Saturday, November 14, 2009

The American White Pelican......

A new visitor has stopped by the lake this past week and 1/2. The American White Pelican. We didn't know what kind of bird it was, we thought it might be a stork by the looks and size of it but it wasn't.

I sent a few pictures into the Missouri Wildlife Department, they are always SO helpful, and this was their reply:

"Thank you for providing such nice clear pictures of American White Pelicans. They are a common transient on lakes and freshwater marshes. If you look to the sky during migration, pelicans may be seen flying in formation high in the air over many parts of the state. They can be confused with much smaller Snow Geese which usually migrate earlier in February and March.

Many more American White Pelicans migrate through the western half of Missouri then the eastern half. A visit to one of the lakes, rivers or large freshwater marshes in the fall usually yields from 50 to 5000 pelicans. They are usually in Missouri from the first week of March until the third week of November."

Funny thing though, we have NEVER seen these birds before this November nor has anyone that lives around us ever seen them on the lake before! We have no idea why they decided to stop by and grace us with their beauty, but we're so very grateful we had the opportunity to see them. They are magnificent, huge birds with a wing span that appears to be about 3 ft. or more (I'm talking big here). They spend their day just drifting around on the lake "fishing" for their meals.

The largest group we've seen appears to be in the 100's all brilliant white against that blue sky and dark water, they are beautiful! Enjoy the pictures!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fun and Whimsical Lampwork Beads at Maybeads!

While searching Etsy one afternoon for a special gift for my grand daughters birthday I came across Maybeads. I had so much fun just "window" shopping through her store! Her handmade lampwork beads are some of the cutest I've ever seen. It was quite hard to pick just one for a necklace for Savannah! I ended up purchasing this darling tropical fish, something Savannah collects. Maybeads put it on a special "stretchy" cord so it couldn't be pulled off her neck and broken in school.

If you are a jewelry maker, or you are a collector of small animals and such Maybeads is a "must see". She is wonderful to work with and gives 200% to each of her customers....and her packaging and presentation of her products is just as pretty and sweet as the actual product!

Looking for something fun and special this holiday season? Stop by Maybeads and see what adorable lampwork beads you can find there!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Beautiful Fused Glass by Dpholk Designs

Finding unique and affordable gifts during the holidays is often difficult. You want something special, something created by hand but you can't afford it! DPholk Designs has so many fabulous gifts that are not only beautiful they are affordable and eco-friendly too!

I purchased a star suncatcher last year from is on my wall along with other beautiful clay sculpted works that we picked up in Hawaii. That beautiful blue star just fit there! And I received one from her as a little gift, that one hangs in my sunroom where I see it every day.

Stop in to DPholk Designs on Etsy and take a look at her shop. There you will find many, many gifts that you'll love giving and the person receiving it will love it too!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

PUZZIMALS- Another "Favorite" for the holidays...

Puzzimals, what beautiful scroll work. Fantastic attention to detail, great customer service. These puzzles were the hit of last years Christmas gifts for the grandkids and my niece! Many of the puzzles are colored which adds depth and life to them. They are sturdy and can take hours and hours of play from little hands. You can choose puzzles that are "easy" or harder for older kids.

These make wonderful gifts for children and adults alike! Stop by Puzzimals and see all the cute things they have to offer this holiday season. I know I'll be making some purchases there again this year!

Monday, November 2, 2009


Can you imagine walking through your garden? The sun is coming up, the dew is still on the plants and something off in the distance sparkles in the sunshine....sometimes I visit GardenJewels shop just to look at her things, they bring a sense of peace to me.

In GardenJewels Etsy shop you will find the most beautiful "jewels" for your garden or the window in your home. I purchase a breathtaking butterfly for my Sister last Christmas from GardenJewels. It was a gift that she loved and it was just gorgeous.

Take some time today to visit GardenJewels shop, you will not believe the beautiful things you'll find for everyone on your gift list.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

BEADEDTAIL - Another one of my very favorite Sellers on Etsy!

BeadedTail is a wonderful jewelry designer. Her shop has everything you could want in jewelry for that four legged fur lover on your holiday shopping list! "We make beaded jewelry for animal lovers with a portion of ALL sales proceeds benefiting animal awareness causes. See our profile for a list of charities we support."

BeadedTail also does beautiful custom work. She created several stunning earring and matching necklace sets for me last year. She is so easy to work with and keeps at it until she's sure you have exactly what you had pictured. Stop by her shop and see the beautiful jewelry she creates and help her "make tails wag one bead at a time"!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Some of my FAVORITE Holiday Sellers!

The holiday's are right around the corner and I wanted to share some of my very favorite "buys" of the past season! So every few days I am going to blog one of my favorites. These very, very special Etsy Sellers were tops on my gift shopping list last year and I plan on shopping with them again this year! Take a look and see what they have to offer. If you don't see something in particular they each are more than willing to customize something just for you! Drop into their shops in the coming weeks and see what beautiful, unique and special things they have....all wonderfully crafted and made with quality and care!!

Today's fabulous seller is ChickenHawkLures! Great attention to detail on everything I purchased and very, very well packaged. If you have guys, or gals, on your Christmas list that are really into fishing make ChickenHawkLures your first stop this year!

And enjoy the pictures of the one's that "didn't" get away!!

Chickenhawklures (fabulous fishing lures that catch the BIG ones)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Surprise Lily-Lycoris

Named for Lycoris, a Roman actress and mistress of Mark Antony Pronunciation: ly-KOR-iss

The "Surprise Lily" has many names, Naked Lily, Magic Lily, Resurrection Lily...but whatever you call it it is a true "surprise".

When we moved to Lake of the Ozarks gardening in general was a challenge, seems everything around here is rock. You cannot dig a hole to plant anything because it's just to hard to do. I'm from Tucson and thought the soil was bad there. So planting in my new yard was disappointing to say the least. I just ended up watching things that had been previously planted by the old owners come up and felt grateful for that.

In the Spring, around mid to late April I noticed some very pretty and very green elongated leaves poking through the rocks on the south side of the house. They got very thick and grew to about 12 inches tall. I had never seen them before so I was quite excited with the prospect of having something "bloom". I watched those leaves for weeks, then all of a sudden they started to die off. I grumbled and complained about "the only thing that came up here died". I had that discussion with a neighbor. I asked her what they were and in her quiet Missouri way she smiled and said "you'll see" and she went home.

I was beginning to think maybe she was a little "forgetful" and just didn't know what they were or why they died. She even mentioned to me in July that I had "better water those". Uh, "those" what, there wasn't anything there! She came over and said "just water there, you'll see". I thought this must be some sick joke that only folks that lived around here understood, I was actually getting a little miffed!

But, I did as I was told, I watered the dry rocky ground as instructed all the while thinking "she's probably in her kitchen looking out her window laughing her head off". She wasn't. Toward the end of July I happened to be out (watering my rocks) and was totally shocked to see all these pointy little plants sticking out of the ground where those dead leaves had been. I was so excited. I ran over to Elsie's and said "you'll never believe this, there is something coming up". "Yup, just watch them, you'll see". That statement was getting old!

Less than a week later there were stalks that had grown to about 18" high. On top of the stalks were huge buds....and yes, Elsie kept telling me to "watch them", I did.

We had some hot days and I dutifully watered my "stalks". In a few days the most beautiful blooms emerged from those dead leaves and tall stalks. A lily, a beautiful pink lily that was huge! They were so full and soft looking, I was absolutely thrilled with them. And yes, they were a surprise, one of the nicest surprises I've had.

Thank you Elsie for my "surprise", something to look forward to every summer, the Lycoris squamigera, Surprise Lily.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Pileated Woodpeckers....

Wow, that's the first word that came to mind when I first saw this guy! He is HUGE....almost the size of a large crow. He was hanging on the suet feeder in the yard making the most unusual call....that's what alerted us to the fact that there was someone "new" at the feeder!

The Pileated Woodpecker has a territorial range of 1,000 to 4,000 acres. They mate for life, meaning they pick their mates and stay with them for a lifetime. The male as well as the female will sit on/hatch their clutch of 4 eggs. The male always takes the "night watch", he sits on the eggs at night. The eggs hatch at a little over 2 weeks and the babies "fledge" at about a month. They are born early summer and the parents will care for them and teach them to find food until around September and then the young go off on their own. In the Spring they will find their own homes and start their own families!

The Pileated Woodpecker is the 3rd largest Woodpecker in the United States/Canada. They grow to about 16 inches long...huge! They also have small yellow feathers that cover their nostrils so when they are pecking through wood they don't get the wood chips in their nose. Their "drumming" or pecking on trees, can be heard from quite a ways away. They also use this drumming to communicate with each other and to "warn" others away from their territory's.

He is a beautiful bird and we hope he stays around our feeder!!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Do You Have Craft "ADD"

I think I finally figured out what was wrong with me....craft ADD (attention deficit disorder) do I know? Well, I had 3 sons, 2 had ADHD...and that's ADD with hyperactivity thrown in there for more drama!! And craft ADD? ....yup, I've got it...see if this sounds something like you!

1. Have a closet full of rubber stamps, most of which are still unmounted...

2. Have boxes and carriers and shelves FULL of paper of every pattern and color you could imagine...

3. Have boxes filled with pictures that are in various stages of being "sorted" (like that will EVER happen)...

4. Have a Sister that use to sell Stampin' Up and Creative Memories stuff (this explains #'s 1 and 2) Do I scrapbook? No, I tried once, it drove me crazy, but I have everything a scrapbooker could lust after!

5. Have boxes full of beads, wire, stretchy threads and tons of books on making jewelry... Do I make jewelry? No, I tried once, it drove me crazy, to tedious. My granddaughter will get this stuff!

6. Have boxes full of molds... Have a box full of "essential oils", of course they have been in there so long it all smells like the same thing. Have tons of books on soapmaking....glycerine, oils etc... Do I make soap? No, I tried once, it drove me crazy to have to WAIT so long to use something I just made!!

7. Have SHELVES full of fabric, (you see, she who dies with the most fabric wins)...I'm gonna win! I also have gutters (yes, I use regular house vinyl gutters) full of rolls of ribbon in every color you could think of. Have 5 sewing machines, 2 regular, 2 embroidery and 1 serger...(yes, I know how to thread it)...Have thread boxes FULL of embroidery thread, most at $6 per spool...that doesn't count the regular and serger threads...I belong to enough online forums for sewing and embroidering that I often forget which ones I've posted in lately... Have 10 different pairs of scissors for everything from applique work to clipping embroidery threads...

Do I sew, you bet your life I do! Sewing is my passion, all the others were what my DH calls my "one night stands"...I can't think of a time in my life that I have NOT wanted to sew...and since my retirement, that's all I have done! I opened 2 online ecommerce stores and have steadly been getting more and more business.

I love my craft, I love creating things and my true love is creating baby and toddler toys. Toys that are safe, toys that Mom and Dad don't have to stand over the toy box with a print out in their hand having to take away the latest recalled toy! Just safe, soft, washable that are bright and happy, toys that children can use their imaginations to play with.

So, after all these years of going from one craft to another, buying every "gizmo and widget" that was needed, I came full circle and right back to my needles and threads and my fabrics and I couldn't be happier..... Do you have craft ADD? I use to.....

Friday, May 15, 2009


What if nature were to have a beauty contest.....where do you think turtles would place? Put them up against the cuter, furry raccoons, squirrels, deer and such I imagine turtles would be way down on the "cute" O meter! In fact, the only one they may beat in a contest might be snakes!! And in the turtle "world" I bet we'd be happier picking up a Box turtle over a Snapping turtle any day!

Have you heard the old saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." ? Mother nature seems to have given turtles the "it ain't broke, so don't fix it evolution". Fossil records tells us that turtles have been on earth about 200 million years, and have changed little in all that time. Box turtles won't win any races but they must have what it takes to be around that long!

Box turtles differ from other turtles in several ways. They are terrestrial (land-dwelling) turtles. Their high, domed shells and unwebbed feet are adapted for life on land, not water.

But to discover the unique feature from which box turtles get their name, you have to turn them over. The bottom shell, known as the plastron, has it's own "hinge". This hinged shell allows box turtles to close their lower shell against the inside edge of the upper shell (called the carapace). The turtle's head, tail and legs are pulled inside - as if enclosed in a box, hence the name "Box Turtle".

Missouri is home to this little guy. The three-toed box turtle (Terrapene carolina triunguis) is found statewide, except in the northwestern corner and extreme northern Missouri. Adult three-toed box turtles are 4.5 to 6 inches long (115-145mm). Three-toed box turtles, as their name implies, typically have three hind toes - but some individuals have four. They are a forest species, although they may also be found along forest edges and brushy fields. They consume earthworms and insects, but adult three-toed box turtles tend to be more vegetarian, eating a variety of plants, berries and mushrooms. This is the common box turtle of the Ozark woods.

Adult male turtles can generally be identified by their more colorful heads and forelimbs, a slight depression in the plastron and bright red eyes. As in most of nature, the males are more bright than the females.

A close examination of each individual plate (or scute) of a box turtle's bottom shell can reveal the turtle's age. Box turtles exhibit growth rings on each scute similar to the annual rings of trees; one ring equals one year's growth. On young turtles up to 10 years old, the rings are conspicuous and easily counted. However, older turtles gradually wear these rings smooth. A turtle with a completely smooth lower shell with no visible growth rings can be estimated to be at least 30 years old. Just how long box turtles live is uncertain. Estimates range from 32 to more than 80 years. Three-toed box turtles of over 50 years have been documented.

Most box turtle mating takes place in the spring. Two to eight white eggs are laid in the spring or summer. Young turtles hatch in two to three months; however, some clutches laid in summer may not hatch until the following spring.

Box turtles are usually homebodies with small home ranges of about two to five acres. However, some turtles do travel. These are the turtles that drivers encounter crossing roads in the spring. Research has shown that road-crossing box turtles are typically young (not yet sexually mature) turtles or young adult male turtles. Adult females and older males make up but a small percentage of these wanderers.
During the Spring, here in Missouri, Box turtles become roadkill at an alarming rate....Joe hates taking me anywhere when they are roaming as I always have him pulling the car over so I can "rescue just one more". Last Spring I almost got hit by a car trying to save one!
If you happen to be in the woods in Missouri and find one, pick him up, see if you can figure out how old he/she is....but please, put him/her back down. Where you found it is most likely the area it has called "home" for many years and will be for many more.
When your driving through Missouri in the Spring, watch your speed, and watch for our Three Toed Box Turtles crossing the road....if your careful you can avoid them and let them go about their slow lives for years to come!!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

My Best Friend, My Mom...

A best friend, someone that I can turn to when I need a shoulder to lean on. Someone that listens, even though she might like to give advice. Someone that doesn't give that advice unless they are asked. Someone that feels my pain and understands without me ever saying a word. Someone that will pray for me...unceasing...until God hears her. Someone that was there with me to celebrate the good times and someone that was there to hold my hand during the tough times too.

She watched me grow, she lead me in the right direction and at times pushed me in the right direction! She was proud and disappointed at times, but the love she felt for me was never different. It was always an unconditional love.

Sometimes I resented her, but most times I listened and so appreciated the advice she imparted. And as I "grew up" I realized how much she really knew, how smart she is.

With all the love she could muster she opened her arms and let me go, even though she wanted to protect me forever. And I went, running into that new world of adulthood, never thinking I'd look back....but I did. Over and over I looked back and then ran back into the comfort of her arms.

She always knew what to say and she also knew when it was alright not to say anything. She knew when to make me go back into that adult world even though it was so hard for her. She knew she gave me everything I needed to survive in it, and I have. I may have some scars to show for it, but I survived.

She stood by while I made mistakes in life and let me make them so I would learn. But, she was always there to pick up the pieces when I failed. She let me know that it was alright to fail as long as I picked myself up and kept on going.

It's not just one day a year that is so special to honor her, I honor her every single day. At night my prayers don't end without asking God to continue to protect and bless her, I thank Him for her every night.  He gave me to her to watch over for Him, He trusted her with His raise as He would see me raised, to honor Him and to honor her.

I call her Mom, she is everything to me and I thank God every day for her.  Happy Mother's Day Mom, I LOVE you!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Hands Of An Artist...

Are you an Artist? Look at your hands. What do you see? Do you see skin dried from making soap, skin "colored" from dying cloth, the palms of your hands calloused from doing woodwork or leather work? Maybe your hands are very sensitive from creating beautiful jewelry with tiny, tiny seed beads. Are your hands so covered in oil paints or India inks that you quit worrying about getting it off? I've seen the hands of a paper Artist covered with cuts. Or maybe they look like mine, a seamstress, full of pin sticks from hand stitching in poor light at night.

No matter what your hands LOOK like, it's what they create that matters. Hands guided by your ideas, your thoughts, your dreams and your heart. What they create makes you smile quietly to yourself. They make someone else smile to receive a gift made from those same hands.

Look at your hands....they say volumes about you as an Artist and they are so special...what would we do without them? Our craft would never be realized, it would just stay a thought or a dream that would never come to fruition. Our hands, they say we are Artists, they say so much about us.

The love of our craft can be seen not only in the things that we create, it can be seen in our hands...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Marketplace of Blessings...

I just recently joined a new market venue at  It's called "Marketplace of Blessings".  It is a beautiful market filled with creations from Christian Artisans.  Everything there has been created with the utmost care and love.  

These are just a few samples from Marketplace of Blessings you'll find there;

* Tatted Cross by "Joy of Tatting"

* Prayer box bracelet by "Jewel Fire Designs"

* Paperweight by "CreationsAnew"

* Prayer Box by "Gpdesignsart"

Please take a moment from your busy day and browse around the Marketplace of Blessings, I'm sure you'll find something that touches your heart and soul!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Back Home....

After a 14 hour day we finally made it back to our lake for the summer. It's amazing how a "place" can fill a hole in your soul. I love Tucson, 2 of my kids and 7 of my grandchildren are there, but it just isn't home anymore to me.

This lake seems to calm me immediately. I can just feel the tension and stress drain away. The first thing I did was to go down to the dock and just breath! The air smells cleaner, and right now the lake smells cold and fresh.

As I sat there a pair of Loon's swam by, not paying any attention to me. I watched huge flocks of Canadian Geese winging their way back north for the summer. The Mallard ducks and their mates were "talking" over in the cove, I couldn't see them but I could hear them. And one lone Bald Eagle was soaring over the lake, they are so majestic...

My soul feels renewed, spring is coming, the leaves are just barely starting to bud out, the pink dogwood trees are bursts of color in the woods that still look asleep. Home....where Lake of the Ozarks fills your soul and takes you back to a much quieter pace of life....

Friday, April 3, 2009

ByNanasHands will be packing and traveling over the next few days. We're heading back to our beloved Lake of the Ozarks for the summer. If you intend to make a purchase, please feel free to do so. But please know that it will not be mailed out until Friday next week.

The packing up of one's most precious "tools" is always an effort for me. I worry when my "girls" (my sewing and embroidery machines) are traveling "unescorted" 1,400 miles across country in the hands of the Post Office. Actually, it sends chills up my spine. Due to physical problems regarding my husband's knees, we cannot drive there, we must fly. So, the girls are on their own for a few days. And since the airlines cannot seem to get a bag from point A to point B without losing it putting them on the plane is NOT an option. We don't even travel with luggage anymore!

When we went from the lake to Tucson for the Winter one of my girls was MIA in the mail system. You would of thought that it was a child lost in the woods. The people at the Post office counter would scatter when I showed up EVERY SINGLE MORNING FOR 10 DAYS. But, I found out that a crazed and dazed woman at exactly 8:00 a.m. every day asking the same questions finally did get answers! Melting down in the lobby of the Post Office wasn't exactly "pretty" but it got results. Somehow, my favorite embroidery machine ended up in Utah (go figure)...that's a far cry from Tucson, Arizona! And I am sure the fact that my machine was put on a plane and sent to Tucson that day and delivered the next had NOTHING to do with those meltdowns. :)

Let's see what today brings when I go into the Post Office, at exactly 8:00 a.m. with 8 boxes that all need to be sent Priority and all need Insurance and all need Delivery Confirmation and all need Signature I get out quick....because I'm sure they will remember me.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Blogs have gone to "the Dogs" !!

I love finding interesting blogs and reading about different things.  Yesterday I just happened upon a "dog blog" that is written completely by two loveable and sassy K-9's named "LuLu and Lolly".  2 Maltese that have their very own website and their very own blog.  LuLu and Lolly's website helps raise money for Maltese rescues.   LuLu and Lolly's Blog

I had a good laugh reading about some of the trouble these 2 get themselves into, there was even a great story about a trip to Vegas and "borrowing" their human's credit cards (you won't want to miss that one).  As a Maltese owner myself I am partial to the breed.  Our Sissee Louise actually runs our home, as I am sure is a fact that many dog owners will attest to.  Sissee has "staff", not "owners"!  LOL...our lives tend to revolve around her needs at any given moment.

LuLu and Lolly stopped by another Maltese website and commented on a picture of Sissee in her life jacket standing on the dock, that is how we "met" them!  So if you get the chance and need a good laugh, stop by their website, read their blog (completely written by them) and be prepared to be amazed by these two!

And while you are there, their 2009 calendars are 50% off right now, buy one and help a rescue because every Maltese (as well as every dog)  needs a loving home!!  LuLu and Lolly's Road Trip Calendar

A fellow "Etsian" uses their shop to help rescues too.  BeadedTail 

Her Etsy shop is filled with the most beautiful jewelery.  "We make beaded jewelry for animal lovers with a portion of ALL sales proceeds benefiting animal awareness causes."  Please stop by and see her amazing jewelry, make a purchase and help an animal!!

Now we're off to see some pictures of LuLu and Lolly turning into a couple of evil "Skwirrls"....oooo, scary.... 

Thursday, March 26, 2009

8 Years Ago Today....

In Our Hearts

We thought of you with love today, 
But that is nothing new. 
We thought about you yesterday. 
And days before that too. 
We think of you in silence. 
We often speak your name. 
Now all we have is memories. 
And your picture in a frame. 
Your memory is our keepsake. 
With which we’ll never part. 

God has you in his keeping.....We have you in our heart.  

Eight years ago today, it seems like yesterday.  He was here one minute, we were having a conversation, and the next minute he was gone....Hugh William MacLeod, my Father, died 8 years ago today in my arms.

I remember telling my Mother that night that "life has come full circle for me", Daddy was there and held me the night I was born and I was there and held him the night he died....full circle.  You never really know how much you miss someone until they are no longer there.  You still pick up the phone when you need someone to talk to, you still look at Father's Day cards even though you don't buy one.  Full circle...

The great grandchildren he never met, the grandchildren that married and he wasn't never forget them, you never stop missing them...hug your loved ones today, be thankful they are still right there with you.

Eight years ago today.....

Friday, March 20, 2009

A NEW Market Venue!

1000 Markets

New to the handmade scene is  As a merchant there, I have to tell you that the "look" of 1,000 Markets (or lovingly nicknamed 1KM) is something you've never seen before on any other online venue.  Clean, crisp and classy...

The home page lets you browse through all the different markets available to shop from.  You can choose a specific market or just take a stroll through all the marketplaces to your hearts content.  Fine Art, foods, children's items, beautiful jewelry etc.  You'll not run out of markets to window shop through!

I'm a merchant member of a very special market called "Child's Play".  It is a market where you'll find all sorts of things for babies, toddlers and children from clothing to toys.  All beautifully created with loving hands and care.  The quality is one thing you'll recognize along with the variety of things made.  Each merchant was chosen carefully by the other merchants in the market itself.  We are a self-juried group of merchants, we run our own marketplace inside 1KM itself.

A prospective merchant must first pass through the jury process to be accepted into 1KM and then they have to apply for membership into whatever market they are interested in joining. Almost every one of the current markets at 1KM are individually run by their own voluntary "staff" as it were.

Child's Play is a fabulous market to window shop through.  If your looking for a gift for a new baby, a first birthday gift, an heirloom you can pass from generation to generation, stunning one of a kind clothing, beautiful mobiles, creative and fun toys Child's Play is the place to look!

Join all the merchants at Child's Play, come and take a look at all we have to offer.

Monday, March 9, 2009

How do you "see" your final product?

I had a customer ask me the other day "how do you see what a child would like"? I thought it a rather odd question and then I started to really think about it. I went into my sewing room and just sat there for a while looking at all I use that helps me create the toys I make. What did I "see"?

Machines first, an embroidery machine, a "regular" straight stitching machine, a serger and then fabric, thread, stuffing, scissors.....and pictures. Pictures that parents had sent me with their babies or toddlers playing with the toys I made. When I looked at those pictures I saw several things; a happy baby, maybe a smile or that darling drop of drool while they chewed on a toy. Then I really focused on the toy, here is where the "how do you see what a child would like" part came into play.

I looked at it first as a Mother, then a Grandmother (or Nana as my 9 grandkids call me). I saw something that was safe, no removable parts, nothing to small to choke on, something that can be washed (every Mothers dream), something that can't bang up little heads or hurt them when they fell on it as they learned to toddle and walk and nothing that could dent or scratch the furniture! Then I looked at it from a child's point of view, it was bright, colorful, chewable, small enough for tiny hands to hold on to, interesting enough to create my own "fun" with.

As I sat there a bit longer I realized that the very last thing on that list of what I "saw" was "will it sell". All of the other things were more important to me. I firmly believe that when you turn your thinking and your creating from something you love to do, something you want to share with others to something you just want to make a "living" off of, you've missed the boat. You have just taken the "Artisan or Crafter" out of the picture and put the "retailer" in!

You've gotta have heart I guess I'm trying to say...put your heart into your work and the rest will follow...I see the babies and the toddlers, and I see the Mothers and Fathers and Grandparents that feel good about giving their little ones something created by hand, that is safe, and something that is fun, something that will last for years and years to come. THAT is how I "see" my final product...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

So Much Fabric....So Little Time...

It's amazing how much fabric one can collect for no apparent reason! When I start calling for the need for more shelving in my sewing room my other half tells me to "get rid of 1/2 that stuff your never gonna use it all". Then I take a walk out to his tool shop and start touching and counting ALL the hammers....JUST the hammers.

Here's how this conversation usually goes...

"How many hammers do you have Dear"? "I have just exactly as many hammers that I need that's how many"! "Well, Dear, I've counted 21, what on earth are you going to do with 21 hammers, can't you get rid of 1/2 of these cause your never gonna use them all"..."I have a hammer for every job, they are all important and each of one them is different" (kinda like the shelves full of fabric I have, I have just what I need for every order I could ever wish for and each of them is different). "Honey, it seems to me that you really don't need ALL these hammers do you, look at how much room they are taking up on your tool bench"....."All right DEAR, I get your point, where do you want the new shelves".

I rest my case.... and my favorite fabric store is having a sale this weekend, how nice!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

"Our Neighbors Are Pigs..."

Well, not really, our 2 footed neighbors are actually quite nice!  These "neighbors" are rather odd looking and not really pigs at all, they are Javelina, or collared peccaries.

Javalina have a very good sense of smell and really poor eyesight.   They are a small animal, and stand about 1.5 feet at the shoulders and are about 3 feet long from nose to tail. Their average weight is from 40-60 pounds. Javelina travel in herds ranging anywhere from 8-27 animals (the largest ever counted was a herd of 54). Their dorsal scent gland and their sharp sense of smell, helps each javelina identify other members of the herd.  You most likely will "smell" one coming before you see them!!

Javelina are usually found in the low to mid-altitude deserts and cactus desert grasslands between 1,000 and 5,000 feet.  Sometimes they will travel into the higher altitudes for food which may include pinyon pine-juniper, oak, and pine-oak vegetation between 4,000 and 7,000 feet but they don't live there.

Javelina are pretty much herbivores (plant eaters), although they have been known to eat insects once in a while. They primarily eat cactus and other spiny and succulent plants, roots, tubers, and pods .

Javelina babies, or "piglings," are born pretty much all year long, with the highest numbers born in June. A litter consists of one to four piglings, with an average of two.  They are just the cutest little things, you wonder how they can keep up with the herd as their legs are so short! Mother Javelina are very protective of their young, and they WILL go after you if you come upon them and they have their babies with them.  They have been known to attack dogs and kill them.  So when we walk our dog we walk with a large walking stick and we try not to walk during the time the "locals" come out to forage for the night!!

Our "neighbors" are quite in tune with the beat of the rest of the "hood".  They seem to know which night is the night before garbage day.  We see large herds of them (usually the same herd as they are very territorial) roaming down the subdivision streets on Monday nights!  We learned to not put our trash out the night before as they knock over the trash cans and forage through the weekly throw aways!!  They make quite a mess....many of the old time neighbors still insist on putting their cans out on Monday's and they can more often than not be seen Tuesday mornings in their bathrobes picking up trash!  We also learned, quite early on, to keep our garage door closed because they will go through there as well rooting around looking for something good to eat!

This guy seemed to be alone today, maybe he was the scouting party leader for tonights feast....and the night before garbage day is tomorrow!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Yup, even in Tucson, Arizona it snows. One of the neatest things about living in this desert is the fact that we have Mt. Lemmon in the Catalina Mountains within driving distance from town. You can literally drive 45 minutes and be on the slopes skiing here in the winter! Mt. Lemmon received 8 inches of snow on Sunday night and another 10 inches last night. The "snow level" dropped to about 3,500 feet (Mt. Lemmon is about 9238 feet tall). Where we live, at the base of the mountains, we're at a little over 2,500. It's wonderful to walk the dog in a light jacket and still see the snow in the mountains.

The grandkids love it when their parents take them up the mountain to go sledding. One of our grandkids, Noah, just turned 3. Noah can't go up the mountain due to having to have 2 different surgeries on his ears, the altitude just makes him scream from the pain. My son, Noah's father, took the other 2 boys up to frolic in the snow. Now Noah knows he can't go, but was just thrilled when his Dad and his brothers William and Dakota brought a pickup truck bed FILLED with snow back to their house! He had hours and hours of fun making a "snow boy" as he calls it and tossing snowballs at his brothers! They even piled it high and let him slide down on his plastic saucer.

Tucson does have lots to offer, but the summers here are just brutal, that's why we now head to Missouri and the lake in the Spring! I thought I wouldn't miss Tucson when we moved, I'm beginning to think otherwise. And as the remodel on the house starts to take shape, I think I will miss it even more this year....we may be rethinking renting or selling this house...somehow we would like to hang on to it.....if we can...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Look For The Rainbow In Any Storm!

On Friday, January 31, 2009, Congress placed a "stay" of enforcement on the CPSIA Law which would of gone into effect on February 10, 2009. This means that the CPSIA required "third party" testing for all children's products will not have to take place. This does not, however, mean the existing laws requirements for lead and other chemicals can be ignored. We must still adhere to the "reasonable testing" portion of this law. To my business, this just means I am now turning to my suppliers of fabric, stuffing, thread and ribbon and asking them if they have written certification that their products are free of lead and other chemicals that the U.S. Government is regulating. So far, I have had very good luck with my suppliers. They can assure ME in writing that their products are safe and that allows ME to assure YOU that my finished toys are safe for your baby!

One of the biggest victories in this entire thing is the fact that the "big toy companies" (who were very, very involved in writing this law) are very upset right now! They had fully intended for this law to put the "little guys" out of business, thus allowing them to monopolize the market. Sad to say this would of taken your "choices" as a parent away from you. Because, the only ones that could afford the third party testing would of been the huge sorry guys!!

Bottom line, my toys are safer now than before. Is it because my suppliers have done something different to the manufacturing process of their goods? No, my toys are safer now because I now know, for sure, that the supplies I am using are safe.....and I have that in writing from them! Nothing has changed except my peace of mind, and YOURS.

Thank you for supporting me through this. If you wrote to someone to protest this law, thank you, if you listened to me whine about it for months, I REALLY thank you, and if you kept my spirits up when I was down, bless you......remember, there is always a "rainbow" in every storm!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Anderson House "Tilly"

All of January the Etsy Angel Team has been raising dollars for Anderson House, an organization for battered women and children. 

"The Anderson House is located on Prince Edward Island in Canada. The Anderson House was established in 1980 to provide a place of safety for women and children who are victims of abuse and to work towards the elimination of family violence. The Association believes that it is a basic human right to be free of abuse and fear of abuse in relationships. The women are provided with support from the trained staff there and help with their children."

It is partially funded by the government but relies a great deal on donations. The Anderson House also does fundraising of their own. For more information go to their website:

This is such a fantastic organization that has done so many wonderful things for these women.  A "safe" place.  One of our Angels lives on Prince Edward Island, Mona or "Sewing Granny" to us!  She, along with ALL our Angels, have worked so hard all month on this charity.

"Tilly the Turtle" kinda became Anderson House's mascot, we don't know how it happened, it just did.  The thought that Anderson House "helps these women and children come out of their shell" was the motto we picked up on, and what better way to demonstrate that than with a turtle!

Tilly has done a great job raising money for Anderson House and she was so very glad to do it.  To know that so many "Tilly's" went to people all over the United States, Canada and even as far away as Thailand!

This is a very special Tilly, she is the only one of her kind.  On her shell is embroidered "Anderson House" and a heart.  She will be taken by Sewing Granny and presented to the Administration at Anderson House along with all the money we raised for them.  We don't know that total yet as our sales continue to bring money in until the last day of January, but Tilly will report back as soon as we find out.

The Etsy Angel's "special" Tilly will be leaving here and heading to Prince Edward Island very soon, and some other Angel's purchased additional Tilly's to go with her for the children to play with.  If you have not made a purchase from any of the Etsy Angel's this month, please do so, we only have a few days left of our charity benefit.  You can find the shops listed here:

Etsy Angel's January Benefit for Anderson House