Encouraging Words for the Job Seeker

But enough about me already!   You hopefully came to this blog to be inspired, not to get bogged down in my insecure ramblings about my own self doubts. So it’s time to turn my attentions outwards. And as I look ahead at the New Year, I also reflect on all the things I have to be thankful for – such as my friends and family, my health, my job. Yes, my job. You see, I have a great boss, work I enjoy doing, and a fairly flexible schedule (thanks to that wonderful boss). But best of all, and something I remind myself of on those days when (and come on, admit it, we all have them) the work isn’t the most thrilling thing I’d like to be doing. Still, I tell myself, at least I have a job and it pays the bills.

You see, I have a very good friend who has been out of work for eight months now. His unemployment benefits ran out a couple of months ago, he’s back living at home to limit expenses, and he’s almost gone through all of his emergency savings. Now something as simple as an invitation out to dinner can be a cause for discomfort because he’s on a really tight budget and doesn’t want to be doing any unnecessary spending.

He’s a great guy with a fabulous attitude and a strong faith. With every interview he’s brimming with confidence that this will prove to be “the one”; only to be disappointed. Still, his faith allows him to believe that there will be another interview and a job for him – soon. I share that belief. But the waiting is tough sometimes. I know despite all his optimism, every now and then he gets discouraged.

At those times, I wish I had magic words; some phrase or nugget of wisdom that would make it all better. For the most part, I’ve learned he really just needs someone to listen. That there is nothing to say that will “fix” things. But maybe there are some things that could be said that might offer some hope and encouragement. Perhaps not to be said at the moment when he is at his lowest – anything said then would no doubt come off as trite and clichéd – but maybe in a card or note sent by way of encouragement at some other point during this difficult time of unemployment.

So with that in mind, here are almost two dozen of the best sayings / quotations I came across that would be appropriate for job seekers / someone who’s unemployed / has lost their job:

“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” –Alexander Graham Bell

“When God takes away something, remember that He is ensuring that your hands are free to grab new opportunities” –Author unknown


“Getting fired is nature’s way of telling you that you had the wrong job in the first place.” Hal Lancaster

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show us how badly we want something.” Randy Pausch


“In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” –Albert Einstein


“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” –Helen Keller


“God uses suffering as a whetstone, to make men sharp with.“ –Henry Beecher


“The art of living lies less in eliminating our troubles than in growing with them.” –Bernard Baruch


“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.” –Helen Keller


“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” –Harriet Beecher Stowe


“The world is round and the place which may seem like the end, may also be only the beginning.” –Ivy Baker Priest
“Experience is not what happens to you; it is what you do with what happens to you.” –Aldous Huxley


“Instead of giving myself reasons why I can’t, I give myself reasons why I can.” –Author unknown


“Risk more than others think is safe. Care more than others think is wise. Dream more than others think is practical. Expect more than others think is possible.” –Claude Bissell


“A diamond is merely a lump of coal that did well under pressure.” –Author unknown


“Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are.” –Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha


“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” –Henry Ford


“The block of granite which was an obstacle in the pathway of the weak becomes a stepping-stone in the pathway of the strong.” –Thomas Carlyle


“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” –Dale Carnegie


“Understand that it is ok to be scared or uncertain, however right beyond those barriers ultimately lies your dreams.” –Josh Hinds


“It’s not whether you get knocked down. It’s whether you get up again.” –Vince Lombardi


“Smooth seas do not make skilful sailors.” –African proverb


“You don’t have to figure out how it’s going to happen. It may not work on paper; there may not be a logical solution. In the natural, you don’t see a way, but that’s not your job; your job is to believe”–Joel Osteen

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will” –Suzy Kassem


Here are links for some of the sites where I found these. The first was the most useful.






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Filed under Card Sayings, encouraging quotes

Happy New Year 2015!

Handmade Happy New Year greeting card

Handmade Happy New Year greeting card

Out with the old, in with the……old?

Started the new year bound and determined to “kick it up a notch” on my card designs! Bring new life to my Etsy shop! And so, I sit down to craft and look at my Pinterest page to check out samples of cards I’ve pinned over the past year. And what happens?  Yup, despite all the lovely and creative designs in front of me, I end up going back to my basic “go to” design — which involves using a large piece of Stampin’ Up! designer series paper as the feature.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  You see, I can’t get enough of those designs and colors.  They just call out to me.  They are so pretty and inviting and I hate to cover them up with any embellishments or other pieces of card stock…..  Here are a few samples….See what I mean?

Handmade Encouragement Card by Certain Smiles

Handmade Encouragement Card by Certain Smiles


Handmade Get Well Card by Certain Smiles


Handmade Sympathy Card by Certain Smiles

Not bad.  The paper is the star – as it should be.   I have a theory as to why I let the pretty paper do most of the talking in my designs:  Someone else has already done the job of making it beautiful.  Why mess with perfection?  The coordinating colors, the intricate details, the fun and funky patterns – what do I have to add?

Answer: A lot!  So stay tuned.  I know I’ve been saying this for a while now, but I’m going to keep trying, keep creating and will eventually find my own style, my own groove, my own “look”! 2015 is going to be wonderful.

Thomas Edison on Failure

Thomas Edison on Failure




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Wacky Winter Holidays

Following up on my Labor Day post about unusual fall holidays, I figure, now that we are about to start 2015, it’s time to look ahead at what days you didn’t know you needed to celebrate in the next  3 months.  Of course there are those two biggies — Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day.  But depending on your romantic status or national heritage, those can be kind of non-events if you’re not “qualified” to participate.  Although I have heard it said that everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s day…

Regardless, I’ve again weeded through the various websites listed at the end of this post and come up with my favorite off-beat special days for January, February and March.  If you look closely at the list, I’m sure you can begin to learn certain things about me – I’m a pet lover, I like crafts, books and to be organized, I’d like to make the world a better place, and I’m hungry…. I hope you find some days here that you can celebrate (or at least smile at) or use the links at the bottom of this post to find your own special occasions!


January National Blood Donor Month
January National Hobby Month
January Get Organized Month
January Be Kind to Food Servers Month
January Creativity Month
January 3 Festival of Sleep Day
January 3 Fruitcake Toss Day
January 6 Three Kings Day
January 6 Cuddle Up Day
January 8 Argyle Day
January 10 Peculiar People Day
January 12 Clean Off Your Desk Day
January 13 Make Your Dream Come True Day
January 14 National Dress Up Your Pet Day
January 18 Winnie the Pooh Day (A.A. Milne’s birthday)
January 20 National Buttercrunch Day
January 20 Penguin Awareness Day
January 23 National Handwriting Day
January 24 Compliment Day
January 24 Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day
January 27 Chocolate Cake Day
January 28 Fun at Work Day
January 28 Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day
January 29 National Puzzle Day
January 31 Inspire Your Heart with Art Day


February National Heart Month
February Hot Breakfast Month
February Library Lovers Month
February 2 Groundhog Day
February 4 Thank a Mailperson Day
February 4 Homemade Soup Day
February 7 Send a Card to a Friend Day
February 7 Bubblegum Day
February 10 Umbrella Day
February 11 Peppermint Patty Day
February 12 Lost Penny Day
February 13 Get a Different Name Day
February 14 National Donor Day
February 14 International Book Giving Day
February 15 National Gum Drop Day
February 15 Single Awareness Day
February 17 Random Acts of Kindness Day
February 19 Chocolate Mint Day
February 20 Love Your Pet Day
February 20 Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day
February 22 Banana Bread Day
February 27 Polar Bear Day


March Caffeine Awareness Month
March National Craft Month
2nd Week of March Crochet Week
March 2 Old Stuff Day
March 3 National Anthems Day
March 3 What If Cats and Dogs Had Opposable Thumbs Day
March 4 Hug a GI Day
March 6 White Chocolate Cheesecake Day
March 7 Dress in Blue Day
March 8 Genealogy Day
March 8 Proofreading Day
March 10 Middle Name Pride Day
March 13 Pluto is a Planet Day
March 14 National Potato Chip Day
March 14 National Pi (π) Day
March 16 Freedom of Information Day
March 18 Biodiesel Day
March 22 As Young As You Feel Day
March 25 National Waffle Day
March 27 Quirky County Music Song Titles Day
March 30 Take a Walk in a Park Day

These sites were very useful in collecting my list of days:

Provides detailed information on each day, its origins if known, and even provides information on how to create a special day of your own!

Blog musings on a select collection of odd holidays.

Laid out in calendar format which means you sometimes need to do extra clicks to find the info you need, but there is a wealth of information on this site.

A basic list of odd holidays; a good starting place.

Have to scroll through day by day. Good if you just want to check for a specific date.


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Merry Christmas 2014

Happy Christmas Morning!  I hope everyone is celebrating this holiday is a way that is pleasing to them.  I am spending the day at home, enjoying some solitude with my cats.  Circumstances didn’t allow for getting together with family this year.  I did keep in touch though with that tried and true tradition of Christmas cards.  Here is a sampling of the cards I made and sent out.

CountryChristmas_Snowflake_4 ComeToBethlehem_1 Wreath_WishingYou Dasher_1 FlockWindowFrame_1 Penguin_DeckTheHalls_1 Snowflakes_Joy

I think my favorite is the whimsical penguin ready to decorate the tree.  Second and third are the reindeer and the three Wise Men on their way to Bethlehem.  I’m already looking forward to next Christmas and what I can create for then.  In the meantime, it’s time to look forward to making some winter birthday cards for coworkers and then some Valentines!

’til next time!


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Where Do All The Photos Go?

This fall my mom and I went to Winterthur (well worth the visit if you are ever in the Wilmington, Delaware area), to see an exhibit of the Costumes of Downton Abbey. My mom is a fan of the show; I’ve never watched an episode, but I still enjoyed seeing the detailed costume designs and learning more about the time period in which these fictional characters live and how their experiences in Britain would have compared with the du Ponts at Winterthur.

It was a very popular exhibit and admission was by timed pass only. This practice is the norm these days for popular museum exhibits, but I’m a bit cynical that it works, although I suppose it’s the best option available. Still it always feels as if the museums oversell each time slot because you are still cheek to jowl with your fellow museum patrons, moving like cattle along a predetermined route, with occasional backlogs as groups gather to read particularly interesting or lengthy descriptive text. Now, it’s not like my mom and I had any other plans for the day so we could take our time and wait out the bottlenecks, but I’m just not a fan of crowds so when something is that busy I tend to want to get through and get out so I can breathe again.

Crowd control in situations like these isn’t helped any by the camera happy – and with an exhibit with as much eye candy as this one, there were plenty of people pulling out their smart phones to capture all the sights. Now I can see taking a picture or two of your favorite costume, or the costume of your favorite character or from a favorite scene, but some people seemed to be just indiscriminately snapping everything in sight! I hate to image what their Facebook or Instagram feeds look like.

But, my snarky comment aside, I honestly do wonder what they do with all those pictures. You see, the other part of that weekend with my mom was spent going through years (and I do mean years) of family snapshots and slides from the 1970s and 1980s and tossing most of them. You don’t really appreciate how revolutionary the digital camera is until you spend the better part of two days remembering how you had to wait for the pictures to come back from the drug store (Sun Drug on Route 19 to be exact) only to find out someone’s eyes were closed or someone wasn’t smiling. Or you had to wait for Kodak to mail your slides back to you (all so dad could bring the slide projector and slide screen to every family gathering….but that’s another story).

I suppose the pictures could have been weeded as soon as they came back from the developer, but it was expensive to have them made, so they were kept, every one of them, and carefully labeled too; if not individually, then at least on the package so we generally knew the date and event. Do people take such care with their digital photographs? Or is it so easy to store and delete them that they don’t even give them a second thought; just snap away and in a couple of years have no idea the people, places or events that reside on their phones? (Well, ok, hopefully they’ll be able to identify the selfies.)

When digital storage is cheap, is it just so easy to simply keep clicking and never review what you have? [Just ask the person who never weeds out her e-mail accounts, but simply files them away in folders…..] But I really hope all those shutter happy people do pause every now and then and take the time to review the past.

I wouldn’t trade that weekend with my mom for anything. It was emotionally draining at times; reliving the past can do that to you — lots of “what ifs”; roads not taken, stuff like that. But if you simply appreciate what was there, you realize how good it was. We shared a lot of laughs, a few tears, and ton of memories and made some more. We weeded the photographs into four boxes – one box for me, one for my brother, one for the family genealogy, and one for my mom. The trash can got the rest.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a scrapbook to make.

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Filed under About Me, Genealogy, Photographs

On Craft Fairs and the Future

Hello again! It’s been much longer that I intended to let slip by before writing here again. But a family medical emergency that took me away from home most of November unfortunately intervened. The good news is that all is well now on that front.

The other good news is that I was very satisfied with how I did at both of the craft fairs I attended this year. I had some sales at both, got to promote my Etsy shop, got some great ideas for other products to sell (as well as what not to sell) and in general enjoyed myself both days.

Certain Smiles' Booth, St. Thomas the Apostle PTO Craft Fair, 2014

Certain Smiles’ Booth, St. Thomas the Apostle PTO Craft Fair, 2014

It’s never wasted time if it can be considered a learning experience. And both days certainly were. And they were also great opportunities to interact with fellow vendors as well as customers. I’m an introvert by nature, but put me in a situation where I have to interact and I love it! Especially when I’m talking about something I enjoy as much as crafting.

Certain Smiles' booth, St. Thomas the Apostle PTO Craft Fair, 2014

Certain Smiles’ booth, St. Thomas the Apostle PTO Craft Fair, 2014

However, I now find myself at a bit of a crossroads, asking myself where do I go from here? While I met the goals I had set for myself this year for the craft fairs, what about for the future? As I said, I learned a lot this year. Including that perhaps craft fairs aren’t the best place to sell the products I make. Sure, the customers I had were very enthusiastic about my creations, but were there enough of them to make my attendance at the craft fairs really profitable? Or would I need to focus more on “stocking stuffer” type items to sell – and creating such items is not really in my game plan right now, though perhaps it could be.

So I’m taking December to reconsider and regroup. I’m not stopping creating, not by any means; just refining where I’m heading in 2015. This blog will be part of that journey. I hope you’ll come along for the ride.


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Filed under About Me, Blogging, Craft Fairs, Creativity

Craft Fairs!

My apologies for the long absence in posts.  My excuse is that I’ve been pouring my creative energy into cards and other papercrafts, rather than writing. I am a vendor at two holiday craft fairs this year and the first one is tomorrow — November 1, 2014 – in Delmar, New York; it is being sponsored by the St. Thomas the Apostle School PTO. The second one is the Somers (NY) Primrose School Holiday Happiness Craft Fair on Saturday, December 6th. This will be my second year at the St. Thomas PTO Craft Fair (though the first with my own booth), and my first year at Holiday Happiness. Needless to say, I’m EXCITED!

Since the St. Thomas fair is so early, I’m going to have both Thanksgiving / fall cards and Christmas cards and gift card holders / gift tags available for sale. At both fairs I’ll also have a small selection (ok, who am I kidding, I’m bringing along way too many than I’ll ever have room to display) of my various “occasion” cards – thank you, thinking of you, sympathy, birthday, etc.  These include items I’ve listed on my Etsy shop. Visitors to each craft fair who express interest in the cards, but not in purchasing at the fair, will receive a coupon with a code for free shipping from my Etsy shop.    I thought that might be a way to generate traffic to my shop even after the fairs are over.  I’m still working on building up the number of visitors to my shop.

Here is a sneak-peek at two of the gift card holders that I made early this morning:

Gift Card Holders. Images c. Stampin' Up!

Gift Card Holders. (images c. Stampin’ Up!)

I’m hoping these will be big sellers – they are just so darn cute!

Depending on how things go tomorrow (and I’m hoping they go well!) I’ll either spend November restocking or retinkering.  I still have many design ideas for Christmas cards that I haven’t made yet, so those will probably be the focus of my efforts the next few weeks.  And perhaps writing more here!

’til next time…..





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Filed under Certain Smiles Etsy Store, Craft Fairs

World Card Making Day

Yesterday, Saturday, October 4, 2014, was World Card Making Day. I celebrated, appropriately enough, by making cards.

This is a fairly recent holiday – yesterday was the 9th annual marking of this occasion. It was created in 2006 by Paper Crafts Magazine as National Card Making Day, but due to its popularity that year became known as World Card Making Day in subsequent years. It was intentionally held in early October as now is the time to kick off holiday card making. I was making cards that I hope to sell at two craft fairs I will be attending this holiday season. One will be in time to hit both the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays; the other will be focused solely on Christmas.

Here is one of the cards I made yesterday. I’m thinking the last panel can be used for the giver to list out what they are thankful for about the recipient, or it can be used at Thanksgiving gatherings for everyone to add their own item of gratitude and kept then as a keepsake for that year’s holiday.

Thankful For Card - Outside; images copyright Stampin' Up!

Thankful For Card – Outside; images copyright Stampin’ Up!

Thankful For Card -- Inside; images copyright Stampin' Up!

Thankful For Card — Inside; images copyright Stampin’ Up!


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October 5, 2014 · 7:09 am

The Colors of Fall

A couple of days ago, my boyfriend told me about a trip to the grocery store where he saw a display of white pumpkins and wondered if I’d ever seen such at thing. I hadn’t. We both agreed that white pumpkins seemed “wrong, on so many levels” (one of his favorite phrases).

Well, it appears that, once again, I am behind the times. A quick Google search reveals that white pumpkins have been around since about 2005. Early adopter Martha Stewart started decorating with them as far back as 2003. Some sites refer to them as a “classy and chic” way to decorate for fall, particularly fall weddings.

So I tried to suspend my skepticism and scrolled through the multitude of images that appeared online for “white pumpkins”. Carved ones, painted ones, whole ones with decorative trim, and just plain white ones sitting all alone. I clicked on some for a closer look, but in the end, none of them made me a fan.

Call me a traditionalist, but what’s the point of a pumpkin if it’s not orange? What’s the point of fall without color? Isn’t that why a dozen or more state, federal and other tourism sites post frequent updates of their fall foliage?  Ironically, when I look up “traditional fall colors” online the top results include “non-traditional fall colors for your wedding”….

Alas, here is where this post ran out of steam / ideas of what to say….. So I’ll simply leave you with this pumpkin I created, in some of my favorite fall colors:

Pumpkin Thanksgiving Card

Pumpkin Punch Art Thanksgiving Card





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Filed under Colors, Fall Cards

My Fall Cards

Alas, no time to write this week; I’ve been busy posting my fall line up of handmade cards on my Etsy shop.  Despite the shorter days and the onset of cooler weather, I love the rich colors that fall brings.  Stampin’ Up!, whose products I use to make my cards, brings those colors to life in their papers and inks, making it easy to produce gorgeous fall designs.  Here are some of my favorites creations:

Give Thanks on Ivory

Give Thanks Card with Five Leaves and Embossed Background


Maple Leaf Trio "Thankful For..."

Maple Leaf Trio “Thankful For…”


Maple Leaf Duo - Gratitude Can Transform

Maple Leaf Duo – Gratitude Can Transform


Happy Thanksgiving Card


Falling Leaves Thankful For Card

Falling Leaves Thankful For Card

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Filed under Card Making, Certain Smiles Etsy Store, Fall Cards