Tuesday, February 23, 2010 | By: Rita Hutcheson-Cobbs

Need Closure Ideas!!!

Check out the crochet pieces...here...and below. 

I wanted to add the tubes to the ends or wrapped wire, however, I want something different. Give me some ideas on how to finish these necklaces... I can't wait to hear your ideas... Thanks so much, Rita

Sunday, February 14, 2010 | By: Rita Hutcheson-Cobbs

She said it just right, "Bless it's little Pentium's heart!"

My Valentine's Day gift from my son, Ethan...totally Handmade! Loving it...

“Someone asked me this morning, why do you spend time blogging online when you could just write in a journal or something?” That was quickly followed with, “Aren’t you afraid to share so much on the internet?” I just smile and say, “Are you online?” Most of the time, I find that the person has never tried social networks or blogging online or they will make excuses for not bothering with it. However, once they hear my reasons for blogging, spending time in artist chat rooms or dropping artist tips or updating my status really creates bonding relationships while building your business (on many levels), they rethink their prior observation and become inspired to at least try the world wide web.

For me, building the relationships with individuals is most important to me. As the caregiver for my father the year before he passed and now my mother and sons, I have to be available to my family 24/7 which means I may not be able to leave the house. So in the comfort of my home, I can share a meal with someone in The Netherlands or create a piece of art while sharing conversation during an online live chat. We discuss art, our work, what we are having for supper to our family. I feel connected to people outside my circle of reality.

Another benefit is what I have learned from the process of creating social networks and blogging. I have my Twitter connected to update my Facebook, social network chat rooms, blog and website all at the same time! That rocks!! With one click of the “enter” tab I can post my status, the latest artist tip I wish to share and what I am working on at that moment. I am not a technological person; I have never cared how to know something works, just as long as it does. With my trusty pink notebook laptop, I have created the most amazing network within technology just by getting online, putting aside my fear and plunging forward.

Besides, the character Dolly (played by Stockard Channing) in Must Love Dogs said it best, “Where can you pay your bills naked? This little baby works for me 24/7, bless it’s little Pentium’s heart!” There is simply no other way to describe the internet. Used wisely, maybe better fully clothed lol, one can build friendships, their business and pay their bills without leaving home; however, one can also escape the reality of home to share time with others like minded in interest or business.

Indeed, I love the blogging opportunities before us. Try it...
Love, blessings, and {{Hugs}},
Thursday, February 11, 2010 | By: Rita Hutcheson-Cobbs

My "CrockPot" Version of Managing Monthly Financial Receipts....

Photography by Rita Hutcheson-Cobbs

Don't let $$$ give you the chills...=)

“Argh! How do I keep all these receipts organized??” My friend said to me during a phone conversation. I could sense her frustration and concern. She owns her own business and has all the paperwork for her family as well. She was getting overwhelmed preparing for tax season. Although I couldn’t help her in anyway for last year’s paperwork, I could certainly help her this year and in the future to make things easier.

Before I share with you my technique for managing our paperwork within our home and our businesses, these are the items you will need:

12 – 10x13” Envelopes with clasps
Excel Software (which if you have Microsoft, you have Excel on your computer…you don’t need to even know how to use it either)
Scissors or a paper shredder
Online access to your bank account (everyone should have this already…paperless is not only secure but you are saving trees)

Directions to begin…
***Schedule a day each week to do this. I do mine the last day of the month because I have been doing this type of organization for a while.
1) Before you panic, let me say that Excel isn’t hard to use at all. There are many YouTube videos on using this tool and if needed, I will be happy to do a tutorial on using it for this specific task. (Just leave me a comment requesting a visual.)
2) Organize your receipts – for gas, utilities, groceries, etc – into months. Since we are only into the second month of the year, this shouldn’t be very hard to do. Then organize them by date.
3) In the top left corner, write the month on each of the 12 envelopes, January through December, and the year, 2010.
4) Working with one receipt at a time, write it into your checkbook register, put it on Excel Spreadsheet (which I will explain in a moment), and check your online bank account to make sure the amount was correctly was posted. Some receipts may not have cleared if you had just spent that money this morning.
5) Using an online Excel Spreadsheet is wonderful when organizing lists or receipts. I am not an expert with Excel, but I know it works well. At the top, beginning with the first block to the left and each block across, add these headings: Date, To, Amount, Reasoning, & Miles. With “Date” put in the date of each receipt. “To” is where your spent the money. “Amount” is the total cost of the receipt (if you have 2 items out of 10 that you need for taxes, then take those 2 items, add them together plus the amount of tax for the area you made that purchase and put that amount into this space). “Reasoning” can be a definition for the amount or that it was a prescription, whatever will help you remember where this amount needs to be applied for taxes. “Miles” is how far you had to drive to do this item because mileage can be a tax deduction. (****I have just decided to do a video of this…so check out YouTube in the next few days!****)
6) On the receipt, once it is entered, place a check at the top indicating that you have put this in your check book. Then add an “E” to indicate you have entered it into Excel.
7) Place the receipts and bill stubs into the envelope for that month.
8) At the end of the month, simply print the Excel sheet for that month and place it inside the large envelope with your receipts and you are done.

Now some tips that work for me. If I stop and get gas, then I take that receipt, verify that amount on my online banking statement, then I shred it or if you don't have a shredder, cut them into tiny strips before throwing away. I do the same thing for snack recipes and eating out that do not apply to our businesses. NOW sometimes, I meet clients at restaurants or for coffee; I take that receipt and treat it as I would business supply purchases. I enter it into my Excel sheet all the way to placing it in my envelope.

This takes about an hour once you have the Excel sheet set up. Just imagine the piece of mind at the end of the year! I keep a basket for the receipts and my family knows where to put them. I make deposits immediately rather than keeping any cash around the house or on my person. Balancing is done as you go along. It is amazing how much time this saves you in the end. ALSO, pay your bills the night before your paycheck goes into the bank. This way, they are paid and you know how much is left for groceries, going out to eat or before having a fun filled weekend. Btw, start a Christmas club account at your bank and put a few dollars into each week for Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries and other holidays come the same time each year. There isn’t any reason to not be prepared for them.

Hope these tips help make your life simpler. This is my CrockPot version of managing our finances. I know it makes my life easier and it will yours too.

Happy Love Month,
Love, blessings, and {{{Hugs}}}
Sunday, February 7, 2010 | By: Rita Hutcheson-Cobbs

My Creations for The February {Scrap} Beach Challenges

My Heavenly Father

Be Honest with Yourself by Listening to Your Heart

I can see my Shadow...Which came first, the Embossed Daisy or the Script?
"An artist's illusion is her greatest talent!" ~ Rita Hutcheson-Cobbs

Love My Life...indeed, it was love at first sight!! =)
Yes, this is a cup attached to the paper with the lid visible...totally fun...

Playoffs...Beary Christmas was always playtime in my office when I worked at CRS!!
(That was where all the staff were, Rosemary, when you couldn't find them! LOL)

Superbowl...a layout using a bowl, or two...
Although I do love these little "blessing" flowers made with on bowl...Adorable...

I had a great time in the virtual chat/crop live with my TSB Girlfriends...they have created within me a new love for paper arts. Loving it...

Love, Blessings, and {{{Hugs}}}
Friday, February 5, 2010 | By: Rita Hutcheson-Cobbs

Love is in The Air...

February is just an amazing month to carry over the themed holidays of the fall and winter. Halloween, we celebrate fun and sweet pleasures by dressing up and having lots of chocolate. Then with Thanksgiving, we have an opportunity to view the blessings and rewards of the year past and to be appreciative of our friends and family that God has blessed us with. We even have the possibilities of praying for our enemies and even to put aside stressed relationships for a month following as we fulfill the Christmas treasures in December. Then New Year’s is a time to put away the old things of our life and seek hope for the coming year that we can be better people and open our hearts and minds to new adventures and possibilities. With each of these holidays, love is demonstrated.

I thought about this…the love that flows evenly throughout the year. God showed His love for us in each and everyone. He gave us the ability to create costumes and celebrate fun, then to offer our best and gathering with others to be thankful and share His gift of love through the gift of giving and receiving. Finally, we have the love of the New Year and promising to demonstrate this love throughout the next year. I am afraid I am repeating myself only to lead up to this month.

Love is indeed in the air. Through intimate love I was created and born during this month. God gave us Valentine’s Day, although the profits of card companies increases in this month more than any other, we can share one day with the one we love to say, of course “I love you,” but also to focus on that one person that makes our hearts soar.

So with this, I submit a challenge…create something with your hands for this Valentine’s Day. It doesn’t need to be fancy, but showing your love with something you made with your own hands demonstrates the time, effort, joy, and creativity of your love for another person. You don’t have a partner, spouse or significant other? Great, adopt a grandparent at a local nursing home or a neighbor or a veteran. The possibilities are endless because love has no boundaries.

Happy Love Month,
Love, blessings, and {{{Hugs}}}
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