Saturday, December 31, 2011

Hello 2012 , What wonders do you hold?

Goodbye 2011! I am sitting quietly enjoying the last few hours of 2011. I am thinking how arbitrary the end of a year is, but how necessary it is for humans to let one thing end and have fresh starts occasionally. I planned my time today to organize contemplate and meditate. God gifted Hickory NC with sunny skies and a mild temperature. Tonight it is still mild and starry skies. I chose the things I like to snack on and viewed some uplifting videos clips, talked to friends on the phone and read an uplifting book. This may sound dull to you young people but as one grows, we find we actually like ourselves and the thoughts of being alone are far from lonely thoughts. I used to need the commotion, the noise, the thoughts of being seen and seeing others and the distractions we associate with the New Year's Celebration. I remember them fondly and would not have wanted to miss one second of it, but now I prefer to start a new year clear headed and forward thinking.

This year has ended in a whirlwind. Early in November I went in for my annual mammogram and I was called back for a second scan. I really thought little of it because this has happened before. I am dense or something. This time it moved quickly from a second scan to an ultrasound, to a diagnosis. When two people enter the room and one of them sits next to you and gently rubs your back you can bet the news isn't good. Within the hour I was scheduled for a biopsy with a surgeon the next day, then an MRI and another ultrasound. In the middle of all of this I went up to see my oldest sister who is undergoing chemotherapy for cancer (I refuse to capitalize it).  On return to my surgeon , who I chose that first day from a list placed in front of me, he suggested I do the surgery right away, probably just a lumpectomy since they found it right away. (right away means the first possible time insurance would pay for a screening,one month and one day since the last one) When I visited my sister , she had given me a great book her sister -in -law sent her  called Crazy, Sexy Cancer Tips    One of the main tips was to "get out of town". Go to the best cancer care hospital you can get . I am sure many of my friends think I am crazy for going to Duke Medical but it is #5. Hickory has great doctors and I was impressed by the surgeon I consulted and the team who will treat me. I received the same diagnosis from Duke, but I decided I wanted a surgical oncologist that does this all of the time rather than a great surgeon who does this along with gall bladder surgery,. Maybe one of cancer's lessons for me is to stand up for my own body. I sure haven' kept promises to my body in the past regarding food intake and exercise. So this year ends with the prospect of surgery Jan 4. It is a 3 hour drive each way so my oldest son is taking off from work for the days I must be there for pre-op and surgery and probably a day before returning. This is all done at the Ambulatory Surgery Center . If it were not for the 3 hour drive I would be home in the same day. I will miss at least a week of school teaching for now and 3-6 weeks later for radiation. I am at peace with all of this. I must admit my surprise at my reactions. At first I assumed I was in shock and I would have emotions catch up later but now I think I just have great faith. Today when I read the details from the surgeon about what Jan. 3 will be like for pre-op I had a moment of realization it is no walk in the park. I immediately had the second realization that my son will be with me in body and many others have sent prayers wrapping me in the grace of God.
I am trying to take each day as it comes and not over anticipate things. One only needs to experience something once but humans tend to anticipate, dread, fear , and the after the experience they re-live, and remember. I will endeavor the remember the power of NOW.
Here are some of my blessings regarding this matter:
I have a loving supportive family
I have decent insurance and a Cancer policy
I have accrued sick days at work
I have a great substitute who loves the subject and the children
I have wonderful loving, caring students this year
My principal and fellow teachers really care about me
I have more friends then I imagined. People who were just acquaintances show they care.
I think I am on every prayer list in town , one in Md, and one in Fl and probably some facebook friends lists.
They diagnosed it early.
It is just a lumpectomy and a sentinel node for good measure.
I can get it over early in 2012 and move forward.

I could probably keep going on that list, but I guess you see how all of these people praying have uplifted me. Marianne Williamson said the opposite emotion of fear is LOVE. I believe the fear has been replaced with all of the love bestowed on me both bodily and spiritually. KEEP it Coming! I may still hit that moment where I find it hard not to imagine anticipate and scare myself, but God willing and with continued prayers I will come forward in 2012 stronger , wiser and more firmly faith driven.

Happy New Year, we all hope we won't face challenges but we can look back and see each challenge is a blessing in disguise and a chance to be loved. Hello 2012 what wonders do you hold?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Great Give-Away

My shop is being reviewed on a popular blogspot. You can WIN A FREE BRACELET from my shop just by entering . The give-away closes after my shop feature is over , so you will know this week if you won.

The review is beautifully written even if it does disclose the fact that I might be retiring this school year or next.

While you are visiting look at all of the great give-away items that are featured.
This give-away was an experiment on my part to see how much expose and possible sales it might generate. It has been fun!

Here is the bracelet.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Teacher Gets Schooled about 9-11

Most of you know I am a middle school teacher. It is my responsibility to teach young people about American History. I work hard to keep up with technology, vary lessons so I teach to fit everyone's needs . While some lessons resemble school as you knew it, most do not.Some lessons are cut and paste , some are oral reports, some are group work, some pair work and other individual assignments. In other words, the modern classroom isn't sitting quietly reading a text and regurgetating facts.. The old teacher lecture has given way to students highly engaged in discovery. A teacher only does the introduction for a few minutes ,then she/he facillitates and then does a quick wrap up before dismissal.The students are engaged in the majority middle portion. Often technology is involved using the smartboard or mini-laptops. Now to the challenge I was given. Sometime this summer I received an email from school alerting me to start planning a lesson to commemorate the ten year anniversery of 9-11. My grandaughters were visiting so I took the opportunity to pick their brains about their knowledge of the event. These are youngsters who hear all the time about world events and participate in dinner table discussions of the news, so I was shocked to discover their lack of real knowledge until I realized the older one was born in 2000. So I had to realize middle school students are too young to remember. One thing adults do is forget how quickly time flies for us and we make assumptions. The plan changed drasticly once I got that in my head. I prepared for the event. I had a quick activity to assess knowledge . We created questions we wanted to know and pulled up a 2 min. video that gave the the overview. Then we discussed more and I learned. Next we watched a youtube video . This was a documentary about a boy 14 (approximately the age of my 8th graders). This young man was at his second day of Kindergarten just 4 blocks from the twin towers. Imagine being a kindergarten student on your second day of school,four years old and witnessing this event. The young man Brook Peters has produced a documentary on this. (yes, now kids do this). This was a valuable video for my kids because they could still remember being in kindergarten. They could have watched pictures of adults dealing with the event all week and not felt like this. They asked questions, they were insightful and I learned. Next we gained understanding of the 4 planes and all of the events . The important part of all of the lessons was their questions, their feelings, Every class has their own chemistry and personality so the questions and concerns were each class and I learned differnt things from each. The lesson was to help students understand the history of their own lives, but I learned. I learned we have students who care, we have students who feel, question, think, problem solve and want to understand and find ways to make the world better. So the lesson was good for them but great for me. Their homework is to interview an adult and find out the answer to 6 simple questions designed to get their families to share their thoughts and feeling about the event and where we have gone since then. In the last class the discussion, students realized that surprise is the only weapon terrorists have. We already determined earlier this week that fear of the unknown is the greatest human fear. Today they decided love is the antidote to fear. We discussed how strangers helped each other , held each other and gave each other hope and that is how we really fight terrorism. Now that is deep and I think the teacher was schooled. I am a teacher because I learn everyday. I gain wisdom and get real respect for the youth of our nation. If you need a real feel good moment go to this video of alan jackson's song or one of the similar tribute songs. This one made me tear a bit but in a good way. This is the bud commercial aired once. This weekend's commemorative activities may put you back in those feeling s of 2001, if they do remmber the lessons my kids taught me today and God Bless the USA!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day

I have lots of favorite holidays but Labor Day isn't one of them. Don't get me wrong I will take and enjoy any holiday I can get, especially one after school gets started.

Today has been a great day! I had a wonderful lunch at my son's house. He and his beautiful wife cooked a great meal originally planned to be a picnic. That kind of disproves the labor day rule I made up as a kid.

The childhood rule was derived from memories I had as a child. It always rains on Labor Day. I grew up in Florida. Since hurricane season starts just before Labor Day,often subtropical storms came through our area. Storms bring low pressure and low pressure triggers sinusitus. I remember lots of long days inside with a really bad headache. So, gray days, headaches and nothing on the three network TV stations but Jerry's Telathon and old movies. To a kid that is the definition of a rotten holiday and all of this on the weekend I was expecting to blow it out before school starts. I don't remember my family planing picnics or fun days at the beach.They probably understood the weather in Florida.

As I grew up I moved away from the subtropical storms but it didn't change my attitude much. As an adult living in four seasons I figured out that the end of summer was marked by this holiday. The pool closes, people change their routines as school begins. Curiously even people without children set up clubs and activities according to a school year schedule. Fast paced living begins and days grdually shorten at the same time responsibility grows. I try to ignore it. I try to pretend summer is still here but the pool water really does get colder and the days not only grow shorter but cooler too.

I promise myself to embrace it this year. I will gradually change my clothing from tank-tops to tanks with a shirt and then a short sleeve shirt with a shirt, gradually moving to sweaters and blazers before I break out the real jacket. I won't grieve over summer clothes and bright colors and the tan I convinced myself I was getting. This year I will look forward to cool weather,indoor projects and the school year.

Labor Day isn't the end of the world just because it is the end of summer. Today we celebrated indoors because it was raining and I loved it! I plan to be flexible, stop having unreasonable expectations and accept the seasons life brings. I plan to enjoy the rainy days, plant the fall flowers,find some cute winter colors (and maybe add a dash of color to those dull fashions). I will dive into my job teaching so the students can find school exciting and before I know it we will be celebrating holidays and playing in the snow. Yes, to everything there is a season and to try to hold on to the one that is passing is like trying to drive forward while staring in the rear view mirror.
Happy Driving!!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Great Giveaway!

I am so excited to be a part of NC Artisians Directory and the exciting give-away that started Sept 1. You can win one of 12 prizes featured and one of them is a bracelet from my shop.

The popular blog that is featuring this give away is the brainchild of Kaeli a young mother who has a shop on etsy with her friend Brittany. This shop features everything a young mother might be looking for.

This busy young mother and popular blogger,decided to put together a NC Artisians Directory and use this give away as a promotion on her popular blog. I was invited to join both the directory and the give-away and my shop will be featured soon. Each shop is shown for only 2 days but you can see all of the give away items now.

Please visit the blog every day and enter to win you favorite item(s).
I will post here on the day I am featured so you can all read the review.
The random drawing is done by a computer so YOU really can win.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Irene - Not the Only Blowhard

Irene is threatening the east coast of the United States. It is scheduled to hit the North Carolina coast and then move right up the coast possibly hitting seven states. This is the first hurricane since the 1930's to threaten New York City and the possiblites for disaster there are very different from threats to N.C. . Coastal areas in NC are seasoned in meeting this kind of threat. New York City is full of people with no cars and dependent on the "underground city" that supports the city above. Flooding, not winds are the threat to the island.
In any case we are blessed to have early warning systems that give days for preparation. If people will just refrain from being stubborn blowhards who feel they know better than the experts everyone can be safe.

I grew up in Florida in the 50's and 60's when we had much less warning and certainly less predictable forecasts.I remember being in a very sound structure boarded up, with lots of supplies, and being without power (to a child that reads -no TV). I remember the hard work I did boarding up.Kids used to help, and our parents were busy boarding up the business, I also remember the overwhelming clean up job after the storm. As a kid it all seemed quite exciting not scary.
Today homes are not built like that anymore even in Florida. A wood frame house just cannot withstand the same force of winds. Our house was concrete block and stucco, with stucco interior walls. The roof was built of barrel tile specificaly designed to stay through hurricanes. Our windows had custom designed plywood that screwed on with bolts and allowed windows to be opened on the side of the house that was away from the winds.
I was never afraid . I remember sitting at the window watching the police inspecting the road where an electric wire had come down.I thought it was great because my family had potato chips and soft drinks and other treats we rarely ate in those days. It was a family party and at least one time it got me out of taking a test at school.(It must have been Math if I remember it so joyfully)

Now I live safely in the Piedmont of NC and we rarely get more than heavy rains left over from hurricanes that have blown apart. Hugo was the big exception . It came right up through this part of the state and destroyed lots of big trees and some structures. It lives in infamy.

We used to really tease the poor girls who shared names with these storms. Now they are named for boys as well and the equally opportunity extends to all ethnic groups,giving some poor newsreaders and weathermen a difficult time properly pronouncing the storms. Irene is a good old fashioned name. It sounds so sweet and grandmotherly. Perhaps because it was my mother's middle name I feel this way and the the old song "Goodnight Irene" plays sweetly in my head every time they mention the storm. Let's hope Irene is a little less blowhard and a little more sweet as it hits our coastlines in the next few days.Stay safe wherever you are. One day the east coasters can tell their grandchildren about the week they experienced both an earthquake and a hurricane.

A blowhard is a boastful or talkative person according to the dictionary. Hmmm does that refer to the storm or this talkative blogger?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Maryland ,Murphy and

I am planning to go to Maryland soon to visit my sister Linda. It has been a year since I have seen my other sister (Sharon) too. Sharon lives in the same state I do but it is 4 1/2 hours away and in the middle of nowhere (Murphy NC). We planned to travel together to Maryland to see Linda. Sharon is younger than Linda and me so she still has a young family of 3 children (the ages of my grand children) Being a widow, Sharon has full responsibility for the kids and coordinating babysitters, housesitter, catsitter for her was a problem. She has vision problems so we also had to coordinate someone to drive her 1/2 way over to me so we could travel the train together. She lives two hours from everywhere. We looked for trains, planes and busses from Atlanta, Asheville, and Chattanooga. We finally decided on a train that will leave from my part of the state. While trying to coordinate Sharon's journey. I was having my own problems getting the trip together. I have had a cat that has been sick and it is important that he get his meds and eat. I have worried about leaving him. His sistercat is a hog who pushes him out of the way and eats his food if I am not there to keep her away. My oldest son can always be counted on to drive me to the train 1 1/2-2 hrs away and he will be in Utah. Everyone else needs to be at work that early in the AM. I finally just decided to get my own ticket and pray. Almost immediately everything fell in place. cat sitters, babysitters housesitters, rides for both Sharon and me.

This next week should be full. I will enjoy my grandchildren's visit and we plan to sew. Tuesday we will go pick up Sharon in Asheville, NC. She has not been over in this part of the state for a few years. We have a lot to catch up on before we meet up with Linda in Maryland.

Before I go I want to get some bracelet packets together so I can knit on the 10 hour trip to Baltimore . It is easier to string the beads when I am not on a moving train. I am sure I won't need as much distraction on the trip since Sharon will be with me this time but I enjoy knitting to pass the time.

We plan to stay a week which is why housesitting was necessary. When we get to Linda's we are planning to help her get her house organized so it is easier for her to function. She has had 2 surgeries since April and even with a wonderful family who help out she would appreciate the help of her sisters. She said every trip to the hospital has brought more stuff into the house.

I am excited about spending some time with both of my sisters. When I return I will have very little time to get ready to return to school and in that time I have several appointments I must accomplish before I am back in the strict schedule of the school year.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Children's Famine in the Horn of Africa- Knitting Projects

Last Wednesday started pleasantly by meeting my fellow teachers at a local bakery and catching up on each other's lives. This is a tradition that began years ago but it has become something to look forward to. One would think teachers wouldn't want to see each other over their short time off but it seems we share more interests than teaching. Many are crafters and bloggers and despite the various ages we have real friendships. We love to hear about the summer adventures each of us are having and the little vacations our families are taking. One of the ladies is pregnant so we are all involved in her baby's progress week to week. School matters come up sometimes because the recent budget changes have caused job losses and necessarily new assignments for some teachers. We support each other. Today's meeting was the first one I attended for a couple of weeks because I have had a seriously sick cat. He is progressing great so I allowed myself to be gone for several hours today. We met near a craft shop so two of us went over afterward to see what they had that was new. I promised myself not to spend money (or at least not  much). I found a new kind of yarn by Bernat that promises $30,000 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure from the purchase. Visit Bernat Yarn  to learn more about how they help various charities.How could I resist buying it? It was a clever new yarn that looked fun to knit and it also donated to a favorite charity.

You may know, if you read an earlier blog, that my sister in Maryland had a mastectomy in April. Our mother also had breast cancer so it is a charity that is close to my heart. I listed a pink bracelet on my etsy shop at that time with a donation of all profit to Susan G. Komen. You can see it here My cancer awareness bracelet.

When  I came home with my purchase I completely ignored the crochet project I was working on during our chat at the bakery, and I got out my brand new pink yarn, read the directions, and got started, of course I adjusted what I was making to my own pattern. I was planning how I would feature this as an item with proceeds going to SGK. Since the yarn manufacturer had already donated  I could add even more by donating the profit from my project. I was well into the knitting when a news report came on the TV about the Children's  Famine in the Horn of Africa.
Two million children are at risk. I was reminded of the money I spent on a delightful pastry and special coffee this AM when we met to talk.  Think how that money could have been better used for a child who was starving. Shaking off guilt and determining to just move forward I came up with a plan. My mind went to the possibilities of getting the word out through this blog and my etsy connections. I began planning a treasury on etsy that would feature only shops that have an item that has proceeds going to charities and maybe I can convince some people to feature the children if they don't already have a charity in mind. So the next step is to post a discussion thread on my teams asking for only items that give the profit to charity. From those items I will create a treasury that will be seen by many people , this will encourage sales on items that give up the profit and even people who don't buy will be reminded of the fact that they can help and they may donate to a charity of choice.

Knitting and crocheting are hobbies for me . Over the years I have made many prayer shawls and donated them to people needing a blessing for something in their lives. Making things for charity comes naturally. The etsy shop was created so I could keep enough funds coming in to keep up my hobbies. I feel something handmade is twice blessed. Once in the making and once in the giving.

If you are a beginning knitter or crocheter you might give some of your practice projects to the local animal shelter. I am told dogs love to have hand knit blankets. The softness of the blanket protects them from the cold damp floor and it is infused with the human smell from your handling it while creating it. They don't mind missed stitches, unevenness or even unmatched yarns. If you are an animal lover consider this.Knitting love for animals.

I hope that reading this you have been reminded of the blessings you have and some ways to share your bounty. Many etsy shops have the giving attitude. If you buy an item from one of these shops you can be reminded every time you look at the beautiful handmade creation that you are blessing and giving someone in need. It seems like a win-win scenario. Show the world you care today and leave a comment to encourage others to do the same.

Here is a treasury featuring artists who are donating proceeds to many important causes. Find a beautiful item or two and give to a great cause.  Giving-treasury

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Friday Favorites

I would like to start posting some favorite items here each Friday so you can see some of the great talent from etsy click here to see Friday's treasury.

Friday's Treasury

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Facebook,Games,Etsy,Blog,What is Next?

It started so innocently I started a facebook page to catch up with my high school friends before our 45th reunion. I was unable to attend because it was after school started and I would be teaching.Facebook was a great experience and I reconnected with some wonderful people.Soon  facebook grew with my former students becoming friends. Later I added a facebook page for my classroom so my present students could keep up with assignments. Facebook became a part of my life.

At first when I started facebook I thought people on the games were wasting their time. I ignored all game requests. then one day I went to Farmville just to see what all these seeeming normal people were spending time on.I began building a virtual farm. It was fun and time consuming. It was especially fun on snow days when everyone was home and we were sending virtual pets to each other and I was building a bigger farm. I learned some things about economics that I never would have learned in real life because I cannot afford to gamble the assets in real life.

The next adventure in the techno sphere was to open an etsy shop. I had discovered etsy for buying some Christmas items on, so I was familiar with the site. My crafting friends at school sat me down and showed me how. My friend Bev had a shop called The Square Grammy. She features crocheted items she makes:
Like this great applique and cute little  amigurumi
Cool Dude Sunshine Embellishment/Applique
 like this adorable bunny 
Easter Bunny Amigurumi

We created my shop name together and when my photos were under par Becky got out her good camera and we learned together how to improve them. She has been photographing all of my jewelry items.
To my surprise my items started showing up on treasuries, which means someone (a curator) had chosen my item along with 15 other items to feature for people to view.
Suddenly I decided it is wiser to spend time on etsy than on virtual games. Reality won again.
I discovered treasury making as you can read on a an earlier blog.Now I can be a curator. It is like window shopping. Pick out your favorite items in  a theme or color and post it for the world to see. To learn more about etsy shops and promoting my shop I joined teams. Teams are groups of people who have something in common and they have discussion pages that have threads discussing everything from the weather to tips on selling or creating. Some of the teams are very formal while others are very friendly. Two of my favorite teams are Baby Boomers and Blogging Grannies. I have met some wonderful people on these teams and it enriches my life to interact with these people. I will feature some of these people on future blogs.

Speaking of blogging, - most of these teams people were discussing how it is essential to have a blog to promote your shop, however most of the people discovered they were continuing to blog because it was a great outlet sort of a variation on journal writing. I have begun to follow a lot of blogs and it is an informative and varied experience. My venture into the blogphere has been interesting. Today I was fortunate enough to be featured on a Blog created by a new friend in the Blogging Grannies Team.  She did a wonderful job promoting my shop.
Boomer Babies Upcycles
This is a wonderful article.

What is next? My friend Ruth is Tweeting now and she has suggested I try that. It seems I barely get one skill set started when I jump into the next one. I think I should learn more about what I am doing on my blog  first. No promises though. I certainly didn't master the other things before jumping forward.

Who would guess that the grannies of the world are immersed in the techno sphere? I bet more of us are living out there than most people would guess.I admit it never would have happened with out the encouragement and help of younger people, my son ,daughters in law and younger teachers from school.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Make some time to view this.

I found this on another blog. I almost didn't view it because it is 19 min. I am grateful I did. It has much to say about Creativity especially as education affects it. As a teacher and someone who holds creativity in high regard I think it is worth watching. I hope you leave comments afterward.

Life's Artistry

Today I was helping my friend Ruth set up her blog. This is truly the techno inept encouraging the equally inept. I confess I needed help setting my own blog and still rely on my DIL to help me out occassionally.

 We spent a long time coming up with the name of her blog considering the purpose and fumbling through the set- up over the phone. The purpose of the blog is to speak about life as a retired  mother of a handicapped child (grown but living at home)and fitting in time to create. She has an etsy site she would like to promote too  .

Ruth and I  talk frequently about the art of life' balance, keeping things in harmony and how this is more art than science. We both do many crafts and artistic pursuits. She is braver and goes right for the hardest projects while I prefer things that show immediate gratification.We have similar taste in color and we rely on each other when making choices in design for our homes and art projects. She is trained in the arts while I am self trained.

The other thing we have in common is our relentless pursuit of getting this "life thing" balanced. Time management, and organization are challenges for both of us. We often call each other to encourage or otherwise force each other forward on projects whether it be an art project or a closet that needs cleaning. We both have other disractions stealing our interest and time. It is really good to have friends who keep us honest with ourselves about our own issues and bad habits. This is what we are.

Life is an art, a balancing act and an experiment which sometimes needs tweeking on a minute by minute basis. I am learning there are no rules except the ones I make (just like design). It can be colorful or dull. I can stay inside the lines or draw my own. Just so it is pleasing to me. When it isn't pleasing I can remake it or adjust it to make it more pleasing.

We decided her blog should be LIFE's ARTISTY, I hope you will go and read her blog and follow. I guarantee you will laugh and maybe occassionally mist up a bit as you follow her life as a newly retired baby boomer whose life is dominated by crafting and caring for a grown handicapped  child.

I hope as you work on this project, called life ,you will gain by reading our blogs and enjoying the beauty we create in spite of life's many challenges.

Follow Ruth's blog at:

Here is an example of her work

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Where Did June GO?

Teachers live in the fantasy that they have summer . (People think we have 3 months) In reality we have a few days in June, all of July and a few days in August off. This year I didn't plan a house project. Usually I have a room I tear up an re-do which keeps my house in chaos. This year I decided to give myself a break. I want to craft and coupon and save some time to visit my sister in Maryland and help her out.

Here we are July 5, How am I using this precious time? I did get my skylight replaced in my garden room so it doesn't leak out there every time it rains. This allows me to arrange the furniture in some fashion other than to avoid the leaks. It is amazing to see the possibilities once that restriction was removed. That room isn't finished but usable now.I want more time to craft.

 I have crocheted some scarves and I am quite pleased with a pattern I made myself. I have many items to photograph for etsy and I really want to spend some time cleaning up the look of the shop. I want to really look at which items sell and maybe remove some items that don't show interest. I belong to some teams now that give my shop some exposure so I really want it to show beautifully. I am excited because my items are featured in several treasuries a day. I love having time to do the projects I want to do and I have discovered bead embroidery I want to try next. I looked it up because I kept seeing items on etsy that I like made this way. My friend Ruth is teaching herself how to do bead weaving. I am not sure I have the patience for that. She made a beautiful necklace. I will see if I can get a picture of it to show here.

The goal of couponing isn't getting very far. I am not sure I have the interest to follow through. I do cut and file them and I watch my favorite blog. I am more aware of good buys and so I haven't given up on it but I will never care enought to get extreme. Maybe once I get one of those deals that brings me an item free I will get excited. I would love to hear comments from people who do this successfully, maybe it will renew my drive to cut and coupon.

I would like to do a give-away on my blog. I need soem more followers to make this work. Give me some feedback about how to do this.

My summer visit to my sister Linda, in Maryland  neeeds to be coordinated so I can begin accomplishing my desires in this short vaction time. This needs to be coordinated with my other sister Sharon. I think we want to travel together.

Summer is short but that is what makes it special!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

News Flash!

My retro-style zebra  headband is featured in a new treasury for BabyboomersThe pretty hair belongs to my model and grandaughterSavanna.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Choo-Choo Cha-Ching

Please accept my apologies for not blogging for a while. My sister in Maryland became very ill and I dropped everything , got a substitute teacher to take over my middle school classes and rushed to see.her. I am happy to report she is doing great. She came out of the hospital the day I arrived and I spent a week watching her grow stronger. This blog is an account of my adventures on the return trip from Maryland on the train.

When I went to Maryland in April to be there for Linda's first operation I took the train. No one rides trains anymore but I discovered them a year or so back when I wanted to do something special with my grandgirls. It is about the same travel time as driving but if you check on-line and pick the right days it is cheap and I believe more fun than flying or driving.

On my April trip I took my knitting to pass the time because  I was traveling alone. As I sat in the cafe car knitting it attracted some attention and people began asking about my bracelets. I was unprepared. I didn't have closures with me, so I couldn't finish them. I didn't have business cards yet so the possible sales were lost. I came back with lots of nice items to list on etsy because I had so much time on my hands but I could see an opportunity had been lost. Lost sales but experience gained.

This time I strung lots of projects and put them in separate zip lock bags  ready to knit, but I included the clasp for each. I made some cute rings that could be sold to anyone because they stretch and I made sure I had plenty of business cards. I also had recently read on a thread on one of my teams about wearing my jewelry. Today as I traveled and entertained myself with my hobby I was able to answer the inquiries. A young man sitting across from me ask about what I was doing and examined the work. I was reaching for a card when he replied that he wanted me to finish that bracelet for him to give to his girlfriend at his destination. I quoted a price and finished it. He was thrilled and showed it to everyone in the cafe car. I returned to my seat and started working on another bracelet. Someone noticed and I showed her the one I was wearing to illustrate how they finish up and also showed her the coordinating stretch ring, soon the bag of rings was making the rounds,everyone trying on their favorites. I quoted the etsy price and the "train price" to my new friends. The one lady bought the bracelet and ring combo. (It was my favorite bracelet but I could make another one) and the other ladies took cards. I wrote a note on each card for a train discount if the let me know when they order. I was continuing my journey and my hobby, richer in many ways. Lessons learned and return trip paid for. Yes, as I sat there, happy that my creations had new homes with nice people I did a little calculation and the three sales paid for my ticket today! I think the key was being prepared, letting them notice me, answering questions and making them feel special about the items they were interested in.

As I continued traveling ,back in the cafe car for the next break I was approached by a woman for the 2nd time. She was asking questions about how to make the bracelets. I always share whatever I can about what I am doing. It turned out she is an artist who sells at fairs and I told her everything I could about how to set up an etsy shop. Behind me a nice young woman with children, who had been listening in, mentioned she has an etsy shop too so I turned and ask her for her card and the three of us continued conversing I glanced down at the card and discovered she is an etsy friend. Someone I never met. She is the daughter of the woman who helped me get started on etsy and we have emailed each other in the past. What a delightful bonus to my trip!

 I know everyone won't be traveling by train and we all know this would have been impossible on a plane, but it gives me pause. Maybe when I go for coffee on Saturday mornings or sit at the doctor's office for an hour waiting to get in I should have a project with me. Even if it is not the piece some one wants it could be an opening to give out a card . The other consideration is -wearing what I make. The great debate on the team discussion board was if it is right to wear something one is selling. My product is made from thread so I don't list things I wear. When I decided to wear the bracelet this weekend I had decided to keep it for myself. Today I decided since the woman saw it on my arm before I put it on her arm, she knew what she was getting and could inspect it, this is different from an etsy shop sale ,which is determined by looking at photos. I believe I will wear more of my items and keep them for myself unless someone buys them off my arm and hand again. I won't wear them to school but to stores and events other than school. I never thought of that as a marketing tool before.

Remember- the choo choo . I know I can ! I know I can!  Maybe it isn't a train, but what place are you overlooking that could be a marketing marvel?  If you have ideas please leave a comment.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

HELP!! Etsy Treasuries are Addicting !!

Ok, it isn't fair! I tried just a little one because I wanted to pay back the kind and generous people who helped me by featuring my bracelets on their treasuries.
I reasoned that I could show off the work of  my friends. It seemed altruistic because I couldn't feature my own work.
It was a little scary at first, but everyone else was doing it. Just a little one, so I just jumped in.  I did it! Awkward at first, but then the high set in. Someone saw it and complimented me. Someone even thought I was deep because it was clever (if they only knew it was a desperate attempt to connect all those diverse items that had no theme) I received convos from people who were grateful !

Whoohoo ! this is nice. Maybe I will try it again. This time, no restraints, just pick something pretty and go. All strangers, no restrictions to staying with friends items. This one goes fast, it is getting easy and even I think it is gorgeous and cohesive.
Then reality set in, this was supposed to help my friends ,not provide a high for me. So trying to justify my actions I went to a team I belong to , and picked the first 16 members and created something for them. This was good .They were all teachers, fine people who deserve some attention for their talents, and a bonus, there is a built in theme. Gratefulness descends again and now I can justify the habit.
It takes little now to justify my actions.

 Look at this reasoning.-- I had seen a beautiful vintage necklace I own, its twin was in an etsy shop. It was a treasure from my mother and I recalled how I played "queen " wearing this fabulous jewelry. Before I knew it ...there I was hunting items for my royal treasury.

Caught in the dream I couldn't stop! Gathering treasures must fulfill some basic need,(men hunt ,women gather,I am just following instinct right?) Many of these items I cannot afford, and I don't have room for any of them. Maybe it is like "window shopping"  with thousands of people. (Does anaylyzing count as justifying??? ) I don't understand it. I am losing control.

I would like to tell myself it is part of a business plan, a way of promoting my shop by helping others. Even I don't believe that. Lets face it. It is computer crack, more insidious than Farmville , facebook, or even ....can I say it???? blogging. I guess I must admit it. I am sure there will be a 12 step program or  a rehab center sooner or later, but for now you can see what it has done for me or to me  here.

I will try to list them in order so you can see the progression of the addiction.
2 days ago  my first  a little later that night
and now I am really out of control --today

I have no excuses --pray for me.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Breaking News!!!

A summer treasury featured my shell bracelet. Remember as a fan you have a 20% discount when you use the code SEESETHEDAY20
Go here to view the treasury

Sunday, May 15, 2011

It is a Treasure

Today I made my first etsy treasury. For my non -etsy fans, that is a collection of favorite items usually in a theme. Each treasury has 16 items so that means looking up a lot of items and their item numbers. I did it kinda backward because my goal was to repay some nice people who have featured my items on their treasury and also to feature some friends shops.

I found items I wanted first and then came up with a theme after. Believe me that is the hard way to do it. It is one of those trial and error things so I did a lot of both.

After creating this treasury I tried doing it the right way. I created a second treasury picking a theme and looked for tags that sent me to items I picked. That was definitely the easy way. It looks more cohesive too. The problem is I helped a lot of strangers sell their wares.  Next time I think I will send out a post on my teams with my theme and see if the will convo me with the item they have I could feature. I don't know if I am allowed to do that.
Here is the link for my first treasury (the one with people I know)

And the other one

I hope you enjoy them. comments are encouraged

Friday, May 13, 2011

Big Week

A lot has happened since my last post. My sister Linda was readmitted to the hospital and it threw my world into a spin. This is the sister I wrote about in an earlier blog. We are very close although far apart geographically.This health problem is completely different and separate from the Cancer surgery she went through three weeks ago.

I went in to school Monday planning to be back in Baltimore next week. This took a lot of planning because next week is the week we give the state tests. I am scheduled to give tests and so everyone connected had to know. People must be trained to give the test and there are all kinds of state requirements that cannot be accomplished over night. All of my colleagues were understanding and the helpful. They set about immediately making contingency plans.When I finally got to talk to my sister it was clear she would not be home and needing help for some time so I could tell everyone at work to relax.I will go up and help out after school is out in June.

The students were excitable this week! I think the anticipation and fear of the test next week was affecting their behavior. When I say on my shop that I knit as a stress reliever and to maintain sanity it isn't just a catchy line. This week I was very grateful to have some creative pursuits to keep my mind off of the stressful moments of it.

There were many good experiences this week too. I had each of my son's and their loving families over for dinner and I made another sale on my etsy shop. I have finished 20 of the promo items and I received the business cards I ordered. I am taking time this weekend to rest, get caught up at home and do a little of my crafts for fun.

One of the things I am enjoying about etsy is the teams I joined. I joined them to promote my shop and learn more about how to bring it to the attention of others. The surprising thing is that I have found a whole community of artisan friends. I try to highlight some of them on facebook or introduce them to you here. Today I would like to tell you about

IF you know someone who would be interested ,I think you will find the Barbie fashions beautiful and reasonably priced.

Friday, May 6, 2011


When I started my Etsy shop it was the result of peer pressure. Now I have 30+ items in my shop I belong to 12 teams and it has become a bigger addiction than facebook was.

Three of the teams I joined recently are designed to help promote my Etsy shop. For one of the teams I must create 20-40 promotional items which will be sent out as feebies when people sell things. We each do that to help promote each other. Another team is for people who offer coupon codes. They created a treasury that features members work and they are having a big sale right now. Every shop has a coupon. The third team are people with active blogs and we help each other by mentioning each other's shops on facebook and blogs.

I am not sure how much any of this is helping sales but it has added excitement to the whole process and I am meeting some really nice people and viewing some really beautiful creations. I believe it has expanded my ideas about what to expect to see on Etsy. These people are true artists.

Check out some of these links and see for yourself:

I guess I better get back to beading and knitting those 40 keychains for the promotion team.
Have a Great Mother's Day- I will be eating a fantastic homecooked meal at my son Gardner ad DIL Kristen's house.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Calling All Crafters Global Etsy Meet-Up - Not just for Etsy people

My friend Ruth and I are co-sponsoring a craft meet-up in June. This is a global affair with a local emphasis. "Think globaly act locally" isn't just for our environmental actions anymore. This is a celebration of creativity !We want this to be a meet-up for anyone in the greater Hickory area who likes crafts. We want everyone who wants to come, to feel welcome. Come and bring something you are proud of and/or something you are working on . We want to craft, share ideas, eat, drink and meet new people from our area.

My co-sponsor, Ruth, is an artist who loves to work with fabric, yarn and fibers. I finally convinced her to join etsy to showcase her work. Today she found out about this meet-up. We were actually hoping there was already a network and we coould attend their event. We were on the phone together finding our way through the event pages and finally decided we would just do it ourselves.We can make the event anything we want, so we are inviting all crafters.

We want feedback from potential attendees. This must be a simple affair because it is my last day of teaching with kids for the year, by then my energy is spent and I just want it to be a wind down day. We were thinking everyone could bring food or drink to share. When we know how many people plan to attend we will announce the location. Mark your calendar for June10, 2011 at 7pm and go call a friend or 2 and invite them.

If you craft and have cards or promo items bring them along, networking is good.
Bring something to show and something to work on.
We will announce more as we get organized. Please share your ideas with comments here or email me,or facebook comments and ideas.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Family Ties

Sunday was my granddaughter's birthday celebration. It was great fun for everyone. We went to a park and the kids had a great time in the old fashioned way that you don't see much anymore. Cell phones and computerized games nearly forgotten. No quarrels or scraped knees so I guess you can count that as a terrific celebration. Even Tippy the dog seemed to enjoy the sunshine, fresh air and lucious grass.  A family friend's baby was there so she became the perfect model for my headbands. Her big sister got into the act too trying on a glittery headband. I hope to post those pictures soon.

Today was dinner with my youngest son and his wife. She is a genius so she helped me fix this blog up a bit and linked it to my facebook and etsy pages. We had a lot of fun catching up on each other's lives. Kristen's blog is a great one because she is such a good cook and she shares her thoughts and even her recipies. I linked her blog so you can follow it too. Pieces of the Seeses.

Tomorow my other son's family will come for dinner.I look forward to these time we get together once a week. It build's the family ties.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

An amazing organization called Handbags for Hope  help raise money for a great cause!! Handbags for Hope is a Greenville, South Carolina based group who along with their honorary chairwoman Andie McDowell and the South Carolina Ovarian Cancer Foundation are doing extraordinary things to benefit Ovarian Cancer!! Every year they host a silent auction event where they auction off purses signed by some amazing celebrities!!
Last year’s event included bags signed by Sheryl Crow, Eva Longoria, Taylor Lautner, Brad Paisley, and Carrie Underwood…just to name a few :) These women are hard at work once again preparing for their 5th annual event and already have bags signed by Nicholas Sparks, Lady Antebellum, Sugarland, the Cast of La Cage Aux Folles (including Kelsey Grammer), and the Cast of Monte' Carlo (including Andie MacDowell and Selena Gomez).
 In honor of this event, She has designed the bracelets and flowers in my HOPE Collection with 100% of the proceeds going to Handbags for Hope!! Please join me in supporting this great cause!!

New Hair Accessories on Etsy

When I was lucky enough to have grand girls  enter my life, my sons knew I would enjoy the chance to buy ruffles and bows. It is a very different world from the testosterone life of raising boys with bugs and mud.

Recently the Crafter's group from school decided we could make money for the nurses KIN (Kids in Need) fund. We got supplies and put together ribbons and flowers and feathers for hair clips and headbands. We sold them to our middle school girls and sold out. We met again Tuesday and made more. The girls even submitted drawings of designs they would like us to make. All of the money goes to a fund to help kids who need  eye glasses , prescriptions etc. when the families cannot afford it.

This all reminded me that a year ago I made crocheted flower barrettes for my grandgirls, so I dug out some of the flowers I made back then and I am putting them on my etsy site for sale. I taught myself how to crochet these by watching you tube. I think there is a market for these if I keep the prices reasonable and the buyer uses my free shipping coupon.

I hope you will follow my adventure branching out into hair accessories. Try some yourself.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Charm City Visit - Sisterly Love

Two weeks ago I went to visit my sister Linda in Pasadena, Md. (near Baltimore) It wasn't spring vacation time yet, but I took off a week to go and help her out during and after surgery. Before I left for the trip. I put together some materials in packets so I could work on bracelets while traveling and waiting at the hospital. Zip lock snack bags are perfect for this. It keeps materials together and keeps everything organized.

I rode the train and even though I had my " nook" to read  and my computer with me, the time passed quickest when I worked on my knitting. Many of the bracelets are pink and themed with a cancer ribbon because that is where my mind was most of the time. I plan to add some of these to items to my shop and have proceeds go to Cancer research. I have to figure out how to do this. My sister's surgery was successful but I had to leave while she was still experiencing pain. Prayers are appreciated.

The return trip on the train was an adventure. We came through right behind the tornadoes that came through North Carolina last weekend. 10 minutes east of Raleigh we were stopped for over 2 hours while they cleared fallen trees from the tracks. While this sounds boring, it was great fun! I sat in the clubcar with other ladies talking while I knitted and accepted comliments on my work. I had not finished any of the bracelets because I didn't have closures with me so I lost out on sales. Also I was writing my etsy site on napkins for people. Lessons learned I ordered business cards today and I now have a stack of claps which will go with me next time I work on a project in public.

I came back to school and the students actually missed me. The week went fairly fast and Easter sort of sneaked up on me. I had fun with both of my son's families in the past two days.

The rest of this week I will enjoy my grandgirls and play with my crafts, take some photos and maybe even get some blogging done. Friday is a friend's wedding (yes ,that day but this is not the royal wedding) This one will probably be more fun.

I hope to post a slideshow of my new items this week.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Nuturing Creativity in Yourself and Your Children

Just now I had to tell about myself to create this blog and I realized a few things about how creativity is nurtured.

Here is how it began for me:
Mother used to take us to "Back to School Fashion Shows" with a notepad in hand. We would then go directly to the fabric shop and create the same items at a cost the family could afford. Mother had a knack for seeing the latest accessory or color everyone would be wearing and transfer that to our wardrobes. We devoured  fashion magazines and "window shopped" at the stores we couldn't afford. I learned to sew  before I was 10 and remember making Easter outfits every year including the hat sometimes. Our mother had lost her mother before she was 10years old and she used to tell how she took and old adult coat and remade it into a coat for herself at an early age. The key seems to be  getting the skills, exposure to materials and an attitude to "just try it". Believe me everything attempted isn't a hit but the occasions when it is make it all worth it.
Getting the Skills
Sewing was a skill girls learned when I was a child. We had a Doll Clothes Design Club with our Ginny dolls. At first we just used scraps from out mother's scrap bag and cut and wrapped fabric. gradually we began hand sewing the scraps and eventually went to the sewing machine with our mothers' help. It was a Saturday morning party every week for a while.
I also learned to knit, embroider, do mosaics, paint fabric, and I even cover shoes with fabric to match an outfit in high school.
As I grew older I was away from home when I was trying to make a project, many states away from my mother ,and she advised me to just take it to a knit shop and they would show me how. Yes , they were wonderful and helpful (and non- judgemental) and they taught me to crochet too.
As time went on, if friend was learning a new skill, I would ask them to teach me. Most people are happy to help. Cross stitch, and hooking rugs came to me this way.
Some things are easily learned at a class: ceramics, fabric painting, and tole painting are some things I learned this way. The basics are learned at the class but it takes practice before one becomes skillful.
The latest and greatest way to learn is you tube. I see something cute and do a search. It is always there with a "how to" video. The reason I say it is the greatest is because I can pause and replay as I do my own work with the teacher. All in the comfort of my easy chair ... and free.
Being Inspired by Materials
I enjoy haunting fabric shops, hobby and craft centers and on-line sources. I do this alone a lot. I can spend 3 hours looking, dreaming, imagining and planning without knowing there is a concept of time. I have certain friends who share the addiction and I will call them or they will call me when we don't have a time limit and we can lose ourselves in shop touching and looking at fabric, yarns, trims beads,etc. I know which friends enjoy which material the most , so I call the appropriatly addicted friend. Bouncing ideas off of each other doubles the fun.
Finding a Reason to Create
  • Usually a beautiful material will be all the inspiration I need.
  •  Sometimes I see something I want that passes the test. "Can I make it?" "Is it worth the time" "Would it be fun?"
  • Do I need a personal gift  for someone "made from the heart"
Be Accepting of Yourself (or the loved one you are teaching)
Skill takes time. We often get discouraged and quit. Some skills will be easier than others and some may take more patience. Everyone makes mistakes. Any skilled craftsperson will tell you they have ripped out as many stitches as they put in. When I begin teaching people to knit I always empahsize that it looks lumpy and uneven for a while but it will get better. I can figure out what errors they made and help them only because I made so many errors when I was learning. Be gentle with yourself!  This is probably the most important aspect of creation.

Find your Style
You have a style in how you put yourself together, decorate your house or even choose your car. Obviously, most of us admire style we cannot afford.You are constantly changing your style and adapting it but you have a style. Recognize this, become aware of it , how is your style unique in some way? How does it express you? This is important, accept it and accept that others have their style. Don't try to change them or judge yourself by a standard set by the media , your friends, or the times you live in. It needs to be practical enough to adapt to your life but that is the only limit I see. Teenagers go through a style a minute while they are finding themselves. They need to have this time to explore. Back off parents as long as they aren't doing things that harm them physically or get them arrested maybe we should let them look foolish for a while. you will be surprised how they become more like you as they grow up.

Oh sometimes a project will start with one idea and in the process it decides to beome something better so be flexible.

First Post

Today I am starting my blog. I am pursuing this as a support for my new etsy shop, but I understand it is even more valuable as a way of keeping in touch with one's self. I plan to share my adventures in creativity as I am inspired by new materials and new approaches to several crafts I enjoy.

I have just added several items to my shop. I hope you will go and visit :