Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bobble Heads by Bobblenoggin

In a failed effort to find something related to his favorite Yankee's announcer for my father-in-law's Christmas gift, I turned to Etsy for assistance. Not many people on Etsy make bobble heads, let alone custom ones, but I found one seller who never had made a custom bobble head but was willing to help me out.

Bobblenoggin makes a lot of really cute sculptures and paintings using paper mache. Making clay and paper mache has been her passion since childhood, and as an adult her husband sounds really supportive of her hobbies. Whenever possible she uses recycled materials and things that would normally just be thrown away. She has a lot of adorable creations in her shop already, like this prayer reminder doll:

The Suzyn bobble head for my father-in-law, which he promptly placed in the nativity scene with excitement after he opened it, was her first custom order.

Using the picture of her great work she had done for me as an example, Bobblenoggin made a custom bobble head listing in her shop and was contacted not to long after for a custom cowboy bobble head of a buyer's husband.

Looks like we've started something! If you want to order a custom bobble head from her visit her shop to see if she has a custom listing available, or you can create an Etsy account if you don't already have one and contact her through Etsy. Advanced notice is needed for custom requests because it can take a several weeks to complete due to the necessary drying time and the addition of details.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

New Beginnings

I got a lot of cool things this year for Christmas to kick off the new year with. I got the Cadillac model of Kitchen Aid stand up mixers for cake baking which will save my wrists, fingers, and $7.99 Walmart brand hand mixer. I got a winter coat with fleece shell that can be transformed into four different ways of wearing. I got Gaiters to keep my feet dry and a new camera and tripod for my hiking trips and jewelry pictures.

I'm quite bummed that it is currently raining out, the near record December snowfall is melting and I still haven't had time to get out and snowshoe. I have a real burning to get out and do something wholesome like hike or snowshoe, but it just hasn't happened. I decided instead to make a "best of" film of my favorite hiking/waterfalls pictures from this year. And hopefully my new camera can make up for my lack of photography skills for an even better assortment of nature pictures next year! Anyway, all pictures (except the two that I'm in) were taken by me, and it's to the tune of Sixx Am's "Life is Beautiful".

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Wire Hugs

I'm not really a hugger, and when I do give them out they are quite awkward. People make fun of me all the time for the problem. However, I think I've finally mastered the art - not with two arms but with a little piece of wire and some beads.

Check out my newest creation. Like many of my ideas, my wire hug earrings came from an accidental detour from the original plan. These actually look better than the picture I had in my head as I was designing them, and they are a little more dainty and use less wire. My first thought was to make a large zig-zag with the wire, wrapping it around the center bead and a couple times tightly between the center beads and the ends. My wire piece was too short and the earring came out lopsided. I got the idea to do these instead, with the wire gently hugging the beads - but not too tight and with only one arm just the way I like it! The goldstone and onyx pair with copper wire have already sold, but I still have a red jasper and onyx pair in my shop, with many more varieties to come!

Speaking of the red jasper and onyx pair... they were featured in an Etsy Treasury! The screen shot of the treasury is below, my earrings are in the second row. Sorry for the blurriness, Thumbalizr was only catching the entire page, not just the screen shot so I had to crop and resize it.

Friday, December 12, 2008

New Recipes, Old Traditions

This week the Etsybloggers have a choice between Christmas recipes and traditions or Christmas spotlight of their shop. I've already bored you all, talking about the Christmas items in my shop, so I thought I'd go the recipe and tradition route.

I've enjoyed many Christmas traditions throughout my life. As a child I would spend Christmas Eve at Nana's house. It probably started to make things easier for Santa, but continued all the way through high school. We'd get in the car around 9am and drive across town back to my house where we'd have waffles and strawberries for breakfast and open stockings and presents. Then we'd have an open house style party all day, for people to come and go as they pleased, and stay as long as they liked. When I was little I tried to stretch out present opening all day, so I'd open one gift every hour or so, impressing the adults on my ability to contain myself and savor the spirit of Christmas.

We've aged, gained some family, lost some too. I have a job in health care that requires working some holidays. It seems hard to keep traditions going forever. A current holiday tradition for me is Christmas Eve at my in-laws' house. We have Chinese food for dinner (a nice variety including General Tso's Chicken which is my favorite). Their tradition for many years has been opening presents on Christmas Eve, then my husband and I save most of our presents to each other for Christmas Day.

I will end with a new holiday recipe that I made this year for a holiday party at work.

Chocolate Chip Fudge Wreath Cake:

Yellow cake mix
1 pkg. instant chocolate pudding (3 oz.)
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. oil
5 eggs
1 pkg. (12 oz.) chocolate chips
Greased and floured bundt pan

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Mix together the ingredients, adding chips last, pour into a well greased and floured Bundt pan. Bake for 1 hour or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.

Remove cake from pan and allow to cool in pan for 1 hour before removing.

Apply a thin layer of green frosting (I used cream cheese frosting). Apply a thicker layer of the frosting wiping the spatula gently across the surface in a circular and outward motion to give it a textured appearance. You can decorate the wreath with candy or frosting to your liking. I used those expensive new Raspberry Almond M&Ms which have a foiled looking outter shell. I thought they looked like pine cones, the remaining candies looked pretty in a candy dish (for a couple days anyway). I took two rolls of strawberry flavored Airheads Extreme and tied a bow for the wreath. You could probably use fresh berries if you can find any this time of year to decorate it with as well.

Christmas tree ornament picture borrowed from Diane.

Spotted Cow Soaps

SpottedCowSoaps, or more commonly known amongst the EtsyBloggers Street Team as Ms. Moo, makes the most yummy looking soaps in Vermont, perhaps in the entire Northeast! I'm delighted that she is the featured seller this month for the EtsyBloggers Street Team because she makes great stuff, she has the best advice, and is an all around great person, just on the other side of the Green Mountains from me!

She is a self proclaimed fragrance junkie, and when she's not working hard as the School Food Service Director, she is busy making all kinds of pampering for you skin. Her obsession came about as a treatment for her own skin problems, and eventually turned into a booming business on Etsy.

Not only do her soaps, scrubs, and bath fizzies do magic for your skin, but the presentation is very pleasing to the eye as well. If only my pictures could come out as well as hers!

From now until 12/15/08 she is offering free domestic shipping! Not only that, but her usual store policies include a free sample with every purchase, international shipping, and refunds on excessive shipping charges.

If I could change anything about her shop I would ask that her yummy looking soaps be edible! I can't tell you how many of her items look like real food. My cakes and candies don't look as yummy as her soaps!

Be sure to check out her blog too.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Death by Chocolate

This isn't just an ordinary brownie recipe!

Etsybloggers are sharing their favorite brownie recipes this month. I haven't tried making this, but I've sampled it and it is fantastic! Here is the recipe provided by my mother-in-law, Diane.

I don't have any pictures of the final product to share, I don't think it typically remains untouched long enough for picture taking.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

More Holiday Items

I'm trying to get the rest of my holiday inventory online before it's too late. My problem is mostly weather and schedule related. My pictures come out best in natural sunlight, but there was only one day this week that the sun was still up and shining while I was home.

I've added two more decoupage pieces, a snowman and a two cent postage stamp of Santa. The snowman piece comes on a ball chain necklace. The Santa stamp necklace comes on a gold plated choker necklace wire.

My Garden Gnome necklace isn't exclusively a Christmas piece, but will go nicely with a red shirt. I got inspiration from the pendant which reminds me of a garden gnome hat for some reason. It was made using turquoise howlite beads and coral chips. Sterling silver wire was used to make the bail, and the clasp is a sterling silver hook and eye clasp.

Search my Etsy shop for the keyword Christmas for all my Christmas pieces, and some things that would go nicely with red or green.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Baby Steps

"Baby steps onto the elevator. Baby Steps into the elevator. I'm in the elevator. Aaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!" ~ Bill Murray, What About Bob?

One Step at a Time

Me baby-stepping across a narrow footbridge in big snow shoes on Hurricane Mountain

There is some "moving forward" that I want to do right now, it's just a matter of getting the guts, not to mention the resources, to do it. I'm getting there slowly. I reunited with a friend from high school on Facebook a couple months ago. She saw in my profile that I make jewelry, browsed my website and decided she wanted to host a jewelry party for me. I politely declined. I'm not a salesperson, there is a reason why I sell online, so I don't have to make a sales pitch to someone's face. She asked me a few more times and I finally caved in, deciding it would be a good way to break into face to face jewelry selling should I ever get the nerve to rent a booth at a craft fair.

It was such a nice gesture on her part that I wanted to make it worth the guests while. I came up with a few give away ideas... free holiday earrings with a minimum purchase of $10, and for every $25 spent would get the shopper a raffle ticket for a turquoise necklace drawing.

I scurried to buy some displays and busts, and I got my business card couch from Stormy. I purchased some black velvet fabric to cover the tables with, and a pretty glass heart shaped bowl to dangle the free earrings from. I made some raffle tickets on the computer, created a constructive criticism feedback survey, and printed out instructions on how they can shop on Etsy in the future (particularly my shop). I took some advice from my pre-party blog post and had a variety of different types of bags for shoppers to take their goods home in, and some pretty tissue paper for the fragile pendants.

The drive to the party was almost an hour and a half north, and I was hoping to make $150 bucks, as my hostess figured 15 people were going, and they only had to spend $10 to get the free earrings. Only about 10 guests were able to make it. Everybody bought at least something, and I had a couple of big spenders too, going well over what I had hoped that I would make! I tried to listen to comments while they shopped, someone liked the velvet cloth idea (thanks TiLTcreations). I put out a spiral notebook for an "email list" and got a few contacts. Lots of nice comments about my angel earrings. I heard a few admiring some earrings but mentioning that they were too long for their tastes.

I went through my confidential feedback surveys, and got perfect reviews on all my questions. I just hope that they really felt that way about each question and weren't being nice. Not too many handwritten comments.

I took some poor quality pictures while shoppers were breaking for snacks. I meant to get some shots before the party started but some were confused about the time and came early.

What I got from the experience:

  • Black velvety cloth
  • Free gift with minimum purchase is a good idea as everyone spent the minimum
  • Had enough cash and quarters to make change with
  • Sales tax included & rounding price to nearest quarter is easier than math, pennies, and nickels
  • Business cards
  • Saving price tags to keep track of income was probably faster than writing it down as I went
  • Having a holiday section
  • Large price tags allowed me to write shoppers names on them so that they could set stuff aside as they browsed and buy later
  • Mirror
  • I was a lot faster at checkout when I worked at Price Chopper with a barcode reader, computer, and a bagger
  • Large tied on price tags got tangled en route
  • Nobody commented but I thought the display looked a little sloppy with only 4 busts to hold the necklaces
  • Jewelry party for people that know each other were trying to shop for each other with everyone there
  • I still don't know how I'd bag up goodies for a large crowd with out spending an unnecessary fortune
  • I'm over analytical of everything I say and how its going going to be taken, so I probably came off as socially awkward, trying to find the balance between being helpful without being annoying
  • The survey didn't give much as far as constructive criticism, actually no criticism or suggestions at all, just niceness
  • Necklace raffle. It was a lure to get people to come, but they loved jewelry so much that I think they would have come anyway. Nobody appeared to buy a little extra just to reach the next $25 mark either. Ah well, my biggest spender won it, and certainly deserved it
Next step? Perhaps a jewelry party with people I know? I think it's too late to rent a booth for a holiday craft fair, besides, I'm still unwinding from this one. Maybe by this summer I can beef up my inventory and my confidence and rent a booth at a craft fair then...

Monday, December 1, 2008

December 1st, 2008 - An Outdoorsy Carnival

Welcome to the December 1, 2008 edition of an outdoorsy carnival.

Advice Column

One Family presents Frugal Living – Skiing Story posted at One Family's Blog, saying, "The post looks at how average American families can ski on a budget using frugal strategies."

Dereck presents Gardening in the Winter posted at I Will Not Die.

Jeremy Zongker presents 76 Ways to Save Money While Saving the Environment posted at Destroy Debt.

Aquatic Life

Marilyn Terrell presents Rafting on the River Salmon: Where Are the Fish? - Intelligent Travel Blog posted at Intelligent Travel Blog, saying, "Norie takes her two boys kayaking down the Lower Salmon River."

Ernesto Maitim presents Bass Fishing Lures: Bring Some on Your Next Angling Adventures posted at FlyFishingGreats.

Keira presents Antioch Marina, Antioch, CA posted at SF Boater. presents Trip to Kanyakumari: Chapter 1: Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Kanyakumari and Thiruvalluvar Statue, Kanyakumari: Part 4 posted at

GrrlScientist presents Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, "There's plenty of fish in the sea, as the old addage goes -- but are there, really? I experienced a rude awakening at the peak popularity of Orange Roughy, which I loved. I learned that Orange Roughy, Hoplostethus atlanticus, an extremely long-lived benthic species in the Western Pacific Ocean that doesn't even reach sexual maturity until 40 years of age, was being eaten out of existence by people like me. After I learned that, I never touched Orange Roughy again."

Lazy Man and Money presents Fly Fishing posted at Hike Camp Fish.

Madeleine Begun Kane presents Vacation Verse posted at Mad Kane's Humor Blog.

Green Thumb

GrrlScientist presents Manhattan in Autumn at the Anne Loftus Playground posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, "The Anne Loftus playground, which is located in the northeast corner of Fort Tryon Park in Inwood (Manhattan), was named in honor of Anne Loftus (1925-1989), who was a businesswoman and a neighborhood administrator. The park itself, which covers 67 acres, was named for Sir William Tryon, who was a Major General and the last British governor of colonial New York."

Lauren Rose presents Choosing the Best Plants for your Garden posted at Own Home Style .com, saying, "How to choose the best plants for your garden"

In the Woods

GrrlScientist presents Hietakannas posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, "This image beautifully captures the holidays. Image snapped while walking through Hietakannas, Helsinki, Finland, on 24 November 2008."

GrrlScientist presents Hietaniemen Hautausmaa posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, "On my last day in Helsinki, my host and I walked through the northwestern portions of the city to visit several places, including Sibeliuksenpuisto (Sibelius Park) where the famous monument is located and Hietaniemen hautausmaa (Hietaniemi cemetery). This graveyard is the burial place for many famous Finns, including writers, artists, actors, and nearly all of its presidents."

GrrlScientist presents Tiny Gecko Species Discovered in Vanuatu Rainforest posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, "According to scientists at France's National Museum of Natural History, a new species of gecko has been discovered -- after it hatched from an egg removed from a nest on a South Pacific island and carried 12,000 miles to Paris in a box lined with Kleenex. The island, Espiritu Santo, is one of the larger South Pacific islands of the Vanuatu Archipelago, east of Australia."

GrrlScientist presents Genius Bird posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, "This interesting National Geographic video shows how Bernd Heinrich designed an experiment to test the creative thinking abilities of ravens."

Lazy Man and Money presents Top Camping Strategies for Maximum Fun posted at Hike Camp Fish.

Mark presents No Place Like Home posted at My Quiet Cabin.

Kilroy_60 presents The Genius Of Frank Lloyd Wright Shines Through On An Autumn Afternoon posted at The Lives and Times... of Anthony McCune, saying, "In addition to the house, Wright created a planting plan which features 14 pin oak trees surrounding the house."

Open Air

Gil Ortiz presents gilocafe posted at gilocafe.

GrannyJ presents Kitchen table studio: goldenrod pods posted at Walking Prescott, saying, "Fall brings wonderful, beautiful seed pods to the photographer; in this case, little goldenrod puffs."

Peter Jones presents Switch Telemark Video: Early Season A-Basin Footage posted at Rocky Mountain Raider: Telemark Skiing, Bouldering, and Trail Running in Colorado, saying, "A video showing telemarking switch at A-Basin, Colorado."

Karen Shanley presents An Evening Walk posted at Karen Shanley.

GrrlScientist presents One of Life's Tiny Dramas Captured Forever on Film posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, "There are many inexplicable and tragic events in nature, yet few are captured on film. Here is an interesting series of photographs depicting a pair of swallows, Hirundo rustica (known as the Barn Swallow in the United States). In this series of images, we watch the story that unfolds after one of the birds was fatally injured, yet the bird's mate remains nearby, delivering food or water and keeping its dying companion company."

GrrlScientist presents Evolving Tides posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, "This wildlife film shows the wildlife that can be found along the North Norfolk Coast of the UK during the winter. From Seals to migrating waders, salt marshes to shingle dunes, we are able to see many species and beautiful sights in this special part of Norfolk -- lots of amazing and interesting bird behavior!"

makingthishome presents Making This Home » Blog Archive » How to Celebrate Autumn in Germany posted at Making This Home, saying, "Thanks for hosting this carnival. Here's a sample of my favorite part of the outdoors in Europe."

One Family presents Lake Tahoe Ski Areas (Granlibakken, Tahoe Donner, Boreal, Homewood, Kirkwood, Heavenly, Squaw) – A Comparative Review: posted at One Family's Blog, saying, "A review of some of the most popular Lake Tahoe Ski Areas with a family orientation."

Mark presents Hawking posted at My Quiet Cabin.

Machione presents A Long Weekend That Turned Into A Week, Thanks To The McCain/Palin Ticket posted at Fear And Loathing - The Gonzo Papers.

Melanie McMinn presents BloKarting: Muriwai Black Sand posted at Fat and Sassy New Zealand Travel, saying, "Muriwai, New Zealand's black sand beach, 20 knots of wind and a cart with a sail. Welcome to heaven."

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of
an outdoorsy carnival
using our
carnival submission form.
Past posts and future hosts can be found on our

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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cyber Monday Madness

Why fight the crowds all "Black Weekend" when you can go back to work and use company time to shop online on Monday?

I'm having a Cyber Monday Sale in my shop from midnight December 1st (Cyber Monday) until 11:59 pm. I am offering free domestic shipping on all purchases during the sale, and 10% off orders of $25.00 or more. As an added bonus, I will be putting in a complimentary pair of Christmas Earrings in each package from now until Christmas Eve.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Holiday Sale

Due to my jewelry party on this weekend coming up, I am unable to participate in the team sale, with the possibility of having to temporarily inactivate some items in my shop during my party. I am, however, glad to be able to promote my fellow teammates who are having a team-wide sale!

Sales include free shipping, 10-20% off, BOGO deals, and more! Click on the ad for details.

And stop by my shop on Cyber Monday... I will probably have a promotion going on if I can organize myself after the party.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Map of the Forest

I bought this pendant to make a choker with specifically because it reminded me of a topographical map of a mountain. I used this focal piece as inspiration and added beads that remind me of a hike through the woods. The back of the choker is the trail you take to the top of the mountain, along the way are rocks and bodies of water. From the summit peak or the cab of a fire tower you can see the rounded tops of nearby mountains.

It's like a hike through the woods without breaking a sweat! See my store for details.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Local Treasure Box of Plant and Wildlife

I had a great opportunity to go for a nature walk this past weekend, and was once again reminded that no matter how hard I try to remember to slow down and appreciate what's going on around me, I still take things for granted. I have probably been to Moreau State Park at least 50 times in my life. As a child, my mom would take me to the beach there because it was nearby and clean. My grandfather took me snowshoeing across the lake when I was younger. We've had a couple of family summer picnics underneath the pavilion, and my husband and I even rode our bikes there when we lived a few miles closer. Sister and I have been there several times, in all seasons, for hiking and snowshoeing. It wasn't until this hike that I realized exactly how much plant and animal life the Park actually has to offer.

Despite the rain, we were rewarded with many great photo-ops!

An announcement in the newspaper for a hike scoping the park for frost weed caught Sister's attention, so she asked Diane (my mother-in-law) and me to join her. I was intrigued - I never had heard of frost weed before. Frost weed is a plant that forms ice crystals as it prepares for the winter freeze. Unfortunately for us frost weed seekers, that weekend in November was unusually mild and they did not bear any ice crystals. We saw plenty of other interesting things, however, adding an extra hour to our tour, despite the rain.

Frost weed - unfortunately too warm for ice crystals

We came across an American Chestnut Tree, which is now a rarity since the chestnut blight wiped out about three billion of these trees. The blight was caused by an Asian bark fungus that was accidentally introduced by importing Asiatic chestnut trees. Underneath the lonely chestnut tree were open spiny burrs, once occupied by chestnuts. These nuts continue to grow through the end of the summer, and the burrs open and fall from the trees around the time of the first frost.

From American Chestnut Tree

A flying squirrel poked his head out of its dead and hollowed out tree home to investigate the noise that our group was creating. Sitting ever so still, with only an occasional whisker twitch, it posed for a few pictures before disappearing back into the tall stump.

Flying Squirrel

With the recent wet weather, we were surrounded by an abundance of mushrooms. We learned about edible varieties such as hen of the forest, which allegedly tastes like hen, and chicken of the forest, which is said to taste like chicken. We saw shelf mushrooms and learned how to make a spore print. We saw plants such as spotted wintergreen and Christmas ferns, as well as some offering berries.

Sister found an Earthstar mushroom!

Near the shore of Mud Pond sat a huge beaver dam. The busy beavers left gnawed tree stumps behind as evidence of their hard work. We were told that you can see osprey and bald eagles in the Park as well. Who knew that all these existed together so close to home?!

Beaver dam- Mud Pond

Osprey - Picture taken when my husband and I went to Florida in 2007

If only I had a pen and paper or a tape recorder that day so I could share even more. It will be interesting to see what we can find on our own when we go snowshoeing this year, and when the flowers are in bloom next spring and summer.

Here is a complete photoset.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Words Behind the Jewelry

I was very excited when my friend Deb, who goes by the alias Storybeader, was announced to be the featured seller for the Etsy Bloggers Team this month. Deb describes herself as a frustrated writer who likes to put words and colors together to make them wearable art. Deb includes a unique gift with each purchase - a haiku that she personally wrote specifically for that piece.

When she's not making jewelry, she is reading a dictionary or thesaurus, playing with her dog, or chatting away in our team forum.

Check out her jewelry below and poetry below:

Unakite Fetish Bear Necklace

The bears walked into
The campsite wearing crowns of
Gold they had stolen.
- storybeader

Tipi Treasure Necklace

"Doves Rising"
The young woman looked
Out the tipi towards the white
Doves and rising sun.
- Storybeader

Turquoise and Coral Choker

Natural nuggets
Setting off on the path to
The sea, you and me.

Be sure to visit her shop and to Stroll Through Storyland - her blog. You will be able to tell right away that she is a great writer!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Fun Winter Jewelry

I know what you're thinking... Halloween's barely over and all the Christmas stuff comes out... My thinking is that with Thanksgiving seemingly so late this year (less than one month 'til Christmas after Thanksgiving Day) that it will sneak up on all of us!

I'm not posting too much holiday jewelry yet because of my upcoming jewelry party - I just plan on posting whats left. But this piece is too cute not to share. The Snowman Polymer Clay Necklace was made using a recycled Christmas ornament, and some handmade multi-Christmas colored polymer clay beads. I made these beads last month and finally found something that they go great with!

For other holiday-inspired jewelry in my shop, click here!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Project Make a Lot of Jewelry Really Fast

I have been ignoring my blog quite a bit lately, and my Etsy shop too, because I'm working on something huge. It's called Project Make a Lot of Jewelry Really Fast. A friend from high school and I recently caught up on Facebook. She looked at my jewelry and asked me if she could host a party. I said no a couple times... There's a reason why I sell online. People can find my stuff, if they like it they can buy it. I don't have to do anything pushy face to face. Finally, I realized it's a way to get experience, like a trial run, if I decide to work a craft show some day, and agreed to let her host.

I'm getting really nervous, not just about the interaction and sales, but the presentation. I bought some displays but I know I can't have every piece on a bust or display because that would cost me a small fortune. I bought a business card couch from Stormy to hold my cards, and I think I'm going to pick up a small mirror for people to try on necklaces before purchasing.

I'm trying to come up with some promotions. I'm toying with the idea of a free pair of Christmas earrings with each purchase, or at least for the first ten or twenty purchases, depending on how many I can make up. Of course, that's assuming that I'd have ten purchases or that anybody will show up, for that matter. Maybe a discount code for the next future purchase?

I'm also afraid I won't have a large enough variety. I'm trying to make some more chokers and necklaces since I've been on an earring run for a while. I'm done making clay beads for now, just making stuff with them. I'm trying to make enough Christmas stuff, but want to have everyday jewelry on hand as well. So I've made a few chokers, some gemstone necklaces, and played with some Swarovski crystals. I'm not putting too much new stuff on Etsy yet because it's time consuming and I need to be keeping my fingers busy making jewelry for the party, as opposed to cropping pictures and writing up descriptions. But don't worry, anything that doesn't sell next week at the party I will share online with you.

If you have ever hosted a jewelry party (or other craft party) please leave some suggestions here! Should I provide brown paper bags? Offer gift boxes for an extra charge? Go green?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I Guess I'm a Domestik Goddess!

It was such a pleasant surprise to find that I had been featured on a website called Domestik Goddess the other day! Her website covers many topics including Arts and Crafts, Pets, and Gardening and Outdoors - lots of good information for you to check out! There's great advice on being thrifty, crafty, and trendy. Thanks for the special honor!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Etsy Bloggers Superlatives

I decided to have a little poll game for the most recent carnival that I hosted for the Etsybloggers Team. After reading the posts, everyone was invited to vote on their favorites in different categories. Congrats to the following winners!

Best Title:
Santa's Gone a Little Nutty by Two Zany Zebra's, winning 45% of the votes. It was also a recipe post, describing how to make these cute little Nutter Butter Santas.

Most Creative Spooky Item
A three-way tie!!!

Treasures by Tina shared her Skull Treasure Candle

Healing Stones (Stoneweaver) presented her Knitted Satan Dolls

Scariest Story
Magdalene Jewels won 57% of the vote with In the Dusk of the Moon

Most Informative
This category only had two candidates. Tote N Tots won with a domestic violence awareness post called A Promise to Kill, ending with contact numbers for the National Domestic Violence Hotline:

If you are in crisis or need help, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline
at:1-800-799-SAFE (7233)or
TTY for the Deaf:1-800-787-3224
Help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Se Habla Español

Favorite Recipe
This was the category with the largest number of submissions. A two-way tie between Athena Workman's Double Chocolate Cherry Pie and Off the Peg's Chocolate Brownies. Guess you will have to try both recipes and decide for yourself!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

November Outdoorsy Carnival

Welcome to the November 1, 2008 edition of an outdoorsy carnival. Thanks to everyone who participated, sorry to anyone that tried when it was down last week.

Open Air

Madeleine Begun Kane presents Toying With Kites posted at Mad Kane's Humor Blog.

GrrlScientist presents Hurricane Ike Unearths Fossil Tooth in Paleontologist's Yard posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, "Hurricanes are very destructive, make no mistake about that. But imagine the surprise when Lamar University professor, Dorothy Sisk, returned to her home on the Bolivar Peninsula of Texas after Hurricane Ike had passed through. Together with her friend and colleague, Lamar University paleontologist Jim Westgate, they found a fossil tooth in her front yard. It almost makes it bearable to realize that Sisk's beachfront home had been completely destroyed."

Sahara Reins presents Backyard Plans for Wild Bird Feeding and Bird Watching posted at Fowl Visions.

Althea presents Tynan is… Better Than Your Boyfriend » Living in a Small RV: Odds and Ends posted at Tynan is... Better Than Your Boyfriend.

P.L. Frederick presents 9 Side Effects To Using The Clothes Line posted at Small and Big, saying, "All true, I say." presents Hogenakkal Falls: Part 1 posted at

Aquatic Life

GrrlScientist presents The Amazing Hook-Nosed Sea Pig posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, "Gray Seal, Halichoerus grypus, at the ferry dock in Uig (Isle of Skye, Scotland). The translation of the scientific name for this species is "hook-nosed sea pig"."

Haydee Sampiano presents Great Time to Buy a Boat posted at SeaDream Boating News, saying, "The over estimated demand by manufacturers for new boats and a substantial sell-off in the private party marketplace have significantly reduced pricing. In addition, marine finance programs are still surprisingly attractive. Interest rates have remained low and there are programs available for many credit profiles."

James Hills presents Fishing in Charlotte Harbor and the Florida Gulf Islands posted at Man Tripping - Guys Getways and Mancations, saying, "This looks like a great area to do some fishing, hadn't really thought about the Gulf Islands before coming across this, but it looks like there are some great opportunities for mancations and guys weekend fishing trips if you live close enough to just do a short trip."

Ernesto Maitim presents Salmon Fishing in Alaska – Few Good Angling Advices posted at FlyFishingGreats.

GrrlScientist presents Palouse Falls posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, "A gorgeous photograph of the area where I grew up: the Palouse of Washington state. This image is Palouse Falls, washington."

Green Thumb

Jamie McIntosh presents Save Money with Organic Gardening posted at Jamie's Blog, saying, "Everyone knows that green living techniques can save money by saving energy in the household. Earth-friendly organic gardens can also help you save money."

GrrlScientist presents Seattle Visit: University of Washington's GreenHouse, Part One posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, "Part one of my two-part photoessay about my visit to the biology department's greenhouse on Seattle's University of Washington campus. lots of gorgeous images!"

GrrlScientist presents Seattle Visit: The Montlake Fill (UBNA) posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, "This photoessay describes my visit to one of the finest small- to medium-sized urban birding areas on the west coast of North America, the Montlake Fill. This is a reclaimed wetland that was formerly a city dump."

GrrlScientist presents Honeycomb posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, "A picture of a honeybee honeycomb, photographed at Russ Pittman Park, Texas."

pnreddy presents Common Problems That Take Away The Beauty Of The Garden! posted at The Garden Central.

In the Woods

A Keeper's Jackpot presents Kane Mountain: Half Way Done posted at A Keeper's Jackpot.

Shelley Duncan presents True Blue of Crater Lake posted at SheSue Experience, saying, "Crater Lake National Park in southern Oregon is the perfect place for tuning in with nature."

GrrlScientist presents The Race to Save the World's Rarest Bird: The Discovery and Death of the Po'ouli posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, "A review of the new book by Alvin Powell about the desperate struggle to save the world's rarest bird. This book reveals the strengths and weaknesses of the US Endangered Species Act."

GrrlScientist presents London's Regents Park posted at Living the Scientific Life, saying, "This photoessay contains descriptive text, my Regent's Park bird list, a nursery rhyme, and lots of gorgeous images."

pnreddy presents Why People Love To Go Camping? posted at Camping Tourist.

Advice Column

Sarah presents Ridding Your Lawn of Gophers, Moles and Other Rodents | Spring Lawn Care - Lawn Care Tips posted at Lawn Care Tips, saying, "How to get rid of pesky lawn creatures."

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Monday, October 27, 2008

The EtsyBloggers Team Carnival; October 27, 2008

Welcome to the October 27, 2008 edition of the EtsyBlogger's Team Blog Carnival. A very extra special thanks to Stormy, who in the midst of a new job, new home, and making me a custom order, managed to compile the HTML code for this carnival based on the email confirmations of submissions, due to the the Blog Carnival site being down during crunch time. Thanks to all the participants, sorry to all those that tried to participate but couldn't submit due to Blog Carnival technical difficulties. If you tried to participate but the site was down, send me a link to your post and I will include it in here. (To qualify, the post must have been published before midnight on October 24th).

After completing the carnival, please vote for your favorites in my polls! I hope I included everyone in a poll category, sorry if I missed you, we had tons of submissions!

Healingstones presents Something a little different... posted at Stoneweaver.

Eileen presents Skully Magazine Cover -- Very Cool... posted at Dorset Hill Beads.

Jimena presents Spooky... posted at Panoptica.

The Spotted Sparrow presents Nevermore posted at The Spotted Sparrow.

Erika presents A Promise to Kill posted at TOTE-N-TOTS.

Lost Mitten presents EtsyBloggers Blog Carnival: Share a Recipe! posted at Lost Mitten.

Athena Workman presents Spooky and Yummy- Yes, They Go Together! posted at the weblog of artist athena workman.

MagdaleneJewels presents Carnival - In the Dusk of the Moon posted at MagdaleneJewels' Blogs.

Gabrielle presents Craft Lab: Halloween Window Decals posted at Mintage Home.

Nancy presents Share a Scary Story posted at NanjoDogz.

Jodie presents Etsy Bloggers Street Team : Blog Carnival : Get Ready for the Holidays : Recipe! posted at

Curiousmess presents October Blog Carnival posted at Curious Mess.

Manderlyrose presents Once upon a Halloween... posted at Manderly-Rose.

Mel Beatty presents Comfort Food posted at My Aphrodite Jewelry.

Irene presents in honor of fall posted at irene design.

Barbara presents A totally yummo recipe posted at Barbara Beads.

TracyLacy Trinkets presents It's Blog Carnival Time Again..... posted at TracyLacy Trinkets.

Gloria Gangi presents EtsyBloggers Blog Carnival: Share a Recipe! posted at All Things Handmade.

Mamashai presents Tis the Season? Say What? posted at Shais Creations.

Jenna presents Do You Like Reubens & Mac n Cheese?~ posted at Cards By Jenna.

agoodwitchtoo presents Eli's Soldiers posted at The Copper Cauldron.

Ebony presents Yummy posted at Off The Peg.

Beth Walker presents EtsyBloggers Street Team- Thanksgiving yummies posted at Sewing Machine Gun.

Dizzydragonflies presents Let them eat cake posted at Knittingdragonflies.

wearewedges presents The Wedge Studio is haunted. For real.... posted at WE ARE WEDGES.

Jackie presents Apple Cake posted at A Keeper's Jackpot.

Trina Baker presents October Blog Carnival Post posted at gallery32.

miesmama presents Things that make me go boo! posted at miesmama.

MagdaleneJewels presents Carnival - Ms. Mina Awaits Dracula posted at MagdaleneJewels' Blogs.

pumpkinhaus presents Pumpkins and Popcorn Balls posted at pumpkinhaus.

Julie Antinucci presents Blog Carnival: Oriental Salad Recipe posted at Creative Mines by Julie Antinucci.

Lily presents October 27th etsyBloggers Blog Carnival posted at TuLips Talking.

HBIC presents Blog Carnival - Scary Recipes posted at Home Deconomics.

Terronda Clarke presents Blog Carnival - Party Cheese Wreath Recipe posted at ~Unique Commodities~.

smox presents Holidays, Friends, & Fabulous Food posted at The SMOX Workshop.

Heather presents Hearts and Bellies posted at Heather's Custom Sewing.

Deanna Lack presents Just Not Scary (Carnival) posted at You've Got Maille.

Mellissa - wondermommy presents Etsbloggers Blog Carnival - October posted at The Adventures of Wondermommy.

Made By Melissa presents Spooky Fun for Halloween posted at Made By Melissa.

Tina Allen presents No Halloween is complete without this! posted at Treasures by Tina.

Connie H presents Blog Carnival: Halloween Warning! posted at Dirty Footprints.

LazyTcrochet presents Spooky posted at LazyTcrochet.

Two Zany Zebras presents Santa's gone a little nutty! posted at Two Zany Zebras.

Holly Westfall/SilverRoseDesigns presents Chocolate, anyone? posted at SilverRose Designs.

Kelly Drill presents Totally Out of Character Food-Related Post posted at Macaroni and Glue.

Jennifer Hugon presents CSI, Akron posted at Jennyfur's Sketchbook and Oddities.

Brigid presents Holiday yummies! posted at Grey Eye Designs studio.

JerseyGirlDesign presents Blog Carnival October 27th edition posted at .:JerseyGirlDesign:..

TiLT creations presents Cranberry Upside Down Cake posted at Crafts, kids, home and life.

Memories for Life Scrapbooks presents Blog Carnival: Recipes posted at Memories for Life Scrapbooks.

Melissa Meman presents Hazel's Pecan Pie... posted at Pink Zinnias.

Stacey - Elle Belle presents Buc's Pumpkin posted at Elle Belle.

III Rexes Jewelry presents Creepy Edinburgh Just For Halloween posted at 3 Rexes Jewelry

Moon Mystic presents Get in the Spirit posted at Smell This

aprettyrock presents Tis The Season for Pumpkin posted at A Pretty Rock

feltartistic presents Appetizers posted at Felt Artistic

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Kane Mountain: Half Way Done

The twelfth tower in the Fire Tower Challenge that Sister (in-law) and I did was Kane Mountain. Kane was the southernmost fire tower we've done, and was such a pretty drive to get to in the foliage. We drove through areas of the state that we had not yet been through, a different scene than driving up north in the Adirondacks. I didn't even get lost or miss a turn driving there, which is quite unusual.

We decided to take the East Trail, off of Green Lake Rd in Caroga Lake, up to the summit. The books suggest that the other trails go through private land and there might be some fee to walk through.

The hike to the summit was very easy, and just shy of a mile. We were surprised at how quickly we arrived to the top. Although it was rated at a moderate grade, we decided it was so easy even our husbands could do it! Just before the tower, to the left, is the observers cabin. The door has been removed, allowing visitors to look inside the cabin. A sign on the outside warns of closure and/or removal of the cabin if vandalism continues. Despite the warning, vandalism has continued. Graffiti was dated to just two weeks prior to our visit, what a shame that the disrespect of hikers will most likely ruin the opportunity to see the cabin for future visitors.

Beer cans and paint stained hand prints decorated the inside of the cabin. Poems hinted at the unrepeatable acts that may have occurred inside. Shelby promotes peace in her graffiti, and J-Train apparently failed art class and/or anatomy and physiology. That's just the graffiti inside the cabin.... the vandalism continues up to the cab of the tower.

The moon was showing in the cloudless blue sky. The leaves were still beautiful, though foliage was past peak.

On the way back home we stopped off to take pictures of a ferris wheel and merry-go-round in what I think is Sherman's Park in Caroga Lake, and took pictures, possibly while trespassing. Fortunately the cop didn't stop as we suspiciously bolted back to the car....

Here are all the pictures from the trip in my Flickr set.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Columbus Day Hike: Owl's Head Mountain

I usually work on Columbus Day, but this year I had it off, so Sister and I took advantage of the good weather and our free time to squeeze in some leaf peeping before the trees are completely bare. Owl's Head, in Long Lake, NY, was our destination. We chose this based on location and its climbable tower for foliage picture taking. It looked like we had just missed "peak" foliage, but the colors were beautiful nonetheless.

The trail was covered in crisp orange, red, and brown leaves - even the smallest chipmunks sounded like beasts with their feet crunching on the blanket of fallen leaves. It was an easy hike for the most part, despite the fact that it was our longest fire tower hike so far. After about 2.8 miles of hiking, we came across what is left of the old observers cabin. At a quick glance, it looked like a small cemetery, and in a way, the remaining cement blocks were like headstones marking the remains of the cabin.

Remains of the observers cabin

The tail end of the hike was the hardest part - steep, bare rock slimed with run-off from the top of the mountain. I lost my footing on a bare, wet rock and grabbed a tree for support. The tree trunk took off two small chunks of skin from my thumb, resembling a vampire bite, appropriate for the month of October I suppose...

The tower was climbable, and the cab was open! I was proud of my ability to recognize Blue Mountain without a map or guidebook. According to my Views from on High book, by John P. Freeman, you can also see Owl's Head Pond, Raquette Lake and Forked Lake. Because of its proximity, Long Lake is mostly hidden from view.

Blue Mountain from Owl's Head Tower

It was a 360 degree view from the tower, but even from the bottom of the tower you could see Blue Mountain, some foliage, and other gorgeous views.

The 35-ft Aermoter steel tower was built in 1919, and abandoned in 1970. DEC forest ranger Jim Waters, with the help of other DEC personnel and the Friends of Owl's Head Fire Tower, restored the tower in 2004.

See my Flickr set for all the photos from the hike!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Apple Cake

Every fall my mom always would make me her delicious apple cake. For the last couple years, after apple picking, I've called her for the recipe so I could use up some of the apples. I figured if I put the recipe in my blog, not only can I share it with everyone, but I can stop misplacing it and bugging her for it year after year, after year. In anticipation of this year's cake I bought an apple peeler/corer at Christmas Tree Shop!

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups of apples (peeled, cored, and chopped)
1 tub of cream cheese frosting

My new apple peeler/corer

  • Pre-heat oven to 325oF and grease a Bundt cake pan
  • Combine eggs, sugar, and oil in one medium mixing bowl
  • Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a large mixing bowl
  • Add the egg/sugar/oil mixture to the dry ingredients and stir - the batter will be very thick and difficult to mix
  • Add the apples to the batter and mix well
  • Pour into the Bundt cake pan and cook for 45 - 60 minutes or until cooked all the way through
  • Warm the frosting until it's pourable, drizzle over the cake