Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas To All!

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow
Stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?
It came without ribbons. It came without tags.
It came without packages, boxes, or bags.
And he puzzled and puzzled 'til his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before.
What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store?
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?

-- Theodore Giesel

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Did you miss your favorite Christmas Classic?

Then check out this website:

I'm seeing lots of regular TV show episodes listed like Bewitches, All In The Family & Happy Days. Come on, grab a cup of cocoa and sit a spell...(and yes, the Beverly Hillbillies are there too!)

Merry Christmas to all!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tragic news...

Slightly Twisted Words

One letter spelling changes that provide a whole new meaning.

Skilljoy: The friend who's just a little bit better than you at everything.
Larger-Than-Wife: How a husband prudently describes other women.
IOUprofen: The economy's current drug of choice.
Loingerie: Underwear for men.
Igloot: Cold, hard, cash.
Limpostor: A perfectly healthy person who borrows a car with handicapped tags or plates.
Insulatte: The little cardboard sleeve around the coffee cup.
Knewledge: All the stuff you've forgotten.

Ok, you know I didn't make these up. I got them from my daily email called Mark's Musings. Click here if you want to subscribe. [selected from the Washington Post Style Invitational]

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wine Bottle Cozy - a work in progress

I'm not quite done with this yet...still need to add some grape leaves and some trailing vines. And it looks to me like someone grabbed that sweetest grape at the botton and ate it! Just might have to add 1 more grape!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Birdhouses Galore!

Wow...I've just finished listing a ton of birdhouses in my Etsy & 1000 Markets stores.
I still have 7 more to list! But no more tonight.
These are fun to make. I do a step at a time. Knit bases. Knit roofs. Full (felt). Shape. Air dry. Needle felt. Pick twigs for perch. Stuff. Add ribbon. Take pics.
19 times over. No, really. Do each step 19 times before going on to the next!
Please, if you know a bird lover or a felt lover or a Christmas ornament nut, send 'em over!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I now Own This Hour on Own The Hour

I just learned of this site yesterday because of a comment left by a reader of this blog - thanks Moxylyn!

I stopped by her blog and did some reading and Own The Hour was one thing she talked about. It is so easy! I just pick up to 2 available hours...add a link to an item from my etsy store, and pay using a credit card or Pay pal! The best part - the hours were on sale...10 cents instead of the usual 50.

Can you find my item there?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Don't You Just Hate It When

you're looking for something and cannot find it?

I'm in the middle of finishing up my bitty bags...and I need the larger grommet for it. I know I have some extra large silver grommets along with the setter here someplace...but I can't find them. I even cleaned up in several areas, hoping to come across them to no avail. I did find the bronze ones which will work well with most of my bags..but I need that larger setter! I really don't want to go out and buy it again!

1000 Markets has featured lil 'ole me!

Wow! I went to take a quick peek at my 1000 Markets shop and checked out the markets...clicked on the Handmade Haven one and saw myself! Doing the happy dance!

Makes me wish I had gotten around to listing new items yesterday!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Collapsable Light Box

I'm been trying to improve my pictures for my online shops. I bought a new camera last year and that helped a lot. It had a lot of settings I'm still learning how to use such as the white balance. Just a few weeks ago, I lucked out and found a tripod at Goodwill for a few bucks. This will help as well. It can be so hard to hold that camera steady.

As I live in Michigan, it's very hard to get good weather for taking outdoor picutres during Nov - April. We can go 30+ days without sunshine...or much of it. And many of those partially sunny days occur while I'm at work. But, recently I bought a collapsable light box. I had made my own light box using an old cardboard box and tissue paper. The tissue paper lasted all of 3 minutes before it tore. So, I used tracing paper instead. Much better! Except that even my large sheets of tracing paper were smaller than the sides of the box which meant taping them together which meant you could see that in some pics. I'm excited to try out my new light box. Hope you all can tell the difference.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Too Aquarius

and to keep entering! In the meanwhile...let me tell you something about one of the artists featured in this give-away. Her shop name is Too Aquarius

I've loved her shop for some time. I've hearted both her shop and some of her items a long time ago. Who is this of whom I speak? Read on to find out... I convo'd her and just threw a few questions out there for her to answer. I love that she shared so much.

How long have you worked with polymer clay? I've been working with polymer clay for ten years this fall! It was the perfect way to relax during a difficult pregnancy.

What is your favorite thing about working with polymer clay? That has to be the fact that you can do just about anything with it - classy, high end jewelry, bright, funny figures, beautiful sculpture, games, toys, vessels... I'm still just starting it feels like.

What is your best piece of advice for someone who wants to start working with clay? To just give it a try. Pick a few packs of colours you want, take small pieces and squish it. Remember how much you liked Play-doh? This is just as cool! And then, have some patience with yourself if it's not perfect right away.

Do you have a book or tutorial to recommend? My book recommendation, for newbies and as a reference is Sue Heaser's The Encyclopedia of Polymer Clay Techniques. My favourite website is though I have tutorials on my site too! (

Is this your full time occupation? It's my part-time / second job. The other half of my work is as a freelance web developer, so I'm lucky to have the time and flexibility to work on my clay.

How did you pick this medium? I began selling beaded jewelry in high school, at shows with my grandmother and as I got further into it, I started to spend too much money on the beautiful glass beads I liked. I taught myself clay to subsidize my bead habit and it ended up taking over my focus!

What else would you like to tell us about yourself? Oh! The chance to talk about me and my obsessions! My focus has always been on beads and millefiori (the graphic images on the beads) and that's what I sell on Etsy between my two shops. I'm always interested in requests or completely custom orders and happy to answer questions!

Please - go visit her shops - they're fabulous! I think I need to get one of her tutorials since I've bought quite a bit of clay...and tools...and books...and even a pasta machine! Now I need to do something with those!

Beneath The Tree update

So, I finished the Beneath The Tree event last week end. Well, I say I finished, but really, all I had to do was drop off my items with an inventory list and then pick them up. So easy. I did make it our Friday night to all the homes. They all looked great and had great things. I did buy a few things...and found more to put on my own wish list.

I certainly hope to do this show again next year.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Etsy West Michigan Gift Guide is Here!

If you're in the West Michigan area and prefer to shop local, you're in for a treat! Check out our Etsy West Michigan Gift Guide. It gives gift ideas for babies, women, teenagers, men, secret santas and more!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

1000 Markets

I now have a new place to sell my items. Please check out my new shop at 1000 Markets! It doesn't have many items yet...but you will find different things than you see at my Etsy store.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Sweet Figments Blog is hosting The Blog A Day Giveaway!

If you love giveaways, you've got to check this one out! Sweet Figments Blog is hosting a giveaway this month and it is a massive one! 30 amazing prizes to giveaway.

TO ENTER: This is a little different than our usual giveaways but I thought it would be fun since most of us will be shopping for holiday gifts anyways. Browse through our wonderful list of giveaway contributors, find shops or items you like and write about them on your blog, Myspace, Ning site or any other type of post that you can link to. Then, go to Sweet Figments and leave a comment with your contact info (email address) and a link to the blog post and tell us who you blogged about. If you are busy or you miss a day or two you can blog about up to 2 shops per day.

If you blog about more than 1 shop per day you will have to post up seperate comments for each individual shop you blogged about for it to count. For example if you posted about 2 shops the first comment would say "I blogged about shop1 here:" and the second comment would say I blogged about shop2 here:

♥ Enter once for each shop! That's up to 30 times! 30 chances to win!
♥ International residents can enter too!
♥ Contest starts Oct 31st and ends December 4th at 11:59pm (GMT)
♥ Winners will be drawn using a random number generator and a winners list will be posted on Dec 8th. Be sure to check back to claim your prize.

BLOG IDEAS:Here are some fun topics and ideas for you to blog about!
♥ Blog about your favorite item from a shop along with a photo and link to the shop
♥ Pick something that reminds you of a story from your life and tell us about it
♥ Post about who you would buy a gift for from a shop
♥ Pretend to be a critic and review a shop
♥ Create a questionaire for a shop owner to fill out
♥ Choose 4 items from the shop that you think work together as a group (by colour, pattern etc.) ♥ Post about your wishlist from one of the shop
♥ Tell us why you like the shop
♥ Pick an item from X shop as great gift idea for "Dad" or "Grandma" or one of those hard-to-buy-for-people
♥ get a shop owner to fill out a meme
♥ If you are a past customer of one of these shops tell us about your experience shopping with them.


♥ Fruit Variety Candle Gift Set from Moodwax, $26
♥ 15 oz. palm/beeswax blend pillar scented in our Cinnamon Spice essential oil blend from BeSem Natural Scents, $20
♥ Ice Crystal Resin Necklace from PennyDogAccessories, $24
♥ Xmas Dancer Gift Set from kittyhawke, $95
♥ Snow Bunny washi covered notebook and a Japanese fabric badge set from Asking For Trouble, $21
♥ Fabric Shopping Bag and Earrings from avocadocreations, $28

♥ Desert Dreams Hairsticks from stringmealong, $15
♥ Rose Quartz and Leather Earrings from HeartofaCowgirl, $16.95
♥ Handbound Leather Journal (7x4, 300 pgs) from myhandboundbooks, $30

♥ STUD from museacdonline, $18.50
♥ Silver plated Marsa Ring ,Two Beaded beads and Polymer Clay Flower Pillow Bead from dicopebisuteria, $24
♥ Island Vibe burp cloth from SnugBugClothing, $22

♥ Red Hum Love - Original Scratchboard from TidbitsandBits, $25
♥ Pink and Green box from gmistudio, $15
♥ Limited Edition Cloud Print Wristlet from TheTinyFig, $28

♥ Evergreen Earrings from GenuineArticle, $35
♥ Your choice of any pewter pendant from 2monkees, $15
♥ For the Birds - Felted Birdhouse Ornament in Pinks & Browns from thatissocute, $15

♥ Black and White Floral Bangle from tooaquarius, $25
♥ Orbitals 3-strand Wire Crochet Bracelet 'mod dots' in purple from pomomamadesign, $25
♥ Marbled Earth Earrings from chendric, $18

♥ Sweet Tooth Gift Set from threeofwands, $26.75
♥ Loves Me, Loves Me Knot from xiztance, $40
♥ Lucky Fishpond Necklace from majentadesigns, $15

♥ Hazy Raindrop Earrings from zahour, $35
♥ Shark Attack Dog Leash from Organidog, $15
♥ Sterling Silver Drip Necklace from BeadsInTheBelfry, $25

♥ A Little Black Box from littleblackboxes, $23
♥ Falling Leaves - Hand Spun Merino Wool from jilldrapermakesstuff, $20
♥ Custom Gift Set (Scrub, Butter, and Perfume) in White Gift Box with Ribbon from thegardenbath, $25

Good luck to all and Happy Blogging!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I've been critiqued!

So, like many of you I imagine, I follow a number of blogs. I think I've got over 40 right now in my RSS feed... and let me just say this first...Thanks to those of you who do NOT update every day! I wouldn't be able to keep up.

Anyway, one blog I follow In The Night Kitchen does writing critiques...and by leaving comments on her blog, you have a chance to be selected for the next critique. I finally got up the nerve to leave comments, knowing I might be reading about how I do so much wrong. I was selected and I'm so happy! Amy did a great job and was very gentle on my ego. Please check out her blog.

I was so excited when I saw that I was featured here...and even more so when I saw how she took my description and gave it some WOW & POW. As I told her, she made ME want to go out and buy my own product!

now...if only I can get her to critique all the other items in my shop...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Shuttered Mirror - my new display unit

So, I went shopping at Hobby Lobby. Love that store. I had a 40% off coupon. I also had a gift card. I no longer have either.

Instead, I found this amazing shuttered mirror in the clearance isle. The mirror is etched in two of the corners. It has a base so it stands by itself. I'm going to open the doors and hang some of my items from those doors.
and no...since it was on clearance, I used the coupon on something else.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Cozies: what are they?

noun pl. -·zies
a knitted or padded cover placed over a teapot to keep the contents hot

I make cozies...except mine ( and many other people's cozies) fit things other than teapots. By taking a quick look in Etsy's categories this is a list of subcategories under:


cell phone
lip balm

and under Housewares/Cozy:

appliance cozy
beer cozy
bottle cozy
coffee pot cozy
cup cozy
teapot cozy
tissue box cozy
turntable cozy
wine bottle cozy
wine glass cozy

and under Knitting/Cozy:

bottle cozy
cell phone cozy
cup cozy
mp3 cozy
teapot cozy did I tag my cozies?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

etsywmi team

etsywmi team
etsywmi team,
originally uploaded by cjmeinke.
You've heard me blog about our first trunk show...well, here's a picture of the 11 of us who participated. What a great group.

Stay tuned as we're heading into the planning (we hope) of our own Etsy West Michigan Craft Show...sometime in 2009.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Etsy West Michigan Trunk Show: update

We had a beautiful day for our Trunk Show...even though it was indoors. Our room was big enough to have space for 11 of us! For me it was a learning experience...figuring out how to set up my table. I did not even try anything fancy! I did get lots of compliments...but alas, they were not followed through with many sales.

It was great to meet other team members in person. I was so tempted to buy from you gals! I had to keep telling myself I was there to sell...not buy.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sneak Peek: Wine bottle cozies

Just took a quick pic last night as I set these out to air dry. They're all coming along to my Trunk Show tomorrow. If any are left, I'll list them either on Etsy or a new place - GoZabo.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Are You a Yarn Snob?

Do you knit? Do you crochet? Are you a consumers of hand knitted and/or hand crocheted items? If so, please take my poll!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Keep Knittin’
By an unkown Irish poet

When the folks next to you act like those in the zoo,
A grumbling, growlin’ and spittin’. It’s a pretty good plan
To be calm as you can, and do something useful-like knittin’.

When gossipin’ Susan, with poison-barbed tongue
Comes into the room where you are sittin’, and starts to defame
Some neighbor’s good name, count stitches out loud—
And keep knittin’.

When there is a light misunderstanding at church
And others hint broadly of quittin’, the very best thing you can
Do is sing...and stay at your post, and keep knittin’.

In the middle of problems, the big ones and small
It’s always most proper and fittin’
To trust and to pray till the Lord shows the way
And go right ahead with your knittin’.

Friday, September 12, 2008

First Box shipping off to college...

So, we packed up the mini-van last month and took our daughter to college. And, was pretty packed. And almost every other day, I get a phone call or an email..."I need this" or "Can you send me that?"

The first box I shipped includes:
  • about 6 pairs of shoes (mostly dress shoes still in boxes)
  • about 6 purses
  • about 6 belts
  • water bottle
  • her favorite DVD
  • a pair of jeans
  • some old dishtowels/dishclothes
  • some of those 3-M removable hooks
  • a corded phone
  • an extension cord
  • a backpack
  • some trial mix
  • some dried cranberries
  • some of those peach ring candy

I think that's about all! I'm so thankful I work in an office where we have UPS come and pick up every waiting in line at the post included....and I can pay through payroll deduction!

Stay tuned for the contents of box # 2...should be shipping early next week!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Trunk Show: September 27th!

Pssstttt..... I'm going to take part in a Trunk Show featuring our own West Michigan Etsy Artisans! Mark your calendars for September 27th...
Who: 10 Etsy West Michigan members
What: Trunk Show
Where: Gymnastiks Unlimited in Hudsonville
When: September 27, 2008
Why: Because You Took the Handmade Pledge!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Current projects...

I have several projects I'm working on. I have my knitted/felted candy cane ornaments almost ready...I can't wait to see how these turn out. Here's a "before" pic:
They look like a mess this way, right?

I'm also working on some great hostess gifts...felted wine bottle cozies.
Wait, they're not done yet!
And just this week, I've started some coasters. I'm glad school has started as it gives me some "me" time after my son goes to bed!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Antique Roadshow - con't

So, I was expecting to stand for hours and hours in line...happily, that was not the case! Our time was 9:00 AM and it was recommended that we get there about 30 or so minutes before that. We got there right at 8:30 (after making sure to have breakfast & coffee!). Looked like we were the 2nd main group. There were still several lines left of the 8:00 group. Many people brought chairs. I'm glad we didn't as we really didn't have time to sit. We might have been at a stand still for a few minutes..but then we move right along a few feet.

After only 1 hour, we were at the front of the line...the front of this line that is! We were at the area where they gave us tickets telling us which lines to take our items to. We had: photography, Asian Arts, and pottery/porcelain. So, off to photography we went. This is where we waited the longest...close to 30 minutes. And we were only about the 5th ones in this line. However, I think our expert had taken a break. After she returned, things moved along much faster. Then we hit Pottery/Porcelain only to be told that my tea set was worth about $125.00. Off to Asian Arts where I was told my bookends were worth about $30.00. We were done! In about 1 more hour.

Hey, this gave us time to take in an antique store, the local farmer's market, check out a new restaurant for lunch, and a few more stores...and still get home when hubbies were expecting us. All in all it was a fun day. I hope I can do it again sometime!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Antique Road Show

So...a few months ago, one of my friends asked me to apply for tickets for the Antique Roadshow as it was coming to Grand Rapids for the very first time. I didn't want to at first as I'm not a huge antique-y person. But I did...I figured she and her husband could go. Of all of the people she asked to apply for tickets, I was the only one lucky enough to win a pair. And since her husband didn't want to go, I went...and am I glad I did!

Figured as long as I was going, I might as well bring a few first, I could only think of one thing to bring: a set of Snow White & seven dwarfs figurines that my mom bought years ago at an Estate Sale. Here they are:
But, these have absolutely no markings on the bottom...and quickly browsing some collector website, I couldn't find anything like them...leading me to think they might be everyday ordinary figurines.

So, I looked around and spotted a couple of other items I'm interested in learning more about. I took a few quick pictures and put them on Flickr...then went to the Etsy forums and asked which of the three people thought I should bring. Here are the other 2 items:
A Japenese teaset and Indonesian carved wooden book ends.
Almost everyone said I should bring the teaset and the bookends...and that was my gut feeling so that's what I brought.
Stay tuned for more later!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Etsy Day in Grand Rapids

So...if you're familiar with the Grand Rapids Michigan area, you have probably heard about the Fulton Street Farmer's Market. It's been there as long as I can remember and I'ved lived here over 27 years!

What you might not have heard about is the Fulton Street Artisan Market (FSAM). Same place. Takes place on Sundays from 11-3. Artisan's only. And, on August 17th, it's going to feature our local West Michigan Etsy Artisans. How neat is that?

Come on out on the'll be some great shopping.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Basic Black Beautiful Bodacious Bag

So, I made something for the first time...and I'm so happy with how it turned out! I made this bag as part of a trade over on Etsy:

I was browsing some blogs and came across Handmade By Annabelle's blog where I just fell in love with her rag coiled basket in blue & brown. The basket is a gorgeous shade of blue with brown dots and the liner is brown with dots in the same blue. I asked Annabelle a question about the diameter of this basket and in the same convo, asked if she might be interested in trading. She answered my question, but said nothing about trading so I figured she wasn't interested. We traded a couple more convos and then she asked if I ever made purses. Well, not yet I hadn't but I have been wanting to try. A few more convos later, we had decided on this bag. So, I've been busy knitting and felting...and just finished it up today! I hope Annabelle loves it as much as I love my basket!

My basket is a great size. I love that the liner actually has the "right" side of the fabric on both sides - that's attention to detail! I'm going to throw some of my balls of yarn into it - won't that look cute?

Well, let me know what you think of my first attempt at a purse. I added removable handles. The ones I'm including with the purse are black felted wool. But, they can easily be removed and replaced with ribbon, a scarf, chain, etc to change the look. I can just see someone putting a hot pink or red scarf through this to match that special outfit...Wow - I've got to go start knitting one for myself. I may just have to needle felt the letter C. U. T. E. on mine as advertising...

Have a happy day!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

OMG - My Van Is Gone!

What a way to wake up yesterday! I got out of the shower...and was pouring my first cup of coffee when I happened to glance out my back window. And my jaw just dropped to the floor - my mini-van (yes, I drive one - it's great for garage sale-ing or craft shows!) was gone - right out of the garage. I quickly went through the house to make sure all our drivers were still tucked into beds...husband - check, 18 year old - check, and my older daughter was already at work and her car was gone - check. But I gave her a call anway. No, she didn't take my car. But, she did notice that my van was gone when she left for work (and she didn't think to check on that - have I failed somewhere?) but she just thought daddy took it. She also noticed that someone had gotten into her car (parked in back of the house) and the junk car.

So, I call the it, I haven't given permission for anyone to take it. They take the details and say they'll send someone over. He's there pretty quick. As he's taking down the information, his radio goes off: "we think we've found it...corner of x and x...occupied". He quickly gets up and tells me he'll be back. Wow, that corner is only about a block away!! A few minutes later he's back telling me to grab my keys as it is my van! Hooray...I think. Wait, I wonder if it's damaged...did "they" do anything foolish like a robbery or high-speed chase while driving it? He assures me it looks fine. We get there and it does! However, I can't touch it until they process it for fingerprints.

So...they get done and I'm free to take it home. Wow, I'm a mess by the time I get home - literally! Have you ever dealt with fingerprint powder? It sticks. It sticks good. I call in to, I'm going to be a bit late. They're fine with it, really, I have a great boss! A bunch of paper towels and Formula 409 later, it's much better. I can actually touch things without my hands turning black from that powder.

So, did they take anything? Yes... They also left things behind. They stole the van and then went shopping for deoderant, toothbrush, toothpaste and some lotion. They also went to a fast food place. Left all of that stuff when they ran as soon as they spotted the cops. And no, they weren't caught - took off running. I have some items charger, a used pair of Sketchers, and a portable CD/Radio player (used because my radio isn't currently working in the van). Make a mess of everything else in there...

All in all, I'm happy to have gotten my van back that quickly! About a 1 in a million have that happen the cop told me.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Free Shipping through July 31st!

It's Christmas In July time over at A number of shops are participating. I'm offering free shipping on my whole store. I've blogged more about it here:

Come on over and get an early start!

A sneak peek at my newest items

I'm so excited. I was out looking at blogs and came across one by this Etsy seller, Handmade By Annebelle. Just fell in love with one of her coiled baskets. I convo'd her with a question and asked if she would be interested in trading. She answered my question and when she didn't mention anything about trading, I figured I'd have to save for it. About 2 convo's later, she asked me if I ever felted purses! Not yet, but I've been wanting to. So, we threw around some ideas and came to an agreement. This adorable basket is now mine:

I've got her bag knitted and will be felting a load later tonight. Once it dries, I'll attach the handles, list the reserved bag and it's on it's way to her. Here's a sneak peek at the bag:

and also a few other new items I'll be felting.

bet you can't guess what these will be...

how about these?
check back to find out!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Christmas In July over on!

Come on over to Etsy. We have probably at least 200 sellers who are/will be doing a Christmas In July sale. Wow - over 200 - and you're asking "Sure, and how am I supposed to find them?" It will actually be pretty easy. We've had a number of forum threads about this and the main thing all these stores will have in common will be that tag "christmasinjuly".

What are tags? How do they work? Tags are keywords used to sort items on Etsy.

To shop the Christmas In July sale, simply go to and then on any page in the top banner, in the empty box just to the left of the word "search" type in this tag: christmasinjuly. Yes, leave the spaces out! I just did this and found 32 pages of results. Then I added the tag "ornament" and my results were down to 4 pages. So, if you're looking for something specific, add that word. If not, just enjoy looking around!

Each seller is deciding what they are doing for their could be Christmas items, it could be a percentage off sale, it could be free shipping or gift wrapping. I'll be checking out the shop announcements to see what the seller is offering.

Most shops are running the sale from July 20-31. A few have mentioned they'll be running a sale all month.

Any questions? Leave me a comment and I'll get back to you.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Update on our deposit dilemna

So, we are working on a letter to send this landlord...sending it via certified mail, asking for our full deposit back. I'll keep you updated as to how that goes!

Meanwhile, I'll be blogging in more detail about this and previous vacations experiences on my new blog: Sisters On Vacation.

One neat thing - I posted a question on the forums at Great site by the way if you'll be traveling. They have lots of info and reviews on places to stay, things to do, where to eat, etc. Anyway, I've had someone already ask me who I rented from - they wanted to make sure they aren't renting from the same person! Turns out they aren't, but we are mentioning this in our letter...and telling them we will be using the power of the Internet if they don't return our deposit.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Grrr...they're trying to keep our deposit!

So, as we do every 2 years, my sisters and I (husband & kids included) all rented a house together for our vacation. This year we ended up changing our place within a few weeks of renting because we ended up with fewer people than originally planned. The price was reasonable...but I was a little nervous because their website (they are part of did not have any comments from previous renters. This is what they told us:
And I usually don't ask the visitors to put remarks on there. I have several properties through vrbo. Which you can click on the link that says. See all my other listings. And I make sure that they are in great conditions. I do have a lady that just stayed and I can ask her to put some comments in if it makes you more comfortable. But I am always on top of my properties and have never had a. Complaint

Well, we do have a complaint - they are trying to keep our deposit! Unfortunately we did not think to take pics as we left the place as we found it. They are claiming that we did some small things:
~ in one bathroom, they have a black bear toilet paper foot of this bear was already off when our party arrived. They claim we did this.
~ in another bathroom, there is a piece of the tub faucet gone - this is how it was when we arrived but they are claiming we did this.
~ in the kitchen, a cabinet door hinge came loose. They are claiming we broke the hinge. This is normal wear-n-tear and not something you keep a deposit for.
~ in a bedroom, they are claiming a "gouge" in the amoire. This is the bedroom I stayed in and I certainly never noticed a gouge.
~ they claim we were not respectful of nature and threw beer bottles & cans down the mountainside. They were there when we got there.
~ I'm not impressed with their cleaning lady. On the deck was a large trash can that had a full bag of trash when we arrived. Since you had to take your own trash down the mountain (10 minutes 1 way) we were not about to haul someone else's old trash for them.

We are talking a $200 deposit here. We are not happy. We are in the process of writing them a letter...not that we expect much. Probably will also write to the BBB & the Chamber of Commerce. I'm wondering if this is how they make some extra money...and if this so-called cleaning lady gets a kick-back for each problem she finds..and how many times she's found the "same" problems!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Whew! That's Done...

"That" being the Open House we held for our daughter! Not that I really had that much to do...I think that what she needed me the most for is to write checks for everything! That's about all we did this to Sam's to Gordon Food to the grocery to the party to the ATM machine! I'm not complaining, I'm just tired!

I let her pick the menu...with just a few hints from me...she picked: chicken wings (3 styles: BBQ, lemon pepper and plain), macaroni salad, baked beans, veggies & dip, fruit & dip, chips, and of course cake! Sodas and punch to drink. It was all good! The best part? I didn't really have to spend the day cooking.

We had a really nice time with all the friends that came out! Thanks to all of you!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Where did that witch go?

I returned home from a relaxing vacation this past Sunday...just me and my 5 year old in the car for over 1900 miles.... and no working radio or CD player. Anyone care to try that?

We went to the mountains of northern Georgia. Since I was driving down from Michigan I decided to take 2 days to drive it. Good thing I did since I made a wrong turn a time or two...come on, my navigator is only 5! Have you ever tried to change the page on your large atlas going down I-75 at 75 miles per hour? Yikes!

Day 1: the plan was to drive about 6 hours (1/2 way). Hit a traffic jam south of Indianapolis where we went 5 miles in about 50 minutes. By this time it was almost 8 PM and we hadn't even had dinner...time to stop for the night even though we didn't make it to Louisville as I had hoped. A little dinner...a little pool time...and we went right to sleep.

Day 2: the plan was to get to our rental by about 4 PM...should have been about 12 1/2 hours total driving according to my google mapping. So, we left about 9 AM. By my calculations, I should have about 7 hours of driving today. No problem. Until I get to where I-24 & I-40 split...quick - which way do I take? At the last second I change my mind and stay on I-40 to Knoxville. Right away I see this big traffic jam..but it's on the other side of the highway - doesn't affect me, right? Wrong...because about 25 minutes later I realize I should have taken I-24..but to turn around mean waiting in the traffice jam for a least an hour. No thanks! Stopped at a rest area and got some directions and a map from someone working there. Only thing is, these are smaller highways and slower speeds...adding over an hour to my drive. And then our directions from the owner were awful, adding another extra 45 minutes. I actually ended up calling my brothers-in-law and they came out to the entrance so I could follow them back. We were so high in the mountains, there were hardly any street lane roads, even going up and around tight turns - scary!! Thanks goodness my sisters had a big glass of wine poured for me when I arrived - at almost 9 PM!!

Oh, and the title of this post? Let me explain! On day 2 (yes, that really long day), as I was driving down the highway, I got hit by a broom...yes, a broom! It came out of nowhere. I think it hit the car in front of me, it hit my van - thank goodness it didn't hit the windshield or a headlight! It did hit the front driver fender and scratched that a bit and put a small bit of a dent in it. But, no major problems. I've told about a dozen people about this and for the first time today, one person asked what happened to the witch! Love it! I don't know what happened to her, but I think I found her broom for her!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Woo Hoo - We have one more high school graduate in the house! of this past Thursday, our middle child is now a high school graduate. Not that we ever doubted it would happen - she is very motivated! We are so proud of her.

The ceremony however was very long. It started at 6 P.M. A number of speakers of course...six valedictorians! Six!! And each and everyone of the six got up to speak. They did a good job of keeping their speeches short - thanks valedictorians! One main board president...various others...musical performances. It was nice...but let's get to the reason we're here - our kids!

It was about 7:40 before the graduates started to go up to get their diplomas. We were done just after 8:00. It wouldn't have been so bad but we were sitting in the "crying corner". Several babies and little kids and they were miserable sitting in a hot place for that long - I don't blame them for crying! Plus, the people behind me were talking...not even trying to be quiet so others could still hear...that's simply rude.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Look soon for a Give-Away right here!

I'm giving serious thought to starting a monthly give away on my blog. The serious thought part has to do with how I'd like to manage this....what my blog readers will have to do to be eligible...and what I'd like to give away.

When I've got all the details worked out, I'll post them here, in my Etsy profile as well as on Win Crafty.

Right now I'm thinking of having readers submit a hink pink or a hinky you know what those are? They're actually kind of fun. Hinky-Pinky is an old-time word game. The object of the game is simple. Given a clue, you must guess the two word answer. The trick is that the answer contains two words that are equal in the number of syllables and those two words must rhyme. The title Hinky-Pinky implies the answers will contain two syllables. One syllable answers are called Hink-Pinks while three syllable answers are called Hinkety-Pinketies. Here are some examples:

one who lives in basement: cellar dweller
ill young chicken: sick chick
sound slumber : deep sleep
bloody tale: gory story
cook who cannot hear: deaf chef
master of sailing ship: clipper skipper
seat for a rabbit: hare chair
loyal color: true blue
noisy mob of people: loud crowd
shining sun: bright light
clever prank: slick trick
clever detective: super snooper

So, start trying to come up with some original Hink Pinks, Hinky Pinkys and Hinkety Pinketies!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Melting Pot

Have you ever been to the Melting Pot Restaurant? Whoa, I love it! This love affair began a number of years ago when my sisters and I went to the Melting Pot in Asheville NC. Now, at the time, 3 of us lived in Michigan and 2 of us lived in Florida. We started doing a "SOV" weekend every other year. SOV stands for "Sisters On Vacation". We love our SOV time. We pick an interesting location between Michigan & Florida and spend about 4 days together. For us Michigan girls, the trip begins in the car on the way down. Lots of talking, lots of singing, lots of laughing!

Well, this trip, we stayed a couple of days in Gatlinburg, TN; then moved over the Great Smokey Mountains to Asheville NC for one night. And, that one night found us having dinner at the Melting Pot. It was great! We took our time (probably 3 hours overall) ordering and eating. We started with the cheese fondue...salads...main course...and ended with the chocolate fondue. Wow! Just Wow!

We also checked out some stores nearby, and found the neatest furniture store...if I ever win the lottery, I'm so going back there!

Well, a few months ago, our NAWIC chapter #194 did a new fundraiser. We were each given $20 in seed money to "grow". There was a great prize for the person who grew the most from their seed money - a gift certificate to a great restaurant... Don't get ahead of me now! Well, I wanted to try to win that. So, I made handmade chocolates and Kahlua Kits. We held a couple of mini-bazaars where we could sell. I sold most of my chocolates and Kahlua Kits. Then, for a later bazaar, I made my book thongs. They sold great! After the money was tallied, I was declared the winner! And, I got this wonderful gift certificate to (ok, you guessed it!) The Melting Pot.

Next weekend, I'm off to Orlando for a conference...followed by a couple of vacation days. Those vacation days will be spent at my dads, helping him go through years of accumulation and helping clean his house. Most of my sisters will be be helping as well. As a reward, I've suggested we take ourselves out to dinner at the Melting Pot!!

Mmmmm...can't wait!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

One step closer to listing...

Yea - the sun is shining to day...almost too bright as you can see hard shadows...but at least it's shining!
So, I took a look around and wondered what to use to take pics on...ok, so my book thongs are book marks so I will need a book...but, they're also beaded so I need to show off those beads. I ended up grabbing a nickel (think silver, think reflective) platter that's in my china cabinet (yes, I have a china cabinet...actually - I have 2 at home, and one I'll be buying from my dad but that's a story for another day). The tags I'm putting my book thongs on are (IMHO) really neat - my creation as well. I found some neat quotes about books, and incorporated those into the tags. Printed them out on the back side of scrapbook paper and laminated them. Then, I just cut 2 slits into this laminated bookmark so it will hold my beaded book thong and wa-la, you have 2 bookmarks in 1!
So, I took pics of my beaded bookmarks on these tags. Then, but the book thong on a book and took pics as well. And, do those beads reflect in that platter! Love 'em!!
So, that took care of one step - the pics... and step two is taken care of as well as my batteries didn't die while outside.
I still need to write descriptions...should be able to get a few of those done yet tonight...hmmm...I do still need to get to the grocery store (can it wait until tomorrow????)...

"Are You Addicted To Supplies" ????

Well, as Homer Simpson would say, "Duh!"

I must give credit for this title to lucie39 over at Etsy. She is the one who started a forum thread with this title this past Friday evening... check it out at . It is hilarious!
So, I've decided to try and name the top 5 supplies "we" all seem to be addicted to...
#5 Buttons
#4 Paper
#3 Yarn
#2 Fabric
and the top addiction?

#1 Beads
But, I can't leave it here...I must list the many other items that were mentioned: glitter, ink, chain, books, wire, paints, ploymer clay, tools, leather, feathers, zippers, glass, essential oils, roving, knitting needles and canvas!

There are some really neat things that were said... excuses we all use?
"No honey, that's not new - had it forever!"
" ... it was really bad when I work at (craft store) it was an everyday fix"
"I spread these buttons all over my bed and rolled around in them"

It was agreed that many of us are in need of some sort of 12-step program...if you know of one, come on over to Etsy, find this forum thread and get us all some help!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Book Thongs are almost here!

Well, actually I have nearly finished 10 of them. Now, I need a couple of things to finish:
1) some good weather to take great pics
2) batteries that last longer than 10 minutes in my camera
3) time and inspiration to write killer descriptions

Item # 1 - We should have some sun tomorrow - yea! I have these old old window (yes, I've stashed some to paint on) I'm thinking of using for pics (to use them as a backdrop); very shabby chic looking. While I'm at it, I need to retake pics of my cat beds. I took those earlier this year and they're awful!
Item # 2 - I did just buy some new rechargeables...hope they're good! I should find out soon - going to my daughter's step show so I'll be taking pics and video.
Item #3 - I think I'll need to wait until the 3 & 4 year olds are either gone or napping or totally engrossed in a movie. There really is no concentrating on something while constantly hearing "mom" and "grandma". Sigh. Well, I could work on that a little tonight while waiting for the step show to start...except, I was going to bring some knitting. dilemna... which do I do? Think I'll bring my knitting AND a notebook.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Which is a better avatar?

#1 #2 #3

#4 #5

Ok, so I'm always looking for that "perfect" avatar for my most recent avatar is my pink & brown birdhouse, which has sold. I had this idea over the weekend of putting balls of yarn into my glass salad bowl, putting a pair of straight bamboo needles in the bowl to look like tongs...and taking a picture. I took a couple of pictures and played around with them....which is your favorite? Used one in my new banner...and used on in my new avatar - at least now they match!!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Yea! I'm going to Orlando in May

So, I'm really looking forward to this. I've been a member of CFMA (Construction Financial Management Association) since early 2002. They have a national conference every year and this is the first time I'm able to attend it. The best part? I'm going husband or, I'm taking a couple of vacation days and visiting with my dad and a few sisters as well. I'll be gone about 8 days...

Hmmm...I wonder if there are any great craft shows happening then? I'd better go post a question on etsy...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Introducing: Pretty Pockets

So, I've blogged a while back about having finished knitting more cell phone cozies...and felted them...but needed to finish them up. Well, I finally accomplished that! I needle felted the ones without fun fur (that is once I had bought more felting needles). Added grommets, ribbon and buttons or beads. Took pictures. Took measurements. Wrote out descriptions. And finally started to list them.

While I was listing them, I had one of those moments....and asked myself "Why am I calling these cell phone cozies?" That is so limiting! So, I changed their name to "Pretty Pockets". This came about because I used the name pocket in the description of the 2 denim looking cozies. And it hit me! Wow - these really are pockets...I can put my business cards in them; I could put my MP3 player in it if I had an MP3 player; I can put a small digital camera in it; I can put a small notebook/pen in it and hang it up - I keep thinking of more uses! This is great.

So, I renamed my "cell phone cozies" store section to my "Pretty Pockets" section. Come on over and check them out!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Check out the baby sweater!

I made this for a baby shower...I love to knit...don't so much love to sew so to actually sew the seams is an accomplishment for me! I barely got it done in time to go to the shower...good thing it was only 2 houses down from mine. I was in such a hurry, I forgot to get a nice close up picture. I'll have to do that after baby is born. It turned out cute - got lots of "ohs" when it was opened. Here's a pic:

Monday, April 7, 2008

Official Poll Results: Etsy West Mi Street Team

Q: when do we want to meet?
Sat afternoon - 6 votes
Sun afternoon - 2 votes
Mon night - 0 votes
Tues night - 6 votes
Wed night - 0 votes
Thur night - 4 votes
Fri night - 0 votes
Sat morning - 1 vote

Q: What kind of meeting?
in person - 7 votes
a private Etsy chat - 2 votes
Etsy virtual lab - 3 votes
none - 0 votes

Thursday, April 3, 2008

No longer our little girl

Well, on March 22, 2008 our daughter Kelsey made a transition out of childhood. She'd told me for the past year that she wanted to participate in this year's cotillion. And on March 22 she did. She needed a parent escort to dance with her. Since her dad has a bum knee her brother Sam was her escort. They looked so nice - her in her fabulous dress and he in his tuxedo! She had months of classes to take in several areas, dance lessons to learn, and an essay to write. She worked hard meeting the requirements.

I have to say that our Kelsey won the essay contest and was also the recipient of a scholarship - we are so proud of her!