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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Drops in the Bucket

It's been crazy busy around here, between getting ready for our road trip to seen Nana J and my sudden urge to reorganize the house. I've been dealing with a low-level case of the grouchies for some time now, and when it flared up something fierce a few days ago, I did some hard thinking to try to figure out why I was feeling so tense and high-strung. Yes, I've been working hard; yes, there have been more stressors than usual. But I don't think that's what was going on.

As I pondered my mood and what might be behind it, I realized that I'd hit my limit for coping with the amount of clutter that had accumulated. This happens around here without even noticing it. Even though I tidy up every evening, things slowly pile up, until almost every surface in the house has stuff on it -- and, in most cases, dust on top of the stuff. All the corners are full, all the shelves overflowing. The roll-top desk is a horror, to be opened at one's own peril.

I realized that I was just fed up with looking at it. Toys, papers, more toys, stuffed animals, books, more papers.... ridiculous! It was totally stressing me out.

So, since it was unlikely that I'd be able to get rid of as much of it as I should , I tossed the kids in the car and headed out to get some baskets and other containers in order to bring some order to things. (Gotta love Ross for this kind of outing!) All week, I've been tackling a room at a time. I've only been able to do dribs and drabs at a time, drops in the bucket, but it has done wonders for my mood and things are looking much better. Even S noticed!

And I have to confess that my mood is also being positively affected by my upcoming SCBWI conference. I've not even made a big deal of it, really -- it's like I was scared to, in case something came up and I couldn't go! I still can't quite believe I'm going. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, all in my own head, all on my own. Three whole days and two nights to think about my dream of writing children's books, to hang out with other folks who share that aspiration or have realized it already.

Tomorrow we hit the road, and I'm really getting jazzed. We'll stop at Nana's, and S and the kids will stay with her while I go to the conference. I'm trying not to have too many huge hopes for the weekend -- much as it would be nice to meet some publishing diva who will snap her fingers and get my first book published, just like that! -- but after months (years!) of drops in the bucket, in terms of my writing, this has great potential to be an opening of the floodgates. I just hope my craft is worthy!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Happy!

BB has added another word to her list: "Happy!" Today we were driving over to A and C's for dinner, and on the way there BB said she was "happy" at the prospect of seeing her friend. (At least, that's what we think she was trying to communicate. The syntax was "BB happy C" -- which could mean that BB was happy to be going to see C, or that C was going to be happy to see BB. Or perhaps both! But the word "happy" was clear as could be.)

It was a delicious dinner -- thanks so much, A, P, and C! -- and we had such a nice evening, all of us hanging out together. It can be challenging to find other entire families that are fun to be with, so this was an especially welcome treat.

Looks to be a busy week: I'll be doing all I can to prepare for the upcoming SCBWI conference next weekend, trying to get more than one finished draft to bring along. We leave for Nana J's on Thursday, I'll spend the night with everybody and then head to L.A. on Friday morning while S and the kids stay with Nana. My first night away since BB was born, and here I am splurging on both a Friday and a Saturday night away. Woo-hoo! Is S a good partner, or what?!? (In other words, BB isn't the only one with good reasons to be happy!)

First Annual SFEtsy Handcrafter's Faire

Special thanks to Linda Davis of Linda Davis Designs for being such a gracious host on Saturday for the first SFEtsy Handcrafter's Faire. I had an absolutely lovely time hanging out in the shade, chatting with folks, working on earrings, and enjoying the view from her yard -- a beautiful vista overlooking Vasona Lake.
I only sold one necklace, but I handed out lots of cards and got many compliments on my Baby Friendly Beads. And, as I said more than once, the simple fact that I was able to relax for a few hours and not chase after the kids made the day feel like a vacation! (Thanks, S, for making that possible!)
I'd hoped to see more of my mom friends -- we'd even set up a fabulous nursing and baby care station, which didn't get used -- but it ended up being awfully hot to be out with babies.

It was pleasant enough in the shade, if you weren't moving around, but I heard it was in the high 90's, even up in the Los Gatos hills. My dear friend A did show up, with her baby T, and it turned out she had gone to grade school with one of the other Etsians, Miranda of Hair Petals! Small world!!!

So even though I didn't make a mint, I didn't break the bank on gas (Linda was less than 15 minutes from my place!) and all in all it was a very pleasant day. It was good to have more low-key practice in setting up my table, now that I'm looking at doing more craft fairs. Among other things, I need to get some sort of banner or sign for the table. But I'm fairly pleased with how things are coming together, considering how new I am to all of this. At least I now have enough inventory to fill an entire table!

And there's talk of doing another SFEtsy Handcrafter's Faire before the holidays, so that's something else to look forward to. I will, of course, keep you posted!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday Feature -- Pandys & GriffinGear

This week's Etsy artist is Michele, who has two Etsy shops: Pandys of Lake Sunapee, and GriffinGear. I love both shops, but it's especially refreshing to find nifty clothes for boys, which is the specialty of her GriffinGear shop!


Tell me two (or more!) interesting things about you.

I have an BS in Animal Science and was an equine surgical technician and I have an MBA and am now a stay at home mom. I've always been creative, but after working in the fields of science and medicine, then banking...well, I've had enough of facts and figures, rules and regulations. I'm enjoying letting my creative side flourish. And, with a 4 and 5 year old around, life is much more enjoyable when focusing on the creative side, rather than the more coginitive side (and if you would like to read that as avoiding housework at all costs and painting or doing puzzles or reading or gardening...you won't be very far from the truth!)



What do you sell in your Etsy shop?
I sell a variety of items in Pandys...pretty much anything made from fabric...I started with a quilting theme, but have branched out to do other things. GriffinGear is all about boys clothing.




To which Etsy Street Teams do you belong?

I belong to a few teams. With both shops, I am a member of FAM, Etsymom and NH Street Teams. With GriffinGear, I am also a member of Etsykids

What inspires your creations?

I started doing a craft fair with my mom and we did just Christmas tree ornaments...we evolved into what it is today, and each day there is something new. I have notebooks full of ideas, I have a few beer advertisements from restaurants (they got in the plastic stands on the table..)with crayon sketches on the back, because I was inspired during dinner.

GriffinGear evolved from my frustration with the lack of tasteful, affordable boys clothing in stores. Plus, being able to tailor the clothes to fit as they are made is wonderful. I'm still having some trouble with button holes, but have had enough experience putting the same zipper.

Tell me a bit about your creative process and/or how you learned to do what you do.

The name for Pandys came from my maternal grandmother..her nickname was Pandy and she was always sewing, my mom taught me to sew, I remember having my first "store bought" winter coat in second grade....and then, when I needed a shop name, I wanted something easy and short...and that didn't limit my creativity. Thus, Pandys. I think it's a great tribue to my grandmother. And, after working in science and then banking, it's so neat to not only be my own boss, but to not have to follow the rules and let my creative side come out.

What is your favorite item in your shop (currently for sale or previously sold)? Why is it your favorite?

I love my beer quilts...they were the first thing I created totally and completely from scratch...but the frustration was worth it. I'm proud of them.


What 3 words would you use to describe yourself?

exuberant, funny, loyal

What do you like about Etsy?

I have made some great friends, and been exposed to so much talent, it's made me work harder and harder to be the absolute best designer, creator and marketer than I can be. Plus, being able to dabble a bit is great. I'd love to eventually have a steady income from my shops, but right now I don't have the time.


What makes your shop unique?

Well, each shop has its own personality...and each item has my personal touch on it somewhere. I've started writing "storscriptions" (my friend StoneyCharms.etsy.com came up with that) which satisfies my urge to write....I make up little stories about my items, instead of your basic this bag is made of cotton, it measures 16 inches by 12 inches by 4 inches....people can't touch the items, they are relying on a picture, so I am trying to make the description appealing....even if they don't buy the item, I can at least provide some entertainment for them and put a smile on their faces.

What advice do you have for other folks selling or buying on Etsy?

Be patient, do what you love and do the best quality work you can. Trying to crank out the hot item of the moment when it really isn't your style isn't going to work. You won't be enjoying yourself and no matter how particular and conscientious you are, your work won't be top notch if your heart isn't into it.

Where else can we find out more about you and/or your creations?

Feel free to visit my often neglected blog (see above regarding children) at http://pandysoflakesunapee.blogspot.com/ or flickr.


For more Mama's Magic Friday Feature interviews, click here.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

18 Months, 104 Words (And Counting)

Happy 18 month birthday, BB! You really aren't a baby anymore, are you? We've been keeping track of the words you're using, and today's total was 104! You are starting to count, too -- you definitely know the meaning of "one," as in, "You may have one jellybean, only one!" And today you told me there were two balls, and indeed there were.

Some favorite words you are using: tickle, bubble, sticker, zoo, picture, swing, dance, cookie, and sweeper.

"Sweeper" is quite popular, thanks to our recent acquisition of an electrostatic floor brush. It actually works fairly well, and both the kids love to "help" by using it.

What an amazing, adorable little girl you are, BB -- Happy year and a half!

Two Team Treasuries!

What a lovely surprise to discover that my Baby Friendly Beads are featured today in not one but two Etsyblogger team treasuries! Thanks to EcoKate for including my Black and White Hearts Nursing Necklace here and thanks to A Keeper's Jackpot for including my Where Meadow Meets Sky Nursing Necklace here.

Treasuries are by nature a transient honor, since they expire, but it's always exciting to be included in one. If the lists are still active when you take a look, feel free to leave a comment -- the more comments, the more likelihood that the treasury might reach the vaunted heights of Etsy's front page!

Thanks again, fellow Etsybloggers! Y'all rock!

Handcrafter's Faire!

I'm really getting excited about this weekend's Handcrafter's Faire. SFEtsy is sponsoring the event -- about a dozen talented local Etsy sellers will be gathering in Los Gatos on Saturday to show off our wares and hopefully make a few sales.

I'll mostly have my Baby Friendly Beads, but I'll also have some items from the new Etsy shop, Mama's Magic Studio. I have been beading and beading all month, and I have many items that are not yet in the shops! If you're in the area, please stop by! Click here for more information.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Big Blue Ant

For the past few days, BB has been narrating a rather involved story. I think it's something she's made up -- the details she added today, at any rate, are clearly imaginary.

It started yesterday, when BJ was napping. BB wanted me to sit down on the floor next to her. "Mama! Sit down floor!" When I did, she started telling me about an ant. Using a combination of signs and words, she told me, "Ant dat way! Door!" I never found an ant, and (knock wood) we're not under invasion at the moment, but she was quite emphatic: an ant had been there, gone through the door into her room, and bonked its head.

Today, she told S the same story, adding the detail that it was a "big blue ant." I have no idea why!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Raisin Raspberries

Given BB's love of raisins and blowing (and receiving) raspberry kisses, perhaps it was only a matter of time....

video

Towards the end of the video, she gets into one of her favorite comedy routines -- an exchange based on the book "Once Upon a Potty." She'll take something and start asking a bunch of questions: "Is it a bird? Is it a fish? Is it a hat? Is it a potty?" She knows she's being funny and gets great satisfaction from that knowledge. Such fun to see her sense of humor developing.

In the background, S and BJ are working on sending an email to one of our babysitters. BJ wants to add a P.S. This is what he ended up dictating to S:

"i will see you someday else. you can meet me another day. i won't be bad when you come. see you soon! all of the animals at the zoo, they are very wild. the zookeepers open their cages. meet you tomorrow. see you soon! be home!"

(And yes, Tia M, I'll work on compiling a CD for you of these videos. No bribing necessary! Sorry you can't enjoy them as they are posted!)

Annual Luau

BJ's playgroup had its annual summer luau today, at Emma Prusch Farm Park. This little gem of a park is tucked away in San Jose, and it's a great place to go with kids: farm animals, gardens and orchard areas, green space for running around in, and a big new playground. I'd been there twice before -- once for a summer picnic when BJ was about BB's age, and once for a composting workshop (which was when I got hooked on vermicomposting).


BB especially liked the old tractors, the red one in particular (maybe because it went so well with her dress and lei?)


She was a little nervous around the animals. The moos and oinks were a bit loud for her liking. Not BJ, though. He went right up to them and got a big bovine lick on the arm!



Here BB is telling us about the cow licking BJ. As we were leaving the barn area, she decided she wanted to be licked too. But the goats weren't having any of it -- their lunch had arrived, so they'd scurried away from the fence just as we got there.


This year, for the first time, we set up a carnival area to help occupy the kids. BJ especially liked "digging for pirate treasure" (shoveling through cornmeal for shiny plastic coins):


The hula dancers were a hit, especially because they went around giving the kids temporary tattoos. BB got a butterfly and BJ got a praying mantis.


Our playgroup sponsored a "fruit loop lei" booth. Of course there was much eating of the sugary cereal, but the kids also had fun stringing the loops on ribbon to make necklaces.


I was so glad that we were able to go as a family. With these sorts of things it is always so much easier to have a grownup for each child!

We'd considered having S stay home with BB, since her usual nap would have hit right in the midst of things. Instead, we took two cars, he stayed as long as possible with BB, and BJ and I hung out until the end so we could help with cleaning up and taking down our carnival booth. Worked out really well, all told. (And bonus points for Nana J for the kids' matching Hawaiian outfits!)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

New Digs!

A huge, heartfelt thanks goes out to fellow Etsyblogger StormyDesigns, whose technical know-how and generosity is responsible for the lovely new layout here at Mama's Magic. I'll be tinkering with a few more things over the next few days. In the meantime, come in, take a look around, and enjoy the new digs! And if you'd like to see more lovely stuff from the talented StormyDesigns, check out her Etsy shop or her blog.

When I was a kid, and then later when I moved into my own home, I used to get great satisfaction in rearranging my room(s). Something about shifting the furniture was extremely gratifying, and I still get a pretty strong urge to move things around at times. Considering that it's nearly impossible to change things much around here these days -- combination of my small house, with all space used to its utmost already, and my extremely conservative son, not to mention that pesky herniated disc -- rearranging and prettying up my virtual space goes a long way towards satisfying that urge. Who knew that blogging could help with so many needs? (Plus, it doesn't require moving the furniture!)

Thanks again, Stormy. I hope you didn't have to do any really heavy lifting for this project!!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Thank You, Miranda!

This blogging stuff is turning out to be really neat. When I started this blog last June, I had no idea how addictive it would be, nor did I anticipate how much fun I'd have. But what's been most surprising is how many wonderful people I've "met" through the blogosphere. It's been delightful to connect with so many other creative, kind, interesting folks!

And of course it's always a treat to discover another blog to admire (though it gets hard to keep up with them all!) Recently, I had the good fortune to meet Miranda, who writes at an amazing blog called Creative Construction: Life & Art. This collaborative blog is an incredible resource for creative folks -- particularly women, particularly mothers.

Miranda introduced herself after becoming a customer at my Etsy shop. To my delight, she asked to interview me! Today it posted: Breakfast with Jen. Warmest thanks to Miranda for this opportunity!

Friday Feature -- T and Little S Designs

This week's featured Etsy artist is T and Little S Designs. Traci explains, "My daughter (Little S) tends to be nearby when I work and is an inspiration to me." Her shop is simply charming -- I especially admire her paper goods, like this baby shower invitation. And isn't this upcycled journal fun?



Tell me two (or more!) interesting things about you.

I was formerly a fifth grade teacher before becoming a stay-at-home Mommy to my 17 month old daughter. I love watching her learn new things. My husband, daughter, and I live in a quiet suburb of Columbus with our two cats. We love to go to the zoo and play outside. A recent Etsy achievement of mine--I just recently surpassed 100 sales and 150 hearts!

What do you sell in your Etsy shop?

I sell paper crafts (custom and premade scrapbooks, cards/ invitations, altered items, and gifts) and onesies.

To which Etsy Street Teams do you belong?

I just recently joined Etsymoms, Etsyscrap, and EtsyColumbus.

What inspires your creations?
I'm inspired by different things. Sometimes a new creation comes from when I need or want something for my daughter and start playing with papers, embellishments, etc. Other creations are often inspired by a current fad or new item, like the Amy Butler papers, that becomes a favorite of mine. I just got a new Cricut cartridge that cuts fairy tale characters, paper dolls, people in jobs (policeman, etc.), so that will definitely be the inspiration for some new pieces that are coming soon!

Tell me a bit about your creative process and/or how you learned to do what you do.
My creative process is definitely more creative chaos than an organized masterpiece. LOL I typically have an idea that I want to try, then I just wait for the time to go and play to try it out. This is usually during naptime or bedtime when I have a few quiet moments to myself to work. It's not unusual to see papers, ribbons, etc. all over my scrapbook table and floor when I'm in the process of working on orders or new ideas. I love it!

I started out 8 years ago going to an at-home scrapbooking party and learning the basics behind scrapbooking and preserving photos. While that style preserved my memories and photos safely, I definitely didn't feel creative with it at all. Over the next several years, I continued to look at scrapbooking magazines, online sites with sketches, etc. for my creative inspiration until I really felt that I developed a style of my own. To this day, I continue to learn new scrapbooking techniques through workshops and online sites. Sometimes it's just trial-and-error until I end up with my finished product. I'm currently learning to create my own envelopes for my cards, mini cards, and invitations.

What is your favorite item in your shop (currently for sale or previously sold)? Why is it your favorite?
My current favorite item is this Amy Butler altered tin that can be used for cards, receipts, coupons, etc. I absolutely love this pattern of her paper and the earthy greens, browns, and blues that are used.


What 3 words would you use to describe yourself?
I would say that I'm caring, creative, and devoted/ dependable. I would truly do anything to help my family and friends and consider myself a good wife, mother, friend, etc.

What do you like about Etsy?
I love the fact that Etsy sellers are so supportive. Once I really got more involved with Etsy, I discovered that other sellers are genuinely very willing to help out someone who's just learning, wants to improve, etc. I've had a great experience so far with Etsy, and I truly value the fact that everything is handmade.

What makes your shop unique?
My shop is unique because it focuses on a few different people and needs. I really love to create for children and Moms, so I have onesies, baby shower and birthday invites, premade scrapbooks for pregnancy, baby's first year, etc. I also have Amy Butler blank notecards and mini thank you notes for the Etsy seller or anyone that needs to send a personalized note or greeting. I really try to feature a variety of items for babies and kids, Moms, and women in general.

What advice do you have for other folks selling or buying on Etsy?
My best advice is to really get involved in the Forums on Etsy and to place frequent bids for alchemy requests. I really noticed an increase in sales when I got to know other sellers through the Promotions board. I also received valuable feedback in the Business forums on things to improve for my shop, like my profile, taking better pictures, etc. I think that these relationships are vital to success!

Where else can we find out more about you and/or your creations?
I also have a blog that is updated with recent creations, both for Etsy and for custom orders, and that I update with craft show info, etc.
For more Mama's Magic Friday Feature interviews, click here.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Playing Favorites

This month's Etsybloggers carnival topic is "your favorite creation." That's a bit like asking which is your favorite child, isn't it? :-D

I'm extremely proud of my Baby Friendly Beads -- both in general concept and in individual execution -- and my favorite design would be my Custom Birthstone necklaces.



I'm very excited about the items that will be going into my new Etsy shop, Mama's Magic Studio, especially the "A Woman Needs A Man" Fraternal Earrings, which I'll be listing soon:

But the favorite thing I've ever made (so far) is this quilt, which is a wall hanging over our bed.

It's the first quilt I ever made, and it was definitely a learning process. I'd wanted to try my hand at quilting for some time, and when we moved here I had the happy fortune to meet P, a dear woman and accomplished quilter. She offered to teach me and opened her fabric stash to me, an incredibly generous gesture. So even though this quilt might not be the most technically perfect thing I've ever made, I think it's really pretty and like to meditate on the pattern. Moreso because it is infused with all sorts of memories of women's fellowship and friendly generosity.

Plus, it's nice to have something over the bed that won't knock you in the block in the event of an earthquake!

Mama's Magic Studio!


I'm delighted to announce the opening of my second Etsy shop: Mama's Magic Studio! This shop will feature the results of my other crafting interests -- right now I'm working on Fraternal Earrings, and Beaded Bugs. No telling what you'll find next! I'm starting small, but I'll be adding new items all week.

Another Treasury & July Featured Etsyblogger

A big thank you to fellow Etsyblogger ToteNTots for including me in this beautiful treasury!

Which reminds me.... I haven't blogged about this month's featured Etsyblogger. Congratulations, AKeeper'sJackpot! Her Etsy store features many beautiful pieces of jewelry, including this lovely necklace. And for a fun read, be sure to check out her blog!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Butterfly

For months now, I've been wanting to catch BB on camera, signing "butterfly." With her talking more and more, I know it can't be too long before she drops her signing entirely. Already, many of them are falling into disuse, or she uses them along with the spoken words.

Yesterday, BJ was pretending to be animals (in alphabetical order, of course) and when he got to C, he crawled around like a caterpillar. Which led us to talking about butterflies. Which led BB to signing. So I grabbed the camera and got this:


video

Swinging

It's official: the kids are playing together. Of their own volition, without needing me to constantly coordinate. Yesterday morning, BB wanted to swing (she's doing really well on the "big kid" swing) but I was doing yardwork and asked her to wait. Without prompting, BJ offered, "I'll push you!" And proceeded to do so. (And without pushing her off the swing!)

They both loved it!

(And yes, I'm fully aware that it's a little bit noofy that I wouldn't stop my yardwork to push my own daughter on the swing, but I would stop to go grab the camera to record the moment. Whatchagonna do -- I'm my dad's daughter, after all. We like our cameras!)

When I was pregnant with BB, everybody said that things would get easier after the first year, when the kids started to amuse one another. It's been almost 18 months, so they were off by half again as long, but I'm beginning to see what folks were talking about.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Mr. Methodical

And the love affair between BJ and the alphabet continues.... when you share with the beloved those intimate acts like brushing your teeth, you know it's really serious. (Even more so if you are the one actually brushing the beloved's teeth, huh?)

video

Yes, for the record, every letter got its teeth brushed, A to Z. He then put them to bed, woke them up, and served them breakfast at the table. All in alphabetical order. Nothing if not methodical, my boy. (And, also for the record, he's using an old toothbrush that had been relegated to the toy basket. I'm all for imaginative play, but I draw the line at sharing personal hygiene tools with your toys.)


Be sure to notice BB wandering around in the background, climbing the rocking chair and making her signature noise of the day.... that's my active little girl! I had to stop the video so that my hands would be free to deal with the consequences when she involved herself in BJ's routine. Happily, she only watched for a moment and then wandered on, but it's best to be extra careful about such things. There can be quite the price to pay if one gets between BJ and his letters, as we've learned from hard experience!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Renegade Results

I'm delighted to share that my time at the Renegade Craft Festival was a success. I had three hours at a little 3 foot section of the Etsy booth, and in that time I sold six necklaces, gave out tons of business cards, and got lots of positive reactions from folks who stopped by my table. Definitely good strokes for the ego, and I came home with more than what I'd spent on gas to get to San Francisco. Also got some good contacts for other craft fair opportunities. So exciting!

The most memorable sale of the day was a bracelet I sold to a very flamboyant, tall man. I was really tempted to take a picture of him wearing the jewelry, but I didn't want to offend him -- would have been perfect, though, to illustrate the second half of my slogan: Jewelry for Breastfeeding & Beyond!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Friday Feature -- Happy At Home Handmade

This week's featured Etsy artist is fellow Etsymom, Lisa of Happyathomehandmade. I love her polymer clay beads!

Tell me two (or more!) interesting things about you.

Well, this is the first time I really had to answer questions for a feature, so I hope I make everything sound ok. lol Well, I am a stay home mom of a 4 yr old little boy named Jonah Alexander & a little girl who will be 2 on July 15th named Kylie Reid. I am 25 yrs old & I have been married for almost 4 yrs. (Will be 4 yrs on Sept 17th!) My husband works more than full time, so usually it's just me & the kiddos. We recently moved from St. Louis, MO to Palmetto, FL. (Everything kept going wrong for us in St. Louis, so we decided it was time for a change.) Things are going pretty good for us here so far. I believe God was telling us to move here for a long time. :) My favorite thing to do (other than my crafts) is to go to the beach when my hubby is off work.

What do you sell in your Etsy shop?

Right now I have polymer clay beads & magnets, hemp jewelry & key chains; I am working on my crocheted toys & dish cloths to be added soon.

What inspires your creations?

A little bit of everything inspires my creations. :) Mainly my children. A lot of time when we are at the beach just hanging out as a family, I get some awesome ideas!

Tell me a bit about your creative process and/or how you learned to do what you do.

Hmm, I do so much so lets start at the top. :) I was at a friend's house & the girl there was making hemp jewelry. I said, "Oh wow! I always wanted to learn to do that!" So I went to the store, bought myself some hemp, gave some to her for teaching me & got started. She taught me the original knot process & as I got more experienced with it, I taught myself all the more advanced knotting techniques.

With my polymer clay beads (& magnets), I just one day went to the craft store & bought a bunch of clay. My sister had seen the canes done before & showed me a few simple ones. Then I just got more creative & started making the more complex canes & beads on my own.

Crocheting: another passion of mine. We came here to Florida on vacation to visit my in-laws. We went to a friend of my mother-in-law's & she was crocheting. She saw how interested I was & gave me some yarn & my 1st set of crochet hooks.(Which I still use today!) Oh & she gave me a book, too to teach myself. I couldn't figure it out, so at dinner one night & asked another women if she knew how. She showed me the 'single crochet'. I eventually got the hang of it. :) But I still can't understand the patterns. So everything I crochet is always made using my own pattern that I created myself! I can't wait to list my crocheted items in my store!

Everything else just came to me. lol I have enough crafts; so I decided that I am just sticking with those. No more learning any new ones. lol I have a lot of talent in the areas I work in & there is always room for improvments!
What is your favorite item in your shop (currently for sale or previously sold)? Why is it your favorite?

Umm, it's so hard for me to chose because I love everything I create! But since I have to chose one, my favorite is the "Trees in the Wind" beads! They are the first trees I created with clay, I love trees, & I 'Think Green'! lol (I know that was really corny. lol)

What 3 words would you use to describe yourself?

Creative, obsessive-compulsive (lol), & Loving

What do you like about Etsy?

I love everything about Etsy! I love the community; everybody is so nice! I love that everything is handmade, & I love the cheap listing fees!

What makes your shop unique?

My shop is unique in many ways...Every item is unique because I never use patterns of any kind. With clay, there is no way you can exactly duplicate any item.

What advice do you have for other folks selling or buying on Etsy?

Always buy handmade! I'm not a pro or anything yet, but I can say that lately I've been doing everything I can to promote my shop! I even did a few trades. I think trades are great because someone else gets to try out your stuff & you also get feedback for it.

Where else can we find out more about you and/or your creations?

I have my own blog I recently started.

I also have a myspace page, but I use that mainly to keep in contact with friends & family. I do have my 'Etsy Mini' there.

For more Mama's Magic Friday Feature interviews, click here.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Renegade!


Things have been really busy around here, getting ready for the Renegade Craft Festival. Feels like if I'm not on kid duty, I'm on beading duty!


I'll be helping to staff the Etsy booth on Saturday afternoon and evening, bringing along my Baby Friendly Beads and a few preview items from the upcoming opening of my second shop. (A Grand Opening and Big Announcement about that is coming very soon, I promise!!!)

For those of you who might not know, the Renegade festival is quite the big deal. Over the past five years, it has become known as "the biggest, best and the most well-known of all the DIY craft fairs out there." (Granted, that's quoted from their own press, but it's nonetheless true.) Here I was, setting myself up for a nice, low-key, relaxed setting for my first in-person sales opportunity, in the form of the upcoming "Handcrafters Faire" sponsored by SFEtsy. That's still in the works, scheduled for July 26th. But just as I was starting to get nervous about that, the Etsy folks asked for volunteers for the Renegade festival. So I figured if I was going to be nervous, I might as well get my knickers in a twist about something big. Besides, it's a great chance for some free booth space and publicity.

Anyway, if you're in the Bay Area and want to come by and say hi on Saturday, come on over to Fort Mason!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

What Do You Like?

Given BJ's intensity about his own preferences these days, perhaps it's not surprising that he and BB had the following conversation:

video

It had been going on for some time before I was able to grab the camera, so I only caught the end. So neat to see the two of them talking to each other like this. Though clearly the level of understanding on BB's part still has a ways to go... after all, she says she doesn't like JELLYBEANS?!?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Picky

BJ has been in his "just so" mode quite a bit this week. Perhaps being picky is a default aspect to most preschooler's personalities -- this quality is not unique to him, not by any means. Developmentally speaking, it's entirely appropriate for kids this age. After all, so much is out of their control, one can hardly blame them for trying to do what they can to exert power over those parts of the world that they can influence.

So we've been talking a lot about being picky, and about being too picky. How it's okay to have preferences but not such a good idea to be too specific with what you want. I was hoping that some of this was sinking in, that he was understanding some of these distinctions, subtle though they might be.

Then, this afternoon at snack, he wanted ice in his water. Okay, no big deal, it's certainly hot enough. But come to find out that just any old piece of ice won't do. He wants a piece of ice shaped like North Dakota.

Apparently we still have some refining to do.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Thing in Action

If I didn't know better, I'd swear BB was choreographing deliberately.... little girl sure likes to dance!

video

Good taste in music, too.... who wouldn't love Moby's remake of "Verb: That's What's Happening"?!?

Party Party

Lots of parties this weekend: birthday for E on Saturday morning, birthday for J on Sunday afternoon, and on Saturday night we went to a little dinner party at Auntie L's. For the most part, the kids were great. BJ was very shy and reserved for the first half or so of E's party, but that was to be expected.

For E's party, BB got to wear her summer party dress for the first time:


At J's party, the kids made cardboard box "cars" to "drive" around (the bottoms were cut out so they could jump inside and run around). Also blew lots of bubbles.

Mostly, we had lots of fun -- though we're now looking forward to a bit of a break from the grueling social butterfly schedule!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Independence Day


Just finished watching fireworks with S, sitting on our living room couch and feeling very blessed. (Our front window gives a decent vantage point for the big downtown show.) What a nice way to finish off a great day.

This morning, we took the kids to a local parade. It was very much a neighborhood affair, with amateur marching bands, kids on bikes, old cars, mounted police, firetrucks, and the like. This talented lady on stilts was my favorite!

The Sharks themed firetruck was pretty cool, too.






Sitting there on the curb, BJ in my lap, S and BB right beside us, I found myself utterly and unexpectedly overwhelmed with emotion. My heart was brimming and I was weeping before I fully realized what had happened, or why.

I grew up in a small college town, and the parade today was very much the kind of thing we would have gone to when I was a kid (and, in later years, I would have marched in myself). So there was an obvious nostalgia factor to the tears. It reminded me of home and made me long for my folks. (We missed you so much today, Pop-Pop and Giki!)

But it was more than that, I think. There's something really lovely about folks coming together for these sorts of homespun celebrations -- something both profound and simple. It does the heart good to wave at smiling strangers and have them wave back, to let your kid enjoy an Otter Pop given out by someone you don't know, to simply sit on the curb next to other families and folks, laughing and having a good time.

I thought about this as I overheard the guy next to me saying, "Oh, don't worry honey, she's crying too." I turned his way and realized that he was talking about me, telling the woman he was with that she shouldn't feel embarrassed. I had no idea my tears were so obvious, but I wasn't ashamed. It was one of those synchronicities that make life interesting, when little things take on larger symbolic significance. Soon thereafter, S was wiping at his eyes a bit, too. Seems I wasn't the only one moved by the magic of the moment.

In spite of all the horrors you read about in the paper, most of us have an enormous amount of goodwill towards one another, if only we are given a way to express it. Things like today's little parade remind us that in spite of how separate (and independent) we might feel, we are all part of this together, lucky to be here, lucky to be citizens of an amazing country and a miraculous world.

Happy 4th to all of you!