Monday, April 12, 2021

Springing Forward

We've all heard the sayings "fall back" and "spring forward" or "spring ahead" when referring to Daylight Savings Time.  Well, talk about springing forward.  I looked up at the calendar and it's almost mid-April... Where on Earth has this month gone?  Things have continued to be super busy here.  I also realized that I haven't posted much this month compared to the rest of 2021 so I thought I'd pop in for a quick update.

After Jeremy's visit and Easter weekend, this past week has continued to be both busy and productive.  It hasn't been all work and no play though.  Eliot and I have watched a few Hallmark movies that we haven't seen before and we've still been following the San Jose Sharks hockey season.  We were also able to register for the Run Disney Lion King virtual races this summer so we're looking forward to doing that!  But overall, we have been focused on getting things accomplished.

Photo Source

I finally had my appointment with the ear, nose, throat specialist on Tuesday right after my sewing class.  I got answers to a few questions and found out that there's nothing wrong with my ears and hearing- even though I've had crackling noises in my ears for the past year.  My doctor also prescribed a special ointment to help with the ongoing problems I've had with my nose being so dry.  Hopefully, this will help!  

Thursday morning, Eliot had a double tooth extraction.  This was originally scheduled at the end of April, but he's been in a lot of pain for the past month.  He finally called the doctor and asked if he could get the appointment pushed up, and they were able to fit him in on Thursday.  The procedure itself went well, but Eliot had a few moments of dizziness, overheating and feeling nauseous while we were sitting in the recovery room.  I was so relieved to get him home safely where he slept most of the afternoon.  

Since then, Eliot's been sore but he's been ok for the most part.  We've laid pretty low at the house even though it was almost 80° on Saturday.  I had a thought to pack up and go into town for a picnic on the beach, but since Eliot couldn't eat anything other than Jello, that idea didn't really make sense.  I felt silly spending such a beautiful day inside, but there will be more warm days in the coming months...

Instead, we had a super productive weekend at home.  On Saturday, we got a bunch of cleaning done.  Eliot replaced the dryer hose that the squirrel destroyed.  While he was doing that, he also cleaned out the entire dryer vent all the way to the outside.  As he did that, I started to organize a few things in my office. 

Eliot and I spent a lot of the weekend working on Happily Ever Hatter and Snowblade Creations orders.  Orders for our 3D printed mouse ears have picked up a lot with spring break trips and Disneyland opening soon.  We've also had a few rush orders for Walt Disney World trips that we've been working on over the last week.

This afternoon, Eliot took 22 packages to the post office- 6 for Happily Ever Hatter and 16 for Snowblade Creations.  It feels so good to get all of those out in the mail and crossed off of our to do list!  All of our hard work this weekend leaves us way ahead of schedule!  It's funny how we can feel behind one day and then after two days of hard work we're shipping orders out that are more than a week or two ahead of schedule.

Plus, because we're now ahead on orders, there aren't any super pressing business things that I need to get done this week.  I don't have many things to do on the personal side of things either.  Other than a quick follow up with the guy who sealed our house and my sewing class, I don't have any plans.  

I'm hoping this week I'll be able to work on some of my blog updates, and to work on cleaning and organizing the house.  Eliot and I are still up to our eyeballs in house projects we'd like to finish before getting our puppies.  As of late, we've been full steam ahead on the house so I'm hoping that I can cross a few more things off of the list this week!  I'd also like to get a bunch of this stuff done before it gets really warm out.  We have about one more month before we'll need to put the air conditioner in and I don't want to be worrying about painting walls once we reach that point!

Of course, Eliot and I will still be working on orders.  But I'm hoping we can continue to stay ahead of schedule so I'll be able to keep working on my blog and the house for the rest of the month.  The rest of April will probably be a light month for blog posts because most of the blog stuff will be going on behind the scenes.  But once I get some of these projects finished, I'll have plenty of stuff to share on here!  

In the meantime, I'll be springing into action to get more stuff done!  °o°

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Easter Weekend 2021

Happy Easter!  I can't believe Easter is already here and that spring weather is finally on it's way!  We've still had a few cold days here in Maine, but the warmer ones are coming more often.  Today it's actually close to 60° here, so that's nice!  Eliot and I aren't going too far today though.  We've had an eventful holiday weekend, so we're spending today having a quiet day at home working on orders. 

Our holiday weekend actually started a little early.  Eliot took Thursday off so we could work on some stuff around the house.  We'd always planned on doing this, but after our recent squirrel adventures, we needed to clean my office.  Thursday afternoon, we spent a few hours vacuuming and wiping stuff down.  I disinfected my stuffed animals with Lysol spray.  Thankfully, we're fully stocked up on the Clorox wipes and sprays!

Eliot had Friday off since it was Good Friday.  We had made plans with my brother Jeremy to goto Massachusetts to get stuff at IKEA.  Jeremy was able to take the day off from work too, so we made a list Thursday night and planned to meet the next day.

Friday morning, Eliot and I got up early.  We made a few quick stops on our way- the post office, McDonald's for breakfast, to gas up the truck and to drop a few things off at our new storage unit.  Then, we hopped on the highway and drove down to MA and the Burlington Mall where we met Jeremy.  We had decided to make a quick stop at the mall to stretch our legs, use the restrooms and to check out the Disney Store.

First, we went to the Disney Store where I had barely walked through the doors before I found the red, white and blue stars and stripes Loungefly bag that I'd wanted to get.  I also found the Carl (from Pixar's Up) plush that I needed for my Up display.  Both items had sold out online and I haven't been able to get them.  Finally, Eliot grabbed a small Pluto hand sanitizer holder.  It was nice to take a quick peek there, especially since I hadn't been there since we went in January.  After that, we made a quick stop at Newbury Comics before the three of us hopped into the truck to continue our journey.

At that point, I was thirsty and I kind of wanted a milkshake.  After accidentally missing the turn I was supposed to take, we ended up turning around in a McDonald's.  It was a happy accident since I got my chocolate milkshake, Eliot got a vanilla and Jeremy got an Oreo McFlurry.  We enjoyed them while we talked and rode down the highway.

I was so into the conversation that I completely forgot what exit I needed to take, we took another detour and passed by the exit for Gillette Stadium.  Then, we got off the highway a few exits down the road and took the back roads to IKEA.  It ended up taking us right there, but we definitely took the long way.

Once at IKEA, we made our way through the furniture displays.  We stopped at the couches so Jeremy could pick one out for his condo.  (He hasn't had one since he moved... so it was time.)  We weren't able to bring it home with us since one part was out of stock, but we were able to set up delivery for next week.  As we made our way through the store, I photographed the locations of the furniture we had on our list.

I was very excited to see that they had the food area open.  When Eliot and I went to IKEA last June, the cafeteria area was closed due to COVID.  (It was a lot different; now they seat you and the food area is marked off in 6 foot increments.)  Jeremy and I decided to get food while Eliot sat at our table.  We both got salads and I got a side of meatballs since I wasn't too hungry.  (If I was hungry, I would have gone all out with my usual meal.)  After a few minutes of watching us eat, Eliot decided he wanted food too so he got himself a salad.  We enjoyed the break to sit and take our masks off safely.

Once we finished our food, we continued downstairs to the Marketplace.  We went through this part of the store pretty quickly since it's easy to get sucked into all the cool gadgets.  Thankfully, this time Eliot was able to find the lazy Susans I'd wanted but couldn't find last time.  We also stopped to get the bath mats I wanted.  I had a few other things I needed to take a quick peek at, then we entered the warehouse are

It took us a few minutes to find and gather all of the furniture boxes.  I was excited to get a 4x4 Kallax storage cube unit for my office.  We also got the remaining pieces we needed for the vanity mirrors that they didn't have when we went last trip.  Ironically, they had the pieces of the display bookcase that "weren't in stock" but they didn't have the bookcase which had shown online that it was in stock.  However, we bought the doors and the extra shelves anyways so we have them.

Once we had everything we needed, we made our way to the registers where we picked up the last things on my list, cinnamon buns and chocolates.  I was pleasantly surprised to have our order come out to only $41 and change over the loose budget that I'd set for us- and I hadn't accounted for taxes either.  Eliot and I only grabbed two things that weren't on my list- an extra set of storage containers (that I use all the time and love) and another pencil light for my office.  It was definitely a successful trip!

Before heading back out, Eliot and Jeremy got a few snacks for the road.  We walked out to our parking spot and loaded everything up in the truck.  Thankfully, nothing was too heavy so we didn't even bother with the loading area.  (I had dreaded backing the F-150 up into it.)  Eliot secured the items with some straps and we were on our way! 

I drove back to the mall where we stopped so Jeremy could get his car.  Then, he headed for his condo to grab his weekend bags while Eliot and I went to the Nashua Hobby Lobby.  We picked up a few paints for our business as well as some things for Eliot's soap making.  Next, we went to Jeremy's condo for a short minute before I decided I was hungry enough to get food.  Jeremy was still packing a few things so I ran through the McDonald's drive through to get my dinner (the boys had eaten their IKEA food) and I started to eat while we waited for Jeremy to arrive.  (Yes, we went to McDonald's three times that day... and I didn't even realize it until the following day.)  

After Jeremy pulled into the parking spot next to us, he followed us up to Maine to spend the weekend with us.  We drove from New Hampshire to Maine, made a quick stop to drop some of the IKEA stuff off at our storage unit and then arrived home around 10 pm.  At that point, we were all exhausted, but somehow Eliot and I made it through the San Jose Sharks hockey game before going to bed around 1:00 am.

Saturday morning, we all slept in since we'd stayed up so late.  After having a quick breakfast of IKEA cinnamon buns, bacon and eggs, the three of us brought all of the IKEA stuff still in the truck inside.  I put away and organized the smaller stuff while Eliot and Jeremy put my new 4x4 Kallax storage unit together in my office.  After they finished, they even put all of the new storage bins into it too!  I'm excited to have so much more space to organize my crafting supplies now!

Our big plan for the day was to go up to Portland shopping since we knew everything would be closed on Sunday.  We all took showers and got ready and on the way up, we dropped a few more things off at the storage unit.  

First we headed to Joann's so I could get something I needed for my sewing class.  I'm so glad we went there when we did.  While I was wandering around the aisles, Eliot came into the store (after checking out Lowes) and there was small black lab puppy near the entrance.  I could hear someone ask another person if they were ok with dogs and when I heard the "absolutely" I knew it was Eliot.  I turned the corner and saw him petting the cutest little puppy.  My heart immediately melted.

Her owners were taking her out to stores to socialize her, and they wanted strangers to pet her so she'd get used to it.  We spent the next ten minutes or so petting the 10 week old ball of energy and talking to her owners.  She was precious.  We were in the store for a few more minutes and she seemed to keep finding us throughout it.  After petting her a few more times, we finally made our way to the register and out of the store.  Jeremy had stayed in the car and thankfully the puppy came out a few minutes later so he could at least see her before we left.

Next, we went to the Portland Mall.  The boys wanted to check out Newbury Comics so we did that and then went to Hot Topic.  At both stores, Eliot and I found a few Funko pop vinyls we'd been looking for so we got those.  After that, we stopped at Mrs. Fields to get a few cookies and we each ate one before we went back to the truck.

Our final destination was Target.  We checked a few things out before picking up soda to have with dinner, a few snacks and some food for Sunday.  Then, I drove over to Texas Roadhouse to pick up Eliot's and my dinner.  Of course, Jeremy had to get his Pat's Pizza so we stopped there on the way back home.

Once we returned home, we watched a few Inside Pixar shorts on Disney+ while we ate dinner.  Then, we switched it over to the San Jose Sharks game once that started. Jeremy watched the first period with us before calling it a night.  Somehow, Eliot and I made it through that entire game too.  Afterwards, I was definitely ready for bed!

This morning, we all slept in again.  Eliot and I were actually woken up when Jeremy accidentally locked himself out of the house.  (He had gone to grab the stuff he had for me and didn't realize the door was still locked; we got a good chuckle out of it.)  I joked that the Easter Bunny still brought me something while I admired the garden statues, faux succulents and the Harvey's Up bag Jeremy helped me get on release day.  Then, Eliot and I made bacon and eggs for the three of us to eat for brunch.

After we were all done eating, Jeremy helped Eliot move our washer and drier so we could check behind it for a potential squirrel entrance.  I was pretty sure he got in on that end of the house, and sure enough, Eliot found the clawed out drier hose.  At least now we know how he got into the house.  (The vent was literally a squirrel gate.)

Before Jeremy left, Eliot wanted to show him the Glowforge so we all watched it make a few cuts.  Then, Jeremy packed up and we said goodbye.  I did notice that it was really nice outside.  After Jeremy pulled out of the driveway, Eliot and I went to the backyard to tend to the drier vent.  Thankfully, it was a quick fix and Eliot thinks it'll be squirrel proof now.  But we are going to continue to keep checking it... just in case.

Eliot and I spent the remainder of the afternoon working on desk accessories and mouse ear orders.  (We have a ton of orders to mail out this week.)  Tonight, we'll probably take a break to watch a Hallmark movie or some shows and then we'll be rested and ready to tackle another week!  It wasn't a super festive Easter holiday weekend, but we certainly had a very productive one and it feels good!!!  °o°

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Spring 2021 Sewing Class Update

Hi friends!  I have a very long list of things to do today, but I had to swing by quickly to share something with you.  I'm so excited at the progress I'm making in sewing class! 

This morning in sewing class, I pinned and sewed together the dolphin body, nose, tail and tummy pieces!  The fabric doesn't line up correctly on one side, but it's the same location that I have to hand sew after turning it and stuffing it, so I'm hoping that I can manipulate that part by hand.  Regardless, I'm so proud!  It looks like a dolphin!

This week, my instructor brought in her plush dolphin that she completed last night so I could see what it'll look like when it's done.  It's super cute!  I can't wait to finish mine!

Hopefully, mine will be done after my next class.  I have a few small tweaks to make next week, then I can turn it and put the stuffing inside!

After I finish my dolphin, I'm planning to join the class project to make pillow cases.  I don't think it'll take me two classes to complete them.  While they're moving ahead to another project, I'm hoping to work on the valences for our living room, kitchen and dining room before class is over.  My fabric actually just arrived in the mail from overseas yesterday.  After putting off ordering it for three years, I finally have it in hand!

Hopefully by the end of my spring sewing class, I'll have a plush dolphin, pillowcases and some valances to share with you!  I've only got three classes left so it's time to put it into high gear in order to get everything done!  °o°

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Blog Layout and Design

Today, I'm outlining the upcoming major changes in my journey to update and rebrand my blog.  As I've mentioned many times, something that I've really wanted to do for a very long time was to update and personalize my blog.  When I started back in 2013, I knew absolutely nothing about building a website, coding, HTML, or anything blogging related.  All I knew back then was that I enjoyed writing and telling stories.

When I started blogging, I wasn't even sure if it was something that I was going to do long term, or if it was just a season in my life.  I never imagined that I'd really enjoy it and still be going strong 8 years later.  If I'd known then what I know now, I probably would have taken more time to set it up properly back in the beginning.

I've learned a lot over the past 8 years.  I've read so many different "how to blog" posts online.  I have a secret Pinterest board that's filled with blogging links.  It appears that everyone has an opinion on the "correct" way to do it.  I've learned a lot through these posts, but the greatest thing I've learned is to go with my gut.  So that's what I'm doing.

After a lot of waffling back and forth, I've decided to stick with Blogger.  Some people change to Word Press but I've been really happy with this platform.  According to people who "know" more that I do about blogging, Word Press will give you more customization options, more flexibility, etc. but this blog is a passion project, not my full time money maker.  Maybe if I was more serious about it, I'd want to look into other options, but for what I'm doing, this is working.  Plus, it's easy to use and navigate.  As nervous as I was about updating my blog, Blogger has made it easy and stress free.

Plus, I haven't actually looked at all of the options at my disposal in years.  When Eliot and I were working with Elissa on her new blog, I realized how many options I really had.  When I started my blog, I simply went with the website layout I liked best, and I made a few changes at the very beginning.  I never went out of my way to change the background photo or the colors.  I added a few gadgets, but left it at that.

While playing around with my blog in an effort to try to use it as an example to help Elissa, I realized how many options I had to customize layouts.  While she played around with different options for her new blog, I explored the possibilities of layouts, colors, fonts and more to update my own.  When I started my blog, I didn't spend any time looking into the possibilities.  If I'd known how many customization options I had at my disposal, I probably would have done something much sooner.

I'm happy with the way my blog is laid out for the most part.  I don't really see that changing very much as I'm happy with the text layout and sidebar.  After posting my first blog update post, that same night I started to tinker with updating my sidebar.  A few minutes later (and after almost 8 years) I can finally say my sidebar is wide enough to accommodate the images without cutting them off on the right side!  If only I'd known how easy it would have been to fix it.  That's been driving me crazy for years now.

There are a lot of other things I'd like to tinker around with as well.  I've wanted to add pages and to streamline the labels on my posts for a few years.  When I first started my blog, I was willy nilly with the labels and I often used way more than I needed to in each post.  (That's using Etsy rubbing off on me.)  In order to help people find what they're looking for (including myself) it'll be easier if I update and streamline the labels.

I'd also like to add some pages to my blog.  Most bloggers have a separate page for a longer "About Me" page and I'd like to do that.  I've also always wanted to add a page introducing our friends and family that I frequently reference on my blog.  In addition to that, there are a few legal pages that I want to add in order to start doing the affiliate marketing that I plan to start doing over the next few months.  Plus, I'm hoping that I can use the pages feature to make it easier to separate some of my reoccurring and segment posts.  I'd love to have a quick way to find more of my posts like DIY, style and Disneybounding, our house, merchandise, small shops, traveling, and holidays.

Finally, the part that I'm most looking forward to is updating the design of my blog.  I went to college for interior design and I love color so this comes as no surprise.  I'm looking forward to changing the background photo from the blurry window view.  I am also really excited about updating the colors and maybe even the fonts.  It's amazing how different it already feels even though I've only updated my blog header photo so far.  My logo was with me from the very beginning and I've grown attached to it.  But at the same time, I'm ready for a new look.  And it's time to freshen up a bit!

If things look a little out of place over the next few weeks, please give me a little bit of grace as I'm not sure how long it will take me to make these updates and changes.  I'm not sure exactly how I want the final look, so I might play around with a few different combinations while in the process of getting there.  In the end, I'm hoping it will be more streamlined, modern, easier to navigate and that it will feel more like me.  °o°

Saturday, March 27, 2021

A Juggling Act

So much has been happening the past few weeks... I feel like I'm in a time-warp.  Time is flying by, yet I feel like I've been much more productive this past month.  I've been sharing a lot about our daily lives more recently, but I thought I'd do a quick check in.

Not much has changed overall.  Eliot and I are still working hard on orders for Happily Ever Hatter and Snowblade Creations.  We're still occasionally watching Hallmark movies that we haven't seen when we can tape them on our DVR.  We're also keeping up with watching the Sharks hockey games.  We're still watching more news than we probably should be, but we're staying informed while keeping it on in the background.

I've been keeping myself busy with my blog updates and my sewing class.  The plush dolphin I'm working on this class is slowly coming to life.  It's been a bit of a struggle to conceptualize the finished project since it's more three dimensional than any of my other sewing projects thus far, but it's been a lot of fun to learn!

When Eliot and I aren't working on our businesses or taking a break while watching television, we've been working really hard cleaning our house.  A few weekends ago, we spent 3-4 hours just cleaning our bedroom and organizing our clothes.  Eliot has also been working on his office here and there.  Obviously, my office was completely cleaned out due to Squirrel-Gate.  Now we have to clean and disinfect everything before we put it back together.  It'll be a lot of work, but I keep telling myself that my office will be finished sooner.  After we get my office taken care of, we're going to use the storage unit to our advantage to get the rest of the house finished.

Honestly, our not quite launched businesses are where it feels like there's a lot going on right now.  I mentioned that Eliot's been playing with our new Glowforge and that we're one step closer to getting our home decor business off the ground.  The laser cutter has opened a lot of possibilities for our businesses as well as for personal projects.  I've got a lot of home decor that I want to make to personalize our house.

What I haven't told you is that I've been taking an online business coaching workshop this past week.  It popped up as an advertisement on my Facebook newsfeed last week and I was immediately interested in it.  After doing a little more research, I signed up and I'm so glad I did it.  I first had the idea for this new business back in January of 2018.  Since then, I've settled on a name for it and I have a ton of ideas.  (It's another idea list, full of more lists situation.)  It's very different than both of our current business models where we sell completely on Etsy.  This is totally new to me, and I've learned so much.  Coaching week has been well worth the $10 I paid to participate.

The greatest thing it's given me is confidence.  I tend to dive in completely head first and simultaneously hold back when I have new business ideas.  In the past, Eliot and I have bought supplies for a lot of things that we've never ended up pursuing.  I think that's caused me to be a little more careful as of late because I don't want to keep buying supplies that I won't use to make products.

This idea has always been one that I've wholeheartedly wanted to pursue though.  I've actually been planning to dip my feet in- even hoping to develop it last year so I could launch something between Halloween and Christmas.  Then, COVID happened and I lost all of my motivation.  In hindsight, it might have been the perfect time to launch it, but I was in over my head so much with the pandemic and my Mom's surgeries.

This online coaching workshop has given me the confidence to not keep pushing it off indefinitely.  There are a lot of other beginners in the group, so I feel less out of my league.  Plus, there are a ton of other women who started out at the very beginning with nothing but a good idea like me, and now they have a successful business.  I've been so inspired and motivated that I wrote down over 20 new ideas for this business- many of them that are exciting and kind of revolutionary.  I took so many notes during each workshop.  I also wrote my ideas in my notes, but I did make a copy of the Post It Note Challenge we did so I'd have an example of the layout for future reference.  (This photo is zoomed in and intentionally vague so I don't overshare my business ideas.)  

I took all of the motivation and inspiration I've felt this week and I've run with it.  I've lit a fire under my own butt.  In fact, I ended up taking the plunge and setting up a new Gmail, Instagram, Facebook page and Etsy shop account for it Wednesday night while I had the Sharks game on in the background.  Now, I've at least secured my name on all of those websites.  The business idea is still going to take a little bit of fleshing out, but I ran a few ideas past Eliot and he was fully on board.  I'm back to my original plan of trying to get something out for Halloween and/or Christmas of this year.

Plus, this business is going to require me to be super organized and to have my ducks in a row.  The more businesses Eliot and I open up, the more on top of things I have to be.  We've made leaps and bounds this past year with juggling both Happily Ever Hatter and Snowblade Creations.  We know that we'll have to be hyper focused adding our home decor business to the mix.  And this other business is going to put us in a completely new league from what we're used to- but it has great growth potential.

Moving forward, I'm expecting this juggling act to be what my life is.  It's always been a bit of a balance, but what's different is that I finally feel like I'm getting where I want to be.  The house is no where near being completed, but we're going to get it there and we've made a lot of progress recently.  (Squirrel-Gate might have even helped that situation... even if it was a pain in the butt.)  Eliot and I have made so much progress with our businesses this past year as well.  Now, we're closer to opening the home decor business.  I'm planning to start focusing more on my clothing line soon!  My blog is looking better and I'm so excited about updating it.  And now, I'm also working on this new business idea.  I'm juggling a lot, but I feel excited, inspired and motivated.  

And as long as that continues, I'm going to keep perfecting my juggling act.  °o°

Friday, March 26, 2021

The Name Game

Whew... so much stuff is happening behind the scenes right now.  Between my sewing class, Squirrel-Gate, working on the house and keeping up with our businesses, I'm juggling a lot of balls.  But I'm still making time for my blog updates.  I feel like I'm at the cocoon stage of transforming from a caterpillar into a butterfly.  I'm keeping my blog update to do list near by while I work on checking things off.  The next section that I planned in my blog updates was to work on my name changes.  Today has been a whirlwind of social media changes, new logos and updating my new web domain links.

Earlier this month, I worked on making a temporary "logo" photo for my blog header and Facebook cover photo.  I didn't want to spend too much time on it since it's only going to be temporary.  But since I'm not 100% sure how long it'll be before I have time to invest in making a new logo and header design, I still wanted this one to look nice.  I opened up Canva and I opted to use the same template that I used on my Happily Ever Hatter Facebook cover photo that I showed you a few weeks ago.  

I changed the text over to my new blog name and tagline.  Then, I went through all of the fonts until I found one that spoke to me.  I really like this one and I might use it in my final logo design.  This script is modern and fun, yet professional looking with a touch of whimsy.  Finally, I uploaded photos that I thought would work for the time being.  I included the one of me Disneybounding with Minnie, one from Eliot's and my Magic Kingdom wedding photo shoot, a picture of me riding on Dumbo during our honeymoon and one of Eliot and me at Disneyland wearing Happily Ever Hatter ears.

I love how this came out!  It's still pretty minimal, but it works for now.  In the future, I'm hoping to do something that's more personalized.  I'm hoping to learn how to use a digital sketchbook program on my iPad.  Then, I can create designs with my own sketches.  I also had an idea to make some seasonal blog headers and Facebook cover photos, but that'll probably be farther down the line.  I'd love to be able to keep my blog design updated based on the current season or holiday, but that will depend on how hard it would be to keep changing it.  I guess we'll see how the redesign goes!

I had planned to continue on my roll with blog updates last week- then Squirrel-Gate happened.  That derailed my progress, but I have been able to re-focus the past few days.  Earlier today, I spent about an hour updating my social media pages.  

I figured that changing my Facebook page name would be the easiest so I started there.  Boy, did I misjudge that.  Facebook has done a lot to change their business pages over the past few years.  I consider myself pretty tech savvy with social media, but this one took me a while.  I had to look at a few how to guides, and in the end, somehow I stumbled upon the name change page.  I'm not even sure that I could get there again if I tried, but thankfully I don't plan to change my blog or page name again.

When you update your name on Facebook, they tell you that it could take up to 3 days for them to verify the changes.  Thankfully, my name was approved and switched over in a few minutes- before I even took one last screen shot of my My Disney Life page.  I also updated my Facebook web extension so it also reflects my new page name.

Changing my Instagram was a lot less difficult, even if it took me a few minutes to get into the correct location.  I'd already figured out what I wanted my new name to be, so it was just a matter of going in and typing in the new one.  After I finished changing my Instagram name, I added the link to my Facebook page.

Ironically, the easiest part of the blog name changing process was the part that I have stressed out over the most.  It only took me a few seconds to update my blog with my new website domain!  Blogger also took the guesswork out of it.  I was worried that people having the old website wouldn't be able to find me, but I was able to add the new website and keep the existing blogger webpage as well.  Now, you can find me at my new website address, and the old web address forwards you to it!  Easy peasy...

Finally, I just had to make a few quick updates in order to officially finish changing my blog name.  First, I updated the website link to my blog over on my Instagram and Facebook pages.  It's the first time I've used my new web domain!  (I still can't believe I have my very own website!!!)  Then, I updated the link to my Facebook page from the picture on the side of my blog.  After that, I uploaded the new header photos (aka my temporary logos) to both my blog and my Facebook page.  While updating the blog header, I also changed my name and my description.  After double-checking my list, I confirmed that I had completed all of my changes for this round of blog updates!

The name change step of my update process took a bit longer than I was planning for it to.  I only spent just over an hour doing it, but I thought I'd have this part completed a week ago.  But life happens and I'm not going to beat myself up for it like I would have in the past.  I'm only human and I'm getting a lot better at giving myself grace.  

Now that my social media and blog name changes are finished, I'm getting ready to dive into the harder stuff.  But, it feels good to take a minute to stop and celebrate this moment.  After many moons of wanting to update my blog name, I'm finally there!  °o°

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

The Squirrel Saga Continues...

Well... the universe has jokes.  As soon as I post that we're thriving other than Squirrel-Gate, the universe back-checks me into place.  Yesterday morning, I awoke feeling pretty good about our current lack of squirrel situation and how Eliot was finally going back to work after a week.  When I came downstairs, I did a bit of a backtrack... ("Were there that many markings on the outside of the door?  I don't think so, but maybe I'm just losing it...")  I left the house for my sewing class feeling a bit less confident.

When I got home from my class, it took only a few minutes before I heard it.  The unmistakable sound of a squirrel scratching against the inside of the door.  "Not again."

It had been a full week since we definitely knew the squirrel was in my office.  This Monday, Eliot and I spent one entire stimulus check to have someone come out and seal the entire exterior of our house.  Eliot was finally back to work after taking a week off to deal with the house and the squirrel.  I was finally feeling an actual sense of relief.  And both of us had stopped having problems with intense anxiety.

And now, the freaking thing is back in there.  I could scream out loud in frustration.

Thankfully, I didn't; but I did text Eliot to let him know.  After a few excruciating hours of waiting, Eliot finally returned home with two more live traps.  (The other two are still set in my office, with a feast but he won't go near them.)  Why the squirrel had to come back and go back in there I have no idea.  There's no food in there.  Eliot and I have cleaned most of the stuff out and put it all in the new storage unit at this point.  

I'm worried now that it's a pregnant Momma squirrel trying to find a place to have her babies, or that babies are already in there.  Why is our kitchen a picture of perfection without a thing out of place when there's tons of food available for a squirrel to pillage?

Ugh, I just don't know anymore.  We still have more questions than answers.  But one thing is for sure, the squirrel(s) want to go in and out of my office under the door.

Once Eliot arrived with the traps, we set them up right outside my office door.  We kept the towel stuffed under the rest of the door, but we removed it from the area where the squirrel clawed the hole.  Aside from the trap being there, the squirrel had access to leave my office again.  I figured this was our best course of action to capture it.

Thankfully, it didn't take long.  In fact, less than 30 minutes later, at 6:54 pm, Eliot and I officially caught the squirrel in the live trap!  It took a few minutes, but I could hear it testing the waters trying to leave my office once it knew the trap was there.  I held my breath tight and sure enough, we heard the loud bang of the trap closing.

Eliot and I both let out a whoop and then a sigh of relief.  The squirrel was tossing and turning around inside trying to escape.  We both got up to make sure that the hooks were secure.  Then, we gave each other a high five and prepared to move it outside.

Eliot went outside and put the cage and squirrel in the back of the truck bed while I got dressed.  (Someone was already in her PJs.)  It settled down after a few minutes and we leaned in to get a better look at it.  It was definitely a red squirrel like I said from the beginning.  (This Maine girl knows her red squirrels.)  And it was pretty cute, but only in the cage.  (It wasn't so cute when it was running around my house.)  

Both Eliot and I took a few photos and videos once it had settled down.  It seemed as perplexed by us as we were with it.  We told it we weren't going to hurt it.  Then, we moved the cage into a larger box so we could transport it safely in the back of our Jeep.  (We planned to take it to another location away from our house.)

When we arrived at our destination, Eliot took the cage out and placed it on the edge of the parking lot.  It took the squirrel a few seconds to realize it was being released, but eventually, he jumped out onto the grass and bounced away.  He stopped about 30 feet away to look back at us, then he jumped off into the night.

Eliot and I are both pretty relieved.  I would have preferred that he hadn't come back, but at least we got him out- both alive and safely.  We're not sure if there are more of them in the house, but we've got the second trap set up right outside the door to catch any others that try to enter or exit my office through the little hole in the door.  As of right now, we haven't caught any more.  We also haven't heard anything thus far.

This has been a really long week, but thankfully we've been able to keep a sense of humor throughout it.  My brother Jeremy has sent me a few funny videos and pictures of his little Ty Beanie Baby squirrel.  After I told him that we caught it, he sent me a picture of his squirrel in jail.  I've also been singing "Squirrels in my Pants" from the Disney Channel show Phineas and Ferb all week.  At least it's made us laugh.

Hopefully, this is the end of our Squirrel-Gate saga.  Universe, if you're listening, this is a good place to end the story.  It has a happy ending and everyone is happy.  Plus, I don't have time for another squirrel adventure.  This girl has a blog to revamp, mouse ears to design, desk accessories orders to fill, and much more magic to make.  °o°