Saturday, December 26, 2009

After Christmas Blow-out Sale!

Hee,Hee, aren't you tired of hearing that? Anyway, I wanted to thank my customers and blog friends and thought this was the best present I could offer you. I have many plans for the new year and need some room in my shops to put them. Of course etsy lets you have as many items as you want but after so many pages some things get 'lost in the corners' and need to find their place.

So I am offering from 25-50% off many items in my three established shops, AlmostARTifacts, OrganicOdysseys and PolkaDotSandals. And for my new shop StudioARTBEAD a buy two get one of equal or lesser value FREE!

Yes, Up to

I want to thank all those who have already shopped the new store and encouraged me to get busy with new ideas of beads, components and buttons for the coming year!

This Sale is only good until Jan 2 2010 so get over there while there is a lot to choose from! Don't miss out like on the Black Friday Sale. All items are already marked down and labeled in the title. Also you can search the shop with the tag Sale to find all the items being discounted!

Have fun and a Happy New Year!


Friday, December 25, 2009

Peace on Earth

Silly Holiday movies, the tv schedule is full of them. I finally found something else on late last night, with Sandra Bullock one of my favorite actresses, Miss Congeniality 2:Armed and Fabulous.

Among all the glitz and glam and slam, hope did shine through in the very last scene, that reckoned back to the first movie. Gracie Hart though it silly and fru fru stupid girlie the whole contest thing, which yes, I agree, but one thing those girls had right, and she realized it in the end was the one thing one would wish for, and that was for World Peace.

As she says in the last scene of #2, to the little girl who wanted to be like her, "Until you admit that fighting is never the answer. Ever. Because what do we really want? Anyone? Nobody? Nobody knows? [Priscilla raises her hand] Priscilla, what do we want?

Priscilla : All we really want is World Peace.

Wishing this for you and yours and the family of Earth at this Season.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Petless In my Hometown (not Seattle)

Well, Cosmo went off to the Zoo on Tuesday, he was supposed to go on Sunday but we had a bit of a snowstorm, so it was postponed until Tuesday. We took him from the aquarium Monday morning to transfer downstairs so he could 'chill'. Since he will be introduced to a Koi pond outside we needed to lower his temp gradually. On Monday night we placed him over by the door to cool down even further.

He was greeted by the Director of Animal Services of the Zoo when he arrived and was enthusiastically welcomed. They don't have such a beauty as he, mostly the orange and black variety. Cosmo is so beautiful, not quite white, more of an iridescent very pale peach which can only be seen in the aquarium. ( click on the picture to see more details, then hit the back button to return here).

I played the Norah Jones CD for him one last time and even took a video of him swimming around to her song, 'Come away with me' one of his favorites and mine as well. He didn't take kindly to the camera though as I was taking some stills the camera was shooting a red beam to locate the 'living thing' and he didn't like that one bit. I tried to write about this on Tuesday and couldn't and yesterday it still hurt too much, an empty aquarium can be a very lonely thing, it is now just a piece of furniture, not a home to my beautiful Koi Boy, Cosmo.

Sometimes you don't realize how a lot of what you do and how you do something is directly guided by others around you. Then again there are some who are completely oblivious to how they affect those around them and can easily fall into the category of 'rudeness personified"!

Being an INJF I am one who is aware, most of the time of how my actions effect reactions of others, but sometimes it's always a mystery! With Cosmo since he spent his life in a black pond the openness of the aquarium was hard for him to acclimate to. Whenever we would walk by, if not slow enough, the shadow we would make or the reflection of the daylight off our clothing could cause him immediate terror and he would swim madly around the tank and most times crash into the filter or hit the top cover. I hated that my movements did this to him and tried my best to walk slower as I approached his corner of the house. I found myself doing this even after he was taken out on Monday and I had cleaned the tank and arranged the backdrop, something I couldn't do with him in there without a commotion.

I still do that when walking out into the living room and then I remember, he's not there. I look at the empty tank and am sad, despite his craziness, he was still a living thing in my house, one I couldn't pet but I could feed him, talk to him and play favorite music for him. Now he's gone and with Techelet ( my Blue Betta) dying a few weeks ago (which was expected as we had him over 3 years) and it being 4 months now since I lost Jazmine my beautiful Dalmatian Princess, for the first time in over 39 years, I am pet-less and I am lost. It is not a title for myself I cherish, and never will.

I feel as if I'm on another planet or in a strange dream that I want to wake up from. I don't know who I am without some creature depending on me. I've had so many animals in my life, from chosen ones to ones who chose me, mostly the latter. Strays seemed to find their way to me, injured or too young, wildlife as well. It's a long list but if you are interested here is what comes to mind for now. I've had 17 dogs, 18 cats, 4 squirrels (2 I raised from babies, one fallen from nest, another hit by a car and paralyzed), numerous birds of all varieties, two skunks, an opossum, various fish and gerbils, hamsters, a chinchilla, parakeets, gerbils, guinea pigs, turtles, (box, painted, snapping! and woods). I'm sure there is more but I can't think of them right now. This doesn't even include the wildlife animals I feed on a yearly basis, like the mother and triplets, deer we helped raise last year, feeding them each day, corn and such and supplying water , (always supply water), and a dozen or so squirrels, dozens of doves, and other birds and even having two red tailed hawks being raised in our yard to which one still lives here, dining off my fat squirrels when he can catch one. :)

The wildlife is still here and very prolific, for that I am grateful, but I can't touch them, cuddle them, comfort them or make a connection with them, that is gone.

I don't know if I shall remain pet-less in the future, for now I am too sad from all the lose and really can't imagine going through it again, especially after losing Jazmine who is still in my heart and I think will always be. They were my family, and now my family is totally gone.
If you are spending time with your family this week, don't look at their faults, don't look at their annoyances, don't look at it being a bother to get together, instead take joy in the fact that no matter who they are, how they are and what they are, they are, bottom line, your family and that really is all that matters. Take time this season to show them that, you won't be sorry, and as Monk used to say, You'll thank me later................... ( maybe much later, but I promise, you will :) )

Happy Holidays~

Could anything be sweeter than this? Jazmine at age 10 weeks buried in a chair cushion waiting for her mama to come wrap her in a blankie so she didn't get cold.

Stay warm, and make good memories this season and always to warm you later when you need them.


Friday, December 18, 2009

More Places to find Pardo!

I told you all a few weeks back that my state is now the proud residence of some new Hobby Lobby Art and Craft Stores. I made my maiden voyage there and found my first Kato and Pardo in a B&M SHOP! thrilled yes, but now I have more news to share.

I signed up for the Hobby Lobby newsletter right away of course so I could be notified of upcoming sales and the newest news I received from them is starting January 2010 they will be going online for shopping! Now even if you don't have one nearby you can still shop there and hopefully Pardo and Kato will be one of the items offered online. But they gave me a link to another online shop that actually does carry Pardo and it's on sale right now!

I think back in February when I ordered it online even with the discount I was given for paying for a subscription to a 'club' I think I still paid around $6 for the 2.7 oz size. When I went to Hobby Lobby I purchased it for regular price of $4.99 but this place has the same size for $3.74! only a sqeek more than the Sculpy Studio clay price in my local shops. They also are offering 17 different colors, a bit more selection than what I found at Hobby Lobby when I was there. I also purchased the smaller size at $2.99 and at Crafts Etc! this size of 1.2oz is $2.24.

Yes, That's CRAFTS ETC and they are now offering Free Shipping on orders over $25! Cool huh? I'm sure if you go and take advantage of the 25% off in the craft department which is where you will find all the clay and get at least $25 worth the shipping free you will save even more per bar, almost like getting Premo!

They have a huge selection of all kinds of clays and related items so check out the sale on these also:

Kato Polyclay ( $1.49 right now!)

Here's the link directly to the Craft department CLAY section. go NOW! :)

It says 25% off in the crafts dept until today so get over there quick! That is where the clay is located.

I think I am going to go off my clay diet just this once to take advantage of this great sale, hope you do too!


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Inspiration is Everywhere

I truly believe that, if you are willing to take the time to see it. I know I have in the beauty that lies in the mundane or at least what most would label mundane. My artwork is usually based on seeing something others don't and wanting to share that. Erin Prais-Hintz is a kindred spirit in that vein.

She has started a Challenge a week this month. Now I wish she would have held off until January ;) , after the holidays when we all have more time, but it is still exciting. I found out about it after the first week was well underway and had an idea all planed out, see her first challenge was to go to a Hardware store and create something from the parts you would find there. I would not have even had to make the trip, I have been shopping these kinds of stores for years to come up with all kinds of things with parts not made for these specifically. It all hasn't been jewelry but various things. I have bought a downspout elbow to mount to a board with a porcelain socket to make a cool up light to light up my Palm plant. I have shopped the plumbing isle for copper components and make Candle sticks and a few Menorahs out of them, soldering together various sizes of the pipes. Came out pretty cool too, even sold some! My husband is always amazed at why I want to look in those isles. Recently he was in an automotive store. Now I can't stand the smell of the rubber tires in those places and was shopping next door at the Staples but got done sooner than he did and went in there anyway. I looked around, seeing what I could use. I've gotten my seriously fine wet/dry sanding paper in there for my polymer clay (up to 2000) as well as some fine copper tubing for something on a car but perfect for making cool beads!

This time I found some great SS washers. I grabbed a bunch of sizes and promptly took them home and tried my stamp kit on them to see if they would stamp and sure enough, they did! Can't wait to get to them to make something, which actually was some components I was going to use in Erin's first challenge, but couldn't find the time with the shops so busy. Then the second week was Grandma's Jewelry Box which would have been great too seeing how I have both my Grandmothers and my MIL (who were only a few years apart in age) and have been wanting to be able to make something out of the pieces in them. But again time was against me.

This weeks challenge is Sewing Kit. I also have my MIL's and Grandmothers sewing baskets and my MIL's vintage pedal sewing machine too! I really am short on time this week as well but decided to take at least a bit of time and see if I couldn't come up with something. I found all kinds of neat things to work with, some great glass pressed buttons, brass closures ( for lacing up something) bobbins, threads, glass head pins and more. I played around with these and I guess I was under too much pressure and too many ideas were forming but nothing concrete. So I turned to a box of old zippers, not sure why I even hung onto these, and also found some big black snaps. I liked the look of these and the fact that I was going to just make something with all the buttons I have from them both and more like I've done in the past with button jewelry I've made but then I decided to makes my piece of jewelry with a different kind of closure. The Snaps and zippers were perfect. Now I did have to cut the zippers up but they were so long I don't think I'll ever need them, and maybe I can create something else with the locking part?

Anyway I did get an entry in for this week, you can view it here at Flickr where I give a description of my piece as well as a few more shots of it. I hope Erin may try and re-visit these themes later in the winter when we all can have some time to more freely create because it is such fun!

Go visit Erin's blog and maybe you can find time to make something for this weeks? You have until Sunday. And then I think she has one more ............................Have fun! She offers wonderful prizes as well as a way to stretch your creative muscles, outside the box of holiday crafting!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Front Page News!

I apologize for not being very chatty of late, I have been working steadily on my shops, adding new things, redoing photos, filling orders, making new banners and updating the tech side of things. I've even been working on some quilt and stamp art I used to do so look for that soon in my PolkaDotSandals Shop. I know many are very busy nowadays and so don't have the time to spend like they did before on hopping around the net reading blogs so I don't feel that guilty, but missed sharing with you just the same.

So I think I should take some time to share a bit about what's been happening over the past few weeks. Last week we had a couple of snow and ice storms but the snow is all gone now thanks to rain and warmer temp (today it's supposed to reach 50) but we went out last week and bought lots of seeds and some new feeders. It didn't take long for the chickadees, woodpeckers and nuthatches to find our new safflower and sunflower seed feeder and they have been fighting over turns to it. But the thistle sock we hung nearby didn't attract any goldfinches until today. Now it looks like a studded sock, studded with about a half dozen goldfinches at a time, with others waiting to jump on. I'm glad we got the large size. It is a bit distracting to sit at my table by the window and have all this activity in my peripheral vision but I try to get my work done. There's a quick pic I just took with a few on there but it's been much busier, some have to wait on the dogwood tree for their turn and some are bossy and shoo the rest away! The one on the left is a male in his winter plumage, the others are females and they are brown in winter, pale gold in summer and of course the males are that bright yellow in summer.

I just got done packaging up my 9th order for StudioARTBEAD my newest shop on Etsy. Not bad for the holiday season when most are spending their money on ready made gifts. I've only been opened for about 6 weeks so I count this as a blessing! My other shops are doing well and most recently I have to thank SmallEarthVintage (one of my dear TeamT members) for featuring my Black and White 'To Everything there is a Season' Switch plate and Paperinstyle for Featuring my Blue Willow Dill Candle holders in their lovely treasuries. Both made it to the Front Page of Etsy and as you can see by The Vault at Majaba (where you can find out if you've ever been featured on the Front Page of Etsy by putting in your shop name) my blue candlesticks were also featured by the Etsy Admins the very next day! I did not find out about all this until after Shabbat, so Saturday night and was amazed, also more amazed to find that they were sold! My Switch plate also sold after hitting the Front page too! Thank you both! and Etsy too!

Then just yesterday afternoon I was checking my email for something and got this notice from Statsy Featurator:

Hi there,
I have some good news for you: StudioARTBEAD was featured on Etsy's front page, with the "Trio of Greens Leaf Buttons Coordinating set"! :-)
Never heard of Statsy? This is another way to be alerted right away when you are on the front page, that way you can see it for yourself instead of at the Vault or waiting for it to be posted to the Etsy Front Pagers at Flickr. Sign up here if you'd like this service, I've gotten notified twice by it as well as cheers from my wonderful TeamT members! (Check out their shops on my sidebar, we have a wonderful variety of Art and Craft, something for everyone!)

This time since it was at 1pm I got to watch the views and hearts go up and up in my shop. I also got to watch as the Admin constantly tweaked the Front Page to look just right, changing out some things but thankfully they kept my buttons there the whole hour! I have four screen shots of the front page in transition. This is the first for StudioARTBEAD and I am very honored to be featured on the FP so soon after opening. I think it took over 8 months before OrganicOdysseys was on FP, but I've been there now 11 times since June, very shortly after joining my favorite TeamT! I've even curated a Front Page there as well and hope to do more. And a Special thanks to Cathy from Glassetc for making this lovely treasury!

I didn't sell the buttons but made two other sales and got 24 new shop hearts and 23 item hearts so this is a great boost for my new shop!

Now I have to get into the Studio today and try to find my table top again! With all I've been making and wrapping etc it is a mess, AND I've not gotten to my clay for so long I can't remember. My arm is feeling better (did I tell you I tore a ligament in my bicep? very painful!) but it's healing well. So hopefully I may even be finally able to get into that new Kato and Pardo I bought how many weeks ago?
I did find some time to make a treasury this weekend too. I wanted to thank some of those who have included me in their beautiful Treasuries throughout the year and made this Treasury
Thank You My Etsy Friends! Included in this treasury (more to come from others who featured one of my shops) danikeith, thepairabirds, paperinstyle, singingsurfer, YannPendaries, Chicki, kimbuktu, peylu, HappenstanceByChance, Eugena777 , KikisCrochet & Treasurefield. Thank you all!

Hope you all are taking it as easy as you can, remember sleep is your friend and will help you cope and be more creative and be able to enjoy the fruits of your labors so get as much as you can and eat well, lay off the Christmas cookies or Sufganiot until after all is done!

To those who are celebrating, Happy 5th night!


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Accidental Art

Woke up to another snowy, icy, day, defiantly not like the beautiful snow over the weekend that snowed just enough and iced just enough that when the sun came up turned my yard into a winter wonderland. This picture is from that time. Today we are getting rain, ice, snow and constant warnings of flooding on the news.

Glad I don't have to go anywhere today. Yesterday went to the feed store to stock up on corn,mixed seed sunflower seeds and safflower seeds as well as some peanuts to keep all my outside critters fed well in this very cold weather.

I've got an old bamboo table set up on my front porch just outside my bay window where this winter I have placed a work table. I do my photo work here, taking pictures and editing, as well as some finishing of my artwork. It has three shelves and each one is filled with seed. The woven rattan top helps to pull moisture away so the seed doesn't get flooded or frozen to the top, and the birds and squirrels love it, it gives them a change of venue from the back yard which I can see to my left out the patio doors to the picnic table which they claimed as their own years ago.

My table by the window also makes a great place to have breakfast. This morning called for something hot and 'stick to your ribs' so I made some hot and tasty cereal from Bob's Red Mill. Now this is formulated for people who can't have gluten but is tasty for those who can. I add some cinnamon, allspice, a pinch of cardamon, pure maple syrup a pinch of sea salt, raisins and some chopped nuts and cook for 10 minutes. Then I Top off my bowl with a dab of organic butter and edge the rim with cream! Smells great and helps to warm you up and get you going! (Especially in other areas too because it is full of fiber!)

Sometimes you just never know where a beautiful piece of art may come from, for me, it came in my humble bowl of cereal. ( Click on photo to enlarge, it reminds me of the Spin Art I used to do at Summer Camp and down the Shore at the Boardwalk!).

What do you think, ever had an accidental artwork just happen before your eyes? Tell me about it and have a good, warm, comforting day!


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Now you Know..........

Well... you may already know this, my favorite female singer is Norah Jones. I love so many of her songs and her exquisite way of singing even old favorites. Believe it or not, my silver Koi Cosmo, whose tank is right next to my Stereo, loves her too. He is quite spastic, not used to being in a tank, we brought him in from the pond and he is very flighty, but when I put Norah's CD on, he swims over closest to the Stereo and just hangs out there, or very gracefully swims around in that corner. His favorite is 'Come Away with me', but he also loves 'One Flight Down'.

I happen to been able to catch the treasury going off last night and this song was stuck in my head so that is what I went with. I made a Treasury Titled, 'Now you Know' and tailored all my picks from the lyrics in this song. If you aren't familiar with them here's a link to the lyrics, I've had trouble finding the correct ones as those who post these things have their own interpretation apparently but this is the most accurate , the only incorrect part I saw was the line 'Here at least you see your ancient face', is supposed to be 'Here at last you see your ancient face'.

Stay tuned as I shall be using this technique soon at StudioARTBEAD! And check out the shop this week, I've some new buttons and beads in the shop, the first set I listed yesterday already sold! :)


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Featured in the Elite Eight Again!

S and O Productions Blog which has a weekly feature called the Elite Eight has featured one of the treasury's I am currently in. It is called 'Eye Candy' and features lots of yummy little jewels for gift making and giving. Included in this treasury is this faux amber bead 'repaired' with faux turquoise from my new shop StudioARTBEAD.

The Elite Eight for this week can be found here on this very elegant blog.

I was also favored back in September to have been in another treasury that was included in their Elite Eight. One called 'Lime Garden' where my Live Oak Leaf recycled vase was featured.

The S and O stand for Sarah and Olivia who are sisters and have a beautiful blog where they promote Art and handmade.

A quote from their blog:
Sarah and Olivia are a pair of adorable sisters and together they make up S and O productions; where they share (with the world) their stylish inspirations, lengthy and unabridged tales of the ups and downs they’ve come across in their cooking, writing, photographing, and crafting, journeys. They enjoy scouring the internet for bushels of talented artisans (whom they heartily admirer) and showcasing their work here on this little patch of blog they call their own:)
Give them a visit and check out those beautiful treasuries! Also stop by the Eye Candy Treasury, and here's a few more I am in currently.

A Colorful Christmas - One of my Art Beads from StudioARTBEAD
White Monday - another of my art beads
A Delightful Evening Indeed! - Dill Candle holders from my OrganicOdysseys shop
Holiday Treats - My Vintage Lesney Locomotive from my PolkaDotSandals shop

I am adding lots of new beads in StudioARTBEAD this week, as well as some new items in PDS and new Organic gifts like Herbal Wine Charms in OrganicOdysseys so stop by and take a look!


S and O Productions: Treasury Tuesday The Elite Eight

S and O Productions: Treasury Tuesday The Elite Eight

One of my New shop's ( StudioARTBEAD) beads has been featured in an etsy Treasury this week,Called Eye Candy.

This treasury was chosen by the lovely sisters, Sarah and Olivia of S&O Productions to be one of
their choices in their Tuesday feature, "The Elite Eight".

Each week they look through all the Treasuries on etsy and pick only 8 that showcase the ones they feel are the best for that week. Back in September I was blessed to have had my Live Oak Vase featured in a treasury called Lime Garden that also made their Elite Eight.

This weeks theme was the holidays and they sure picked some beautiful ones.Be sure to stop by and check out this beautiful blog.

Thank you Sarah and Olivia!

Blessings and Joy to you this Holiday Season!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Spent all your Money this Weekend?

I read on the news that there were more shoppers out in the malls and stores this week end than last year, BUT they spent a lot less.

The only shopping I did this weekend was to buy some security lights from Home Depot and Monday to use up my coupons that expired Nov 30th. Which brought me to thinking that we all are in the same boat more or less. I felt pretty good returning from the store only paying a couple dollars more than half of what the bill would have been if I hadn't had the coupons. It made it even better that I picked this week to get certain things, things that usually aren't on sale were so it was even more savings.

I made a great savings on things that we use all the time, was able to use up my coupons before they expired and not have to worry about buying these things at top price!

I thought I would share how I do this with my readers as I'm sure we all could use to save a bit and if you save even more, then you can buy more art supplies with less guilt! :)

A few years ago we were not doing so well and I had to buckle down in many areas to get things straightened out. I subscribed to the local newspaper for the Sunday edition (the coupon edition), but found that I could use few of the coupons offered. I don't eat a lot of prepackaged foods because of their poor health quality, or that they aren't gluten free. So I am limited and can't take advantage of all these. I found I was barely able to cover the cost of the newspaper with the coupons I could use and looked for a better way, I turned to the internet.

That was when I discovered that you can actually buy coupons specific to what you need! Instead of buying the coupons that come in the local paper, and maybe not even being able to use them, I found a place you buy only what you can use, exactly what you can use for only pennies! And it is a charitable organization so everyone wins!

This great saving place is called The Coupon Clippers - Saving together! From their site:

We are the nation’s largest online Grocery Coupon clipping service, offering more than a million national-brand coupons at any given time in our warehouse and shipping center. Browse our huge selection and start saving $$$ today!
You can look through all their coupons, shop by alphabetical order, or for special needs like Baby, specific store coupons like Publix and also there is a section (at the top) to look for Gluten free items which I love! There is some limits on certain coupons but only if they are limited in the amount they have, fair enough. You do have to buy a certain amount but at .05c - .25c per coupon with the ability to save dollars it is worth it.

I'll give you an example of a couple of great deals I just made with my coupons. I usually always buy Egglands eggs and they always seem to have coupons for them, I save between, .70c and $1.00 off each dozen, not bad, better eggs for about the same price as the lesser quality eggs. This week I used coupons for organic sugar that I bought from the Coupon Clippers for 5c a piece for a .40c coupon. Took this to the store which sells it for $2.09 and it was on sale for $1.89. My store doubles coupons up to $1 so I got .80c off each bag (I had 5 coupons the required amount to buy), so I saved $4.00 with my coupons I only paid .25c for, not to mention the $1.00 from the sale on the sugar. Pretty cool, huh?

It's easy to sign up, order and they are fast on delivery and very accurate, I've ordered from them many times and never had a problem. You can even put money in your account to order from whenever you want. You can even check on previous orders, or check our order status. They even have a counter that tells you from when you order when your order will go out. Usually the same day. Give It a try, you've got nothing to loose, unless you buy them and don't use them, but much to gain.

Here's a couple of other sites I've found you might want to look into, this one gives you lots of coupons you can print out yourself, just check off what you want and print! ( You may have to download their software) Printable Brand Name Coupons.

They are associated with this site Budget 101, Digging yourself out of debt. And don't forget to check out their forums where you will see daily the free offers available. They also have a forum there for chain store specials, which includes Michael's, Hobby Lobby, Staples, etc.

So if you spent too much on Black Friday/Cyber Monday or just need to cut back somewhere check out these cool savings sites! And then take a bit of your savings and treat yourself for being so thrifty!

Oh, still keeping your Sunday paper subscription for the circulars? Cancel your subscription and go here to look at all the major circulars online for free! Save money and less paper to be recycled!


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Negative Space

Do you employ negative space in your artwork? I've always been fascinated with this from childhood looking at those pictures like the vase that turns into two people kissing. I've never been subjected to a formal Rorschach test but I'm sure they would find some interesting results about me!

Some of my favorite things to look at are filigree in style , or cut-work in fabric or ceramics, I have two beautiful plates of lacy edged open work, one even broke and normally I would have thrown it out but loved it so much I glued it back together even though it can't be used now.

One of my favorites is looking at ferns, especially the ones hanging in my front bay window in the morning when the sun shines through them. The negative space is colored like the sky and the sun lights up the fronds from behind and it is a beauty I can't explain.

My fascination resulted in this latest treasury Called Fantastic Negative Space of similarly related items. Take a look and comment and click if you'd like and come back and tell me what you think. I'd love to hear your opinion of negative space!

Oh, these are pictures I took right at sundown about a month ago at our local park. I loved how the willow tree branches were silhouetted against the lake and the darkening sky, one of my favorite trees! Come to think about it, my favorite plants are ones that have that negative space look. I love ferns and have many, also a 5 foot wide split leaf philodendron that is taking over one whole corner of my living room, spider plants, striped and solid, a palm tree, and a date palm I have been growing from a pit for the last 5 years. And some of my favorite botanicals to work with also have that same look , dill, anise, asparagus leaves, Queen Anne's lace, carrot tops, Dusty Miller.

I will be adding these new hand painted buttons of Anise seed heads, again that great lacy look, to my StudioARTBEAD shop today.

So are you attracted to lacy negative space type things?


Kato,Pardo, Where O Where Art thou?

Some of you may remember how last winter I ordered the new Pardo Clay which was only available through one US distributor, and all the trials and tribulations I had to go through to receive it. (Cool Clay things in the mail June 20,2009)

I was still so put off by the whole experience, yes I am sensitive that way, I don't like what some may call 'bad karma' attached to any purchase, either mine or someones from me, it just isn't good all around and can stifle creativity.

Anyway, the more I thought about it, the more I wondered if I wasn't right when I wrote that post, that maybe I shouldn't even try it in case I fell in love and then had no other source to get it from. Then I read recently that Pardo was now being sold in stores, well one Craft Store chain in the U.S., Hobby Lobby.

That was good news and bad for me. I was very pleased to find out that there was no longer a monopoly on this new eco-friendly clay, BUT the problem was, I didn't have a Hobby Lobby in my whole state, nor the closest state to me! What's a clayer to do? So I sulked, especially since I'd heard of the great sales that HL had frequently on clay in general and not only that, but they also sold Kato clay~! Something I haven't been able to get my hands on and try either. I got burned on ebay bidding on a whole lot of all the colors, paid for it and the seller ran off with my money, ebay closed them down before I could file a claim so I lost all around. I was afraid to mail order clay again.

But somehow a couple weeks ago I was reading something and it mentioned HobbyLobby and I figured I would go look again to see where the closest one was again and maybe plan a trip. I couldn't believe my eyes when I found one only less than a 1/2 hour from my home! I checked, and double checked and thought it was a internet fluke, but headed there anyway.

When I got there I have to tell you I was surprised and delighted to see the sign with big letters in red, Hobby Lobby! I was even more overwhelmed when I went inside. Now I have a Michaels, an A.C. Moore and Joanns Craft superstore, all within one mile from each other and about 15 minutes from me. This is where I do all my craft shopping and am at their mercy.

Michaels has given me trouble over coupons and I'm not too happy with them, also the jewelry department is so dark you need a miners helmet to find anything!

A.C. Moore has raised their prices on clay to over $3 a bar and they have some very rude employees there so I haven't shopped there that much recently either. And JoAnn's well they have improved and I've been there more than the others lately, but none of them have anything like Hobby Lobby!

That place is wonderful! I ended up staying until 5 minutes to closing. One thing I can say I enjoyed immensely was the music. It was soothing, peaceful and shopping inducing. I even noticed that the customers ( and this was Sat night, and there were plenty) acted nicer, kids didn't scream as much, people were polite, it was amazing! The other stores I mentioned play music that makes me either have to put in earplugs just so I can think about what I want to purchase, or if I don't have any with me, I grab what I can remember and run out of the store, never really getting all I wanted to. I applaud them for understanding that if you aren't being shouted at or having loud thumping music beating down on you, you can actually be thoughtful, and creative and look at the merchandise and start to work on projects right there, in your mind, and look for the components to make that idea, and buy them from that store, every body wins!

I didn't get to see every department but each one I was in was well lit, comfortable to move around in and see everything, and sales on lots of stuff! There were many items I've never seen in any of the other three stores and I got some really cool new things. I also found the clearance section and got some things there too! Hubby was even happy about shopping with me, even found something in the coin collecting section he's been wanting!

I found the clay isle and their clay was on sale, even the Kato! So I had to buy one bar of each color ( $1.27 can you beat that!!!!!) and I also found the Pardo! I couldn't remember which colors I had so I only got a few, but they had both jars and the small plastic packs.

I was thrilled! I also picked up some new jewelry components I haven't seen in other shops, and some neat Vintag components too! I had to tell hubby to get me to the check out before I emptied our bank account!

I walked out happy and now I have all kinds of things to work with. I am hoping this week to finally get to the Pardo clay as well as to experiment with the Kato Clay as well. I've heard the new formulation is really hard to condition but I have a Cuisinart and a sturdy wooden rolling pin already for any resistance!

Oh, so when I got to the check out ( and the lady was very nice too, even at the end of I'm sure a very busy day), I asked how long they had been there. She told me September, so it is pretty new, last I looked online for one was back in the Spring, so I am happy I looked again and if you have had the same experience, look again, you never know!

Happy Claying!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Kathleen Dustin Featured in the New January Issue of Art Jewelry

One of my favorite all time Polymer Clay Artists, Kathleen Dustin is a featured Artist in the upcoming edition of Art Jewelry Magazine, January 2010.

They are offering an exclusive bonus Gallery at their website, click here to go visit the many wonderful organic pieces this excellent artist has made.

It has been a dream of mine to take a class with this awesome artist, one I don't think will even come true but meanwhile I love to look at her artwork and wonder just how did she do that? Her use of texture and color is phenomenal and pulls you in to want to see deeper, closer, more and that closer look is always rewarded.

This is one of my favorites, the polymer and pearls.

Here is her website if you'd like to learn more about this great artist.

Make sure to get out to your local bookstore and pick up an issue if you don't already subscribe, it promises to be a great issue!


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Dadd's Beads

I have been cooking and baking like crazy all week. I have my turkey all roasted, the carcass cooked down, gravy made (will make the mashed potatoes fresh come dinner time), cornbread apple, sausage, raisin, nut, cranberry dressing ready to go into the oven with the yams, the macaroni, broccoli and cheese casserole, and the corn casserole. There is Apple Kuchen for B'fast and Turkey salad for sandwiches to munch on before dinner. And I can't forget the Pumpkin cheesecake with sugar cookie crust. Yum! I have to make everything from scratch so it takes me a few days, because of my Celiac Disease. But it will all be delicious! And I have a clean kitchen! :)

But after being in that kitchen for hours on end each day I had to get away from all that baking and go bake some clay! I have been pondering all month the ART BEAD SCENE's challenge art piece for this month, Dadd's The Fairy Fellers Master Stroke. There was so much going on in this painting at first it was too much for me. Then I decided to focus in on what I know and love best, the organic elements in the painting, mostly the botanicals. So I set out to pick out what jumped out at me, the foliage, the nuts, the flowers but also I picked up on some textures from the clothing, hats, and even a barely seen wall in the upper right side.

So now my beads are made and I spent about 4 happy hours after finishing up in the kitchen painting, antiquing and coloring this strange assortment of beads. They may seem odd but each one is taken directly from a component of the painting, look hard, can you find them all? ( you can click on each picture to enlarge to help you). :)

Now to make an attractive piece of jewelry with them! :) Wish me Bon Chance!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009


This is such a sad time of year for me anymore. I love the gathering of family and friends, but this holiday was always even more special for me because my only child was born that day. Since Thanksgiving isn't a particular day each year, but instead the last Thursday of the month, many a year it was also his Birthday. I always had an extra blessing to be Thankful for as we sat down to the holiday dinner.

The day before Thanksgiving of the year he was born we were invited to my BiL's for Dinner as I was way too big to cook. In fact I had two doctors that year because we moved a month before I was to deliver. They didn't agree on my due date so it could be any day from the 22 to the 26 (he split it with the 24th! ) :)

His first Birthday Party we celebrated on the Day he was born which was two days after Thanksgiving, we celebrated with turkey salad made with the leftover Turkey.:)

His second Birthday was three days before Thanksgiving so we had our big Celebration on Thanksgiving so all the scattered family could be there ( most lived 100 miles away). There he is early that morning, ( top picture) you can see the sun coming in through the dining room window ( not a stain on the wall but a stained glass sun catcher) , The Turkey was bigger than he was!

But he was taken from us a few years ago and now Thanksgiving only brings me heartache. I do still have things to be thankful for, but certainly not as important as the celebration of the birth of my only son.

I shall miss him once again this year at the table, and pray we meet again some day.

Here he is after a very long Day on his second Birthday, Turkey eaten, presents opened, cake wished upon, and sleeping peacefully on a fold out chair in the living room after-wards.

Sleep peacefully my beautiful boy, I am still so very thankful for you!

I wish you all a day with family and friends and time together to be thankful and count all your blessings, large and small!


Monday, November 16, 2009

Natural and Organic Consumers Focus on Health and Wellness Amidst Public Health Concerns

Mambo Sprouts Marketing Research Forecasts 2010 Organic and Green Buying Trends

Collingswood, NJ, November 16, 2009 — Health care costs and heightened public health concerns have consumers focused on staying well in 2010. That’s according to a recent MamboTracktm study by Mambo Sprouts Marketing, the leader in natural and organic product marketing and promotions, which surveyed the organic buying and wellness habits of 1,000 natural product consumers to get an outlook for the coming year.

Nine in ten (88%) consumers took additional steps recently to promote their family’s health and wellness. With the economic recovery in slow mode, consumers are going “back to basics” to bolster their health, with 7 in 10 or more taking vitamins (84%), eating the recommended fruits and veggies (73%), and choosing organic foods (68%).

These same consumers plan to increase their commitment to health and wellness behaviors including fitness and exercise (64%), getting enough sleep (63%) and eating fruits and veggies (61%). More than 1 in 2 reported adding more “raw” and “whole” foods into their diet (57%), eating organic foods (53%) and meditation and relaxation (52%) would be more important in 2010.

Three in four or more consumers were active in online health and wellness activities using printable online coupons and savings offers (80%) and seeking out health/wellness information online (76%). More than 1 in 2 subscribe to health/wellness E-Newsletters (59%) and belong to social network sites (i.e.,Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Care2) (56%). Consumers identified more health/wellness product coupons (93%) and a wider selection of health/wellness products (62%) as the retailer and natural product company strategies they would find most helpful.

Most (59%) expect to buy more organics in the coming year, albeit cost conscious consumers are seeking ways to make organics more affordable by shopping sales (53%) and using coupons (51%). However, when the choice comes down to buying local or buying organic, consumers are torn. One in three were not sure (28%) what they would choose. Four in ten would opt for local/non-organic (40%), while 1 in 3 would definitely choose organic (32%). Highlighting the importance of locally sourced food, consumers are shifting natural and organic dollars away from local gourmet markets (16%) and discount stores (15%) in favor of farmer’s markets (52%) and local food co-ops (43%).

Coupon usage is high among natural and organic consumers with virtually all (99%) using grocery coupons regularly (77%) or sometimes (18%). Seven in ten consumers indicated that grocery coupons influence their brand buying decisions and use coupons when planning their grocery list. Another 2 in 3 are paying more attention to grocery coupons than in the past and actively seek out grocery coupons online (i.e., search, google, yahoo).

Most (9 in 10) consumers are using a variety of coupon types ranging from in-store coupons (96%), coupons by mail (93%), online printable coupons (90%), to magazine coupons (90%). About 6 in 10 (59%) use coupons added to their store frequent shopper cards, but a slightly higher share (64%) were in interested in these retail shopper coupons. Only 1 in 10 (11%) presently use cell phone/mobile coupons, and fewer than 1 in 6 (17%) were interested in receiving these mobile technology coupons in the future.
Consumers rated produce (69%) as the category most important to purchase organic. Other organic purchasing priorities include milk (54%), meat and poultry (54%), children’s food (53%), cheese and eggs (50%). Respondents were least likely to identify beer and wine, (7%), desserts and snacks (21%) and pet products (23%) as very important to buy organic.

Notably, most survey respondents had already adopted basic “green” habits including recycling (82%), and using energy saving light bulbs (75%), environmentally friendly cleaning products (61%), and energy efficient appliances (52%). Apart from energy efficient light bulbs, those same tools ranked highest in green priority for 2010 along with eco-clothing and “green” restaurants.

ABOUT MAMBO SPROUTS: [] Mambo Sprouts Marketing is a full service health, natural and organic foods and products marketing and promotions company. Through their online, mail and in-store programs, Mambo Sprouts reaches over 2 million proven N&O shoppers quarterly. Mambo offers manufacturers and retailers a complete range of customized programs including: the industry’s first and only natural product co-op mailer featuring an optional custom solo mailing; Mambo Sprouts natural and organic product Messenger newsletter and coupon books distributed quarterly to 385,000 N&O consumers; offline and Web-based market research services; offline and online mail list development; Go Mambo!, Mambo Sprouts’ mobile promotions van that travels throughout target regions distributing product samples and coupons at major events and festivals; Web marketing including natural product instant e-coupons, sample offer promotions, and a monthly targeted health e-newsletter. Mambo Sprouts is based in Collingswood, New Jersey. For more information call (856) 833.1933 or visit

check out their site for great recipes and Organic Food coupons!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pre-Holiday Sale and Grand Opening still going on!

This weekend all four of my shops will be having a Pre-holidays sale. All are offering 15% off of everything in the shops ( not including shipping). Also I am concurrently running a Grand Opening Sale in my StudioARTBEAD shop so you can really save this weekend.

The Pre-holiday sale for me runs from Friday November 13 through the 15th.

My Grand opening sale for Studio ARTBEAD runs through the end of November. I hope you'll stop by my shops and think about doing some of your holiday shopping there.

Also some of my TeamT members from Etsy are also having special sales in their shops.

Here are those participating:

JenSan Candles wonderful candles, gift baskets and bath products. Vegan, Organic and soy are all part of their line!
10% store-wide discount to general public
15% discount to friends, family and team members

JennyNDesign - Beautiful handmade leather purses, clutches, briefcases and travel bags.
& Eightfold her other shop that offers upbeats leather accessories.
10% off everything. Can combine shipping between stores. Refund via Paypal after purchase.

The Nightjar featuring high quality affordable fine art, original paintings/prints, needle felted sculpture and hand crafted unique jewelry that includes pendants, pins, and one of a kind items
10% off all ornaments and original art. Refund via Paypal after purchase.

Mandag - Eclectic Jewelry, cards, pillows and unique artwork from Norway!
10% off everything. Refund via Paypal after purchase

TrendyKnitting - Beautiful knitted Shawls from Istanbul!
20% off All shawls

FiveForty Beautiful recycled Handwoven rugs and unique jewelry!
10% off everything in my shop before shipping, refund through paypal after checkout

SmallEarthVintage- Vintage clothing, shoes and more--from the glamorous 1940s and rockabilly 1950s, to the mod 1960s and bohemian 1970s!
20% off everything pre-shipping

JuicyGraphics Fresh Designs for Your Fine Crafts & Scrapbook Pages
1/2 price sale on all items.

NancyWallisDesigns Romantic, Whimsical, Fun & Flirty Handmade Jewellery
10% off everything in my shop not including shipping,refund through paypal after checkout

SarahJohnAfana Beautiful original paintings, prints and Photography!
10% off all notecards, prints and photographs, framed or unframed refunds via paypal after checkout

Schemata - Beautiful hand knit scarfs
10% off all scarfs

Vintage Confections - Artisan toffee caramel and chocolates!
$10 sale thru Monday Anniversary sale nothing over $10

CatherineReese - Beautiful, thoughtful organic themed pottery
10% off everything in shop

Ixela - Fabulous Fashion knits from Italy!
10% off everything pre-shipping, refund via Paypal after purchase

VintageAimee Beautiful vintage glass slide and stained glass items!
10% off everything in my shop before shipping. Refund through paypal after checkout.

PipingHotPapers - Notebooks, notes, cards, all kinds of cool paper stuff! Recycled items too!
10% off everything in my shop before shipping. Refund through paypal after checkout.

carvelcountrysoaps Natural Bath and Body Products
10% off everything not including shipping

Check them out! No lines, save on gas, do it in your PJ's!

Happy Hunting!

With cursor on ad scroll to see many examples of these great shops!


Friday, November 6, 2009

New Design, New beads in shop

I've been busy posting new beads to my shop all week but took a bit of time out to make this for this Humblebeads challenge. This is Day 1's assignment, a Horizontal focal bead made up of a chunky beads strung on a wire. I had a new idea for some beads and decided this would be a good new use of them, it is based on the ancient Chinese 'calculator' the abacus combined with a rotary lock mechanism but with only one letter per wheel. The letters go all the way around the beads thus making the edge the focal part of the bead.

I chose the word 'Beautiful' because that is what I think turquoise and copper are together, as would any woman be that would wear this. :)

I paired the turquoise antiqued beads with bronze glass beads and a vintage copper chain. I love the look together, wasn't sure about this but would like to explore this idea further, Thanks Heather for the challenge!

I also have a similarly colored herb bead that I
will be listing in my StudioARTBEAD shop shortly. The word 'Parsley' is written twice on the edge between the holes for stringing.

I have gotten over 80 beads and buttons listed this week! Phew! Please go and check them out, I have more to come over the weekend.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Grand Opening and Re-opening!

Some of you may have noticed that my shops have been closed this past month. I have many reasons for this and won't go into it right now but I am happy to announce that all three of my shops are reopened! All this week there will be new listings added and specials like free shipping so please take a visit.

Also my Bigger news is that I have opened a new shop on Etsy! This is strictly for Jewelry supplies, mainly for selling my hand made beads. Just Click here to visit! StudioARTBEAD

Grand Opening starts today with specials and new items being added throughout the day as well as the rest of this week! Don't forget to heart my shop so you can check back often!

Please stop by and check it out and let me know what you think. My banner is a temporary one till I get a bit more time to refine it but I am pretty happy with how my photos turned out on my windowsill on a very overcast day! and that is saying a lot , especially coming from a perfectionist INFJ!

Which speaking of, have you taken the test? Care to share? I'm still looking to met other INFJ's as well as similar MB types so please let me know!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

INFJ What is it, Are you one?

I know some of you have been reading my blog for awhile and have seen me mention that I am an INFJ but may or may not know what that means. I know I promised to answer this awhile back (for Amanda) but forgot and have been busy with other things, but I have remembered and found time so here goes!

The Famous Psychiatrist Carl Jung did studies of his patients and believed that people fell into certain personality or psychological types. His research was studied by two woman a mother and daughter Katherine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers and they helped to refine this to what is know know as THE personality test. To find out your personality type you would take the Myers-Briggs test or commonly known as the MBTI. There are free ones available on the internet and more intensive ones that will take you much longer and you will receive a more detailed assessment for a fee.

There are basically four things you are 'graded' on and it regards how you think, are around other people, take in information, act on that information and make decisions.

You will fall into one of 16 'personality types'. These are designated by four letters, such as mine, an INFJ. Most likely if you have applied for any kind of employment above a fast food job you probably have taken a version of this test, if recently on a computer during an interview. This is used to help employers decide if you are best qualified to do the job you are applying for and how you can be best used to the advantage of the companies needs.

For instance in my case my first letter is 'I', this first letter indicates if the person is an introvert or an extrovert. I think everyone knows what that means so I won't go into that except to say that it has to do with our energy levels not just being shy or outgoing. When you take certain tests it will grade you on each letter as to how strongly you are in that category. I am a high level Introvert, If I remember correctly it was in the 70% area. This does not mean I don't like people but that I am extremely shy around someone until I get to know them and I keep a lot to myself which is influenced by some of my other 'letters' but it also means I prefer to work alone and can accomplish much more when doing so, I gather my energy inwardly not so much from outward influences. :)

The second letter is based on how you take in information and is catagorized by if you do so with your senses or intuition (I call these the inner senses). My second letter is an 'N' for iNtuition (so as not to repeat the first 'I' for introvert).

The Third letter is based on how we take that information and make descisions. Either by thinking or feeling. Thinking types go by past experiences, using logic and objective thinking, the feeling type goes by what could be termed a gut instinct combined with our personal value system. Mine is the latter.

And the final Letter is based on our basic day to day habits and lifestyle. This is how we deal with others and the outside world. Do we prefer organization, schedules, order, this would put us into the Judging category, or are we spur of the moment, seat of the pants, go with the flow types that don't need as much structure in our environments? I am the former. :)

So now you know a bit about what the INFJ stands for! So if you'd like more information you can check out this link to read a quick summary of the infj personality type. If you'd like to find out what type you are there are numerous tests out there and it is recommended to take more than one at different times to get a better, more accurate reading but you can start with this one here.

As you will read if you check that link about the INFJ, you will find that Infj's are very rare, we only comprise 1% of the population, so if you aren't an infj chances are you may have never met one or have and because you didn't understand them because they aren't of more familiar types not gotten to know them which is sad because we are very loving and caring people, not to mention many are very artistic. And that is what I am hoping to do with this post, 1, to inform others so they can understand me a bit more but my ultimate goal is to hopefully find other infj's that are artists. Thankfully through talking about this casually through my internet connections I have found three so far which without the internet I think I never in a lifetime would have run across and they are all wonderful! So if you decide to take the test or already have and are an Infj, I would love to hear from you. You can leave a comment here or write me privately at I would so love to hear from you even if you aren't an infj but have an intuitive type. I am starting a group for artists only in any medium of all personality types that are compatible with infj's as well as a special spot for infj's to discuss our uniqueness and to help and support each other so let me know!


Monday, October 26, 2009

Bracelets........Copper and Cows

I just finished posting my entry for Art Bead Scenes October Challenge over at Flickr.

This months art piece was very different from the past months, it was a primitive folk art piece done by Ruby C. Williams, chosen by Jennifer Heynen of Jangles.

The title of this painting is 'Piano Playing Cow' and is quite colorful!

Above you can see my interpretation of this art piece. As I described it over at Flickr:

"This is my entry for the October Art Bead Scene Challenge. The painting this month was 'Piano Playing Cow' by Folk Artist Ruby C. Williams.

This was a challenge for me in many ways. First I did not make any polymer clay beads for this, which would have been so easy to do given the colorfulness of the painting :) . Second I choose to not be as literal in my interpretation. And third I had a chance to try out some new tools and also to practice my wire wrapping which I haven't done in awhile and have never done this much in one piece before.

I used the colors of the painting, the grass green, the deep sky blue and the orange of the cow in my bead choices, these are handmade glass beads. To interpret the piano I used white crackled column beads for the white keys and round black beads for the black keys. I also attached a G clef (store bought charm) as I love the look of it, it always denotes music to me. I repeated that curled design in almost all of my beads wrappings with coils, especially the white 'keys'.

I found a pewter milk bottle in my bead collection from a very vintage charm bracelet and attached that, but the cow deserved more recognition, so I added a metal charm I made myself that says 'MOO', the name of this entry. And last but not least, I wanted to include another known bead artist in this piece and since there was so much silver I decided on this wonderful rustic and organic looking silvered glass bead by the Lampwork Diva herself Cindy Gimbrone."

I have been gathering a lot of new tools lately and also stock piling metals for upcoming designs, using any coupons I can from the craft stores and even shopping at automotive and mens tool stores~! I've gotten pounds of clay and think I am just about set for winter since I don't go out unless necessary due to an accident I had in the winter weather that has semi disabled me.

Come November I will be reopening my shops, as well as a new one so stay tuned!

I've also been discovering some new blogs lately and one of these is called Sweet Bead Studio which is a beautifully designed blog by Cindy Wimmer. Her name may be familiar to some and if not, stop by and check it out. Right now (two days left!) she is sponsoring a giveaway of the newest edition of Easy Wire by Beadwork Magazine. Her beautiful copper bracelet graces the front cover, and part of the first prize is all the items needed to make it! I can testify that the magazine is worth getting. There is also a cool pair of earrings she designed in there as well and many designs to help you in your jewelry making skills. Also a beautiful necklace by Sharon of Bijoux Jardin can be found in this issue as well. So stop on over and check out Cindy's blog and see her beautiful bracelet and other wonderful things there!

Enjoy the week as the weather paints the trees in their most colorful array before they fall!


Thursday, October 22, 2009

New things

Been working on some new things lately, in the studio and in the shops over at etsy. I've also been rearranging the house. It is amazing how many things you have to move around and rearrange when summers over and you have to bring in your plants. I happen to have lots of them (picture coming soon) as I love having green living things around me, especially in the fall and winter months. We also decided to not keep our golden koi (who lives in a barrel pond on my porch during the warmer months), in that down in the basement, so off we went and got an aquarium to winter him over in. I just got it set up and will hopefully be able to find something to catch him in tomorrow and get him in there.

I've been wanting to change my banner on my Organic Odysseys shop for awhile and had a temporary one in place, and now I have a semi permanent one. I'm not sure if I like it totally yet but would appreciate a look from you and a comment to let me know what you think, no matter what!

I may change the one here on the blog as well as it's the same one I used to have at the shop. Do you think I should change it? to the one on the shop or maybe something different? All ideas welcome!

OrganicOdysseys at Etsy.

I've also gotten some treasury's recently. I have been looking at these lately like collages of art. And then I take a screen shot of them and can use them later for color inspiration. Kind of a twist on Maggie Maggios color lesson on making collages.

Posted above are the latest ones, take a look and let me know what you think.

You can click on them to take you there, but after they expire I will revert the link back to the larger sized photo.


Friday, October 16, 2009

What eating organic can do for the environment as well as You!

Do you eat organic foods? drink organic drinks like milk, juice, etc? If so you know that it is better for your overall health but did you know how much impact this has on the environment's health?

Organic Valley is a dairy that has been tracking this kind of thing for over two decades. They make all kinds of delicious things besides the best tasting milk, cream, half and half. They use their milk to make delicious cheeses, cream cheese, cottage cheese and butter.

I subscribe to their newsletter and they recently sent me this cool link to see how much of an impact using just their organic products have on the environment. Go there to see what you are saving the planet and helping to keep not only yourself but the earth you live on healthier!

Just with my dairy usage per year I am keeping 60 lbs of synthetic nitrogen from being used and almost a pound of pesticides being sprayed. 90% of my veggie purchases come from my organic CSA farm and frozen organic veggies so that goes up a great deal more poundage in pesticides.

Now just imagine how much more you are saving if you are eating grains and veggies and meat that are organic too!

If you haven't tried Organic Valley products, go here and check out their products and then go to the top links and on the far left click on 'Products' and then choose 'Coupons' down at the bottom. This will bring you to a page where you can choose coupons to print out so you can try their products!

Bon App├ętit~!


Thursday, October 15, 2009

What are YOU 'rapping' with? - Recycled Packaging

I've been trying to come up with a suitable blog post this week and haven't been too successful. It has been a dreary week for me and today is the two month anniversary of Jazmines death, I can't believe it's been two months already! So as you can imagine I am down a bit. I've been working on revamping my shops and getting them ready for the 'busy' season, and had my one shop opened to work in it and actually made a sale this week. So as I was wrapping this up I decided to do a post on packaging and took some pics to show you.

I've wanted to do so for awhile but never got to it, so now is as good a time as any and maybe you can use some of these tips for this coming mailing season.

You all know I am an organic artist but that also means that I am green too! Many of my pieces are shipped out in hand made recycled gift boxes I make from the few prepared foods I can find that are gluten free. So this means I have a lot and I mean a LOT of Amy's GF Rice Mac and Cheese and Rice Pizza boxes, not to mention my favorite Gluten free and organic Cereal by Environkids. The pile was just getting unmanageable and since I used up a bunch of my boxes sending out my commissions lately, I decided to take this down time and make some more. A couple nights ago I got 10 done along with two new templates.

I've used various tutes on the internet and also experimented with my own. I will leave you some links to try for yourself down at the bottom, but first some pictures.

This is the package I sent this week. Up top and here on the right. The top pic is the front and this is the back side. This envelope I made myself, recycling an old Ready Made magazine which is rather ironic since this magazine is about recycling and repurposing and green earth type things. But I saved the pages I wanted for future reference and tore out the rest. You pick the nicest ones for your front and backs and then you layer the so-so ones underneath, about 3-4 pages, top with the nice page and sew a straight stitch all around. But before stitching you make your back side about an inch and a half shorter than the front side. This will give you the fold over area you need. Then do the same for the front side keeping the page the full size which should be 1 1/2" longer than the back side. Again straight stitch these all around the four sides. I used black thread because I wanted it to show. You can use variegated threads, or use one color that matches your pages for the straight stitch and choose another for when you join them together, as so. Line up the front and back with the right sides out and the bottoms even. Start stitching at the top of the front page which should be facing down and your back side, the shorter side, facing you. Hold pages together and feed through machine, stopping and pivoting on the corners, finishing off where you started and your envelope should be complete.

I used a simple zigzag stitch over top the straight joining stitches which helps to give it another design element and to hold it together better. I also used a quilting foot which made it easier to push all these slippery layers through. Now the envelope is ready for sending.

Inside this one is the item, wrapped in bubble wrap (recycled) with a few peanuts (recycled) to fill in the gaps ( 4 or 5 peanuts), then it is tied with a ribbon (sometimes I have recycled ones for this too) and placed in the envelope. I print out my copy, the customers copy of the invoice and the mailing label all on one sheet of recycled printing paper. I cut apart my copy and file it, then their copy and add that to the envelope, and then tape the mailing label on the front. Try to choose an area that doesn't take away from your design on the pages. I also use these printer stickers which are recycled from my husbands office. They don't print a whole sheet and they can't put it back in the printer so they throw it away. He retrieves it and brings it to me. I use it to put whatever 'signs and labels' I want on there such as: FRAGILE, Do Not Bend, Please!!, Handle wt Care, Hand Cancel. These I place strategically on front and back of package. If sending first class I put two blank labels in the corner for them to have a place to hand cancel. This one was sent out Priority and then just wrapped the label around the top corner and onto the back, so no problem there unless you have cranky postal people. :)

Inside is one of those boxes, and here's a peek inside, I used a left over strip from one end of the package to reinforce the structure. once inside if you have small pieces you can use this to section them off plus when you close the box and push on the top you will see how the strip keeps it from collapsing. Just make sure your strip is the same width as the depth of your box.

This box measures approximately 2 3/4" x 4" and will fit nicely into the magazine envelopes. The envelopes can be used alone as well if you wrap your piece in bubble wrap well and slip into a match box shell. A match box shell is the outer part of a large box of matches, recycled, or use this as a template to make your own from cut up cereal boxes or other cardboard. Just wrap your piece in bubble wrap, tie a ribbon around it and slip it in the match box shell and pop into your envelope!

You can also sent flatter and small things in these single envelopes. Just pick out your pages from the magazine. You will only need one outer piece, this will be your star. Add two more fillers. Now stitch around all four sides joining the three layers together. Now with the right side down you will fold up your envelope to 1 1/4 -1 1/2" from the top. Make a sharp crease along the bottom. Now stitch up with straight stitch or decorative stitch up each side. Then fold over the flap and you have a study mailing envelope! I like to use a rotary cutter with a deckle edged blade in it to trim the edges. Label as with the other envelopes.

I hope these have given you some ideas of how to reduce your footprint and put a little less in our landfills and also to make a unique little extra to go with your special handmade items. Many of these items are again also reusable for your customer so it can keep on going green! Everyone I've sent these too always comments. It is a interesting and unexpected surprise in the mail and good for the environment too!

Here's some links to help you get started.

I've tried this one and it gives you a good sized sturdy box. Remember you can always downsize the dimensions to fit your item you want to box.

From EcoEtsy here is the tute for making the magazine envelopes!

How to fold a simple origami box You can fold these from calendar pages or study magazine front or back pages. I also use up my calendars for these as well as old scrapbooking paper. You just need to square it off first and to make a closed box cut one square 1/4" shorter on two sides first , this will be your bottom.

I'll look some more for the tute on how to make the box I made using the Mac and Cheese by Amy's for some reason can't find it now but will post it as soon as I do!



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