Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wednesday Wanderings...Short and Sweet

Once again I am facing an upcoming craft show (this Saturday) and I'm saying, "I'm not ready yet!!!!" How do I always manage to do this to myself? Today is going to be spent feverishly continuing to work on show preparations. I pray that on my next Wednesday post I can report to you that all went well and that I had a very successful booth. Hope you also have a blessed and productive day.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday Memories: Easter 2009

It's hard to believe that a year has already passed since the fun family time we had last Easter. My son, living about an hour north of us still comes down for fairly frequent visits, but my daughter now lives in Florida, so my main contact with her is via the internet. So goes the life of the empty nesters. I must learn to be more consistent with picture taking so I have "photo memories" of special times together. Thankfully, both my children are better than I am at remembering the camera,  so I have these great pictures of my family during last year's Easter preparations. Here is my tongue-in-cheek tutorial of how to dye Easter eggs:

First you have to read the directions (a very important step, guys usually choose to skip this one), get all the necessary items, and prepare the egg dye:

Once all the dye is ready you must carefully plan your design. You can choose to simply dye the egg one solid color, use different colors on different portions of the egg for multi-colored creations, draw a design on the egg using crayon and then dying it, put a shrink wrap sleeve over said egg then placing it in the hot dye bath, place stickers on the egg for added embellishment...and so on and so forth...

Make certain that Mom and Dad take their turn at it too!

Now you have gorgeous eggs ready for Easter!

Hope this very informative (goofy) photo tutorial is helpful in preparing for next Sunday but the most important point to remember (beyond all this silliness) is that the TRUE meaning of Easter is to celebrate Christ's supreme sacrifice for us on the cross and that glorious Sunday when His followers heard the wonderful news:

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Favorite: Bobbie of "Inspired by Marie"

Bobbie, AKA inspiredbymarie has an absolutely wonderful etsy shop full of gorgeous woodburned creations for the home, outdoors, office, and special occasions. As she states in her shop announcement, “ In here you will find everything from wedding and memorial items, bookmarks to books, boxes and signs, shelves and peg racks, bird houses and solar lights, even family trees. A little something for everyone, and the variety grows all the time.” I can personally attest to the excellent quality of Bobbie’s work as I have a number of her items myself (bookends, memory book, business card holder, snowman candle holder).

I asked Bobbie to share a bit about herself. She lives in the beautiful state of Oregon, has four amazing children, one beautiful granddaughter, one dog, three cats, and a guinea pig. Favorite activities include being with family, traveling, and camping. She has been working with wood about 30 years and has just celebrated her one year etsy anniversary. When asked where she finds the inspiration for her craft this is what she had to say: “Everywhere! I stepped away from art for a while. I lost my dear mother close to 2 years ago. Her love of God, of nature, and of my art got me to get going again. A lot of my work comes from things that she loved so much! My children and the amazing Pacific northwest have also been very inspiring to me.”

Bobbie's favorite items from her shop are the very popular wedding tree of hearts mat:

and the most difficult piece, the trunk with birds:

Although I already have a number of her pieces, Bobbie keeps coming up with wonderful new offerings to tempt me further. A couple of my new favorites:
Wood Butterfly Pen / Marker Holder

and Wood Burned Birds in the Branches Purse

Come visit Bobbie's shop inspiredbymarie and see for yourself all the incredible treasures offered by this very talented artisan.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wednesday Wanderings...Denim Design

Today I listed something new in my etsy shop, an upcycled denim jacket. I've been wanting to add jackets to my inventory, and have finally completed my first one. The lettering is done using fabric paint and stecils I've cut on my Cricut Expressions machine. The lion is painted with oil paintstiks similar to the way I painted the mountains on the tee in my March 17 photo demonstration blog. Denim is a little trickier to paint due to the coarseness of the weave, but I was pleased with the way it turned out. What do you think?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Memory Monday: Solvang, CA

As I was browsing through my pictures trying to decide which memory to post today, I came across this photo:
After I graduated from high school in 1976 (oh my, I'm telling my age now!) my parents, sisters and I went to California to visit my brother who was living in Oxnard. During that visit we went up to Solvang, affectionately known as "Little Denmark". It is an adorable litlle community made to resemble a Danish town. We had a great time browsing all the quaint little shops and we just couldn't resist the old time photo studio. The shop owners were delighted to have such a big group to photograph and offered my parents a good deal on the price if we would agree to let them use our photo as an example of a large group shot. We had  fun dressing up in "old fashioned" costumes and were joking and laughing as we prepared for our photo shoot.  When it came time for the pictures, the photographer informed us that in most old photos, the subjects were serious, not laughing or smiling. That made the whole situation even funnier as we tried hard to keep a straight face while he took the picture. As soon as he'd get a shot he'd say "Okay" and we'd all burst out laughing again! We attracted quite a crowd of onlookers as other tourists were stopping in to see what all the silly commotion was about. Mama was having a hard enough time getting "serious" for the picture, but when somebody hollered out "Are all those kids HIS?" she broke out with such laughter that she got all of us cracking up too! It was a wonderful trip and a very delightful memory.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Favorite: Cory Ahern of "Falling Star Lane"

Today's Friday Favorite is a wonderfully talented lady whom I consider a friend even though we've only "met" online. Cory has a fantastic etsy shop: FallingStarLane .  I will let her tell her story:

About me:
I am 47, married for almost 23 years, a born again Christian, in love with my husband and best friend. I have been so blessed with healthy, happy children, and have more to be grateful for than I can get my brain wrapped around sometimes. I am learning to be content with this life, and to rely on my God to help me improve my relationship with Him. Trying not to whine is getting easier, as I realize that growing up means becoming more mature! I love to laugh, and make others smile or laugh, and to see the humorous in so much of my life.

I live in Costa Mesa California. I have 5 kids, 1 grandson, soon to be a son and a daughter in law - 2 weddings coming up! I love to read and watch TV and movies - I don't get as much time to do so now that I am on etsy and the computer so much. I guess you could say, I also like the computer! I love entertaining, having company. Feeding people is a good thing!

Thoughts on my crafting:
I do a lot of different crafts. I have been sewing for 30 years or so, and making cards for over 25. I love paper and so having the card making as a craft became necessary. I have been making jewelry for 12 years or so. I love anything crafty, really, I just have a need to be making and learning. Many of my crafting abilities came about because I needed to give a gift to someone, and didn't like what there was to buy, so I made something instead - and a new skill is born!!! Because, I had to make something different than the last gift, right? Crafters justification for expanding my repertoire!! I get my inspiration for my crafts from all over, really. I look at other people’s works, books, magazines, catalogs, TV, even nature. I see so much potential in making stuff, and improving on designs. I don't copy, but I do see things, of course, and get inspired to try to alter/change/improve upon an idea. It's part of the creative process, I think, and is very challenging. I love to garden, because I feel alive around plants, and I want to become a very good photographer.

My etsy business:
Having a shop on etsy has been an answer to prayer for me, and the work it takes is well worth it.  I listed my first item on etsy May 25th of last year, and it's still here, funnily enough! But I have had a good amount of sales, no real complaints. I love to get special orders - I do welcome the challenge, and it totally expands my creative ability to make something with input from someone else, especially if they know what they want and are guiding me towards the finished product. I have started participating in a local monthly craft show as well, and really enjoy it.

Some of my favorites:
I love this a lot, it's an original to me design:

and I love my jewelry wraps, which is an invention of mine - I am trying to get it protected:

and I will be very unhappy when this sells, it was a massive effort, and I probably won't make it again!

It's hard to say favorite - I really love making so many things - I have always loved gift shops, the kind with lots of goodies, and a wide variety of things to choose from, and so I guess I sort of tailored my shop along that image.

I have ideas for future endeavors, also, I want to learn to throw pottery, and weld metals, and I really would love to learn stained glass. I also would love to learn to paint water colors. I try to mimic the beauty God has created around us -I guess He's my biggest source of inspiration. I know He has given me ideas in my dreams, jewelry designs and such, and I couldn't do anything without Him being here with me.

Life is good, I am blessed, and I love to share, so this venue has become a good one for me.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wednesday Wanderings...The "Process" Revealed

Original oil paintings on tshirts? For some reason when I tell customers that my tees are hand painted, they have a hard time understanding I mean exactly that. I paint the design directly onto the shirt. They'll say things like "You mean you paint them and then iron them onto the shirt?" or "Is it like applique, you do the painting and then sew it onto the shirt?" So, to help clarify, I have created a picture show to demonstrate my process. I took these pictures myself, using the timer on my camera and I had to do them in my craft room where I work, so the picture quality and the lighting are not the best, but you can still get the idea of how I paint my shirts. In this photo demonstration I am painting the San Francisco Peaks design.
Before I begin painting, I adhere a piece of contact paper to the inside front of the shirt. This keeps the fabric from stretching, folding, or bunching up as I'm painting. I did not get a photo of this preparation.

I start by creating a white "canvas" on which to work (on a white shirt I don't have to do this step):

Next I paint the sky. Because the stencil brushes I use are sort of fat and chunky I have to cut stencils to use in creating clean, sharp edges (like the tops of the mountains):

Then the mountains:

Now for the trees:

and the meadow:

The finished product:

And that, folks, is how it's done!  :-)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Memory Monday: Family Reunion Crica 2002

Every few years our family tries to get together up at my parent's cabin in the mountains outside Flagstaff, AZ. As I was considering what memory I'd like to share today I thought of this particular reunion for two reasons. It was my new husband's first big gathering with this crazy bunch since our wedding, and we were all celebrating my parent's 50th Anniversary.  One of the first very special things we did was have  family photos taken by a professional photographer. Each of our individual families wore the same color tshirt so anyone seeing our pictures could easily tell who belonged to who (or is that whom?).

Other shots included my parents and their (wonderful) children, each individual family, and all of our kids clowning around.

 After the photo shoot we went to a wonderful Mexican restaurant for a celebration dinner and we presented Daddy and Mama with an Anniversay Quilt that my sister had made. The center panel has pictures of Mama and Daddy on their wedding day and present day. Each of the other panels features one of us kids with our wedding picture in the center surrounded by pics from our childhood and pics of our families and our children. In the outside (triangle) sections are various family photos of us kids during our growing up years.

From there we all headed to the cabin up on the San Francisco Peaks for several days of  celebration, fun and fellowship.  Since this was one  very dry summer, we had to take steps to conserve water and to prevent forest fires: Using an outdoor washbasin as our "sink" whenever possible, making sure we complied with campfire restrictions (Forest Service rangers showed up to make certain our "wild gathering" was being safe with fire), and of course, the ever conservative outhouses!
There were impromptu baseball games, nighttime family sing-a-longs,  the ever present chipmunks looking for a handout, visits from aunts, uncles, and cousins, and goofy group pictures.
All in all it was a fantastic reunion and a great way to celebrate our families and our incredible parents.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Another Terrific Give Away!

Helen, of, is offering an incredible give away on her blog, . You could win an adorable "Dancing Flower" and a choice of one of four darling items from her etsy shop. Stop by and visit her beautiful shop and check out the fun give away on her blog page!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Favorite: Sue Anderson of "MYSAVIOR"

Every Friday I hope to feature one of my favorite sellers from Etsy. I'm going to start this off with a wonderful Christian lady who does fantastic photography, Sue Anderson. I asked her to tell us a little about herself:

"I live in West Milford, New Jersey which is at the northern most part of NJ and If I traveled about 5 minutes up Lakeside Road I would be in New York State.

I have 2 adult daughters, Jenifer age 37 and Jodi age 35. Jenifer is a single mom of my two grandsons Cole age 16 1/2 and Noah age 8 1/2. Jenifer and the boys live here with me. I love being so close to them. My daughter Jodi has been married to Jonathan for 4 years and they live in Ohio. We have 2 kittys, Mango and Inky and my doggie Chichi.

I love to cook, crochet and read all types of novels and I am very intrigued with real life history.

I have been taking photos from the very first day my parents gave me a brownie camera for my tenth birthday. I believe that I have had an eye for photographic image balance from a young age and have always loved the beautiful things in nature. God's nature.

When I joined Etsy my intention was to just buy but the Lord guided me to Team CAC and I became interested in maybe trying to sell some of my photographs. Now I am being guided to go more towards selling photograph greeting cards.

The inspiration for my photography is easy. It is the Lord's beauty that inspires me.

My favorite item in my shop at this time is a digitally enhanced photograph of the sun through the clouds that I made into a greeting card for Easter called He is Risen. The original photograph is a blue sky with white clouds and the sun rays coming through."

Her etsy shop, MYSAVIOR, has a terrific collection of photos and photo cards that truly do depict the beauty of God's creation. A couple of my favorites from her shop:

"He is Risen" photo Easter card

Ephereal Lady of The Evening Gown Reflection Photograph

Please be sure to visit this shop full of incredibly beautiful photos and cards:

Thursday, March 11, 2010

AWESOME Give Away!

Just doing a quick post today to let everyone know about an incredible give away being offered by Jennifer, an etsy friend with a terrific shop:

To learn about this fantastic contest, check out her blog:

Enjoy browsing her shop and good luck in the contest!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wednesday Wanderings...It's SNOWING

Okay, maybe it's not REALLY snowing here, but I'm sure it must be somewhere! Since we live in the desert, I get my "snow fix" with my fun and ever growing collection of snowmen. For many years I only displayed them in January as my "Winter Decorations", but I thought they were too cute to leave stored away 11 months out of the year. Despite the teasing from my two children (and on occasion, my darling hubby), I decided to put them on display year round. So here they are in all their snowy splendor:

I discovered this adorable fella  in a grocery store after Christmas. He was just too cute to resist! My daughter pretended not to know me as I walked around the store with a 2 1/2 foot tall snowman tucked under my arm!
This is one of my most precious items in my collection. It's a snowman candle holder given to me as an unexpected gift from a very special etsy friend, Bobbie, from her shop
So there you have it...snow in the desert!