Thursday, April 30, 2009


In looking over the HollyzHobby Etsy shop, the first thing I saw was the hours and hours of work that went into her quilts! A few years ago, I took a class in beginning quilting, and learned how much I didn't know about sewing! After the initial expense for the proper cutting and sewing tools, and over a month of classwork, I came home with not only a small quilt, but a tremendous amount of appreciation and respect for the people who create these works of art!!! There's no two ways about it, making a quilt is a L-O-T of work!!

Quilting from start to finish involves selecting the right fabric, calculating and measuring to achieve the desired result, the laying, measuring and cutting of each and every piece to the exact micron, sewing seams with *precisely exact* seams widths - not a hair more or a hair less, maintaining symmetry, making sure that the corners and seams match exactly, proper ironing, the actual quilting, (that can take up to a day, when sewn at home by machine), squaring the borders and corners, straightening the side seams, final adjustments, (hopefully minor), and finally the binding, which is usually finished by hand. One mistake in the whole process can result in a cascade of disasters.

With this in mind, the first thought I had when I saw Holly's prices, is that they were priced extremely reasonably - almost too low for all the hard work that she obviously had put into these wonderful pieces of art! Then, I read that Holly's quilts are HAND stitched, and I really wondered...!!

Certainly her prices weren't so low because the patterns were simple, pre-cut, that she had cut corners on quality materials, or that the workmanship wasn't up to par - all looked great to me. She certainly didn't whip a quilt after dinner in one night!

But, as I read over Holly's profile, my heart melted, as I realized I had come across yet another beautiful soul who's so passionate about her art that profit is not the first objective. Here is Holly's explanation about her work, why she does it, and how she determined her prices:

"...I have kept my prices low not because my items are cheap but because times are hard for all of us. I am not interested in making a fortune from the sale of my quilts. I love what I do and my greatest "payment" is your compliments and appreciation. Sure I earn a little money but not as much as some people do. I love what I do and that is the reason I do it. I set my prices so that the average person with average wages can afford them."

Holly goes on to say that Quilting is the hobby she's enjoyed for many years, and that she love to quilt by hand, the old-fashioned way, because she grew up watching her mother and grandmother quilting by hand. She's has sewn custom quilts for homeowners, and as gifts for both wedding and baby showers, and says that everyone in her family loves and enjoys their own quilt.

Holly says that she loves to sew with a variety of patchwork patterns and various combinations of colours and prints, and this makes each quilt unique. She says that every quilt she makes ends up being her favorite, and that she looks forward to the joy they'll bring to their new homes.

Holly's quilts are not bed-sized, but smaller lap sized quilts that are perfect for snuggling up with while watching t.v., as an accent piece, taking to sleepovers, camping, for young children, for babies in cribs, daycare, strollers, carseats, or anything else. Holly is sure that whether you choose to give a quilt as a gift or keep it for yourself, it will add an element of warmth and love, to be cherished and enjoyed for years to come.

Again, it was hard to select one quilt, so I'm going to feature two. I especially love the Whistlestop Station Quilt and Fabric Storybook "duo" that consists of a Machine sewn fabric storybook and a Hand-stitched quilt Size 34" x 44".

This "darling duo" is great for bed-time or anytime story snuggling. With the purchase of the quilt, the buyer also gets a fabric storybook about "Whistlestop Station" to go along with the themed quilt. The fabric of both quilt and book consists of beautiful pastel colours, bunnies, kites and butterflies and smiling sunshine.

Whistlestop Station Quilt and Fabric Storybook:

Diamonds in the Rough:



Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Viv of Creative Minds Blog

"Creative Minds" is actually a consortium of artists. It was created for the purpose of meeting, sharing and promoting, and founded by Viv, who sells through her shop, "My Printed Memories".

Just a few of Viv's paper creations include custom bookmarks, holiday and custom tags for all occasions, seasonal and holiday cards, such as Valentine's day cards, birth announcements, and more. Viv says that she also makes photo cards for the Holidays, birthdays, invitations, weddings, and can create banners and avatars for Etsy or other on line sites and shops!

I was surprised and pleased to find over 100 followers at Creative Minds! So, if you haven't already found them, please stop by to have some fun!

Birth announcement - My Printed Memories:

Creative Minds

My Printed Memories:

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I'm featuring Kellyssima's shop a bit out of turn, not only because her Etsy shop will be closed for a few weeks, but also because she's running a BIG SALE until April 28, which ends today. She's promoting a BUY ONE GET THE SECOND ITEM FOR 1/2 OFF! special!! Her shop announcement states that the second item has to be the same or less value, and asks that buyers please wait for the revised invoice.

Sales aside, I was again delighted to discover that the artist behind the work is every bit as interesting as the work itself! Kelly, originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil, lives in Austin, Texas. Her background is in fashion design, where she worked professionally for 3 years. While taking a break from it, she wanted to try a different outlet for her creativity, and decided to give jewelry design a try. I think she's done a great job of it!

In browsing through Kelly's shop, I somehow was taken back into time. Her jewelry items appeal to me because they have a retro, modern look, all rolled into one, but always feminine and romantic. Her jewelry is sort of like my crochet items - an old fashioned theme but kicked up using modern materials and design twists! Kelly describes it best:

"My designs are kellyssima (very Kelly). They reflect the passion I have always had for the romantic art, architecture, and fashion from the late 1800's. Also, I love combining unexpected colors, materials, and shapes together. I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't’t say any other way - things I had no words for.”

As I looked over her shop, I saw a great deal or originality, and it was obvious that Kelly has her own style - unique, interesting, and not a copy of anything I've seen. She loves the delicate and feminine - the old look of verdigris and brass, and adds vintage and Victorian elements to create a "new/old" look!

I had a hard time finding something to feature, so again, have selected 2 items - perhaps you'll like these or will find something else to purchase using Kelly's sale promotion?!

I especially like Kelly's earrings titled "She Hangs Brightly", (whimsical earrings with dangling "lady hand" charms)! The hand theme was quite popular in Victorian jewelry, and as a lover of that era and the "hand" motif, I have several items in my home and a few jewelry items that consist of women's hands. I'm not sure what draws me to lady's hands, but it may be in part because they symbolize the "handmade" concept and all the beautiful and personal things that only hands can make? In any case, I found them completely appropriate to share on a blog that is devoted to all things handmade!

"She Hangs Brightly:

"It could be Sweet - spring earrings"

Etsy Shop:

Kelly also has a brand new shop at lollishops:


Monday, April 27, 2009

Fox's Bunny / Soap With Hope

When I read the profile of Soap With Hope, or better known here as "Fox's Bunny", I could tell she's a lady who loves life and is very young at heart! She also loves soaps, scents, and sugar - but not for eating!

"Soap with Hope" features a line of soapy sugar scrubs with the label "Blasphemy". Blasphemy also includes special edition soaps that pay tribute to historic women.

I loved reading Fox's Bunny's profile, in which she shares that she's a 36 year old avid reader who's fascinated by physics, medieval history, the Renaissance, and who LOVES bunnies! She proudly believes in Goddess, Balance, Truth, and the Sanctity of Womanhood, and has lived out these beliefs as mother to three beautiful daughters. She states that she's also passionate about being "wife to the most amazing man in all realms of existence (My Knight Fox)".

So, as if running her own at-home business while juggling the duties of wife and motherhood isn't enough, Fox's Bunny is also at University working on her B.S. degree in Psychology! In describing her scrubs, Fox's Bunny states that she does not eat refined sugar, and uses it only for bathing. She explains that most sugar scrubs are just multiple oils and sugar that leave an oily mess, and that her scrubs are whipped and contain soap and olive oil. She goes on to state that this creates a foaming, creamy lather and NOT the oily mess that you find with most sugar scrubs. She also states that her scrubs not only clean and exfoliate skin, but that they smell and feel great. She's confident that once people try one of her scrubs, they will see the difference and never go back to another.

"Soap With Hope" Sugar Scrubs are made fresh upon order, and everything but the jar is handcrafted. And because there are no preservatives, the recommended shelf life is 2 months. "Soap With Hope" also offers "love baubles", which are jewelry items made from various materials. They can be worn as bracelets or anklets, are available in various sizes, and can be made to order in any color a buyer may want.

"Soap With Hope" is yet another Etsy seller who is TRADE FRIENDLY, and invites questions and feedback from others who are also interested in trading!!

Tons of Tulips Scrub:

Soap with Hope Shop:

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Gwen Made

Gwen Paja's shop, "Gwen Made" has a nice selection of jewelry, fiber art, and vibrant clutch purses. Glen states that as a traveling artist, her items feature unique materials and that her shop has a distinct eclectic and ethnic style. But, every bit as interesting and feminine as Gwen's beautiful creations is the story behind the artist and her art!

Gwen says that she was surrounded by art growing up, and that her mom is a fabulous quilter who can make beautiful and trendy fiber artwork. As a child, Gwen sketched and drew, and occasionally made her own jewelry.

Although Gwen's major in school was business, her passion to be artistic in everything she did was never overshadowed, and it spilled into every corner of her life. As a child, she decorated her room with posters of ink anime and experimented with a sewing machine and made many of her own summer skirts. And, eventually she learned what the power of a paintbrush could do to her soul!

Not afraid of change, and wanting to soak up all that the world has to offer, Gwen says that her artistic passion has taken her on many travel adventures that have revolutionised her world. She says that last year she realized that she never wanted to work in an office again, quit her job, and painted full time. She started selling acrylic paintings at markets in LA, and when the cash flow was low, she sold designer items on eBay through her consignment program and tutored kids.

Gwen thinks that part of her eclectic nature also stems from her experience of living in a variety of places that are rich in culture and diversity. She loves to travel, and this year, alone, she's lived first in Paris, and now in Heidelberg, Germany. She's in Germany on a four month business tour, and in the midst of her other business, she's also found a market selling her artistic accessories on US military bases. While in Germany, Gwen has traveled to 7 different countries including the Czech Republic, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, and Malta, buying supplies all along the way that she's used in her designs.

Her Etsy shop and retail ventures were hatched in Germany, where she got her start repairing jewelry, then making and selling some of her own. With encouragement, she started her own line of jewelry and accessories. She purchased a sewing machine, combined her talents, and has added sewn wearable art to her line. Her hand sewn creations utilize different mediums, and include little clutch purses that suit her on-the-go, city girl personality.

But with her travel permit about to run out, Gwen is now returning home to LA to continue selling through both brick and mortar shops and through her young Etsy shop. Her goal is not to become rich or to sell in great quantities, but to bring happiness to one person at a time. Gwen measures success by the joy she sees in people's faces when they wear or try on her pieces. She feels that her resources are limitless and says "I have so much creativity inside me, I can work all day long and come out with a thousand different ideas."

She says she's most comfortable with the eclectic character that her shop manifests, and this is the persona that she wants the Etsy community to really see. "The mission of my line is to utilize the absolute freedom in creativity and provide unique pieces that are not only fun to wear and carry, but are truly artistic in nature. My line is made for those who defy normal and those who are fearless in self-expression. I hope to share my artistic expression with everyone, where the human being is my canvas."

In addition to her Etsy shop, Gwen writes a blog - says that initially, she only wrote about her own creations. She says that she's now turned it into an eco-friendly and independent artist blog that incorporates eco-friendly tips, and that also features the eco-friendly artists and artists she loves.

Gwen is proud of the fact that she uses eco-friendly materials such as felt that is made out of 100% recycled plastic bottles, and by recycling vintage jewelry to reduce waste and do her part.

She's also a member of the Etsy Veg team for vegetarians and vegans, and writes a series in the team blog to help Etsy artists market and promote their work. With her business background in marketing and advertising, she finds many ways to improve sales that are yet undiscovered, and as she learns, she shares.

I think we all have a great lesson to learn from Gwen. I know that she embodies the courage and passion that lives in my soul, and that she's a wonderful example of what we can all aspire to be and achieve if we just put our minds to it. I couldn't help thinking, as I wrote about Gwen, that her words echo my own small inner voice. Not once did I get the impression that she was worried about failing, that she should be making more money, or that the worlds "selfish" or "fear" are even in her vocabulary. What shines through is that "all is OK" in her world, as it really is with all of us - if we just let go and trust the process of life while following our own hearts.

Take Chances necklace:

Gwen Made Lacy Beaded Turquoise Flower Clutch Purse Wristlet:

Gwen Made:

Blog - for ongoings in Gwen's creative studio:

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bellissima Mineral Makeup (Judy)

I must confess that when I first started my blog, it was primarily to promote my creations and those of my fellow artisans. To my surprise, I've not only found a wealth of talent, but some who have appeared as Angels in a time of need!

To digress a bit, I need to explain that for the past several years, I've been struggling with skin problems as a result of a variety of allergies, including contact irritants. In general, I must avoid lotions, be very careful with most soaps, and generally be extremely selective in which make-up products I use. I just tossed out a brand new and expensive bottle of foundation because there was something in it that burned my skin and made me feel sick. Most likely fragrance was one of the culprits. I'm not a wasteful person, so throwing that bottle away wasn't easy...

It also appears that the formula of the product I normally use has changed, so I'm hesitant to spend more money on something else that may also end up in the trash. I really need a foundation for sun protection, but trying to purchase a commercial product is like walking through a mine field. As summer approaches and as my current foundation supply runs low, I was feeling the pressure to make a purchase soon.

So, this is why I was so pleasantly surprised to discover that one of my followers, Judy, of Bellissima Mineral Makeup, has 2 websites and 3 other on line shops that are devoted to the promotion and sale of her allergy-free mineral all natural make-up!

I found Judy's sites and shops to be friendly, thorough, and concise, (complete with FAQ's), and all without spin or hype. I found what I needed to know, and that's that the products are free of chemicals, preservatives, waxes, fillers, oils, talcs, fragrances, etc., and are made from a minimum of all natural ingredients. Bellissima lists the ingredients in each of her product line that includes eyeshadows, concealers, blushes, bronzers, foundations, veils, soaps, and Lip Balm products. These products are available individually, and also in kits and collections. In addition to ingredient listings, the Bellissima site also lists the properties of each ingredient used in the product line. And for any other questions about selecting, using and purchasing, Judy is lightening fast in replying to any and all e-mail requests!

Judy, who worked many years in the corporate world, also has experience as a skin care and cosmetics consultant, and states that her product line was created as a result of her own skin sensitivities. She shares that all Bellissima products are formulated in a sanitary, smoke-free, pet-free environment and delivered professionally labeled, with ingredients listed and shrink-wrapped. She also states that Bellissima has taken the 'Truth in Labeling' Pledge and does not test on animals.

I not only found Bellissima's prices to be reasonable, but also affordable because they are "GREEN"! Bellissima will refund HALF the purchase price of eyeshadow, concealer, blush, bronzer, foundation, or even Lip Balm if you mail in your resealable, empty mineral jars and lip balm tubes, which are sanitized and reused!

And, for a limited time, Bellissima also offers free samples. Inexpensive kits and trial offers are offered for those who are interested in trying a variety of mineral products. I ordered a few samples and am happy to share that not only is the soap mild and moisturising, the make-up is a good quality, the colors are fabulous, clear in tone, and not at all muddy or pasty. The plum colored eye shadow sample is a perfect match to the expensive high end department store brand that I'm now using, and I dare say that in all ways, the entire product line rivals the expensive designer names sold in high end department stores!

I'm so pleased with that I just placed my first order for foundation, and anticipate adding to my supply as each of my other products runs out!

If you are one of the many who have have skin sensitivities or know someone who does, please stop by Bellissima soon!

Friday, April 24, 2009


Janimaru's shop is filled exclusively with her sweet and flirty mini skirts. While they are very short, Janimaru reassures her shoppers that her skirts are also really well made and versatile. She states that her mini skirts can be worn as shown, over pants/tights, as a bathing suit cover-up, or even as lingerie.

In looking over her store, I could see the fine workmanship in Janimaru's skirts. I found her prices to be reasonable, and knew better than to judge the product by the quantity of material that goes into the finished product, as is almost always the case with fine lingerie and swimwear.

As one who loves to sew, I can attest to the fact that working with sheer and fine-handed fabrics and laces aren't always as easy as they might appear to be. A seamstress has to be very knowledgeable about how to handle such delicate, finely woven or knitted, slippery, unstable, and generally very "uncooperative" fabrics. She also has to be familiar with her machine, the proper tools and settings to use, and be knowledgeable about the proper techniques for stitching and joining totally different kinds of fabric, such as delicate laces and satins to more full bodied elastics. And, the sewer has to be able to create seams that lie flat, without puckers, gaps, or curls, and that are able to stretch without breaking the threads that hold them.

Janimaru asks that prospective buyers please check the measurements in the description before ordering. She invites and welcomes questions and special requests to recreate something from the sold item listings.

I've chosen her Aloha Micro Mini Skirt as my favorite because it's basic black and white, and very cute and feminine! Please stop by Janimaru's shop to take a look!

Aloha Micro Mini Skirt:

Janimaru's Etsy shop:

Janimaru's other websites:

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Catherine Gutsche

When I first set about to research today's artist, I had no idea what was in store. What I discovered is that this lady is a true artist who paints her world with joyful color, and sharing it through her personal website, blog and Etsy shop!

Catherine Gutsche is a Canadian mixed media artist and graphic designer whose background includes a Graphic Design and Fine Arts degree, coupled with the experience of having worked in the vibrant downtown Toronto arts market for several years. As a well known artist, her work can be seen publicly and in private collections all over the world. Catherine has since made time to return to her beloved roots in painting, and is once again enjoying an intimate relationship with color and pattern. She describes it best, in her own words:

"I love to experiment with various media and imagery, mostly in a creative abstract fashion with bold forms, patterns and colour, painting whatever inspires me at the moment. I incorporate fabric, beads, buttons, found objects, wire and many objects from nature into mostly acrylic paintings. Using elements that lend the correct colour and texture to my non-objected abstract pieces, I get results that excite my eye and make me feel good."

Travel has and continues to play an important role in Catherine’s artwork. She learned the importance of pattern and the ability to manipulate designs and colors to form intricate repetitions that are flipped or rotated, in China. In Europe she learned an appreciation for size, color, and texture from the masters. But, she states, "it was in Australia that she gained a feel for the impact of colour where Uluru (Ayers Rock) changed from earthy reds to silvery-greys, with streaks of charcoal black algae. Nowhere else in the world are there colours that extend as far as the eye can see."

As a mixed media artist, her canvas extends to walls, floors, ceilings, and household objects, combining textiles, found items, and paint, allowing her joy of color to spill onto every canvas she works on.

I found Catherine's shop to be filled with fine art of all sizes and prices, sure to please those who don't want to spend more than $5 for a vibrant print, to original canvasses sought after by serious collectors of fine art for their homes and offices. For budget-minded shoppers, I chose to showcase Catherine's Father's day Card art card, (above), the perfect gift for fathers who love art!

I also discovered that her skills are not confined to paper, by any means. I found painted objects, such as tennis balls, an art block, and even a sneak peak of what Catherine plans to offer in her Etsy shop in late May - hand painted sneakers!

Catherine states that these colorful shoes are available in various patterns and sizes, and each pair is hand-painted by her, and are one-of-a-kind.
For those who are interested in purchasing a pair, she recommends visiting her Etsy store for instructions on how to select your desired pattern and size.

Father's day Art Card:

Etsy store:


Personal Website:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Lexi of "Beaded Jewels"

Follower, Lexi, sells from her personal website, called "Beaded Jewels", which I found to be absolutely overflowing with a vast selection of lovely and original hand made jewelry fashioned from metals she wrought herself! She states that her website traffic totals about 1200 unique visitors and a total of 2,500 visitors each month! Her dozen upon dozens of jewelry items are fashioned with pearls, crystals, gemstones, and precious metals. Many are lacy and intricately worked and woven with beads, and adorned with wire wrapping, and so forth. In addition, she also has hair jewelry, jewelry for teens, girls, sets, pouches, accessories! Whew!

And, it's no wonder that Lexi's field of expertise is so broad, because she has extensive training in her craft. She was kind enough to share a bit about her background and her shop, and I think her words say it best:

"My Name is Lexi Butler. I am the web designer of "Beaded Jewels" . I am original Artist and Designer for an exquisite line of handcrafted jewelry, each piece inspired with great passion and love. I take great pride in presenting handcrafted, high quality, sophisticated pieces at very reasonable prices. No two pieces are alike, many variations in style, from subtle to the richest of colours - from simple to complex design. I will duplicate a piece only by request to the customers who ordered the piece.

I immigrated from Germany in 1996 with a background as journeyman by trade in Goldsmith and Design in my fathers company for whom I worked ten years. I thank my father for gifts and talents given for skills and training learned not only through my father's company but other companies as well.

Beaded Jewels started in 2004 with a Valentine's Day Giftcard. The Arts & Crafts Show I attended in Montana soon became the catalyst for Beaded Jewels. To my great delight I can be still home with my children to nurture them. With much hard work the website was born and first published Jan.23rd 2008 and Beaded Jewels was officially launched."

Lexi sent me a few photos of her creations, so please join me in indulging in their awesome beauty! And, please stop by Lexi's shop and browse through more of the same - you won't be disappointed!

Beaded Jewels:

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"Old Kentucky"

My follower, Diane, "Old Kentucky" has been a friend for many years. Though she thoroughly marvels over the beautiful artwork she's found here, the fact that she had confidence enough to be my first blog follower shows that she's a very courageous and confident gal! Like me, she's also an animal lover, and is "mom" to little 11 year young Rat Terrier, Girly, seen here.

The other love of Diane's life is her husband - a person who takes the love of animals to a higher level than most. John has worked with animals all his life. As a young man, he worked at Greyhound tracks, and then as a jockey and trainer of race horses in his native England. He continues to enjoy a full, rewarding, and very noteworthy and highly respected position in the horse racing industry, working fultime at the age of 88, and with absolutely no plans to retire!

John is Paddock Supervisor at the Santa Anita racetrack in Southern California, (of "Sea Biscuit"fame). He's supervised the paddock of every Breeder's Cup held in the fall since the 1980's except one, when he was out with a broken leg, having been injured at Hollywood Park in a Friday night racing mishap.

Diane says that her husband, (who has not only known many famous jockeys, but also had a pleasant encounter with Queen Elizebeth and her sister, Princess Margaret, while working in England), was an exercise boy for a famous stakes horse back in the 1950's, "Colonel Mac". He's seen nearly all the great racehorses who have raced in Southern California the past 60 years. His favorite horse was "SWAPS", from the 1950s, whom he says was "a super horse".

One of the reasons John thrives in his career is the fact that he has a natural talent for communicating with all animals - he's a top class expert with horses and dogs! Diane says that "as a right-brained, intuitive man", John can look at horse's eyes and other body language, and read it. It's a gift, like being an artist or a musician."

She goes on to say "John has often known when horses weren't right. Some have been very seriously ill or injured. This used to happen when he was galloping horses in Epsom, England. He once told a trainer, "this colt doesn't seem right today". He knew something was wrong as soon as he got on him. The trainer told John to take him out anyway, that he was okay. John did, [and] the horse dropped dead of a heart attack 5 minuets later. He was only 3 years old!"

While, like my Greyhounds, the race horse industry has enjoyed its share of disrepute. Much involves the treatment of these majestic animals after their career has waned. Diane and John want to share that while on the track, racing horses are treated very well:

"Racing animals are given the very best of care, veterinary, feeding and exercise in 99% of all cases. To treat these valiant animals otherwise is to assure being a loser or worse."

The silver lining to John's non-verbal rapport with animals is that he has the ability to pick winning racers. In addition to owning race horses, he's won some big races, including big stakes races at Del Mar. Diane says that John consistently picks winning horses based almost solely on their physicality in the paddock. He watches the big national dog shows every year and picks around 80% of the winning dogs from the start!

The talent and intuitive communication with animals is not only a gift enjoyed by John. Diane says that she also enjoys handicapping, looking at beautiful horses in the paddock, reading their body language, and that this intuition often results in picking a winner!

Now, as much as I love animals, I would be rendered penniless if I put money on their ability to win a race - I have no such knack or luck...

Monday, April 20, 2009

The 6 o'clock Stitch

The Etsy store, "6 o'clock Stitch" opened in January, and she's already had 25 sales! She states that as a stay-at-home mom to a busy toddler, she enjoys creating and stocking her Etsy shop with unique toys and gifts in her "spare time". She states that all her items are handcrafted in a smoke-free environment, which she ships from her home in Georgia.

She ships internationally, and also states that her shop is "TRADE FRIENDLY", meaning that she's willing to discuss trading children's items, home decor and fine art.

I selected this cozy and cute blanket because I love the color combination. The front is 100% cotton in a patchwork design, and the back is white polyester fleece. Check it out!

Story Time Blanket - pink and brown:

Six o'clock Stitch:

Also on the web at:

Sunday, April 19, 2009


The moment I saw this sweet little goldfish brooch with Swarovski crystal eyes, I fell in love! The Japanese folded paper art, origami, has always fascinated me, and is another art form that seems so mysterious and complicated that I'll probably not attempt it anytime in the near future. I truly admire anyone who can master this fine, intricate art, and, without a doubt, Haru-Dori certainly has!

Haru-Dori, (which means "spring bird" in Japanese), has turned this fine art into pretty jewelry and hair adornments, and if I had to critique her shop in any way, it would be that I'd like to see a lot more of it there!

Haru-Dori, also known as "missmanatee", states that she's been folding Origami since traveling to Chiba Prefecture Japan over a decade ago. It was there, in a workshop, that she discovered her passion for folding paper.

She states that after returning home, for years she collected illustrated origami books, and found great reward in mastering everything from the traditional crane to the great stellated dodecahedron. Sadly, as is the course of many budding artists, (including myself), she felt there was no way to share her artwork, nor the appreciation for it, and threw most of her hard work away. Fortunately, when flipping through her collection of origami books, recently, she suddenly realized the value of her art, and decided to turn her hobby into something lasting to share with others.

Though not Japanese by heritage, she chose her shop name to pay homage to the dominant Japanese element of her art, and to show appreciation for the influence of it in her life.

Haru-Dori reassures her prospective customers that each of her origami creations may have a very delicate appearance, but are actually quite sturdy, as each item is coated with non-toxic varnish to increase the durability, shine, and lasting quality.

She also invites special requests, and states that if anyone has a specific interest which is not featured in her shop to please message her or to or check out the "Alchemy" portion of her Etsy store.

Please check it out, along with her blog, at:

Origami Goldfish Brooch:
Haru-Dori Etsy shop:

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hollymark After Dark

20 year old Holly's biggest passion is writing, particularly romantic poems and anything about the subject of love! She's been writing for 10 years, and says that she'll probably always love putting words to paper.

When she's not writing, Holly makes items out of polymer clay - some mature and some sweet. She writes that she's always loved working with her hands, and enjoys seeing her ideas come to life. And, though she's only been an Etsy seller for a few months, she's already had quite a few sales, shipping to worldwide customers.

Holly's creations are very affordable, and something for that woman or adult in your life who has everything, and loves cute and whimsical things. I chose Holly's "Miss Daisy earrings" not only because they are both very sweet, but the name "Daisy" has very special meaning to me.

One of my most beloved dogs, and one who I will always miss, was my retired Greyhound named "Dazey". The other "Daisy" was very special foster Greyhound who was named "Daisy" by her new family.

Please take a look at Holly's sweet Miss Daisy earrings:

Miss Daisy earrings:

Hollymark After Dark:

Friday, April 17, 2009

Linda B's Creations

Linda B says that she loves to bead using bold colors and a wide variety and combination of gemstones, glass, sterling silver and pewter. Many are her own, original, copyrighted creations.

I found her shops to have a variety of gemstone and glass jewelry items, bookmarks, ("BookBeads"), Car charms, ("carms"), papercrafted items, and even pet jewelry. Her handcrafted cards are cute and cheerful, as well as competitively priced. Even with shipping, I find them to be more affordable and more personal than mass-produced greeting cards.

It's also evident that Linda has taken care to assure happy customers by making more affordable jewelry items, taking the current economy into consideration. She says that she'll also make an item with precious metals at a customer's request.

She says that she's happy to take custom orders, and requests for certain color combinations, preferences for jewelry to match clothing, or even specific gemstones to enhance an individual's particular energy needs. And, a nice touch that Linda offers with some of her gemstones is including the history and the healing powers of the particular stone. Linda is also a member of the EtsyBead Team, the EtsyTwitter Team, the EtsyBlogger team and the EtsyChai Team.

I've chosen to highlight Linda's Green Serpentine Bloodstone earrings today. You'll find these in her Etsy shop:

I also found Linda's 1000markets shop to be particulary attractive, so please stop by to pay her a visit there, as well:

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sassy Glass Jewelry

I love the name of Sassy Glass's shop!! She's been creating handmade artisan jewelry for many years using various types of beads, findings, natural stones, gemstones, and high quality metals. She's now discovered metalsmithing, and together with her machinist husband, have combined skills that have resulted in some of the fabulous pieces you see in her shop.

Because they work with original concepts and raw materials, no design is impossible. She loves custom orders (beads or jewelry), and invites new ideas or even duplicates of something in her shop, (including sold items) for those who want something in a different color or design.

She also makes lampwork beads for sale in her other shop at:

Once again, it's been difficult to choose just one item, but I've settled on a gorgeous pendant of yellow, gold, ivory, and green ocean jasper that reminds me of rare burl walnut!!

This gorgeous stone is bezel-set in fine silver, adorned with sterling balls, as well as a center flower set with a tiny citrine stone. The backplate is also sterling silver.
The pendant measures 1 1/2" wide x 1" high, and comes with a sterling snake chain. I find this an incredible bargain at $55.00!

Ocean Jasper pendant:

Sassy Glass Jewelry

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Almost Precious

Anna Marie, of Almost Precious, describes herself as both a trained and self taught jewelry artist. I found her bio to be equally interesting, as I see we share an Italian heritage. We also share the same high standards, when it comes to our artwork. She writes this on her site:

"In my viewpoint creating lovely jewelry is more than just a craft, it's an art as it requires the correct blend of colors, texture, size and balance to create a truly timeless piece as relevant today as it was yesterday and will be tomorrow." She goes on to say that her "handcrafted creations feature Sterling silver or 14kt gold filled, many have pearls, high quality semi-precious gemstones and Swarovski crystals. I could use cheaper materials such as brass crimp beads instead of sterling silver or cheaper tigertail instead of 49 strand, stainless steel Accu-Flex cable, but the quality of the finished product would be compromised. I want to create the very best that I can and therefore only the very best will do."

I fell in love with Anna's "Swing Time" earrings, fun dangles framed with wire filigrees! Equally endearing is the way she's chosen to model them for her store. She's shared that the darling birds were handcrafted by a dear, late friend, whose lovely birds constantly remind Anna and her husband of his friendship, humor and amazing talent. Like the saying goes - "A picture is worth a thousand words"!

Swing Time Earrings:

Almost Precious:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Raven333, (known here as Fiberartistoo) has been an artist and artisan for 20 years. Libby, who describes herself as a jewelry maker, designer of art dolls, shrines, as well as a serious assemblage artist, also states that fabric art is her primary medium now. Besides pouches, pins and wall hangings, she also combines the color and texture of fabric arts with her expertise in bookbinding in order to create dynamic altered books. I found this to be true as I browsed her shop, and found it to be a great showcase of her varied talents, consisting of great one-of-a-kind fiber art, including felting.

I've chosen her precious 5"x7" felted heart (that hangs inside its shadowbox wooden frame against a background of hand colored and aged paper), because it reminds me of the early American folk art samplers that I love so much. But, instead of decorating this heart with needle and thread embroidery, she's used wire, pewter and rhinestone embellishments. Again this appeals to me because it's an old look using modern materials.

Please take a better look at this sweet heart, which is now discounted, at Raven's shop!

Felted Heart in a box:


Monday, April 13, 2009

New York Glitter

New York Glitter is also an animal lover, using the money she earns from her hobby to support her several cats and dog.

She's a long time Etsy seller, has the sales to prove it, and is approaching the 300 sale mark - good for her!! Her cheery shop is full of fun and fancy designs that she describes as "Hip & Trendy to Romantic and Vintage, and then everything else in between". She writes in her bio that she loves using Lampwork Beads, Swarovski Crystals & Pearls, Gemstones, Vintage beads, Lucite, and Freshwater Pearls. For metals, she likes to us Sterling, Bali, and Hill Tribe Silver, Gold Fill, Antique Brass and Copper.

I lover her pink, ultra feminine "Girly Girl Earrings" - aren't they sweet?!

Girly Girl Earrings:


Sunday, April 12, 2009


One of the most rewarding aspects of my blog and Internet shop is that I've met some truly fascinating people! Jeannie Wray of JWStyle is a lady after my own heart - not only the creator of heavenly jewelry, (reminding me that I am but an infant in my creative life), but she's an ardent animal lover, and one who takes that love to much higher heights that I do. As a rescuer of animals in need, she's taken them into her home, and has put her money where her mouth is by donating a portion of her sales to animal welfare!
Please, please take a moment to savor just one of Jeannie's luscious bracelets, (yes, again, it was difficult to choose!). I really LOVE this bracelet - it's so full of fire and bling!

Deep Aqua blue Aurora Borealis Cluster Bracelet:



I've featured Namaste in an earlier post, but her shop is ever evolving - there's always something fresh and new there.

This laughing Buddha symbolizes the ambience of her shop, and one that she uses as her avatar logo.

Laughing Buddha's Joy:


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Bejeweled by Candi

Bejeweled by Candi is also an Etsy seller. Her shop not only has oodles of wonderful jewelry, but the hearts and views to go with them. And, again, it was difficult to select just *one* item to showcase!

I finally settled on the Botswana, Agate, Carnelian and Silver Bead Necklace. The materials sound so far and exotic, and more importantly, it's a bold and classic piece. The primarily neutral white color and classic style make it a versatile necklace. There's so *much* you can wear it with - and that's why it's the perfect summer "must have"!

Handmade Botswana Agate, Carnelian and Silver Bead Necklace

Friday, April 10, 2009

Yarn Coture - featured shop

In my efforts to get my own business up and running, I neglected to check back on the wonderful shops I featured in these early days until now. I was delighted to find wonderful additions to the Yarn Coture shop, with fresh talent blossoming out all over the place like spring flowers! I fell in love with Maryum's many new "Vintage inspired" items, and it was obvious that I wasn't alone as I discovered hundreds of item views and shop hearts! Yarn Coture's shop mini was featured as one of the kick-off's for my new blog, and you'll find the Etsy mini in my sidebar.

As I slowly browsed through Yarn Coture's store, I found it almost impossible to narrow down the selction to just one lucky item, but finally selected this vintage inspired ascot necktie in white - classic, clean, very feminine, and just plain pretty! This particular style is offered in other colors, and other colors and color combos can be made to order by special request. Please stop by her shop and take a look!

Vintage inspired ascot necktie in white:

Yarn Coture

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Caprice Creations - featured artist

Despite my struggles with Internet networking, and creating this blog, I have to say that my blog has been an ongoing adventure. For no reason, good people are interested in what I have to say, and I've discovered that each and every one of them is a goldmine of talent and awe in their own right! I've promised to showcase everyone in my blog, and today I'd like to start by introducing Caprice Creations. Her shop is colorful and cheerful, and she has a way with paper crafting that makes it hard to choose a favorite. However, I chose her "Thanks" card, not only because it's super, but because it reminds me that we need to take more time to formally thank people when they give us something. It's sort of an old fashioned courtesy that's gotten lost in the age of electronics...

Please stop by her shop and see what you might find!

Card -

Caprice Creations:

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Caring for pearls

When cared for properly, pearls can last a lifetime. The best way to care for pearls is to wear them often as the body’s natural oils keep pearls lustrous. However, it's very important to keep them away from household chemicals including perfume, makeup and hairspray. Chemicals found in these common products can dull the luster of your pearls.

Like the oysters which formed them, they require moisture. Extreme dryness is damaging to pearls, and they are very sensitive to acids, hair spray, cosmetics, and perspiration. But, because they usually are worn on a silk string which will deteriorate when wet, the pearls will need to be re-strung more frequently if they are taken for a swim in salt or fresh water.

*NEVER expose pearls to chlorinated water. Like their "organic" owners, pearls are prone to damage from pollution and injury.

*APPLY COSMETICS, PERFUME AND SPRAY PRODUCTS FIRST, before putting pearl jewellery on. (Remember although sun creams and insect repellents are good for you, pearls need to be protected from these protectors.)

*It is recommended that you put your pearls on last when getting ready and make them the first thing you take off when you come home. Before putting your pearls away, wipe them with a soft cloth and store them separate from other jewelry to avoid scratching their tender surfaces. STORE PEARLS SEPARATELY from other jewellery, in a cloth bag or jewellery pouch. Storage in slightly damp linen will help prevent pearls from drying out in low-humidity atmospheres including central heating.

*Make sure that they are not exposed for a long time to direct sunlight, especially ultraviolet rays. The protein in pearls becomes yellow under sunlight. The calcium carbonate in pearls dissolves in human sweat or oil from the skin, and this will diminish the pearl's luster. To prevent this, wipe pearls well with a soft cloth immediately after taking them off and before putting them away. Avoid commercial jewellery cleaners unless specified on the label.

*Since pearls have such a low hardness, they should be worn and stored in such a way that they do not come in contact with metals or harder stones that may damage them.

*REMOVE SPILLS IMMEDIATELY if pearls come in contact with food acids. Use a soft cloth moistened in fresh water, and then dry pearls with another soft cloth.

*RE-STRING pearls regularly, for the sake of the pearls as well as to avoid a broken string.

*REPLACE INDIVIDUAL PEARLS when a competent pearl-stringer recommends it. Pearls which always lie against the neck when worn will absorb acid from the skin and eventually lose lustre as well as their spherical shape.

What To Avoid
Acids in the skin and elsewhere.
Makeup and skin creams.
Hairspray and insect repellent.
Talcum powder.
Dust and grit.
Ultrasonic cleaners.
Steam cleaning.
Chlorinated water in shower or pool.
Scratches from crystalline gemstones and metallic jewellery.
Dehydration from being wrapped in cotton wool or from exposure to light and heat, especially spotlights in shop-windows and showcases.
The dinner table with a variety of acidic hazards from vinegar to salad dressing to fruit juice.
The kitchen with all those acidic ingredients and the high heat used in cooking. Pearls will tolerate temperatures up to 100°C for a short time, but hot fat and stove/oven temperatures often reach a very damaging 180°C! For the same reason, pearls should not be stored near a radiator or a sunny window.

Wear them with pride!!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Matching earrings

Here are the earrings that match my copper and multi colored biwa and glass pearl necklace. Clusters of tiny freshwater pearls top the antique copper colored biwa. Wouldn't these be fun?!
Tomorrow - caring for pearls.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sand, Sea, and Sky

These are the new pearls I just finished and posted to my on line shops. I've named them "Sand, Sea and Sky" because they remind me of the ocean shore during a rosy sunset.

In designing the necklace, I tried to keep versatility in mind - these should coordinate with many fabrics and wardrobes, from day to evening and everything in between.

Tomorrow - the coordinating earrings - oooh, la, la!!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Featured artist

I've always admired anyone who is capable of painting designs freehand. The only "design" that I have even attempted to paint was faux marbling, which actually didn't turn out badly. But, when it comes to conveying an image onto another medium, if it's not available in stencil form, I'm helpless. Actually there have been some stencil projects that I've even abandoned in frustration!

I love decorating my home with any form of handmade art, and folk art has a particular appeal to me. Recently I found a nice combination of handpainted folk art and home furnishings that really touched me. This pretty little table is available at Audrey's Country Crafts Etsy store.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Changing the subject - sort of...

I recently finished a fun little pendant/necklace. I think it would be great for any special occasion, prom, wedding, a special bride, mother's day, sweetest day or just an "I love me" gift from me to me! You can see more photos on my Etsy page.

I'll be posting more of my latest works in the days ahead.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Natural and cultured pearls...

There are two kinds of genuine pearls available on today's market - natural pearls and cultured pearls.

Natural pearls are formed when a foreign object (like a tiny stone, but bigger than a grain of sand) has made its way into the mollusk's shell. The mollusk secretes nacre, a lustrous substance that coats the intruding object. As thousands of layers of nacre coat the intruder, a pearl is formed; this process takes up to seven or eight years (an oyster's useful life span).

"Culturing" pearls was invented in 1893 by Kokichi Mikimoto, and is a process in which man implants the intruding material, (bits of mussel shell) into the oyster. The mollusks are cared for in a protective environment ("farm") while it does its coating work, after which time they are harveseted. The longer the time spent in the oyster, the thicker the nacre.
Practically all pearls available today are "cultured" pearls.

Only one out of four cultivated oysters live to make a marketable pearl. Natural (ALL natural) pearls are quite rare and quite valuable. Therfore, the word "pearl" should be understood as "cultured pearl" unless noted otherwise.

The beauty of cultured pearls is based on their outer layer (or the entire pearl in the case of natural pearls). In cultured pearls, thicker nacre is one sign of higher quality. Pearl nacre is composed of about 90% of microscopic calcium carbonate crystals. The crystals are aligned perfectly so that light passing along the axis of one is reflected and refracted by the others to produce a rainbow of light and color. The iridescence that we commonly associate with pearls is produced by this arrangment of layers.

The outer layer of natural and cultured pearls can look very different; natural pearls are often less iridescent than cultured pearls. Pearls produce an intense, deep shine called luster.

Over the last decade or so, Chinese pearl farmers have greatly improved processes for growing cultured freshwater pearls that are made up completely of nacre. They have also developed ways to reshape pearls by repositioning them during the growth process to result in more perfectly rounded ones. Akoya pearls, produced by small Japanese oysters, are implanted with spherical beads carved out of natural shell, resulting in pearls that are characteristically rounder than freshwater pearls.

Above is a photo of a worker grading pearls for the commercial market.