Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Year is Almost Here!

With the new year closing in on us so quickly, I've been pondering what I want to do that is NEW! Not new years resolutions, per say, but just how I want to live life differently. My hubby has a list of things he's planning i.e. exercise to lose some weight, put more time into his job hunting project, start a new line of curriculum, etc. For me, I just want to eat better, more healthy. I have been conscience of my choices for some time, but I can do better--that's just tweeking the old.

To find the NEW part, I've turned my crafting! I've started a new line of jewelry for my design shop. Although I will be using some of my existing bead stock, I'm purchasing some new natural stones, lampwork beads, and some beautiful new clasps! I'm excited about what the results will be! Here's one of the first designs: (You know me, I'm partial to PINK!)

For my handcrafts shop, I have decided to perfect my old cozy design, create a knitting needle carrier, and, thanks to my daughter's idea, design a new toy especially for boys. Of course, all will be previewed here and in my Etsy shops!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Week - Part 3

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that Saint Nick would soon be there. It's Christmas Eve and he'll be here soon enough!

The five stockings are in the living room for my daughter's family and the other two are my husband's and mine, in our "studio apartment". The angel tea light bell chime is a tradition that I brought from my aunt. I loved it as a child and still love the tinkling sounds that it makes. We'll light it on Christmas Eve evening, late. I love candle light for Christmas Eve!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas - Part 2

Ornaments on the family tree in the living room, and my pencil tree in

"my studio apartment" family room living space on the wood burning stove heart.

Have a wonderful holiday season everyone! Remember the reason for the season!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Week! - Part 1

It's the week of Christmas and things are bustling and busy. Cookies and pies to make, candle light services to attend, family to see. So I thought I would give you a glimpse of my Christmas thru the decorations at our house--a little each day til Christmas. This is just may way of wishing you a joyous, blessed Christmas season! And many thanks for reading my blog.
This one is my granddaughter's gingerbread house.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Oh hum to Snow to Cheer!

Christmas season . . . hmmm . . . It doesn't feel like it! We've been watching Christmas movies on the TV, some hokey and some pretty good. but I still don't feel like it's Christmas!

I think I need some snow! So I went looking in Etsy for some inspiration! It seems to lead to Christmas cheer! Here's what I found:

Twin Creek in the Snow

Chickadee in Snow

Surprise Package

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Shopping?

This year, with the economy the way it is, with many of us out of work, living with relatives, or on reduced incomes with only one spouse working, Christmas Shopping will be different this year.

Shopping? How about the local chain drug store? They have most everything, usually at cheaper prices. I love the commercial that shows Christmas carolers singing in the mall, singing about not shopping in the mall! It cracks me up!

Shopping? How about something homemade? I made a little dolly blanket and pillow out of scraps of fleece for my granddaughter.

Shopping? How about a coupon for a future dinner out, or a promised chore done? Put it in a little bag that you hand decorate, like the one here that I painted.

Shopping? How about framing a written poem, or letter written to the one you love? It will become a cherished gift! I know, we did it for our children one year when we were broke.

As long as we enjoy and honor one another, it will be a happy Christmas!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

End of My Craft Show Season

Recently I did three craft shows/bazaars! Three in two weeks! Well, needless to say, I was exhausted! . . . . . and . . . . . I have recovered with some rest. I won't go into a major recap--I already did a critique of the first show in a previous post.
(That post had a comment from someone wanting to see the booth.)

My daughter, Suzanne, had the booth right next to me; she sells vintage style aprons on Etsy.

I did enjoy meeting new folks, both vendors and customers. Well, season's over, so on to the big Holiday sale in my Etsy shop . . . . . . .

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Fab Miss B

Do you love the Goodwill shops? Thrift shops? Second-Hand stores? Then you will love this Etsy seller, who also loves to "ransack thrift shops"--by her own admission! She also loves to travel, write, paint, bake, read, drink champagne and make beautiful things to use and enjoy. And make Beautiful things she does!

Meet Miss B in her own words: "Bonjour! I'm Becky and I'm so happy to meet you.My funny last name “Kazana” is a Swahili word which means “to make a home”. My husband and I fell in love with this philosophy during our travels in Africa, and decided to adopt Kazana as our last name. It reminds us that our home is not a physical place, but our life together.In the last three years, our travels have taken us through Africa, Europe, China, and all over the United States. We have recently moved to The Big Island in Hawaii where we are enjoying the endless summer denied us growing up in Minnesota!"
She has two etsy shops: thefabmissb's shop and beckykazana's shop. Enjoy the sampling of her work, a few of my favs since I love to sew!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Holiday Banner HOW-TO

Make yourself a holiday banner like mine! See my previous tutorial about Paper Bag Art for the basics! http://pruitthandcrafts.blogspot.com/2009/03/spring-break-with-paper-bag-art.html

Although this was a Spring theme, it can be adapted to make a Christmas banner. Mine uses a Christmas fabric, that I cut up. I put them on the bags and added comments with puffy paint. Then I hot glued them to seam binding, tied a loop in each end of the seam binding and hung it from the finials on my curtain! Now I'm festive! You can be too! Try it! If you don't have the time, I have one available in my shop! And it is on sale!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Super Simple Christmas Recipe!

Here's a simple Christmas Recipe that will make your table look festive and it is SUPER simple to make! We all need a simple recipe when cooking for a large holiday crew! I really love this recipe and found it years ago--who knows where? I have used it year after year to add color to my table; and as another option for using cranberry sauce. Sorry I don't have a picture.

Cranberry Pears

Canned pear halves
Canned cranberry sauce
*optional: cinnamon & mint sprigs

You will need a flat casserole pan, either 8 inches square or a larger rectangular one. Put a layer of canned pear halves in the pan with the cored side up. [one half makes a nice single serving size. You can gauge the number of pear halves (& pan size) you will need by your guest list.] Then take a can of whole berry cranberry sauce and pour it over the pears. Continue with pears and sauce as desired. Pop in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes (or under a broiler for a shorter time), or until the pears are heated and the sauce bubbles just a bit. Do not over cook--this is just a heating process.

Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired, and add mint sprigs for a touch of green. Add a large spoon and serve in the casserole dish. Enjoy!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Bazaar Critique

As promised to my Etsyblogger friends, here is my own critique of my first show of the season. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera, and didn't get any pictures. My granddaughter did get a picture on her phone, and I am trying to get a copy of it. I'll post it if she gets it to me!

Anyway, here goes: (maybe ya'll will get some ideas from my mistakes)

1) I should have tagged everything! A few things did not have price tags and and in the rush and push of the beginning of the day, my memory failed me in a couple of instances. Sold too low in these instances, but I will never know if I could have actually gotten the higher price or not. At least the items sold!

2) My "loss leader" $2 earrings (last year's stock) sold very well . . . but they were not located in the proper place on my table. They were in the middle of the table and thus blocked access to other items as customers rummaged thru two trays of earrings.

3) My quilts, quilted wall hangings and aprons still were not displayed well. One reason was that I had a lack of space with just one table. In the next two craft sales, I will have more space--two tables. I have purchased a rack for better display of the quilts and their patterns. Quilted wall hangings were hung too low, the rack will help.

4) Signage could have been better, i.e. two signs for each of two earring trays--not just one sign. Questions surfaced: "Is that the price for both trays?"

Observation: Most customers were 30 something and older, mostly buying for self. Since it was held at a school and just before Thanksgiving, there were a few younger customers buying Christmas gifts. A couple of older ladies bought an apron for a gift. Almost sold another 'gift' apron, but it wasn't large enough.
**Note to self for next year: Make a few more aprons for women with a larger girth!

I have a two day show beginning tomorrow, and another show on Saturday. The first sale is on a college campus and it will be interesting to see what sells. I would imagine that I will sell more coffee cup cozies and small Christmas gift items. My etsy shops will on vacation mode till next week. I will try to do another critique or "exit interview" next week on these new shows. It will be fun to compare them!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Photos!

We had an awesome time at my son's house for Thanksgiving. Just a few photos to give you a flair for the chaos of 38 people at our gathering!

all the feast:

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Carol of Thanksgiving

Charles Dickens' famous Christmas Carol is the basis for today's post.

There was once a perfect family, in my mind. It was and is my family. (Check my profile to see facts about my family.) I love them all: grand kids, grown kids and spouses. I choose to love them; I am committed to them, each one. I forgive their trespasses and don't hold them in debt to my 'shouldas'. I forgive their behaviour and love them anyway, as I hope they do for me also. Nobody's perfect! And, most of all at this time of year, I love the way they all plan to get together on holidays and make the effort to travel if needed. For us, Thanksgiving is a priority!

A few years ago, living far away, I wanted to be with them, although they were scattered across the continent. God granted my wish and I moved closer to the bulk of them in the Pacific Northwest . . . . But I have noticed of late, that attitudes are changing and a Scrooge type attitude threatens to descended on my perfect world. Each one has his/her own life. There are jobs to get to, friends to placate, schedules to keep and dogs to board. Just as Scrooge had no time for family, no time to set aside to enjoy each other's company, no penny to spare; it seems that the care of this world has been shoving and encroaching upon my family Thanksgiving tradition. Oh, I don't mean that we no longer get together, I just mean that I see family members are not looking forward to and anticipating visiting with each other like they used to. Just as Scrooge discovered things about himself, I offer the following "ghosts" for personal reflection.

Enter ghost (verse) number one: The Ghost of the Present Culture. You know, that friend that has a scrooge-like attitude about the holidays. You know him, he is a ghost of a person, you fill in the blank. You can identify them as they thumb their nose at traditions and sentiment while they say, "Oh, that's so quaint!' with an attitude of distain, belittling your experience in favor of their, probably non-existent, holiday experience. I say: Do not be influenced by a present culture of disdain with traditional values that are deemed no longer in vogue. Remember your youthful celebrations, (your grandfather's love of a certain holiday and your mother's love of this one) and agree with Timothy:

I Timothy 4:12
Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the all in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

May the spirit, love and purity of the Thanksgiving holiday continue to be a prized possession in our "perfect family."

Enter ghost (verse) number two speaking wisdom. King Solomon, who is called "wiser than all men" says:

Proverbs 17:9
"He who covers a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates friends."

and Peter furthers that sentiment by quoting King Solomon:

I Peter 4:8
And above all things, have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins".

Nobody's perfect. It seems some are "making contingency plans " for when this one does this and that one does that, etc. Maybe it's age, but young or old, we choose our attitudes. We choose to love. Hopefully, we choose to overlook a transgression.

Enter ghost (verse) number three admonishing Godliness. King David, a man after God's own heart said:

Psalm 37: 8 & 11
"Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret it only causes harm . . .
The meek shall inherit the earth,
And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace."

It only causes harm to yourself. When we are old, and lonely and wondering where our family has gone; when we have not treated our family members with respect, and love; we will one day find ourselves without anyone, alone. The thought of a dysfunctional family in their old age is the worst end to a perfect start.

I really hope that this year we can enjoy each other as a perfect family, (Roy's and all :) ---family knows), and not miss the best gift of all--my perfect family--A family that chooses to love, respect and cover a fault.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pumpkin Bread Recipe!

Weather's getting cooler and my kids (grown) are asking me about my pumpkin bread recipe! They grew up eating it on cold days. They remember walking a mile up the hill, often thru snow, from the bus stop to our house (we lived in a rural mountain setting) and coming home to some warm pumpkin bread ready to eat! OK, my kids and I know that this recipe has a lot of oil in it (and eggs) but there is no better recipe for the flavor and for, obviously, for nostalgia! Try it, you'll like it!

Pumpkin Bread

3 1/2 cups sifted Flour
3 cups sugar
2 tsp. soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 eggs
1 cup oil
2/3 cup water
2 cups Canned Pumpkin

Sift dry ingredients. Combine eggs, oil, water & Pumpkin. Stir into dry ingredients. Turn into 3 greased 8x4 inch loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until a wood toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool before slicing. Tastes best slightly warm, spread with butter. (You'll just have to imagine the wonderful smell!)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

New Jewelry!

I've been adding a few pieces to my jewelry line (also making sure I have enough product for my upcoming shows). Here are a few of my new pieces:

Visit my design shop to see the rest of the line!

Can't wait to do the first bazaar this Saturday! Hoping I've thought of everything and planned well! We'll see.

Monday, November 16, 2009

38 Shopping Days

38 Shopping Days left! I can't believe it!

I haven't even thought about making my Christmas list yet--have you? I love Christmas and I love giving gifts, but with the economy as it is, I really have to pare down my list and buy wisely. You too? Well here are a few suggestions from Etsy:

Beautiful earrings from SparklyPark

Custom order of a child's apron from HerApronStringsShop

And don't forget decorating for the season!

(This is from my handcrafts shop)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Winter brings Christmas! Yea!

With the coming winter season, we anticipate the Christmas season!

The Etsybloggers Blog Carnival asked about what seasonal movie we anticipated. The first one that comes to my mind is "It's a Wonderful Life!" I love that movie! Here's the YouTube link to the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJfZaT8ncYk
(Also, earrings above are from Manhandled on Etsy--Click the picture to see more.)

Everyone has had those days where they think life is not worth living. This movie, although touted in the trailer as a love story, is an exploration of what would happen if you were not here! Every one of us could actually think about this and come up with some of the positive things that everyone would miss about us! Great exercise.

But the movie that I look forward to wasn't a real hit at the box office when it came out. I predict it will become a classic because of the subject matter. It's Polar Express! I love the theme about the doubt associated with believing! I love the facial expressions on the boy and on Tom Hank's face. Great stuff!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Creating a New Line!

I have had a purse pattern for a couple of years and have always wanted to try it out! But you know how that goes! My daughter had some beautiful satin material remaining from a bridesmaid dress that she made for a friend. I always thought of making a purse from that fabric. I finally did it! Although I am not finished with the details on the purse and am in the process of making several others, I wanted to give you a peak of the new line.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Autumn Decorations and Halloween Clearance!

Halloween is over but Autumn is not! While I do have Halloween items at rock bottom prices in my handcrafts shop,

I still do have decorations for Thanksgiving and Autumn. It's not too late to decorate for the season!

Autumn Quilted Wall Hanging

Or how about a new apron for all of that Autumn baking and cooking?

This apron is reversible with a turkey fabric on the bib portion.

(Click on the picture to see more about this apron!)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Twist 21

Check out Twist 21 and her beautiful items on Etsy! She is self taught jewelery craftsman. All items that she makes are by methods that she has invented herself! She is inspired by established crafts such as Native American Sandpainting, Quilting, and Enamel work. She takes these inspirations and "twist" them to create a brand new piece of jewelry. One of my favorites is this beautiful Milifiori Bead ring. It is so fun!

Check out her shop!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Only a few days left!

Don't forget!

I'm running a Breast Cancer Awareness special in October. There are only 5 days left in the promotion! Buy anything from my design shop and receive a free pair of Breast Cancer Awareness earrings. Also, I donate 10% of the sale to my Breast Cancer Charity.

Check it out! Maybe you will find something that you can save for Christmas giving!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Weekend Fun!

We went with the family to a local farm to visit their pumpkin patch! After a hayride out to the patch, the young ones picked out their own pumpkin, tramping all over the field to find just the right size for the intended jack-O-lantern. We had German sausages, roasted corn on the cob, apple pie and spiced hot cider and enjoyed a huge bonfire! Enjoy the pictures!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

The Etsyblogger's blog carnival for this cycle was to tell a personal story or how you promote awareness about one of the causes for this month. This was an easy topic for me since I promote awareness of women's Breast Cancer issues and carry a line of BC items all year. My signature item is a Breast Cancer Quilt that I make. I use a picture of it as my banner for my Handcrafts shop. I have had several quilt buyers give them, to comfort a friend who is struggling with the disease. I gave one away as a prize to the American Cancer Society's "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer" walk for the cure. I hope and pray that the quilts provide hope and comfort! Because . . . .

I am a survivor--four years now---with a good prognosis, one of the lucky ones, if you can call it that! Some women have not been as fortunate as I have, since there are different forms and stages of the disease. My journey started in October 2005 with a diagnosis in Texas. Most of my family lived in Oregon, so I did not want to undertake treatments without them. We immediately moved to be near them and have a support system. Although the emotional roller coaster has mostly subsided today, it is still present at times. One's own mortality is a mountain that we would all rather not climb. Support and hope are ingredients that are essential for the fight!

After surgeries and treatment I was able to return to work and life. I have several years of continuing treatment to go, making sure that cancer cells are prohibited from growing again!

One little hint. New research suggests Vitamin D is essential to women's health especially those of you who are younger.

So, I encourage every woman to become informed. I will not go into details--details are available elsewhere on the web. If diagnosed, or if you know someone who has been diagnosed, it is important that you are informed of your options. Fear does not facilitate good decisions. Make sure that you ask lots of questions. Call a reputable cancer agency that you trust and get their recommendations as to hospitals, doctors, or clinics that are up on the latest treatments and research. I called and found out that only one hospital in all of Oregon is recommended for the treatment of BC. So, you know where I went to find a doctor! Some hospitals and doctors say that they can do what you need, but get a second opinion.
Do your research, BE . AWARE and may you be blessed with good health!