Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Just Being Neighborly

It’s Shameless Commerce Tuesday, and today I’m sharing a sneak peek at two new oven mitts that will be part of a custom wholesale order for the Neighborly shop – a boutique in Chicago that features home goods, gifts, and art for the modern Midwesterner.  The shop, located at 2003 W. Montrose Ave., caters to “the urban Midwest” lifestyle.

The fabrics are from the Glimma collection designed by Lotta Jansdotter.  They were chosen by the shop owners for their Fall gift line, and you won’t see these mitts in my Etsy shop.  They are a Neighborly shop exclusive.   I’ll also be sending some baby bibs.

Speaking of bibs ... I received a reorder this week from a new boutique in Toronto, Canada.  The original 14 bibs I sent prior to their opening are almost gone.

Wholesale and custom orders continue to be a growing segment of my business – and I’m grateful for that!


Monday, July 29, 2013

My Fantasy Vacation - Scandinavia

One of my favorite Etsy teams, the Blogging Business Artisans (BBA), has a monthly team challenge.  This month, Sarah of magnoliasurprise challenged team members to create something around the theme, Vacation Time!  

This is what Sarah had to say about the theme: "We are into vacation season in July -- create something that brings back a favorite vacation memory, something that represents a place you've visited or one you'd like to visit, colors or scents associated with a special place, or perhaps something funny that happened on a vacation. Make it fun!!"

I have not taken many vacations, but as some of you know, visiting Scandinavia is on my Bucket List.  Two of my great-grandfathers came to American from Denmark.  My paternal great-grandpa Larsen came from the island of Mon and my maternal great-grandpa Quist came from Copenhagen.   And thanks to my cousin Lise, we’ve been able to maintain contact with my paternal Danish relatives across the pond.  So in responding to this month's BBA Challenge, I chose to take a fantasy vacation to Denmark.

My project incorporates blue and white fabrics designed by one of my favorite Scandinavian designers, 

The lining fabric, also by Lotta Jansdotter, says “Danish Modern” to me. 

The blue reminds me of the ocean, a blue sky, and the blue of Royal Copenhagen plates, which my Great Aunt Dot ( Augusta Larsen, the hat maker) collected on her biennial trips to Denmark.

Great Aunt Dot - Augusta Larsen

I made this small box wallet using the Box Wallet & Pyramid Pouch pattern by KeykaLou Patterns. Michelle Webster (KeykaLou) now does business as Michelle Patterns.  If you're looking for bag patterns--from tiny pocket wallets to padded camera bags and full-sized grocery totes, Michelle has an easy-to-follow downloadable pattern for you.

This little wallet is called a “box wallet” because of the boxed corners at the bottom of the bag:

I used lightweight fusible interfacing on the outer fabric, and a layer of cotton batting as “invisible lining” to give the little bag some extra stability.  I think if I make another wallet using this pattern, I will use cotton flannel instead of the batting.  It's a bit bulky.   I love the small a magnetic snap closure. 

To see how other BBA team members have responded to the challenge, check out the Blogging Business Artisans team blog.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Treasury Thanks

I wish to offer a huge THANK YOU  to the curators who featured items from my Etsy shops, Pasque Flower Creations and Aunt Pheba's Vintage, in treasuries over the past week.

Siambyrim featured my poppies on teal oven mitts in her treasury, Items I Love 6.  Siambyrim makes amazing accessories, like this simply gorgeous fascinator hair comb.

Deb Baroff of Storybeader featured items from both my Etsy shops in her Blogging Business Artisans Team Treasury, What's New?   Both my red and green chevron oven mitts and a vintage classic quilting book were included in the treasury.  One double feature deserves another!   This beautiful handmade journal with a sea of yellow flowers is SO pretty and feminine:

And these hand-wrapped pumpkin beads would be perfect for a Fall project:

Edi Royer of memoriesforlifesb, another BBA teammate, featured my pink jungle animals baby bib in her cute, cute, cute treasury, Animal Magnetism.   Edi makes amazing things with her laser, like this jungle baby shower guest book:

Please browse the shops of these talented artisans.  Then get out and enjoy what's left of Summer!


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Saturday Slim Down Report

It’s Slim Down Saturday.  And the number on the scale this week was 3.0 pounds lower than last week!  So my total weight loss to date is 10.2 pounds.  Today is Day 19, and I still have 71 more days to go on the Nature's Sunshine 90-Day Summer Slim Down Challenge.  It could be a long, hard slog.

I’ve been walking almost every day, and substituting protein shakes for at least one meal a day.  I have been eating mostly veggies, fruit, a few nuts, oatmeal once a week, and Greek yogurt.  This week, inspired by Joe Cross’s 2010 award-winning documentary, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, and with the encouragement of my cousin aka “Coach” Jeannie, I’m going to transition to a juice fast, at least for a few days.

I splurged on a new juicer.  It has replaced the seldom-used bread machine on my kitchen counter.  I also got a book filled with tasty looking juice, smoothie and tea recipes, The Juicing BIble (2nd Edition) by Pat Crocker.

Hmmm. I wonder if Pat Crocker is related to Betty?  Only kidding.  As the former South Dakota Betty Crocker Homemaker of Tomorrow for 1971, I know that Betty Crocker is a fictionalized person, invented by one of the grain milling companies that eventually merged into General Mills.  If they were related, they probably would be feuding, since Betty is the icon for refined and over-processed convenience foods.

I’m hoping my hubby will also drink at least one healthy juice drink per day.  He’s found some recipes that looked pretty tasty.  That’s encouraging!  He’s usually not too keen on fruits and veggies. 

Happy weekend!


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?

About a month ago, my blogging buddy, Edi Royer, of Memories for Life SB, asked for volunteers to use some of her newly-designed wooden buttons in exchange for a photo swap.

I know that Edi can do AMAZING things with a laser -- like beautiful etchings on glassware, and intricate designs on wooden jewelry.  These feather earrings were a gift for my daughter.  She loved them!

And these engraved wooden buttons are just another example of laser-crafted wonderfulness from Edi's shop:

So I was more than happy to volunteer to make something using some of Edi's new button designs.  I chose the large wooden leaf buttons:

I used the buttons as an accent for a Fall table runner, made using Heartstrings fabric by Terri Degenkolb of Whimsicals for Red Rooster Designs (the tan print that resembles marble), and Hallowgraphix fabric by Jason Yenter for In The Beginning Fabrics(the leaves on a black background).    I actually made three of these runners for upcoming Fall craft fairs--only two have the cool leaf buttons.

The table runner is reversible.  It is approximately 42 inches long and 14.5 inches wide.

Although this appears to be an understated neutrals on black accent item, if you look closer, there's a touch of whimsy:

See those beady little eyes peeking through the leaves?

Thanks to Edi for the opportunity to play with her wonderful laser leaf buttons!


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

FREE Meylah Webinar: How To Have An Organized Holiday Season

It's Shameless Commerce Tuesday, but instead of promoting an item from one of my Etsy shops, today I'm promoting a FREE webinar sponsored by Meylah:  How to Have An Organized Holiday Season.

The webinar will be broadcast tomorrow, July 24, 2013, at 6:00 pm PDT (that's 8:00 pm CDT) via Meeting Burner.  Sarah Ward, Product Stylist at Zulily and Stylist Assistant at Amazon, and Nakeesa Frazier, owner of Fusion Art Management, are the presenters.  The program is specifically geared to online sellers.

Having just survived Christmas in July on Etsy, I know that I will need some help in getting organized for the REAL holiday season to come!   And Christmas will be here before we know it.  Just check the Christmas Countdown widget at the bottom of my blog for a daily reminder!


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Treasury Thanks

It's been a busy week!  I want to take this opportunity to extend a huge THANK YOU to the curators who featured items from my shops, Pasque Flower Creations and Aunt Pheba's Vintage, in treasuries over the past week.  Many of the treasuries helped promote Christmas in July on Etsy, which officially ends today. There's still time to cash in on the savings at participating shops.

Judy Abelaziz of NewDayPottery featured my orange chevron oven mitt in her cheery treasury, CIJ - Orange It Great.   Judy's shop has incredible handmade pottery.  I just love this lavender vase.

Sheryl Hastings of ShersPatternShop featured my red floral oven mitt in her treasury, Christmas in July. Sher's shop includes the cutest downloadable PDF patterns and applique templates!  I know those of you with fur babies will love this Christmas stocking pattern for pets:

Lori Giometti of VistaChick featured my green chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Sweet 16.  As we await the arrival of Prince William and Kate's baby, these Royal Family of England history brochures from Lori's vintage shop would be a fun read:

Marijana of UrsulaChainmaille featured my navy chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Christmas in July Navy. For those of you doing some early Christmas shopping, this beautiful chainmaille bracelet would be a lovely gift for someone special.

Bonnie Sernesky of BonniesSewCrazy featured my brown textured pillow cover in her preview to Fall treasury, Earth Tones.   Bonnie is a fellow sewist with a shop full of fun and functional fabric items. This canvas tote bag with tropical flowers would be great for a trip to the farmer's market or the beach -- and it can help you transition from Summer into Fall in style.

Alexis Trout of Glass House Arts featured my poppies on teal oven mitts in her treasury, Christmas Treasures in July.  Alexis has a shop full of beautiful lampwork beads, like this gorgeous glass charm bead.

Sarah Oglesby of MaddysFabricStash also featured my poppies on teal oven mitts in her treasury, Christmas in July Fun.  This adorable Christmas fabric from In the Beginning Fabrics would help anyone get into the Christmas spirit -- even in July!

Bill and Ruth of MindTheWrap also featured my poppies on teal oven mitts in their treasury, Hot and Cold, Christmas in July.  If you are shopping for fun packaging and shipping supplies, MindTheWrap has a wonderful array of packaging supplies, like this colorful assortment of baker's twine.

Kathleen Lee from ComfyCreations also featured my poppies on teal oven mitts (they got a lot of Etsy love this week!) in her treasury, Cuties.  If gearing up for the Christmas rush gives you a stress headache, never fear!  This pretty headache relief pillow will surround you in comfort.  Relax!

And that's it for this week!  I hope you enjoyed browsing through these wonderful shops with me.


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Saturday Slim-Down: Day 20

It's Slim-Down Saturday.  Time to report my progress on the NSP Slim-Down Challenge.  I've lost another 2.4 pounds since last Saturday for a total loss to date of 7.2 pounds.  At least I'm trending in the right direction.

The low point this week:  I missed two daily walks.

The high point this week:  I watched an inspiring 2010 documentary film, recommended my my cousin and coach, Jeannie, called Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.

The film chronicles the true story of a 100-pound overweight Australian man, Joe Cross, who followed an all-juice diet as he traveled across the United States for 60 days.  Joe was under the medical supervision of Joel Fuhrman, M.D., of the Nutrition Research Foundation. Joe eventually resumed eating some "real" foods. mostly vegetables.   He lost all of his extra 100 pounds and was able to go off all his prescription medications.

After his trek across America, Joe received a plea for help from  Phil, a truck driver from Sheldon, IA whom he'd met while in the US. Joe returns to coach Phil through the first days of his juice fast.  The portion of the film about Phil the trucker was filmed in and around Sioux Falls, South Dakota, my home stomping grounds.

So, inspired by that film, last night I went scouting online for juicers. I haven't bought one yet, but it is on my wish list.

Phil measured his weight loss in "bowling balls" (which weigh approximately 15 pounds each).  On Phil's scale, I've lost almost half a bowling ball.  It's a start.  And I'm trending in the right direction.

Have a great weekend!


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Lights, Camera, Action!

Today is Shameless Commerce Tuesday, and I am excited to report that my bright leaves oven mitts will be used as a prop in a commercial that is being filmed by NOLA Films in New York City next week.

How they stumbled upon my mitts, why they picked this particular design, and what the commercial is promoting, I do not know.  But it was a RUSH project!

That's all the excitement for now.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Treasury Thanks

It's Christmas in July on Etsy, July 11-21, 2013.  And many of this week's treasuries picked up on that theme.  I consider it a gift each and every week to be a part of a community that supports other artisans in a spirit of cooperation rather than cut-throat competition.  Such a refreshing change from the corporate model.
This week, I want to extend a big THANK YOU to the Etsians who featured items from my shops, Pasque Flower Creations and Aunt Pheba's Vintage.

Margaret of Splendid Little Stars featured my BBQ oven mitt in her treasury, Let's Go on a Picnic!  This red, white and blue hand-dyed scrunchie from Margaret's shop would keep hair under control on a hot summer day.

Lorella of Candylostile featured my green chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Green and White.   Lorella's jewelry is truly unique.  I love these hoop earrings!

 Barb or barbsheartstrokes featured my vintage hand quilting hoops in her treasury, Christmas in July - Do It Yourself!   This adorable hand painted Santa from Barb's shop fits the Christmas in July theme.

Divine Orders featured my frosted glass crystal bowl in her treasury, Prosperity.  May we all "live long and prosper" as Mr. Spock used to say on Star Trek.  This wonderful vintage butter yellow stock pot  reminds me of homemade soup -- before crock pots.

Cari-anne Maule of DigiDownload featured my black chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Black for Christmas in July.  These black and white digital bottlecaps would be perfect in any season.

Elena of elenaVjewels featured my green chevron oven mitts in her treasury, The Green Finds.  Elena is from Greece.  These elegant hoop earrings remind me of one of my favorite movies, Shirley Valentine, about a middle-aged housewife's vacation in Greece.  It wasn't a blockbuster, but it's on my Top 10 movie list.

Abigail Jayne of AbigailJayneArt featured my yellow chevron oven mitt in her sunny treasury, Sunshine Dreamin'.  This beautiful embellished plum hand sewn pendant is one of my favorite new items from Abigail JayneArt.

Windi Rosson of Winjimir featured my poppies on teal oven mitts in her treasury, Christmas in July Sale,  If you're looking for some CIJ bargains, check out this treasury!  Windi's shop has incredible landscapes and paintings of all sizes.  But since purple is my favorite color, I could not resist this gorgeous purple hydrangea painting.  

My son in New Hampshire would love the next treasury, Rudolph Was a Moose!  It was curated by Lelaine of pebblecreekcandles.  She featured my black chevron oven mitt in her cheery CIJ treasury.  These pumpkin spice scented wax melts would add a lovely holiday scent to your home or studio.

Sven of MorningWalk, a shop based in Latvia, featured my orange chevron oven mitt in the CIJ treasury, Orange Christmas in July Sale.  MorningWalk is a unique shop with items for Hare Krishna devotees -- like this hoodie:

Helen Makadia from HelenMPhotography  also featured my orange chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Un peu d'orange This Christmas (in July).  Helen's shop showcases fine art nature photography -- on sale for Christmas in July!

Trina Prenzi of Trina's Clay Creations featured my hearts on black small zip pouch in her treasury, Love Always Wins.  Trina has a HUGE selection of unique wedding cake toppers.  Here is one of my favorites:

Connie Dillon of ConnieDillonPhoto curated a beautiful treasury with an aqua and yellow color scheme, Let's Lollygag!  It was an honor to have my aqua chevron oven mitt included in her collection.  This wonderful photo entitled Yesterday's Tulips, Today's Rain moved me on so many levels.  It's truly a piece of art!

Jennifer Turner of TurnersTinyTreasures  featured my mod floral bib in her CIJ treasury, Christmas in July Gifts for Under 10.  It's amazing what $10.00 will buy during Christmas in July!  Jennifer makes 1:12 scale dollhouse miniatures.  Some day  year I hope to make some tiny quilts on that scale. I just love this adorable miniature hutch.  

And last, but certainly not least, is another Christmas in July treasury.  This one was curated by Heatherlee Chan of ladypoppins, and it is called CIJ Femininity.  Thank you to Heatherlee for including my Bavarian china in her lovely treasury!  I chose this gorgeous beach painting of a colorful sunset as a sample of some of the beautiful art work to be found at ladypoppins.

And with that, I'll fade into the sunset . . . .


Slim Down Saturday: How I Became A Human Guinea Pig

This is my first in a series of Slim Down Saturday blog posts.  

On July 9, 2013, I officially enrolled in the Nature’s Sunshine Slim Down Challenge -- a 90-day diet challenge with some tempting prizes (sort of like The Biggest Loser, but on a smaller scale, and thankfully not on TV!).    Each Saturday, I’ll be “fessing up” on my progress or lack thereof on the blog.  My new scale (pictured above) doesn’t lie. 

As of Day 5, I have lost 4.8 pounds!

I won’t disclose my starting weight or post my “Before” picture.  Let's just say it isn’t pretty, and I have a LOT of excess weight to lose.

I’ve yo-yo dieted since 1976, when I joined Weight Watchers (for the first time – I’m a recidivist) to lose some of the extra weight I’d gained after the birth of my first child.  Over the years, I’ve tried several diets with some short-term success:  Weight Watchers (4 or 5 times, I've lost count), Diet Center, Jenny Craig, South Beach.  But I always regained the weight.  For the past few years, frankly, I’d pretty much given up.

But then the realization hit me.  I have no health insurance.  I won’t be Medicare eligible for five years. 

Staying well is my only real option.

And even though I am quite healthy for a fat old lady, obesity is undeniably a health risk.  It is time to fight the battle of the bulges one last time.

My cousin Jeannie, a Certified Natural Health Consultant, has worked as a natural health consultant for Nature’s Sunshine for the past 15 years.   She and her daughter co-manage their Family Herb Shop. Jeannie is an inspiration in many ways.

My Cousin Jeannie 

How old do you think she is?  When we attended a meeting together on July 1, my tax office leader asked if she was my NIECE!!!  She is 13 months older than I am!  Yes, she is 61 years old, but I think she looks 15 to 20 years younger.   And it’s not just because of her cowgirl tan and the lack of gray hair.  It's all those herbs and her health-conscious lifestyle.

When Jeannie cared for her elderly mother, who died in her sleep on her 99th birthday, doctors were amazed that her mom had stayed so healthy and alert using natural herbs and supplements.  And when I was going crazy with hot flashes during menopause, the only thing that gave me any relief was an herbal formula called Flash Ease. I’ve since recommended it to several friends who, like me, were skeptical at first, but totally amazed at the results.

So, when I learned about the Nature’s Sunshine Slim Down Challenge, a promotion for their new line of diet supplements, I was ready to sign up.  Since Jeannie is too skinny to try the new diet products herself, she’ll use my feedback to help when advising her clients. I’m a volunteer human guinea pig.

Jeannie has also encouraged me to stick to a Blood Type A diet during the challenge---mostly fish, nuts, fruits and veggies, with occasional chicken or turkey allowed.  No red meat or wheat products, and limited dairy (yogurt and string cheese only).   Dr. Peter D'Adamo created the blood type diets, which are not generally accepted by dietitians and physicians -- or my daughter, the Harvard Magna.  So I guess I’m a guinea pig in that respect as well.

Given my previous dismal weight loss record, if I can lose weight on this plan, it's got to be good.  For more information about Nature's Sunshine products, here's my web link to Granny Be Well.   

Yours sincerely wasting away (The Beatles - When I'm Sixty-Four),