Saturday, February 28, 2009

For My Crafting Buddies: Remembering How We Got Here!

If, like me, you are a crafter trying to run an internet business, you may have already thought about this. But, it just occurred to me that if I'm not careful, the business part of my business will soon take all the fun out of the creating part of it! I don't want that to happen.

When I first started selling my handmade items on Etsy, I went into it with an open heart and wide-eyed innocence about the whole handmade internet community. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is a wonderfully friendly and supportive place to be! I loved it then and now! My attitude was that I would make what I loved to make out of the textiles that I loved to work with. I would share them on my Etsy site and if someone found that they loved them too and I made a sale, wonderful! Well, great news! People did like them and people did buy them.

Fast forward a couple of months and I find myself spending inordinate amounts of time on the computer, reading all the advice I can find about building my business, all helpful and useful! Before I knew it, my fun adventure in crafting had become a race to the finish line! Making treasuries, getting put into treasuries, getting on the front page, getting a spot in the gift guides, checking heart counts, page views, google analytics results, and of course feedback! And don't forget the social networking. Had I twittered enough today? Checked facebook? Added photos to flickr? Every day, there is a new site to join, and sometimes I can't remember if I've already joined it!


Time to step back and sew something! Isn't that what I started this for? Oh, yeah.... making things.... that was what I wanted to do!

So, I will be spending more time sewing and less time socializing/marketing and I'll see how that works. You may not see me around as much where the cool crafters hang out. But, I'll be checking in occasionally. And, hopefully, I'll have some new stuff to show off!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Stealing Time For Fun!

Photo by Sudhanwa..

With spring around the corner, I am starting to think about all the things I love to do when the warm, sunny days arrive and daylight lingers until late into the evening. My time is so limited right now with my day job and my handmade business that I wonder how I will fit in the fun! I know I need to organize my time better if I want to be able to enjoy my favorite spring activities like gardening, taking long walks and soaking up sunshine! So, I’ve decided to take a hard look at my schedule and take control of some of the lost minutes and hours. Here are some steps I am going to take.

Home Activities

  • Get everyone involved in keeping the house tidy.
  • Keep meals simple and let each family member take a night to be responsible for preparing the meal.
  • Make a weekly menu and grocery list to cut down on last minute trips to the store.


  • Spend some time each evening looking at the next day’s schedule. Combine errands such as mailing orders, grocery shopping and returning library books, then schedule a time to complete them.
  • Plan several blocks of time throughout the day to sew, depending on what needs to be completed. I will save at least one of those for working on new ideas and designs, which keeps my creativity
  • Set aside time for writing Thank You notes and packaging orders.


  • Make a list of the marketing activities I currently spend time on, including social networking, such as Twitter, Facebook, Etsy Forums, etc.
  • Assign a number from 1 to 10 in importance and effectiveness to each activity.
    Based on the number given, assign a certain amount of time each day that will be the maximum time dedicated to that activity.
  • Make a daily schedule to include these activities, but stay flexible and know which ones to leave off if something unexpected arises and time runs short.

When it's all done and the sun is still shining, I’ll kick back and enjoy a cold drink and relaxing with friends and family! That’s what spring is for!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dressing Mom; I Guess I'm Hip Again!

Photo by cloverity

Before marriage and kids, I loved fashion as much as the next girl. I wouldn’t say I was a trendsetter, but I tried not to fall too far behind those who were. Then came marriage and shortly after that, three wonderful offspring! Life was busy and exhausting and many a time, I left home knowing full well that I was a fashion “don’t”!

Then my girls hit the pre-teen years and almost everything in my closet became an embarrassment to them. My multicolored, striped, crochet-look cardigan, my “Merry Christmas Ya’ll” holiday sweatshirt, and of course, the dreaded “mom jeans”! My wardrobe was to be pitied and tolerated until I could be made cool again, with their expert help.

Over the next few years, before leaving home, as ridiculous as it felt, I consulted people I had given birth to in regards to whether I was wearing something socially acceptable. I slowly but surely regained some fashion sense, and amazingly, started having to say to my fashion-conscious daughters, “ No, you can’t have the purse (or sweater or whatever) that I just bought, but you can borrow it.”

So, I’ve come full circle and I’m hip again! I have a little grandson now, which is really convenient, since I also still have that comfy multicolored cardigan sweater. And when my daughter says, “Mom! That looks like a grandma sweater!”, I just say, “Yes, honey, but I’m a grandma now, I can dress like one if I want to!”

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Use It Up Sewing!

I hate to waste anything, especially my fabrics. I have been saving the scraps from my pillows and bags for a long time, especially if they are of a size that might be useful.
I decided to use some of them to make a throw for my family room, mostly to use as a cover for an ottoman that has seen better days. I think it is turning out great! I love the color combination and the sophisticated damask patterns all sewn up in a funky patchwork design!
And I love using up all those lovely bits of fabric that have been sitting in my scrap basket!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Grow Something Wonderful!

Last summer, I made my first effort at container gardening. It was a lot of fun and I was really surprised by the yield we received from just a few large pots, planted with tomatoes, bell peppers and herbs.I can't wait to get started again on this year's "garden in pots"! There are a few things I learned last year, and I will be more prepared. If you want to try container gardening, here are some tips to keep in mind.

  • Get a soil mixture that will stay fairly loose. I like the ones that have the little water absorbing granules that release the moisture between waterings.

  • If your pots will be sitting on a concrete or brick patio, raise them a few inches off the hot surface to keep them cooler in summer temperatures.

  • Don't underestimate the eventual growth and yield of tomatoes. Put tall, strong stakes into the pots early so you can tie up the stalks as soon as they start producing their heavy fruit

  • Be prepared for pests before they arrive. A metal pie pan tied with string, allowed to blow in the breeze will frighten birds and other critters that would eat your lovely produce. Be on the lookout for the hideous creature shown in the photo below, the tomato hornworm. I had many visits by these yucky critters last summer and they look so much like the foliage of a tomato plant, they are hard to spot. They will eat up the plant, leaves and all, within just a day or two. You can handpick them off (eww, my hubby did it!), but use gloves, they will try to BITE! There are also insecticides to use for them, but I try not to use chemicals on my garden.
Good luck and Happy Gardening!
by naturegirl 78

Monday, February 16, 2009

I Got Tagged - Now What?

Apparently I got tagged by Meekiyua! It's my first time to get tagged, so I had to figure out what it's all about.

The rules are to tell seven things about yourself and then tag seven others. Here goes:

1. I am a "word nerd" and I used to win spelling bees all the time in school. Now, that I have admitted this, I will be doubly embarrassed to find I have misspelled something here on my blog! (Please let me know if you see something.)

2. I am addicted to Top Chef, as well as some other cooking shows. I watch the Top Chef episodes, sometimes five or six times. I read the judges' blogs and search the net for other blogs about the show. I'm a little obsessed. But, I never try to cook any of the dishes, too complicated.

3. I was bitten by a copperhead snake on the ankle about eight years ago. It was on my driveway. One night in the hospital and a week on crutches. No one sucked the venom out either. Apparently, that is just done in old western movies.

4. I am half Italian and learned to make homemade pasta and tortellini from my grandmother, but I don't like pizza.

5. I have three kids from 19 - 23 years old and a four-year-old grandson.

6. I would like to learn French.

7. My best vacation ever was to Maui!

So far, I've tagged:

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Where Did These Come From?

I sew. Ask anyone! Look at my Etsy shops. That's what I do. I make things out of fabric. So, what is that big pile of baby soft crocheted granny squares doing in my craft room? Well, just as most people have comfort foods they reach for in stressful times, I have my comfort crafts and crocheting is one of them. Sometimes, I just want to do something with my hands without really thinking about it. That's when I reach for my crochet hook and soft baby yarn and just start making small granny squares.

I am not discounting the creativity that goes into the beautiful and intricate items that many crochet artisans produce. I have crocheted items that require a lot of concentration and thought. But, my little granny squares don't take a lot of brain power for me and the baby soft yarn is comforting and sweet to work with after a long day.

Over the past year, I have picked it up again several times and now I have quite a collection of squares in pastel colors. I plan to start piecing them together soon and donate them somewhere, where they can be of use, and provide comfort for some little one that may need it.

What do you like to do when life is a little rough? Is there a craft or artistic activity that helps you deal with stress?

Featured on Sur-La-Table-Cuisine!

Sur-la-table-cuisine is a lovely blog by artist, Enzie Shahmiri. Today she is featuring my Amy Butler Belle Chrysanthemum bag, along with some other great mult-purpose bags and totes! Visit her blog here:

Saturday, February 14, 2009

So, This is What My Shop is Saying!

I think this is so cool! This is what I get when I enter my Etsy shop name into Wordle. I read a lot and I love words and quotes, so this is really fun! Try it with your website or blog, just to see it in a different way!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Packing Light Makes for a Carefree Trip!

I have a strange fascination with packing. I love getting ready for a trip. I sometimes pack a week in advance even for a short getaway. I think the act of getting ready to go is part of the enjoyment and anticipation of the possible adventure that lies ahead.

I love to see how light I can pack. I want to be able to handle my own luggage wherever I go, if possible. To that end, I am always looking for ways to cut down on weight and bulk when packing for a trip. I keep sample sizes of toletries handy. Toothpaste, shampoo, lotion, hairspray, even contact solution can be found in travel sizes. Those little packets with nail polish remover wipes are great for packing. With products for which I have a brand preference, I simply fill a 1 ounce travel container from my larger container at home.
Pill organizers are great for taking either prescription meds, or just fill the sections with ibuprofen, tums or whatever over-the-counter medications you like to keep on hand. I keep small, plastic containers that can hold Q-tips, cotton balls, band-aids, etc. but a ziplock bag would work in a pinch. Those facial wipes that are dry, but suds up when you run them under water are lightweight and perfect for travel. I have several sectioned, zippered travel organizers to hold everything in place.

For clothing, I try to pack a basic wardrobe with interchangeable elements. Black and khaki colored basics are great and can be combined with a bright tank, colorful scarves and other accessories to add pop to your wardrobe! With black, it's so easy to dress up or dress down depending on the occasion. Rolling rather than folding clothes can sometimes make it easier to pack and also, reduce wrinkling. I take a small, empty spray bottle in case I need to spritz something that is wrinkled. One or two pairs of shoes will usually be sufficient if you take the right ones. If I'll be walking a lot, I take one pair for comfort and then one more for pretty!

Packing light is a bit of a hobby, some might say obsession, for me. But, it's fun and I know that I am preparing the way for an easy and carefree trip, where everthing I need is close at hand, but my luggage is not going to drag me down. Happy traveling!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Little Work, A Little Play!

photo by mrbill

I've spent the weekend getting ready for a trip to the Beau Rivage Hotel and Casino on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The company I work for hosts a meeting there every year at this time and it is always very enjoyable. The food is great and the accomodations are beautiful

I wish I enjoyed gambling more, but I really find it boring. I've tried hanging out in the casino to be sociable with the other meeting attendees, but the odor of smoke is overwhelming. I much prefer to wander around the shops within the Beau Rivage. They have some great gift shops and upscale clothing stores, along with several good restaurants and a yummy coffee shop! Between meetings, I like to grab a cup of coffee and a mini fruit tart or a brownie, then sit out on the veranda to soak up a little sushine and read a book. It doesn't exactly sound like a wild and crazy hard-partying casino visit, does it? But, just getting away and relaxing in a beautiful, sunny setting is just what I need to recharge my battery!

photo by Triin

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Some Sweet Things on Etsy!

1. Bloom by PfeifferPhotos

2. Happy Daisies Note Cards by Purplelemondesigns

3. Heart Bud Vase by Tannerglass

4. Chiffon Peonies by Morgansilk

5. Satin Nest by AmberAlexander

6. Blossoms by Helenesdreams

These Birds Really Get Around!

What a nice surprise it was to have my Happy Birds pillow cover featured on Pfeiffer Photos' blog! Tina Pfeiffer is a very talented photographer and her blog is just beautiful. How I would love to be able to take pictures like that! Stop by to see it here:

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

CottonColors is Featured!

Kelly Rinehart, at PurpleLemonDesigns, is featuring my shop, CottonColors, this week on her blog! Kelly is a very talented graphic designer and fellow Mississippian! Stop by to see the feature and her great blog!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Here's to the Ladies Who Love and Laugh Near the Sea!

I go on a "girls only" trip to the beach every year in early spring and I am already looking forward to it! No, that's not us in the photo, but don't they look like they are having fun? I have been taking my trip with the same group of six ladies for about 12 years. Some of them are friends I see all the time and some are friends I really only see when we go to the beach! But, for those few days each year, they are all my sisters and confidants. I can say anything to these ladies and they will understand.
We have been through so many life changes together and I feel they know me and love me no matter what. I look forward to it all through the year, but right about now, at the beginning of February, when I am tired of the cold in my bones, I really start to long for carefree days in the sun with my gal pals, just soaking up sun, sharing the ups and downs of life, and trying to wait until at least 3 pm to start cocktail hour!
And to think, those ladies above were probably doing the same things about 50 years ago. Let's hear it for girlfriends!

Monday, February 2, 2009

I'm Feeling Lucky!

Aren't these beautiful! I received these earrings from a new Etsy friend I made on Twitter, SeventhCloudStudio! This artisan decided to send a free pair of earrings to her 100th follower on Twitter and luckily it was me!

I have met so many generous, kind-hearted people since starting my handmade business. It's a community of giving and sharing, of goods, knowledge, sources and most of all encouragement!

Visit to see a great selection of unique, handmade jewelry.