells for).  You can always use Craig’s List, Amazon (providing that it is current items), or if you are totally off the internet Grid, an old-fashion yard sale. 
a.       Make sure your items are good-quality items (no junky stuff)
b.       Make sure your prices are well-noted in the listings (on the item if you are having a yard sale). 
c.       If you are listing your item as an auction, be sure to have a good starting price.  This means that this is the price that you will accept as the minimum price.  It could go higher.  I would also list it for a week.  Any longer, and people who have your item on their watch list will grow tired and will take it off their watch list.  In other words, make them want it.
d.       Ship small items through the post office, larger Items through either FedEx or UPS.
e.       GET A PAYPAL ACCOUNT. I cannot stress that enough.  If you do not get paid (and I recommend that you receive payment before shipping), or if the money is shady, you can dispute a claim.  Same thing if you pay by Paypal, and you do not receive your item.  They will work to get your money or refund on your behalf.
6)      Trash.  Yes, there are times when you keep something, thinking that you can fix it.  Sometimes that does not get done.  If you can get a new one, trash the old one. You had good intentions, but nope, trash it.
These are some of my recommendations for getting rid of your clutter. 

Your takeaway:  
I want you to have the best-organized home, but it is going to take time, patience, and strength to purge the items you no longer want and need, and to give to someone or to toss.  Once that you get rid of those items for either reason, you have more room to put the things that you treasure the most, and you will gain space that you never knew you had in the first place.  I have only touched the surface of getting your home or room organized.  Next, we will talk about shopping, including shopping in your own home to organize that space.  This is also part of recycling pieces once used to hold your discarded stuff. You will find that piece of advice in the next post, titled “Plan to Shop for your room”.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Announcement: Career Change

Announcement: Career Change
Making a Career Change
Image by P.Lynne Designs
Hello, and Welcome to At Home with Tricia’s Baskets and the first day of June.
From time to time, I will be making announcements on my blogs and on my YouTube channel.  I do not like being in the dark on changes, and I am sure you do not like them either.
This announcement comes on the heels of what I have been dealing with the whole month of May.  As you may have seen on the news and on social media, the owners of Longaberger made an announcement that Longaberger has ceased operations due to a number of things that I will not address on this blog, nor on my Facebook Pages, Tricia’s Baskets-Longaberger and At Home with Tricia’s Baskets.  The reason being that they are dealing with a lot of legal issues, some which I, as part of the sales field, are not privy to seeing, until the owners are able to talk about it to us about it.  I have been going through so many emotions about this, even some that my friends and family do not know about.  I am going to leave it at that.
It will be a month since they made this announcement on May 5, and if sometime in the near future they are able to reopen and resume operations, I will not be continuing with them.  This decision was hard, and I only have one customer who may be affected by the company not able to complete her order.  It was an order in August 2017, and before my website shut down yesterday, I was able to conclude that since there was still an extended order on two the items she asked for.  I will try to contact her to see if she received them, if not, then she can dispute the order with the credit card company and get a refund on the items not received.  This gesture would probably be my last as a Longaberger consultant.  I will inform my upline, Marilyn of that decision before June 30th, which would have been the last day of the current selling season.  I do want to remain friends with her.
June 30 also ends my run in the direct selling industry for now. It has been a good 18 years total.  During this time, I was also a Tastefully Simple consultant and a Your Inspiration at Home consultant (a sister company to Longaberger).  I had fun, made new friends, new customers who are also friends.  It has been a wonderful ride.  My life is changing to a new industry…. The stationery industry, the crafting industry, and Freelance writing. With these industries, I am able to touch more lives, and expand then being just a consultant with an established company, should Longaberger reopen.  I feel like I need to explore this, which I had the company, P. Lynne Designs since 2010.  You can read about it sometime, not in this blog.
This was the whole reason for me to change this blog from what it was, which was an all Longaberger blog.  Now it is including other decorating companies, some home life, family (including pets and singlehood), and travel.  I hope to make it better than the three blogs I had before (Tricia’s Baskets, Simply Organized Crafts, and Traveling to the Mouse’s House).  I hope you will enjoy it.

Here’s to the new blog, full of wonderment, shiny, and new.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Changes are coming to this blog

Changes are coming to this blog
So many Choices
Copyright @2018 The
Longaberger Company
Hello, and welcome to the new At Home with Tricia's Baskets.  It has been over a year since we talked, and I do apologize for being absent.  I decided to revamp this blog for several reasons, but first, I want to explain briefly why I have not blogged in that time span.
1)      I have been blogging.  Not here.  For those who follow me in social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube), know that I have my rounds as a crafter, writer, graphic designer, influencer, and now YouTuber.  
2)      I have restarted my YouTube Channel (never really left) but finding content for all my blogs and a YouTube channel has been challenging that I am willing to take.
3)      My family and I have had some health challenges in 2017.
4)      Finally, as of May 4, 2018, I am faced with an uncertain future as an Independent Home Consultant with The Longaberger Company.  As of this writing, I still do not know what’s up, and the news that you are hearing is of a temporary closing.  I will not know until they (the owners) send me an official email of what is the current and future status of The Longaberger Company. I know that I am angry that we (the sales field) was not better prepared, but an email is better than finding out when you place an order that your website was closed.
The last statement is what got me to see if I closed this blog or not.  I know I had downloaded a copy of every post written by me, in the form of a single file, so that I could purge this blog.  I am so glad that I forgot to do it, as I discovered 3 days ago. 
So, what is next for Tricia’s Baskets?
The last statement also had me thinking, “what if Longaberger closed its doors for good?”  Surely, everyone will find out through the news media, rather you are an employee of the company or part of the sales force getting that official email or a customer who has ordered from their consultant in the past, or visited Longaberger’s headquarters (Big Basket, Homestead, or their new place in Dresden, Ohio).  I want more from this blog than showing you how to decorate with or to buy Longaberger products.  There is so much information on decorating for your home, and I showed that to anyone who read my now closed Simply Organized Crafts blog.  I also showed you lifestyles for family living, as well as travel tips.  I want to transfer that knowledge to this blog.
I want to Introduce you to At Home with Tricia’s Baskets
This is the last post under the name, Tricia’s Baskets.  I am not getting rid of talking about Longaberger either.  The blog is getting a new name and a niche upgrade.  It will also be a little less “sales”, meaning I will not be placing sales flyers in every corner.  I think that is what turned people off from engaging in the posts and not fully reading them.  If a product is on sale, I will only provide a link to the article, and maybe say something like “Featured in this post”.  Something like that.
In addition to the way I present Longaberger products (if and when the company is fully back in business), I will also feature their sister companies as well.  I am no longer “Just a Longaberger product” consultant.  There are Tomboy Tools (tools made specifically for women’s hands), and Paperly (paper products, such as notepads, clipboards, business cards, and more).  I will also talk about decorating on a budget, especially with products from Ikea, Dollar Tree, Target, At Home, The Container Store, and Walmart as examples.  I will also include Amazon when it applies to what I am talking about.  I will include online coupon codes, but only if it applies to the post I am writing.  I will not have it as a weekly feature.  Finally, I will talk about travel, but since I do not travel every month, it will feature some tips like, “what to pack for a cruise”, “How to plan for your family vacation”, or even some Disney Tips and tricks.  This is just a sampling of what is possible for this change.
I cannot do this alone…
This blog is for you the reader.  I gave you my ideas and I want to hear from you.  I want this to be a place where you can get some tips, some tricks, and trends.  I will do my best to give you information on what is trending, but on a budget-friendly scale.  Not everyone can afford to Rose Gold everything, but by just having 1-2 pieces to start with, and when you can afford to get more, get the pieces within your budget.  This is an example of the advice I would present to you each week and your tip for this week. I also do hauls and starting “Come with Me” videos on my YouTube Channel, but it is not enough.
I want you to make suggestions.  If there is something that you have seen or want me to do, tell me in the comments area below each post.  You can even make these suggestions on my YouTube channel.
So, it is nice o be back, I wish it was on happier terms with concerns with The Longaberger Company, but I have faith that whatever happens with the company, there would be a reason for the decisions made, and I trust God for it.  If this company does continue, I will be continuing to be a consultant until June 2019.  I will explain when the time comes. 

Until then, it is time to revamp a blog.   Talk to you later.