Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009

New Item

I've seen statements lately in the forums regarding keeping the personal out of shops. Regardless of what it is from religion to animal rescue, vegan-ism to international human rights, if we truly believe in something, how is it possible separate ourselves from it? Isn't that what we do, as artists, put ourselves into our work?

I've been designing in my head items I want to put in my shop that reflect my faith. I finally finished my first piece this morning.

It is subtle, yet, encompases my beliefs entirely. One symbol, the cross, one word, love. I think that says it all.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My Favorite Tweet

I've been on twitter for less than 48 hours. It's been interesting and easier than I thought it would be.

I'll post later on the results of my "twittering" "tweeting"???

but I want to share something I saw there today:

"Famous last words : Hold my beer and watch this"...

rofl!! Love it!

Dream ~ Denied...

For the longest time I have been a fan of French Bulldogs. Long before Martha Stewart got hers, long before they were the "it" dog, long before most even knew what one was.

I never seriously considered getting one because of the two amazingly hairy Australian Shepherds that now occupy my house. One more dog seemed too much.

Lately, with seeing them more and more in pictures, media, etc. I thought I'd look into getting one.

Researching breeders was my first step but I was stopped DEAD in my tracks. These adorable puppies are, on average, $2000 each. Yes, Two THOUSAND dollars, each.

Well, simply put, NO WAY! I expected them to be a little expensive, but, no matter how blessed I am, how poor I am, how rich I am, I would not, will not pay that for a dog.

I am a little disappointed, but still chuckle to myself...two thousand dollars!?! um, no.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It's Comfort Food Time

I recently came across this recipe at It sounded like the perfect meal for a crispy cold fall evening. Pair it with some squash or potatoes and, yum, it's fall!

Pork Chops with Apples and Brandy


8 boneless center cut pork loin chops (4 to 5 ounces each)
Freshly ground black pepper
4 to 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 sweet apples, such as Golden Delicious, peeled, cored, and sliced
½ cup brandy
½ cup nonalcoholic apple cider
½ cup whipping cream

Using a meat mallet, pound the pork chops until they are ½ inch thick. Generously salt and pepper.

Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the apples and sauté until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove to a separate bowl.

Melt another tablespoon of butter in the same skillet. Brown the chops on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Do it in two batches if necessary, adding another tablespoon of butter for the second batch. Remove to a separate plate.

Deglaze the pan with the brandy and cider. Bring to a boil and cook until reduced by half, 7 to 8 minutes. Stir in the cream. Reduce heat to low. Stir in the apples and any accumulated juices. Return the pork chops to the pan, cover, and cook until chops are cooked through, about 4 more minutes.

Place chops on plates on Mound apples on top of chops and pour sauce over all.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Kris Allen New Song

I watched American Idol this past season and was so happy that this guy won.

Here is his new released single, I hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday Funnies

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Holiday Wrapping Ideas, Resources and Tips

Although the temperatures are barely cooling down (or warming up depending on which hemisphere you live in) like it or not, the holidays are coming, and coming fast. It’s time for those of us with shops to start preparing for the little details that will help us stand out this season.

As hectic as the season has become, shoppers are looking for ways to beat crowds, check off to do lists faster, and make the gift giving as easy as possible while still giving great, memorable gifts. I think we, as shop owners, can do a little something to fill this need.

One of the ways I am filling this need this season is to send all my items pre-gift wrapped. Now, this presents a unique problem because my, as well as most of your customers shop over the internet. They cannot see, feel or try on the items we sell prior to purchase. If I send their purchase pre-gift wrapped, how will they know the item is something they want to give? What if they want to see it first? I have decided to develop my wrapping style with this in mind.

As you can see from my picture, a gift does not have to be wrapped in paper to be gorgeous. I have made my packaging so that all that needs to be done if desired, is to untie the ribbon to see the item, and then tie it back. I plan to include instructions on how to tie the bow back (yes, men will need this).

The boxes I have decided to use are very heavy duty Kraft boxes from They come in so many shapes and sizes. I have larger boxes for my necklaces and smaller for the earrings. These boxes come with fiberfill pad already included. I keep this in as extra padding for my jewelry.

Inside I will be adding a piece of hot pink tissue paper. You can use any color you want. I would recommend cutting it to match the width of your boxes so that it can be slipped under the fiber fill, and it will fold nicely over your items. You can also purchase tissue paper in bulk from

Etsy has so many wonderful graphic artists. I have purchased some designs from to use as my jewelry cards. I feel they match my shop’s nostalgic elegant feel. She customized the size for me so that they would fit the larger boxes. The work is gorgeous and she had a fast turn around. Pre-printed scrapbook tag paper would also work nicely. Personally I like the look of the nostalgic prints better than using the printed cards. Although not all of my pieces are vintage, they have the look of vintage or nostalgic pieces and I feel the papers match my overall theme perfectly. You can figure out what works best for your shop.

In developing my packaging I felt it is important to create an overall look that is consistent that way there are no surprises when your customer receives their package. I have used a gorgeous satin ribbon in my signature color of sage green to tie a generous bow on the box. The sage green matches my banner in my shop as well as my business cards. A tip on cutting ribbon for a bow that I learned when working at Williams/Sonoma: Cut the ribbon five times the width and height of the box and it will be long enough to tie around with length enough for a full bow.

I have also included in the packaging a tag on the outside of the package. ! I am stamping the back of these tags with a “To: From: “ stamp I have and will slip it under the ribbon on the outside of the box.

I buy tags from the most wonderful shop on Etsy. She uses nostalgic and vintage images to make hang tags. They are classic in shape, the images are clear and the tags are sturdy. Each has a complimentary color thread. Her tags are reasonably priced; you can get a dozen for less than $5.00. She also ships very quickly. I highly recommend her!!

Now, for product identification. Most people buying this holiday season will be buying for others. The recipient probably won’t know that their gift is a handmade item from your shop on Etsy. So how do you let them know these things without blatantly advertising in their gift? I have decided to do it subtly and with a look that fits the overall style. A few months back I had stickers designed by These have my shop name; again, match my banner and business card in my signature sage green theme. Usually this sticker is front and center on the boxes I send, but since this is special gift wrap I want to keep this information secondary to the gift giver, but still have it present. . I am putting these stickers to identify my shop on the bottom of the box This way the information is available, yet subtle. I also won’t be sticking my business card in the gift package, but I will include it in the shipping box.

This gift wrapping is going to be standard for all my packaging from now until the end of December. This will streamline processing orders when the holiday rush starts. I won’t have to wait for convos saying yes or no, or if I don’t get a preference I won’t have to contact the buyer and wait for a reply. I’ll wrap it up and out it goes.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my little tour through gift wrapping and hope that I’ve given you some ideas and resources to spiff up your holiday packaging and make your packages very special for your customers.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New Ring! Who Knew?

This is one of my new rings. It is a petite faceted labradorite stone. While placing the item for sale on Etsy yesterday, I was having trouble with the spelling of the stone (not good for a search based site). I learned that it is Labrador-ite, like the dog, lol. I also learned that the stone has some pretty cool properties. I usually don't buy into the mystical properties of stones but I thought this really interesting.

These are the properties of Labradorite:

Self Esteem: Labradorite promotes strength of will and a feeling of inner worth about your own abilities, while relieving insecurity and apprehension about your value as a spiritual being. (now where is that ring? I need to put it on now!)

Creativity: Labradorite helps to combine intellectual thought with intuitive wisdom enhancing discernment in all situations. This gemstone elicits creativity by inspiring you to come up with original ideas and solutions to problems. (a much needed help!)

Diet: Labradorite is an excellent gemstone for those seeking to lose weight as it balances and regulates metabolism. (um, won't we all try anything...I'm making myself one! I wonder how big a stone I can get~)

Career: Brings patience, which leads to better focus and concentration. This stone enhances perseverance, very helpful for those who are facing a period of sustained work, such as students at exam time, and for those who are prone to overwork. (a cure for ADD, who knew!)

Athletes and Procrastinators: It can stimulate physical activity, and 'kick start' the energy necessary to get into action. (a nice kick in the pants!)
I hope I was able to help you learn a little something today and have a little fun, too.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Long Awaited Installation

A little over a year ago I came across these beautiful brass chandeliers. They hung in the woman's grandmother's house since she could remember and, after her grandmother's passing, they moved into her house and thought them too old fashioned to live with. Well, another person's lack of taste is my gain!

I was thrilled to get both of these for less than $50~ You heard right! All the crystals in great condition, albeit very dirty, but with a labor of love, lots of soap, water and gentle sponging everything came out beautifully.
And then, it was up to my husband to hang them. A little over a year later, I don't know what possessed him, but he finally decided to hang them for me.

I am so thrilled with how they turned out. They have added such a wonderful touch to my master bath (yes, that is where they are) but they truly make the room so elegant and bright. They look better than I imagined and I am happy.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sunday, September 6, 2009

"Up" in Real Life

Have you see the movie "Up"? The main character refuses to sell his house to the big corporate bullies who were building a mega mall around his house.

This is an article about a woman who did the same thing. A very neat picture and a neat story. (Read the article HERE)