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Happy New Year: Resolutions, do you make them?

Year after year, since I was an early teenager I have made and broken more resolutions. They started simple and impossible at the same time. Resolutions  like be nicer to my brother, not to drink so many cokes, get more exercise, etc… They progressed to keep my house cleaner, loose the extra pounds, be more careful with my money, and the list is endless. I am sure that you have done this as well.

Here are my New Year’s promises to myself and my loved ones that I hope are measurable and able to graph or chart. Of course the deeply personal ones I am not going to list on the internet for everyone to read! :0) But I will share the others with you.

1.  To read the three non-fiction books about internet marketing that my DH. has bought and are sitting around the house. Yes, they are technical books about twitter, blogging, and marketing but there has to be some good in there that I will share with you! I hate reading non-fiction so this will be the medicine in the whole picture. I would rather eat parsnips (which I personally loath) than read a technical book. He is an engineer so I am sure you get the picture of the kind of book he would buy.

2. To blog on a more consistent basis, Maybe nothing more than a few pictures of what I am currently working on but fun things to share at least three times a week.

3. To continue the Eat to live variation of dietary changes we are pursuing to fight the fibromyalgia and arthritis that I currently live with.  The side benefit of loosing weight is always a good thing, which means shopping and new clothes! How can I not smile at that :0).

4. To increase my product line to include different kinds of items that still carry the Chocolate Dog Studio look!

5. To continue to promote my home state of Oklahoma and to show off our creative people and products.

6. To do better record keeping for my business!

7.  To do a craft show and maybe three or four.

Ok that is the business promises.

Since like you I wear several hats here are my personal and family goals.

1. to do a better job at recycling at our house

2. to have family nights once a week for those that can be here! Our teens are working and their schedules and social lives interfere with this on a regular basis.

3. to help them to keep their schoolwork organized much better (yes, we home school!)

4. to think of myself as an artist and to get over my self consciousness of using that label. Yes, I create artsy things and art encompasses a large variety of  items. Surely there is room for me and the things I create in the art world.

5. to garden more and spend more time outside

6. to make things beautiful, again. I guess that this would mean cutting down on clutter, cleaning, sorting, organizing, rearranging and sharing things with others. Things have fallen into disrepair the last two or three years before diagnosis.

7. to find a way to share my gifts with others in a way that is tangible to me. Hmmm, what does this mean?  I believe that God created us and knows our gifts so He must have a way for me to share my gifts with those around me. As these giftings evolve and change according to the seasons of our lives, I think what we share with others also changes and evolves.

8. to find ways to tangibly show love and appreciation for those that my life touches. Another way to put that would be to appreciate those around me and show that appreciation in ways that they will find special, meaningful and encouraging.

9.  To do a better job at planning for everyday living. Quite simply this means to do what it takes to keep the house organized, laundry done, people and pets fed and me reasonably rested and cheerful. This is a juggling act as I am still learning to live with some limitations. It will mean saying no and yes, keeping scheduled with our activities and preparing for the future weeks when I feel good. Things like bulk cooking or once a month cooking, shopping lists prepared with menus in mind, short cut cooking, keeping the kids working on their chores to cut down on the daily chaos that living with three dogs, four kids and four different work schedules (possibly five) and four different drivers can do to a family. Wow, that makes me tired just thinking about it.

10. to keep the family calendar updated and running in full view of everyone.

AH HA, I made it to ten, so I can stop now because you and I know the list is endless.

Now off to accomplish something so that the New Year actually comes in with a good hot meal and reasonable clean clothing! lol

What are you resolutions or promises to yourself and your family? Care to share them with me.

’til later,


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Christmas gifts for teachers

Do you ever wonder what to give people that you don’t know very well? People that you see every day but you really don’t know. People that deserve recognition but you do not know well enough for a more personal gift choice. There are many options out there for you to explore.  People like your children’s teachers, co-workers, music teachers, the list is endless.

Jewelry is usually a good choice. Gift cards or gift certificates are always a good choice.

Scarves are also a great choice, hand made scarves are a wonderful way to show that you care about them.

Candles are a great option for most women, especially hand made candles from a small artisan shop.

You know that these candles are made in America.

I have purchased from Monicandles and she has great candles.

PepperCrate candles have a great scent and her candles are local! So for a quick gift (for those Oklahomans) her candles are a great buy.

Last but not least for the Coffee addicts in the world.

You can also buy a cup of their favorite brew wrap a fun cup cozy around it and present it with a cheerful Merry Christmas!

Stay out of the big box stores and buy from artists and artisans that take pride in their work. You will be glad you did, so will the gift recipient.

Have a very merry Christmas this year and don’t stress the gift buying.

’till next time

when we talk about inexpensive Christian gift ideas!


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The Studio at Chocolate Dog Studio!

I know that you are wondering what the studio look like. Well, I recently  moved the studio into it’s own room and here it is; a few camera shots of the true studio (well, minus all the projects that normally sit out on the counters!)

 The Studio at Chocolate Dog Studio!

The yarn bin was made out of old coffee cans. It works quite well. The dolls were given to me when I was little by my Dad. Underneath this is my cutting and packaging center.

The Studio at Chocolate Dog Studio!

  The blue trays work well as organizers for all of the tiny pieces I put on gift tags and cards.

The Studio at Chocolate Dog Studio!

 The sewing center is full of fabric organized by color. These are the cozy fabrics. The larger pieces are in a big 50 gallon plastic bin.  My studio doubles as our guest room so you don’t see the futon on the opposite wall, nor do you see the computer station on DH’s computer desk. These photos were taken by He is our oldest son, he also painted the large painting of the cat you see in one of the photos.

Thanks for reading!

’till later, Karen

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New products at Chocolatedogstudio!

Here is just a little peek at some new items available at


I have been working incredibly hard all week. The items shown are the tip of the iceberg and I hope to bring more to the store daily. Please check back in and see what else is new. Listing new items and creating them are often vying for my time. I find that I usually have far more items created than listed! I have been on a very creative binge this week. New ideas are flowing and it is difficult to stop at night. So I am off to the studio to do more work. (I have a studio now and will show pictures very soon as the  photographer that lives at my house has agreed to take them today. If I can get it cleaned up again!) As always feel free to contact me if you want something that I have already sold or need something custom.

Till later,