Thursday, July 31, 2008

My new turquoise couch

Take a look at my new turquoise couch molded out of polymer clay by Stormy Designs. It's a perfect size for my postcards, and represents me very well, with the colors, book, and beads. What fun! Thanks Stormy.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

etsyblogger Aug 4th carnival - a book review

The Widow's War by Sally Gunning is a believable story set in the early 1760s about a headstrong woman who discovers herself all alone in a small Cape Cod village after her husband dies at sea. The most startling thing you will learn from this book are the sexist attitudes at the time, including few rights given to widows. We find out early that Lyddie Berry is entitled to "life use" of only one-third her husband's real estate, with the title going to her nearest (male) next of kin. That would be Nathan Clark, her overbearing son-in-law.

Even though Lyddie's war revolves around men, she also finds her daughter to be a sore spot in her life. At first Lyddie moves in with Mehitable and Nathan, and three children from Nathan's first marriage. But she ends up returning to her original home, or at least, one-third of it. As the story progresses, the death of Lyddie’s husband begins to torment her, and she sets out to find the truth of how he died. The emotional and physical distress that ensues creates a bond between Lyddie and the reader.

I thought the story flowed very smoothly, from one small chapter to the next. Each chapter concluded with some sort of surprise that entices the reader to keep turning the pages. Gunning offers up many facts, and gives us a chance to work out our own conclusions before she continues with her story. I was glad not to be bombarded with a lot of superfluous characters. We meet Lyddie’s neighbors and family members, and the few allies she has: an Indian man, whose grandfather originally sold the Berry family their parcel of land, and Lyddie's lawyer, Eban Freeman. I think her situation was summed up nicely when Freeman asked her, after she moved in with her daughter:

"You're well, Widow Berry? You're comfortable?"
"I'm well."
Had he noticed she'd only answered half his question.

I believe the story will be of interest to historians and fiction readers alike. Examples of everyday life demonstrate the author researched the customs and traditions of pre-Revolutionary New England. At the end of the book, Gunning includes some historical notes and a tour of Satucket Village. She also gives us a hand drawn map, which I kept with me as I read.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Tour of the Farm

Here’s a short tour of The Farm.
Look how green the front yard is! Mitch has been waterin
g. I think he got all those cockle burrs (or whatever they’re called) out of the grass. Still wouldn’t trust running around barefoot here.

The garden - getting a little out of hand, eh?

Mom, of course, is explaining something {:-D

The fruit trees are getting big!
Hey, Mitch is pointing too. Is that genetics?

Looking west, towards the house from the garden area. Typical Oklahoma farmhouse... from the outside. Mitch had a special name for the entrance to the garden. Those are roses in the two wood columns. It’s a little hot outside for roses in Oklahoma right now.

He made a bunch of walking paths on the property, and is showing Deb around. The paths are large enough for a truck and trailer to pull through and clear brush, etc. I’m tagging along behind - didn’t want to make people stop, so there’s a lot of views of people’s behinds. Sorry {:-(

Here's the tree house Mitch built for Judd. We went up, OF COURSE. The ladder’s not tied down, but it’s safe, Mitch says. Got to believe your big brother! And there's the usual cut-outs for the tree to breathe. Looks like some new branches are sprouting.

Well, we all got down safely. Here's the backside of the barn, and the end of the tour.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Business card couches

I'm always looking for new ways to market my jewelry, and use Etsy artists whenever I can to personalize my business. My latest promotional tool came from Stormy Designs, a fellow etsyblogger. Stormy is a polymer clay artist who creates One Of A Kind art jewelry, sculptures and beads. Her latest line of unique and fun pieces are business card couches.

I think the first couch she made was psychedelic with glitter, just right for the hip psychologist.

Stormy won the Etsybloggers over when she announced the possibility of having personalized couches. “The custom couches just made sense,” Stormy told me. “Seems each store has a theme or color or an item that they sell, that can be used as the theme for the couch.”

I just had to share these wonderful pieces with a wider audience than just the Etsybloggers: We all love Tote N Tots' latest purses, with polka dot fabrics,
and Spotted Cow Soaps,well, you get the picture.

I told Stormy I HAD to have a couch; they were just so cute and imaginative. I decided to put my couch in a store where I had some necklaces on consignment, and also use it in my booth for art shows. In all the excitement, I forgot I didn’t use business cards anymore. So I convoed Stormy, and asked if she could change mine to postcard size. No problem. Was I relieved. Check this out:

Stormy has written about her couches on her blog. You can visit her on Etsy, and decide for yourself if you want a couch for your cards to lay on. Convo her with your ideas for your custom business card couch.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Two Treasuries for the weekend!

I was lucky enough to snag a Etsy Treasury for the weekend (see below.) I love stained glass and wish I could make a whole bunch of suncatchers, but I'm too busy with my jewelry! At the same moment, Linda over at Spottedcowsoaps got a treasury too (at right), and put my book thong in hers!

You can hunt up these treasuries on Etsy until Sunday evening - or better yet, come by my Flickr account. I have a whole bunch of treasuries there.

Friday, July 18, 2008

For people who love literature

Reading like a writer is an examination of famous authors and their method of writing. The subtitle, actually, is a very good description of her book: "a guide for people who love books and for those who want to write them." But you really need to get pleasure from the written word to enjoy this book.

Francine Prose explains the importance of "close reading," or reading word by word and paragraph by paragraph. That may take precious time away from some people's lives. But it doesn't bother me because that’s how I read in the first place. I've never gotten into the knack of speed reading, always thinking that I'd miss something important (this wasn‘t helpful in college, but I‘m long past those days.) I like how words sounds, so whether I'm reading aloud to myself, or in my mind, I enjoy hearing the words. Prose confesses that her writing, like reading, "was done one word at a time, one punctuation mark at a time."

The book is divided into chapters using different elements of composition, including words, sentences, paragraphs, narration, character, dialogue, details and gestures. Taking sections from her favorite classic books, she illustrates how writers make their stories so compelling. One thing I think she overlooks is the abundance of new writers in the late 20th century.

I think my favorite chapter was on gesture. I never thought too hard about why I liked one character over another before reading this book. Prose gives good examples of gestures that can be assigned to different characters. She also suggests that if you are trying to write, you need to observe people and jot down what you see.

Prose has taught literature and writing for over 20 years at major universities and is an author of 14 books of fiction. She believes we learn to write "by practice, hard work, by repeated trial and error, success and failure, and from the books we admire." I enjoyed her list of "Books to be Read Immediately." At least, I'll remember to check the titles, the next time someone recommends a book to me.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

This is fantastic looking treasury, put together by ToteNTots, or who I've always call TNT! She's got a great eye, especially when it comes to mixing and matching fabrics. Check out her etsy store, and blog. You can see this treasury on Etsy until Friday evening;
after that, come by my Flickr account.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Reading for Pleasure

Are you an avid reader, but haven’t decided which book to read next? There’s a new site that fella blogger, miesmama , introduced to me. It’s call shelfari. They’re based in Seattle and cater to a global community of book lovers. Their mission: “to enhance the experience of reading by connecting readers in meaningful conversation about the published word.” And they’re doing a good job of it. Go to shelfari, and see what others are reading. And read the reviews. It’s a good way to decide once and for all, if you really want to spend your well-earned free time on a volume. I added my own bookshelf to the bottom on this page, to show you what I’m reading.

You, too, can put this widget on your page, or take my advice and sit down with a book I’ve read (I mostly go for historical fiction and non-fiction, but I can be talked into other genres!) Currently, I'm reading an interlibrary loan book about amulets and talismans, suggested by PalleikoDesigns, another etsyblogger!

Check it out, and thank you, miesmama, for introducing me to this site!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Christmas in July

We're almost midway through Christmas in July,
a special sale going on at Etsy.
The storybeader has about a dozen items available -
come and check them out!

A Keeper's Jackpot, Etsyblogger Featured Artist

The first thing I do when I click on my blog is look whose added a new post, with my sidebar blog list. And A Keeper's Jackpot has to be one of my favorite blogs to read.

Jackpot leads us on trails through the Adirondacks in her home state of NY, and gives us interesting stories with all her research on the trails she hikes with Sister. She's a great photographer, too, and we get lots of views, and links, to the area.

Sacandago Lake, Hadley Mt. trip (left) and Painted turtle from Gulf Bay Preserve (right)

But don't miss visiting her etsy shop while you're on her blog. There an easy link under her etsy mini. She has beaded and wire wrapped jewelry, bookmarks, and lanyards. I think my current favorite is Starry Night Choker.

Jackpot also offers custom bracelets and safety whistles - perfect for the woman on the go.

She's honoring her Etsybloggers with two giveaways - you can win a custom bracelet or a pair of earrings. All you have to do make a comment on her post, Sharing the Spotlight Giveaways! before August 5th. Good luck on the drawing!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Treasures are a Favorite

One of the topics for the Etsybloggers July 21 Blog Carnival is "Tell about your favorite creation and share a picture." Well, I don't have a special piece I prefer over another, but rather a favorite design: the treasure necklace. I forget where I first saw this technique used, but I fell in love when I saw my first one.

Usually I use two strands for these
necklaces, but my "Chipped Treasure" has three.

Fetishes are a favorite component I like to use
-they give the piece a bit of character, and make for a good story.

"Tibetan Blue Star Treasure"

When preparing a treasure necklace, I gather a few colors or beads with the same theme, and lay them out together. It takes a fair amount of time, because the finished piece can easily come out "lopsided."

"Coral and Shell Treasure"

"Turtle Treasure" was my first attempt - for some reason, first attempts and me do well.

I decided to make a high end treasure necklace, with sterling
and turquoise only - that's the "Teepee Treasure."

Some others I've made include "Black Birds" and "Cross and Star."

Treasure necklaces are not just a good way to "destash" but allow those creative juices to flow. They can be very colorful and people just love to gaze at all the details. Just looking at them makes me happy! So I decided to give my blog readers a special opportunity: put "Treasures are a Favorite" in a convo to me before you buy any treasure necklace on Etsy, and I'll make a custom listing with 10% off for you. My small way of spreading the joy.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Here's some great looking notecards, some in sets.

Available for viewing on Etsy until Saturday evening.
After that, you can see it on the Storybeader's flickr page
(click the magnifier on flickr to see a larger image)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

July 11th, World Population Day

This July 11 marks the 19th annual World Population Day.

This year's theme, Plan Your Future: Plan Your Family, is intended to build awareness of the importance of voluntary family planning and why it is a cornerstone of a wide range of development issues.

On their website, the United Nations Population Fund has a Resource Kit, activities you can use to promote World Population Day, and posters for downloading. Too bad this all happens during the summer, when school is out, and teachers can't address this in their classrooms.

Here's a brief history by Celia W. Dugger about what has happened in the last two centuries:

"The first great wave of urbanization unfurled over two centuries, from 1750 to 1950, in Europe and North America, with urban populations rising from 15 million to 423 million. The second wave is happening now in the developing world. There, the number of people living in urban areas will have grown from 309 million in 1950 to an expected 3.9 billion in 2030. By 2030, developing nations are expected to have 80 percent of the world's urban population. "

A bit scary, right?

But it doesn't have to take much on your part. Look at what these two women did when they found out the the US had withdrawn $34 million that was approved for the UNFPA:

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Kitchen Aid Treasury on Etsy

There's so many great things on Etsy to decorate and use in your house. I could do a whole Treasury (12 objects) on just my favorite wooden or ceramic bowls! But I decided to look at things to help out in the kitchen:
Available for viewing on Etsy until Tuesday evening.
After that, check out the individual artist shop.

July 7th Etsyblogger Carnival

Welcome to the July 7, 2008 edition of the etsyblogger carnival. Hope everyone had a safe and fun July 4th. For those of you wondering what this carnival is all about, let me explain. Etsyblogger team members need to post once a month, or to be more specific, once every four week period. Whichever way you look at it, team members have a chance to send in a post every other week. So, for this two week period, we have a choice of two topics:

Theme 1: Catch up! now that it's summertime, and you (and/or the kids) are out of school, it's a good time to catch up on those chores, reading list, organizing that etsy shop, etc. What are you going to catch up on, in July?

Theme 2: Share your favorite widget, those fun interactive add -ons.

Please come by, sign my guestbook (at the bottom of the page, ctrl+End) and link to our blogs.

Ready, set, link!

Maureen Blakeley Impawsible To Resist presents Etsy Bloggers Caarnival for July 7, 2008 - Widgets are us! posted at Impawsible To Resist.

Adriene Jameson presents Adriene's Creations - handmade jewelry and accessories posted at Adriene's Creations - handmade jewelry and accessories.

shellmitchell presents Catch Up posted at Shell Mitchell Accessories and Design.

Two Zany Zebras presents So many books, so little time! posted at Two Zany Zebras.

Deb Baroff presents "Catch up" for the July 7th Etsyblogger Carnival posted at Stroll Through Storyland.

Dayna Williamson presents Catch up? Who can do that? posted at Scottie Acres.

Frances presents Widgets and whatchamacalits posted at Home Made Originals.

Janine presents Summertime Lull posted at Athena's Armoury.

ABreathOfFrenchAir presents It's July Already...Time To Catch Up With Life! posted at

JerseyGirlDesign presents Blog Carnival for July posted at .:JerseyGirlDesign:..

lazytcrochet presents Sit Back, Relax, and Catch Up posted at LazyTcrochet.

Becky presents There are things I can't bear to part with... posted at The Fab Miss B.

A Keeper's Jackpot presents Which Widget Is It? posted at A Keeper's Jackpot.

Melissa Sinisgalli presents Catch up?? posted at Made By Melissa.

sally holland presents Catch up posted at sallers - craft in progress.

CREATEaTHOUGHT presents Summer Catch up posted at CREATEaTHOUGHT.

Ashley presents Already?? posted at Wax Dribbles & Melt Pools.

dizzydragonflies presents Catch up posted at dizzydragonflies

Linda Wheelock presents Shocking Discovery!!! posted at Spotted Cow Soaps.

Brigid presents Summertime fun posted at Grey Eye Designs studio.

Stormy Designs presents My favorite widgets posted at Stormy Designs.

Kathy Johnston (Cozy) presents Minis are the Best! posted at A Cozy Life.

mizuhiki presents Blog Carnival! posted at The Sweet-ness of Life.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Traveler's Niceties

A new Etsy treasury, just in time for the July 4th weekend.
ToteNTots put me up front on the left. Thanks for the nice company!

Come by the Etsy Treasury before Sunday, July 6th.

"Fly Away Home" Etsybloggers Treasury

Created by storybeader.
Click on the picture for a better view.
Come by the Etsy Treasury before Saturday, July 5th.
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