Monday, September 28, 2009

Book review - Wait Till Next Year

I don't think it was a deliberate plan, that our women's book club decided to read Wait Till Next Year this month, right before the World Series. Actually, I think I suggested the title, not really knowing the story, except that it was a memoir by Doris Kearns Goodwin and we decided to read something light, after the summer.

Everything that occurred in Goodwin's childhood revolved around baseball and the Brooklyn Dodgers. She tells us that in her pre-teens, she began to notice boys and the inequality facing girls in school, but first and foremost she was a Dodger fan (and she remains a baseball aficionado.) The book was a pleasure to read, and Goodwin wrote it with a seemingly ease. I want to thank her for the Epilogue and her description of the interviews and research she did. Throughout the book, I was wondering how she remembered all the events she told about. Remember, don't pass over the epilogue!


Goodwin's stories introduce us to a fastidious young girl. I got a kick out of her well thought out plan for the entire neighborhood, in case an atomic bomb was dropped on NYC. I noticed she wrote often about her mother’s health and the way it effected her life. One thing that Doris did as a youngster was to run down to the meat market and pick out food for dinner. She became close friends with the owners, even though they were Yankees fans! All her little stories were so detailed. One account she told, that stuck with me, was how upset she was, when a military parade for Gen. MacArthur (in April 1951) delayed the opening game of the first series between the Dodgers and the Giants. Funny, what we remember!


Often, Goodwin would give the reader a look into the character of her favorite Dodgers with the use of original quotes. I was overwhelmed at Jackie Robinson's compassion for ballplayers. On opening day in 1955, the captain of the Giants (Alvin Dark) proudly raised two pennants up the pole at the top of the clubhouse - the 1954 National League flag, and the world championship banner, which had never flown over Brooklyn. "I looked over at the Giants," Jackie Robinson later said, "and thought of the kick they must be getting out of it. After all, you see people and you have to try to put yourself in their place sometimes. It was like Thomson's homer. Bad as we felt, after it was all over, you couldn't help feeling how thrilled he must be, and what a great thing it was in baseball. So today I just tried to realize how they were feeling at that moment."

The Dodgers came close to winning the World Series many times, but won the pennant only once, in 1955. I thought it was interesting that Goodwin’s next door neighbor and best friend, Elaine, was a devoted Yankee fan. She explains the title of her book with a little story: After the Yankees won the pennant in 1949, "My relationship with Elaine grew strained and suffered for weeks. It was that October that I first understood the pain, bravado, and prayer woven into the simple slogan that served Dodgers fans as a recurring anthem, Wait till next year."

I’ve never followed baseball and the Dodgers weren’t playing in Brooklyn when I was a girl, but I still enjoyed this book immensely. I'd be interested to see if Goodwin was able to cross the gender divide in her writing. Please comment - I’d love to hear from the men out there.
Doris Kearns Goodwin

Sunday, September 27, 2009

September Featured Etsyblogger: Designs by Vanessa

Vanessa has an interesting mix of jewelry and papercrafts.
Sort of reminds me of... me, or at least what I'm trying to do!

One of her favorite themes are birds, as she puts it:
"What I Love: Friends, Family, Being Crafty, Photography, Scrapbooking, Journaling, Jewelry, Purple, Pink, Traveling, Working Out, Retail Therapy, Reading, Movies, Music, Fashion and all things birdie!"
(not really sure what Retail Therapy is all about!)

Her blog, Designs by Vanessa is a mix of "Fabulous Finds," giveaways and how-tos.

Here are some of my favorite finds in her Etsy shop:


Saturday, September 26, 2009

2009 International Festival in Lawton

The International Festival in Lawton, Oklahoma started 30 years ago. From inside the library, the city moved the festival outside into their parking lot. Over the years, it grew larger and larger, eventually ending up in Elmer Thomas Park, near the Museum of the Great Plains.

Here's a short video, giving you a view of what's in the park and the beginning ceremonies under the big tent.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Internet Artisan Interview - Sunshine Daydreamz

I'd like to give Beth, owner of Sunshine Daydreamz, a big newbie welcome to the Etsybloggers team. She joined the team about 3 months ago, but has been operating her Etsy shop since March 2008 - about the same time I joined. And it's full of gemstones and vintage jewelry... but I'll let her tell you all about it:
  • What's the name of your business/shop?
Sunshine Daydreamz Jewelry

Do you have a registered domain name and/or a blog?
My blog:






My Etsy shop:





  • What type of handmade products do you sell?
I sell hand crafted jewelry for women and men, with a California touch. Most of my designs feature gemstones with turquoise being a favorite. I also love working with different metals, hammering metal is very therapeutic!

  • Show us a piece you recently finished

  • What are you working on right now? Any sketches?
Right now I am working on more twisted metal pieces. I don’t usually sketch out my designs. Sometimes I will write down ideas - they seem to come to me in the middle of the night.
  • If you have a website or blog, what do you use for advertising?
For advertising, I have used Facebook Ads with some success and some shameless self promotion on sites like Twitter.
  • Which online selling vendors do you use? What do you like best about each one?


I mostly sell my jewelry online at Etsy. I love the artsy look of Etsy, and the community interaction really excites me. I also use eBay for my men’s leather necklaces. I have been selling them for years on eBay and figure, why not? I think men are comfortable with the format eBay has.

  • Are you involved in social networking? What's your favorite and why? If you're not involved, you must have a good reason!

I use Twitter and Facebook. My favorite is Facebook because I have found some long lost friends. I have also been able to re-connect with cousins that I haven’t seen in ages. It’s kind of like an ongoing family reunion!

  • If you have a website or blog, tell us about your favorite widget.
On my blog I use the Etsy Mini widget. It is easy to install, and automatically updates with my newest listings and featured items.

  • What do your avatars look like?

I use the same avatar on all of my sites. It’s a picture of the sunset over the Pacific Ocean in my hometown in Southern California.


  • All of us can use a helpful business hint once a week. What's yours?
I think a good business hint is to keep an open mind. Being open minded will allow you to grow your product line and your customer base. Experimenting with different materials can really spark your creativity! Take classes and try something new. Many jewelry designers forget about men. But can you honestly say men don’t wear jewelry? I love the look of surfer type necklaces, or chunky rock star bracelets on guys!

  • Do you have a "modus operandi" for computing the price of a handmade object? Tell us your formula?
I don’t have a set formula. I take into account the price of materials, how complicated it was for me to make the piece, and what I might pay if I were the one buying.

  • We'd love to see your little corner of the world, where you create.

I mostly work on my dining room table, with the family milling around me. On nice sunny days I take my designing out to my patio to create among flowers, palm trees and birds. Most of my supplies are kept in a rolling cart so I can be mobile!


  • Where do you see your artwork in one year? Any plans in the works?
My goal is to grow my Etsy shop, and to get some jewelry pieces into some of the surf shops and boutiques locally. As far as designs go, I am taking it day by day, keeping an open mind!

  • OK, time for the storybeader to pick a favorite!
I really like Beth's surfer style heishe necklace (the one that sold, above) but if I had to pick something in her shop right now, I'd say the Mother Earth Gemstone Necklace with that gigantic citrine pendant. Eeww Boy!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

almost wordless wednesday - Oklahoma Museum Association

The Oklahoma Museum Association annual conference is meeting in Lawton this year, located in the southwestern part of the state. Wednesday's pre-conference includes a tour of the Wichita Mts. Wildlife Refuge and an evening at Fort Sill.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Storybeader's Workshop - Maple Leaves journal

I've never been very good at machinery, including sewing machines. I remember taking home ec in junior high... you had to when I was in 7th and 8th grade! I was horrible at cooking and sewing - didn't have an interest in measuring food and never cut out the patterns the right way.

Well, now I'm back, but I'm sewing paper instead.

Maple leaves falling
As October comes calling
A new leaf in here.
- storybeader



My new journal, made in the storybeader's workshop, measures 4.75" x 5.5" and is bound using waxed Irish linen thread. The covers are made with Japanese Washi paper, and there are 128 lined sheets inside. The first and last signatures are wrapped with blue starred papers.

More journals will be coming to my Etsy shop soon.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Storybeader Placed at Arts N Action Festival


It was a long day, driving to Frederick... setting up and taking down by myself, but I sold two of my larger necklaces and a bunch of smaller things along the way. Sooo, I didn't sell as much as last year, BUT I won 3rd Place for 3D Booth. {{{happy dance}}}

It had rained the night before at home, but luckily didn't rain there. I requested the same booth space, under a beautiful tree, that shaded me in the afternoon. Shared it with my neighbors...

Hope you all had a nice Saturday, too.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Etsybloggers Carnival - interviewing the storybeader

In this week's carnival, hosted by Edi at Memories For Life, one of the topics is:
"1) Show your face! I love to know the artist behind the work. Show us a picture of yourself and talk about your work, life... whatever. Interview yourself if you like."

That got me to thinking... what if I interview myself, with my new Internet Artisan Interview?
  • What's the name of your business/shop?
storybeader
  • Do you have a registered domain name and/or a blog?
Yes, my domain name address and blog address are one and the same: http://www.storybeader.com









  • What type of handmade products do you sell?
I sell one-of-a-kind (OOAK), handmade jewelry with an ethnic flare. I love treasure necklaces, with all sorts of gemstones and fetishes in them, and have an affinity for turquoise and Tibetan silver. I'm planning a new line of handmade products - books! I've always been interested in paper and words, so I think it will all work out well.
  • Show us a piece you recently finished
This is my Christmas Tree Lampwork Necklace. I bought the pendant from islandgirl, and have been holding on to it, for the fall season. All that time, I've been looking for beads to match... chose to use a mix of glass and crystals. Keeping in the Christmas spirit:

She crept downstairs to
Find the treasures under the
Lighted Christmas tree.
  • What are you working on right now? Any sketches?
I'm working on the bookmaking side of my business. And I love the Japanese Washi papers that are available. I might wait till the spring to use this one, but it was so beautiful, I had to buy it. Hmmm... I see a problem developing here....


  • If you have a website or blog, what do you use for advertising? What do your avatars look like?
My favorite online advertising sites are Entrecard and Project Wonderful. I try to use only two different images for advertising: my turtle treasure necklace and my tipi treasure necklace. Hopefully, this gives me some visual recognition. I've been trying to think up a new name that I'll need for the books I'll be selling, since storybeader is not too descriptive of paper. So far, I have "storyland journals" to complement my blog, "Stroll Through Storyland."


  • If you have a website or blog, tell us about your favorite widget.
That's a really hard question, because I don't have a favorite. I love my etsyblogger list (at right) and the EtsyBloggers box, since they're easy ways for me to get to my friends. I think the e-mail postcard is so cute - a fast and easy way for YOU to contact ME personally! And has everyone seen the new Artfire Coupon?
  • Which online selling vendors do you use? What do you like best about each one?
Oh Boy! This is a loaded question! I have three major online selling vendors, where I spend most of my time.

1) Etsy - I think the whole teaming approach is a great idea. There are so many different kinds of teams, but I love my etsybloggers team. (Hi Everyone!) Just recently I joined FFEST (Facebook Fans on Etsy) and think that's going to be a great team too. Congrat. for all that are involved.
2) 1000Markets - what I like best about this site is their professional attitude. But there are a lot of things great about it, and I'm thrilled to be with them. One plus is their approach with marketplaces, which gives a seller like me, who's involved with jewelry, a chance, at least, to be seen. They have a great marketing tool, the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) code box, to fill out, when you're first listing your product. Sounds technical, but it isn't. AND then, every store gets their own website! That's pretty cool, and very helpful, I would think, for sellers without an blog or website of their own.
3) Artfire - I think Artfire focuses on the vendor with an on-line presence. And that's great for me (though I haven't sold anything there yet...) They have the best marketing of the three venues, with the Rapid Cart available on your blog and now, with their new coupons.
  • Are you involved in social networking? What's your favorite and why? If you're not involved, you must have a good reason!

I like Facebook, because there are so many opportunities to communicate with others. I set up a Fan Page, that's attached to my personal page - don't understand this all yet, but that's OK. I have the FFEST team to fall back on. I also am on Twitter, but I think it's too large and impersonal. Maybe I'm wrong.... And Plurk, which is fun - but I don't spend enough time there to get more smilies, which I really love!





  • All of us can use a helpful business hint once a week. What's yours?
Let's see... business tip? This might sound too general, but keep yourself organized. I find that once my paperwork gets messy, then it takes me twice as long to do things. I have folders for purchases, sales, bank statements, taxes, and more. Then there's my ALL Trusty Notebooks, complete with photos of every piece I've made, what I used and how much the materials costs, and if/when it sells. That's me in archivist mode!

  • Do you have a "modus operandi" for computing the price of a handmade object? Tell us your formula?
My formula is Products + Labor + Fees + S/H = Price
I don't know if this is actually a good model. I've seen others, where people add a percentage of the final product. I'm afraid I wouldn't sell a thing if I really paid myself properly, but I try to be fair for the buyer AND me.

  • We'd love to see your little corner of the world, where you create.





I've shown some photos previously of my workroom, which is our living room. They're lost in my computer somewhere... Here's some new ones - please excuse the mess! I've taken over the whole area! Not sure where to put all my paper supplies yet...





  • Where do you see your artwork in one year? Any plans in the works?
I've got big plans! Like I've been saying, I'm going into bookmaking. Don't know what's going to happen to the storybeader - she might just stick around, and another artisan join her. Two's company, they say. Maybe I should have a contest for the new naming! I'll keep one blog though, and maybe, if I have enough journals, open a second shop on Etsy.
  • Should I do a favorite?
Well, let's see.... I love my treasure necklaces, and I love my turtles.... So I'll say my Turtle Treasure Necklace:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

almost wordless wednesday - dramatic cat


A friend just sent me this at work - had to pass it on to my cat lovers!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Bookmaking with Japanese Maple Leaves

I couldn't help but start working on my storyland journals.



One of the sheets I recently bought (see above), from WashiPaper, is called "Maples Leaves in Greens Washi Yuzen Chiyogami." Don't know what all of that means, but I love the feel and the coloring of the paper. And it's perfect for the fall season.

The book will be approx. 5.5" x 4.5" and have about 70 blank pages inside. Still have to sew it up, and see how it turns out... I cut all the "text" paper at work yesterday, on a large paper cutter.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Internet Artisan Interview - Tania Cavenecia Torres

I love looking at the jewelry in Tania's online shops. And we are both members of Passport, one of my favorite 1000Market's marketplaces. As she states in byhand.me, "My Peruvian heritage is a great source of inspiration for me." Tania uses rich colors and even seeds from the Peruvian rain forest in her jewelry. Neat. Take a look at some of the beautiful pieces this jeweler has in her shops:

  • What's the name of your business/shop?
My business name is Tania Cavenecia Torres

  • Do you have a registered domain name and/or a blog?
I'm a new business so I don't have a registered domain name or blog yet.

  • What type of handmade products do you sell?





I make jewelry using sterling and fine silver along with a variety of materials like semi-precious stones, seeds from the Amazon rain forest in Peru and leather.




  • Show us a piece you recently finished
I recently finished a piece called "Carte Postal" a sterling silver necklace with Turquoise and Smokey Quartz and a Fine silver pendant charm as a focal point. The necklace is named for the focal piece, a portion of a stamped French postcard.

  • What are you working on right now? Any sketches?
My latest work are some bracelets made of thin leather cords in great colors like metallic gold, true red and olive green. They have sterling silver components and semi precious stones that dangle. They're very playful.


  • Which online selling vendors do you use? What do you like best about each one?
I have two shops. My first I opened on Etsy the end of last year. I've learned so much from their community section and forums, that's been great help just starting out. My second shop I opened on 1000 Markets a few months ago. It's been exciting to be part of something from the beginning to grow as it grows.

  • Are you involved in social networking? What's your favorite and why? If you're not involved, you must have a good reason!
I joined Byhand.me, a great community of artisans. A place to show your wares and interact with other artisans.

  • All of us can use a helpful business hunt once a week. What's yours?
I try to keep a balance on the advertising/promoting aspect and the creative part of the business. It can seem overwhelming at times especially when you're just starting out.

  • Do you have a "modus operandi" for computing the price of a handmade object? Tell us your formula?
I haven't quite found my system yet. A lot of times the price is not just about the cost of supplies and time spent but it may be its appeal factor. When a design is finished sometimes I have to see what kind of statement it really makes.

  • We'd love to see your little corner of the world, where you create.
I work on my dinning room table so trying to develop an organized and practical system of storage is my main challenge.

  • Where do you see your artwork in one year? Any plans in the works?
I have always loved drawing and painting and expressing my creativity in many ways. Right now all my creative juices are going into my jewelry making business and I love it. I've found that I can use my art and creative talents in all aspects of my business and am really enjoying that. Even the final phase of wrapping and sending off an order is important to me. I want each piece I make to bring joy to the person who will receive it starting from the moment of opening the package. So a year from now I would like to continue to advance in my craft and be able to share my work with many more people.

  • OK, it's the storybeader's turn to pick a favorite!




Tania's Llama Bracelet is one of my favorite pieces in her collection. I love ethnic jewelry, and the distinctive way it presents itself. Made with oxidized silver bracelet links from Peru.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Blogfire Carnival - Sept 12, 2009

My favorite weekend activity is sticking around the house.


I'm a hopeless homebody.
If I'm home, I can do work and play,
be around my doggie and DH,


go outside and garden,

or just enjoy the weather.



If I stay inside,
I can do paperwork and clean here and there,
and be on my desktop computer!

When I venture out,
it's usually to the store to buy groceries,
early in the morning.
If it's a beautiful day,
I'll take a stroll in the park
or maybe go out to the Wichita Mountains.

I love to see my mom and brother,
but that takes a little more planning,
since I have to get in the car and drive some distance.


At least we're in the same state!
I love being around family and relaxing,
like up in the treehouse!
Great views - sunset is lovely!

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