Sunday, August 30, 2009

Weekend Recap

*Picture 1: Oliver, like most cats, loves tunnels of any sort*
*Picture 2: aren't stacks of multicolored paper lovely?*
*Picture 3: new eensy-weensy cards that I made today.*

This weekend...I did nothing strenuous. I did no schoolwork, no work-work, no cooking, no cleaning, no working out. Instead, I made cards, watched hours and hours of NCIS, played with my cat, and ate out both days.

Saturday night, I went to a birthday party for my friend Robert's 25th birthday. I met Robert 7 years ago when we were next-door neighbors in the residence halls at UC Riverside. We became fast friends and, though we've had a falling-out or two over the years, we've stayed close. Robert has changed dramatically since I met him - although I suppose everyone changes dramatically between 18 and 25 - but it still surprises me when I see him. He's so happy now, so sure of himself, so in tune with who he is and what he wants. I envy him and I'm immensely proud of him.

Heading out to Robert's house in Arcadia, we saw the fires in La Canada - Flintridge and I was amazed. I've lived in California my whole life and never seen wildfires that close. They looked like they were only a few miles from the freeway we were on. I tried to get pictures, but night photography is not conducive to moving vehicles. I got a lot of shots of squiggly orange lines on a black background.

Ultimately, I'm happy with the way I spent this weekend. I normally try to fit so much into those two days, making sure that everything I haven't been able to accomplish the previous week gets crammed in. This weekend, I was supposed to be in Spain (a topic I will tackle in a post one day this week), and because I'm not in Spain, I figured I should take it easy.

Come On, Sweet Catastrophe

Andrew McMahon was a seminal figure in my development. In high school, Something Corporate was the narration of my life and all that I wished I had - crazy nights, crazy love, crazy friends. His next band, Jack's Mannequin, was like the grown-up version of Something Corporate at just the time that I felt I was becoming the grown-up version of me. Andrew has been there through my formative years and for that, I am forever grateful. The first song, Hurricane by Something Corporate, was my anthem my senior year in high school. I woke up to that song, fell asleep to it, played it in my discman everyday, even wrote the lyrics all over my notebooks. You don't do it on purpose, but you make me shake. Now I count the hours 'til you wake.

The second song, Dark Blue by Jack's Mannequin, was the soundtrack to my first long-term adult relationship. He never liked any music I did and this was the only song we could agree on. Since then, it has taken on new memories as well - driving aimlessly with my roommate with this album as our soundtrack; seeing Jack's Mannequin in concert with my current boyfriend last year. This is a gorgeous song and I've never met anyone who didn't like it. The piano is such a driving force in the beginning; it throws you right into the song where you're enveloped by the drums and his voice and that feeling. The optimism of a new relationship, the intent to save someone, the need to drive fast with the windows down and sing at the top of your lungs. Or at least that's what it says to me :) This night's a perfect shade of dark blue.

My Favorite Favorites on Etsy

Row One:

Friday, August 28, 2009

Giveaway Reminder

Don't forget to enter my giveaway!!
It goes on until 9/8 midnight :)

Weekend Event - Free Shipping!

From Friday at 3PM PST - when I think the weekend begins - until Sunday at 1AM PST - when I think the weekend ends - you get FREE DOMESTIC SHIPPING on ANY purchase in my shop!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Deal A Day Sites

I have just discovered a bunch of these "one day, one deal" sites. I think they're ingenious! Each day, they post one amazing deal (usually 50-75% off) and they sell it until it's gone! These sites come in all flavors, but I only troll the scrapbooking ones, so that's what I'll post here for you:

Crafty Steals is run by a stay at home mom of 2 little boys and she almost always has amazing deals! She usually posts tomorrow's sneak peeks and today's leftovers (if there are any!) on her blog. As far as I know shipping here is always $4.99 (USPS) and new deals are posted everyday!

Crop Chocolate is actually more than a one-deal-a-day site; they're a one-deal-at-a-time site! They host multiple offers daily, so the more you check back, the more you get! HOWEVER, that does mean that these items sell out FAST! They often have giveaways and contest on their blog.

Flowers to Flourishes Flowers to Flourishes has deals that usually consist of a group of related items. Shipping here is always $4.99 (USPS) and they don't post new deals on Sundays.

EDIT: They charge $4.99 shipping for kits only. They adjust their shipping daily to accomodate smaller/lighter items. It ranges from $1.99 to $3.99.

Scrapbook Moja is a new site (started in late June 2009), but they already have great deals on big ticket items (Yudu, anyone?). This family-run (Mom, Dad and FIVE kids) site doesn't post a set shipping price, but they do use USPS, so it's likely reasonable. They offer new deals everyday and sometimes post sneak previews on their blog. You can also email them requesting specific items!

EDIT: Scrapbook Moja has closed down their site and is no longer in business! Scrapbook Steals has great deals everyday on everything a scrapbooker/card-maker/paper-lover could want. They have $5 shipping (USPS) on everything and if you're in the Salt Lake City area, you can even pick it up in person for free! They post a deal everyday and have a blog with giveaways and sample layouts!

Peachycheap Peachy Cheap is my favorite of these sites because they consistently have low, low prices on things I really, really want. Peachy Cheap is run by Brooke, a mom of two boys who takes pride in her frugality and hopes to share her deals with us! She posts new items everyday but Sunday, and if Saturday's item is not sold out, it rolls over onto Sunday. Shipping is based on weight and varies.

Blog Button Kindred Creations is a great blog featuring deals for low, LOW prices. For the past week, everything has been under $5 INCLUDING shipping.

Breezy Design is a paper design and manufacturing company based near Salt Lake City. Their last deal was 82% off retail price.

Two Peas in a Bucket, a well-known scrapbooking supply site, has a great deal of the day section where great brands (like K & Company) go on sale for as much as 50%!

*These are not scrapbooking based, but I think they're great anyway!* Baby Steals is owned and run by the same people who do Scrapbook Steals above. They are similiar in that you get low shipping costs, high discounts and brand-name products; the difference is that instead of ribbon, die-cuts and paper, we're talking slings, sippy cups and teething rings. But still great deals!

Hip Green Deals is a great site started by a mom who wanted to combine her burgeoning need to be eco-friendly with her growing realization that "mom" is not synonymous with "frumpy." So she started the site to bring us accessories that would help improve the environment and us!

I hope you guys enjoy these and please let me know if you have any other great deal-a-day sites!

Focus on...Rollerscait!

Rollerscait is a lovely vintage shop run by Caitlin. I often check out her shop when I'm looking for inspiration as well as vintage finds. I asked her to jot down a few lines about herself and here you go:

My name is Caitlin Kelly and I grew up in Iowa. I spent this past summer living in Minnesota and I now reside in Colorado. I have known my whole life I was interested in alternative fashion, and that is what lead me specifically to my love of vintage. I spend a lot of time window shopping and purchasing unique vintage items for both myself, and others, to enjoy. I began my shop this July because I realized I had a surplus of exceptional vintage items that were doing me no good. I am now very pleased with my shop, and hope to always be adding new items that make others feel and look splendid.

Find the looks pictured here:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

love...E Darcy Designs

I have found SO many cute shops on etsy today that I am overwhelmed. I'm also kind of busy at work, so posting will have to take a backseat to the "real" job :) But here's a tidbit for you - isn't she beautiful? This mermaid is by edarcydesigns.

Giveaway Alert!

Fleur Avenue is hosting a giveaway right now! Head over to her site to enter to win this little guy. Yes, he IS a doll made out of beads. Ingenious.
*These are made by variation. Check out her etsy shop!*


Yay! I won Beth's giveaway over at Inkredible Creations! I'm so excited :) I get 50% off in her lovely shop, I'm off to make my selections!

Don't forget to enter my giveaway as well.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My End of Summer Playlist + Giveaway!

(Sunrise over Sydney, Australia; July 2008)

As summer winds down, vacations end, kids head back to school and daylight gets a little shorter a little faster, my mood generally changes to a more mellow one and my musical tastes match. I find that I can listen to a select few songs anytime at all, but in general the seasons and weather dictate my playlist.
Here is my playlist for the end of summer:

1. Metric - Help I'm Alive
2. Frou Frou - It's Good To Be In Love
3. Tegan and Sara - Like O, Like H
4. Kings of Leon - Use Somebody
5. Looking Glass - Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)
6. Toby Keith - Beer For My Horses
7. TiĆ«sto & Christian Burns – In the Dark
8. Frankie Laine - That Lucky Old Sun
9.Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Maps
10. The Cliks - Oh Yeah
11. Ken Oak Band - Summer's Kiss
12. The Beach Boys - Sloop John B
13. Chairlift - Bruises
14. Tegan and Sara - Nineteen
15. Carly Simon - It's Too Late

To spread the (musical) love, I'm hosting a giveaway of not only a $15 iTunes gift card so that you can download all of this lovely music but also a set of three of my "Congratulations on Your Tax Deduction Cards." Your choice of any of any of the colors shown below. These cards are great choices for when you know someone having a baby, getting married, starting a business or buying a house!

Ways to enter:
*Note: Each entry must have a separate comment, and please don't post anonymously! If your username is not linked to your blog, please leave an email where I can contact you!*
Follow my blog!

Go to my etsy shop, choose your favorite item and heart it. Leave a comment here telling me why you like it!

Heart me on etsy!

Facebook about this blog (leave me a link or your facebook username)!

Blog about this giveaway!

Start a thread in the etsy promotions forum about this blog! Leave a comment with the link.

Enter me in your own giveaway!
This giveaway will end on Tuesday, September 8th at midnight PST. On September 9th, I will choose the winner using and post the results as well as notify the winner.
Thank you for your support and good luck to you all!

Inspiration: Color + Mews

My inspiration for today: (clockwise from top left) Prophet the 3-legged mew, George the cuddle mew, a plant my mom hopes not to kill, fruit my mom hopes to eat, and my parents' new recycled glass countertop - Vetrazzo in Skyy Patina.

Monday, August 24, 2009

I Spy...Mew Edition

Can you find the very curious Curious George?

Focus on Chickabiddy Baby Boutique

Chickabiddy Baby is now on my list of go-to places for new baby gifts. See what the artist Rene' has to say about her work:

Hello! My name is Rene' Harper and I am the owner/creator of Chickabiddy Baby Boutique. My love of vintage and antique items started at a very young age. My grandma's house was adorned with embroidered textiles created by her and the other beautiful women of my family.

Through the years I learned many skills...crocheting, needlepoint, embroidery, etc. After I married and my husband and I set off on starting our family, I began making baby things and putting them away for our little ones.

The years went by and we endured many trying times, infertility treatments, and failed invitros. During that time it seemed everyone around me...friends, family, etc. were having babies. I had a baby shower invitation for every weekend of the year it seemed. Like so many times in my life, I turned to creative pursuits to soothe my soul. I started making gifts for my pregnant friends and family. In particular I designed my little Chickabiddy Sock Baby Rattles.

I use reclaimed embroidery that I find all over...antique stores, thrift stores, etc. I am inspired by kewpie dolls and bisque carnival dolls of the twenties. I hand embroider their faces and embellish them with the outcast embroidered blooms. My dollies are stuffed with lavender, soft downlike stuffing and tinkly bells. I guess I decided that I was going to make babies one way or the other.

Four years after I made my first sock baby I am still going strong creating new items for my etsy shop and I am happy to say that my husband and I (and my 14 year old daughter from a previous union) are on the journey of adoption. We are still waiting, but in the meantime I am keeping busy: I am learning to become a beekeeper to help save the honeybees!

Rene' is really a testament to the power of creativity, community and inner strength to get us through our tough times. I wish her well and so much luck on her journey to becoming a parent again! You can visit her blog to learn more about her life, her creations and her quest to save the honeybee!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Cart-Worthy and Heart-Worthy

These earrings, dubbed Margaret Earrings, by their maker Cat Abbot of Cats Creations, have such fresh shades of green! Here's a few quick tidbits about Cat in her own words:

I have always loved making things; for as long as I can remember I've made cards for my family and friends, painted on pebbles from the beach and pressed flowers to make pictures from. I started making jewellery while I was at University and wanted some birthday gifts that had a personal touch. I really enjoyed coming up with designs that were fun and unique, and people seemed to like them so I thought I'd have a go at selling some of my pieces.My background is in Ecology and Conservation so recycling has always appealed to me. That is why I started to use found objects and recycled broken jewellery parts in some of my work, and this is something I would like to develop and explore further.

Brand New Day was the first thing in Natalie Valle's etsy shop I saw and I fell in love. I like the colors, the optimism, the thought of a fresh slate evoked by this image. Here's some background info on Natalia:

I'm an award-winning, exhibited photographer based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I've been passionate about it since I was little. I graduated in Visual Communication a year ago and I feel lucky to be able to work with something that I really love. I shot film & digital, but mostly digital. I always have a camera with me as I like to capture simple moments of my life.

You can see more of my work
here, and here. I've also recently started a blog where I post pictures of my everyday life.

As my roommate will tell you, I have a problem with purses. And wallets. And bags. And maybe also books and shoes and craft materials. But especially, lovely cute items like this that I can put other lovely, cute things in. Jonathan insists that if I stopped buying the smaller, lovely, cute things, I wouldn't "need" the bigger ones. My response: "It's not about need, my dear. It's about WANT."

And I want this! And for $20 including shipping, I could have it.
Here's info about the artist, Daniela:

My name's Daniela, I'm Italian and I live in Italy. I'm 37 years old and I've been married 12 years now. I started sewing about 7 years ago because I watched a lot of american movies and especially in the oldest ones, there were lots of wonderful quilts displayed everywhere. So, I decided that I had to try to make them too and there I started my adventure with fabrics, threads, sewing. I've met lots and lots of wonderful women from all around the world and some of them became very good friends!

I started to sew and I just never stopped. My first creations were quilts, I made them for me, my family and friends. After that, I discovered the craft of sewing and, oh my, it is very addictive. I love to sew cute things for me and my friends, for Xmas presents, birthdays and for any occasion at all. Finally I decided to try to share my work on Etsy too...And I'm very happy with this! I put a lot of care into each piece and I do my best with all my creations.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Focus on...RedCat ArtBeads!

RedCat ArtBeads is run by Irina Dalah, a mom in Israel. Here's her story:

Have you always been crafty?
I have been crafting ever since I was 4. The whole class in kindergarten had to do the same work: draw a carrot and cut out a blue wave (at least this is what I remember). The carrot won - it was the best carrot, the wave cut-out was a total flop. So I got stuck with a unquenchable desire to create the perfect handcrafted item. I've been paper crafting, salt-dough modeling, stained glass crafting, knitting, crocheting and bead stringing ever since.

Why did you begin making jewelry?
It all started with envy... I was admiring a necklace my favourite sister in law was wearing, and she told me that she took this class in bead weaving. I always wanted to take such a class myself, but always thought it's too expensive, or too time demanding. And when she told me she took it, when she has 5 kids, and half the income my family has, I decided I could too...This was 2 years ago, and she took 5 lessons, I'm at my 35th and still going. I was hooked from the first lesson, and I realized this would be a hobby I could do around my kiddies (unlike stained glass) and wouldn't be too expensive in materials and tools, and has the potential to become my livelihood.

Why do you make jewelry?
Because I have to! I read once, (and learned it afterward at a Kabala class) that if God gave you a talent, you should use it, or else it would ruin your life. The creative forces want to be expressed, and after more than 35 years of trying, mine have finally found a daily channel. I have to create, I have to bring into being all these beautiful things that my mind envisions, and bead weaving is the means that justify the end ;-)

How do you approach the process?
I regard each piece as a creation of art. I make everything with great attention to design, details, finishing, aesthetics. This is why is so simple for me to find names for each piece.

Are your pieces meant to be worn individually or as sets?
I'm totally into sets. I haven't listed all pieces as such, but I have made, or designed each necklace with at least a pair of earrings, and each bracelet with a necklace in mind. Many of my pieces, state which other listed item is part of the same set.

Do you have a blog?

*Thank you Irina and good luck to you!*

Friday, August 21, 2009

Focus on...Hunter to the Hunted!

Forest Cocoon Scarflette with Among The Pines Brooch

Amy Poprawski of Hunter to the Hunted is a new (Australian) Etsyian - joined June 19, 2009 - and has yet to break the 1st sale barrier. Since I think she's super talented, I asked her a few questions about herself so that she could gain a little exposure. Check it out!

Why did you start your shop?
Hunter To The Hunted started as a way to blend the passion I have to make things, with the unfortunate need I have to eat. After completing a Fine Arts degree, I struggled to find satisfaction in the everyday working world and although I had been 'making' myself for a few years, I had never seriously considered the option of merging 'work' with 'making' until recently. Hunter To The Hunted is the result of this merge. It is filled with my whims, my obsessions, my facinations and the inevitable results of my incessant hunting.

Have you always been crafty?
I have always been intrigued by the idea of 'making', and I have continuously sought out people who 'make', in order to exclaim and ponder over their objects and designs. I have made gifts for friends and family for many years and they have always told me that I should try to widen the circle and give others the chance to experience my creations. I always shrugged off these suggestions until recently when I decided to take the plunge and open up Hunter To The Hunted.

What are your inspirations?
I am inspired by many things, most often I am inspired by those around me. Whether it be an actual object I come across on my travels, or simply a friend expressing the need or desire for something, I am always thinking to myself...can I do that? Or Ooh! That gives me an idea!

How many items will you carry?
I am starting fairly small at the moment, trying to discover which items seem to strike the fancy of Etsy buyers and not stress myself out too much by filling my store with everything and anything!! I hope to grow the store and refine my products over time and become another Etsy success story!!
*Thanks so much, Amy. I wish you luck and hope this helps you get that first sale!*

Who's next?

Have you heard the latest news about the Swine Flu from the CDC? They recommend that ill college students refrain from kissing while symptomatic, but if they have to... they should do so while wearing SURGICAL MASKS!

Of course, our first volunteers to try it out were... Speidi.

--Full story here.

Shameless Self-Promotion *just a little!*

(click on image for larger version)

Last night, I received a box of new goodies I had ordered from Create for Less and got so inspired that I churned out 9 cards in 2 hours!

One of my new materials is cork, which, when paired with my new 75% recycled paper cardstock, will be super eco-friendly.

These will all be posted on my etsy shop this afternoon. Leave a comment and let me know which ones you like and don't like!

Wise Words

One gentleman said to me: "I do not approve of college women, because they lose all respect for men." This argument had, however, the opposite effect to what was intended; for I thought if our respect for men could be philosophized, or economized, or debated, or booked away, or by any learning rendered null and void, the men must be at fault, and it was my duty as a woman to try to reestablish them on their ancient pedestal. Fortunately, women are born with a missionary spirit. - Helen Keller, from "An Apology For Going to College"

For more of her writings, visit The American Foundation for the Blind.
Photo: Taken by me, Katie Hanson somewhere between Maui and Kauai.

Focus on Signs of the Thymes

Signs of the Thymes is a collection of hand-painted, rustic, free-hand lettered signs made by Elizabeth Keyes. I can barely write straight on lined paper and she's able to create these beautiful pieces.

My favorite set is her wedding set - when the time comes, I will definitely be giving Elizabeth a call. Or maybe a convo :) They look so pretty set in front of the flowers, it makes me want an outdoor wedding - even with all the backup plans you need.

Here's a quick Q&A with Elizabeth:

How did you get into sign-making?
I moved from Connecticut to Lancaster CO., PA in 1994. A friends of ours has a painting business where he makes primitive signs. I have always been into interior decorating and thought his signs would make any room look cute and cozy. I became interested in doing the signs myself, so one day I went over to watch how he does it. I came home from there very inspired and got started. =)

Were you successful right away?
My first few signs were absolutely terrible.. I'm surprised I didn't get discouraged and stop right there. =) I loved doing it so much and it was thrilling to come up with new ideas and experience with them. I started out doing just the primitive signs, but after a while I was ready for more. I got into doing local retail and wholesale shows, especially over the Christmas shopping season. I then decided it was time to broaden my styles and I created my very own retro shab signs. Since then, I've added new fonts, colors, and designs to my signs to the point where I don't have a name for them anymore. =) That's what makes them unique!

Do you prefer to sell in person or on Etsy?
Right now, I'm not doing many shows because I've gotten too busy with the business throught my website, wholesale customers, and a local country market.

Who/what is your inspiration?
I totally know that God has blessed me I want to give my talents and money back to Him.

*Thank you Elizabeth! Good luck to you in the future!*

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Oliver's First Play Date!

Oliver had his very first play date yesterday! Jonathan's sister, Jessica, was told she had to vacate her house for 4 hours while it was serviced by an exterminator. I told her she (and her mew, Stoli) could come stay at our house for the duration.

I missed most of the playing, but she and her boyfriend Jason got some great pictures of the event. By the time I got there, Stoli was trying to hide from Oliver in dark, small spaces and he was staring lovingly at her from a few feet away.

All in all, it was a success! Jessica and I will definitely do this again :)

If you'd like to be Oliver Mew's friend on Facebook, you can!

Giveaway Alert!

Silver Sparrow Designs is giving away the lovely necklace above. Just go here to enter!
Also, check out her etsy shop!

love... PattiBacker's Art

Patricia of PattiBacker has such a fun, whimsical store. I discovered her through Craft Cult, my absolute favorite new site. Back to Patti - her items are sweet and young at heart. Like me. :)

Her original paintings are only $20-40! Her note cards - I purchased two - are only $2.95! She is definitely one of my new favorite artists and I really hope you'll all check out her store and support her lovely work!

One of the cards I purchased :)

Focus on KMcGiveron

Like Stevie Wonder sang, Isn't She Lovely? I have a thing for patinas and this, though made of clay, is PERFECT. And probably warmer on your chest :) This lovely pendant is made by Kathleen of KMcGiveron.

Here in her own words is her story:

Every since I could use my fingers to create an image, I have been in love with art. I love how I can express my creativity with it. In grade 10 I took a Ceramics class because I was short a class... that was when I fell in love with the smell and the texture and all the possibilities of clay. I began working with the material in a fevered manner.

I am now entering my third year at Emily Carr University, majoring in Ceramic and Sculpture art. I have not stopped working with clay since grade 10. I mostly do sculpture work. I enjoy making wall masks and am currently experimenting with darker faces, and on Etsy I sell my tree masks. I have taken a wheel throwing class last semester and have now come to enjoy that technique with clay. I own a kiln and hope to purchase a pottery wheel some time this year.

I am now starting to sell on Etsy, and have set up a blog (found here). I plan on becoming a professional artist through gallery showings and I also hope to teach at the high school level.

Kathleen is extremely talented and you should all visit her shop! Did I mention she's generous, too? She's hosting a giveaway where you can win 1 of 2 pendants in 1 of 2 ways - either through a blog feature or through a twitter mention. Hurry, the giveaways end September 15th!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Giveaway Alert!

Foundling is giving away a pair of these earrings (a preview of their fall line) in the print of your choice (prints here). All you have to do is leave a comment telling her which print you like best! Giveaway ends Monday, August 24th.
Good Luck!

Focus on Kona Creations

This is Percival. He's so cute that I just might die. Or buy him. :)

He comes from Kona Creations' etsy store, a lovely collection of painted wooden signs, soy candles, and plush finds like Percival up there. All pieces are handmade by Farrah and her husband, Charles.
I chatted with Farrah a bit and here is her story:

Give me a personal tidbit:
I am a 34 year old crafter married to my high school sweetheart.

When did you begin feeling crafty?
I started crafting when I was a little girl and have always loved creating. We have always been crafty and made things for our families. We started selling our creations when my mother-in-law opened a small gift shop a couple years ago.
(Her family has a separate etsy shop called Country Goose Crafts.)

What kinds of things do you sell?
We have varied crafting passions such as candlemaking, needlearts, sewing and woodworking. Creating new items is something that brings us great joy and is something that he and I love to do together.

How did you name your shop?
Our shop name, Kona Creations, comes from our love of Hawaii, which we hope to make our home someday!

In case you go to look at Percival's page and he's gone (because I bought him), he has a friend:

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