My Friend Oliver

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Today we have a special guest on Peace and Chaos and his name is Oliver.

Oliver came to live with Nick, Sidney and I last summer when my younger sister moved out on her own for the first time and couldn’t bring her cat with her.

Within the first week I looked at Oliver laying on our floor and I said to Nick, “Wow, having Oliver here really makes our apartment feel more like a home.”

There’s just something about having an animal companion around that seems to brings more joy and comfort into a person’s life. And it’s not just me who feels this way; many studies have proved it.

For example, one study has proved that cat owners have a lower chance of having a heart attack. This could be because having a cat to love and cuddle helps relieve stress and anxiety – which are related to cardiovascular events. And while many other studies have proved that having pets, and cats in particular, are good for our health in many ways, they’re also key to our happiness.

It’s easy to see why having him around makes us so much happier. I mean, just look at his cuteness!

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But since this post is to introduce you to our little, furry roommate, I thought I would tell you a few facts about our feline friend.

1. Oliver is currently three-years-old and his birthday is estimated to be at the end of August.

2. He is the most cuddly kitty I’ve ever been around and been has described as “docile”, “affectionate” and “content”, among other things, from friends and family. Seriously, though, no matter what Oliver’s up to you can simply grab him and throw him on your lap and he will get comfortable and stay there. Other times you can call him over and he will obey.

3. Oliver is a people-person but doesn’t like other animals and is even scared of little baby kittens.

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4. His favourite place to sleep is in my bed, the dirty laundry pile, out on the balcony and on the couch.

5. He’s an outdoorsy type and when he came to live with us we tried to make him an indoor cat, which not only did not work out at all but he also managed to rip holes in all of our screens (the lil’ bugger). I guess determination is somewhat of a good quality.

6. As you can see in the pictures, Oliver’s fur is various shades of brown with black stripes and he has green eyes, which are slightly cock-eyed and it makes it difficult to get good pictures of his face straight-on but that’s okay.

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7. When Nick first grew a beard Oliver became obsessively infatuated with him and Nick would often wake up to Oliver laying on his chest, licking his beard. Ever since, beard or no beard, Oliver and Nick have had a close relationship. It’s kind of annoying…

8. Oliver hates human food, except for tuna, and therefore never jumps on counters or tables, or gets into the garbage. Which I love.

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9. He likes to give me attitude though, including evil glares and ignoring me, but will still cooperate when I pick him up for cuddles.

And that’s Oliver!

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… giving me attitude in the above picture…

Other than him we’ve only had rats as pets. Which were amazing until my rat allergies surfaced and couldn’t breathe. Sad, really, because they truly make great pets.

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Do you have pets? What are they like?


New Products at Peace and Chaos Photography

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At the beginning of October I decided to ignore those evil doubts running through my mind and open up my photography shop on Etsy, Peace and Chaos Photography.

I love taking pictures and it has been a life-long dream of mine to somehow make money as a photographer. So when I first discovered Etsy a few years ago I considered becoming a shop owner myself. But, like I said before, I was scared no one would like my work and I ended up opening a vintage shop instead.

Tubular Retro is still open and doing well. In fact, we sold the Eclipse serving set just this week, which are going to be someone’s wedding gifts! And that makes me very happy.

But, I’m not here to tell you about Tubular Retro right now. Nope, that’s for another day.

Actually, I wanted to let you know about my new photo magnets that are for sale!

The photo magnets measure 2.75″ x 2.75″ and are only $5 for a pair.

I will only be selling them this one time. Once they’re gone, they’re gone!

Not to worry though, because you can still buy these images as an 8×10, and very shortly will also be offered as a 5×7.

Other new products that are in the works include:

  • 2015 calendars
  • pin-back buttons
  • tile pendant necklaces
  • cards
  • iPhone cases

And I’m just curious, would you buy any of these items featuring my photos?

There’s still time to enter my giveaway for a chance to win one of my 8×10 photo prints! Enter here.


Fantastic Fun At Snyder’s Family Farm!

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Cool autumn wind greeted us as we exited our car in front of a large greenhouse surrounded by autumn mums in brilliant shades of purples, oranges, yellows and reds. To our right was a weedy pumpkin patch that seemed endless and to our left, a large archway in the shape of a red barn that read Snyders Family Farm.

It’s the perfect place to take children between the ages of one and 12 with its large variety of attractions.

This one had its own particular appeal though, something different than other farms my family has been to. There was that special feeling you get when a family-run business goes above and beyond to make you feel welcome and appreciated.

Snyders Family Farm celebrated its 25th anniversary this year, but its second owners, Meghan and John Snyder, have only been the owner’s for the past 12 years. It’s John’s passion.

“I had the opportunity. I always loved Halloween, I always built haunted houses as a kid, so when the opportunity to buy the farm came up, I did,” said John.

It’s only open eight weeks of the year from mid-September until early November. On the weekends it costs $14 per adult, $12 per child aged 3-12 and seniors over 65 and children under 2 are free. Between Monday and Friday it costs $7 per person regardless of age because many attractions are closed due to a lack of staff, which there are more than 50 of although they are mostly students.

Upon passing under the red archway you are embraced with a full view of the farm, most notably the large play structure that had been built in the shape of a pirate ship with a large, blue slide coming out of it that sat directly ahead, surrounded by sand and gravel. It was complete with a large, billowing sale on the top and octagon-shaped windows underneath. The kids raced one another up the wooden ramp with its rope railings and continued to play a game of treasure hunt while I surveyed our complimentary map and decided what to do next.

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Our fall farm adventure would not have been complete without piles of straw bales, which there were three of; Straw Mountain, Straw Maze and Straw Castle. Not to mention the straw bales which had plastic tunnels weaving in and out of them titled Caterpillar. We played on all four and somehow I, too, managed to struggle to the very top, where I breathed in the musky smell of straw and crisp country air before jumping off the side, arms up above my head and onto the soft pile below.

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After racing around each straw pile the children noticed the petting zoo situated nearby. Large, bellowing moos could be heard over their cheerful squeals, beckoning us over, and we went to investigate the animal pens which held a large, beige bull named Norman, a family of sheep and a family of goats. A small, sheltered chicken coop off to the side housed two small chickens with fuzzy plumage called silky chickens. For just $1 you could get a small handful of feed to pass out to the affectionate animals, with their heads pushed through the cracks between their fence planks, anxiously waiting to accept their treats. On a busier day they might not have been so pushy, but the farm appeared empty with only two other families in sight. It was, after all, a Thursday.

According to Meghan, the two busiest weekends are Thanksgiving and Halloween, when hundreds of guests pass through each day.

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We then found ourselves lost in the corn maze for nearly 20 minutes as the children lead us to dead-ends, wrong turns and eventually the Corn Maze Lookout tower which offered a great view, and at last, the simple path to the exit. I advise you grab something to eat first.

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Although the grill was closed because it was a weekday, the Candy Barn was open and offered plentiful of delicious treats such as candy apples, popcorn, cotton candy, fudge, lollipops and beverages such as hot chocolate, coffee, tea, pop and water. If you were hungry for something a little more filling they also had hotdogs for sale. If it were the weekend there would have been a much larger variety of food such as pizza, burgers, fries, sausages, apple fritters, pumpkin pie and even deep-fried Mars bars. They advertise that there is “no need to stop at an ATM” because all food locations accept debit, Visa, Mastercard and cash.

While in the Candy Barn, which had rows of picnic tables, gorgeous decorations of autumn mums, little pumpkins, colourful plastic leaves and pretty, twinkling stringed lights hanging on the rafters, Meghan offered all of the children there each a Frisbee and a variety of stickers.

I adored the many displays set-up around the park which featured tractors, bales of straw, cornstalks, autumn mums and pumpkins of every shape, size and colour. Every inch of the place was carefully decorated with great detail.

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We enjoyed a hay ride through the spooky forest complete with ghosts hidden in the trees, a large spider overhead and fantastic displays built by John himself featuring a graveyard, a haunted house and skeletons propped up among the fields of corn.

If that’s not scary enough for you, Meghan and John also created Fear Farm three years ago.

At night the farm is transformed into a haunted Halloween attraction that’s only open on weekends from 7p.m. until 10p.m. and has three amazing haunts for you to explore: the haunted hayride which travels over 50 acres in the dark woods surrounding their pumpkin patch, the large Hiller House with more than 2500 sq. ft. and the haunted corn maze.

Tickets for Fear Farm are $27 each and is not recommended for children under 10-years-old.

“We make no apologies. We scare the crap out of them,” Meghan said.

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Other attractions we enjoyed on our stay were the pedal carts, glow-in-the-dark mini-golf and, at last, the pumpkin patch where we each chose one large and one small pumpkin for a reasonable price, although they also had autumn mums, cornstalks and gourds for sale.

Had we gone on the weekend we would have been able to enjoy many more attractions including a bouncy castle, an inflatable train, a puppet show and a clown show titled The Pumpkin Problem.

Snyders Family Farm is great fun for the entire family and should be added to your fall to-do list every year and is located 15 minutes outside of both Cambridge, Ont. and Kitchener, Ont.

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Have you been to a pumpkin patch this year? Tell me about it, I’d love to hear about your adventure!


Why You Should Sell Digital Products

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I don’t know how many e-books, e-courses and other digital downloads I’ve paid for. Let’s just say it’s a lot.

The truth is, I enjoy purchasing digital products: it’s easier, it’s (mostly) cheaper, and it’s much faster.

But lately I’ve been wanting to get into selling my own digital products.

It’s no secret that I’ve been working on an e-book (which is currently on hold but all it needs is a great cover page and a marketing plan). I’ve also been planning out an e-course, too. Not to mention, I have a few other ideas kicking around in my head to add to my Etsy shop, Peace and Chaos Photography. (Also, check out my new photo magnets! These are one-of-a-kind and I will not be making any more!)

But why sell digital products? 

There are many reasons people get into selling their products as a digital download, but here are my reasons:

1. Share my Knowledge and Talent in a Quick and Efficient Way

This is the biggest and most important reason I want to get into selling digital products.

I don’t mean to sound cocky, like I’m a brilliant photography who’s work must be sent out into the world for all to see and enjoy, or that I’m a great guru with wisdom beyond my years, but I feel that everyone has something to offer to the world: their own experiences, their life stories, their creative souls – and that’s worth sharing, no matter who we are.

By making your work available for digital download it just makes it that much easier and faster for those who do want to purchase something you’ve created. In a few quick clicks they can have it almost instantly. For example, if I were to create a paper-back book and only offer it that way the customer would have to wait for it to be packaged and shipped, and that could limit the number of people who are able to enjoy it.

Selling digital products is just a quicker and more efficient way to share your knowledge and talent with the world.

Of course, there’s the obvious reason, too.

2. To Make Money

Not so long ago many artists, writers and other creative people were looked down upon if they admitted they wanted to make money at their craft. Face it, many still are. But if someone creates something of value (and value has different meaning to everyone) they deserve to profit off of it. I, too, would like to profit off of my passions. This would make my life much easier and happier as I could continue to spend time doing what I love with the people I love. It would be a win-win situation.

However, I’m a penny-pincher myself (by necessity), I understand the value of a dollar. Therefore I would like to be able to offer my customers a good deal.

3. Save the Customer Money

When something is available in digital form it cuts a lot of costs for the seller, which in turn saves their customers money.

If I make a photograph available to purchase as a digital download I don’t have to pay to have it printed, I don’t have to use one of my protective sleeves, a printed business card, a mailer or pay for shipping. This saves me money, and therefore I can now offer my original photographs for much cheaper.

It Saves Time

Not only will the buyer receive their newly purchased product almost instantly, but it saves the seller a lot of time, too, allowing them more time to create and work on other projects, which also helps the seller cut costs because they don’t have to spend as much time on an item.

We live in an amazing time where it is possible for entrepreneurs and customers to connect and benefit one another.

Are you ready to make your creative work more lucrative, stable, and sustainable in the long-term? Join April Bowles-Olin for an introduction to digital products and how they can enhance your creative business. This course will show you how to produce and position viable products for generating multiple revenue streams and passive income. RSVP right here to watch it live and get access to the workbook for FREE. This post is part of the Create Digital Products blog tour.

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Do you sell, or want to sell, digital products? 


The Weekly #27

Every week I set new goals for myself. You can read last week’s post here.

We went to visit my grandma in the hospital on Thursday. She’s doing a lot better and is out of ICU now. I’m really happy to see her almost up and moving. :)

 photo weekly27_zps04c07fbb.pngWhat I’ve Been Up To:

  1. We carved our pumpkins that we bought at Snyder’s Family Farm. Sidney gave her pumpkin heart-shaped eyes!
  2. I’ve also been enjoying this lovely autumn weather and have been out with my camera trying to capture the lovely colour changes.
  3. Sidney modeled some of the buttons we bought from Bayleaf Buttons for me!
  4. And I have some pretty cool photo magnets going up in the shop this week. This is a one time offer, so get ‘em while you can!

You May Have Missed:

Zombie Invasion – Our First Zombie Walk!
A Quiet Creative Evening With Newspaper Blackout
A Spooktacular Playlist for Halloween
You’ve Just Been Boo’d by BuyCostumes

Last Week’s Goals:

So last week I basically just wanted to try my best and keep everything in my crazy-busy life running smoothly. I think I did an alright job. I mean, I survived and got everything done. Let’s just say, goal accomplished!

This Week’s Goals:

This week isn’t any easier. Once again I find myself trying to balance a very hectic schedule. Big goal for the week: continue running life as smooth as possible!

And my only other goal is to get my new photo magnets posted on Etsy this week!

How did your week go?