Wednesday, July 10, 2013

when you can't find a job - part two

So I didn't think there would be a "part 2" to this post -- but the thing with life is, sometimes it just happens and you have to roll with it.  Last week I was selling furniture, and suddenly this week I'm selling homemade preserves. Huh?!

Allow me to rewind for a moment...

Last year, due to an unexpected abundance of cucumbers from our garden, I made my own pickles and relish for the first time. My family members received them for birthday and Christmas gifts and raved about them. (The pickle recipe was from my aunt--thanks, Rennie VanderWal!) Due to the connections I've made though my other business venture recently, I had given some thought to perhaps selling a few jars of pickles online this summer. I'd been collecting canning jars all winter, just in case. (Free ones are the best kind!) I knew there was a market for homemade preserves.  I was an assistant manager of a cafe/bakery/retail store nearby for several years. Every summer, we sold thousands of jars of homemade pickles and jam.

Anyhow, last week, I went strawberry picking at Laundry Farms and suddenly found myself with a fridge full of 6 quarts of strawberries. I put most of them in the freezer for smoothies, but made a batch of strawberry jam, since this husband of mine enjoys strawberry jam on his toast. 

Anyway, the jars looked so pretty sitting there all lined up on my kitchen counter, and I thought, "Hmm, I wonder if I can sell a couple of jars to at least pay for the berries I bought?" So, I snapped a photo, posted it on one of my favourite Facebook selling sites, and what do you know? Someone wanted 4 jars. Then someone else wanted 2 jars. Before I knew it, I'd sold my whole batch of jam and there was nothing for Mr. Gryce to put on his toast! 

So, I went and picked some more berries, made some more jam, and voila! my second business venture of 2013 was born: The County Cupboard.

That's right! I'm selling homemade preserves from fresh, homegrown, Prince Edward County (whenever possible) produce. I have fresh strawberry jam, blueberry jam, and some bread and butter pickles in stock at the moment. I'm taking orders for canned tomato sauce, and relish. Depending on how well our garden does, I may sell fresh produce as well. 

And the first reviews are already in! One satisfied customer wrote to tell me today, 

"Your strawberry jam is...plugged full of scrumptious berries! [T]hat's what I love about didn't skimp on the berries....almost one jar down [already]!!!" -Diane L.

After my previous blog post about my first business venture, Organize Me!, I actually had two job interviews, but never got a call back. So, for now, I'm enjoying being my own boss (x2), in the comfort of my home, where I choose my own wardrobe and my hours. I'm really excited about this next adventure! 

Please help me expand my business by "liking" my new Facebook page  for The County Cupboard. Oh, and putting in an order wouldn't hurt either! ;)

Monday, July 8, 2013

happy birthday, Kristin!

Tomorrow is my good friend Kristin's birthday. We have been friends since 4th grade, so she holds the place of being my longest friend. This post is for her. <3 

Dear Kristin, 

Here we are at the beginning of another new decade for us. I don't know if I can express to you all that's in my heart, as I think back to all the things we've experienced and shared together over the past 20 years! We've done Sunday school, catechism classes, church league softball, and high school together. We've lost both our dads to cancer. We've laughed together, cried together, prayed together, swam together, played Barbies together, scrapbooked together, eaten dinner together, and done Bible study together--to name a few things.

I want you to know how deeply I appreciate your friendship, especially during this past year.  I know that time and distance doesn't always allow us to be as close as we'd like, but nevertheless, you have been my "person."

This past year, you have been my shoulder to cry on (literally.) You never judged me, and never once shied away from my pain. Even when I was not fun to be around, and when it would have been easier for you to just stay home, you showed up.  When all my friends were walking out, you walked in, grabbed a seat, and stayed. 

And when I was ready to give up on people, on my faith, on ever finding joy, you stepped up, picked me up, and carried me.  

Even when you couldn't relate, when you didn't understand the depth of my pain, you didn't pretend to, and that was okay. You didn't give trite advice. You didn't tell me to just read my Bible more. You just held me, prayed for me, and told me how much you loved me.

You are one of the strongest women I know. You have been my steady rock this past year--truly an angel by my side. Because of your unwavering strength, support, and love, I was able to carry on and find my joy back.

I wish I lived closer to you.  I wish you didn't work 60 hours a week. But though I may wish a lot of things, but I know that no matter where life takes us, we will always find each other when it counts. 

Thank you for being there when I needed you. I hope you know that I would do the same for you in a heartbeat.

I am so proud of the woman you've become and I am honoured to call you my friend. I love you so much! Happy Birthday, lady! Here's to another 20 years of friendship!

Friday, July 5, 2013

a tale of two dressers

 As part of my new business, Organize Me!, I am always on the lookout for free stuff. Dressers have been a hot seller, so when I saw two dressers posted "FREE" online last week, I knew I had to grab them up! It's not often that I find one with a mirror, nevermind a matching pair of antiques. Yes, they looked like they needed some work. Yes, they needed new hardware, but with a little paint, I figured I could work some magic, and collect a tidy profit.

So, armed with my mom's trusty Ford, I set off Saturday morning to pick these beauties up. Little did I know, it was only the beginning of a very crazy adventure.

I collected my dressers without incident, and proceeded to run some errands in town with my dressers loaded on the back of the truck. After an uneventful visit to the bookstore, thrift store, and grocery store, I drove my dressers home, already planning what I would do to fix them up. 

So imagine my surprise and chagrin when upon unloading them, I noticed one of the drawers was missing! 

I searched the truck high and low, but the drawer was nowhere to be found. Could the original owner have forgotten to tell me about a lost drawer. No, the photo posted online had all the parts there. Could I have loaded them and not noticed a missing drawer? I was quite certain I had not. Could they have blown off the truck? Impossible! I had loaded the dressers without removing the drawers, and had them facing each other so that the drawers could only roll in towards each other.

My only conclusion was that someone had climbed on to the back of the truck while I was doing my errands, pulled out a drawer, and walked away with it. Crazy as it seemed, it was the only logical option.

I was quite furious at this point. Who would do such a thing? I had driven halfway across the County to pick these up only to have some punk swipe one of the drawers! 

So, what to do? I needed that drawer! There as no way I could get a good price for a dresser with a missing drawer!  

Enter the world of Facebook technology. I went back on to the Facebook group where the original ad was posted, and posted a "LOST DRAWER" ad. Several hours later, sightings of a lonely dresser drawer lying in a parking lot in town began to filter in. It happened to be a lot not far from where I had parked that day. I called several of the businesses nearby to see if it was still around, but no one saw anything. My brother drove through the area without spotting anything. Sadly, it looked like my drawer was gone for good, and I was out of luck. 

The next morning, I logged on to Facebook, and to my surprise and delight I learned that some Good Samaritan had seen my ad, spotted the drawer, picked it up, and put it in her car for safekeeping. And so, two days later, I was happily reunited with my long-lost dresser drawer.



I have since spent the week, repairing, painting, and installing new hardware on both pieces. I am pleased to report that both dressers are finally finished and have been posted for re-sale. Hopefully the new owners will appreciate the story behind them, and all the trouble I went through!

On a side note, I picked up another free dresser off the side of the road yesterday. It made it home without incident.