Thursday, July 31, 2008

A day at the beach

Yesterday I went with my father to the coast to keep him company while he did some work. This means I was not around to post yesterday - or really get hardly any work done at all.

However, I was able to tkae some pictures of the ocean to be used for future paintings. The morning was cloudy, foggy and rough waves. By lunch time, the sun had started to come out.

Enjoy the ocean break!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Undiscovered stores for today

It's that time again. Time for me to promote Undiscovered Etsy Shops.To qualify for my personal list, stores must have no sales, more than 10 items for sale, have all their information filled out, include pics with the items, and catch my eye for being different, interesting, pretty, funny... you get the picture.

WearMyColors Fun & unique jewelry and accessories

Bee Trendy Floral silk flower swags and wreaths

Taylor's Eclectic Jewelry Shop Very interesting jewelry items

almondtreeframes Innovative framing design solutions

JustaGirl Wedding and Jewelry

Bella Beads Originals handcrafted one-of-a-kind jewelry

Creakit DIY baby shoes kits

Come take a look at these new shops before they become famous and raise their prices! lol

Make their day and be their first sale. So many great items to choose from.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Plarn Plus

I have discussed Plarn before, but in case you missed it, Plarn = PLastic yARN. It is made from grocery and produce bags.

Plarn Plus is when you twist other materials with the plarn as you are working. To the Left is a close-up of what it can look like. In this case, it's strands of black and white scrap yarn twisted with plarn that is white with black lettering.

Pros and cons to Plarn Plus:


*By adding recycled or scrap yarn, you keep it from looking so plastic-y, and have many more options with colors,

*While the plarn itself is pretty spongy, adding yarn also adds a softness,

*Adding yarn adds additional strength


*While is still can be rinsed and air dried, it takes more time,

*Yarn does add more weight, so it is heavier when empty,

So, do the pros outweight the cons? It all depends on what you want to use it for. As a general purpose bag, Plarn Plus works better. But for groceries, where you want to insure that it is clean, regular plarn may be the better option.

(This black and white Plarn Plus Tote is currently available at our Etsy store. Comet ake a look.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Busy week

This week, I made two new quilts, 1 new painting, dealing with a vehicle that won't start, towed it to a new mechanic, ran hamburger night at my American Legion Post, did our big shopping....lots going on. I also set up an on-line portfolio of my favorite items for sale. You cannot make purchases from the site, but it does direct you to our Etsy store.

Here's the last two new items - Bald Eagle quilt and After the Storm.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Would ya like to take a survey?

"Do you like beans? Do you like George Went? To you like beans with George Went?"

Sorry for the Animaniacs reference, but it always comes to mind.
Pricing is always a huge issue for sellers of hand crafts items. If you have a moment, I would like to direct your attention to a survey by another Etsy seller about pricing. You have have the time, and have not done so previously, please fill it out.

Since we are on the topic, I'm going to show you several items from my store, with a short description and current price. Please leave a comment, telling me if you think the prices are too high, too low, or just right. If they are too high or low, please tell me why. Prices do NOT include shipping.

Lap/wall quilts, ranging from 30' - 40" square.
Wolf in Grey pictured.
Current price: $50.00

Original one-of-a-kind paintings, acrylics on stretched canvas. No prints authorized.

Moonrise pictured.
Current price: $70.00 plus shipping

Photography pritns with digital manipulation.

Sepia Series; Memories of the Past Altered to add a slight blur and fog to represent memories. 4" x 6"

Current price: $4.00 each, or $17.50 for the set

Wheelchar/lap afghans

A special design for wheelchair/chair comfort

Manual machine knit w/ hand crochet border

Acrylic blend yarn.

Feeling Blue shown

Current price: $12.00

Thank you in advance to everyone who takes the time to leave a comment. It truely is appreciated!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The making of a quilt - picking colors

I wrote before about how to pick colors for a quilt. I just did a new one yesterday, and I wanted to show you a bit better what I was trying to explain previously.

So, several years ago, I found this material. It was designed as a pillow, with one image on the front, and a different image on the back. The store had three different ones - a wold, an eagle and a tiger. You've seen the wolf - the Wolf in Grey quilt features one of those panels. I'll show you the tiger today.

This is a close up of the center of the panel.

I pulled material that I had, which incorporated the white, orange, brown and greens.

I laid the materials on the floor in several different ways, until I found the best layout - in this case, a simplified version of the log cabin.

Once I found the best way, I sewed them together. This was the result.

Now he needed sashing. I went through several different materials before I decided on these. To get a good look, I just folded the materals and layered them to see how they would work together.
The brown strip at the bottom was a piece of the bias tape that I was considering.

Once decided, I cut, sewed and such, until the quilt was complete.
Here's the final result!
More pictures of the final product available at our Etsy store.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Rice + herbs = ???

I spoke previously about rice pillows. In case you missed it, a rice pillow (or flax seed, or cherry pits) is used for pain. For muscle pain, you heat the pillow in the microwave. A standard 3 minute heating will keep the pillow warm for at least an hour. For nerve pain, the pillow goes into the freezer for 2-3 hours, then will stay cool for at least an hour. Besides pain, you can use the pillows cold to cool you down in hot weather. Used warm, they are helpful to heat up hands and feet where they are cold due to circulation issues.

But rice pillows often have herbs added. Different herbs assist with different things in different ways. Some herbs are used just for their scent - referred to as aromatherapy. Other herbs it's both the scent and what happens when taken internally, via teas or pills, or on the skin, as a salve or tincture. While rice pillows obviously are for external use only, when the herbs are headed, some of it is absorbed by the skin.

Here's a few of the herbs I commonly use in rice pillows, and why I use them.

Lavender - aromatherapy; relaxing
Citrus blend - aromatherapy; relaxing, refreshing
Chamomile - relaxing scent, calms muscles
Mint - refreshing scent, sooths sore muscles (mint blends are often used in sport balms)
Milk thistle - green scent, calms muscles, assists in milk production in nursing mothers

(For our current selection of rice pillows, come see our shop:

Friday, July 18, 2008

Etsy - more than just an online store!

While Etsy is a great place to buy wonderful handmade items, for many of the sellers, it's more than that.

I have previously posted about some people on Etsy that have been helpful, sweet, or just plain fun. But last night really brough home how strong friendships can be made, even when your only contact is the internet.

There is a group of us that just chat - some promotions, but more like friends talking than anything else. It's an unofficial support group.

Last night, the husband of one of the ladies that is involved posted, to explain that his wife was called out of town for a family emergency. This told me that the wife considers us friends - she knew we would worry if we did not hear from her, and went out of her way, in the middle of an emergency situation, to have her husband let us know what was going on so we would not worry.

Well, we are worried about the situation, but not about where she is.

Friendships can be found in the most unlikely of places, and I am very thankful that I wandered into that particular thread, and got to know this group of people.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A couple more stores

Just a couple more stores to add to the list for the week. - cute dolls and doll-themed items - Loads of wonderful sewn items, big and small - (OK. Only 9 listed items, but some of them have several different colors in stock, so I will let it slide) Vibrant colored knit and crochet items

That's it for this week. Please check out these 8 shops! Remember, the winter holidays will be here before you know it. Start shopping now for better selection, and easier on the pocketbook!

Undiscovered stores

A few Undiscovered Etsy stores. Undiscovered means wonderful stores with no sales as of yet.

To qualify for my personal list, stores must have no sales, more than 10 items for sale, have all their information filled out, include pics with the items, and catch my eye for being different, interesting, pretty, funny... you get the picture. - interesting use of prints - wonderful ribbon work - too cute baby and toddler dresses - unique use of found items - lovely primative artwork

Check out these and other Undiscovered stores. Maybe you will give them their first sale!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Playing around - Finished

Just a quick note to show the finished baby afghan. Roughly 30" square.

Look for it, and other items, at our Etsy store.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Playing around

As I previously have stated, I'm working on a new knotwork afghan design.

But I HATE doing samples. It just feels like a waste of time. Yet I need to see what different designs look like.

My solution? Do the different single designs on a baby afghan. Then I can see how they look in yarn, yet it's still a small enough project that won't take too much time. Plus I can sell it, and soemone else can enjoy the single design items.

So, here's some pics of my current design segment. It's a wiggly knotwork deesign. it shows up a LOT better in person than in pics.

This baby afghan will be 30" when completed. These pics were taken when it was roughly 13" in length.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Out with the flu

I really hate being sick in the summer, but I guess that is what I get for pushing myself too hard lately.

I am down with the flu. It's day 3, and I am at the stage where I just hurt and am miserable, but no longer sleeping a lot or other things too disgusting to mention.

(Side note: THANK YOU Teaman!!! Your peppermint tea has been a life saver!!)

Hopefully, the rest of this crud will pass by tomorrow morning and I can get back to work.

In the mean time, I will share my latest painting - Falls. It is loosely based on Horsetail Falls in Oregon.

Friday, July 11, 2008

A wonderful artist...

I try to make it a habit to acknowledge people who go out of their way to help others, as you can see by previous blog posts.

One person recently went out of their way to assist me, when they really had no reason to. He's a very nice guy, and a wonderful artist, so I wanted to share some of his works.

Moonlit Evening
An 8" x 10" original acrylic on stretched canvas

Legal Research 5

A 2' x 4' original acrylic ons tretched canvas

Waning Surf
a 12" x 24" original acrylic on stretched canvas
Visit his store at and his website at

Thursday, July 10, 2008


I remember watching Jeff Foxworthy one day, and he was joking about how people ask him where he gets his funny stories. He replied that sometimes it's from his experiences, and other times, they are based on things he was told.

Inspiration can be found in so many different places.

My landscape paintings are a good example. Very seldom are the based on a real place - Loch Level Castle being an exception.

Paintings like Reflections are kinda based on a real place - while I have a real thing in mind, I am not trying to recreate it like a photo, but more of the feel of the place. Sometimes, it's just the colors of a place, such as in Oregon Sunset. (To see Reflections, go to

Most of the time, it's a subconscious combination of several places - a lake from one place, a mountain from another, the sky from a third - just pulled together.

While paintings are the most obvious form of this, all my arts and crafts are done that way. I attempt to capture the feel and emotional response of *something* else - another time, another place, another person.

How about you?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


So, I have these embroidered rose quilt squares. I have completed a few of them, but not sure if I will be able to complete any more because my hands just won't hold the tiny needles.

Besides ironing them, lol, I'm not sure what to do with them.

I am thinking of using them as the center piece of a small quilt - similar in style to Wolf in Grey.

The other possibility is to make throw pillows out of them, with the front being these, and the back in a matching print.

If you have any other ideas, please leave a comment! I spend a lot of time on these, and do not want them to go to waste.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Etsy Treasury

Etsy has a unique and fun promotional area called Treasury. Basically, it's a place where individuals can share their favorite items, generally with some sort of theme.

For those on Etsy, when the Treasury opens (meaning people can make new ones), it's a race to see who can get one before they are all taken. There is a maximum number of Treasuries at any point in time.

So today I tried, and I got my first one.

I am a member of the Interior Design Team. I went through and looked at hundred of different items in that team, and found the ones that I felt had the most intricate details.

Take a look at my Treasury, and leave a comment.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Soaps and bath salts

I used to make a lot of glycerine soaps and matching bath salts. While I probably still will, for my family and possibly gifts, I have decided not to sell them any more.

As such, I am selling the last three bars of soap at a very low price. To make it an even better bargin, I made matching soap socks/scrubbies for each bar of soap.

Soaps take a lot of time, and there are a great many wonderful soap makers selling on Etsy.
As for the bath salts, I make them all the time. The problem is shipping. My bath salts are HEAVY! That means a higher price for shipping, and it's just not cost productive for myself, or the buyers.
If you have purchased bath salts from me in the past, and want to continue to do so, please let me know and I'll see what I can do for you. Just understand that shipping may be higher thank you think.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Art vs Craft

There are many definitions that try to explain the difference between what is "art" and what is "crafts." Here's mine - a craft generally has a purpose other than how it looks, while art has no purpose than how it looks and the emotional reponse that comes with it.

Some things can fall into both catagories, while others will fall just into one. A beautiful detailed quilt could be either, while a simple blanket would be a craft.

Just my opinion. Not meant to be taken any other way.

I brought this up because I was thinking about how art can effect different people in different ways.

Abstract Art is a good example of this. Teen Emotions, pictured to the left, was meant to represent the constantly changing emotions of a teenage male. Mostly dark, but with sudden, unexpected moments of light. Most people see this. Yet, others state that it's, " angry painting. It makes me feel angry looking at it. I could not sleep with that in the room..."

In Abstract Art, difference in opinion is the norm, and that is how it should be.

That said, it is interesting when art of a recognizable item is taken differently.

As my readers know, I have been playing with sketching flowers, with a wash background, and painting the sketch.

To the right is Pansies - a 9" x 12" acylics on board canvas. Four simple bearded pansies on a blue wash background. Many people love it.

Yet the first thing my husband said when he was it, was, "...they look like mean, little bearded men...evil little dwarves..."

After his comment, I can see that, but I never would have thought that before.

What do YOU think? Flowers or evil bearded men?

Have you ever seen something completely different in a painting than what everyone else saw?

Leave a comment and let me know!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

Independence Day honors the birthday of the United States of America and the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. It's a day of picnics and patriotic parades, a night of concerts and fireworks, and a reason to fly the American flag.

Just about every US Citizen (and many others throughout thr world!) know this. But how many can say they have actually READ the Declaration?

Before you head out to your parades, BBQ's and fireworks, please take a moment and read the document that set the United States on it's course.

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

WIP Finished

In continuation from earlier... Here's the final results.

Pale Yellow Wash - Rose Bud

Golden Yellow Wash -- Rose in Bloom

This has been a fun experiment. I like the results. please comment and let me know what YOU think!
(This set of paintings are availabel at our Etsy store. http"//

Work in Process

When I paint, it generally goes something like this.

* What mood am I in?
* What colors reflect that moon?
* After answering those two questions, I apply those colors to the canvas in a watercolor-style wash.
* As the background paint dries, I generally see images/ideas appear, and I paint those.

Sometimes I set out with a specific idea in mind, say a sunset at the beach. Even though I know the basic idea ahead of time, the exact placement, layout and so forth are not decided until after the wash has dried.

I'm trying something different today. I'm attempting to combine my eye for color with my new drawing skills.

Using board canvas (which is less expensive than stretched canvas) I've done two coordinating washes in yellow tones. One is a pale yellow, the other is a golden yellow.

After the washed dried, a began to sketch with pencil the outlines.

On the pale yellow wash, I did an outline sketch of a rosebud. Since the detail will be added with the paints, I only wanted just to note where the petals and stems were in relation to one another.

On the golden yellow wash, I sketched the brief outline of a rose in full bloom. Again, just the basics, as the paints will show detail.

Now it's time to paint.

Check back in a few hours for the final results!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Gift giving

Some people are hard to buy for. My mother is one of those. She has enough money that if she sees something she wants, she buys it. The second part of the problem is, she does not like anything that she does not already own. Clothing is especially tough, as she can never find something that fits the way she wants.

Yesterday was her 69th birthday. The one thing that she loves in jewelry - especially earrigns. However, her ears are not pierced, so it is difficult to finds earrings that she both likes and are clips.

So, I was working with JsJewelry ( and Celticknot ( ) to change earrings from pierced to clip. Both of them told me it was not an issue.

While this was going on, we had an event where we were all in uniform. Mom, Dad and I are all officers for The American Legion, and Mom commented that she did not have any earrings that matched the red, white and blue colors. She needed Patriotic Earrings!

I went back to JsJewelry and Celticknot, and explained what had occurred. Together we made some changes to the base earrings I had chosen, so that the colors fit what she wanted. They had no problems making the changes, and got them shipped right out at a great price. Not even an extra charge for the changes, or the short time frame we were working on.

Last night we had meetings, so we celebrated her birthday at the Legion Post. My mother LOVED both pairs of earrings, and spent the evening showing them off to everyone. The only thing she did not like was the fact that her outfit was brown, and the earrings clashed with it, so she could not wear them immediately. Which was OK, as she then could not decide which pair to wear first anyways.

This is why I promote Etsy, why I sell on Etsy, and why I will give a shout out to certain Etsy sellers. JsJewelry and Celticknot are both wonderful people who went out of their way to help me find the perfect gift to give my picky mother.

Thank you so very much ladies. Consider yourselves hugged from my mother and myself.

For all of you readers who either like jewelry or know someone who does, check out their shops!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Things you can find on Etsy

It was recently pointed out to me that not everyone who reads my blog knows exactly what Etsy is. So, I thought I'd take a moment to clarify.

Etsy is a place where people who make handcrafted items can sell their creations. There are also people who sell supplies, and some who sell vintage items. It is NOT an auction site, like eBay is. Prices are set by the seller, though many are willing to make deals, offer discounts, make trades and what have you. Some sellers just offer what you see on their shop page; other seller offer custom work.

But what can you find on Etsy? Just about everything that can be made by hand. If it can be painted, drawn, scupled, wired, nailed, beaded, knit, crochet, sewn, glued, pounded, grown or mixed, you'll find it there. (And I'm sure I left a few things out!)

Within all that, you can find items in every color, style, medium and size you can think of!

If, on the off chance that you cannot find what you are looking for, there is a section called Alchemy where you can request sellers to bid on what you want made.

So, the next time you want to buy something -- especially if you are looking for a one of a kind gift -- check out Etsy. You'll be amazed at what you discover!
(Trust is from our Sepia Series - Memories of the Past. The Sepia Series brings back memories of simpler times, where happiness and contentment were found in the smallest of items. Intentionally foggy and slightly blurry - just like our memories are. There are five prints in this series: Hidden, Trust, Candlelight Rose, Snow Day, and Distance. For more information, visit our Etsy store at )