Sunday, January 31, 2010

Reminder Giveaway

Reminder to get your entries in for Mystery Monday. Please click here for instructions. Have fun!
You have until Tomorrow noon!


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What's New Wednesday Continued

I did get a chance to find some time to make an entry into Art Bead Scene's January Challenge. It is a wonderful painting by Claude Monet, one that is different from his more familiar colorful pieces. I like this and think he did a wonderful job in this painting. The beauty is in it's simplicity, it's complexity is in it's setting. A simple magpie perched on a rustic gate is the subject and title, but the real star to me is the capturing of the snow. To me snow is even harder to paint realistically than water. Water is a living thing and snow being frozen water also takes on its own life by the light surrounding it. Because snow it made up of crystals it is highly reflective but multi-faceted giving it even more dimensions that the liquid form.

Monet has captured the colors reflected in snow, the purples, the blues, pinks, grays in so many shades and hues they can't be counted. I tried to do the same in using his painting as the inspiration for my necklace. Bright silver was the obvious choice for the base and I used a semi-oval link chain. To this I fastened it with a bit of an antiqued rope toggle clasp. Now I could move on to the fun stuff. I find attaching the clasp first on a symmetrical piece makes it easier to center the focal. And I had the perfect focal, one I had won months back on Art Bead Scenes drawing. It is from Green Girl Studio and is a pewter tube bead with a branch and two birds, one I choose to call my magpie. To this I wanted to bring out the relationship of the dark bird against the light of the snow and thus antiqued the bead. I also wanted to highlight the trees that border the building and hung from the bird bead the tree in winter Charm.

My Focal taken care of now I went through all my bead boxes and containers in search of my perfect snow mix. What I ended up with consisted of a melange of beads, from vintage to new, from plastics to crystals taken from an old Chandelier. I wanted to capture that frosty reflective look that snow has. The colors I used range from frosted white, iridescent crystal, pale blue hand blown glass, Milk glass with a slight peachy hue, periwinkle and pink with a few branch shaped pieces of Abalone thrown in to sprinkle the dark of the focal throughout like the trees that are a predominant part of the painting. If this painting moves you and you'd like to have a copy of your own you can find one here at Global Gallery , on sale right now for Only $18.00.

I have never made a piece like this before and it took much longer than I'd thought (about 4 hours to wire wrap each bead and attach to the chain), but I think it was worth it, do you?

Now I can move on to making my piece for the Bead Soup Swap I joined. These are the beads I received from my partner, I can't wait to see what I can come up with! Defiantly not the snowy theme of Monet, but a look forward to my favorite time of year, Spring! There was snow covering the ground when I woke up today, didn't hear anything about that on the weather but it is quickly melting under the sun. Still have a couple of days yet to see what Phil will think, but I sure hope it's a cloudy day that day!


What's New Wednesday

Let me start today's post with what I saw out my window this morning as I was having B'fast. Besides a few snow flakes falling (and Monday it was in the 60's here in the North East) I happened to see the peculiar movements of a certain kind of bird. A bird I know I've only seen once before in real life and I consider myself an amateur birdwatcher, ever since the love of bird watching was instilled in me by my grandfather at a very early age. In fact the Bird Identifier book I have used to belong to him and he gave it to me. It's the Audubon Society's Field Guide to North American Birds, copyright 1977 and given to him by my Grandmother as a present.

I had seen this same bird a few weeks back, again from my bay window that I sit at to do my computer work, sitting on the railing but even though I keep my camera at hand it flew off before I could snap a photo to compare. I thought it was a Mockingbird, but was not sure. I've seen many a Catbird, which is a very musical bird in its own right. But I've never seen a mockingbird in real life. So I got out my Field Guide and looked it up. It looked a bit like the picture but some of the pictures from over 30 years ago are faded and not in the best light. But today he appeared on my front lawn and I got a chance to snap a few while he hopped back and forth behind my huge oak trees. I couldn't get a perfect side view but the views I did get were enough to compare to this online photo to assure me that I had identified it correctly.

And I had. Now there is a variety called the Northern Mockingbird, but as I said, I've never seen one before, which brought to mind something that I have seen on and off most recently. Birds in my back yard when they shouldn't be or around the local parks and lakes.

Birds have been created with a natural homing device in their DNA. This guides them through storms, being blown off course and even weather changes to find not only their destination, but to pinpoint it so exactly as to return back after thousands of miles in their migration to the same place where they were born. Not state or town mind you, but actually the same yard or field where they were hatched.

Now I have to do some research on this but I am pretty sure I read long ago that scientists have found that this homing device they are engineered with works in tandem with the earth itself, mainly it's magnetic field. I have been hearing a lot lately about the Mayan Calendar and the 2012 date, which we aren't far from. This is supposed to bring a cataclysmic event to our planet, none are certain exactly what that is. Some believe that the earth will actually shift on it's axis and that our magnetic field which holds everything into place has been deteriorating which is causing all kinds of troubles across the board. Science is great but I prefer to look to nature to show what is happening.

You might remember last year me telling you of our house wrens that build a nest on my back porch and how we watched them diligently building the nest together and then feeding their brood together, to the day that they fledged. I love how they return each year and will build very close to the old nest. But I have seen the wren, at least one of them here this winter, way past the time when they should have migrated. You see they winter in Mexico, only returning in spring to breed in the US. But this alerts me to what may be going wrong with their 'radar'. It seems a similar thing is happening with the bees disappearing. And some may say, 'so what?' But there is more to the Birds and the Bees than a childhood song, our lives may depend on theirs. Bees pollinate over 1/3 of the food you eat, did you know that? I will write more on this later since I have some other things to share with you later today (some pretty Jewels, so stop back!). But just giving out some food for thought for now.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

TeamT Tuesday - Small Earth Vintage

Long for the good old days? the simpler times? and the cool fashions that mark out those time? Well Karen of SmallEarthVintage lives in that cool world we call Vintage. Treasure hunting for cool vintage stuff is one of her favorite pastimes and has turned into a business 10 years ago and now she has been on etsy for the past year or so. Karen and her significant other are back from their vacation/road trip/treasure hunting. She is currently resting up but I can't wait till she posts her newest finds.

Originally from NYC she now resides on a lake in Michigan in a vintage house surrounded by everything she loves including her dog Lucy. Some of Karen's favs:

What do I love? Clothing--full circle skirts, cardigans, mod prints, Vera scarves. Jewelry--big and bright plastic, rhinestones, brooches. Housewares--Pyrex in primary colors, Branchell melmac, atomic Temporama. Furniture/housewares--Herman Miller bucket chairs, Heywood-Wakefield coffee tables, 1950s lamps, Lucienne Day textiles. Kitsch!--ceramic birds and squirrels, paint-by-numbers, amateur paintings of dogs.

It's always an adventure when visiting her shop, you never know what you may find. Here's just a few examples of what you could discover there. These are some of my favorites.

You can follow her adventures and get updates
on newest finds by checking our her blog.

They just don't make clothes like they used to. These make me think of Doris Day movies, Katherine Hepburn and Lauren Bacall.

Yearning for a bit of nostalgia, stop by Small Earth Vintage today and pick something for yourself that will take you back...........

Monday, January 25, 2010

Mystery Monday New Giveaway

Here's this weeks Mystery Photo.

You have until Next Monday morning to sent your guess to me. Please see full rules here.

This weeks prize is a Surprize! Details later in the week.

Have fun guessing!


Mystery Monday Winner Revealed!

Thank you to all who have participated in my Mystery Monday. I love reading your guesses (almost as much as I love stumping you! :) ) I really thought this one would be easier than the first one, but all the guesses that came in last week were, I think, wishful thinking, I know that is what I thought it looked like. I guess when you are going through a cold winter, warm sunny beaches with soft ocean waves lapping at your feet come easily to mind. But that was not what the photo was.

It was in fact a close up of a photo I took out my dining room window (oh how I wish that were the ocean lapping at the shores of my beach home! :) ) a day or two after we had a small snowfall. My porch is cement and we've painted it in a distressed sagey green. But the angle of the sun in the late afternoon brought out the texture and made it look rougher than it really is. The snow only came up so far and does look like foam on the shoreline.

The second round we had a lot more accurate guesses, so congratulations to those who guessed that and thanks to those who came back and guessed again!

This picture was taken a couple of days before Christmas and I was taking pictures of the different animal tracks on my back porch just before the sun went down. I love how snow is every changing, it seems alive with the light directing what it will look like. Here is the original photo and I just cropped of the edge for our 'mystery'.

Thanks again to all who played along! After putting all correct guesses in the Random generator we have a winner and that is..........................................Kathi! Congratulations!

Please email me with your snail mail addy and your choice of the prizes offered. Those who also had a correct guess will have their names added into the next drawing if they participate in the next mystery Monday. I shall post that later on today!


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Giveaway Reminder

Still time to get in on the drawing! I'm extending the time to Monday morning 6am EST, so get your entries in now!

Details here


Friday, January 22, 2010

Garlic and Glue

Garlic and Glue? What does one have to do with the other you say? Nothing really, just these are the things I wanted to talk about today for Feeding your creativity, mind body and soul Friday. Yeah, I keep tinkering with the name, bear with me. :)

Anyway lets start with garlic, aka the Stinking Rose. Garlic is an ancient medicinal plant. It is native to the Central Asian area of the world and thus you will find it in the cooking of the peoples that live around the Mediterranean. It is even mentioned in the Bible, as one of the seven foods missed and longed for by the children of Israel after the Exodus from Egypt. In Egypt it was highly prized and even found in the tombs of the Kings. But interestingly enough in the US it was not so highly regarded just half a century ago. Probable cause was it was associated with the working class which was highly made up of immigrants from the area mentioned above.

But that has all changed today and wither in 'ethnic' foods or everyday cooking to 5 star restaurants garlic has become a star. There is even one town in California whose fame revolves around the lowly bulb, Gilroy California, known as the Garlic Capital of the world, where their annual festival Known as 'the preeminent food festival in America' draws people from all over the world in the tens of thousands ( last year was 107,553, in a town of only less than 50,000). People come to sample just about any dish made with the star, garlic, that you can think of, including Garlic Ice Cream.

Now if you haven't attended you may wonder what all the fuss is about, and garlic ice cream? Well here's a fact for you that you might not know, garlic has natural sugars in it but they are covered up most of the time by the other chemicals that give them their 'tang'. But like most vegetables, this sweetness can be brought out with heat, mainly roasting. If you've ever tasted a roasted carrot you'll know what I mean. But the best way to eat garlic for health reasons, and they are numerous, is to eat it raw. Why raw? because that same heat that brings out the sugars and sweetness of the bulb also destroys certain properties garlic possesses that will bring you good health.

These are allicin and Diallyl sulphides. The most important thing you need to know is that the allicin and the Diallyl sulphides only appear when the bulb is crushed, or when you have some in your mouth to chew it up. Allicin is created when garlic is crushed or otherwise damaged, the alliin reacts with the enzyme allinase, also found naturally in garlic. Allinase acts as a catalyst and results in the transformation of alliin into allicin. This allicin is what is so great about garlic, it has been shown to have antifungal, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties. Very similar to last weeks star food, Coconut oil. But in order to benefit from these you must consume them shortly after the crushing has taken place. So if you make a salad dressing and include crushed garlic you should make it right before serving or add the fresh crushed garlic right before serving.

Now the garlic I use is from my organic farm and I am still using it and haven't gotten any since the summer harvest last year. It does increase in potency and strength. Be sure to store it in a cool dark place and watch out for any mold setting in. I like to grate ( not chop) some fresh over pasta (even though I've used it in the making of the sauce and meatballs etc) or even chicken soup, grate some fresh and put in the bowl just before serving, ladle the soup on top. You can do this on salads, fish, sandwiches, omelets, whenever you feel a sniffle coming on.

Some precautions, high intact of garlic may react with certain drugs so be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before using this in a medicinal way. Also beware of allergies and sensitivities. When garlic is older the juice can burn the skin or the mouth or your insides, so make sure you are aware of this and that you eat it with other food. I have bitten into a piece and it did burn my lip a bit but goes away when washes off with water or more food.

Fresh organic Garlic has so many wonderful things about it I hope you will look into it more. I've even seen where it makes a great natural mosquito repellent and no you don't have to wear it! So take a look around the internet and find out what this wonder herb can do for you!


Now lets talk about glues. In the creative world there are lots of glues and just about every project one takes on involves glue in some stage of the process. I am not going to go through a whole dissertation on glues here, that information can be found easily around the web. I just wanted to share with you some things I've learned about certain glues.

Hot Glue- I happen to own the Aileens Glue gun, I think I purchased this either through a store sale or on a home shopping club, it's been so long ago (15 years?) that I've forgotten where, but that should tell you that it is a good one and long lasting. Aileens takes all kinds of glue sticks and has a range of them in their line, floral, paper, metal/jewelry, foam, fabric and more. I think this is why I love it so much, it also comes with numerous tips to get the glue to flow just how and where you want it and has it's own kick stand that works well and a carrying case for on the go crafting or easy storage of all parts. I went online to look up if they still make them, and they do, in fact it now is dual temp which is an addition to mine. You can find one at Michaels. I mostly use this for quick gluing or as a temporary clamp. Some items need to be glued quickly but don't work with epoxy well, such as fabric. I've used this on my Pincushion rings (shown back on What's new Wednesday) and it works great for holding the fabric to the base. You also don't have to worry about the messiness of mixing epoxy for such a project.

One word of caution when using a hot glue gun, always keep a bowl (not glass, something big enough to get your hand in) of cold ice water close by, but not so near that the gun could fall in. This is case, and I really mean 'when' the hot glue gets on you, you can plunge your finger, or hand into the bowl to give immediate relief and then peel the glue off carefully. No need to have burnt and sore fingers for the rest of your projects, remember, your hands are you most precious tool in any kind of art or craft.

Gel Medium - I am finding a use for this more and more. I love how it glues paper together for collage, also there are transfer abilities I've been exploring. It's thick but not so much as other thick glues, and has a body that spreads better and less sticky. Wait for a sale and get yourself a jar (I prefer matte finish) and do some experimenting.

Super Glue - I've tried all kinds of Super Glues and none have worked as well for me as Zap-a-Gap. This is what's classified as a Cyanoacrylate Glue if you were a fan of the Carol Duvall show. This is the only kind I use, especially for use with polymer clay. Not all glues react well with polymer clay and that isn't always immediately apparent.

Known well in the sporting world, especially in sport fishing for its ability to work on things that are going to be wet, such as fishing flies, this glue to me is superior for many jewelry and polymer clay projects.

One word of caution though, this stuff bonds fast, so be ready to place your two pieces together. Also even though it works on greasy areas, it's always best as with any project to take an alcohol wipe and wipe both parts you plan on gluing together and give it a moment to dry. The applicator tips are great for precision work but you can still get this glue on yourself. EXAMPLE: once I was gluing a cord into a bead. I was holding the end of the bead and put the glue on the other end. I held it for a minute waiting for it to set (usually only takes 10 seconds) and then I went to put it down and my thumb and index finger were glued together. And not just a little bit, a good quarter inch of skin was bonded together. It took some quick searching on the net to find what to do then to find a place that carried the remedy. We called just as the only place in town that had it at the time was closing. Thankfully they stayed open until my husband could get there and buy me two bottles. Meanwhile I felt like my left hand was in a weird hand cuff of sorts, very unsettling! What ever you do , DON'T try to pry your fingers apart, you will tear your skin right off and an ER visit will ensue. Cheaper to have the remedy on hand. It is made by Zap and called a Z-7 De-bonder. It takes a bit of time to work it free but it works. While I was waiting for him to bring it back I tried what is recommended for other super glues, nail polish remover. But that didn't budge my fingers a bit. So make sure you have this on hand, just in case. But if you do notice you have gotten it on yourself. Sometimes I use a hand wipe to wipe it off quickly, but best to just let it dry (will only take a minute for sure) and then you can use an emery board on the fine side to carefully sand it down, but watch you don't sand your skin off too!

Glue dots or Epoxy dots - I found these in the scrap-booking area when looking for a glue to use with polymer clay and paper. (Zap-a-Gap doesn't bond with paper and PC). At the time, over a year ago now, I was trying to come up with a unique business card for OrganicOdysseys. I had seen many unique ones online for other businesses and wanted something that would represent me, my work and be as eco-friendly as possible (not be thrown out soon!). So I came up with making my own business cards, leaving a space available to attach a small sample of my work. A medallion with the imprint of an organic leaf, flower, or veggie. These dots seemed perfect. No mess of wet glues, no chance of warping the paper of the card because of the wetness of the glue.

I made dozens of these and sent them out. I also employed the dots to hold up samples of stamped clay with various colors of metallic powders on them near my work table so I could see at a glance how they would look before applying to my project. One day I noticed that the top tile fell off. I picked it up and stuck it back on with the dot that was already there. It stuck. I figured I hadn't pushed hard enough or something. Then about a week went by and I found it on the floor again. It was funny, it seemed only this one was doing it, so I figured that perhaps there was something on the paper making this happen. Then the other day I went to grab one of the cards I'd made with my medallions on and the medallion fell right off. The Glue could still be seen on it, but it was no longer holding to the card. See the top of this post, that is the same card with the medallion laid over where it used to stick. This photo is the back side. As you can see the glue has stayed on the polymer piece but is not sticking to the card. I noticed that there is a blochy darkened area where the medallion was, looks like some kind of reaction that soaked into the card and thus caused separation. Now these were fine months ago, but now something has made them release and besides the fact that people all over have my card that is falling apart, I now have to find something that will work just as well with the same properties (ie, no warping, ease of placement) but stick for good! If anyone knows of a glue that will do this, please let me know! The brand I was using is 'CRAFT' and it states it can be used on paper (of course, scrapbooking!), and also plastic, wood, foam and more. They have a patent and their website is If anyone has any info to share, I'd appreciate it!

So there's my little run down on glues. I have in my glue arsenal at least two dozen more, but will save that for another day!


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thrifty Thursday

Welcome to Thrifty Thursday where I try to bring you some giveaways, specials and money saving tips from around the web.

This just in, for Tomorrow only! For those blessed to have a Whole Foods Market nearby, tomorrow ONLY in the bakery, Buy one get one free on their COOKIES! Get one for now and freeze one for later, or one for yourself and use the other as a special thank you gift or bring in Friday at work for a shared treat!

One of my Team T members, Donni of Fairy Folk is having a Giveaway for some fabulous toys! Now my children and grandchildren are grown so I can't take advantage of this but maybe you could or maybe try to win and use as a gift in the upcoming months! These are handmade puzzles, remember how fun they used to be to put together when you were small? And who can resist when a small child is nearby with one, helping them out? :) AND you get to pick which one you like! Check it out today and also browse through Donni's blog for wonderful interesting articles, how to's, and other fun things!

Have you subscribed to Mambo Sprouts yet? I think I told you about this awhile back. If not subscribe today! The New coupon book worth $35 is out with a variety of coupons from Back to Nature, Organic Valley, Seventh Generation, Earthbound Farms, Arrowhead Mills and many more!. If you haven't subscribed you can go here to locate a store near you that carry's them. Don't forget you can get your free printable online coupons here right now.

Wanna be ONE in a MILLION Women that are pledging to help the environment without breaking the budget? It's called money shifting, using what you already spend to help the environment. You can sign up here at the Big Green Purse. You can even get a FREE balance sheet to help you get started. Remember The more money you spend on green products, the more you encourage manufacturers to reduce pollution, save energy and water, use less packaging and protect natural areas.

Also Wellness treats and foods for you pets Holiday Contest ends tomorrow so get your photo of your pet and tip in Today! Go here for rules and how to enter.

More Organic News: Enter to win a Trek bicycle, a subscription to Organic Gardening, or a Year of Free Organic Valley products! Click here to go to the entry form. Many chances to win, see below.


By a random drawing, 2,500 entrants will receive a one-year subscription to Organic Gardening magazine. Five (5) entrants will be drawn from the 2,500 subscription winners to receive a year of FREE Organic Valley products (in the form of 52 free product coupons.) Three (3) entrants will be drawn from the 2,500 subscription winners to receive Trek bicycles. The drawing will take place on April 15, 2010, and winners will be notified by May 1, 2010.

Check out this weeks free giveaways in a glance at FREEBLOG

Check out this one that closes tomorrow! Book giveaway! Enter to Win "This Is Your Brain In Love" by Dr. Earl Henslin -Make your marriage the best it can be by learning the secrets of proactive passion.

And for you Crafters you can Take Part in a CONTEST WITH HEART. Joann Fabrics and crafts is partnering with RED HEART yarns in a Save the planet one project at a time contest. All you need to do to enter is to Knit or Crochet an original project using any of these Red Heart yarns:


Eco-Cotton Blend

Eco-ways Bamboo Wool. To enter go here, Grand Prize is $1000 Gift Card for Jo-ann's

Have a great money saving week!


Giveaway Reminder

Don't forget there's still a few days to get your guess in! I already have some really good ones so join it!

Mystery Monday Giveaway


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What's NEW Wednesday?

Remember me telling you about how we had to find a new home for Cosmo, my beautiful iridescent peach Koi? He went to live in our local Zoo's pond and we are hoping for a Sunday with nice weather to go visit him. I waited a week and then the tank looked so empty I went out and got four new fish. Three fancy goldfish and one Algae Eater. The Algae eater is a beautiful peach color , he was the liveliest of all of the ones in the tank at the pet store and he also had black rimmed eyes, as if he had on eyeliner, he caught my eye and got caught in the net to come home with me (see him peaking out from behind the coral in the video). It's been about three weeks and I've had a hard time naming them. Usually a name comes right to me, but not this time. My little Dalmatian Jazmine was named only 5 minutes from the house of the family we purchased her from and she lived up to that name in more ways than one! But these guys stumped me.

The Algae eater my husband started calling 'Hoover' just about a week ago and it kinda stuck seeing that his job is to vacuum off the algae on all the surfaces. So he was basically named, but the other three I just couldn't come up with anything. I picked each one carefully. The peachy one because it reminded me of Cosmo but I didn't want a Cosmo 2, and the other two are very artistically speckled and striped but I just couldn't zero in on proper names, but last night it came to me. So they all finally have names. The one that looks like Cosmo I have decided is a girl (wither or not she/he is) and have named her 'Fiona'. The little guy with the too short tail I knew needed a unique name, because he is special and endearing so his name is now officially 'Percy', and the larger one that looks like him with his strange body markings is, yes I had to go with one artistic name, 'Picasso'. So that mystery is solved and they now have a new filter too which they love too. I just have to be careful not to feel them too much or they'll outgrow the tank.

What else is new? I have been blessed so far this new year to have had my work showcased on the front page of Etsy four times, 3 of those times were my Polymer clay works (buttons, beads and Leaf necklace) and the fourth another passion of recycling and sewing, my musical pincushion ring. Just last night I was told today that my Under the Microscope Necklace was on the FP between 9-10pmEST . I received lots of congrats convos and emails and thank all those who wrote me. One was even from a Biology Teacher that told me she was impressed with my work. I think that is a good kick in the pants to help me get back into the studio on the clay side! Also I'd like to thank those who have included me in their treasury's so far this year. Those who made the front page: EdensWake, who designs and makes fabulous and elegant handbags and clutches, GlassEtc, whose treasuries are as beautiful as her glass works, And YannPendaries whose photography is outstanding in his field and who is a fabulous treasury maker!

And these so far for January who were all FP worthy!
The Little Ninja that could - Dawn Correspondence
Come with me, to the Sea - Say Your Piece
Lavender Blues - Glassetc
Bird Singing at Night - LaChiffoniere
Some Love -- MooShooPork
Who's got the button? --brightasdaydesigns
Creamy Orange - The Nightjar
Black Love -- YannPendaries
Always Look your best --Glassetc
The Garden in Winter -- Marjories Nook
Untitled -- PonderandStitch
It's all there in Black and White - SayYourPiece
Devoted to You -- Handamade

If I've missed anyone I apologize! Thank you all for featuring various items from my shops!

Something else that's new is my interest in making rings lately. I have been making them for almost all my shops and will be getting the listings in there shortly. Here's a sneak preview.

For the Polka Dot Sandals Shop

These black and white ones are my Button Montages, stacked one on top of each other and mounted onto adjustable rings. Two in shop right now, the other two to come soon. On the right are three new pin cushion rings, A vintage Lavender Petal Parfait, Woodland mushroom with ferns and Coffee break. Then there are a few new ones for Almost Artifacts a couple new Israeli rings, one coin with Ancient boat and the other is a now defunct Telephone Token.

And a sneak peak at my package I sent to my Bead Soup partner. I can't believe there are over 80 of us participating in this. I can't wait to get my package! More details here.
I'm hoping my bead soup partner likes organic and earthy look, copper, bronze, turquoise, swarovski pearls and more!


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Team T Tuesday - Say Your Piece

Starting her career in ceramics out of her home seven years ago that which was born out of a sense of commitment to her family, Eileen's business has expanded quite a bit since then. She opened Clayful Moments which specialized in the 'imprinted for posterity' capturing of the hands and feet of infants and small children in her ceramic keepsakes. She still continues with this flagship line at Clayful where you can visit her studio to have one of these beautiful keepsakes made for yourself or gift giving. These are called Kid Print Keepsakes and are a product of her local business so if you are in the area of Fairfield Ca. give her a call to arrange an appointment. Eileen also Hosts Ceramic Painting parties for all ages, appointments can be made through the Clayful Moments site.

This business lead to other things such as fundraisers and teaching in schools and today Eileen has expanded her business to the internet with her almost two year old thriving shop on Etsy, 'Say Your Piece' .

SayYourPiece offers a variety of personal, sentimental and heirloom quality keepsakes, both decorative and functional.With over 800 sales on Etsy, Eileen has developed a following and her customers love the quality of the workmanship, the sentimentality involved as well as the speed with which their purchases reach them. She has the joy of sharing in many precious moments of her customers lives and each is touched by the beauty and personal attention to detail on each piece.
Weddings, Births and Birthdays, Anniversary's, Holidays, Inspirational and' just to make your day' are the themes of the body of her work. She also welcomes custom orders with a sentiment that you would like on a variety of ceramic pieces.

I believe that words are powerful and love using them in my art and Eileen sure has captured that importance in all her works.

If you have a special occasion coming up, why not preserve the moment with one of Eileen's beautiful and affordable keepsakes? She also is now offering some special designs just in time for Valentine's Day too!

Meaningful Art, what more could you ask for?


Monday, January 18, 2010

Mystery Monday

I guess my picture last week was a real stumper! I've gotten many answers but I don't have a correct one yet so I'm going to extend this one more week. If no one gets it, I will draw from all the entries, fair enough? :)

So keep those guesses coming in, remember to email me at with your guess. Details found here.

Once again here is the photo.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Wildlife Weekend - Through my Bay Window

This is one of the little younger fellows that thinks my front porch is his personal nursery, playground and lunch room (open all day!) He is there first thing in the morning and last at night, staying past sundown until there's just enough light for him to make it to his tree and go up to his nest to bed for the night. He likes to scurry across the brick trim under my window and often stops to look in at me.

We set up these new feeders for the Cardinals, Chickadees, Junos, Titmouse and Finches, but the Squirrels have now discovered how to make the treturous leap to the feeders and one or the other usually ends up on the ground by day's end. Here you see one already made it on there and another trying to figure out how to get in on the spoils!

He is hanging precariously on a very thin limb from my Pink Dogwood Tree.

We certainly didn't forget them, they have lots of food to eat, and we even got them one of these corn cob holders, which after a few days of examination they discovered it and then discovered how to get the cob out of the holder! Every day hubby would put one in there and when I got up it would be gone. One day both the cob and the holder were gone! He located it half way down our front yard. Then one day I got to witness the caper. It was a nursing female that would eat what she could until it got light enough to pull up and out of the holder, then she would run down the tree and across the yard to a patch of evergreen trees where I later discovered her nest. She would then actually drag it up the tree. One day I saw her do this with a cob that hadn't that much taken off of it yet, she got it to the base of her tree but had to work on eating quite a bit off till she could lift it up the tree.

This picture here is an attempt to get the cob out but it caught on the wire. They worked on it quite awhile before they could get it off. Yes sometimes there will be one on one side of the holder and one on the other, each taking turns, but beware when they both go for a kernel at the same time!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Going Coconuts!

For this weeks Friday 'Feeding Your Heart, Soul and Stomach' I'd like to talk to you a bit about Coconut oil. Most people have misconceptions about it like the Egg. We were told in the 70's and 80's that eggs were bad for you. No mind that people had been eating them for thousands of years without problems like heart disease, hardening of the arteries, etc. the Egg went from being the incredible food to being avoided like the plague, especially the egg yolk where much nutrition is found. Of course Jerry Seinfeld helped immensely in pushing the false bad rep of the egg by always ordering an egg white omelet just about every time he was in Monk's Diner (Actually Tom's Restaurant).

To find more about the incredible egg which is now on the healthy foods list check out Incredible Edible Egg.

But why was the Egg so vilified? The Big Buzz word of the 80's in Health circles -- CHOLESTEROL.

And today it is the same with Coconut Oil. Why? Because Coconut Oil is very high in Cholesterol. So, why you say, are you telling me it is so great and healthy? Because cholesterol is a bit more complicated than most people understand or are told about in the advertising world (buy this product lower your cholesterol, sound familiar?). Yes, most people know about the HDL and the LDL and are told that one is 'good' and the other is 'bad', but it isn't as simple as that.

Here's a quick rundown on what is popularly known.

HDL = 'good'
LDL = 'bad'

Too much of the 'bad' can build up in your arteries and cause heart disease, and stroke. The NCEP (National Cholesterol Education Program) recommends having your cholesterol checked starting at age twenty. Doctors everyday try to help their patients lower their bad cholesterol to reduce the risk of heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke. But how do they generally do this? By asking you what you eat? By evaluating your dietary intake? No, most don't even bother, they help you by giving you a piece of paper, not to eat but to take to your corner drugstore (aren't they practically on every corner nowadays, ever wonder why?) and take a pill that will probably give you more risks in those areas and others than not taking it will.

So you have learned to cut out fast food, good for you! and also to learn to cook and dress salads with healthier Oils such as Olive oil, which is good in itself, but there is another oil you can cook with, bake with as well as moisturize your face, hair and body with and that is Coconut Oil. Now this wonder is hard to find, even in health food stores, except in beauty products which most people are familiar with. But what other natural food do you know of that can do all these things? thus replacing many other products ( opps, could that be why it's so hard to find in a supermarket?).

  1. hair care
  2. skin care
  3. stress relief
  4. maintain cholesterol levels
  5. weight loss
  6. increase immunity
  7. Aid in digestion
  8. Regulate metabolism
  9. Give relief from kidney problems
  10. heart diseases
  11. high blood pressure
  12. diabetes HIV
  13. AND cancer
  14. Help in dental care
  15. Maintain bone strength
Yes, the properly made Virgin Coconut Oil can do this for you and more! Many testimonials can be found at Weston Price where those who have been having trouble with problems that seem thyroid related but testing shows 'within normal range' have found relief after throwing out all the really bad oil and consuming only Coconut oil.

Why? one of the miracles in the make-up of Coconut oil is something called lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid. These are wonders in themselves and have antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. These things helps in fighting many microscopic things that attacks the body including influenza of all strains.

But what about the cholesterol? Well Coconut oil contains 90% saturated fat. WHAT!? isn't that the dangerous kind? in theory, but not in practice because you aren't told fully what that means.

Want to know more? There are many sites that uplift the wonders of Coconut Oil, I have also come across those who discredit it and the ones that have told the truth about it and they all have one thing in common, medical/pharmaceutical.

I had read up on this wonder over a year ago but could not find it anywhere I shopped. Finally I got some online, then found a little jar in the market which was organic. Then recently over the holidays I discovered an offer of an organic oil that was Expeller Pressed which sounded so much healthier. I took advantage of the sale Tropical Traditions was having, buy one get one free and free shipping! This was a large box so it was a great deal. I can't wait to try it and I'll update you on my findings, but I will just leave you with this, I have had a cold bugging me for over a month. Sniffles, sometimes runny nose, sneezing on and off, just couldn't shake it, I upped my daily C intake, and tried to grate fresh garlic on everything I could think of and still it persisted. Then I started to incorporate some of the other Coconut (organic) oil into my diet to see if it made any difference and I am happy to report it has! So I can't wait to try this other more natural kind.

Take a look around their site, they have other organic things to offer and right now have a great deal on the coconut oil , check the side bar. They have free recipes which many other companies make you buy a recipe book, and also since I have Celiac I am happy to report to my fellow Silly Yaks, they have GF recipes too! That Pizza and Dutch Babies looks great!

So do a little investigation today on what those who have lived and survived greatly on this wonder nut, they call the Coconut palm the Tree of Life!

Disclaimer: I am not a Doctor, nor do I play one on TV, but I am an avid researcher into the truth behind the advertising buck and what really is good for our bodies and what is not. Please always consult your Family Doctor before changing your diet.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thrifty Thursday

I hope your week has been going well. Near pay day and you want to spend it well, right?
The first thing I'd like to share with you is a triple play.
The Sak Store is offering this fabulous Bag. Black background and beautiful clear colors to go with almost any outfit. The triple play?

#1 It's big, roomy can be used to carry all your essentials, wither off shopping or off for the weekend, measures a generous 23" in length by 16" high.

#2 The outer shell is made from 50% recycled wipe clean nylon and the interior is 100% recycled cotton.

#3 The design is made by a collaboration of artists who share the hope of cultivating peace and harmony.
What more could you ask for in such a useful lovely bag?

Well how about this ( is there such a thing as a quaruple play?) The regular price is $99 but right now you can get one for only $69.50! Is that a deal or what?

Here is the official site take a visit there where you can view all sides including inside of this great bag that will carry all you need around in style and with a message of Peace and Harmony!

SakRoots is an ecologically minded company and supports the Nature's Conservancy's Plant a Billion trees campaign.

Now Here's some things I've found around the internet that will make this a Thrifty Thursday for you!

It's cold and flu season and now more than ever you need to step up sanitary habits. Gold Bond, a name known and trusted for over 100 years has a non alcohol hand cleaner with moisturizers. Kill germs Save your hands. Get your free sample by going here.

Walk on the wild side? (of organic healthy eating that is) want a treat and for free? IHOP is offering a free breakfast on National Pancake Day, so mark your calendar's for February 23 and get there between 7am and 10 PM and get your free short stack! the cost? Free, why am I promoting this? because all they ask is that you make a donation to the Children's Miracle Network or other childrens hospitals. A good cause and a sweet treat!

Have you heard of Bellaonline? Great website the voice for women. Here is their Sweepstakes page.Lots of cool sweeps to enter, clothes, housewares, art, beauty, food.

In Touch, another cool site with greats sweeps, check it out here.

Good Housekeeping sweeps site.

TIP: For entering these sweeps and also for filling out to try free samples, I recommend that you get a free email at hotmail just for these things. They will probably send you more info and if you win that is where it will be so with one email for all of it , easy to check once a week and to keep your regular email uncluttered!

MarieClaire, cool clothes, accessories, lots to choose from to win!

Hope those will give you some fun time surfing the web through those sweeps. I would like to leave you with a tip for the week. When grocery shopping and you see a special on meat, or vegetables, get as much as you can afford. Key in the items on a google search along with anything else you may have on hand and check out the recipes using those ingredients. Then make double or triple or even quadruple recipes of this, doing all the cooking and baking at the same time will save you in days and weeks to come. Eat a portion for dinner and wrap up the rest for dinner later on in the week and freeze the rest in portions that will feed your family for one meal. Then all you have to do is heat and eat!

I do this a lot since I have to do most all cooking and baking for what we eat due to my special diet needs. It sure saves on time and also on energy later on since we can't eat out or buy take out or many ready to eat or precooked meals.

When we were still picking the fall raspberries I didn't let us eat them all up , instead I baked them in muffins and coffeecakes and just this past weekend we had wonderful tasting Fresh organic Raspberry GF muffins that tasted like I'd just baked them. A great treat when there's snow on the ground and the raspberries available are like $6 a pint with no flavor and aren't organic!

Hope this helps you save a bit this week, and that some of you will happily be winners in some of those sweeps!


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Team T Tuesday ~ The Art of Writing

Computers are great aren't they? You can send a letter, photos, games or music to anyone anywhere around the world in the blink of an eye. You can take courses in just about any subject without ever leaving home. You can chat with someone practically anywhere around the world on an IM (Instant Message) or text message and lots more. This is all amazing and great, but has it turned us into an instant communication society, one where the word has lost it's meaning because it is so easily tossed out there? Has the art of sharing our thoughts become disposable?

I began to wonder about this myself as I have spent so much time online and typing 1000x more than I ever write something. My penmanship has gotten so bad because my hands are more used to pressing keys than holding a pen and putting words to paper. I actually find it awkward and unnatural feeling holding a pen to write. I make out a grocery list even and then when I take it to the store I stand there in the isles wondering what in the world that chicken scratch means?? I get an idea for a jewelry design and can't make out what I wrote down even a short time later (I have since learned to accompany that with a drawing, at least I can still make those legible! ) :)

I used to be told what lovely handwriting I had, now I am embarrassed to write even the smallest note on my invoices thanking my customers or a dropping a card to a friend. I used to journal a lot, way before it became the 'in' thing to do. I also used to write stories in long hand and still have some stashed away somewhere.

But I fear that the art of the handwritten note, letter, or journal page is fast becoming extinct. And yes, I believe now more than ever that it was, make that 'is' an art-form. Communication is a great wonder and shouldn't be lowered to the mere pressing of keys. We can too easily press the 'send' button or the 'delete' button without much forethought. But when you sit down to write to someone be it a letter, or a note, it's purpose requires more planning, such as what to write on? What writing instrument to use. Address labels, a sealer, perhaps it calls more for a card with a pretty picture. And then what to say, how to address it. Sentence structure, careful placement of words around a picture or drawing and more. It takes a little planning, but that is what makes it so meaningful and why people will save it.

So much used to go into correspondence, and now it is sadly declining at a rate faster than we can imagine. I have some Ephemera from over 70 years ago. Cards and notes and letters too precious to throw away. Letters written by our Founding Fathers have sold for millions of dollars, but how many save an email? How much is one worth today coming from a celebrity or even from the White House? Alot less than yesteryear I'm sure.

Well I know of someone that has a similar feeling about the demise of the Art of Letter Writing and she has designed many ways to bring it back, and her name is Amanda Day of Dawn Correspondence.

Some of her designs include Wedding invitations, Personalized writing paper, note cards, other wedding paper goods, party invitations, gift tags, Boxed Stationary and more! (And some Valentines Too!)

Modern, fun, sophisticated, elegant, all these words describe the diversity of writing elements you will find at Dawn Correspondence. She loves to work with her customers and create special orders that fit them to a 'T'.

So when was the last time you sat down and put pen to paper? Written a note to someone you love? Someone you haven't had time to visit or tell the things you've thought about while going about your busy life but want to, well do it with style with some of Amanda's beautiful notes, cards or stationary. To get them to return the gesture, why not include your letter or note in a boxed set and help them to continue propagating the ART with a return note to you and other loved ones as well?

I especially like this elegant boxed writing set, and with one of my favorite things, chairs! There is something for everyone so visit today and take back the ART of Writing at Amanda's shop for some great vehicles of sharing your art of the written word!


Monday, January 11, 2010

Mystery Monday Winner Revealed! And New Contest

Our first winner of the mystery photo contest is Arlene Harrison! Congratulations Arlene, please select which of the four prizes offered ( see below) and email me with your choice as well as your snail mail address and I'll get it right out to you next mailing!

Thanks to all that participated. Now what was that thing? First let me tell you about how I came to take that picture. Sitting by my bay window which is full of many plants (I love the natural air cleaning they do!) and working on the computer I looked up and saw this just hanging there. I thought it was too interesting not to photograph so grabbed my camera and took a few shots. When I uploaded them (I almost said developed them!) I noticed that it looked a bit like the head of a praying mantis. After going through many photos for this contest I thought this would be a good one to start with, especially in the cold of winter.

Arlene's guess - It appears to be to be the seed pod left when a lily blooms. I can't identify the specific type of lily but hope this is specific enough. Cool idea!

Arlene has a great eye, that's exactly what it is! It is a seed pod from one of my spider plants. The spider plant is part of the lily family and doesn't only make 'babies' but also produces flowers that turn into seed pods. The babies are borne on what is called a runner and is similar to that of a strawberry plant. This type of method of reproduction is called asexual. Both my large spider plants had many babies hanging down so I decided to trim them up a bit. If you've ever had a spider plant bought from a nursery or garden center you probably didn't realize that it is not one plant but usually a grouping of many babies that have continued to grow together. This is what I've done to now create another large hanging pot, planted about 6-7 babies all together in one pot. I also have a smaller pot with three and another smaller pot with just one. FREE PLANTS!
Then there's this one that couldn't decide which way it wanted to grow and I couldn't plant it in soil yet so have it growing in a little punch glass of water. I used the stone to put some gentle pressure on the center to train it to have the roots grow down and the leave more in an upward manner so I can later plant in soil. You can see the new roots growing since I put it in there about two weeks ago.

Prizes offered in First week Mystery Monday

I hope those participating found this interesting. Those whose names did not get drawn but had a similarly correct answer will be entered in the next weeks drawing too as per the rules here!

Now for this weeks Mystery Photo. Here it is.

1. Study the photograph
2. You have until the following Sunday night at 9pm EST to identify what the picture is and get your entry in.
3. Enter the drawing by emailing me your guess ( make as detailed as possible), see my profile for email. LEAVE A COMMENT THAT YOU ARE PARTICIPATING BUT NOT WITH YOUR GUESS! Please send the guess to my email. :)
4. 1 Winner will be drawn from all the entries. Winner will be announced the following Monday with the new Mystery Monday Photo.

Please read this post for more detailed instructions about how you can get more than one entry.

Prize: Your Choice, Purple Fairy Flower Copper Filigree Ring or Blue Lotus Earrings with Chinese Turquoise.

Note about Animal, Vegetable or Mineral. I'm sorry I had to postpone that post. I will be working on it throughout the week and post it this coming Friday, I'm sure you'll find it an interesting read! There will also be a new feature starting this weekend called Wildlife Weekend update where I will share some of the comic antics that happen outside my window .

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Friday, January 8, 2010

Crafty News and Animal Vegetable or Mineral Feature

I told you about a week ago or so some great news: For those who don't have a Hobby Lobby nearby but would love to shop there, in the coming new year you could now shop from anywhere because they would be online. The time has come and their site is live now! And to celebrate, right now they are gifting you with FREE SHIPPING for order $25 or more. "This offer does not apply to expedited orders, International orders or gift cards"
So Stop by today don't know how long it's good for!

I've done a quick run through the site and it looks to have a great variety of items in each department. There's plenty of Clays, and all kinds of resin materials for those interested in branching out in that area. There's even a small variety of Vintag filigree available on the site right now along with many other Jewelry supplies.

So if you don't have a Hobby Lobby near you or just don't want to go out in the cold, check them out and right now get free shipping!

Shop Hobby Lobby online!

Over the weekend I will be sharing with you from the Animal Vegetable or Mineral series. I have been doing quite a lot of research into one of my favorites and found some startling information which I want to be able to fully digest (forgive the pun) before sharing with you. So check back for this, I'm sure you will find it of interest as almost every single person eats this in one form or another.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

TeamT Thursday - Elefint

(Next week I will be switching this with Thrifty Tuesday where I list new giveaways and other ongoing things I find to save you money and pamper yourself at the same time!

So it will be:

Mystery Monday
Team Tuesday
What's New Wednesday ( coming next week)
Thrifty Thursday
Feeding Your Heart, Soul and Stomach Friday with crafting tips ( remember the boo-boo's?), and tid bits about organic living.

I hope to be able to keep up with this tight schedule and if I miss a day or two please forgive me. :) )

Now for Team T Tuesday (But airing first this Thursday). I'd like to share with you each week one of my TeamT members, their art, food, interests and more! We are quite an eclectic bunch but so interesting!

To make it as fair as possible I tried to think of ways to do this, alphabetically? Too predictable, so I gave each member a number and turned to the handy random number generator.

The first member I'd like to share about with you is Jonathan Capuano of Elefint designs. Elefint is located in Florida in the USA. From the Sunshine state Jonathan screen prints his artwork on 100% cotton T's, Totes and dresses! with bold graphic designs he creates himself. Jonathan is also a photographer who enjoy capturing the beauty in special moments in this life.

Jonathan has been with our team since its inception and is best known on Etsy under 'Elefint' for his simple but powerful graphic Tee shirts with a big Heart and the simple two word statement,

~~~~LOVE WINS.~~~~~

You have probably seen this shirt more than once in my treasuries as it is a favorite along with the Zebra one. Love wins comes in all different colors and styles so there is a special one for everyone! Take a moment and visit the rest of his offerings, I'm sure you will agree, Love Wins!



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