I feel like this has been the theme of my life lately. I closed my business 20 months ago. The reasons could be a blog all by itself. However, I’d rather delve into today and not look back. I know I’m not alone in saying that I want to be better today than I was […]

via Where are you going, What you looking for? — JewelsForThePauper

Where are you going, What you looking for? — JewelsForThePauper

Posted in Uncategorized

Important Components For a Fidget Apron

Fidget mats, blankets, pillows and aprons are all tactile ways to keep an Alzheimer’s or Dementia patient busy throughout the day.  They can be used to help them cope with new surroundings such as a Doctor’s office.  Depending on the stage of the disease, it can provide comfort with familiar items.  In the latter stages, it provides a way to keep fingers busy with a variety soft and squeezable items.

Fidget Aprons have gained favor in the caregiving community because of it’s ease to take on and off, they don’t fall on the floor and there is a lot more space for items than a simple fidget mat.  The true beauty of the fidget apron is that there is no real pattern or instructions on how one should be made or what components it should have.  Some of the most important components are:

  • Everything attached permanently must be durable and machine washable.  Items that cannot be run through the washer need to be attached using key rings or D-rings.
  • Recognizable tasks are important, such as a nylon zipper, belt buckle, ribbon to tie a bow, pocket with handkerchief, or cord for braiding.
  • Repetitive tasks, such as beads, buttons.
  • Involuntary tasks such as touch are extremely important.  Minky, lace, crochet, corduroy, rickrack are just some examples.

There is no right or wrong way to make a fidget apron.  You are only limited by your imagination.  I highly recommend Pinterest to give you a start at making your first one.




Posted in Clutter / Hoarding, Goals, Growth, Happy Planner, New Office, Organization, Seasons, Uncategorized

Sunday – Planner Day

Last year I wrote a Blog about my Happy Planner.  If you don’t know what one is, just Google it.  When I did my blog, I thought they were sold specifically at Michael’s.  In the last week, I’ve seen them at JoAnn Fabrics and was told that select ones are 70% off at Target.

I was a planner gal way back in the 1980’s when you actually mail ordered these books.  The company (At A Glance) would mail you next year’s in October, along with any other type of sheets.  It was very business-like.  No stickers.  It was a 5 ring binder that totally organized your business life, and let you squeeze in a bit of your personal life.  You literally had only 3 choices of leatherette colors.

Today there are so many types of planners, that you can find one to fit any lifestyle.  I chose The Happy Planner for quite a few reasons.  The first was that I could make it any way I wished.  You can simply slip sheets in and out to organize it the way you wish.  You can focus on a year, a month, a week or even a day on one sheet.  There are many sticker books available on just about any subject you can think of as well as page markers, craft tape and other accessories.

I have chosen to focus a week at a time, on 2 pages.  I also insert a blank page in between so I can journal daily.  Each Sunday, I take time out to organize the upcoming week.  It takes about 30 minutes, and saves me a lot of time and anxiety.

First thing I do is decide on the week’s theme.  The stickers you buy, along with the crafting tape help you do this.  I focused on Being Grateful with my religious sticker pack and coordinated the colors (orange this week) with crafting tape.  I like writing with gel pens, so I use a color that is highlighted in the tape (brown this week).  It just so happens that all are fall colors.

After setting my week up, I look to see what this week’s activities are.  For instance this week, my husband has a meeting this Tuesday night which means we will need to have a crock pot meal that is ready as soon as he gets home.  I have appointments on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday morning, so my meal prep will need to be done in the afternoon. I have found that deciding on your menu not only takes a lot of stress out of your week, but on busy nights dinner can be so easy.  This week I learned I should also look at the weather when deciding on a meal, so my family isn’t eating mexican soup when it’s so hot and humid!

This week, we’ll have hot beef sandwiches, pork chops, leftovers (garbage night), Chicken Legs and 3 cheese Zita (meatless Friday).  I make sure that Monday is easy and I have all of the ingredients for it.  I make a list of items I will need throughout the week and will pick them up Tuesday, on my way home from Mass. No extra trips needed.  No panic when 3pm hits and I don’t have dinner figured out. No missing ingredients or substitutes.

I realize that I am able to start dinner much easier than women who work outside the home.  By planning, shopping for ingredients, and crock potting on busy nights this helps whenever you are able to be home and start a meal.

Lastly, I make attainable goals for the week.  For instance, Laundry and light house cleaning is in my planner each Monday.  I make easy goals for my business on Tuesday – Friday. All work will need to be done in the office due to the heat in the attic.  I don’t think it’s too far out to think that I can have a prototype cut out by Friday afternoon.  I write that down and decide what will need to be done Tuesday-Thursday in order to attain that goal.  After writing that down, I literally have my week planned, right down to the last entrée.

The first time, it might take a couple of hours to complete all of this in your planner but it is well spent. If your life is chaos and you’re constantly on the move, a planner can make life so much easier.  If your kids are older, you can encourage them to tell you each Sunday what activities they have.  Don’t forget your husband’s schedule as well. This keeps chaos to a minimum if the whole family.

So the next weeknight, you find yourself standing there at 6:30pm with nothing defrosted and your child informing you he has a game at 7pm…. Remember that all of this could have gone better if you just taken 30 minutes and organized it in your happy planner.




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Purging the Attic

Today has been a beautiful fall day.  The best part was that the temperature reached about 70 degrees.  Our attic doesn’t have HVAC, so I wanted to get up there before we either have a heat wave or the snow begins to fly.

Neither is comfortable to work in.  What makes our attic particularly difficult is that it peaks in the middle at about 6ft.  This means you’re constantly hunched over and bumping your head on drywall or insulation.  Regardless, I felt it was the perfect opportunity to clear out my craft items that have been stored for more than a decade.

My hope was that I would find material and other notions for the Alzheimer’s Fidget Aprons prototypes I plan to make.  This way I will be investing no money into the project.  It will also give me a chance to come up with more creative ideas.

I found that I have plenty of material to make the aprons.  Actually, I can make several if I were looking to make one with a holiday theme.   I had not planned on doing that, but it appears that I have been “collecting” holiday fabric and forgotten about it.

I located my quilt making equipment as well as all of the fabric I had saved to make a few of them.   Then I found, in perfect condition, each of my children’s sport uniforms from T-ball to baseball to soccer to basketball.  I was originally going to make a shirt quilt for both of my kids before they headed off to college.  That plan obviously backfired since both of them graduated from college years ago.  It might be fun to go ahead and make them.

I used to embroider as well as cross stitch, but then didn’t we all do that a few decades ago.  I decided to purge and donate all of that, as well as my crochet and knitting.  Remember those sweatshirts we used to decorate with stitch witchery and use puffy paint to accent them?  Well, I just threw out a few dozen containers of dried up puffy paint.

I was all set to call it a day when I open the last tote and found two sewing machines.  One was for my daughter to use and the other I inherited.  I have no idea what to do with them and I don’t think Goodwill would take them as a donation.

Two hours and 7 garbage bags later, I felt like I made a huge dent in my craft supplies that I had collected (hoarded) over 2 decades in the attic.  Now it’s time to throw away, donate or begin using all of the treasures I found.




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If My Sewing Machine Could Speak

I know the title seems a bit “out there.”  I promise I am as sober as a judge.

I remember the day I purchased my 1971 Kenmore 1207 sewing machine.  I walked to a garage sale just a few houses away and there it was!  The lady had arthritis and had not been able to sew for years.  I paid $10 for it and all of the attachments.   The original instruction booklet stated it was still under warranty as it had a 20 year guaranty on the motor.  It was 1987.

The first item I sewed on it was a purple jumper and matching purse for my sister’s 6th birthday.   It wasn’t long after that my husband and I were expecting.  The machine sat at the kitchen table as if were a guest for dinner for most of the pregnancy.  I sewed bumper pads, sheets as well as matching curtains in blue and white pinstripe.  I had purchased so much of that material that I ended up making two summer jumpsuits!

We moved to a larger home and the sewing machine sat on a card table in a spare room.  I sewed curtains for 3 bedrooms and began sewing maternity dresses for work.  After we knew our next child would be a girl, I purchased pink pinstripe material.  You guessed it.  I purchased so much material that I was able to sew her 1st Easter dress.  I still had material from my son’s layette and sewed shorts for his Easter outfit.

Before we moved again, I found an old cabinet to keep the sewing machine.  No more tables and dust protectors.  It was compact and I could keep my projects underneath. I managed to sew curtains for both kids rooms as well as our bedroom along with a few pairs of shorts .

After all of the curtains, I decided to sew Mother-Daughter Easter outfits.  I’ll never forget the hours I spent and was sewing a hem on her dress Easter morning.  Mine was a fitted lined jacket and skirt while hers was a dress with matching barrette.  It still hangs in my closet as a reminder of how I could sew anything I set my mind to.

A few years later, I made matching Christmas outfits for my son and daughter.  Hers was a Daisy Kingdom (how we all remember those from the 1990’s) prairie dress while he had a matching vest.  That set still hangs in my closet as a reminder that I could sew a designer pattern.

My son became interested in sports,   He was very tall and it was impossible to find his size in baseball pants.  Another mom with an older boy had the same problem the year before and she showed me how to tailor his pants.  No one would have ever guessed.

With both kids in activities and neither wanting any hand-made clothes, the sewing machine took a hiatus.  Actually,  I took the hiatus.  I remember my daughter taking scraps of material and making her own “designer” pieces.

Both of the kids are adults now and the machine has been moved to my son’s room.  I pulled it apart and gave it a good cleaning just this past week.  The warranty has run out, but the only thing the needed was a new needle.

I opened the bobbin case and went to select a bobbin.  I realized as I was looking for a bobbin that I had kept the thread from all of those projects.  In my sewing case, I had kept swathes from as far back as the purple jumper.

I think if my sewing machine could talk, it would thank me for the good cleaning I gave it and the possibility of a future full of projects.



Posted in Dresses, Growth, Inventory, Seasons, Sourcing, Thrift Shops, Uncategorized

Confessions of a Hoarder

Google defines hoarding as an act of amassing valuable items for future use.  Right under that definition was the definition for hoarding disorder.  I promise that my home will not be portrayed this year on an episode of “The Hoarders.” Nor will it be in “Better Homes and Gardens.” What I have is more like a collections of items.

Is there a difference?  Do the number of items matter; or, do the type of items?  I don’t believe it is a case of “this woman’s collection can be another woman’s garbage.”  Could it be clutter?  It absolutely could be if the items aren’t out for display.  Worse yet, if the items are stored neatly in a box or cupboard and not in use.

A perfect example is my collection of Tupperware.  My cupboards were filled with vintage pieces.   I was constantly adding to the collection as well as using the pieces.  Everything seemed perfect until I found many were not stackable, odd sized and not for use in the microwave.  They were literally falling out of my cupboards!

This collection turned into clutter.  Fast forward, I sold the items on Ebay or donated it.  I did keep a few pieces that were my mother’s.  Today, I have stackable containers that don’t fall out of cupboards.

I own a collection of depression era jade glassware which was given to me by a close friend. I have it prominently displayed along with my grandmother’s and great-grandmother’s doilies.  They are really lovely to look at.

This, to me, is a collection.  However, I fear that my children will find it clutter and toss it.  What does one do with this type of collection that I believe is not clutter?

Last, I have a collection of mid-century dress patterns.  I know I will never use them.  I haven’t figured out a way to display them and they are neatly stored in a box.  This is hoarding.

I’ve decided to sell this collection on Etsy.  I really hate to as they are a piece of history that can never be replaced and I have enjoyed the time it took to collect them. A hoard is a hoard and hoarding can be looked at as selfish.

What type of collections do you have?  One that is displayed?  One whose use has expired and is now clutter?  One that has turned into a hoard?  Whatever the collection is, it meant something to us at one time.

What you do with your collection defines what it truly is and what it’s future will be.


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TGIF for the Entrepreneur

If you are a small business owner, you know exactly what this title means.  For those who are not, let this be a warning or perhaps a cautionary tale.  Entrepreneurs do not work 8-5pm, nor do the work Monday-Friday.  For those who believe we work less than that, we have a surprise for you.  Most small business owners exceed a 40 hour work week.

This does not mean we spend 40+ sitting down and working, either.

If you are considering leaving your TGIF existence, you will need to change your mindset very quickly.  You must be dedicated when you are your own boss. The ratio of time you put into a start-up small business, to the money you will make may be 100:0 (like mine currently) or possibly 10:1 if you are going at a pretty fast clip without interruptions.

I can give you a generalized description of what my day was like, yesterday.

  • First, I checked my business Facebook page to see how much interest my blog attracted.  Facebook tells me that 14 individual persons clicked to read.  However, since there aren’t any comments or thumbs up I could easily conclude that no one really read it or they simply weren’t interested.  I would like to conclude that 14 people read it and were so inspired that they immediately opened a new website!
  • Next, I went through all 3 email accounts.  What?  THREE?  Yes, because I have a personal account, and 2 different business sites.  One is strictly for Facebook comments and messages; while the other is for generating business.   I found that 1 person did read my blog last week and gave me a couple of suggestions for other business platforms.
  • My Happy Planner is opened and I immediately know I have Mass, and medical appointment, a business lunch and supply shopping.  Leftovers for dinner means I don’t need to get anything in the crock pot or defrosted.  Before you think that this sounds like a pretty lazy Sunday morning, I began at 5am and it is now 6:20am on Thursday.
  • Blogging is something I truly enjoy and it is a work product.  I need it for me and I like sharing strategies with others.  I have a book called, “642 Things to Write About,” which inspires me on subject matter.  It takes about 90 minutes from typing the title to publishing the link.  It is now 8am.  That is 3 hours of work without making a dime (I’m still at the startup phase)
  • After Mass and an appointment, I’m off to lunch with my sister.  This doesn’t sound like business, but it truly is.  She is beginning her own business, ours will probably be similar and we inspire each other.  In fact, we are both beginning a major cleanup of our office areas complete with pictures to prove we’re staying on track
  • Next is shopping.  I need some supplies for one of the prototypes I am making.  I made the mistake of not checking my closet to see what supplies I had already.  There is a reason for that, but I’ll explain later.  Between lunch and shopping, I’ve worked 3 more hours without making a dime and spent a few.
  • Six hours sounds like a lot for someone just starting out, but wait there was more.  I suddenly decided in the evening to start clearing out the closet in my office.  Add one more hour and that is 7 hours total, between 5am and 8:30pm.

Hopefully the details didn’t put you to sleep, but this is a slow day when you are an entrepreneur.  You fit your work life in with your personal life.  You never go home after a long day of work.  You Thank God for everyday including Friday.

This is true whether you run a home daycare, clean houses or run an e-commerce business.  Be ready to work outside of your normal 8am-5pm existence and prepare yourself to love every minute of being your own boss.