Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Author Robert Brault.....Words to Live By...

I love Robert Brault.  I have often posted Robert's quotes personally on FaceBook and to my Christian Friends Team.  Robert has a "way with words" that often make one stop and ponder their meaning.  So many times I've been searching for a quote to "fit" my mood, or something I may be going through at the time and I find exactly what I was looking for.  I lean on this particular quote of his quite often.  "Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things."  How true is that.

I guess you get to a certain age you suddenly realize how many "little things" you've spent precious time worrying about your entire life.  Being over 21 (WAY over) you start looking back and wondering where in the heck time went.  Seems like yesterday when the boys were little, driving me crazy while I was cooking, getting every single piece of the clothing they had dirty which lead to SO much laundry.  Then on the "flip side" I remember my middle child Jason, now a father of 4 with a beautiful wife, standing under the clothesline crying, hanging on to his wet blanket.  Your "memories" change from all the day to day stuff to those really important things you MUST remember.

Robert worked very hard on a project all Summer and into Fall.  It was a "leap of faith" for him and for the publishing company that took the project on.  He now has a beautiful calendar with pictures that just make you feel the stress leave your body and a set of note cards that match the calendar.  If you want to pick up a meaningful gift for someone on your Christmas gift list pick one (or more) of these.  They make the perfect gift, thoughtful, thought provoking, peaceful and beautiful.  You don't need batteries, they don't require assembly and they won't be the wrong size!

You'll find the order information here:  2012 Calendars and Note Cards

I count myself very lucky to have struck up a "friendship" of sorts with Robert.  He is a very wise man that loves life and is very passionate about what he does.  Talent comes easy to him, well, at least he makes it look easy.  He is not unapproachable, reads all the comments on his blog and appreciates everyone that stops to read or to just say hi.  Stop by and read some of his blog...I can guarantee you it's addicting and you'll find yourself smiling, laughing and sometimes thinking deeply about what you've read.

Thank you Robert for sharing yourself with us.  We appreciate it more than you will ever know. 

*The pictures here were "lifted" from Robert's own blog...I take no credit for them.  If I knew who took them I would give THEM credit.   

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Artisan Corner ~ Bob Gast

 I want to start featuring Artisans that I have come in contact with and have worked with on very special custom orders.  My very first featured Artisan is Bob Gast.  Bob has an online shop on ArtFire.  Bob's ArtFire Store  bobsrockwerksandgemcutting
I "met" Bob when he asked to become a member of a group I started there called "Christian Friends On ArtFire".  Seems God puts people in your path for many reasons.  Some we recognize and acknowledge why and other times we never know.  I think at that moment Bob needed us (the group) and I needed to find Bob!  He jumps right in and is a strong prayer warrior for the group!

 Bob is a Lapidary Artisan and takes great love and pride in cutting gemstones, rocks and minerals.  He creates freeform cabochons for making jewelry.  He has some jewelry in his shop that he did the lapidary on the rocks and set them himself.  They are beautiful!  You can see the time he has spent working on the many stones in his store.  Bob is a perfectionist as most Artisans are.  Here is a bit of information on Bob taken from his Bio;  

"I have been interested geology, minerals, and rocks all of my life. When I lost my job and my job search proved fruitless I knew that I needed to do something to occupy my time and earn money. All it took was a trip to the Lake Michigan beach. There, I began to collect rocks and beach glass. I bought a dremel rotary tool and a bunch of bits and started to carve, shape and polish the rocks that I collected. I soon learned that there was a lot more to rocks and the lapidary arts than I realized. I was hooked. Whether I am carving a rock with my rotary tool or cutting on the cabochon machine I am in my element. I am learning new techniques and aspects of the arts everyday."

 I approached Bob a few weeks ago and he has been working very hard on a very special Christmas gift for my 3 sons and my brother.  I can hardly wait to see the finished product and give them to the guys.  It has been a pleasure to work with him.  He listens intently, offers suggestions, is prompt answering email messages and is very meticulous in what he does.  These gifts will be well received and will become a family "heirloom" of sorts.  
Please take some time and take a look at Bob's store and see all the beautiful things he has there.  If you are a jewelry maker this is THE place to shop for quality stones and gems for all your projects.  You will not be disappointed! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Angel's BNR-#2 For Breast Cancer Awareness!

The Etsy Angels, once again, are hosting a BNR for Breast Cancer!  This will be our second BNR this month and the last one.  All participating shops will continue to raise money until the end of the month.  The BNR starts at 5:00 Eastern time and will run until 8:00 p.m., possibly longer if things are going as well as they did last time!  We had 85 sales from our last BNR, a number the Angel's were VERY proud of!

We will be posting the link to the BNR just as we open it so check our FaceBook page ("like us") and you'll know the second it gets underway!  Here is our FACEBOOK LINK.

Below you will see just a sample of items that you'll be seeing in the Angel's Think Pink BNR!  Join us.  Help us raise as much money as we can....and cross some folks off that Christmas list too!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Join the Angels Today For Our BNR!

I have recently discovered the joys of participating in a BNR. What is a BNR you ask?

BNR stands for "BUY AND REPLACE." Someone creates a treasury on Etsy and if you want your item featured in this particular treasury, you have to buy one of the items featured in the treasury. It is so much fun: you get to meet a lot of wonderful sellers and it is a great opportunity to get some exposure.

If you are not an Etsy shop owner, it is still fun to participate because sellers usually offer tons of discounts, so you may end up getting a great deal that you would not haven gotten had you not participated. 

Based on my experience, if you are a seller, the key to a successful BNR experience is:

1. Great product photography

2. Don't have the most expensive item in the treasury. You want to see what the other items are priced at and try to stay in the lower end if possible

3. Participation is super important: when I am able to participate and interact with the other people who are participating in the BNR, I sell more items.

4. BNRs are a great way to get hearts. Don't forget to heart other sellers' items and add them to your circle!

5. If people invite you to attend a BNR (and chances are they will send you invitations after your first BNR experience), go and say hi! Even if you can't play, people do appreciate the fact that you took the time to visit and favorite the treasury.

Why am I telling you all this?!?

Because today, my dear Etsy Angel sisters and I are hosting our very first BNR! We are raising money in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month.

I would love if you joined us between 5pm EST - 8pm EST today.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Angels Fall Fundraiser-Breast Cancer Awareness....

Breast Cancer.  I really hate those 2 words.  I have lost loved ones to this disease, I have seen friends fight it, heard of young mothers wondering if they will see their children grow up.  I have listened to stories of countless people that have been diagnosed with it....many of these stories from friends or family members that speak softly of those lost.....But I have also heard stories of those that fought the good fight and have made it....they were able to beat this disease down, stomp it into the earth, dust themselves off and turn and walk away from it.

Breast Cancer.  I think it is safe to say that in our lifetimes we will either know someone that has/had it or heard of someone that has/had it.  It touches so many.  Only with careful screening, self awareness, regular mammography and research will we see the numbers fall.

In 2011, it is estimated that within the U.S.:
  • There will be 230,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer.
  • There will be 57,650 new cases of in situ breast cancer.
  • There will be 39,520 breast cancer deaths. 
I don't like these all....  Research is expensive but without it we don't have a fighting chance!  So, please.........
  • Do monthly one knows your body better than you do.
  • Have a yearly exam with your Doctor, no, nobody likes to go but consider the alternative.
  • Get "squished" yearly!  Get that Mammogram!  And if you cannot afford it there are places within your own communities that can help you pay for them.  Contact your local American Cancer Society or search on Google for help in your area.
  • Eat a healthy diet, exercise, quit smoking.....
  • If you think there is something wrong...DON'T STICK YOUR HEAD IN THE SAND AND HOPE IT GOES AWAY BECAUSE IT WON'T!  And the longer you wait the less your chances are of beating it! 
Be there for a friend or loved one going through this.  Go with them to treatments if you can, drop them a card, send a small gift that can help their treatment times go by quickly.  Call them, let them know your there for them.  Their attitudes can affect their treatments!

Here are some links that you might like to keep around...visit them and bookmark them, pass them on!

National Breast Cancer Organization



Susan G. Komen

And if you'd like, the Etsy Angels are raising money all through October for Breast Cancer non-profit groups in each Angels own hometown.  Join us, help us by making a purchase from any (or all) of the Angel Shops listed here in our blog  The Etsy Angels "Think Pink" October Fundraiser

Thank you....

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Window Shopping!

I love Fall....really love it!  And when Fall comes around my thoughts go to December and Christmas.  So what if it's only September, you've got to start that holiday shopping sometime so I thought I would help you get started with some "window shopping"!  The Artisans and their beautiful creations below will put you in the mood for sure.  Visit them and see what other beautiful things they have.  These Artisans are all from my Etsy Angel Team!  Enjoy!

 Mona makes the cutest bib and burp cloth sets.  Several of my grandchildren proudly sport her bibs!  They wash up wonderfully and are very well constructed.  She also sells pot holder sets, place-mats, "mug rugs, coffee cup cozy's, table runners and many other things.  

Sharla has so very many beautiful things in her shop.  These Smokey Quartz earrings are stunning and she has the necklace (equally as stunning) to match it!  I have purchased numerous gifts for my family, and myself, from Sharla.  She has jewelry from gorgeous to the whimsical at a price point that everyone can afford.  Visit her today and find that very special gift for those on your gift list.

Anyone that knows me well knows that Sunflowers are my favorite flower!  Even in the winter my kitchen is sunny and bright with them all around!  MaryAnn handcrafted this beautiful crocheted Sunflower doily.  I just can't help but smile when I see this!  Her shop is filled with such beauty and grace!  Anyone receiving one of her doily's or other items, would just love them.  They truly are gifts meant to last a lifetime and be passed down from generation to generation.  Stop by her shop and see what else she has!

These are just 3 of the Etsy Angel Team that I am so proud to be a member of and these are just 3 of many that you'll be seeing in the very near future.  I plan on introducing you to ALL my Team members and let you know what beautiful, fun, functional, bright, happy, stunning, gorgeous and wonderful things they create.....stay tuned!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Simple Pleasures.....

Living rural has so many pros and cons.  Driving long distances to get anywhere is one of those "cons".  However, over the past 2-3 weeks those long drives have been welcomed because I was able to experience something I've never seen before.  Butterflies!  Butterflies you ask?  Yes, thousands of them.  More butterflies than I have ever witnessed in one place before.

Our roadsides in Missouri are kept cut back only a few feet since the gas prices went up.  So many of the wild flowers and other plants have been able to take up residence and thrive.  One such plant is the thistle.   I remember many years ago the dried thistle was so coveted by home crafters and flower arrangers that you hardly ever saw them anymore (I lived in Michigan at the time).  I guess that hobby never took off here in Missouri since we have an abundance of them!

Driving the other day I was amazed at the sheer number of butterflies.  There had to of been 1,000's of them.  The Thistle on the side of the road, for about 12 miles, was just black with butterflies.  All moving to the open flowers to eat nectar.  It was a beautiful sight to see.

After some searching via the internet I discovered that the butterflies were called a Pipevine Swallowtail and they look like this (photo credit to Charly Mann).  Their iridescent hind wings practically glowed in the sunlight.  Bright blue toward the bottom and black top wings.  It ranges from the US down into Mexico and as far away as Costa Rica.  They can be seen from April - October in the Northern part of it's range and from February - November in it's Southern range.  They have 2 hatchings in the North and usually 3 in the South.

All scientific descriptions aside they are beautiful.  Their graceful movement catches your eye and you can't help but watch them.  Hopefully you have either stopped your car and pulled off the road or you are watching them from your patio!  I have had the blessing to be able to of done both this Summer.  Sometimes I think that the world would be a more peaceful place if we all pulled off the road once in a while and just sat to watch the butterflies.....

Sunday, April 10, 2011

What's Up With Cotton? The PRICES!!

 Been to the fabric store lately?  Got sticker shock?  Well hang on, it's not over with yet!  The price of fabric has been steadily rising for months now and it is only going to go higher.  There are many factors, floods in Pakistan which is one of the largest cotton producing countries, India reducing the amount of raw cotton it allows for export and China depleting it's existing supply of cotton.  China now has gone through most of their "stash" and are literally purchasing cotton at any price just to get their hands on it.

Cotton is a commodity that is traded on the open market like oil, gold, silver etc.  So, short supplies and higher demands have made the cotton futures skyrocket.  Large manufactures are having to pay anywhere from 18-35% MORE for their greige goods (pronounced "grey" goods, and describes raw, woven fabric that has not been treated, dyed or finished).  The cost of cotton back in 2005 was around .56 cents per's now at $1.52.  It all rolls downhill.

The prices are higher, the demand is higher and everyone is scrambling to get what they think they'll need for the future which is just going to drive the price up even more.  So, the bottom line here is.....even the home crafter/small business person is going to feel this pinch (actually we already are).

If you notice prices going up and up when your looking to purchase clothing or anything that is "fabric related" please keep in mind that it's not just the business owner trying to "make a buck", we're dealing with those increased prices too.

Micheal Bourlard, vice president, retail sales made this statement regarding the increase in cotton prices; " Hoffman California Fabrics and other textile manufacturers find ourselves inside a “perfect storm” of low supply, high demand and high prices for cotton. Thanks to a healthy greige goods inventory, we were able to keep our prices steady for nearly two years into the first half of this year. That supply now is nearly exhausted and unfortunately, we’ve been continually frustrated by an extremely volatile market with frequent price hikes." 

So as you shop and you see the prices creeping up know that I am doing my best to keep prices down.  I look for new ways to purchase fabrics at lower prices so I can still make my items affordable for you.  I shop all the "sales", purchase larger cuts of fabric, take advantage of "discontinued" prints that are often at a lower price, frequent yard sales, garage sales, thrift shops etc.  Fabrics are always laundered prior to cutting them out and stitching them together so you can be assured of a "clean" product!

Believe me, when the prices of cotton start coming down again you'll be the first to know!   

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Glass Artist ~Julie DeGroot~ GardenJewels on Etsy

I happened to run across Julie in the Etsy forums.  Her spirit came through in her response to other Artists.  I clicked through to her shop and was taken to a garden filled with fairy doors, stained glass wind chimes, garden art and whimsy.  A shop that makes you take a deep, cleansing breath of fresh air and let it out slowly....all the while your stress melts away.  Julie has an eclectic eye in her designs using the new and the found.  She takes Vintage items and incorporates them into her designs.  Color, shape and movement are things you'll find in her creations. 

Each one of her designs is a one of a kind piece.  Giving one as a gift you'll never have to worry about them getting the "same" thing twice!  The pieces are not something that will be given away they are truly heirloom pieces. 

From her Shop Bio...
"I create one of a kind stained glass art
~ Inspired by Nature 
~ Bringing you reflections of color, movement  & soothing sounds to your home & garden
~ All of my glass art is individually designed
& handcrafted by myself.
~ Each piece is totally unique and a one of a kind."
Julie lives in Beautiful Western New York, in the country surrounded by the woods and nature.  She is a "self taught artist and have been enjoying and creating stained glass, mosaic designs, paintings, murals and my gardens for over 20 years now".

"I have a great passion for glass, for my gardens and the great outdoors, so I combined them to create my glass art for your home & garden, inspired by nature."

 "A garden should be filled with not only plants & love, but little surprises throughout it. Something to catch your eye & drag you in to sit awhile to stop and smell the roses.  My heart and soul goes into all of my art.
Always on the look out for vintage glass, beads, or objects to reuse. I love to upcycle pieces into my art.  Taking nothing and turning it into something!  Most of my inspirations come from my favorite place to be in this world, my gardens. Nature always sings to me.   My name Garden Jewels comes from my passion for my Gardens & for my Husband who calls me Jewel."
Take some time and stop by Julie's shop, take a look at the beauty she has created.   If your shopping for something very special this is the place to find it!

Several members of my family have been the lucky recipient's of Julie's work.  They love them and cherish the meaning behind them as well as the care and love that went into each piece.

Visit GardenJewels......