Dearest Friends of The Crafting Cottage and Fellow Crafting Sisters,

It's the month of May - right??? I know that the days tend to run one into the other but when it's snowing in May - I start to worry that I missed a few months and we're in November already!!!

Some wonderful news to share here - last week, so many of the Creative Challenge Kits sold, that I was able to send a $50 donation right away to the GoFundMe fundraiser started by a nurse for the Navajo Nation. One of our crafting sisters, thank you Cheryl D., matched our $50 donation - so a total of $100 went to that important fund raiser.

Speaking of the Challenge kits - here are some pictures of what our crafting sister, Chris, created using her kit. Our anonymous Crafting Sister donor will be donating $10 for these ten 12 x 12 layouts. THANK YOU!!!!!
I look forward to see what the other crafters are going to do with their kits.

Below is not just one - but three choices of Creative Challenge Kits to choose from to participate in our Win-Win way to keep creatively busy during this pandemic and help organizations that are specifically working to help those working directly in one way or the other on the front lines.

When a kit is purchased - The Crafting Cottage donates 10% of the sale. Additionally, for each project that a crafter creates with the kit and sends me the pictures of those projects - an anonymous crafter has been donating $1 for each project. Together, we have donated over $200 to organizations battling the challenges this horrible Covid-19 virus presents.

The next Creative Challenge Kits will be offered in June.
Kit 4A
Clear Stamp set included.
Sample of card created using materials from kit.
Kit 4B.
Clear stamp & die set included.
Waterfall Card Kit - includes enough material to create 3 cards. Directions also included.
Kit #5 - For card-makers & scrapbookers.
Wonderful collection of 6" papers - foiled, glossy & more!
Pad includes 54 die cut embellishments!
3 yards of beautiful ribbon.
The ephemera pack includes so many awesome die cuts!
Optional nested frame die set includes 11 dies.
Options to add to the Kit #5 includes a Shutter Card kit which has all the directions and materials for you to create three cards.
Another option with Kit #5 is the Tunnel Card kit. This kit includes all the directions and materials for you to create three Tunnel cards.
Kit #4A includes everything you see above including the chipboard template with score lines to make envelopes that are the perfect size for the mini cards you can create with this kit. The kit includes the pre-cut tea cups, coffee to go cups, twine, the Dare 2B Artzy clear stamp set. This kit is $25 and has FREE Shipping! For more info and to order click here.
Kit #4B is geared for either scrapbookers or card-makers. This kit has several sheets of
8.5 x 11 papers, a Waterfall Card Kit, a Dare 2B Artzy clear stamp kit with coordinating die set and twine. This kit is $30 and has FREE Shipping! To order this kit click here.
Kit #5 offers several options. The basic kit, which is $20, includes the "Journey" collection of 6.5" paper pad and ephemera die-cut pack from KaiserCraft plus three yards of gorgeous ribbons - three different styles. Shipping is $3.95 for Kit #5. The options being offered for this kit are two different card kits ($5 each) and an 11 piece die set ($24.99). For more info on this kit and to order is - CLICK HERE!
Crafting Cottage Online Shop Musings...
I feel as though I've done more research and 'homework' in the past week than I did for an entire year in high school!

I've been measuring the size of products and then figuring out what size boxes I would need to ship them. I now need to begin ordering the boxes. Fun, fun, fun!

As I walk around the retail shop in the main Cottage and then the Carriage House - I will definitely be creating a "Treasure Room" area on the online shop site where bargains galore will be had. Additionally - I will be adding "Thank You" goodies in every boxed order that goes out the door.

I am BIG into THEMES - so I will be theming a lot of goodies to not only encourage inspiration for crafters but it will enable me to truly give a lot of bang for your buck.

The competition is more than fierce out there between Etsy, Amazon, Walmart, various paper crafting online shops, etc. - so I have been researching how all these various online sites present, describe, sell, charge for shipping, etc.. I tell you - it's exhausting doing this research. It's dangerous, too - I have travelled down many rabbit holes discovering a lot of cool companies that are out there!!! Brianna caught me ordering something online the other night and I had to explain to her that I was doing 'research' (hee, hee....)

I appreciate your patience as I begin this new journey of taking The Crafting Cottage full time online. I will be spending the next several weeks working on this so that is why I won't be creating more Creative Challenge Kits until June.

I will share the results from last week's survey in regards to online classes in the Musings:

65% of you said you liked the idea of having a kit filled with all supplies needed for an online class.

53% of you said you would be interested in joining a "Class Club" where you pay one price for several classes.

63% of you said you would be interested in participating in an online live class.

36% of you said you would pay between $20 - $30 for a class
36% of you said you would pay anything below $50 for a class
28% of you said you would pay between $30 - $40 for a class.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey!!!!

Crafting Cottage Inn Musings...
Last week - after many, many hours of research and contacting various groups and organizations that deal with hotels, inns, B & B's, AirBNB's, Retreat Centers - not to mention the CDC and New York State's Health Department - I made the decision to cancel/postpone the rest of the reservations at the Inn for the remainder of the 2020 year.

It was a very difficult decision because on the one hand, the months of September, October and November are several months away so why wouldn't I just wait and see what is happening closer to the fall? On the other hand - as I was learning what I would have to do in order to ensure the health and safety of not only my crafting guests and their families - but my own health and the health of my family - I realized I would be in way over my head.

This virus is like a shape shifter. It can hide in people that show no signs of illness. They become 'the spreaders'. And Covid-19 affects different people differently. In order to fully sanitize the Cottage after each group's visit was going to be financially and physically impossible for me and despite it all - there would be no guarantee that the virus still wouldn't infect one of the guests.

I notified all the groups that were booked for September, October and November that they had the option of simply moving their reservations to the same weekend in 2021 or a different weekend if it was available or a refund.

I am beyond blessed to share that four of the groups contacted me already in response and asked to have their 2020 deposits moved to the same weekends in 2021. This amazing show of support from these crafting sisters meant the world to me. I also was very touched by all the positive emails they sent me!!! A big heartfelt thank you to Val, Holly, Suzanne, Andrea, Diane, Jan, Ginny, Connie, Tina and Lisa.

Prior to making the decision to postpone/cancel all the fall reservations - I had been working to rearrange the guest rooms and the workshop rooms to make sure the 6' distancing was implemented. The more I learned about what would have to be done to sanitize the facility - including the walls, floors, carpeting, all surfaces, curtains, blinds, door knobs, light switches, the kitchen, the bathrooms.....I knew I was out of my depth.

What I am going to focus on then for the next several months is making a big change in the Workshop/Classroom plan. What does that mean?

The Carriage House (former garage) will now become the new Workshop. Once again, I am changing the use of that wonderful building. It has gone from a garage to a retail shop to a warehouse/future office studio for me to now it will become the Workshop/classroom for all my crafting sisters.

And once again - I will be MOVING fixtures, furniture, boxes, bags and who knows what to create a very large space that will easily accommodate many crafters - safely. Until there is a vaccine for Covid-19 - the new Workshop room will be where crafting guests will craft. It is also where I will slowly begin the "reopening phase" of The Crafting Cottage by holding Craft 'n Chats, classes and workshops once I learn how schools are going to deal with their reopening procedures and/or simply learn how I can safely open up. I hope upon hope that barring a 2nd wave of this virus - I can start welcoming local crafters to the Cottage in late September. And my hope upon hope is that I will be able to welcome overnight guests back to the Crafting Cottage Inn by next March of 2021.

I know I will have to make a lot of changes and I will always put the safety and health of my crafting sisters and their families as well as my own family as the top, top priority. In the meantime - in answer to this challenge, I say - "Hold my martini!!"
Personal Musings...
I love living in upstate New York. For Mother's Day weekend, I enjoyed celebrating Mother Nature's many moods...
Swirling snow was followed by...
...beautiful sunshine less than 30 minutes apart! And that is what the weather was like all day. Snow. Sun. Snow. Sun.
Speaking of Mother's Day - I got to chat with Tara via Skype over in England on Sunday. She sent me some stunning, stunning pictures of where she lives when she went on a walk recently. I will share some of them next week with you. They are images of what one thinks of when you think of bucolic England. Just lovely.

I was lucky to have Brianna home for Mother's Day - so I received many hugs from her. I also received beautiful flowers from my son, Patrick and he sent me a one line text which made my day!!!

And speaking of mothers I was reminded of a childhood memory over the weekend...

...Growing up, I tended to have a lot of time to myself in the mornings. Both my parents usually slept in late as they were up late with their life as actors. I knew how to turn on the television (black and white in those days) and one of my favorite shows was "The Little Rascals" which consisted of a close knit group of children about 5 - 7 years old who always seemed to get into a situation and with comedic results.

One morning, after watching the Little Rascals using flour to clean a rug, I decided since my parents were going to have company over that night for dinner, I would surprise them and clean the carpeting (which was a dark grey) in our apartment, too. I went into the kitchen, found the bag of flour and proceeded to sprinkle it all over the carpeting in the living room and the dining room area. It didn't look right. That's when I decided that
perhaps if I added water and scrubbed the carpeting, it would do a better job. So, that's what I did. And I worked hard scrubbing that rug with my mother's hair brush to really get the carpet clean! NOW I could see the difference. It was no longer that drab grey color but now almost bright white! I was ecstatic and very proud of my hard work. Next, I decided to lay out a pathway from my parent's bedroom door to the kitchen so that they wouldn't get their feet wet while the rug dried. I found a box of aluminum foil and pulled it all out and laid it down on the wet carpeting creating a magical path.

My father was the first one to wake up. With great pride, I stood on the aluminum foiled pathway and greeted him - very excited to see how proud he was going to be for what I did for them. My father's first words uttered as he surveyed the scene was, "Georgiana, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?????"

Not quite the reaction I was expecting. Next thing I know, my mother is standing in the bedroom doorway and now comes the "performance theater". Having two professional actors as parents was not easy as once the two of them started in - everything was drama, drama, drama. Once my parents finished their duet of, "How could you", "What were you thinking?", "Why? Why? Why?" - my mother than demanded that my father - "Get her out of here. Out! NOW!!" I never even got a chance to explain anything.

So, my father got dressed, bundled me up and we headed out of the apartment. We started walking up 8th Avenue towards Columbus Circle in Manhattan. He didn't speak to me at all. I just knew that he was furious with me. My mother was furious with me and I couldn't understand why there were so mad at me when I was just trying to surprise them by shampooing the rug.

As we continued walking up the avenue, he was holding my hand but stiffly kind of pulling me along as we went, I would look in the reflection of the shop windows as we moved and occasionally saw my father looking over and down at me. I didn't even dare look directly at him. I just kept trying to figure out how it all went so badly.

As we approached the entrance to Central Park, all of a sudden, my father bursts into laughter. I hesitantly looked at him and he just kept laughing and finally asks me, "Georgiana - what were you thinking?" That's when I started crying and trying to explain how I saw the Little Rascals cleaning and I just wanted to do something nice and surprise them.

Fortunately, the rest of the day was spent in Central Park and my father and I had lunch together, ice-cream and stayed for a long, long time. I'm sure my father was thrilled to not have to deal with removing flour rubbed into carpeting. When we finally arrived home - somehow my mother with the help of a neighbor managed to vacuum up most of the flour and then borrowed area rugs to cover the parts of the carpet that couldn't get done in time. It did make for a very good story for their dinner guests that night!!

Travel forward thirty years to the day that I am now the mother. My four year old son, Patrick, ventures into my craft room and discovers a large red inkpad for rubber stamping. He, also thinking that he would 'surprise' me - proceeded to ink up his small feet on the red inkpad and walks all over the cream colored rug in my bedroom. Pretty proud of his design, he then adds his red-inked hand prints all over the rug. When I walked into the room and found Patrick proudly standing with red feet and red hands and a big smile on his face - my reaction was probably not what he was expecting. "Patrick - what have you done? What were you thinking?...."

Later that evening, as I was telling my mother over the phone what Patrick did and how angry I was and what a mess I had to clean up with all the red ink on his feet, hands and then - the rug..., her response was, "OH! He must have had a wonderful time", and she laughed and laughed.

Well my sister crafters - I am thinking of you every day. I am here for you via email or text messaging or (eventually) via video magic! Please don't hesitate to reach out to me especially if you simply need to vent through this Covid-19 chapter in our histories.

We are all reminded of this new world with commercials on the television and ads in papers and magazines. Getting overwhelmed is normal. Remember - giving yourself a day or two or three OFF is also normal. Treat yourself to a nap in the middle of the afternoon. Simply sit in a chair and play a game on your iPad. Indulge in something that you not only enjoy - but relaxes you. No guilt here allowed. Take a lovely bubble bath. Listen to your favorite music. Bake a cake. And there are days when doing nothing feels best. So, do nothing.

I am a firm believer that when we allow ourselves to do 'nothing', we are recharging our very worn out batteries. We must recharge and renew and rejuvenate at our own personal speed.

Out of curiosity - share with me if you would - what are you doing during this pandemic to "calm" yourself and recharge? Are there any books you would recommend?

As always - Stay Crafty My Friends!!!!!