Category Archives: Informative


What You Really Need to Put in the Hangover Kit

honeyA popular addition to the weekend wedding welcome bag is the “hangover kit”. Just search for such a thing and you will find antacids and tylenol in little bags as hangover remedies. And sure, medicine can help you feel better after a big evening of partying, but did you realize there are more tasty ways to handle a hangover?

One delicious way to help yourself feel better is to eat some honey.

It’s a natural ingredient that has antioxidant properties, and the article at Mother Earth Living says that “Because of its antioxidant properties, honey neutralizes the toxins created by consuming alcohol.” And the fructose is used to “convert the acetaldehyde made during alcohol metabolism into acetic acid”, a substance that is “burned up naturally by the body.”
Maybe some little honey straws should be added to the welcome bag. Buy a pack of 100 at Amazon. Or find some little jars of honey and add your own personalized labels. Guests could consume honey in their tea, on toast or biscuits, or right from the straw or spoon. Eating honey before, during and / or after the partying is all good. So consider serving desserts that are honey based at the wedding reception. Cheesecake and cookies can be made with honey. Or serve a specialty drink with honey as an ingredient.

Another food that helps with hangover recovery is tomatoes. Few people want to wake up in the morning and eat a tomato, even when feeling well! But drinking tomato juice or V8 could help make that headache disappear faster. Combine it with some honey on toast, and you’re good to go.

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sandpiper wedding contact

Custom Design Contact Changes at Sandpiper Wedding

Although I have had an open contact-the-designer attitude for nine years, now I must make some changes at Sandpiper Wedding. At Zazzle, the idea is to give buyers, who need some special items created, the option to ask for such items. It’s a good idea. If it worked out as I’d hoped, I’d be making coordinating wedding stationery per customer request, which would increase the size of orders and in turn make me more money. I’d have happy customers with beautiful matching wedding suites, who would be grateful for the personal attention. I would be paid nicely for my time. Win, win.

But it has seldom worked out that way. Because I have wanted to keep an open line of communication with potential buyers, I have patiently answered all types of questions over the years. From shipping times, paper suggestions, and returning items advice, to sizes, prices, discounts, and much more, I have patiently replied. Approximately one out of five contacts are actually about design. And even those requests have lately turned into very small orders.

The idea of the contact was to garner design questions and requests, but I became an extension of Zazzle’s customer support team. A team member who was not paid a penny for her time. That’s right. Those of us who design for Zazzle are not paid an hourly wage. We make money from sales. Up until a few years ago, the Volume Bonus made up for that in my mind. Now the VB is as good as gone, and there is no incentive to continue on like this.

Whenever a customer uses the contact button and asks, “Do envelopes come with this card?”, or “When can I expect to get this item?”, or some other general information, of a designer, that person is working for Zazzle for free! I’ve done it for years. Now, I am stopping.

You may wonder why I allowed contact at all. I had high hopes that I would make referral money, and increase my sales by offering design help. The majority of my contacts do not request design help, and therefore I end up making very little, and truthfully not enough to make it worth my while.

Anther downside to helping via e-mail is the difficulty in understanding exactly what the customer wants. Usually a whole collection of back-and-forth dialog is needed to come up with one simple product design. It is a lot of time spent doing something that the customer may ultimately decide not to buy in the end.

I don’t know anyone who “works” for NO PAY, yet Zazzle expects us to do so. We can turn off customer contact, and that is exactly what I have done for the first time in nine years.

I have a busy life. I can’t afford to sit and answer e-mails, which the Zazzle company should be answering, using it’s paid customer support team. It’s up to Zazzle to come up with a better solution to this problem. Until and unless they do, I regretfully must shut down my communication via my online stores.

My customers are important to me. Anyone needing matching items made, or who have requests for invitations and other stationery, can certainly contact me. This blog gives anyone the ability to do so, but the option is turned off in my online stores. Simply leave a message on the About page and I will reply promptly. If you are unsure of what I can help with, please read the FAQ’s page.

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married too young

How to Marry Well, Part 2: Too Young!

getting married too young
Getting Married Young
I speak from experience when I say; please don’t get married at a young age. Part One of this series was about “intelligence“, which is not something most couples consider when they find a spouse. Now I have more marriage advice. I am not an expert, except that I was married for 30 years. I also have four children, and at the present time none of them are married! But I did advise them to wait until they were older to marry. Some listened and some didn’t.

Many young people currently seem to not want to marry at all, which I think they will regret down the road, but that is another matter. Getting married before there is a chance to get your bearings in life, I feel, is a mistake. At the age of 18, 20 or 25 life is really just beginning. You may still be trying to figure out what you want out of life. Dreams are big. Will your dreams and your spouses dreams match up? How can you know if you will agree on things that have not even come to mind yet?

It’s tough to know what you really want in a spouse also. Without enough life experience, jumping into a marriage early in life can mean facing many more unexpected obstacles down the road. Not many young people are realistic about finances and budgeting. They want things… lots of things! Also, they may not have a permanent career, or know where they want to live, or even what type of house they want. And what they think life will be, usually ends up not being so.
sunset couple

That being said, if you’ve been dating the same person for six years and you are now in your mid-twenties, it could be a good time to make the commitment to marry. If not, maybe you should go your separate ways and begin anew.

I didn’t wait until I knew what I wanted, and my first, “too young” marriage failed quickly. When I married the second time, I made another mistake, but that was because the person I married was not authentic. But that is another subject.

My daughter is 28 years old and is still unmarried. She has told me that I was right in advising her to hold off on marriage until she was 30! That was my number, but what I meant was “older” and more sure of her direction and preferences in life.

One thing I hadn’t considered was how many guys would be single dads. As my daughter got older, she found that the men she met were divorced, with children.

single dads
Dating Single Dads
She dated two single dads, with young children from a previous marriage. After those experiences she knew, that for herself, it wasn’t what she wanted. The playing field has been narrowed down.

For some couples, getting married is not what they want – ever. I still believe it’s the best way to commit to each other. That piece of paper connects you in ways that can be scary – if you marry the wrong one. But, it also means neither one of you can simply walk away at the slightest tiff.

Marriage is a daily process of getting along. It’s not easy to live with someone else. Throw kids into the mix and you have a big pot to stir. But two decent souls can make it through. You are weaving the tapestry of life, and with dark (bad times) and bright (good times) threads you will end up with a magnificent masterpiece in the end!

I’m not telling anyone what to do, just voicing an opinion. If you find the love of your life, good for you! That is something many people search for and never find. True love is a gift… at any age … married or not.

PHOTO CREDITS: Thank you to Pixabay for the use of these public domain, free to use, photos.

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New Collections at Zazzle Make Designers Smile

starfish wedding stationery
Starfish Wedding Stationery Collection
We’ve been waiting a long time for this. Designers at Zazzle now have the ability to create collections, and it’s making us very happy. The opportunity to show off our best-looking, and best-selling items has now become easy. The collections pages are organized and beautiful to view.

For the customer, a collection is a fast view of items that have a similar theme. A wedding collection, such as the Starfish Couple selection I show here, will have matching products with a single design theme. This set does not contain all the items I’ve created with the blue and brown starfish, but it does contain best-sellers, and products most often needed in wedding planning. I try to include a link, in all my product descriptions, which will take the viewer to the entire set within my store.

Collections can be in any theme. I also design many beach home decor items, and now they can be arranged together as I please in a collection. Instead of linking to a single item, I can link to a page full of items the customer may be interested in viewing. The same holds true for my art store, my party store, hydrangea store, and so on.

I can see this helping a new bride who loves plumeria flowers, for example, but isn’t sure of a color theme just yet. A collection of wedding stationery which contains all colors of the plumeria flower, may pique her interest. In my Sandpiper Wedding store I have white or pink stationery sets containing the lovely plumeria and I can show them both in my Plumeria Collection.

Each collection will have a themed banner at the top of the page. They are simple to make in 1140 x 315 pixel size. Many of my banner images come from the Pixabay site, where all images are in the public domain.

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Pictures of Piers and Boardwalks

There is something about seeing a picture of an empty pier or boardwalk leading out to or over the ocean. The weather doesn’t have to be perfect to walk along a path by the sea. Strolling the beach is fun, but piers take us past the shoreline.
Click on any of the photos below to find them at the free, public domain site, Pixabay.

The blue waves beckon as we walk the worn wooden planks that lead to another world. The shore is a place of quite and peace. The sound of the surf and gulls relaxes the body and restores the soul.

wooden walkway ocean
Unsplash @ Pixabay

Take an early morning stroll, before the crowds arrive, and find solitude on an empty pier. Gaze into the crystal clear water and watch the fish and stingrays frolick in their watery home.
pier, jetty, boardwalk, ocean walkway
Unsplash @ Pixabay

At the end of this pier, the turquoise Caribbean sea invites you to swim in the deep water. Imagine the warm breeze caressing your body before you dive into the crystal clear water. This boardwalk is a short trip to paradise.
turquoise ocean caribbean walkway
Skitterphoto @ Pixabay

You may use these photos yourself by visiting the Pixabay site. I hope you fell more at peace after viewing this post.

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The Story Behind the Spring Green Wedding Set

spring green bridal showerWhere I live, in the northeastern United States, Spring still seems far away. These spring green bridal shower invitations were created from a photo I took of my own “Limelight” hydrangea flowers. Now the plants are buried in a couple feet of frozen snow. But the paper, and Spring Green stationery set, is a reminder of the beauty of summer, and I know that I’ll be digging in the garden one day.

I enjoy making beach themed wedding stationery, because I love the tropics and the water. Realistically, I never make it to the beach these days. So I divide my creative work between a few niches. One relates to beaches, seashells and nature found in Florida and other tropical locations.

My other niche is garden related and the BlueHyd store is full of pictures of hydrangea flowers. I love growing this perennial because it’s easy to care for. But best of all is the fact that the blooms last for such a long time. Even as they dry out and die, they are interesting and lovely.

The camera is in my hands a lot in the summer months. Capturing the beauty of a New England summer is essential because it is so fleeting. I photograph everything throughout June, July and August. From flowering shrubs to green beans and caterpillars, I capture the essence of the warm season as often as I can. Flowers are a favorite though, and when they are as beautiful as the elongated, light green “limelight” hydrangea flowers, I can’t resist. I use the best pictures to create wedding stationery, cards and posters. Usually the best images are posted on my Hydrangeas Blue gardening blog.

Happy Spring to those who are feeling it!

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