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Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

In honor of Halloween, I've gone pumpkin orange! I used to love making costumes for the kids and taking them to parties or out trick-or-treating. Those days are long gone, but take a trip down memory lane on your way to all the good candy, and check out my favorite costumes, that I made. The year was 1992. Kyle was 2, Laura just turned 5.

There's nothing scarier than a shark with a pacifier! But Belle has the situation well in hand.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sad News for the One a Day Challengers

This evening we all learned that one of the original Challengettes, Corinne (Cori) Portalatin, ccdesigns, passed away Monday morning, October 27, from a brain aneurysm. This is such sad and shocking news, and she will be dearly missed. Cori always had a positive word for us all, and offered her expertise in many areas. She made beautiful jewelry, and freely gave tips to us, both in our team thread on etsy and on her blog.

Our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this sad time.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Baby Friendly Beads, Featured Blogger

October's featured Etsy Blogger is Jen, of Baby Friendly Beads and Mama's Magic Studio. Self-professed domestic goddess, she makes necklaces and bracelets for nursing moms and their babies. In her own words, from her profile,

"Baby Friendly Beads are the original, adjustable-length, one-piece design for nursing necklaces. Because there is only one, continuous piece of cord used in my necklaces, there is no risk of the pendant breaking off and scattering beads everywhere."

Nursing Necklace and Bracelet Reminder Set

In Mama's Magic Studio, she makes the cutest fraternal earrings, earrings that are "like fraternal twins...not identical, but definitely a pair."

Knit the Knot Known Fraternal Earrings

Read more about Jen, her family, and her creating in her blog, Mama's Magic Studio.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Coaster Giveaway Winner

I did the drawing tonight, as promised. There were 21 entrants (one was through a convo on etsy), and I used to choose. The winner was a fellow Etsy Blogger member, Tote N Tots. Congratulations!

She is donating the proceeds from her October sales to the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, so be sure to check out her shop. I love this elegant tote that was recently listed! (I am way past the diaper bag phase, lol.)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Coaster Experiment Update

Well, thanks everyone for your ideas and opinions after reading about my coaster experiment. The final votes are not in, but the majority thought having some waterproof capability is important. There are a number that really like the idea of reversible coasters.

So, I've decided to make both! I'm calling the reversible coasters, Coffee Mug Coasters, to let everyone know that these are best for hot drinks! I've got some great Christmas fabric and winter fabric that will be fabulous to use when you make that hot chocolate. Don't forget the marshmallows.

The coasters with the waterproof bases will be simply coasters with waterproof, non-slip bases. Check back in the shop often, because I'll be trying to list 1 or 2 sets a day.

And the contest is still open, so if you want to comment on whether you like reversible or waterproof coasters better, you'll be eligible to win a free set (your choice of any in the shop). The contest ends this Thursday at 10 pm, est.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Coaster Experiment and Giveaway

I was so excited! First of all, making quilts, even small ones, takes some time. And they are expensive to buy. I'm always looking for something quick to make, that has a lower price point, to give my shop some diversity. And I found it. I thought. Made these great coasters that are reversible.

Reversible 4" Coasters

But then reality struck. I started testing them out. And since they are cloth, even with two layers of batting, they get wet and eventually soak through. So what to do? I decided to test different types of layers. I tested adding a layer of insul-brite, a batting used in hot pads that has mylar woven through it. I tested a layer of vinyl. I bought a waterproof crib mattress pad, and tested that. And finally, a layer of that grip stuff you line your shelves with made by Con-tact.

Here's what happened with all of them: when enclosed between the fabric and batting, the liquid will soak through the top, and wick around to the bottom, eventually soaking the bottom, and getting your table wet (or at least damp).

Con-tact sheet on left

The final thing that I tried was to sew the con-tact grip sheet directly to the bottom. Voila. Success. The problem here is that now the coasters are not reversible. How important is that anyway?

The bottom line, no pun intended, is that the coasters as originally made, are fine for hot drinks, acting like a small hot pad. But I'm considering adding the waterproof capability to make these little gems more versatile.

What do you think? With or without a waterproof bottom? Let me know in a comment and you'll be eligible for a free set of coasters from Elle Quilts (your choice). Right now, there is only one set, but, hopefully, by next week there will be more choices. I will draw a name using Just be sure to leave your email (you can email me if you don't want to leave it, or a link to your etsy shop.

The drawing will be on Thursday, October 23, at 10 p.m. EST.

And thanks for your help!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday's Musings

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
~Mark Twain

Happy Columbus Day!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Blog Carnival -- Working for Weight Watchers

It's Blog Carnival time again for the Etsy Bloggers, and the 2 topics we have to choose from deal with work or play. I've decided to write a bit about my current employment (other than etsy, of course). Actually, for most of my adult life, I've multi-tasked... for the last 18 years, I was (mostly) stay at home mom to 2 wonderful kids. But I always seemed to be busy with other things as well, often volunteering, going to school myself or working at a part-time job of some sort.

So, running two etsy shops, in addition to another job really suits my style. And, just what is this other job. I am a Weight Watchers leader. My sister wondered why I would want to tell people that's what I do, because then they would know I had been fat. (One of the requirements for employment with WW is to have been a member, and been successful at weight loss.)

So, yeah, it took me a long time, but I lost 20 pounds. Not a lot of weight, but I struggled and had the same difficulties that people that have much more to lose. I currently run two meetings for the Corporate Solutions side of WW, meaning once a week, I go into a place of business, and run a meeting for their employees. Working for WW sometimes feels like a volunteer job, as the pay is, well, nothing I'm going to get rich from. But giving people the support they need, and educating them about healthy eating has been very rewarding.

I have some awesome members, that often thank me when they lose weight. But really, they have done the hard work themselves. Because, as the old saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. And that is the flip side that can be frustrating. For every successful members that I have, there are 3 more that find themselves unable to make the necessary changes.

Sometimes I wish I had a magic wand that I could wave over every person that wants to lose weight and, Poof!, they were thin. But if I can help a few find the motivation within to make changes and lose weight, then the job is worth it.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

I'm really thrilled in an odd kind of way, perhaps, for a woman of my age, but I've been tagged by fellow blogger purlyshells to divulge 6 secrets about myself. So what don't you know? Well, probably pretty much, but here goes...

1. I love to be part of the group! Which I guess explains why I'm thrilled to be tagged to do this little blogging exercise. There is a down side to this little characteristic, in that I tend to be a people pleaser, putting myself at the end of the line, but that's another topic. But to paraphrase Sally Fields from her Oscar acceptance years ago, "You like me!" OK, you don't really even know me, but that's beside the point. :)

2. I love maps! I have loved poring over maps since I was a little girl, and about 8 years ago, I earned my Associate's Degree in Geography. I hadn't really intended to get the degree, but just wanted to see if I liked going back to school enough to get my Master's. (I already have a Bachelor's degree in psychology.) Well, never got the master's, but got the Associate's.

3. I've lived in Prague. From 1993-1998, Roland and I and the kids packed everything up and the cat, and moved to Prague. Roland worked for an American law firm, and I held down the fort, managing the kids, the navigating, and the shopping. I spoke Czech very badly, but could make myself understood. Scary at times, but 110% rewarding. I recommend living out of the United States, for at least a short time, for every American citizen. Dobry den!

4. I've won ribbons for smocking at the State Fair of Texas. One was an Honorable Mention, and one was Third Place, as I recall.

5. I attended an elementary school reunion last month. It was held the same day as my 30th high school reunion. Sounds kind of strange, and while I had not seen this group of people in at least 30 years, and probably longer, we all reconnected, and had a great time.

6. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and while I have been fortunate to not have had this disease, like many people, my life has been touched by those women who have. In 2000, in honor of my turning 40 that year, I walked 60 miles in the Avon Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk, from Frederick, Maryland to Washington, DC. It was one of the most meaningful events that I have ever participated in.

And now, tag!, you're it...

the gaudy goddess
Bead Flora and Jewels
Sleepy Mama Times
Rainy Day Art
Tulip's Treasure Box