December 18, 2009

Make Believe

Have I told you yet about the Brown Paper Package Exchange? Chances are, I haven't mentioned it. I've been so busy trying to boost my Etsy shop, that my creativity was null when it came to the gift for my recipient. Not good. I wanted to give her an Herbal Eye Pillow, but create a design just for her - this is what I started out with:

It was so 'blah' - and not very attractive.

Last night, I was looking at my latest little something I made for myself:

I find this little banner really inspiring, and I have to admit I'm proud of how great it looks. I wish the photos didn't include the kitschy furnishings and decor of my furnished rental - but for now, I'm too excited not to share. It reminds me daily to create, believe in myself, and believe in the possibilities.

As I was saying - as I gazed upon my "Make Believe Banner", it hit me! I had the perfect fix for the blase eye pillow I had made:

Think she'll like it?

December 17, 2009

New Herbal Blends

I've got some exciting news for fans of my Herbal Eye Pillows: I now offer three more complex and sophisticated herbal blends! As with all of my other Herbal Blends - these are also composed of Certified Organic herbs and flowers:

  • Halcyon Days: Need some tranquility? Joyful and calming blend of Egyptian Chamomile, Cornflower, Honeysuckle, Lavender, Lemon Thyme, and Spearmint.
  • Cottage Garden: If you're trapped in an urban jungle, escape with this refreshing blend of: Red Rose Petals, Lavender, Cornflower, Lemon Thyme, Honeysuckle, Ginger, Jasmine, and Spearmint.
  • Silk Road: This exotic blend will revitalize your body and mind. Red Rose Petals, Honeysuckle, Ginger, and Cinnamon.
I've also decided to give my customers more freedom in choosing their favorite blends. I've always enjoyed custom orders - but I thought better to save you, my client, the hassle of contacting me for one. So as of tomorrow - my Herbal Eye Pillows will be listed solely as the design - the Herbal Blend will be your choice, and can easily be specified in the "Message to Seller" upon purchase.

Also, I'll be releasing new handmade products this weekend, and more in the month of January. Can't wait to see you in the shop!

December 15, 2009

Going Home To Roost

If you don't know this blog yet, you really should. Going Home To Roost is an wonderfully written blog, resplendent with fun tutorials, shop features, and great gift guides. I recently contacted the mastermind behind GH2R, Bonnie, about my shop - and specifically, my organic home products.

She's done a wonderful write-up about my shop - which you can see here. I'd like to extend a special offer to anyone who is making a purchase: 10% off your entire purchase (on top of the 15% off Vintage Holiday section). Just write: "goinghome2roost" in the Message to Seller section upon purchase. Your discount will be refunded via PayPal.

December 13, 2009

New Year's Resolutions & Planning

It's that time of year again, to begin thinking about improvements: self-improvements, home improvements, etcetera. I always find myself thinking about all the leaves I'd like to turn right around Thanksgiving - it seems to be an appropriate marker of shifts in attitudes. It's the one day of the year where being grateful is inescapable and contagious. I've got so much to be grateful for, proud of, and to work on.

Some of my resolutions are the same every year, and every year get put-off until the following Thanksgiving:
  • Get Fit: Regular exercise, take up running, take up yoga, take daily vitamins daily, eat healthier.
  • Be Nice: Make more friends, be kinder to strangers, manage stress and anger better, volunteer for a worthy cause
  • Learn More: Take up a class, master a new skill, share and receive wisdom from others.
In 2009, I have certainly accomplished a lot of my regular Resolutions - but let's face it - these are the kind of improvements that are a work-in-progress, an ongoing effort. They will all make my list for 2010, because while I've made more friends, been kinder to strangers, eaten healthier, and shared and received wisdom - I need a reminder to continue in that vein.

Now that I'm a business owner - I've got a whole new set of Resolutions for 2010. I've stumbled upon some really helpful sources to make these Resolutions easier to achieve - and would love to share:
I'm sure there are plenty of improvements I'm not considering, that need to happen. Fortunately, I've got the rest of the year to think about them. Got any ideas about how I can improve my business - I'd love your feedback!

December 11, 2009

Results: Toys for Tots Drive

Last night was the deadline for the Toys for Tots Drive in my Etsy shop. As in all first efforts, I expected that this would be a smashing success, with over $100 to buy toys with - and everything in the Vintage Holiday section of my shop sold. While it's great that I'm an optimist - next year, I'm going the way of the realist: better planning, more visibility to the cause, and even creating the toys to donate. Although my planning was minimal, and time management was again my enemy - we still managed to sell a couple of Vintage Holiday pieces. We never got past the $24 mark; so I had to switch my expectations of making ten kids happy to a smaller number.

This morning, Marley and I headed over to Target to find some toys. It's been a very long time since I've stepped into a traditional toy aisle - and I have to say: If you want to feel like an old fart - just step into a modern-day toy section at your local Target, Toys R'Us, etcetera. It was damn near impossible to find a toy that wasn't plastered with licensed characters, flashing lights, making obnoxious repetitious sounds in the name of education. I really wished I could have bought only Haba, Plan, or Melissa & Doug toys - but quality, heirloom toys are not to be found at your local super-store. I found myself deterred and annoyed, and wondered what "play" really means anymore. That's a rant for another day. So staying positive here - I found a few great toys that will never go the way of the do-do:

Play-doh! And lots of it.

Crayons, and coloring books with a new twist.

Chutes and Ladders.

And "Don't Break the Ice".

Because my expectations had been so high, I was almost disappointed in myself for the whole thing. And then I got to the drop-off box, and I remembered what's really important: Just putting something in that box. Thank you to everyone for helping me to do this - and for making the days of a few kids. I think we did good.

December 8, 2009

Recycled Crayon Tutorial

Everyday, I make sure to have 'Arts & Crafts' with my daughter, Marley. She definitely enjoys when we scribble together with crayons or dabble in paint. Funny thing is, it seems her favorite part is eating the art supplies. When she's not nibbling on the crayons or chewing on the paint brush - she's throwing her crayons on the floor, breaking them into pieces - of course while saying "uh oh". Since her crayon set was trashed, I decided to gather up all the pieces and make big marble crayons which will be easier for her to color with anyway.

Collection of Marley's broken crayons (note the nibble marks).

It took a little bit longer for me than the instructions to be found online suggested, but the results were worth it. This simple craft took me back to the many crayon-days of my childhood: 'stained glass' with crayon shavings, the pleasure and satisfaction of the names of colors - like 'cornflower blue' (this was really confusing for my six-year old brain), endless hours of coloring books. I could continue to wax nostalgic, but instead - I've made a tutorial for you:

First, you'll need to remove all of the paper. This is the most tedious part of the task, it seems Crayola has decided to glue their paper to the crayons these days...

The next step is to sort your crayons. I wanted marbled crayons, but not too crazy-colored, so I created six groups based on colors: reds, oranges, greens, blues, purples, and browns.

I highly recommend a mezzaluna for this craft - it lets you just rock the blade back and forth over the crayons, and keeps the bits from flying everywhere.

Once you've chopped each color group of crayons, pour into baking cups.

Baking cups placed in muffin tin, oven set to bake at 200F. Keep an eye on the crayons while they melt. And while you're waiting (other instructions promised a ten minute wait - these took nearly thirty minutes).....

Munch on one of these yumyumyummy all natural ice cream sandwiches from RubyJewel. Obviously, this isn't a necessary step for your crayons to come out great - but it does make the time pass more pleasantly.

Once you remove from the oven, simply allow to cool until hardened. I LOVE the green one...not sure why the others look so completely un-marbled. Ah well.

Not bad, eh! Of course, now Marley's sure to eat her crayons - they look like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups!

They work good as new - only better!

December 7, 2009


Found this amazing book while thrifting today. I feel so lucky...

December 6, 2009


It must be the cold weather that prompted this search for sea-faring fun. Searching Handmade and Vintage alike for: sea, ocean, nautical, and's amazing what you will find.

Since it's too hard to read the details, here are links to the items:

Get to Work was the first day back in my make-shift studio since...I can't remember. That's how long. Likely two weeks - clearly two weeks too long. It was such a great feeling to be at the machine again, arranging the applique, pouring the herbs. Since being featured in TrueNorthParenting Magazine, I've been averaging a couple sales a day! This is clearly the way to go. Not to mention the Storque article I was 'related' to. Always seemed that being featured on the front page was the best - NOT SO. With a Storque feature, it's permanent and archived. Yippee!

It couldn't have been a better day to stay inside - it's been snowing all day. That's right, I'm living in a Winter Wonderland. I'd show you pictures, but honestly - falling snow must be experienced - it translates poorly in photos. So, I thought instead, I'd show you photos of me in my transitory winter studio - aka the dining room:

The studio needs a LOT of work - so no actual "space" photos here, just faces to the names today.

December 3, 2009

Vintage I'm Already Nostalgic For...

I absolutely love love love thrift shops, salvage yards, and of course - antique stores. It delights
me that part of my "job" includes being able to go to said places and justify my shopping habit simply by selling on Etsy. However, there's always a small moment of...dare I say it, reluctance - that occurs when I have to part with one of these treasures. This morning I woke to see another goodie sold, and while I'm of course happy that someone will truly enjoy this small wonder, the reluctance to part with her has crept in again. I'm reminded of being a young child, shopping for birthday party gifts for friends...and not wanting to wrap them.

So I have, over time, tried to make a celebratory process of packaging. If it's a figurine you're getting, you receive a teensy thank you note for bringing it home (from the figurine, of course). Accessories, home decor, etcetera are also treated with an air of honor, sans note. This helps me resolve the "reluctance" and create real joy, imagining the buyer opening the package with delight - dancing around the house, clutching their glass bowl, figurine, or pillow close to their heart.

Today, after parting with the Glass Songbird, I decided to pay a little homage to a few of my favorite vintage sales:

December 1, 2009

EVA in the Press and other news!

It was a good, long trip to the Bay Area to visit with family and friends over the Thanksgiving Holiday. While I was away, several really great things happened to me, which made me contemplate going away more often. Well, not really, but it's uncanny how many good things happened which I have to be thankful for: a couple of sales, (including one towards our Toys for Tots campaign), our campaign was discovered by Hotels Combined - a fabulous non-profit based out of Australia which will contribute to the non-profit of your choice simply for mentioning the program! This blurb gains us $20 towards Toys for Tots!

Also, while out of town - Elan Vital Anthology was featured in a blog, a crafting business guide, as well as being included in True North Parenting's Holiday Gift Guide! You can find an interview with me at Free Craft Fair, or learn about our giveaway winner's experience winning the herbal eye pillow at her blog: Mom of Boys with Toys.

Update: The Toys for Tots Campaign has now reached: $23.80 towards toys to be purchased and donated December 12th, $35 from Hotels Combined for Toys for Tots in our Campaign name!