Saturday, May 31, 2008

I Love These Flowers

I just love the leather flowers at Viridian! Handcrafted from genuine leather with beaded centers for a bit of sparkle, they absolutely add a bit of luxury to your life, but without the luxury-class price tag. With a price range of $6 to $22, you can add one to your jacket, another in your hair, and wear yet another as a necklace. In fact I love these so much that I'm giving all Viridian shoppers 10% off any chain order. Just contact me after you've purchased your flower(s).

Thursday, May 29, 2008

On the Road Again

I'm packing to hit the road, headed to Indiana to visit my new grandson! My daughter said "I'm so glad you're coming, Mom! My house is a mess!" Hmmm. I am looking forward to enjoying that new-baby smell, and we'll see how much housework I actually do.

But I'm also trying to figure out to manage everything while I'm gone. My darling husband will be shipping orders for me, so I'm happy to not have to put my Etsy or eBay shops on vacation mode. Trying to get through all the other daily stuff may not be possible, so I thought I'd try a Mr. Linky to help with my Entrecard drops. If you're here to drop your card, take a few seconds and add yourself to my Mr. Linky list. (If you're not here to drop your card, click on over and get yourself a card!) I figure that anyone who took a minute to read instead of dropping and running has earned a spot on my list. While I'm gone I'll drop on these blogs before I drop on any others, and I'll be curious to see if it speeds things up for me.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Now For Some Good Clean Fun

If I was pushed to name my favorite find on Etsy it would have to be soap. I've purchased enough different kinds of soap to last me at least a year, and I've been giving handmade soap to everyone I know on all gift-giving occasions. Sometimes I even celebrate the lesser-known gift-giving occasions, like Happy Soap Day. Or Smell Like a Poundcake Day. And my personal favorite, My Bathroom Smells Like a Spa Day. I "met" Janell of Mooney's Market through Entrecard, and she has such beautiful soaps in her shop that I asked her to share some information. Her enthusiasm really shines, and I hope you enjoy her response as much as I did:

A few years ago my family and I had decided to make all 'handmade' gifts for each other for Christmas. I've always loved making gift baskets, so that year I decided to make bath baskets for all the ladies in the family. From that I went to the craft store and bought a soap making kit. It was so much fun, but I never did anything seriously with it after that. Until about a year ago when I found etsy, and started buying handmade soap online.

I've always wanted to try my best to live a healthy lifestyle, and using natural products on my skin fit perfectly with that. After trying several different types of soap from various etsy sellers, and loving them all!!! I decided to give it a try myself--learn more about what's good for your skin, and start making my own.

At first, I was just making soap for myself and my fiance, but once you've got so much of it around, you can't possibly use it all within a reasonable amount of time, so I decided to really educate myself and start selling soap on etsy.

There are a few different ways of making soap, and some day I want to learn the cold process method, but for now, I'm happy working with batches of natural soap base, and creating my own special blends.

What I love about working with soap base, rather than mixing the base from scratch is that for starters, it's much safer. Creating cold process soap means working with lye which is not only combustible if you mix it incorrectly, but it's also very hazardous to your health if you breathe it in. Also, cold process soaps take weeks to cure, while working with natural soap bases and adding my own special ingredients, I have fresh new bars of soap within a day's time.

It's a matter of preference as a soap maker really. There are benefits to both ways of making soap. The cold processed soaps are a bit more expensive, naturally, because they are made truly from scratch.

But, I tend to lean toward working with soap bases because I have more flexibility in presentation, it's a bit more affordable both as a soap maker and as a buyer of bath and body products, and it's safer to work with as well.

I've always loved to cook. I love trying new recipes, and blending different flavors together. I also love to decorate, and I'm inspired by a variety of crafty things. I also have a jewelry shop on etsy, but to be honest, I really feel like I may have finally found my passion in crafting. Making soap for me, is a great way to blend so many of my hobbies and interests into one project.

I get to play with color. I get to play with fragrance, essential oils, and I'm learning so much about aromatherapy and other natural ingredients that are great for your skin. I get to play with the presentation of my soaps by using pretty molds and packaging, and I get to learn and educate others about natural ways to care for your skin and your body.

For me, making soap is so much more than simply making soap. It's about living a healthy, natural lifestyle, and I love being able to share that with others. I know that I still have a lot to learn about soap making, as well as the benefits of different things that can better your skin, but I'm loving every minute of it, and I'm SO enjoying the ride!

Visit Janell:

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Most Interesting Vacation Idea Yet

With all the turmoil and stress of buying a house and moving, we just did not have time to do our income tax returns this year. We barely managed to file the extensions on time. Now, as I look at these giant mounds of receipts crying to be put in some sort of order, I'm feeling rather envious of those who did file in a timely fashion and are enjoying their stimulus checks. How I Spent My Stimulus is a web site for folks to post
what they're doing with their checks. My favorite is the person saving for a trip to the 2009 World Beard and Moustache Championship in Anchorage, Alaska. This guy is Willi Chevalier of Germany, the 2001 World Champion in Full Beard Freestyle. Who wouldn't want to save up to hang out with a bunch of guys like him?

Friday, May 23, 2008

No Monkeys in the House

In the interest of making every day my lucky day, I've been doing some research into superstitions about luck. Some of them are truly funny--I'll save them for future posts--and some of them are truly interesting. One of them, however, has me totally confused. Apparently in Brunei it is widely considered to be bad luck to have monkeys in your house. What I can't find, though, is whether this applies to only live monkeys--which pretty much makes sense to me--or if it also applies to images of monkeys. Are stuffed toy monkeys okay? And what about sock monkeys? Monkey-patterned blankets? Do we need to completely redecorate? (Just kidding, I don't think we have a single monkey-related item here.) Is it safe to wear jewelry with images of monkeys? Apart from possible damage to your stuff, why is it bad luck to have monkeys in your house? Does this superstition carry over to other countries, or is it only in Brunei? I have so many questions that I can't answer, and I'm hoping that at least one of you can help clue me in.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

My New Favorite Dichroic Pendant

I just can't stop looking at this dichroic patchwork pendant. I pieced together 8 different kinds of dichroic glass and fused them into this pendant. Dichroic glass looks different from different angles, so with all the colors and patterns in this one it's non-stop entertainment (at least for me!). I listed it for sale in my Etsy shop and I don't think it will stay there for very long--maybe I should start on a similar one tomorrow. Or better yet, two--then I can keep at least one for myself!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

5 Reasons I Love Entrecard

1. I've discovered a lot of truly nice bloggers and interesting blogs that I probably wouldn't have known existed through Entrecard. I learn at least one new thing from these folks each day, and most days several of them will make me laugh.

2. The traffic to this blog has increased significantly, and it's not all drop-and-run as I feared it would be. A fair number of Entrecard users take the time to stop, read, leave comments, even check out my jewelry and temari. I've come to believe that you get out of Entrecard what you put into it, and if you make the effort to read and interact with the others, people will do the same with you.

3. The ads I buy (with credits I earn, not real money--perfect for my current budget!) on other blogs give this blog exposure to everyone and anyone who might be reading those blogs--many of whom are not entrecard users--bringing new blog readers here and potential customers to my Etsy and eBay shops.

4. The powers that be have come out with a free new ebook to help new entrecarders and seasoned droppers alike. My favorite part about the ebook is that they included MY AD as part of an illustration (see page 8), but it's also full of a ton of helpful tips and info.

5. Entrecard has just been updated so that you can have more than one blog on your account, and switch between them quickly and easily. This is terrific news because I'm planning to launch another blog in the next few weeks and I'm looking forward to using Entrecard to help get traffic moving to it.

If you're a blogger and not in the Entrecard network yet I recommend you have a look around, read the ebook, and feel free to ask questions.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My Latest Kumihimo Necklace

I listed this braided Kumihimo necklace in my etsy shop today. I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out until I was a good way into the braiding because I made it with windowpane yarn. If you've never seen windowpane yarn, it looks like two strands of string connected by little ribbon flags. This was my first time using anything like it, and I love the way this necklace looks! I also refreshed myself on kumihimo history today so that I could answer a customer's questions, so here's a mini history lesson for you: Kumihimo is a centuries-old tradition, dating back to the days of the Samurai who used kumihimo braids to lace up their armor, wrap sword handles to create a secure grip, and to hang a sword on their belts. The Samurai warriors were expected to be able to repair their braids if they became worn or damaged, so by the time they were too old (or maimed) to do battle they were able to earn a decent living by making kumihimo braids.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Crack Kills

We usually have kids on weekends. And every weekend someone says to our almost-teenager, "Crack kills." Or "The moon is bright today." And sometimes, "Hey, did ya get a job as a plumber?" I'm sure there are more, but after hearing them over and over and over again I try to block out the lame humor. Bad butt jokes no more! I was blog-hopping and landed at Livin' With Me!, where I discovered the Hip-T: it slips over your jeans and under your t-shirt, giving you a layered look (and protecting your, um, assets) without the bulk of layers. And the best thing is, you can win one just by checking out, choosing your favorite color, and leaving a comment on Livin' With Me! Or shop to your heart's content if you're like me and can't stand to hear another bad butt joke.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Tag, I'm It: Seven Random Facts and 12 Great Blogs

This past weekend we went to watch a Durham Bulls baseball game. Throughout the game an announcement flashed on the screen at least once an inning about this being the 20th anniversary of the movie Bull Durham. This reminded me that several weeks ago Rich at Copywrite, Inc. tagged me with a meme that asks I share seven useless facts about me and then tag 12 more blogs, asking the authors to do the same. What does a ball game have to do with a tag? See Random Fact #3.

Seven Random Facts
1. I married my sweetie in a hot air balloon ceremony over Niagara Falls. It was the best ceremony I could ever imagine!
2. I rarely go to movie theaters, or for that matter watch a DVD in one sitting. I like movies, but sit still for that long and I'm sound asleep (see #6).
3. When they were filming Bull Durham I worked in an office near the ballpark. I spent more than one long lunch break sitting in the stands. If I learned anything it was that watching a movie being made is really boring (but still better than working for someone else).
4. I have 3 adult children, 2 school-age step-kids, and 2 grandkids--with one more due any day now.
5. My closest brush with fame came when I was working for a book design and production studio. James Dickey, famous for writing Deliverance, is also an accomplished poet. He phoned to say that he was worried about making his deadline because his dogs ate his page proof, and could I please get him a new set.
6. I struggle with insomnia more than not, so most nights I fall asleep with the television on (see #2).
7. HTML has been known to bring me to tears.

Twelve Great Blogs
I love the creativity of artists and crafters, so I'm tagging some of my favorite blogs from creative types:

Lizzy T, who knits the sweetest creations.

Cutting Edge Creations
, needlefelting treasures

NanjoDogz, amazing beads in the shape of dogs.

Sam McLean Designs, you've got to check out the pie!

Aerten Art, where even the doodles are fabulous.

Funky Folk Art by Memekiwii, pottery that's fresh and funky and folksy.

Caroline Parsons's Art Blog, paintings I could look at for days on end.

Althea Peregrine, sumptuous silk art

Strawberrycouture, bright and colorful hats that practically scream FUN!

Carolina Patchworks, creations from a fabric addict

Connie at The Tiny Fig, who makes "sweet figments of the imagination."

An Artful Mess, unique art masquerading as greeting cards

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bloggers Unite for Human Rights

I've been an advocate of human rights in my own quiet little ways since I was a teenager. I can remember begging and pleading my parents to agree to keep a foreign exchange student so I could understand what it was like to live in another country. Claudia, from Brasilia, Brazil, was our first student. She was so much like me and yet so different--and I was hooked. I begged and pleaded to be allowed to go somewhere as an exchange student, and I spent my 16th birthday in Peru. My parents hosted many students over the years, and when my own children were in school I followed suit. My oldest daughter has lived in both New Zealand and Russia--Siberia, no less--and we learned from a Serbian teenager what life was like under Milosovic.

Right now I'd love to jump on the bandwagon with the others who criticize the actions of the Myanmar government. There were human rights issues galore there before Cyclone Nargis struck, and now that the government is restricting aid to its homeless, starving, and injured citizens, the number and urgency of human rights issues in that country has soared.

But I'm too embarrassed to say too much. You know, it's that old "he who lives in a glass house shouldn't throw stones" saying. The U.S. detention facility at Guantánamo Bay has become a global symbol of U.S. human rights violations: illegal detention, denial of fundamental legal rights, and torture. There is absolutely nothing that can be done to improve the image of our Guantánamo Bay facility, and it will serve as an embarrassment to the United States for generations. I agree with Amnesty International that the only proper recourse is to close the facility. is Amnesty International’s global initiative to end illegal U.S. detentions. You can do something about Guantánamo: Click the image below and sign the pledge. Hang around for a few seconds afterward and watch the show--and let me know if you manage to see your own name (I couldn't sit still long enough to wait for mine).


If you want to do something on a more personal level, host a foreign exchange student--it's a handshake toward future global understanding, tolerance, and peace.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Studio Update

I posted some "before" pictures of my new studio/workshop last month. We're making progress, slowly but surely. I've got almost all of the moving boxes either packed or moved inside the house. The plumbers have added the pipes so we can put a sink in. I use water to clean the glass, in the grinder, to drill holes, etc., so the sink is one thing I really need. The electrician has added breakers and wiring, including the 220v and special outlet for the new kiln. And we bought insulation and drywall to finish the walls, and lumber for work tables and shelving. At this rate it's going to take us at least 6 months to get the remodeling finished, and that's if we work on it during every spare minute. But it's the journey, not the destination, right?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Does Your Creativity Need a Boost?

Most of us can use a little help once in a while, and if you'd like to rev up your creative juices you may want to consider working with a creativity coach. This can be very expensive and for many struggling artists seems like an impossible dream. Eric Maisel, author of many books on creativity, teaches people to be creativity coaches and as part of their training his students work with clients for free. The next training begins June 16 and coaches-in-training will work, via email, with clients at no charge for the 16 weeks of the training. If you would like a little help with any art-related or creativity-related issue: blocks, procrastination, career issues, motivation issues, etc., just send him a paragraph about you and a paragraph about what you would like to work on with a creativity coach. Send that info to I've done this program with one of his students before and it was so helpful I'm thinking of doing it again!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

How Lucky is Your Favorite Mom?

Mother's Day is just a couple of days away. Are you done shopping? If not, this is your lucky day! I offer a selection of LuckyGirl Gift-of-the-Month Clubs: you can choose pendants, earrings, a mix of pendants and earrings, and even Temari. All gifts will be shipped directly to the mom of your choice and customized to her unique preferences. Place an order by this Sunday and I'll email a color preference questionnaire with a gift announcement to your favorite Mom. And a bonus just for my blog readers: I'll add one free month on to whichever gift club you select. Just send me a message after you order that says "It's My Mom's Lucky Day!"

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Stumble Worthy

I found this linky love thing at The Journey. Here is the concept: Stumble the pages that link to you. In this way you drive more traffic to the page containing your link and thus you hope that some of that traffic comes back to you via the link on that page. Supposedly, we are to link ourselves to Stumbled sites to generate the traffic that we want. But what if we could just Stumble on each other’s sites/blogs? Let’s modify things a bit and make our very own StumbleWorthy list. Why have a list, you say? A list is necessary for the participants to StumbleUpon. And also, it’s needed to check whether the participants are really Stumble-ing. Plus, it helps your Technorati authority soar high! Neat, huh? Click on the link to join.


Here are the rules:
2. Add your site(s) to the list. Just be sure to post the “StumbleWorthy List” at each site you add.
3. Let Blanne know your blog’s name and url by leaving a comment HERE. Blanne will add you to the master list.
4. Come back and copy the master list back to your site, often. This will allow the newcomers to achieve equal benefit as the late comers do.
5. Register in StumbleUpon and install the toolbar.
6. Go to the sites found on the list and give them a thumb up (I like it!).
7. Add Blanne as your friend in StumbleUpon: Blanne.
Note: Your url will be deleted in the Master List if you do not comply to the given rules.


~StumbleWorthy List~
1. Hit-or-Miss 2. Mommy’s Little Corner 3. A Simple Life 4. moms….. check nyo 5. The Journey 6. Sigh 7. Photo Hook 8. Say Cheese 9. Make Every Day Your Lucky Day 10. YOUR BLOG/SITE HERE!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Mommy and Me Boutique

I found the cutest baby slippers today at Mommy and Me Boutique! They're easy to put on Japanese-style, handcrafted in a variety of colors and prints, and many are available as part of a coordinating set. This is the perfect gift for the stylish baby who has everything--I only wish she made these in grandma sizes too!

Hearts of Love Slippers with burp cloth and bib, $23

Denim Blue Slippers with burp cloth, $15

Pink Dotted Slippers with burp cloth and bib, $23

Monday, May 5, 2008

Stamp Out Hunger

I've shipped so many packages since we moved that I'm on a first-name basis with our mail carrier. Well, at least I could be, he's told me his first name--twice. I think it has an "r" in it. I am so terrible with details, I knew I should have written it down.

Anyhow, I'm looking forward to asking my kids to carry food to the mailbox to help fill his delivery truck this Saturday in honor of Mother's Day. Many years ago I was on the receiving end of the donated food and it still brings tears to my eyes when I think about it. I think learning to give when needed is one of the best presents any child can give a parent. (Kids, if you're reading this, I like flowers, too--but canned food first please!)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Have Books, Need Bookmarks

Before we moved I sold a couple of hundred books on eBay and donated several boxes full of books to a local thrift store. We still have about a bazillion books, and since I tend to read several at a time I never have enough bookmarks. (I only have one open in front of me at a time--I'm not that talented!--but switch books depending on my mood.)

After working in publishing for 16 years I have a huge aversion to turning down page corners to mark my place. Little scraps of paper usually fall out and disappear, and besides, I figure that many people put a lot of work into producing that book, so it deserves a decent bookmark. Today's lucky find is cserpentDesigns. You can find gorgeous beaded bracelets and other jewelry there, but I really love these bookmarks!

When Pigs Fly Bookmark, $15

Blue Hug Bookmark, $15

Pink Bear Lampwork and Swarovski Bookmark, $17

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Million Blog List

Get listed at

I'm #63 on the Million Blog List. I read that there are over 70,000,000 blogs in existence (I wonder how long it would take to read all of them?). This site is an experiment to see how long it will take to get 1,000,000 blogs listed. As I write this post there are 1,239 blogs listed--is yours one of them? Run on over there: it's quick, easy, and more fun than working to check back to see how the list has grown and explore a few new blogs.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Feel Like Royalty

The beautiful pieces at Regal Beads have all been handwoven. I cannot imagine having the amount of patience it must take to weave thousands of seed beads with a needle! One of the features I really love is the attention to detail: these necklaces have beaded loop-and-toggle closures that make them irresistibly chic!

Green Elegance Necklace, $115

Russian Royalty Necklace, $135

Princess Anastasia Necklace, $115