Saturday, January 31, 2009

More Button Love

In honor of the scrapbooking/stamping party I hosted last night, which was tons of fun and VERY inspiring, I wanted to show you some of my button packs. I spent quite a bit of time sorting vintage buttons into piles of similar shades and then packaged them for sale for your scrapping, collages, or other art or passion!

There are 50 in each packet - at least - all different sizes! All are clean and thread-free.

Here's a sampling - don't they look great arrayed on Starbucks dessert plates? These are all available right now in my Etsy store! This one is called "Cotton Candy Mix":

Then there's "The Blues":

Chase those blues away with some "Sunshine"!

Friday, January 30, 2009

New Years Resolutions Reality Check

Well, it's getting to be the last day of January, 2009. How are you doing on those resolutions?

Me, I didn't make any. I figured that, since this was the year I was going to attempt to finish two 22 week college courses in 8 weeks, that was enough of a challenge.

If you're not faring so well on that list of resolutions, here's something for you:

The to do list you can actually do:
  • Hit snooze.
  • Shampoo; rinse; repeat
  • Forget to floss
  • Eat a bagel
  • Forget to put laundry in the dryer
  • Screen phone calls
  • Get sucked into a movie on Lifetime
  • Put off remaining duties while reading celebrity gossip
  • Skip Pilates
  • Eat a burrito
  • Get sucked into surfing around on Facebook
  • Pick up The Story of Edgar Sawtelle on nightstand
  • Read paragraph. Put book down.
  • Leave eye makeup on
  • Lights out
(adapted from Real Simple magazine, back page January 2009)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

If You Think of New Order When You Hear the Expression, "Love Will Tear Us Apart"...

...then these are the cards for you!

I am the happy owner of a set of this Friday I'm In Love valentine card pack! Julia of The Spotted Sparrow has created this set of cards using antique images and the titles of '80's songs! You must see them. They will, they will rock you.

Right now it's sitting in its pretty red, handmade box in this Shawnee planter, along with some vintage Valentines. Soon, though, I'm planning to clip the cards on a string of red ribbon and hang it above my desk. I can't bear to part with them by sending to friends, sorry folks. Maybe next year.

Monday, January 26, 2009

My Cat Kyra Approves!

I love this pillow I made for sale in my Etsy shop! The pillow front speaks for itself, don't you think?

The fabric that frames the front and makes up the back is "Holbein" by the English Nina Campbell.

My cat, Kyra, approves!

Christmas Redux

Okay, I know I can't be the only one who's still putting away their Christmas things...can I?

Here's something I wanted to share before it goes in the box for next year: a couple of weeks ago I did a scrapbook of all my special Christmas ornaments. As I was decorating the tree I was enjoying putting them all on the tree, these ornaments we've been collecting since we were married 17, almost 18, years ago. They include Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments depicting a special event from the year, and also ornaments we collect whenever we travel. I got to thinking, what will happen when I'm gone? Will anyone remember why this particular ornament is a keepsake? I decided then and there that while I was on break from school I'd create an ornament scrapbook with all the stories in it.

I used a small, 8 x 8 album kit which was on after-Christmas clearance at Hobby Lobby. It came with the little album, pages, some stickers, some borders, and a couple of embellishments. A couple of weeks before, I photographed all the special ornaments as they hung on the tree. I had the pictures printed, cropped them, journaled each description in Microsoft Word with a shape around it, and printed them onto acid-free paper.

Here are a couple of pages of the results!

It's nothing fancy, just functional but still cute, I think. I also added a bunch of blank Christmas pages at the end, so I can continue the record with future ornaments.

I thought I'd had the most original idea on the planet, but then a scrap booking expert friend told me that her Creative Memories consultant had suggested this to her a while back. So much for being original!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I May Never Be Warm Again

After unseasonably warm weather for the last week or so, we've had a weekend of typical January weather. I awoke yesterday morning to that frigid, frozen landscape I know so well, with snow dusted ground, evergreen trees that look dipped in powdered sugar, bare-branched trees that appear frosted white, as well as a white, rather than blue, sky. Yesterday the sun eventually came out.

Today it didn't.

It snowed all day -- sometimes sparkly little flakes that blew in the wind like so much glitter, other times real snowflakes. I know this, because I was out in it all day.

As part of an effort to raise money for my son and his fellow Boy Scouts to take a trip to D.C. next year, we were slated to deliver telephone books Saturday and Sunday. Little did I know when we signed on for this that it would take us two whole days of hard work in the bitter cold. Yesterday my husband delivered with my son; today it was my turn.

Yep. When we began tramping around in the snow with those thick, heavy books, it was 12 degrees. It never got above 17 degrees, but with the windchill it felt more like the single digits. (This was different than what the weather report had told us, by the way. It was supposed to get up into the high 30's today! Funny, at the time we heard that, it sounded cold!)

The boys were real troupers, 'gotta hand it to them. Even bundled up they were frozen, with red cheeks and runny noses. My son borrowed two pairs of my gloves, wore them simultaneously, and his fingers still froze. No amount of bundling up, not even long johns, wool socks, ear muffs, hoods, boots, and good, weather rated outerwear made a difference today, not for any of us.

'Come to think of it, we barely saw another soul outside the whole time we were out. That should have told us something!

This was one of those experiences that made me feel very blessed to have a warm home to return to...not to mention a car with seat warmers!

It was also one of those experiences that made me think, "Never again."

With the help of another family, we delivered around 500 phone books between yesterday and today. Unfortunately, we still have about 40 more places to drop about 80 books at. But, because tomorrow's weather is forecast to be just like today's, it's not happening tomorrow.

Maybe Tuesday.

Maybe by then I'll be thawed out. (My toes are still tingling!)

We've Got Pillows!

I've been sewing busily away and have piles of pillows newly listed in my Etsy store! Here's a sneak peek:

One of my favorites -- I love the fabric and how well it coordinates with the antique French pom pom trim!

I couldn't resist this one; I only just found the vintage floursack dishcloth embroidered with the little girl a couple of weeks ago and it's already a pillow! If you know me, and how I hang on to linens for years sometimes before I use it for its intended project, you'd see how unusual that is!

More like the one I'm giving away for One Heart One World are in the store, and, MORE TO COME!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Welcome One World One Heart Visitors

Please feel free to follow this blog (click on the link to the right) and/or otherwise add me to your list of blogs you love to read -- I'd be honored!

I'm visiting everyone who comments on my One Heart One World giveaway post (and many others from the Gypsy Caravan, too!)

Remember: only bloggers who comment on the above linked post will be entered in the giveaway!

'Can't wait to meet you all!

Getting to Know Me

Okay, I was tagged by Julia at The Spotted Sparrow, so I'm going to take a few minutes to tell you a bit more about myself via her list. I've bolded the things I've done:

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disney World
8. Climbed a mountain - well, it was more like a big hill...
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo - auditioning for choirs
11. Bungee jumped - I will NEVER do this!
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child - almost; we went through the year-long process to get licensed, got the license, got the phone call, but had to turn the baby down because I'd just discovered I was pregnant
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train - oh yeah - the Liegewagen - best night's sleep EVER!
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill - aka known as a personal mental health day
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon - no, but I'd love to
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset - I do this just about every day
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies - no, but I've sold plenty of Boy Scout popcorn!
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving - no, but this is at the top of my list of things never to do!
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp - Dachau, and there were palpable feelings there
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter - another thing I never want to do
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book - not yet; have published articles, though
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous - I've met quite a few famous people; my favorite was Huey Lewis and his guitar player whose name escapes me at the moment.
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

Nice list. I'm tagging:

Handmade in Israel
Crafting with Cat Hair
Angela Caterina
Random Ramblings
Ad Libitum

You can do the same list as me (copy and unbold, then bold what you've done) or any other "meme" you'd prefer to use! Have fun and I can't wait to see your answers!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

One Heart One World - A Blogging Event!

Attention friendly bloggers: this is for you! One World One Heart (OWOH) is an annual event and I'm participating for the first time this year. If you haven't already heard about it, OWOH is a big party where the venue is the world wide web, the party guests are us bloggers, and instead of standing around holding drinks and making small talk, we are reading each other's blogs to make new friends. The best part is there are favors! The party favors are a free gift we're going to give away to fellow bloggers who post a comment on our blogs!

The brainchild of Lisa, OWOH is a giveaway of epic proportions in that there are, as of today, already more than 400 blogs participating. That means 400 prizes you can enter to win!

Click on the blue logo above to get to the OWOH site; there you'll find more info about getting involved, like I did today (thank you, Sunshine & Ravioli!), and, most importantly, the list of links to the participating blogs who are giving stuff away!

About my giveaway:

My One World One Heart giveaway is open to anyone who also blogs. (That means you must be a blogger with an active blog I can visit to enter.) To enter, post a comment ON THIS POST (below.) At the end of OWOH, which is February 12, 2009, I will choose a winner at random and I will announce the winner here, as well as contact you if you've won.

I'm giving away this mini pillow which I made today especially for this giveaway:

This little pillow measures 6" square and is made entirely from vintage materials: the front and back are from two different 1940's era cotton floral screen printed tablecloths. The fabric on the reverse, which you can't see in this photo, is blue and white daisies. I sewed a square from a sheer, antique handkerchief with a blue and white lily of the valley motif over the top of the pillow, and trimmed it with antique pink crocheted trim. Finally, I attached a large vintage beveled button on top of the handkerchief. I love the way it turned out, and I hope you do, too!

Remember: you don't need to give something away yourself to enter to win my giveaway; you just need to be a blogger, post a comment on this post (below), and make sure you include your blog address, either via a link from your name 0r by spelling it out in your comment. That way I can visit you at your place -- which is the point of this party! -- and it also gives me a way to contact you if you win! (Important: Please make sure that if your blog doesn't already have a "contact me" link to email you, that you include your email address in your comment!)

Okay, I've got my cocktail in my hand (cosmopolitan) and I'm looking forward to meeting you!

For a look at the rest of my blog, click here.

--- As the contest has ended, comments are now closed. Thank you for entering! ---

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Story of My Domestic Violence Note Cards - New in My Etsy Shop

I have newly listed domestic violence note cards in my Etsy shop, four in all. They are the result of a heartbreak, a vision, and a collaboration with Etsy artists. I'm proud of them and hopeful that they'll somehow make a difference.

Warning: they are not for the faint of heart. And, although it's not my intention to offend anyone with the cards, it is my intention to draw attention to the danger of domestic violence and to rage against the typical behavior of "looking the other way."

Proceeds from the sale of these cards are being donated to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Change is Coming

You know, I didn't vote for Barack Obama, but I'm still excited for the nation on this momentous Inauguration Day. It's fun to see how energized and excited everyone is feeling -- and it will be incredibly interesting to see how things go in the coming months. I hope the energy lasts!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Piles, Files, Smiles

I spent some free time today putting together small collections from my piles and files of ephemera. Here's the littlest one, with a dog theme:

The baby themed collection is full of sweet little scraps:

One of my favorites so far is this western/cowboy themed assemblage:

I assembled 8 groups in all, which will be on sale in my Etsy store over the next day or two!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Why I'm Closing My eBay Store

Well, I'm beginning the new year by closing my eBay store. All of my items remain for sale, as I stopped doing "store listings" several weeks ago. The only thing that has changed is that I have no "storefront" anymore.

Many have asked me why I'm closing the store so I'm going to state my reasons and hope the information helps someone else with their decision to open, or keep open, an eBay store:
  • In the past year, eBay has shown their unapologetic favoritism of the stores that sell a ton of new items, aka Power Sellers. I admire those hugely successful sellers but really cannot compete with them, especially now that they receive big breaks in search results rankings. It is a fact that if you have an item ending sooner and costing less than a Power Seller with the same item, theirs will still appear higher in the search results unless you know how to get around that. Guess how hard eBay tries to teach people to get around that? Here's how: change the search results order to "ending soonest" instead of "best match", which is the default.
  • eBay has no customer service for small sellers. Try getting a live person to help you, with anything. Within the past year I was falsely accused of selling a counterfeit item. I received a strike against my account and it was impossible -- literally impossible -- to remove it, never mind prove to them (via documentation) that my items weren't counterfeit. When I went the long way around and miraculously got a live person at eBay to email me, he said, "They won't even look at your documentation, so don't bother. There's nothing you can do about it." If you get 3 such strikes, they will just close down your store and email you to tell you -- and you won't be able to get anyone to talk to you then, either.
  • eBay's basic store costs $15.95 a month; thereafter, store listings cost just 3 cents each and are up for a month. But, as everyone knows, there's a reason those store listings are so cheap: they don't appear in the main search results -- you have to scroll to the bottom of the search page and click on the link, "See additional buy it now items from eBay store sellers." This used to be less of a big deal before eBay's latest page redesign. Now, there are "sponsored links" directly below the search results and the link directing you to store listings, and those sponsored links are more visually interesting -- so much so that it's easy for the buyer to skip right over the store listings info entirely. Additionally, most store owners will tell you that they must regularly use auction style listings to attract traffic to their store, and then market the store listings when they get that traffic. This works great! The problem, though, is that those auction listings cost a few bucks each, on top of the $16/month you pay for your store. So, to me, the store doesn't get you traffic unless you spend more on auctions every week. So, what are you getting for that $16?
  • Here's the only positive thing I have to say about eBay lately, which is sad: the new 30 day fixed price listings that rolled out around October basically eliminate the need for a store, for me. Remember how I said store listings cost 3 cents/30 days? Well, the new fixed price format is just 35 cents/30 days and appear in search results just like auctions. A small seller like me can list many items at 35 cents each before spending $16/month so I'm basically always going to do better with the fixed price format vs. a store.
  • Sure, I don't get the storefront page, the categories, the ability to send store newsletters, or the nifty little red door by my name. But I hope that after all these years of selling, and with being so close to earning my little blue star, I hope my name/reputation proceeds me and I can do without it.
So, those are my main reasons, and let me add just one more:

  • I found Etsy. Esty's for handmade things -- art, and crafts -- but you can also list vintage and antique items. Perfect for me, since I do both! Their store cost: $0.
Who needs an eBay store when you can have an Etsy store, I ask you?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Happiness is a Warm Puppy

Since Maggie is big boned, I always have trouble finding a jacket to fit her. Then I stumbled upon lzpets who was able to make both Maggie and Snoopy a custom fitted jacket!

The jackets are fleece inside and out; Maggie's has quilted red hearts with coordinating plain red inside; Snoopy's is a green fleece print that my son picked out with a coordinating blue on the reverse.

The best thing is that the coats, being fleece, dry off real fast when the dogs come in from the snow!

Maggie says, "The best thing is it's soft and cuddly."

Snoopy says, "I'm stylin'."

Stop by lzpets and see what she has for you and your pets!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

My Husband is a Hoot

One good reason to get married to have someone to tell about all your bizarre dreams. They have to care, or at least pretend to care.

So, I was telling my husband about this moment in a dream I'd had the night before where a guy we knew was leaving our house, and just before he went out the door he walked back to our kitchen counter, grabbed the German fruit cake I had sitting there, and shoved it in his pocket.

My husband goes, "So, you mean your Stollen was stolen?"

See what I mean?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Something for Your To-Do List

Did you wake up to a snow covered landscape like I did? 'Need something to do to chase away the cabin fever? Don't forget that the deadline for Extreme Craft's call for submissions for their upcoming book is coming up. They are looking for crafts that are made with recycled, upcycled, repurposed and reused items -- and the deadline is tomorrow, January 5th. Get out that camera, download the submission forms, and get busy!

Etsy in Spanish!

For a wonderful burst of color and inspiration, check out the blog Etsy in Spanish. Wonderful, talented, fellow Etsians!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year!

We're taking advantage of the very mild winter day (in the high 50's!) to open the windows while we paint our kitchen. Our kitchen is small but efficient; we have many cabinets so there's not a lot of wall space; therefore, it's not the biggest paint job -- just big enough to make it fun!

We're freshening up the original, mushroom colored walls (really -- that was the name of the paint!) with a Behr shade #260E-3, Pueblo Sand. It's lovely! A kind of orange melon color, it looks great sandwiched between the aubergine of the dining room and the sage green of the family room.