Friday, October 02, 2009

Wool Gathering

I recently started learning to knit. I taught myself the basics and then took classes to learn how to do lace and sock knitting. I have yet to finish a project but so far I am really enjoying the journey.
When I take on a new venture I really like to know the whole process from beginning to end so one week ago I had the opportunity to visit a nearby Alpaca farm to take a tour and learn more about the animals. Learning about them though wasn't enough, so I bought 5oz of raw Alpaca fleece so I could wash, card, and spin it.
To wash it I put it in my kitchen sink full of warm water with just one drop of detergent in it. I soaked it for half an hour, changed the water and soaked it in the warm soap water 3 more times until the water was clean-ish. After that I soaked it in warm water with no soap to rinse it. I put it in a lingerie bag and spun most of the water out in my washing machine on spin cycle.
Here are the pictures, a bag of fleece, fresh from the farm, next, cramming it all into my kitchen sink, last, spun out and laid on towels to complete drying.
It's been a real trip. Alpaca is so soft it is a pleasure to work with. It did smell a bit when it was wet but nowhere near as strong as my dogs smell when they are wet. It was also cool that I got to buy the fleece from the farmers who raised the Alpacas only 4mi from my house. I also got to meet the Alpaca my fleece came from. I've never gotten to buy fiber from a donor I met before.:)
At this time the fleece is now dry and I have started carding it. Be sure you come back to see how it goes and what happens to the fleece next. :)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Artist Spotlight on Valerie from Valmade

This weeks spotlight is on Valerie.  She makes lovely cards for all sorts of occasions and knits some lovely scarves and very cute baby booties and stuffed animals.  Here is one of her cards that I just love. Isn't it great? And now, here is Valerie, in her own words. 1) Name, Location Valerie, Hong Kong 2) Where can you be found online? 3) What do you do? I’m a bit of a jack of all trades making cards, cross stitch pictures and knit the odd thing as well. 4) How long have you done it? My cards are more recent, last couple of years, but have been knitting and cross stitching for longer than I care to remember ☺ 5) How did you start? Took up knitting and sewing as a child. From there I started making knitted baby booties and cross stitch birth announcements for friends when they started having babies, just as a hobby really. It’s progressed into an online shop when someone suggested I try selling some to keep me in supplies, and card making just seemed a natural progression. I started with cross stitch cards and now make all different types. 6) Why did you choose this and not something else? Not entirely sure why I chose this. I suppose it was something I enjoyed as a child and just managed to keep it up over the years. 7) How did you learn your craft? My mother taught me to knit and sew when little. I studied Needlework at school so went through a stage of making lots of different things, but have reverted back to small projects. 8) Is this a full time profession for you or do you have another job? No, I work full time in the finance industry and this is something I do when at home in the evenings. 9) If this isn’t your full time profession, would you do it full time if you could? I’d love to be able to devote more time to this, however as I personally make every thing by hand, I don’t think I’d survive very long on the income it might generate ☺ 10) Anything you want to share with others in your craft or who may be considering your craft? I think you have to have a real passion for what you make, and just enjoy it for what it is. Although I know there are many artists out there who do make a decent living from their work, I know my work will never make me rich, but I am happy just knowing that someone got some pleasure out of something I took the time to make. Thank you Val for participating in my artist spotlight.
If you would like your own spotlight email me at for more information.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Artist Spotlight on Laura from Laura Fry Weaving Studio

This week's spotlight is on Laura Fry.  She weaves some of the most beautiful yummy pieces I have ever seen, and if you are a weaver, knitter, or other fabric artist she also sells some really yummy yarns too.  This is one of her scarves that I am in love with.  Isn't it gorgeous?
And now, here's Laura in her own words. 1) Name, Location
Laura Fry, Prince George, BC, Canada
2) Where can you be found online?
3) What do you do?
I weave functional fabrics – scarves, shawls, tea towels, table runners, placemats, etc. 4) How long have you done it?
Since 1975
5) How did you start?
I chose weaving as a career. The local community college was offering a two year program in fibres, and I dove in. 6) Why did you choose this and not something else?
After several years of searching for a job that didn’t bore me after 3 months, I realized I needed work that had a high element of creativity in it. When I finally discovered weaving, I knew that I could weave for the rest of my life and never get bored. ☺ 7) How did you learn your craft?
Starting with the two year program, I then went on to take as many workshops as I could afford, locally and away. In 1977 I travelled to Finland to take a two week class at the Varpapuu Summer Weaving School. I also took classes at Banff Centre of Fine Art in Banff, Alberta, and attended conferences as my budget allowed. 8) Is this a full time profession for you or do you have another job?
I’ve been doing this full time for many years, although I did take part time jobs from time to time when necessary. 9) If this isn’t your full time profession, would you do it full time if you could? See above 10) Anything you want to share with others in your craft or who may be considering your craft? I have found weaving endlessly fascinating. It has given me many gifts over the years – in terms of knowledge and friendships. There are few hard and fast rules because change one factor and everything changes. While I may have gained some insight into what will happen, I learn all the time. And I find that particularly intriguing. 11) Anything that I didn’t ask that you would like to talk about? While being a full time weaver has been interesting and challenging and while I might wish to have done some things differently in the past, I don’t regret for one minute that I chose this life rather than some other career. It has been uplifting to teach others and watch the excitement to create spark in their eyes.  
Thank you for taking part in my Artist spotlight Laura.  
If you would like to have your own artist spotlight please email me at for more information.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Artist Spotlight on Joyce from Southfield Designs

This weeks spotlight is on Joyce of Southfield Designs.  She sells beautiful beaded jewelry such as this lovely dragonfly.
Isn't it cute?  Her artfire shop is filled with cute items like this.  Don't forget to check her shop out.
And now, here is Joyce, in her own words.
My name is Joyce Weeks and the name of my Studio is Southfield Designs.
My studio is located in our barn in the tiny village of Southfield, Ma. in the beautiful Berkshire Mts. I design unique and unusual pieces of jewelry using pressed flowers, butterfly wings, resin, glass and glass beads and semi precious beads, vintage buttons and vintage lucite. I have been designing jewelry for the last 4 years, but when I was grwoing up I was always doing something with my hands, knitting, sewing etc. I really started when I retired from running a nursery school and we moved to Ma. from L.I.. I had a list of things that I wanted to do and beading was one of them. I just love the color and feel of the beads and the other elements that I use in my designs. I get a thrill from seeing a pile of stuff transform into something lovely and I can step back and say "I did that". Most of the things that I do are from experimenting. I have a large collection of books that I go to for help. I am always taking classes to learn something new, even if I don't plan to use the technique in my designs.. but you never know!! I am retired so I can spend as much time beading as I choose to. I would like to share the idea that experimenting with different items has led me to my 'Beady Bug' creations and to all of my pressed flower and butterfly pendants. I had know idea when I started that I could make it work. I love what I do and I find it very rewarding .. it enriches my soul!!
Thank you Joyce for participating in my Artist Spotlight.  If you would like to be a spotlight email me at for more information.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Artist Spotlight on Suz from Solar Flare Creations

This weeks spotlight is on a woman who not only creates work that I love, but is also a dear friend of mine.  An Australian native, Suz is a teacher, lampwork artist, jewelry artist, and a medieval recreationist.  How she finds time for all of that plus juggling a husband and a dog I don't know, maybe days in Australia are longer or something :)
It is a cold and dreary day here on my side of the world so I chose this pair of earrings out of her ArtFire shop.  I love the bright, sunny colors, they remind me that Summer will come again, even if it doesn't feel like it at the moment.
Aren't they yummy!
And now, here's Suz in her own words.
1) Name, Location Suzanne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
2) Where can you be found online?  3) What do you do? I am a secondary Art & Photography teacher who makes glass beads as a hobby. 4) How long have you done it? About 6 years. 5) How did you start? An American Ex-pat living in Melbourne told me about Lampworking, and pointed out the course in the Adult Education guide for the local TAFE college. I took a beginner’s course with Kathryn Wardill, and a few months later, an Intermediate Course. 6) Why did you choose this and not something else? I’ve dabbled in many arts and crafts over the years. As an Art/Tech teacher, I had covered about 15 studio areas in my training, but for my own personal expression it has been painting, photography, singing and now glass. There is something very addictive about working with an open flame and molten glass, which tends to take over my other artistic interests. Except singing – I still perform in musical theatre regularly. 7) How did you learn your craft? As I mentioned, I took some lessons to begin with, but I have also found the interaction with other beadmakers on various forums invaluable for expanding my skills and raising the bar. 8) Is this a full time profession for you or do you have another job? I teach secondary school full time, so it is only a hobby at the moment. 9) If this isn’t your full time profession, would you do it full time if you could? Probably not. My husband has always been concerned that if sales became the imperative driving my glass work, the fun would be gone, so he has encouraged me to make it a ‘self funding hobby’. On the other hand, regular sales help keep up the momentum, make me torch more regularly and more productively to replace sold inventory. 10) Anything you want to share with others in your craft or who may be considering your craft? Be warned – it’s addictive!! It’s hard to dabble and not get sucked in. ☺ 11) Anything that I didn’t ask that you would like to talk about? I am also involved in medieval re-enactment, and I research and recreate historical beads. There are various articles and a ‘bead timeline’ I have created under ‘SCA” on my webpage.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Artist Spotlight on Jenn of Jennuine Candles

This weeks Artist spotlight is on Jenn Holliday of Jennuine Candles.  I love candles and burn tons of them at my home so I had a very hard time choosing a favorite item out of her various shops.  I finally chose this candle because the fragrance is called Day Spa and I happen to work at a Spa :)
Isn't it beautiful?  Not only is it called Day Spa, but its also in one of my favorite colors, purple :)
Now, here is Jenn, in her own words.
1) Name, Location - My name is Jenn Holliday of jennuinecandles and I live in the Phoenix Metro area of Arizona.  
2) Where can you be found online? I can be found in numerous places. I have a shop on Etsy (, ArtFire (, and on 1000 Markets ( I also have a website (, a blog ( a Twitter account ( and a Plurk account ( If I had one to choose from for someone to follow it would definitely be my blog because my shops and all my latest news is updated in one place.
3) What do you do? I make 100% Palm Wax Candles. It is a natural and sustainable wax produced from palm oil, which comes from the fruit of the oil palm tree. More importantly, the palm wax used in every one of my candles is obtained from suppliers that are partnered with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil to prevent deforestation. Palm wax is also cleaner burning than paraffin wax, resulting in less soot production and a significantly reduced potential for harmful emissions. They also burn longer, have a superior ability to "hold" fragrance and have a whiter flame than paraffin candles. And, it cleans up easily with soap and water.
4) How long have you done it? I’ve only been making them for 6 months now, but didn’t start selling them until I had done plenty of testing and research to make sure that I had a product that was worthy of putting on the “market”.  
5) How did you start? How did you learn your craft? By day, I am an Occupational Therapist. I work with the older adult population and have the opportunity to maximize their quality of life everyday. Rewarding? Definitely. Stressful? Unfortunately. Over my career, I have experienced countless moments of joy and sorrow; it's in the moments of sorrow that I have identified a need for an escape. I am lucky enough to have found two fabulous hobbies to escape...candlemaking and photography. I had always had an interest in homemade hobbies, but never put my finger on "the one" that I could make my own until I was introduced to palm candles by a good friend. Amazed at the appearance and scent throw, I did some research and experimenting. I had finally found "my hobby"; one that I could enjoy, one that I could find pleasure in, one that I could use to escape and one that others could enjoy as well. I initially started out with the idea of making candles for my home and as gifts for family and friends - after all, who doesn't like candles, especially candles that have a scent that lasts from first light to the last light? But, as co-workers and friends became aware of my new hobby...jennuinecandles was born.
6) Why did you choose this and not something else? Quite simply, it allows me an escape from the rigors of my normal life. I love looking through my fragrance oils or researching my preferred suppliers for newly added fragrance oils and imagining the scent and the beauty that each candle will produce. I am also a people pleaser of sorts and I love the reactions that people have to my candles and it brings me joy to know that I can bring enjoyment to somebody else.
  7) Is this a full time profession for you or do you have another job? As mentioned earlier, by day I am an Occupational Therapist; I work with the older adult population in three assisted living/memory care communities in the northwest area of Phoenix.
8) If this isn’t your full time profession, would you do it full time if you could? I would totally do this and my other hobby, photography, ( as my full-time “work” if they were able to pay my bills. ☺
9) Anything you want to share with others in your craft or who may be considering your craft? With anything, it takes patience, research and a lot of testing to get the right combination that works. The plus side to the testing is a great smelling house! ☺
10) Anything that I didn’t ask that you would like to talk about? I do make and sell my palm wax candles on my sites, but I am very much willing and wanting to do more custom orders; they are more fun because they become unique to that one person. I currently have over 40 scents and 5 different sized containers (glass jars and travel tins) and am always looking to expand to new scents and containers. My scents and their full descriptions can be found on my website ( Thank you for the opportunity to feature myself, my shops and my blog! Jenn
And Thank You Jenn for taking part in my Artist Spotlight!
If you would like to get your own spotlight on my blog email me at and I will send you the questionnaire.  Thank you.

Friday, April 03, 2009

No more Starving Artists - The Stone Soup Challenge

This week I became aware of something called The Stone Soup Challenge.  This challenge is based on the story of Stone Soup, where a weary traveler cannot find anyone to spare him some dinner so he decides to make stone soup.  The villagers are intrigued and start to bring out various items to add to the soup and by sharing create a meal that has plenty for all. 
Times are tough for everyone right now and for artists whose products aren't considered to be necessities times are even tougher.  This is where the Stone Soup Challenge comes in.  If artists band together and support each other we can all get thru these tough times.  
The premise is simple.  Go to the link I included in the first paragraph and comment on the post with your pledge to support fellow artists.  Then spread the word wherever you can, blogs, forums, etc...  Finally, decide on a percentage of your monthly profits you can afford to spend and spend them on items from your fellow artists.
I personally will be spending 15% of  my profits with my fellow artists.  Won't you join me in supporting our fellow artists? 

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Alexia from Arrrt

This weeks creative blogger is Alexia of Arrrt.  She has a really cute blog about her hand made journals and various things happening in her life.  Be sure to check her out here.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Introducing Daniela Ridley of Creations by Daniela

Just in time for spring we have this beautiful butterfly necklace from Daniela.  Daniela has a lot of beautiful beaded jewelry items on her ArtFire shop.  You don't want to miss them.
And now, here is Daniela, in her own words.
1) Name, Location Daniela, Gatesville, Texas 2) Where can you be found online? I can be found in several places: Or you can follow my blog at: Or follow me on twitter at: I also have a plumbdrop page: 3) What do you do? I crochet, make jewelry and play with clay! 4) How long have you done it? I have been crocheting on and off for about 10 years. I began learning how to make jewelry in the summer of 2008 and just a few months ago discovered the awesome possibilities of polymer clay. 5) How did you start? Crocheting: I decided about 10 years ago, I needed something to help me relax. My mom always told me crocheting and knitting were so relaxing. My husband was in the Army and I had 2 young boys, plus I was working full time and had a few part time jobs as well. I bought a skein of pretty denim blue yarn, a size H hook and the book “I can’t believe I’m crocheting”…. I thought I was doing pretty good, had about 10 rows done but my piece wasn’t very big. I also thought I was practicing a single crochet. I remember I couldn’t sleep one night and was up at 2:00 am trying to crochet. The stitches were so tight and so close together! I kept thinking as I gripped the hook tighter and tighter to force it through each stitch, this is supposed to be relaxing but it isn’t! The next morning I took my piece in to a co-worker who crocheted. I explained that I was practicing my single crochet stitch and couldn’t figure out why my piece was so small and tight. After she finished laughing, she pointed to my stitches and told me I had practiced 10 rows of slip stitches… ugh. No wonder they were so tight! Once I got the hang of the single stitch (obviously I mastered the slip stitch) the other stitches came together nicely! I still have that little lap blanket with all of my stitches…. Jewelry: I thought I was burned out on crocheting about 5 years ago. I just finished my Bachelors degree in Psychology and was starting my Masters of Arts in Human Services in the summer of 2008 and decided I needed something to do other than study. I picked up a jewelry magazine, some beads and tools, and made a necklace. One necklace was all it took, and I was hooked. I have made many in the last 9 months and enjoy the ability to make a piece to fit my mood or outfit, or as a gift, or special order for someone. Polymer Clay: I happened to see a bracelet made from polymer clay in a magazine (it is the bracelet on my plumbdrop page by the way). I wanted to make it and decided I liked it! I am still learning the process but clay is such a neat medium to work with! 6) Why did you choose this and not something else? I actually tried knitting once. I needed to use my knees to hold one needle and my hand to work with the yarn and other needle. Something told me that just wasn’t going to work for me! I also know how to cross stitch, but have not picked that up in 10 years. I was self taught at that, and found out although I am right handed, I make my x’s as if I were left handed… comes from mirroring what I see others doing! 7) How did you learn your craft? Self-taught in all of them 8) Is this a full time profession for you or do you have another job? Unfortunately I have a day job. I work as a Probation Officer. Plus I’m a wife, mother and student. 9) If this isn’t your full time profession, would you do it full time if you could? I would love to be able to spend more time developing my skills with these three crafts. I also would like to one day make my own beads, but I know that right now, I just don’t have time for anything else. I have fun doing what I do and really enjoy the complements that I get and I enjoy hearing about the complements that my customers get from others when they wear my pieces. 10) Anything you want to share with others in your craft or who may be considering your craft? Don’t be afraid to create what you like. There will always be someone that says they don’t like that piece; on the other hand, the same piece will get rave reviews from another person. Create what inspires you and what makes you happy. Learn to think outside of the box; find color combinations that go well together but that you don’t often see. Get a color wheel! 11) Anything that I didn’t ask that you would like to talk about? I think it’s great that you are spotlighting artisans! Thanks so much for the opportunity to participate! I can’t wait to see which piece you pick out to spot light with this! God Bless!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

My Poor Puppy

My puppy Spike is in need of some sympathy because he isn't getting any from us. He's got a histoma on his back. A histoma is a benign tumor that commonly occurs on young dogs and then goes away on its own after several months. He started biting at it and it started bleeding. I didn't want him to cause it to get infected so I got him and inflatable neck ring so he couldn't reach the histoma and am treating it with a dog safe antibacterial ointment. Here is my puppy on Friday night begging my hubby to take off the ring.
Doesn't he look sad here?
Notice the tail tucked up, how pathetic is that? If you ever need to keep a dog from biting a wound or surgical site I would highly recommend one of these inflatable collars.  I've used the standard plastic cones on my other dog and she always left long, thin, curved bruises on our legs from ramming into us with the edge of  the cone.  I'm not getting hit any less with this collar but at least its more comfortable.  LOL
Anyway, Spike was after my hubby to get him to take the collar off because I put it on him and he knew I wouldn't take it off.  Of course my hubby is even less sympathetic than I am so he didn't take it off either.
Before to long though Spike adjusted and he's back to his happy, goofy, self, collar and all.  :)
I love my little clown.  He's so goofy.  He isn't trying to get the collar off anymore but he still runs into things because he's now wider than he's used to being so we are laughing at him even more than we normally do.  So, won't you give my puppy some sympathy?  He's not getting any here.  LOL
I don't know how long he'll need the collar for but it will be very amusing while he does need it. :)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Insomnia sucks, Chronic pain sucks, both together suck rotten eggs

Really, what more does a person have to say? I am a chronic insomniac, I have been since I was a teen. I get it from my dad. He and I spent many nights together watching horrible movies on USA Up All Night. You know the sort of movie I'm talking about - "Santa Clause vs. The Martians", "The Thing with Two Heads", "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes". The sort of movie that is so embarrassing to admit you watched it that you would rather go to a video store and in a very loud voice ask to see their porn collection than to ask them where they keep the old B movies. But anyway, thats what my dad and I watched because frankly, after midnight 15-20yrs ago there just wasn't anything else on except informercials. So anyway, thats a bit of my history with insomnia. Had it for a long time and now that USA Up All Night isn't on it really, really sucks. Fast forwarding to now I have added pain to my insomnia and that sucks even worse. I don't know if it would be considered chronic pain yet because its only really been bad for the past 5-6 months. Before that I would get bouts of back pain but it would go away after a little chiropractic care. This time however, the pain isn't going away so I started seeing a rheumatologist again. (I was diagnosed with Juvenile Onset Rheumatoid Arthritis when I was 14). After x-rays, a CT scan, lots of drugs, and even some narcotics the arthritis is feeling better but the back is not. The back actually feels worse now than before I started seeing this doctor. Because the back isn't getting any better he is not convinced that the back issue has anything to do with my arthritis. So I am going back to my doctor on Monday and I really hope he has something new for me to try because this is getting old really fast. I can't sleep because of the insomnia, the pain makes the insomnia worse. Not sleeping makes me cranky, adding the pain turns me into a whiney bitch. I can't work because I'm too tired and hurt too much. I feel bitchy so I spend very little time on advertising because I don't want to offend anyone so nothing is selling. If I weren't 90% self employed I'd fire me. Its just a very vicious cycle and I want it to end. Those of you who are my fellow insomniacs or who have been suffering with pain for a long period of time (hell, even a short period of time) you have my deepest sympathies. Anyway, sorry for the vent. I don't like to whine but every once in a while it has to come out. Otherwise the cycle would get the better of me and instead of being able to be rational about things I would get frustrated and give up art altogether. Thanks for your patience if you got this far. For those of you who fall asleep easily, pass some of those zzz's my way if you don't mind :)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Artist Spotlight on Alisun at Alisun's Custom Crafted Jewelry

This week's spotlight is on Alisun from Alisun's Custom Crafted Jewelry. She's got a lovely shop full of beautiful items such as these earrings which she calls Core of my Heart. They feature her husband's birth stone on the inside and hers on the outside. Aren't they lovely? And now, without further adieu, here is Alisun, in her own words. 1) Name, Location Alisun Riggs, San Jose, CA
2) Where can you be found online? Facebook Aim: Cedarga Skype: Cedarga Email:
3) What do you do? I’m currently making jewelry from wire, chain, Swarovski and Crystazzi crystals, gemstones, and glass. In the past I have supplemented my income with knitting and crochet. In particular, I’ve crocheted and stiffened Christmas ornaments.
4) How long have you done it? I only knit and crochet for the family at the present, but that can change without notice. I have been obsessed with jewelry for the past year.
5) How did you start? I had a bangle watch that my grandbaby liked. I took it off and gave it to her to play with and it disappeared. We were at a family reunion: Christmas or birthday celebration. All of us looked everywhere for it (including where it was found two years later) but didn’t find it. The replacement watch (I only wear them on airplanes so it was some time later) was a chunky dangly charm thingy that I thought would translate easily into Mother’s Day Mother’s Bracelets for my family. Teaching myself to make them obsessed me for six months and they actually complimented the results, so I was hooked.
6) Why did you choose this and not something else? I believe because it was something fun and new. At my age new is hard to find.
7) How did you learn your craft? I went online and gathered findings, visited hobby shops, and read tutorials. I wish I’d invested in lessons early because I spent a fortune on things that didn’t work.
8) Is this a full time profession for you or do you have another job? I’m currently unemployed. I spend all the time I’m not being a housewife or job hunter playing with my beads. I love it.
9) If this isn’t your full time profession, would you do it full time if you could? I’d love to make money doing jewelry, but don’t see it as a full-time means of support. I’d love to edit. I don’t, however, have the degree. 10) Anything you want to share with others in your craft or who may be considering your craft? Yes. There is no wrong way to do things. One of my least favorite items is one of my daughter’s favorites. If you don’t like a certain stone or design, don’t cast it aside: someone wants it.
11) Anything that I didn’t ask that you would like to talk about? Yes. This group of artists is inclusive and willing to share tips and promote each other’s art. The majority of the artists are jewelry makers. I’m not sure what that says about our society, but it seems lots of us want adornment. Artists on this site range from traditional artists who paint/draw/photograph to those who create cosmetics and bath products to those who upcycle in an interesting way and range from whimsical to practical. Thank you Alisun for taking part in my Artist Spotlight.  If you would like to be part of the artist spotlight please email me at and I will send you the questionnaire.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring Earring Sale on ArtFire!

I am offering a sale on my earrings on ArtFire right now.  All earrings are $5 off the listed price in my ArtFire shop.  Just use the Make An Offer button and enter the price minus $5 to get the sale price.  All earrings will receive free shipping as well.  So don't forget to check out my ArtFire shop to get in on these great deals.  I don't often offer a sale on my earrings and I don't know how long the sale will last so check it out soon!
Here is a small sampling of the earrings I have in my ArtFire store.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Introducing Lori Anderson and her Pretty Things

This weeks Creative Blogger is Lori Anderson with her blog Pretty Things.  Lori blogs about her life, her work, and various things that interest her and that she thinks will interest her readers.   My favorite post of hers is the one from March 11th.  If you don't have time to check out her blog right now, at least check out the story her blog is based on, right here.  Its a short one and well worth the time to read it.  Anyway, I hope you check her out and like reading her blog as much as I do.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Artist Spotlight on Diana at Dj Store Room

This week's spotlight is on Diana and her store Dj Store Room. She has a very cute ArtFire shop featuring hand made bags that I just love. She uses luscious colors and beautiful fabrics that make each of her bags and wristlets a wonderful, usable work of art. Be sure to check her out! Isn't this yummy? And now, without further ado, I give you Diana, in her own words. 1) Name, Location Diana, DjStoreRoom, Singapore 2) Where can you be found online? ArtFire Store @ Etsy Store @ Blog @ Twitter @ 3) What do you do? DjStoreRoom offer antique safes, vintage supplies, vintage documents, old artifacts, collectibles, e-tutorials, handmade bags and purses and serviette art designs at online venues. DjStoreRoom also provides administrative work for 3 local small companies. 4) How long have you done it? How did you learn your craft? I had first-hand experience dealing with Antiques, Vintages, Documents and Artifacts as I have been helping my dad out with his own business since I was 16. When I was 12, I started sewing during home economics and stopped after 4 years. While staying in France, I went back to sewing after my kid was born when I was 23. That same year, I took up serviette art techniques as it was a very popular art in France. Plus, I took up a Penn Foster distance learning course on Dressmaking and Design and graduated from that too. 5) How did you start? Back in Singapore, I went in search for a job and got it. 1 year after, I was too unhappy and decided to leave the job. I started off with offering handmades and e-tutorials at Etsy.Com. And when I read about ArtFire.Com, I went ahead and got myself verified at the site. I decided to make that my main site as I agreed with the overall environment. I dreamt and eventually registered my own business, so that I could tap on my own experiences with all the elements mentioned earlier. And, I started and run it all by myself, with the support of my hubby and family. 6) Why did you choose this and not something else? I needed a career that I enjoy, have experience and confidence in. Plus, the most important thing is that I need to be happy. To be able to work with things that you like, that make you happy makes you want to work doubly hard for it to become successful. 7) Is this a full time profession for you or do you have another job? This is my full time occupation. My commitment to it lies in the registration of the business. I seek to have this as my career and be able to contribute to the family and society. I aim to send my child for further education when the time comes. 8) If this isn’t your full time profession, would you do it full time if you could? If this weren’t my full time job, I would still continue to fight for it to become a full time job. 9) Anything I didn’t ask that you would like to talk about? A bit of encouragement for others: I dreamt about the lifestyle that I wanted. I dreamt specifically the details that I would go through from my waking moment, till the moment that I slept. I dreamt of waking up and seeing an email about a sale that was made while I was asleep. I dreamt of going for breakfast with my hubby, before coming back home to upload product pictures and descriptions. I dreamt of going to to check my increasing balance, and packing up goodies after goodies before sending them to the post office. Remember; Dream. And dream in specific details about how you want to live. And I told myself to go ahead and live it. Life is short and mostly abrupt. No point putting things off until tomorrow. Do it today. Live your dream. Thank you for taking part in my spotlight Diana. If any of my readers would like to be spotlighted please don't hesitate to email me at for information on how to be a Spotlighted Artist.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The start of show season

Tomorrow is my first show of 2009.  I am going to be at the Winter Wine Fest at the Jefferson County Fair Park in Jefferson WI.  It runs from 10-5 so if you go be sure to stop by and say hi :)  If you mention my blog when making a purchase from me I will give you 5% off your purchase :)
Anyway, for those of you who do shows I'm sure you are gearing up and getting ready to do your first ones of the season too.  I want to wish you all good luck with your shows for this year.  With the shape the economy is in we are all going to need it :)
For those of you attending the shows.  Times are hard and we understand that.  However, please do not hesitate to spend money at the shows and keep your money in the local economy.  Money spent in your community helps support your community and right now we all need to support each other as much as possible.
To help you all prepare for upcoming shows I thought I would post a copy of my show checklist for you.  Its worked well for me for 5 years and I hope it works for you.
 Hand Mirror (For Gazing)  Rubbing Alcohol (For Trying On Earrings)  Cotton Balls  Change…$20.00 in ones…$20.00 in fives…$20.00 in tens…Coins  Cash Box  Fanny Pack (For Bigger Bills & Checks)  Paper Clips, Clothes Pins, etc…(For Holding Down Money)  Table(s)  Chair(s)  Your Glasses (If Needed)  Tarp or Patio Umbrellas w/nylon clothesline, ball peen hammers & re-bars (To Stake Umbrella)  Duct Tape  Scissors  Scotch Tape  Peg Board (For Hanging Larger Items)  Cooler (Don’t Forget The Ice, Food, & Beverages)  Bags  Tissue Paper (For Wrapping Up Sold Items)  Business Cards  Price Tags  Flyers  Sign(s)  Receipt Book w/carbon copy  Pins (straight and/or u pins for pinning down small items  Pens  Sunscreen  Lip Balm  Bug Off Or Bug Repel Bracelets Found At Wal-Mart  Tylenol/Aleve  Tic Tacs/Breath Mints  First Aid Kit  Tissues (Kleenex)  Baby Wipes  Velvet, Felt Or Cloth For Displays & Table Covering (light & dark colors)  Display Mannequins For Necklaces & Bracelets  Extra Findings: Ear Wires, Clip On Findings, Hoops & Loops, Clasp  Tackle Box For Extra Beads & Such For Works In Progress  Tools…Pliers, Nippers, Glue, Etc…  Fan(s) (including hand held fans)  TV Tray(s)  Suitcases For Transport  Copy Of Inventory  Stapler  Polishing Clothes  Clipboards  Extension Cord(s)  Credit Card Trays  Tablet  Calculator  Tape Measure  Digital Camera  Sales Tax Certificate  Credit Card Machine  Batteries (for digital camera, cc machine, mini fans, etc…)  Lamps  Credit Card Sign  Lint Brush  Colored Paper  Trash Can  Windex  Paper Towel  Ez Up Canopy  Guest Book  Help…an extra person to keep an eye on the other side of the table or relieve you for breaks
And again, Good luck to us all!

Watch me create

The latest installment of my Shaking up the Muse series is now on Watch Me Create.  Be sure to stop by and check it out.   There are pictures of naked ladies in it ;)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Make me an offer sale

I have an Artistry Arts shop that I have decided to discontinue.  I don't really want to relist everything on my ArtFire shop so to hopefully decrease my work load I am going to have a 'Make Me an Offer' sale.  Go to my Artistry Arts shop and instead of selecting something and going thru the payment process there just email me at, tell me how much you are willing to pay, and if I find its a reasonable offer I will send you a paypal invoice.  Then as soon as you pay I will ship out your product(s).  
Thank you, and happy shopping!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Introducing Theresa of Tilt Creations

I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to a wonderful artist Theresa of Tilt Creations.  She makes wonderful bags and accessories, and honestly, who doesn't need another purse?  Scroll down her blog to see her steal of the week, this week it is a wonderful yellow bag, perfect for spring.   Be sure to check her out!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Artist Spotlight on Patrice at The Soap Seduction

How would you like to serve this scrumptious looking dessert at your next dinner party?  Well don't, because despite how wonderfully decadent it looks, it probably doesn't taste very good because this creation is actually soap.  It was made by Patrice from The Soap Seduction on Artfire and she is the Artist Spotlight of the week.
Therefore, without further ado - Here's Patrice!!!
1) Name, Location
My name is Patrice Harrison, and I am a native Washingtonian (DC.) I currently live in Mount Rainier, MD which is just on the outskirts of DC. 2) Where can you be found online? I primarily sell and promote on ArtFire and my blog. I do have shops on 1000 Markets and Etsy. 3) What do you do? I’m a banker by trade. It pays the bills, but my passion is making quality, all natural soaps and bath and body products. I also make candles. 4) How long have you done it? I’ve been making candles for about 2 ½ years, but I’ve been making soap seriously for about 1 ½ years. 5) How did you start? It all started when I read an article in Lucky mag about a young woman who made these ridiculously expensive lip scrubs. I knew I could do just as good for half the price when I read the ingredients list. It was basically stuff you already have in your kitchen! I started making a few Christmas gifts for my co-workers, but when they came back for more, I knew I was on to something! 6) Why did you choose this and not something else? I actually started out as a jewelry maker (if you want to call it that), but I wasn’t very good at it-even after a few classes. I just can’t get the clasps to stay put on my necklaces and bracelets. Anyway, I decided to try something safer-like candle-making (fire doesn’t scare me at all!) When I got candle-making down to a science, I decided to challenge myself even further by trying soaps. 7) How did you learn your craft? I learned my craft through trial and error and by buying books and publications on how to make soap. I can’t tell you how many batches of soap I’ve ruined before finally getting it right. Soap-making is such a science that I still flub a batch every now and then. 8) Is this a full time profession for you or do you have another job? (See #3) 9) If this isn’t your full time profession, would you do it full time if you could? Oh, without a doubt! I love making soap. It’s relaxing. It’s invigorating. It’s cathartic (I think you have to have the addiction to understand what I’m talking about.) I’m not business-minded though, so if I could have someone do the marketing while I did the creating, that would make my life! But, being the very small business person that I am, I am the creator, the accountant, the marketer, etc. I’m enjoying every moment of it though! 10) Anything I didn’t ask that you would like to talk about? Yes. I have a shameless plug here: Follow my blog: and get 15% off all your purchases all the time for as long as you follow my blog. I call it The Soap Seduction Stimulus Package. I want to extend my thanks to Patrice for being the first artist spotlighted on my blog. Now, go forth and buy lots of yummy soap and body products from her :) If you would like to be featured on my blog email me at Thank you.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Lazy Sundays

It's raining today and my backyard is turning into soup.  Today is a perfect day to stay inside and pretend that the outside doesn't exist.  I'm pretty good at it too except for when my puppy needs to go out and then comes in all covered with the outside.  He's very playful and thinks that when I am trying to dry him off and wipe off the mud that I am wrestling with him.  My husband finds this quite funny and laughs at the two of us.
Right now though, the pup is content with laying on the floor next to me.  My other dog is on the other side of me doing her throw rug impersonation.  It must be nice to be a dog.
So anyway, its a lazy Sunday here.  I made a tasty coffee cake, changed the clocks, and am doing laundry.  My hubby is puttering in our basement putting some iron on trim onto the pieces of the desks he is building for us, so he's being productive.  
I have to go to the post office tomorrow anyway, so to make it more worth my while, I am going to offer a sale.  Anyone who buys something from either Square One Beads or my ArtFire store and either puts in the message to seller or emails me the words Lazy Sunday will get 20% off their entire order as long as you pay today via paypal (no echecks).  Follow the payment process as normal and I will issue the refunds via paypal as soon as I get the message that a payment was received.
Have a great lazy day!

Friday, March 06, 2009

What are you reading?

I am currently reading a book by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro called The 5th Horseman.  Its book 5 in the Women's Murder Club series.  I haven't read books 1-4 so I'm sure there is some backstory that I am missing but despite that I am enjoying the book immensely.  Thats the nice thing about Patterson.  He puts enough detail into his books that if you miss one (or four) in a series you don't feel like you are missing out on a lot.  I've been picking up his books sporadically as I find them on clearance at the bookstore or at the used book store so I've been jumping around in his Alex Cross lineup too and also do not feel like I'm missing a lot in them either.
The only think I don't care for is the fact that Patterson seems to break his books up into way more chapters than are actually necessary.  It feels sort of like he writes the books as screen plays first and then turns them into books by taking all the scene changes and turning them into chapters.  James, what the heck is that about?  If you read this, I would really appreciate an explaination.
Anyway, I'm not going to tell you what the book is about. I think you should find the book and read it for yourself.  Although being a part of the Women's murder club series, I don't think I'm giving anything away by telling you that there are women and a murder in it.  Happy Reading!
So, what are you reading?  What book should I check out after I am done with this one?

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Meet Terry!

I would like  you all to meet a fellow Creative Blogger of mine - Terry Spier.  She writes a blog called Magical Beadstalk which is really fun and cute.  She talks about her life and her work and I think you would all really enjoy it so why don't you check her out.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Chiropractic care for dogs - Part 2

Last week Thursday I took my dog in to the chiropractor for an adjustment.  The doctor who adjusted her is the same chiropractor I go to and I really like him.  
He had told me that two days after she might be a little stiffer than normal and she was.  Saturday and Sunday she didn't do much, just lay around the house and took it easy.  On Monday however, she was much better.  She is now getting up in the morning with fewer moans and groans.  She's also much more fluid in her movements when she lays down, sits, or just walks.  She is also more agile than she had been.  My puppy Spike likes to bite her on the but and she'll turn and snap at him.  Thanks to the adjustment she can now turn fast enough to catch him as he darts away.  I'm hoping that her now being able to give him a smack down when he acts like a brat will help dissuade him from his bad behavior.  
So all in all, I am very pleased with how Summer's responded to her chiropractic care.  My doctor says that dogs typically only need one or two treatments and they are good for a lot longer than humans are.  If Summer starts slipping back into her old stiff ways I won't hesitate to take her back to him for another treatment.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Saving money in the laundry room

Saving money is on everyone's mind right now so I thought I would share how I save a little money by making my own cleansers.  
The first one I started out making is my own laundry detergent.  I got the recipe here.  My first batch of this soap cost me about $14.  I spent about $4 on a box of Borax, $3 for a box of Washing Soda, $1 on a bar of Fels Naptha, $1 on a dedicated measuring cup that I only use for measuring out the detergent when I am doing laundry, and $5 on the 2g bucket with lid.  You only use 1/2c of the borax and washing soda and a third of a bar of the Fels Naptha so that $14 will make me 6 gallons of laundry detergent.  At 128 ounces per gallon that is 768 ounces total.  You use about 1/2 cup (4 ounces) per load that means you get 192 loads of laundry for the $14.   That's $0.073 cents per load.  Compare that to Tide at $9.99 for 50 ounces (30 loads) which is $0.333 per load.  If you didn't have to buy the bucket then your cost drops to $0.0417 per load.  Your next six gallons of this detergent would only cost you another dollar because all you would need to buy would be another bar of Fels Naptha.  You will have LOTS of the borax and washing soda left.
Tide was just an example that I chose because it is a brand I know is commonly available.  Your savings will vary based on the brand of laundry soap you use but I am positive that you cannot buy laundry detergent anywhere for as cheaply as you can make it if you are willing to spend just a little bit of time.
The laundry detergent is really easy to make but the website did leave out the fact that it is a bit odd looking.  After it sits for the 24 hours it looks like jello on top but is watery underneath.  This is normal, just take a long handled spoon and break up the solid mass into smaller pieces.   Once you mix it good it will stay mixed and you just scoop out half a cup of lumps and liquid and put it in your washing machine.  The mix dissolves just fine in hot or cold water so there is no need to try to dissolve it prior to adding it to the washer.  I am now on my second batch of soap and have found it to be just as good as any of the premade detergents I've tried.
The other thing I do to save money in the laundry room is make my own fabric softener.  This one is stupidly easy - 1 gallon of vinegar and 10-14 drops of your favorite essential oil.  That's it.  The essential oil isn't even a requirement, I just like to use it to cut the sharp scent of the vinegar.  Using plain vinegar will not make your clothes smell like vinegar, I just add the oil to make it more pleasant for me to dispense the vinegar.  I use this in two different ways.  For clothes I spray a white cloth with the vinegar solution and toss the cloth in the dryer with the clothing and dry it as normal.  When washing my towels and sheets I pour the vinegar into the fabric softener dispenser of my washing machine and do not use the white cloth in the dryer.   When spraying the cloth I make sure the cloth is heavily dampened but not dripping.  When adding to the washing machine I use about 1/2 cup in the dispenser.
Again, the vinegar works just as well as any store bought fabric softener sheet or liquid I have tried.  It also has two big advantages over store bought fabric softeners, your clothes don't come out of the dryer smelling perfumy, and you don't have the film build up on your lint screen which is common when you use a dryer sheet. 
I can't do a final cost analysis on the vinegar fabric softener because I haven't used up my first gallon yet so have no idea how many loads I will get out of it, but a 70ct box of Bounce at $6.49 is $0.093 per sheet.  My gallon of vinegar was $2, the essential oil was something I've had forever so I don't know how much it is.  I've gotten 30 loads out of my gallon so far (spraying the cloth uses less than filling the dispenser) so I am at about $0.667 per load at the minimum.  I have quite a bit of vinegar left so the price will be much lower when all is said and done. 
That is how I save money in the laundry room.  Let me know if its been helpful and please feel free to share how you save money as well.
And regarding the site I shared with you.  I have not tried their all purpose cleaner and glass cleaner recipes yet but as soon as I use up the store bought stuff I have I will be trying them out and I will be sure to let you all know how I like them.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Introducing Hillary

Wow, three entries in one day.  What did you guys do to deserve this?  It was either really good or really bad.  :)
Anyway, I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to Hillary of 57 Design Studio.  She hasn't had much to say lately due to some home renovations but having redone my basement early last year I can totally understand how busy she is.  I'm sure you can all join me in sympathizing with her and wishing her lots of luck on her project.  Be sure to check her out :)

Chiropractic care for dogs

I have an almost ten year old German Shedder named Summer.  Last year I came home from work one day to walk in on her screaming in pain.  No one was home, she had no obvious injury, but she was limping badly.  I rushed her to the vet where they took xrays and diagnosed her with Arthritis.  I have arthritis myself and know the pain of it so felt really bad for her.  
The vet gave me some anti-inflamatories for her and suggested I try to get her to loose some weight and get her to exercise more.  I did both and after a year of the pills and exercise of at least a mile a day (she lost 11lbs, I only lost 5) she is doing better but there is still room for improvement.
My vet suggested that one thing I might try was a chiropractic adjustment.  I talked to my chiro and it turned out that he was the one who went to my vets office to do the adjustments.  So tonight I took her to the chiropractor.  I wasn't sure how she'd react but she didn't seem to bothered by the whole process.   The chiro said that in a couple days she'll be a bit stiffer than normal but that it will loosen up and I'll notice a huge improvement.  I'm looking forward to seeing if he's right and seeing if this helps my Summer girl :)
In the meantime, has anyone else taken their dog to the chiropractor?  I would love to hear about your experience.  I will be sure to update you all on what happens with Summer.
This is Summer and her companion Spike. Spike is a boxer/lab mix.

Spotlights by ByHand

I just wanted to show everyone a great new way to show off your work when you sell on multiple venues.  It is called a Spotlight and it was created by  If you go to the bottom of this page you can see a Spotlight in action right now.
It is very easy to use.  You register at and then in the upper right corner of the screen you choose New Spotlight.  Then simply follow the directions on the page until you've selected your nine items you want to spotlight from the various venues.  If you decide you would like the items in a different order you can just click on an item you want to move and drag it to where you want it to go.  Then the two items will switch places.  It is very easy and a lot of fun.  
You can spotlight your items, your friends items, items that just caught your attention for any reason at all.  
Once the spotlight is done it will show up in 'My Spotlights' in the upper right corner of your screen.  Go there, hover over the little planet icon next to the spotlight you want to share, and a grey box will appear.  At the top of the box are sizes of spotlight you can choose from (the one at the bottom of this page is the full size).  Select one and the html code will appear.  Then you can paste the code into a blog, a website, or whereever you want.  There is even code provide for sites that don't support Java.  
Simple, fun, and free what more could you want?  Now go forth and Spotlight!  :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My New old blog

Years ago when I started blogging, I started out here on Blogger.  Then, I stopped blogging.  I don't know why.  But when I started up again I was on Wordpress.  Again, I don't know why I changed.  Anyway, after using Wordpress for a while I have decided I like some of the functionality of Blogger better so I am back.  Be sure to check here frequently for sales specials and other random bits of my life that I may care to share.
Thank you