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Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

On a snowy Chistmas Eve in Rochester, New York, 1989, a tradition was born that continues every year. Excited children (first two, then three and now almost all grown to adulthood), surround Dad on the living room sofa for his annual reading of The Polar Express. Each year the story remains the same, but somehow Dad adds a new touch with every reading ~ a special sound effect, a character's voice ~ small details which bring the story to life and bring smiles and sometimes laughter from the sofa every Christmas Eve.

After remembering how they all still want to hear Santa's bell, the children on the sofa snuggle closer to Dad as he sits up a bit straighter, clears his throat, and introduces "Luke, Chapter 2", music which, he explains, was composed by his fourth grade parochial school teacher, Mr. "Soreguts." Of course, there is a bit of irreverent giggling from the sofa at the sound of the teacher's name, and as years progress, giggling develops into gastrointestinal jokes which will finally be settled by Dad quietly stating, "Yes, but he had a good heart." That is the cue that the performance is about to begin, and silence prevails.

"And it came to pass..." Dad sings out confidently, peacefully, the words from the second chapter of Luke so committed to memory as well as the lilting melody, nowhere on paper but each year the same hauntingly beautiful tune. Originally composed for a school choir, the children on the sofa wait for their parts, small choral interludes interspersed after key phrases, which over the years will also come to be accompanied with dramatic sweeping arm movements. "...And on earth peace. Peace. Peace on earth." Dad's clear voice quietly trails off.

Applause follows the performance and the group moves to the piano with Mom to finish the evening with carols. All the favorites are sung ~ "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing," "Angels We Have Heard on High," "Deck the Halls," "Joy to the World," and many more. The final song of Christmas Eve that night, and every Christmas Eve since, is one of Andrew's (then almost 4 years old) favorite songs, "Old Toy Trains" recorded by Raffi.

Old toy trains, little toy tracks
Little toy drums coming from a sack
Carried by a man dressed in white and red
Little boy, don't you think it's time you were in bed?
Close your eyes, Listen to the skies
All is calm, all is well
Soon you'll hear Kris Kringle and the jingle bells

Bringin' old toy trains, little toy tracks
Little toy drums coming from a sack
Carried by a man dressed in white and red
Little boy, don't you think it's time you were in bed?

Of course, the last line is Andrew's and sister's cue that now's the time for bed so that Santa can come. Bedtime hugs and kisses are shared, and over the years, Dad will tuck the children ~ first two, then three ~ into their beds for Christmas Eve prayers.

Tonight, Christmas Eve 2007, was really no different ~ 3 excited siblings squeezed on the living room sofa, surrounding Dad; "The Polar Express"; Dad's singing of Luke, Chapter 2; carol singing arond the piano (Mom did pretty well with one hand this year!); and finally, a very teary rendition of "Old Toy Trains." Andrew, once almost 4, is now almost 22, and is making plans to leave in June with the Peace Corps. As we sang the final chorus, we all realized that our "little boy" would be spending his next Christmas somewhere in sub Saharan Africa. The hugs we all shared tonight after the song were especially dear and warm.

A very merry, blessed Christmas to all...

Guest Blogger ~ Skippy the Wonder Dog

Today's blog entry will be brought to you by our talented guest blogger, Skippy the Wonder Dog. New to the world of blogging, Skippy details his daily highlights while visiting with his Mamie and Papa over the holidays (Skippy doesn't realize he's been ditched by his family who are Christmasing without him in California! Shhh! Don't tell!)

You can catch up on Skippy's latest adventures here: Skippy the Wonder Dog.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Remembering When...

Two forwards in the past couple of days have made me remember warmly....

First, this link to the real story behind Dan Fogelberg's Christmastime classic Same Old Lang Syne ~ . Quite the story and yes, it explains the song so well!

And, as I was browsing Studio Marcy, and saw the Chatty Cathy bead (see below), I immediately recalled my 4th Christmas when ALL I wanted from Santa was a Chatty Cathy doll. Santa, indeed, delivered, but to my (any my parents!) dismay, Cathy wasn't so "chatty" after all but rather sputtered a lethargic, intelligible stream of syllables each time I eagerly pulled her cord. Cathy was returned to the "elves' workshop" for a few days and came back as good as new to my sheer 4-year-old delight.

In my email this morning was this reminder of "Chatty Cathy," along with a host of baby boomers memories, reminding me of the "good ol' days" (or maybe reminding me of how old I'm getting?).

Featured Artist ~ Studio Marcy

I am thrilled to share a fellow street team member’s shop today, Studio Marcy. Marcy Lamberson, a glass artist from Atlanta, Georgia, creates the most wonderful whimsical beads and sculptures, most of which will definitely make you smile!

Marcy explains that often her inspiration comes “while working out of my sunroom studio overlooking my garden and birds, squirrels, chipmunks and occasional wandering possums, sometimes I just made them into beads, too” with clothes and jewelry, turning them into fun glass pieces. She also adores children’s toys, art, gnomes, and nature- especially ocean/beach related items.

First a watercolor painter, Marcy started noticing the similarities between the mediums of artisan glass and watercolors, light shining through transparent colors, layering colors to form new ones, and mixing colors in both mediums. She explains that “once I started doing fun and funky sculptural beads, I found that I loved seeing people laugh and smile when looking at them and I loved creating them even more.”

A visit to Studio Marcy is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face, too! And, if the visit inspires you to think of your own unique bead idea, Marcy will be glad to design a custom treasure for you.

You can find StudioMarcy at:


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Writers' Strike...

Not's a new treasury I just managed to get over on Etsy ~ some fun, wonderful ideas for writers or just anyone looking for something different to add to your desk! Take a peek at WRITERS' Strike!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Dan Fogelberg, August 13, 1951 ~ December 16, 2007

His albums...yes, albums :-), are still among some of my favorite music, speaking stories to me in that special bridge of time as I gingerly found my way from adolescence to adulthood.

Nether Lands
High on this mountain
The clouds down below
I'm feeling so strong and alive
From this rocky perch
I'll continue to search
For the wind and the snow and the sky
Oh I want a lover and I want some friends
And I want to live in the sun
And I want to do all the things that I never have done
Sunny bright mornings and pale moonlit nights
Keep me from feeling alone
Now I'm learning to fly and this freedom is like
Nothing that I've ever known
Oh I've seen the bottom and I've been on top
But mostly I've lived in between
And where do you go when you get to the end of your dream
Off in the Nether Lands I heard the sound
Like the beating of heavenly wings
And deep in my brain I can hear a refrain
Of my soul as she rises and sings
Anthems to glory and anthems to love
And hymns filled with earthly delight
Like the songs that the darkness composes to worship the light
Once in a vision I came on some woods
And stood at a fork in the road
My choices were clear yet I froze with the fear
Of not knowing which way to go
Oh, one road was simple acceptance of life
The other road offered sweet peace
When I made my decision
My vision became my release
- Dan Fogelberg, 1977

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Shoulder Surgery

Surgery was Wed....finally made it home late yesterday...OUCH! :-{

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Who Is Earle Bruce?

Since I've been asked a couple of times now, I'm realizing that not everyone who reads my blog is a die-hard Buckeye fan and so, using the wonderful tool, Wikipedia, I will answer the burning question....."WHO IS EARL BRUCE?"

Earle Bruce (born March 8, 1931) is a former college football and arena football coach from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Bruce was the successor to legendary Ohio State head coach Woody Hayes, and was an excellent college football coach in his own right. In 2002, Earle Bruce was inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame.

After Woody Hayes was fired from Ohio State, Bruce was offered that head coaching position. Bruce coached Ohio State from 1979-1987. In the first year, Ohio State went undefeated in the regular season and played in the Rose Bowl, losing the game and the national championship by a single point. In 1987, he was fired just prior to the last game of the season—against Michigan—but was allowed to finish out the year. Bruce was able to defeat Michigan at Ann Arbor. This is something Ohio State would not do again until 2001 under head coach Jim Tressel. After the game, Bo Schembechler told Bruce, "I always mind losing to Ohio State but I didn't mind so much today."


The evening of OSU's winter quarter graduation, 1981, at the Fontanelle Restaurant, a quiet Italian place on North High, my parents and I were celebrating (actually, I think they were probably REALLY celebrating ~ after all, I had changed my major 4 times....what is it about us creative types?) My father glanced at a nearby table and then whispered, "Hey, that's Coach Bruce." Of course, we all looked, trying to be discreet but not succeeding, and then replying, "Yes, it is, but don't say anything...leave him alone." Nope, not what happened....Proud Papa grabs a cocktail napkin and next thing you know is over at the table explaining that his daughter just graduated from "this fine institution, etc. and wouldn't you love to give her an autograph?" Hence, Earl Bruce's autograph on a a box....somewhere in my basement! :-)

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Featured Etsy Artist - Berry Patch Designs

Three incredible shops to browse tonight and none will disappoint! All three are the result of the talented work of Etsy jewelry designer, S. Strain. She explains that “hearing and seeing that people enjoy wearing (her) jewelry is one of the best things about designing jewelry.” She also loves combining the varying colors and textures of the natural world in her designs and does so using high quality stones, pearls, glass, crystals, and metal beads. You will also find sterling silver and copper with occasional gold filled or vermeil in the designs which are suitable for a wide range of styles.

Silver Shadow is the most recently opened Etsy shop, allowing this artist to focus solely on her design work. Berry Patch Designs, a collaborative effort with two other friends, includes more beautiful handmade jewelry by all three women. The third shop, Under Current, is described as her “alter-ego” or “alternate reality” shop where this creative artist offers her “edgiest” designs and creations for your consideration. With all of the choices, you are sure to find something to please you or someone you’re shopping for!

You can find BerryPatchDesigns at:


Friday, December 7, 2007

5 Random Things...'s happened...I've been "tagged" by Susan, Red Bess Bonney, ~ so here we go....5 random things about me:

1. I hate country music, but I met my husband when he asked me to square dance....yeah, figure that one out....

2. I have Earle Bruce's autograph....on a a box....somewhere in my basement.... :-)

3. You don't want to see my basement.

4. I am a bibliophile ~ so many books, so little time.

5. The 80's was not a good "hair" decade for me. Don't ask ~ and definitely don't look for pictures.

OK, now I'm tagging 7 others...Tricia ~ Lazy T Crochet, Kristy ~ Simply Shiny, Debra ~ Hearts Desire Beads, Becky ~ Domestic Goddess, Serena ~ Pink Ice Jewels, Joey & Aleethea ~ Joey & Aleethea, and Gail, Shabby Cottage Studio.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Holiday Decorating Ideas - The Tale of the New York Snowman

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, there was a little girl who was a "Bluebird" (the CampFire Girls version of "Brownies" for those Girl Scouts out there). One day, at a December Bluebird meeting, the little girl's troop leader announced that they would be making snowmen to decorate their Christmas trees. The little girl clapped her hands with delight as she loved to craft, even though through the years to come many art teachers would tell the little girl she was artistically-challenged.

As the little girl and her friends gathered around the large wooden work table, filled with a delightful assortment of colorful supplies, she could feel the excitement and energy of what must be the artistic muse filling the room. Dozens of hands reached across the table through scattered lace, sequins, styrofoam, and pipe cleaners, everyone laying claim to the perfect pieces for their own snowman sculpture. But, the little girl had a different idea has she quietly scooped up two lone gray styrofoam balls, pinned them together with paper clips, and began adding scraps of red and white lace and netting, pipe cleaners, and sequins to her creation. As she neared completion, the troop leader suddenly took notice and asked, "Why, dear, here, we still have some regular styrofoam balls left. Don't you want to use them?" "No, " replied the little girl, quietly, still gluing and positioning her lace, "this is the snowman I want to make." The troop leader continued, "But it's gray." "I know," answered the little girl, and simply smiled as she finished gluing the final piece of lace into place.
The little girl took her snowman home that night and hung it on the highest branch that she could reach of the family Christmas tree. Her mother smiled and told her it was a wonderful snowman, but it was her father that gave it the name that has lasted all these years. He took a very long look at the gray snowman and said, "Oh, I get it - it's a New York snowman!" And he laughed a very long time. The little girl didn't understand at the time why he was laughing, but she was glad that the snowman made her father happy.
Over the years, the New York Snowman always came to have a place of honor on the family Christmas tree, and yes, as the little girl grew there came a time that she did understand why her father laughed and gave the snowman its name. She laughed with him as she thought of pure white snow made dirty by the exhaust and travel of city traffic.
And then one year, her first year alone at Christmas and many, many miles away from family, the little girl received a package. Inside was a carefully wrapped bundle with a note in her father's handwriting ~ "It's time for him to go on your tree now." The New York Snowman had come home to the little girl.
The little girl has grown up, married, and has a growing family of her own now. Yet, every Christmas, one of the very first ornaments still placed on her tree, in a place of honor, with heartfelt memories of what it means to create with love, to share with family through the years, is the New York Snowman. May your holiday decorating be filled with love and sharing!

~Post Script #1....the "little girl" has just now noticed that New York Snowman is "Scarlet and Gray"! How fitting ~ GO BUCKS!
~Post Script #2...when the "little girl" made this "Scarlet and Gray" New York Snowman, she was living in Michigan ~ how ironic! GO BUCKS! (and this week, we are also saying, GO OKLAHOMA!) :-)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Peace Corps Update ~ Where in the World Will Andrew Be?

Andrew arrived home Wednesday evening from school for Thanksgiving break with the news that he had received a call enroute from Chicago. His Peace Corps recruiter called him to let him know that Drew had been accepted officially (received a nomination) to a new Corps project operating in Sub-Saharan Africa in the area of crop expansion. Andrew was thrilled and accepted the nomination which means he will be leaving in June, one month after graduation.
He will learn more ~ like exactly WHERE he's going ~ later this spring as the area itself is rather huge (you can see the map below!!). But, to "narrow" the area down a bit....the Peace Corps is only active in countries where it is welcome/invited (not all countries in the region are active Corps countries obviously) and Drew was also told that most of the coastal countries are French-speaking so he probably would not be sent to one of those.
It is a very exciting time for him as this is something he has worked very hard for ~ at the same time, for all of us, it is a time for us to realize that these special times ~ Thanksgiving, Christmas, his birthday after Christmas... ~ will be the "last" ones that we all share together for a few years...WOW! That part is hard to fathom.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Featured Artist - Mommy and Me Boutique

I don’t know about you, but as I get ready for Thanksgiving this week, I have to admit my apron supply is looking a little shabby – and I don’t mean “shabby chic!” It’s too bad I didn’t stop by the Mommy and Me Boutique earlier!

Mommy and Me works with designer fabrics, beautiful trims and ribbons to create incredible aprons for adults and children and specialty children’s items, including toddler skirts and baby gifts. These are clearly “not your mother’s aprons” and are designed with loving care and personal expression so that today's mother and child can show off their unique sense of style.

Whether you are cooking or entertaining, looking for something fun, funky, traditional, or vintage, Mommy and Me Boutique is the shop for you. I know I better stop there before Christmas rolls around ~ how about you?

You can find Mommy and Me Boutique at:
Etsy: MommyandMeBoutique
Blog: TheMommyandMeBoutique

Monday, November 19, 2007

Featured Etsy Artist - Creative Sundries

What better pick-me-up on a Monday morning than a “stroll” through a delightful, fun-filled shop like Creative Sundries. Around every corner are new vintage surprises, wonderful memories, and lots of smiles! What more can you ask for than to start the week on a bright note?

Creative Sundries is Sarah and Carol, a mother-daughter/friend-friend team. They clearly have a passion for creating and for discovering unique vintage items. At Creative Sundries, you’ll find not only vintage treasures and unusual ephemera, but also wonderful handmade ATCs, notecards, crocheted cuffs, and jewelry.

This unique Etsy shop is a treasure, indeed, and may be an ideal spot for finding the perfect gift for someone on your holiday gift list. Stop in and get your smile today!

You can find Creative Sundries at:
Etsy: creativesundries
Blog: creativesundries

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Featured Artist - Kala

Artwork on Etsy continually amazes me with me its beauty and creativity. So, I was clearly not disappointed when I visited Karen Jinks’ shop ~ Kala, a wonderful collection of artwork, prints, cards, and gifts.

Karen, a professional artist and illustrator from the UK, works in mixed media and does so delightfully. She has an illustration degree from the Norwich School of Art & Design and is a mother of two. Specializing in stationery, gifts and accessories for weddings and christenings, Karen also loves designing and working with collage, illustration and textiles.

Karen has also opened a second Etsy store with Larissa Robinson Joice, Up with the Lark, featuring her crocheted crafts and jewelry.
You can also visit Karen’s main website where she sells her stationery and gifts for those special moments in our lives!

You can find Kala (Karen) at:
Etsy: Kala
Etsy: Up with the Lark
Blog: ChalkHillStudio

Friday, November 16, 2007

Featured Artist - Personal Treasures

Allow me to introduce you to a fascinating Etsy artist, Phyllis Mufson, of Personal Treasures. Phyllis is a gifted jewelry artisan and an inspiring creative career and small business coach.

Although she first started making jewelry while directing the Locks Career Center at Moore College of Art & Design, Phyllis now enjoys working in her sunny living room where she can meet with clients and have all of her jewelry supplies nearby. She finds inspiration in her 23-story “bead condo” – clear, stacking sectioned boxes filled with her color-coordinated gold and silver, gemstones and pearls.
Phyllis’s earlier work as a textile artist still influences her designs. She is attentive to how jewelry drapes and moves with the body. She also draws inspiration from her customers. In addition to her ETSY stores, Personal Treasures and Mufi Jewels, Phyllis markets through private jewelry shows, giving her the opportunity to see how women respond to her jewelry. She enjoys discovering what interests them, and finding out which designs they find particularly flattering to wear.
If you like Personal Treasures, but are looking for something more casual, stop by Phyllis’s second Etsy shop ~ Mufi Jewels.

Want to know more about career and small business coaching and how it might benefit you? You can learn more about Phyllis’s coaching practice at
You can find Personal Treasures (Phyllis) at:
Etsy: PersonalTreasures
Blog: Personaltreasures

Does your creative muse need a "nudge"? Perhaps those creative juices need a little jump start to get flowing again.....then, I highly suggest a leisurely visit to Wanderlust N Pixie Dust! This delightful, creative Etsy shop is filled with an assortment of vintage, eclectic, and altered items ~ some "ready-to-use" (jewelry, clothing, gifts) and some "ready-to-be-used" (cloth, supplies, and one of my favorites - glitter in beautiful colors!).
This Etsy seller loves antiques and everything vintage - clothing, jewelry, linens, textiles, anything beveled, books, ephemera, you name it. In her spare time she enjoys all things crafty.
Her interests run the gamut from antiques, history, world music, female adventurers, flea markets, to early music, Arabic dance music, reggae, DEVO, and Johnny Depp. Wanderlust n Pixie Dust is an adventure I encourage you to take!
You can find Wanderlust n Pixie Dust at:
Etsy: Wanderlustnpixiedust
Blog: Wanderlustnpixiedust

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Coming SOON ~ etsyBEAD Thanksgiving Weekend SALE!

Mark your calendars NOW! One week from tomorrow (Friday) is the next BIG etsyBEAD sale - the THANKSGIVING WEEKEND SALE! Over 50 terrific Etsy shops will be participating, offering 10% off all weekend long, November 23rd - 25th, AND either FREE or discounted shipping - check the individual shop announcements for shipping details.

I'm participating, of course, and will be offering FREE domestic (USA) shipping and 50% off on international shipping for the sale.

This discount and free/discounted shipping only apply during the sale dates, Friday, November 23rd, through midnight, EST, Sunday, November 25th.

Orders must be from individual shops; orders may not be combined from different shops to receive a discount.

Make your shop selections and put "etsyBEAD THANKS" in "Notes to Seller" at checkout and WAIT for a revised invoice before making payment. Only one discount code may be used per purchase.

If you have any questions, feel free to convo/email me and happy Thanksgiving weekend shopping!

Featured Etsy Artist - AdrienneN ~ Personality Plus Boutique

One of the great things about Etsy is always being able to find great gift ideas and today’s feature artist, AdrienneN of Personality Plus Boutique, has some wonderful ones!

PersonalityPlus Boutique is actually a mother-daughter team (Charlotte, Mom; Adrienne, Daughter). Charlotte has worked as a seamstress for many years with over 15 years in commercial embroidery. Adrienne, a preschool teacher, especially loved to customize gifts for family and friends which opened the door to this venture.

Charlotte and Adrienne are dedicated to bringing you unique, quality embroidered gifts at an unbeatable price! In keeping with her first interests in custom work, Adrienne loves to customize orders so if you want something specific she welcomes the request and will let you know what she can do.

All orders are completed in a smoke free, pet free home where the Personality Plus Boutique team will give your items their highest quality treatments.

You can find AdrienneN~Personality Plus Boutique at:
Etsy: AdrienneN
Blog: Personality Plus Boutique

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Featured Etsy Artist - Mineral Magic Cosmetics

This is a new daily feature and I’m pleased to be starting with MineralMagic as I am one of her very satisfied customers! Read on – try her products – you will be, too!
Kellie carries a complete line of vegan mineral makeup, skin care, fragrance, bath and body, and aroma products.
Mineral makeup are pure, crushed minerals from the earth, providing an SPF of up to 20, depending on how much you apply. It is an anti-inflamatory for your skin, as well. This makeup does not contain bismuth oxychloride, which is akin to arsenic, and is most likely the reason for skin irritation. Another plus -since these minerals are 100% pure, bacteria cannot be supported which means, there is no expiration date. Also, there is virtually no allergy risk and the makeup will not clog your pores.
A licensed cosmetologist, Kellie attended Rutgers University for purchasing and finance, and Manatee College for radiography. She and her family live in Pennsylvania. Her nine-year-old son, Timmy, has joined her in the store with his own line of products to bring awareness to autism.

Kellie takes great pride in her makeup line and guarantees 100% satisfaction. You can find Mineral Magics and read more about Kellie at

Monday, November 12, 2007

EtsyBloggers' Carnival - "Christmas Gift Ideas"

The EtsyBloggers' Carnival is "up"....Stormy Designs is the carnival host and the posts are great! You can read all of them (including MINE, in case you missed it below :-)! ). The topic was "Christmas Gift Ideas" - really interesting to read everyone's ideas, perspectives....check out the "carnival" for yourself!

Want information on how to join in on the next "carnival" - check out Miss Malaprop's FAQ's about EtsyBloggers' Carnivals.

Let's Start the Week with a Good Laugh!

Gotta love OSU-Michigan Week and the age-old rivalry it brings! Here are some great Michigan jokes -- and posted above is a poll so you can VOTE on your favorite!! Check back on Saturday to see which one wins out!

Q: How many University of Michigan freshmen does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None, it's a senior course.

Q: How do you get a UM grad off of your porch?
A: Pay for the pizza.

Q: What do you call a good-looking girl on Michigan's campus?
A: A visitor

Q: What do you get when a groundhog sees his shadow in the Big House?
A: Six more weeks of bad football

Q: How do you make University of Michigan cookies?
A: Place in a big bowl, beat for 3 hours. is MONDAY....and I think you probably guessed that I just have to do something JUST BECAUSE....

۝ 15% off all OSU items in the shop

۝ FREE domestic (USA) shipping on OSU items in the shop

Remember, put "JBM" ("Just Because Monday") in "Notes to Seller" at check-out and WAIT for a revised invoice. Only one discount code per purchase. "JBM" is ONLY announced here and ONLY on Monday. This JBM expires Sunday, November 18th, midnight, EDT....just because!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Stunned, Yes, But, Still Ready for BIG Game Week!

Buckeye Nation was stunned, no doubt, yesterday by the outcome of the OSU game, but being the true Buckeye fans that we are, in the light of day (ok, drizzle here!), we regroup, refocus, and are ready, yes, ready...because it is the one week that really counts......Michigan week....and there is no doubt today that our Buckeyes are still #1 in our hearts -- and will head north ready to WIN for the BIG TEN championship and a trip to the Rose Bowl. GO BUCKS!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Christmas Gift Ideas - Handmade, Not Recalled

I'm giving a try at the EtsyBloggers' Carnival (where different bloggers all post about the same topic and then a "host" gathers the links for the blogs)....we'll see how it goes!

The topic is "Christmas Gift Ideas" and at first I must admit I shied away from posting because my thoughts were about what I actually might be planning for gifts. So, why would I want to post the "surprises" here where the recipient might discover them before Christmas morning?

But, in light of the increasing recalls on children's toys and a conversation I had with my mother regarding "big box" retailers vs. independently owned toy shops and the upcoming Christmas season, my "Christmas Gift Ideas" headed in a different direction. My daughter, a preschool teacher, asked me if such recalls were common when she was a child, and I said, no, not to the extent that we are experiencing now. I told her that I had recently discussed the situation with her grandmother who reflected that she believed small shops, which carried traditional, "made in America" toys, and offered personal assistance/information regarding products would no doubt do much better this holiday season than some of the "big box" retailers given the widespread recalls. I must agree.

In fact, just today, I was thrilled to hand-deliver a new baby gift that I purchased from an Etsy seller, GreenBeanBoutique, knowing that it was handmade with safe, quality products - and the new mom was equally happy and impressed with this new source of handmade, quality items. I know that I've willingly taken the "buy handmade" pledge for this upcoming holiday season. And given the current condition of our commercial toy market, I would encourage all of us to share this option with everyone we know. BUY HANDMADE ~ not recalled!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Milestone - Listing #100! The "Deep Forest" Collection

Hard to believe but I hit a milestone yesterday - I listed my 100th item in the, of course I hope I don't stay at 100 very long - meaning I hope that perhaps some sales will bring the number of listed items down, but it is a nice even number and I am SO excited about the "collection" that brought me up to the magic number.

~Deep Forest Necklace................... ~Deep Forest Bracelet................... ~Deep Forest Earrings
Deep Forest Necklace Deep Forest Bracelet Deep Forest Earrings

So, now the dilemma...designed an awesome new necklace today (probably to be joined by some earrings tonight) and got some wonderful new lampwork beads in the 100 the limit or do I just keep listing? Hmmmmm......something tells me, I won't stop! :-) Stay tuned!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Fall Y'all Giveaway Winner! Congratulations....and It's Monday!

Congratulations to Elysa of Musings from Graceland for winning my "Holiday Pearls" earrings in the EtsyMom Fall Y'all Giveaway...Elysa was selected at random from 183 (!!!!) comments left for the earrings at the EtsyMom blog. Be sure to visit Elysa at her blog (link above) - she has a wonderful story to share.

If you left a comment and are still interested in "Holiday Pearls," they are available NOW in the shop - in holiday red and green - so stop by and check them out!

Yes, it's Just Because I'd like to move out some almost ready to expire listings -- here we go....BOGO (buy one, get one 1/2 off -- higher price applies) on the following listings only:
~ERIN earrings
~WILDFLOWER earrings
~TIGER LILY earrings
~SUMMER ROSES bracelet
~ROSE PETALS earrings
~CHINA ROSE earrings
~SEA TREASURE bracelet
~SEA DANGLES earrings
~FALLNG IN LOVE bracelet
~NEW LEAF necklace

Remember to put "JBM" in "Notes to Seller" at checkout and WAIT for a revised invoice before making payment. Only one discount code per purchase. Just Because Monday specials are ONLY announced here, only on Monday. This JBM will expire Sunday, November 11th, at midnight EST....just because!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

A "NEW" Look for the Shop - Thanks, Kimma!

I know, I know....2 posts in one day! But I have to share with you about my "Featured Etsy Artist of the Week" - Ohkimma. She is a terrific graphic artist designer on Etsy and is the "brains" behind my shop's "new look" (my awesome new banner and my new avatar).....she was such a joy to work with - terrific communication, patience, and details - I can't praise Kimma's work enough! If you are an Etsy seller looking for an update, you really should check out her shop - she has lots of options for you and is willing to work with you! Thanks again, Kimma!! :-)

Wickedly Chic!

Got a very exciting email yesterday with a link to an online magazine telling me that a pair of my newest earrings, "WINTER ROSE" (just listed them yesterday, in fact!) was being featured in the magazine's section called "Daily Ditties" . Wickedly Chic is based out of Chicago and is an online magazine with a focus on "independent shopping for the wickedly fashionable." The site has loads of quite cool contests, give-aways, and awesome shopping ideas for you or gifting! And...just what is a Daily Ditty? Well, according to Wickedly Chic,
"Daily Ditties should be your first stop every day to check out the newest, most chic & unquestionably fashionable indie items on the web. So don’t be a ditty, read the Daily Ditties!"

You can also sign up for the Wickedly Chic newsletter so you can get updated every week on their great contests and giveaways - don't miss out on this great online indie shopping opportunity!

Friday, November 2, 2007

WOW! Fall Y'all Give Away HUGE Hit -- Hurry and Sign Up NOW!

EtsyMom is having a terrific giveaway promotion called "Fall Y'all" at their EtsyMom blog - one great item has been featured each day starting this past Monday and ending today. The deal is - if you find something you like and would like a chance at getting it - all you need to do is make a comment on the item you are interested in by noon, TOMORROW (Saturday). One person will be selected at random from each item's set of comments to receive the item FREE (no shipping charge either!). Whatta deal! And yes, you may comment on more than one item!

My "Holiday Pearls" earrings are the featured item for Day 4, and I'm so excited that they seem to be big hit! Other awesome giveaways are an outfit for an 18" doll (American Girl-type), holiday cards and tags, button magnets, and a wool felt brooch. You can see all the items and make your comments at the EtsyMom blog - remember, deadline to comment for the giveway is NOON tomorrow!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

New Week - New Sales, new listing...and "Happy" (??) Valley??

EBTW is BACK! etsyBEAD's Theme of the Week is back this week with "Pearls, Please!" (I actually was the lucky theme selector :-) )....which means LOTS of pretty pearls at special sale prices THIS week ONLY in the shop. You can find them all in the "EBTW" section. And how wonderful for Buckeye fans - some of the Buckeye Nation items are included!

Here's a peek at just a few of the specials you'll find:
~Buckeye Nation Jasper Necklace.............~Ruby Wore Red Earrings...... ~Black Is Back Necklace
BUCKEYE NATION JASPER NECKLACE Ruby Wore Red Earrings Black is Back Necklace

Autumn has arrived in full beauty and was worth the wait, I think - despite some rainy days, the cool sunny color-filled fall is wonderful to enjoy. My newest earrings are inspired by our tree (you might recall my earlier post about this) holding tight to its leaves as autumn moves in...
~Last Leaves
Last Leaves Earrings

And finally.....really now, "Happy Valley???" I think not.......Woo-Hoo.....GO BUCKS!!!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Only one more shopping day left on the etsyBEAD Holiday Kick-Off Sale -- sale specials expire at midnight tomorrow night (Saturday), so don't delay! Check out the shop now for those items you've had your eye on and get them now at a great savings! The more you buy, the more you save! Details on the sale are posted in the shop announcements.

Just listed these new time for the sale, too! Take a peek and see what you think!

~Pacific Blues

Pacific Blues Earrings

Thursday, October 25, 2007

This 'lil guy is called the "etsy dude" and he is the mascot of a new website called "" where you can "pledge" to buy handmade for the holidays and ask others to do the same for how cool is that!!!! The site went live yesterday and as of just a few minutes ago has over 1200 pledges globally -- I'm pledge #451, in case you're interested :-). Artists and buyers alike are pledging and it's so awesome to read the quotes - a real movement afoot! I encourage you to check it out, and even more so, I urge you to take the pledge and forward the site to those who "shop" for you.

from the ~BUY HANDMADE site:

Why buy handmade?

Buying handmade is better for people, better for the environment, and better for giving truly special and well-crafted gifts. The ascendancy of chain store culture and global manufacturing has left us all dressing, furnishing, and decorating alike. The connection between producer and consumer has been lost. Buying handmade helps them reconnect.

We encourage all consumers to be aware of the social and environmental implications of their purchases.

I am sure the "etsy dude" would wish you all - Peace....

Sunday, October 21, 2007


It's started! The etsyBEAD Holiday Sale is official - now through this Saturday, October week only! BIG savings (see flyer posted below for details or check out my shop page) in over 50 participating etsyBEAD shops. It's the PERFECT time to do your holiday shopping or to pick up those items you've had your eye at a real savings!

Don't forget....put "etsyBEAD" in the "notes to seller" and select "other" for your payment method; then proceed through the checkout process and WAIT for a revised invoice showing the new sale total. Feel free to email me if you have any questions ( and happy shopping!

It was definitely another "kick-off" Saturday yesterday as we were glued to the television for football -- GO BUCKS!!! Whew! That was a bit scary, but, hey, a little pressure is good for the character, right guys - and I'm sure Coach Jim will be having a few "words" to get them prepped for Penn State this Saturday....wonder if he'll borrow any from Woody's speech in the video above?

Another beautiful fall day - and we made a quick trip to a local orchard yesterday before the game - so I think perhaps an apple pie may be in order this afternoon! Yum!

Friday, October 19, 2007

etsyBEAD Holiday Kick-off Sale.......Soccer Season Closes

Just a couple of days away....Sunday is the start of etsyBEAD's Holiday Kick-off Sale - over 50 shops participating in this great way to start your holiday shopping early. Be sure to check the shop for updates as new items are being added over the weekend and throughout next week! Happy shopping!
It doesn't seem that long ago that we were cheering on our winning teams at the Ohio Cup Tournament this summer, and yet, now another high school soccer season has ended. Awesome season, ladies! Congratulations....and of course, more favorite soccer pics from the play-off games!
Northland1 Northland4 Northland3