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My Little Cottage

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Simple Woman's Daybook 8~16~2011





FOR TODAY


Outside my window...
Sunny skies with a few clouds, our neighbor's van and some pretty flowers growing in our neighbor's back yard :-)
I am thinking...
about how much I enjoy being at home.

I am thankful...
that our God is faithful, that He loves us even when we are un-lovable!!!

From the learning rooms...
Getting things ready to start back to our learning. I have the books we will be using in the milk crate. I have chosen this to be the container for our curriculum this year and am hoping to be more organized with lessons and books this year. Caleb is looking forward to learning about Genetics for his Science unit and we will also be learning about the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s for History.

In the kitchen...
I just finished washing the dishes and some very pretty and delicate tea cups that my momma gave me from her collection. I will have to set them up for a photo and share them with you sometime this week. For our supper we will be having shrimp and fries~yum!!!

I am wearing...
my trusty blue denim "pedal pushers" and favorite blue tee shirt.

I am creating...
A family favorites cookbook!!!! I have been having real fun with this one and am trying to include recipes from many family members including both grandmommas, myself, my hubby and aunts and cousins, too. These will be for our kids and I want them to have some real "heirloom" family recipes.

I am going...
to Momma's on Thursday and to church tomorrow night, but that is about it for this week. Unless something else presents the opportunity to get out and go!

I am wondering...
what my friends are all doing today and have been by some of my favorite blogs to read a bit.

I am reading...
Miracles Can Be Yours Today by Pat Robertson; my little Caleb picked this book out for me this past Saturday at one of the church rummage sales. It is really good, so far. Also reading some of my favorite poetry books and decorating magazines and the Bible (Colosians)

I am hoping...
to become more trusting of the Lord's leading in my life. I believe God has plans for me and that I should trust those plans, I just need to be a bit more willing to "Let Go and Let God", I am awfully guilty of trying to "take back the reigns" sometimes. Pray for me about this.
I am looking forward to...
meeting with our Pastor tomorrow night to discuss Caleb's baptism on Sunday evening. Also looking forward to getting started back to learning, homeschool field trips and time with homeschool friends.

I am hearing...
the air conditioner running and music from the kitchen.

Around the house...
I am thinking of changing out summer decorations to things for autumn. This is my favorite season and I love to get out the pumpkins and fall colors.

I am pondering...
having an Autumn Give Away on this blog. It will probably start the first week of September so be watching. I have already started putting the prize package together, you are going to LOVE it!!!

Some of my favorite things...
Crisp fall evenings, hot apple cider, warm bread from the oven...
A few plans for the rest of the week...
I want to get some more pictures taken to share on my blog, hoping to get some things donated to our favorite local charity, cleaning out the dining room closet.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

The cover for our
family cookbook

Hope you are all having a peaceful and beautiful afternoon. If you want to read more sweet daybook entries visit Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook. Thanks as always to Peggy for hosting the Daybook!









Monday, August 15, 2011

Happy Monday!!!

Greetings and a HAPPY MONDAY, dear ones!!!! Have you ever noticed how some days you feel that there isn't much to share and other days you just seem to overflow with all kinds of good information! I sometimes go for weeks here with not too much to post and then, all of a sudden, I just feel like I'm going to burst if I don't get on here and tell you all the latest Cottage news. Well today is a "gusher"~lol!

First off, I have been having such fun on Facebook meeting some wonderful NEW friends and business acquaintences over at my Cozy Home Cottage page. There are so MANY very talented and creative ladies there with beautiful pages about their homes, interests, talents and businesses. I love chatting with them all daily and truly enjoy all of their wonderful photos and ideas! Well, a couple of weeks ago, one of those talented gals, Dawn Holmquist of Oops A Daisy Bouquets,  had a contest when her Facebook page hit 500 "likers". She makes the prettiest Button Ball bouquets and she was going to give one away. I thought, "aw, that is nice", and never gave it a second thought, (I am usually one of those gals that never wins anything~lol), but thought how someone was going to love getting a Button Ball as they are just so darn CUTE!!! Well, what do you know....I WON!!!! Dawn was even thoughtful enough to ask me what colors I wanted her to use so that it would fit into my decor. My beautiful Button Ball arrived this past Thursday while I was out with my momma on our weekly shopping trip. Dawn had included a sweet and thoughtful note card and some of her gorgeous business cards with the bouquet, too!!! I got some photos of the Button Ball on Friday and here they are:


On my antique table in
the living room

Isn't it just the cutest thing you ever saw? I love the sweet little butterfly accent that she added. These would make a great gift and she also makes Christmas ornament Button Balls. Visit her Facebook page for more photos of her work and tell her Cozy Home Cottage sent you. She is a very sweet friend and so talented!

Our weekend was so sweet. My hubby and son, Caleb spent Saturday going to rummage sales at a couple of our area churches. We found lots of great things including some books, clothes and baskets. The Presbyterian church here in our town was hosting a luncheon for all who came to their sale and we were
treated to a sumptuous dinner of barbequed chicken, mashed potatoes, assorted salads and desserts! WOW, it was YUMMY and completely a surprise. The churches in our town are all part of a Ministerial Society and they often work together on events throughout the year. I love our little town :-)

Under a dome!
                                                                       Yesterday we attended our church, Dunbar Mountain Mission, and it was the 81st Anniversary service and celebration.  There was a BIG dinner after church with plenty of great dishes brought by all. My goodness was I FULL when we left, spiritually and physically!!! But the very BEST part of the day was when our young one decided to go forward for prayer and to request baptism!!!! His dad and I went up to pray with him and we were so very HAPPY!!! He had accepted the Lord as his Saviour a while back, but just hadn't felt he was ready to be baptised (mostly due to those young fears of maybe being held under too long~gotta love kids~lol), but he decided he wanted to follow the Lord's example by faith. Our pastor is planning a Baptismal Service for next Sunday evening and Caleb will now be included in that.

See, I told you I would be "gushing"!!!! God is so GOOD and provides for our every need; friends, family, good fellowship, food, clothing, beauty all around us, and most of all, His wonderful plan of Salvation through Christ!!!! God bless you all throughout this coming week.

On our bedroom dresser!


Stay Cozy,
Charlotte




Friday, August 12, 2011

Good morning and a Happy Friday to all! I can't believe it is already Friday this week. It seems like one of those weeks that just slipped past in a blur. I have been busy here working on finally typing out our favorite family recipes for a little family cookbook; a project I have been meaning to do for a couple of years now~time sure is a slippery thing, huh? My little online business is taking off and I am having so much fun posting product pictures and telling about what I offer in BOTH of my stores on the web. I LOVE the fact that I have two stores, TONS of inventory, BEAUTIFUL products and can give you personal service all without having to store anything here at our home. The two companies are reliable, long-standing icons of the home decorating industry and very reputable! That is VERY important to me as I only want to offer the BEST to you, my friends!!!

I love the life that my Lord is leading me through. His Providence is amazing and the avenues that He has presented before me are AWESOME!!!! I am still working on my writing skills and pray daily for guidance. Right now it is really more of a hobby and I do have some story ideas in mind, mostly for family and friends. My poetry group, The Kanawha Valley Poets of WV, will be starting back next month and I am looking forward to seeing all of those sweet people again. I kind of faltered away from the group the last few meetings of this past year due to my stint with depression after losing my dad. I am ready to get back to those meetings this year, they are always so inspiring. I am still writing my regular column for my FAVORITE WV publication, Two Lane Livin' and am excited that they are celebrating their FOURTH year in publication this month. Here is the press release that I recieved from Lisa:
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"TWO-LANE LIVIN' MAGAZINE CELEBRATES FOUR YEARS IN PRINT


Just when the world began predicting the death of print publications, Two-Lane Livin' Magazine was born. When the magazine was launched from a humble home office in Stumptown, West Virginia, no one expected that within a few years, Two-Lane Livin' would grow to be the largest independent publication in the state.

INSTANT POPULARITY

"When we released 10,000 copies of the first issue," said Publisher Lisa Minney, "I didn't know if anyone would want to read it. I knew it was full of topics and information that interested me, but I didn't know if others would feel the same way."

The first issue was gone in three days.

"I told her she was opening a can of worms," said Frank Minney, Lisa's husband and business partner. "I knew 10,000 copies wouldn't be near enough."

Now, Two-Lane Livin' is printed in runs of 16,000 copies monthly, 17,000 during travel season. "We found that, in summer, travelers through the state were taking so many copies that our regular readers weren't getting theirs," Lisa said. "We decided to print more during travel season at no extra cost to our clients, just to get the phone to stop ringing with requests for back issues that we didn't have."

What has made Two-Lane Livin' so popular? Lisa and Frank and both quick to answer, "our columnists." More than 35 columnists have contributed to the magazine in the past four years -- all of them as volunteers. "Some of our columnists are professionals, others just felt they had something to share. All of them have a passion for their subject matter, and that's what brought them to us," Lisa said. "I have no doubt that it is that passion -- that writing from the heart -- that connects to our readers."

As editor, Lisa never gives assignments to the columnists. New writers are given a short list of writing guidelines, but then are allowed the freedom to create and craft their installments on their own. "They are volunteers who know their topic and field much better than I," she said. "Who am I to tell them what to write?"

Two-Lane Livin' began with nine regular contributors, but now features 27 regular columns in every monthly issue. Some of the current contributors, Lisa and Frank have never met in person. "Within the first few months we started getting e-mails and phone calls from writers throughout the state," Lisa said. "Of course when I tell them our columnists are volunteers, there are some I don't hear from again, but even so, we now have a waiting list of columnists who want to contribute."

OVERCOMING CHALLENGES

Two-Lane Livin's instant popularity, however, has not been easy to manage. "We started in ten counties," said Frank. "Now we distribute to 18 counties at more than 500 locations." He notes that distribution is always a challenge. "Ice, snow, flooding, wildlife, road construction, school busses -- all these affect delivery. Each issue is different, and delivery of each issue is different. We never know what we're going to encounter on the road."

Delivery of each new issue also includes recirculation of any leftover copies. "On average, we only encounter a one percent left over rate," Frank said. "Which equals about 150 copies a month." Those copies are instantly re-circulated to laundromats, waiting rooms, rest stops and travel centers. "We work hard to make sure that our advertising clients get every penny's worth of their money spent with us."

With industry studies showing that an average of 2.5 readers come in contact with each issue, Two-Lane Livin' has the potential to reach more than 40,000 readers every month. "But I think our readership is even higher than that," said Frank. "So many people tell me they pass their copy on to others, who in turn pass it on again and again and again."

In addition, the magazine's readership doesn't fit into many marketing formulas. "Very often, advertisers are seeking a specific target audience -- women, seniors, travelers, certain age groups, or social classes," Lisa said. "Our readership is so varied and widespread, it doesn't fit into any one of those categories. It covers them all."

Even so, there is no doubt that advertising and supporting Two-Lane Livin' has served clients well. “I have been very pleased with my advertising experience in Two Lane Livin’," said Sharon Ours of A Domestic Friend, who has been supporting the magazine for more than a year. "It is the best response I have received in any of my past print advertising experiences.”

Kevin Lake, a West Virginia author whose new novel "From the Graves of Babes" has become the best selling West Virginia ghost novel of the year and #1 ranked ghost novel on Amazon.com said, "I'm sure advertising in Two-Lane Livin' helped make that happen."

Lisa and Frank are always thrilled to hear such comments from their clients. "The support of our advertisers is what makes it possible for us to offer copies of the magazine to our readers for free," Lisa said. "We love knowing that our readers support the businesses and organizations that support the magazine. Success for our clients is success for the magazine."

FACING THE FUTURE

In a time when many are predicting the demise of print publications, what does the future hold for Two-Lane Livin'? "I can't wait to see where it takes us next," Lisa laughs. "I love being the exception to the rule, and that could only happen here in West Virginia." Like all marketers, publishers and other media, Two-Lane Livin' plans to expand on the Internet, but so far, the magazine's efforts don't always follow the current trends.

"Our web site, facebook page, twitter and digital editions are experiencing growth, but nothing like our print edition. We've discovered an appreciation for print that supposedly no longer exists." Lisa said. "In response to demand from day one, we've expanded in print to communities we never expected to reach. Even so, as high speed internet coverage expands in the state, we are prepared to meet that growing demand as well."

Lisa and Frank have both taken courses on social media, video production, audio production and travel writing and photography. They now offer advertising in both their print and digital editions; QR Codes to reach out to readers who use mobile devices; online purchasing of advertising and subscriptions; and send copies -- either digitally or in print -- to 37 states. "Who knows?" Frank asked. "Some day we may launch Two-Lane Radio or Two-Lane TV."

"I'd like to say we planned on becoming the largest independent publication in the state," Lisa said, "but the truth is, Two-Lane Livin' has had a life of its own since day one. From the very start, we've felt like we're just along for the ride."

Over the past four years, the Minney's two-lane ride has also come to include four sub-contractors who help serve advertising clients or help deliver copies; promoted over 250 regional businesses; supported more than 75 non-profit organizations; and expanded the operating budget of the magazine's local post office.

"We're a local business, supported by local businesses, so we're all about local," Frank said. "We work to keep our advertising rates affordable because a little money spent with us goes a long, long way. Not just in distributed copies and readership, but also within the communities we serve."

Growth of the magazine and its features comes in direct response to reader demand and advertising support. While Lisa and Frank have plans and goals for the publication, they have learned over the past four years to respond and adjust to what readers and clients want and expect.

"Two-Lane Livin' surpassed our expectations a long time ago," Lisa said. "It may sound unorthodox, but in a sense, we let it tell us where it wants to go and what it wants to do." The support of a new client allows the magazine to expand in their region or in the media outlet of their choice. The approach of a new columnist gives the magazine a new character. New lessons in new media make new options and possibilities.

"Just as it has in the past," Lisa said, "In the future, Two-Lane Livin' will become what our readers and clients make of it, and we have all the faith in the world in our supporters."

To support Two-Lane Livin' Magazine with your advertising dollars, visit http://tinyurl.com/supportTLL. For access to featured columns, columnist blogs, and behind the scenes information, visit http://www.twolanelivin.com/.
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Isn't that WONDERFUL! Congratulations to Lisa and Frank on four amazing years of publishing one of the finest and most enjoyable pieces of monthly reading material in print! Here's to many, many more years to come! 

Hope that you are all enjoying your August days and that time will stand still enough for you and your family to embrace many sweet memories as the days go by. 

God bless and Stay Cozy, 
Charlotte 




Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sweet Saturday Ramblings

Good Saturday, dear friends. I am sitting at my little computer happily typing as we are having a peaceful, soft summer rain outside my window. No harsh lightning, no heavy thunder (just some softly in the background), dark skies and gentle raindrops~God is watering the earth. It serves to remind me how contented I am in my life right now. When I was younger, I would have most likely cursed this sweet rain on a Saturday. I would have been ranting on about how it had spoiled my plans and that I wished. "it would never rain again"~lol. Time makes us so much more wise, doesn't it. We had a peaceful week around the cottage, with the exception of a horrible and mysterious onset of a rash all over my body apparently brought on by some unknown and still not identified allergic reaction. I am on prednisone and benedryl for now and feeling SO much better and non-itchy~YAY! Glad for these meds and am not having any troubles with the prednisone as I had heard some have. Wishing I could stay on it as it has eliminated a HUGE amount of swelling from my face, legs and feet. I know that this is what causes some of my painful days sometimes and it feels good to not be all bloated like a bullfrog :-)
I have good news from the homefront about my business, also!!! I am now working exclusively online as your "Digital Designer" with my Celebrating Home and Oddity web stores! I am always available to answer your decorating questions (free service for you), mail out paint samples ($ 5.00 to cover shipping and handling will include 3 samples for your decor~walls, accent color and trim~3" by 3" size samples) or help you with your accessory selections from either of my web stores. I am having so much FUN talking to friends and clients on my two Facebook pages: Cozy Home Cottage  and Charlotte's Cozy Home Celebrating Home Page and am hoping to start doing some really fun contests, online parties and games on these! I have already added instructions on the Charlotte's Cozy Home Celebrating Home Page so that YOU can add your recipes as a document for everyone to share!!!
ALSO: B-I-G NEWS!!! Celebrating Home has now made FUNDRAISING really EASY! They announced earlier in the week that our fundraisers can be done ALL across the country online so that your friends and family in other parts of the country can just go to your personal fundraiser page and order to help you raise money for your group or cause!!! I am VERY excited about this as it will help so many raise money for so many good causes! Leave me a comment if you have any questions, I would love to help you!
One more piece of news before I sign off my little blog, I now have a page at Pinterest. Not sure right now what I am going to do with it, but it does look like such fun and I have several friends with pages there, too. I am hoping to post some fun color boards and recipes and such. If you have a page, let me know and I will follow you. I love working from home and sharing this adventure with you. I finally have the perfect fit for my life as it is now and hope to start getting busier and busier as the months go by. I can still live my simple days and have lots of time for homeschooling and family and all the things that matter most. God is so GOOD!!! 
I pray that you are all having a good Saturday in your little corner of the world and that you are conteted with your days, as well. Love and prayers to all!

Stay Cozy,
Charlotte