Friday, July 24, 2015

Leavin' On A Jet Plane

 I will be on vacation July 30 - August 4, 2015, 
visiting big kids and grandchildren.  

See ya later!

Grandma LeAnn

Monday, July 20, 2015

Christmas in July - Chevrons on Sale


This week only (July 20-26) all chevron oven mitts in my Etsy shop, Pasque Flower Creations, are marked down to $12.00  --regular price is $19.00.  

Hot deal!  

(Prices go back up on July 27.)  

Keep cool!


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Treasury Thanks: Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

It has been my practice to devote my Sunday blog post to saying THANK YOU to curators of Etsy treasuries who have featured items from my shops, Pasque Flower Creations and Aunt Pheba's Vintage , over the past week.

This week reminded me of old Sesame Street shows:  Today's show is brought to you by the color blue!  (There were an amazing number of blue-themed treasuries.)

Carol of ModernClassicbyCarol included my yellow chevron baby bib in her treasury, SUNDAY GREEN AND GOLD ,  One of Carol's signature items is wedding napkin rings.  These pretty gold napkin rings would feel right at home in Carol's treasury.

Edi Royer of memoriesforlifesb included my happy camper oven mitt in her treasury, Adventure Is Out Threre .  When you're out on an adventure, it is a good idea to carry a compass.  These compass cuff links are one of the many unique laser-engraved items you will find in Edi's shop.

Lana Moes of LanasArt included my prairie pioneer sunbonnet in her treasury, July Cool Vibes .  This Miami art deco print has a cool summery vibe.

Crystal Cuff of SensationalYarn included my red linen bow clutch in her treasury, It's a Beautiful Day for Shopping on Etsy (It's raining in Chicago).  If I were shopping on Etsy, I'd be eyeing these pretty peach washcloths.

CatLady30 included my whimsical chefs oven mitt in her treasury, Red White and Black .  This black cows watercolor print reminds me of the Black Angus my neighbors raised when I was growing up on a farm.

CatLady30 also included my Perfect Patchwork Primer book  - a quilt revival classic - from my vintage shop in her treasury, White Dream .  I love this Greek market watercolor from CatLady30's shop.

Manechka Cooper included my baby boy bib in light blue and brown in her treasury, July 123,  This lampwork bead bracelet is one of the lovely items you will find in her shop.

Danae of TheClassyJewelryBox included my leopard print zipper clutch in her treasury, Crazy About Animal Print .  I'm crazy about the ocean (even though it is 1000 miles away), so I chose to feature this anchor necklace from Danae's shop.

Danae also included my navy chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Chevron Stripes All Day Long.  This pink rhodonite bracelet is another one of the unique jewelry items you can find in Danae's shop.

CatLady30 featured my orange chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Tangerine Dream ,  This sunset telephone poles watercolor print makes me a bit homesick for country roads and open prairie.

Crystal Cuff of SensationalYarn included my owl plushie toy in her treasury, Accessorize!! You and Your Home!!  Crystal has several pretty crocheted baby blankets in her shop -- here's one in pink.

GMartin of Endsandoddoties included my yellow linen bow clutch in the treasury, Accessorize!  Love these retro sunglasses !

CatLady30 is back again!  This time she included my colorful birds oven mitt in her treasury, Golden Moon .  I like the vibrant golden color of these sunflowers.


CatLady30 also featured my Royal Chelsea teacup (from Aunt Pheba's Vintage) in her treasury, Earthen Sea .  This Boston Skyline watercolor reminds me of pleasant trips to visit my kids when they were in college near Boston.

ArtGlassAnazie from Poland included my azalea oven mitt in her treasury, Lilac and Pink Summer .  This white stained glass ceiling lamp would add a dramatic touch to any room.

Vickie Wade of VickieWadeFineArt included my orange chevron oven mitt in her treasury, ORANGE SUMMER .  This market chef art print  is one of my many favorites from her whimsical chefs series.

FashionforWomen included my crocus oven mitt in her treasury, 21 .  One of my coworkers is planning her February wedding.  This white satin bride handbag is SO pretty!

CatLady30 is back again!!  This time she's included my colorful abstract pillow cover in her treasury, Christmas in July! Turquoise .  This red glass ornament watercolor is one of the Christmas items in her shop.  She's offering a special gift to customers who purchase Christmas-y art this month.

Joanna'sScentedSoap included my brown and white chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Earth Tones for the Weekend  .  This elegant gift set for women includes three of her handmade soaps.

Susan McAnany of McAnany included my boy oh boy baby bib in her blue-themed treasury, At the Lake.  (If only!  I would LOVE to be at a lake this weekend!)  This Little Toot weathered rowboat photo reminds me of times at the lake.

Alexandra of AkashicVibe included my blue man pillow cover in her treasury, Treasure Hunt 31: Something Different .  That's one of the great things about Etsy -- unique, one of a kind, handmade items.  This amazonite pendant falls into that category!  You won't find that at Wal-Mart.

Laurence Collection included my pink roses on blue oven mitt in the treasury, Boho Gift .  These pretty dangle earrings have a nice boho vibe.

Crystal Cuff of SensationalYarn featured my boy oh boy baby bib in her treasury, Creative Genius Projects .  This sky blue crochet baby blanket would be another great gift for a baby boy.

Kathy Reed of DixieVintageShop included my brown and white chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Saturday Morning Hello .  This pretty porcelain china thimble would look great in any sewing room.

Kathy and Wayne of Rocks2Gems2Wire included my woodland baby bib in their treasury, A Walk in the Woods - How Tempting!  I'm hoping to take some walks in the woods with the grandkids when I visit New Hampshire July 30-August 4.  These jingle bell earrings are a reminder that Christmas will be here before I'm ready.

MJFlowerfield featured my navy blue chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Blue as Summer - Blue as a Dream.  These sea memories tatted earrings and bracelet are a pretty summery-blue.

Tish Keating of DustWitchCreations featured my colorful padded eyeglasses case in her treasury, TEMPTing Colors .  This Christmas tree candle holder is another beautiful reminder that the holidays are fast approaching.

Mike Kraus of MikeKrausArt included my uptown oven mitt in his treasury, Great Gifts .  This morning cup of coffee #97 trading card would be a great coworker gift.

Laura P. of CalliphoraBeads featured my dark blue prairie pioneer sunbonnet in her treasury, Elegance.  This blue tartan bead crocheted rope pattern shares the secrets to making this unique bead design.

Last, but not least, Rose of CraftyCreationsbyRose included my yellow chevron baby bib in her sunny yellow treasury, Good Sunday Morning to You .  This gray and yellow baby blanket is the perfect gift for a gender unknown baby shower.

Sadly, this will be my last Treasury Thanks blog post, at least through the end of 2015.  I have realized for some time that juggling an increasingly demanding full-time job, two part-time jobs (one seasonal, thank goodness), and two Etsy shops is taking a huge toll.

I love my Etsy teams. Blogging has been an integral part of the team experience, especially for the Blogging Business Artisans, a small but mighty team whose members I count as friends.

But something has to give.  I can't continue to spend such a disproportionate amount of my time promoting myself and others that I have no time to create products to sell at Fall craft fairs and during the Etsy holiday rush.

I've studied the stats. I'm getting SO few views and so little return on such a large investment of time and energy, it would be foolhardy to continue -- especially when I am SO far from meeting my production goals as the holiday season rapidly approaches.  (Check the widget at the bottom of the blog -- it's scary!)   But even though I know it is the right decision, breaking up is hard to do. 

I will continue to follow some blogs -- but not compulsively.  I may even create some treasuries -- but not compulsively.  I may even post an occasional blog post -- but not compulsively.  And you can still find me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and - of course - Etsy!

Thank you for stopping by!
Best wishes to all!


Thursday, July 16, 2015

July 2015 Book of the Month: Procrastinate on Purpose

One of my resolutions for 2015 was to read at least one good book each month and blog about it.
Last month, I read an OUTSTANDING novel, All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr.
I knew that would be a tough act to follow for any work of fiction, so I veered back to non-fiction for this month's selection.

Procrastinate on Purpose:  5 Permissions to Multiply Your Time by Rory Vaden, was just published this year.  The title immediately caught my attention, because procrastination has a very bad rep.  It may not be one of the Seven Deadly Sins -- but it's right up there at number eight or nine, I'll bet.
Why would anyone admit they procrastinate on purpose?

Here is a sampling of the Conventional Wisdom I heard as a kid:

Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.

Idle hands are the Devil's workshop.

Make hay while the sun shines.

Strike while the iron's shot.

A stitch in time saves nine.

Carpe Diem! (Seize the day!)

I'm not seeing permission to procrastinate anywhere on that list!  So--intrigued by that thought, I plunged into this readable little book by the author of the former non-fiction bestseller, Take the Stairs.

He observes that many of us are so overwhelmed with incoming data and tasks, that we suffer from what he calls "priority dilution."  (Guilty as charged!) 

Ever have one of those days when you feel like all you did was put out fires?  I call those days "spinning my wheels in overdrive."  I expend a lot of time and energy, stay busy, busy, busy, but at the end of the day feel like I've accomplished very little.

In his study of successful managers, Vaden observed that most of them are "Multipliers."  They give themselves permission to spend time on things today that will create more time in the future.
And if a task doesn't have a future payoff, it won't demand immediate attention.  So what might that look like in Real Life?

In an office setting, this may be creating a documents storage protocol that makes it easy for anyone to search for and retrieve a document.  No more spending 30 minutes looking for a lost file.  

In a creative Etsian's studio, it might mean having all supplies and tools well-organized and in good working order -- or having an efficient packaging and shipping workstation -- or a workable and reliable system of inventory control.

To illustrate Vaden's 5 Permissions, he uses the visual image of a funnel.  As new tasks come
in, assess whether you can ---






If you can't make it go away, hand it to R2D2, or sneak it into your assistant's In Box, it's going to land on 


But once it is on your desk, it doesn't necessarily demand your immediate attention.
There are two more permissions:

(If it truly is urgent, important and significant)


(If it is not urgent, important and significant)
and send it back to the top of the funnel to deal with at another time.

Like Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind, "I'll think about that tomorrow."

In theory, this is a liberating (if not completely novel) idea.  But I fear that in practice, "the fun thing" will cause me to concentrate on things that I should kick back up to the top of the funnel by procrastinating on purpose.

Case in point:  I could be cutting out fabric for 6 pending orders (3 custom, 3 "regular" Etsy items).I can't eliminate, automate (yet) or delegate that task (I tried. Hubby said "No way!").  Should I Concentrate or Procrastinate?  Doing it now will save me time later, so Vaden would say DO IT NOW!   But the FUN thing would be to see what my Facebook buddies are up to -- or look at pretty pictures on Pinterest (rationalizing to myself that social media is an important marketing tool.)  Not a convincing argument, even to Myself, because without products, I have nothing to market!  

The lure of the internet is so strong -- and, but it is, as one of my Etsy buddies termed it, a huge time suck!   I've seriously thought of imposing a Social Media Moratorium on myself  (maybe 20 minutes a day)  from September 1 through December 24, so I can have more time to create products for Fall craft fairs and (hopefully) an Etsy holiday rush.

SO--Will the "funnel" really keep me from procrastinating to avoid unpleasant tasks -- even if they save me some time in the future?  Probably not.

Perhaps it is because at my age, I'm more inclined to live for today and worry less inclined to obsess (or at least overthink) about saving time tomorrow.  

Life is short.  

SO---I'd only give this book 3 stars. Good, but definitely not great.  Interesting, but not one I'd add to my permanent library.  If  you are smitten by the title and want to run off and buy this book -- I'd advise you to procrastinate.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

BBA Challenge - July 2015 - Vacation

Each month the Blogging Business Artisans team invites members to participate in a team challenge.  This month's challenge comes from Linda Pruitt of Pruitt Supply aka Abigail Jayne of AbigailJayneArt.

     Vacation Time! Create something with a vacation theme, i.e. camper/camping, flight to                    somewhere, travel log, or write a blog post about your favorite vacation/vacation spot ever! (why would you recommend it to someone else?) Another idea: You might also want to post about your dream vacation. (Do some research.) Think travel, not staycation.

My dream vacation (it’s truly on my Bucket List) is to visit Denmark.  It would be a “roots” tour.  Since I don’t like flying over water or driving over bridges, perhaps I’ll go by ocean liner.  I’ll be retired by the time I make this trip, so what would be the rush?

Ideally, I would visit over the 4th of July.  Since 1912 thousands of Danes have celebrated Independence day at Rebild Bakker in Denmark as a small gesture of gratitude towards accepting so many Danish immigrants over the years. It remains the biggest 4th of July celebration outside US. 

My great-grandfathers were some of those Danish immigrants. Here is a picture of my paternal grandfather’s family, probably taken sometime between 1900-1910.

Larsen / Larson Studio Portrait

My grandfather, Hans William Walder Larson, known to the family as "Billy" or "WW", is the boy seated next to his father, Jens Peder Larsen.

(Yes, it is true.  Half the siblings are Larsons with an "o" and the other half are Larsens with an "e."
I've heard different family folklore about how this came to be, but the one my dad believed to be true was this:  "SON" was the American way to spell it -- and they wanted to be good Americans.

My maternal great-grandfather, Jens Peder Quist and his wife, also came from Denmark, but I know very little about my maternal grandfather's family history.  (Much more is known about my maternal grandmother's family, but that deserves another post.)

So -- each of my parents was half Dane, and that makes me half Dane!

The Larsen/Larson relatives have kept in touch with the Danish relatives “across the pond” for many decades.  My third cousin Lise’s great-great maternal grandparents were in the Royal Danish Orchestra and Royal Danish Ballet.  What a shock for her grandmother to have seen the height of culture as a child, only to move to a farm on the desolate prairies of Green Valley Township in Miner County, South Dakota, a thousand miles from the nearest ocean and her family!

My dad's Aunt Dot, the milliner, made trips to Denmark every other year.  

Great Aunt Dot Larsen's Hat Shop

Great Aunt Dot and Friend - Wild and Crazy Hats!

She collected pretty blue Royal Copenhagen China plates.

Mermaid Plate

Royal Copenhagen Christmas Collector Plate - 1953
(the year I was born)

My dad’s cousin Jay and his family made several trips to Denmark.  Here is Jay with his daughter Lise near the white cliffs of Mon.   

And my brother and sister-in-law have visited Bandhoi Farm on the Island of Mon where they have been welcomed as family by relatives who speak fluent English.  

You will find the Island of Mon on the southeasternmost corner of the map above.  The Island of Mon is famous for its white chalk cliffs, Mons Klint.

From the highest point of the cliffs, on a clear day, I am told you can see both Germany and Sweden.  Perhaps if I'm that close to Germany, I could take a little detour to meet my BBA teammate Duni in person!

I would  love to visit Stege, the largest town on the island, and of course, Copenhagen -- the Little Mermaid in the harbor, the shops and cafes, 

and who could visit Denmark without touring Tivoli Gardens.

Tivoli Gardens - 

And, if Jerry is able to travel, we would certainly take a side trip to Finland. (He is 31/32 Finnish by heritage, and grew up bilingual.)   Uff-dah!  That's a lot of Scandinavian!!

I follow Go Visit Denmark on Facebook and each post makes me want to visit more. Perhaps, someday, it will happen. 

I believe every soul has a homing instinct.


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Treasury Thanks

Each week I devote my Sunday post to saying THANK YOU to the curators of Etsy treasuries who featured items from my Etsy shops, Pasque Flower Creations and Aunt Pheba's Vintage, over the past week.

Summer themes predominated, but I'm guessing Back to School, Halloween, and Holiday themes will begin to appear in the next few weeks.   I need to do some serious sewing to get ready for Fall craft fairs and (hopefully) the holiday rush.  I experience mild panic every time I check the Christmas Countdown widget at the bottom of this blog.  I've been making my TO SEW lists and checking them twice!!

But I digress....

First up this week is a pretty pink and aqua treasury, Cotton Candy, curated by CatLady30.  She included my turquoise key fob in this sweet mix.  CatLady30 is a visual artist, and many of her paintings capture the essence of life in the Midwest.  This sunset watercolor is one of my favorites.

Susan McAnany of McAnany included my aqua foxes bib in her treasury, Aqua Fields.  We're under a heat advisory today, so the thought of being on a beach, with an ocean breeze is a nice escapist fantasy.  This gulf waters abstract photo is one of the beautiful abstract ocean series you will find at McAnany.

Kim Cole of BeachDaisyJewelry included my colorful padded eyeglasses case in her treasury, Monday Morning --it has  a cheerful rise and shine sort of vibe.  Many, but not all, of Kim's jewelry creations have a definite beachy look.  Today I'm featuring this pretty crochet beaded bracelet in pink .  Love the houndstooth button closure!

Rose of CCBR2014 included my pink happy camper oven mitt in her treasury, Shades of Pink.  This pretty pink baby blanket is one of the crafty creations you will find in Rose's shop.  It looks SO soft and cuddly!

Jenny Chang of ThePaintedMenagerie included my textured brown pillow cover in her treasury, Into the Woods .  Jenny has the cutest whimsical series following the courtship of a porcupine and a pin cushion.  This one, entitled First Date, brought back memories of the SD State Fair back in the day.

Crystal Cuff of SensationalYarn included my padded eyeglasses case in her treasury, Summer Promos - A Treasury .  Crystal does some amazing things with yarn and a crochet hook.  These crochet baby socks are just SO adorable!!

Crystal also included my green stripe school colors key fob in her treasury, Tuesday in the Rain Trendy Finds - A #Treasury .  Sometimes Crystal puts down the crochet hook and sews up a colorful fleece throw.  This classic cars throw is one some BIG boys I know would enjoy.

Libby Loftin of AFreckledHeart (the TEMPT Team shop of the week) included my tangerine roses oven mitts in her cheery treasury, A Sunshiny Day!!  Love this Cinderella carriage diffuser necklace from Libby's shop.

CatLady30 included my azalea oven mitt in her treasury, Peche.  This night time traffic watercolor brings back memories of my high school days.

Kate Brooks of PiecesofHomeMosaics included my poppies on teal oven mitts in her delightfully eclectic treasury, All Kinds of Goodies!  This silverware stained glass pendant is a unique mixed media necklace.

Libby Loftin of TheFreckledHeart included my pencil-shaped pencil pouches in her treasury, Rainbow Reflections.  Sunflower fields will soon be in full bloom across the northern Midwest, so I couldn't resist this sunflower aromatherapy necklace .

Abigail Jayne of AbigailJayneArt included my blue prairie pioneer sunbonnet in her treasury, Summer Blues .  This hoop art, Weight of the World, is one of my favorite art pieces from AbigailJayne's shop.

Rosa Shawls included my navy and white chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Hipster .  This gorgeous black evening shawl would be perfect with a little black dress.

Carol of ModernClassicbyCarol included my red and gold accent pillow in her treasury, Pillow Talk .  One of Carol's product lines is wedding napkin rings.  These wedding napkin rings in white are one of my favorites, although Carol would happily make napkin rings to match the bride's chosen colors.

Elena Balygina of BalyginaArtDolls included my houndstooth padded eyeglass case in her treasury, Beautiful Items #254 .  This Angelica art doll is a OOAK treasure!

Katerina Menthe included my poppies on teal oven mitts in her treasury, Summer Dreams #105 ,
Katerina lives in Russia, and her shop is home to some exquisite art dolls.  But this artist bear is one of my favorites.

Tasha of PatternsCrossStitch included my pencil-shaped pencil pouches in her treasury, Gifts .  This summer bike cross stitch pattern reminds me of my quilting buddy, Jan, who makes LONG bike treks across Nebraska and South Dakota.  Her most recent bike trip took her through beautiful Spearfish Canyon in the Black Hills of South Dakota.  Her photo journal made me homesick for my home state.
I love how the wheel spokes resemble an applique quilt!

Crystal Cuff included my bright flowers oven mitt in her treasury, Live Large, Go BIG or Go Home OVERSIZE treasury.   Ha.Ha.  I'm livin' LARGE, but in a plus size way.  I just had to feature some more of Crystals cute crochet baby socks.

Katerina Menthe featured my pink floral oven mitt in her treasury, Summer Dreams #108.  Here's a pretty little art cloth doll in pink from Katerina's shop.

Vickie Wade of VickieWadeFineArt included my aqua jungle baby bib in her aqua and orange treasury, Tropical Punch.  That bold complementary color scheme really does pack a punch!    In softer tones, but keeping with the tropical theme, I'm featuring this wonderful mother-daughter print from Vickie's shop:

LindaB of lindab142 included my blue pencil-shaped pencil pouch in her treasury, Turquoise and Summer Colors by BBA Members.  This opal heart bracelet and earrings set would be a lovely gift for someone with an October birthday.

Abigail Jayne of AbigailJayneFineArt included my green chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Eat Your Greens .  These yellow lucite flower earrings are light and summery!

Susan Pitts of SusanDeanne included my prairie pioneer sunbonnet in her treasury, Ripe from the Sun .  This pretty hand knit cotton hat is also listed as a chemo hat.  I have two friends bravely battling breast cancer right now -- the prayer list keeps getting longer.

Pauline Clarke of polsknitsnstuff included my peach prairie pioneer sunbonnet in her treasury, Peachy Keen .  I love the small ethnic style knitted bags in Pauline's shop.  Here is just a sampling.

ModernClassicbyCarol included my chefs oven mitt in her thank you treasury, Hearts to All.  This navy with rhinestones hair clip is SO pretty.  Our work study office assistant at work is planning her wedding -- and navy is one of her colors.  I love the way Carol staged this product photo.

Nancy of MysticNeedle included my orange pencil-shaped pencil pouch in her treasury, Surprises .
Nancy's shop features crocheted shawls, hats, bags, hair accessories -- all sorts of wonderful items!
Today I'm featuring these double thickness cotton dishcloths -- pretty, practical, durable and super absorbent!

Katerina Menthe featured my purple chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Summer Dreams .  This artist miniature bear with apron is SO precious!

CatLady30 featured my tomatoes and herbs oven mitt in her treasury, Christmas in July Berries .
This street scene watercolor reminds me of evenings spent "dragging Main" -- driving back and forth down Egan Avenue in Madison, SD, with a car full of friends, listening to music on the radio, and waving and honking at friends.  (Gas was a lot cheaper then.)

Kathy and Wayne of Rocks2Gems2Wire included my green pencil-shaped pencil pouch in their treasury, July and August TEMPT Team .  Kathy and Wayne have some truly unique jewelry pieces, but today I chose to feature these simply elegant teal earrings.

Olga of OlgaJewelryBoutique featured my blue man pillow cover in her treasury, Summer Blues.  I love this colored agate beaded necklace from Olga's shop.

Holly Bean of HollyoftheEarth featured my red floral oven mitt in her treasury, On Robin Road - TEMPT Team Blast Off Treasury .  Holly's shop specializes in statement jewelry with a strong tribal influence.  This turquoise aromatherapy necklace is just a sampling of the beautiful and unique items in Holly's shop.

BloomingCreations2 featured my black and white chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Midnight Memories ;D.  Now here's something you don't see every day -- fried marbles!  I kid you not.  But they make beautiful little marble necklaces.

Valerie of NandysNook included my colorful padded eyeglasses case in her treasury, Saturday Finds .  These colorful little soap savers would be perfect coworker gifts or stocking stuffers!!

I hate to end on a sad note, but I'm afraid I must.  The final treasury this week is a tribute treasury curated by Carol of ModernClassicbyCarol.  Her sister Brenda was just diagnosed with breast cancer.  As I mentioned earlier, two of my friends are battling this cruel disease now, and I have added Brenda to my growing prayer list, and hoping some day we will find a cure that doesn't require the torture of radiation and chemotherapy.  She created a pink-themed treasury, and included my pink camper oven mitt in the mix.  The treasury is called, FOR THOSE FIGHTING BREAST CANCER .  I'd like to add this pink chiffon floral hair clip from Carol's shop to her tribute.

Life is short.  Carpe diem!