Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Resolution: 2013

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope that everyone had a safe, happy, and healthy new year! I rang in 2013 with my husband and son, watching my son play trains and munching on popcorn. Simple, easy, wonderful!

My husband and I discussed whether or not we would be making any new years resolutions this year. I have tried to make resolutions in the past, but they always fell flat after a few weeks. However, this year, we are determined to make our resolution stick!

My new foodie blog!
We have resolved to stop eating so much take-out and fast food, and we have resolved to cooking most, if not all, of our meals from scratch!

I've already got a few resources under my belt for some great looking recipes from Pintrest. You call check out my food board here. But, I know that I have to keep myself accountable somehow, and I am hoping that the blogging world can help me do it!

So, I have officially started a blog to track my family's eating habits! Fellowship of the Dinner Plate was born at 2am on January 1, 2013! Make sure to go and check out out daily. I'll be updating with photos and recipes and musings on the day. And make sure to leave me feedback! Feedback is crucial, and I want to hear what everyone has to say!

I am really looking forward to this resolution/project that my family has decided to venture into. I want to get healthy for myself, and I want my son to grow up with healthy eating habits and a healthy lifestyle that he can take into adulthood.

Happy 2013, everyone!

A Year in Review

2012 has been a fantastic year for me and my soap business! I thought I would end out 2012 by focusing on all of the positives of the year.

HUGE Achievements for me this year include:
  • I attended my first craft show in August, which kicked off a great fall/winter craft show season!
  • I was asked to be a part of Bramble Berry's Fall/Winter S.O.A.P. team, and my youtube videos were featured on the results page!
  • I sold over 180 items in my Etsy shop!
  • I had my first International sale!
  • My facebook fan page currently boasts over 600 fans!
And in my Etsy shop:
  • I debuted lip balm in tubes, and now boast 23 different flavors, with three new ones coming in January!
  • My bath bombs debuted in July, and have become my biggest sellers on both Etsy and at craft shows!
  • My hot process soaps debuted over the summer, opening up a world of new fragrances and dyes that are unstable in cold process soaps.
  • Wax tarts made their debut in September.
  • The Soap of the Month Club and the Bath Bomb of the Month Club debuted in November!
I was also featured in three blogs this year:

I am sure that there is more that I am forgetting, but just looking at the list above, my business has improved by leaps and bounds this year! I am so proud and humbled and completely happy with the progress that my shop has made, and I cannot wait to see what 2013 has in store for me! Check back next week when I preview a little of what I am planning for the coming year!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Featured Post: Rebecca from GoodDogPetPortraits

If you are looking for a truly unique piece of art for your home, make sure to check out Rebecca from GoodDogPetPortraits. Rebecca takes any photograph that you provide and makes a one of a kind digital piece of art featuring your fur baby! Wow! Each piece is unique to its inspiration. Learn more about Rebecca below:

Who are you and what do you sell?
 Good Dog Pet Portraits- Custom Pet Art

What inspired you to get started in your craft?
I just recently learned how to draw on the digital tablet and that has been really inspiring and very challenging. I have been drawing and painting my whole life, though.

What is your favorite part of your process?
I love the beginning when it’s just a bunch of scratchy lines. But I also love the moment when I’m filling in the background color because I know it’s almost finished and that gives me a rush.

What inspires you the most while you create?
Music, coffee, my dogs, my fiance, and the thought of making someone’s day with my art all inspire me while I’m working.

If you could pick, what is your most favorite item in your Etsy shop?
A couple of the black Labrador examples are of my own dog, Jasmine, and she is the light of my life so I really like those ones. I always tell her on the days she is really popular and has lots of views.

Anything else that you want to share?
After doing almost 100 pet portraits for people, I still get nervous whenever I send one out to my customers. I guess it’s an artist thing.
Make sure to check out Rebecca's Etsy shop and learn more about here in her About page! 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve Craft Tutorial: Salt Dough Ornaments

Cutting out stars
With the holidays upon us, and my two year old up to his neck in the Christmas spirit, I thought it would be a fun idea to get him into the Christmas crafting spirit as well! After much careful thought, we decided to make up some salt dough and personalize some ornaments made by Benjamin to add to our Christmas presents! He had a blast making and decorating them (and getting a little messy in the process!) and I know that the grandparents are going to adore them!

Making holes
Here's what you will need:
-2 cups of flour
-1 cup of salt
-1 cup of water (approximately... I needed a little more)
-Mixing bowl
-Wax paper
-Cookie cutters
-A pencil, pen, crochet needle... Something to poke holes with!
-Baking sheet
-Paint (we used the acrylics that we had lying around the house!)
-Ribbon or twine

1: Combine your flour, salt, and water in a mixing bowl and mix together until you get a dough consistency. I needed a little more water than 1 cup.
2: Put your dough on your wax paper with a dusting of flour and work it out until it no longer sticks to your hands!
Painting, toddler style!
3: Use your cookie cutters to cut out shapes and use your pen or pencil to make a hole. I used a crochet needle to make my holes and it worked great. Bake in the oven at 300 degrees for 15 minutes, then flip your ornaments and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Let them cool before decorating.
4: Time to decorate!! We were super simple and just used acrylics and finger tips, but you can get really creative with glitter, markers, more paints, or ribbons and buttons to glue on!
5: Add a ribbon for hanging and you have the perfect ornament, stocking stuffer, gift tag, or homemade gift for a grandparent!

Merry Christmas, everyone, and I hope you have a safe and happy holiday!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Featured Post: Jerzy from 2goodponiesvintage

Vintage Jug - Blue and White Pottery
If you want to check out an interesting collection of vintage goodies from all over the world, make sure to check out Jerzy's etsy shop: 2goodponiesvintage. Jerzy's shop boasts all sorts of vintage items, from dolls to jewelry to an amazing pipe collection! Her items are in fantastic shape and well taken care of., and her eye for vintage is amazing! Learn more about Jerzy below:
Who are you and what do you sell?
My name is Jerzy. I am a tattoo artist by night, chicken herder, cat wrangler and etsian by day. On etsy I am currently helping my parents destash their large vintage/antique collection, with some of my stuff thrown in the mix at

What inspired you to get started in your craft/start collecting vintage?
My mother is the collection queen! Even after moving all over the world, she still managed to collect stuff. As she is the queen, I am the princess and love to hit the local flea markets on Sunday morning. It is the only time you will find me up early.

What is your favorite part of your process?
Vintage Copper Cuff in Aluminum
The thrill of the hunt for something really cool-looking that I can work into my art projects or use to decorate my house. I also like to give things I collect a history. Finding out who owned the item prior to me and when and where they got the item connects me to the present in some way.
Going through my parents things has really expanded my personal knowledge of my family roots. Sometimes my grandmother and great grandmother passed things down with little hand written notes on the things they treasured the most. I am getting a real sense of where I came from.

Vintage: What draws your eye when collecting vintage?
Vintage Castello Pipe
I like to collect household items like mantle clocks, furniture and really odd gadgets. I have an awesome pair of old medical lights that look great in my living room. I also like old cars and trucks; I have VW bug and 1960’s pick-up truck.

If you could pick, what is your most favorite item in your Etsy shop?
My dad’s old pipe collection

Monday, December 17, 2012

New Supplies from Aroma Haven

Right before the end of the new year, I found myself with only 4 empty lip balm tubes left in my stock! Oh no! So, before I ran out (my lip balms were very popular this year as stocking stuffers!), I put in a quick order from Aroma Haven. And whenever I put in an order to Aroma Haven, I cant get just one or two things...

Peach and Blueberry Lip Balm Flavors
So, here's the fun, new goodies I got!

First, I decided to add a few more flavors to my line of lip balms. Instead of unique or "strange" scents (like Snow Cone... That one really intrigues people!), I got some old faithfuls. My new lip balm flavors are Blueberry and Peach! They are both very true to their fruit counterparts, with just the right amount of creaminess that makes them perfect for lips!
And, of course, I restocked my lip balm tubes and my tamper resistant bands.

One of the great things about Aroma Haven is that when you purchase an order over $15, you get to pick out two fragrance oils to try for free! My original thought was to stock up on scents for Valentine's Day... But, as I looked around the site, it hit me... MEN! So, I grabbed two masculine scents that caught my eye, and I made excellent choices.

New Masculine Scents: Pipe Smoke and Barbershop 1920's
The first scent is called "Pipe Smoke." My husband adored this fragrance as soon as I told him it was on its way. It is light and musky, with some cherry middle notes. It is not heavy or over powering. I was so excited about this scent that I have already used it! I used the fragrance in a salt bar paired with nettle for a natural green color... That soap will be cured and in my Etsy shop in the first week of January.
The second scent is called "Barbershop 1920's." It really reminds me of the old timey barbershops, with that classic shaving cream smell. I do smell hints of bay and maybe a dash of rum or nutmeg. This would make a great shaving soap, or maybe a new beer soap? Not sure yet, but I'm definitely inspired!

My new soaps and lip balms will go live in January 2013! My little Kodak camera is on the fritz, so I am hoping to get a new camera for Christmas (*HINT MOM!*). :o) Keep an eye out for them!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Featured Post: Karla from emisminis

Chicken Caesar Salad Fridge Magnet

If you are looking for perfectly made polymer clay or bright, fun, and sparkling accessories, look no further than Karla del Valle of emisminis! Karla's etsy shop is full of beautifully made items that will make you grin from ear to ear! I absolutely adore her chicken salad magnet... Isn't it the cutest thing ever?
Karla's shop also helps to support causes like Hurricane Sandy relief. Part of each sale goes to help out folks in need.
Learn more about Karla and her shop below:


1.Who are you and what do you sell?
My name is Karla Noemí, the -emí from Noemí is behind the inspiration for the name Emi's Minis. I sell handmade and hand decorated accessories and I strive to keep the prices as affordable as possible. I believe everything in my shop is less than $9.99. The accessories featured in my shop are always growing. I started out with my handmade polymer clay charms, then added necklaces, key chains, rings, iPhone cases and most recently, molds I made at home of popular cabochons.

2.What inspired you to get started in your craft?
Chocolate Swirl Charm and Chain
My inspiration was seeing cute things like what I sell, but at very high prices and I couldn't afford to buy them. So instead, I decided to research the materials, buy what I could and learn how to make them myself. I'm going on 3 years now with sculpting clay and a year on 'decoden-ing'.

3.What is your favorite part of your process?
My favorite part is learning new things to make, challenging myself, especially since I mostly use 'tools' I have laying around in the house. Clay tools are extremely expensive when they add up. I'd rather buy blocks of clay than a bunch of tools.

4.Handmade: What inspires you the most while you create?
Happy Christmas Cookie Charms
I forget what's on my mind when I'm creating. It's a great escape for me, like reading an awesome book that you just can't put down. I lose myself in my crafting and before I know it, the entire day has gone by. I love it.

5.If you could pick, what is your most favorite item in your Etsy shop?
My most favorite item.. Hmm.. Either my Cuppycakes To Go ring or my Emi Supernova magnet. It's too hard to choose. I love all my little babies ☺

6.Got any social media links?
Twitter: @imasupern0va
Instagram: @imasupern0va
and of course,

7.Anything else that you want to share?
I donate a dollar from each sale my shop makes each month to a charity, good cause, organization, etc. I feel like it's the least I can do to give back. I may not be making enough to live off of from my shop, but it's so important to give back and help others because you never know when you'll be the one needing help. November's donation will be going to the victims of Hurricane Sandy. October's donation went to the victims in Syria. I know what it's like to need help and no one offer you anything. I know what it's like to have everyone turn the other cheek to me and I can't do that to anyone else.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Milestone: My soaps are headed to London!

Creme de Menthe Lip Balm
I just wanted to take a moment and share a big milestone of mine that I passed this last week: I shipped my soaps to London!

I am so excited about my soaps catching someone's international eye and I felt such pride when I waved goodbye to that package as it headed out to travel over the pond to the United Kingdom... Cheesy, I know, but I just cannot express my excitement and gratitude!

I love this milestone, I am so excited to reach it, and I am over the moon that something made with my two hands is reaching someone so far away. I hope she loves her goodies!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Featured Post: Phillip from streetflowerart

"Clouds spitting out clouds"
Some of the most amazing photography to come out of East Tennessee has came from Phillip Kelley of streetflowerart.  His photography features nature, and he captures beautiful, bright colors and gorgeous scenes in nature. Phillip also makes amazing, natural jewelry from metal, stone, and shells, and his shop boasts both poetry and bible versus! Learn more about Phillip in his own words:

Hello my name is Phillip Kelley and I sell handmade jewelry and poetry (either framed or in a book form), and I also take a lot of photos which are turned into framed art. Most of the photographs are of Nature or landscapes.
Seashell and metal Bracelet
I have always found inspiration in creation. I enjoy sitting outside in order to watch a sunset, sunrise, clouds, waves crashing, or life among the trees. The complex yet simple meet here and I always find that inspiration comes during these times of solace.
My favorite part of the process would be taking that one amazing photograph, making jewelry that people are blessed with, and writing a poem that encourages someone heavily. The part that I do not like sometimes, is adding items on Etsy! Hahaha! It is a tedious process.
Nature and creation have always inspired my work. And also the one who put the Joy in my heart. Christ my Savior.
My favorite Etsy item in my shop is hard to pick. But overall I would have to say my first ever published poetry book. It turned out really well. I am thankful that I was able to complete it after 10-12 years of writing.
Turtle Greeting Card
I am blessed and thankful to be part of Etsy and the creativity of people all over the world. It is simply amazing to see what gifts and talents people possess. Thank you for your time and allowing me to continue my craft. LORD Bless.
You can follow Phillip on Facebook here:
And make sure to check out his Etsy shop this holiday season! 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Featured Post: Roslyn from RazzleDazzleMe

Ear Cuff with Red Grizzly Feather
This week, we are featuring the incredible talents of Roslyn from RazzleDazzleMe! Roslyn makes incredible and unique earrings, ear cuffs, and other jewelry featuring charms and feathers. Her jewelry is just fantastic!

I'm Roslyn LaDuke and I sell ear jewelry. I sell ear cuffs, ear pins and earrings.

Feather Ear Cuff
I took a jewelry class about 3 years ago, and I have been addicted ever since. It is not a matter or inspiration, it is a matter of addiction. I would be miserable if I could not create my jewelry.

Thinking of designs and making them a reality is my favorite part of the process. Although, I now enjoy taking photographs now that I am learning more about my camera.

My favorite item in my shop is this one because it is unique and has sold all over the world.

Gold ear cuff with Swarovski Crystals
Roslyn was kind enough to send me one of her gorgeous ear cuffs to review for her blog post. I ended up picking out this fun royal purple feather cuff. Roslyn's shipping was fast... I think I received the cuff within three days or so! The cuff came in it's own gift box with a silver ribbon .
The cuff is great! It fits on my ear perfectly and I can wear it all day comfortably! Roslyn's craftsmanship is impeccable. The piece is absolutely flawless! To give it the ultimate test, I actually wore it throughout an 8 hour craft show. I was up, down, and moving all over the place. The ear cuff stayed secure on my ear the entire time. The piece was comfortable throughout the show, never slipped or moved, and looked great the entire time! Roslyn's pieces are amazing, and I am absolutely in love with mine.

Make sure you stop by Roslyn's Etsy shop and check out her fantastic jewelry!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Treasury Wednesday: Gifts from the Mountains

To go along with my feature posts on Fridays, I decided to do another weekly update called "Treasury Wednesday!" Each Wednesday, I'll feature a fantastic treasury made on Etsy (by me or someone else) and you can check out all that Etsy has to offer!

This week, it's "Gifts from the Mountains" by me!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Oh Christmas tree!

Me and my family put up our Christmas tree the day after thanksgiving. I can't believe I waited, but I did! My son loves the multicolored lights and loves to tell me all the colors he sees. Our ornaments have all migrated to the top of the tree, just out of reach of that feisty little 2 year old!
We even hung our stockings this year using command strips. I live our stockings... I bought and decorated my husband's stocking at our first Christmas. My stocking with the angel is from my childhood (my sister even had a matching one!). And my son's was hand embroidered by my grandmother shortly after he was born. The stitching took her almost a year, but it is absolutely perfect!

Happy Christmas Season, everyone!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Presenting New Lip Balm Flavors

Naked lip balm - no flavor
After a flurry of brainstorming and experimenting, I have come up with four fantastic new lip balm flavors, just in time for the holiday season. And I wanted to take out a moment to show them off. :o)

My first one is one that I have had in my head for ages: Naked Lip Balm! No flavors, no essential oils, just beeswax, cocoa butter, and coconut oil! It's perfect for folks who just need a basic lip balm, but want to buy handmade.
Tea tree lip balm

Second, it's one that my husband suggested: Tea Tree lip balm! My husband uses fabulous little toothpicks that have soaked in tea tree oil, and he begged me for this lip balm. I just had to oblige! Tea tree essential oil is known to have many properties to help your health, but I just like the taste. It's an interesting blend of herb with pine and fir and other needle trees.
Mint Tea Tree Lip Balm

Third, it's a combination: Mint Tea Tree lip balm! This one came after some brainstorming and combining of what I already had around, and this great lip balm was born! Mint and tea tree blend together perfectly; they work together to balance each other out.

Mint Chocolate... my fave!

And last, my favorite: Mint Chocolate lip balm! I am a HUGE mint chocolate gal, and I cannot believe that I have not come up with this combination sooner. I already have a peppermint lip balm and a chocolate lip balm... I guess if it was a snake, it would have bitten me ages ago. And best of all, I used cocoa powder in the balm for the chocolate scent, so the finished balm is a lovely chocolate color.

Come by my Etsy shop and check them out: SecondSpringSoaps

Friday, November 23, 2012

Featured Post: Rodger from rodgeranddelilaplace

My favorite ring, featuring a boulder opal!
If you are looking for beautiful handmade sterling silver jewelry, look no further than Rodger and Delila from rodgeranddelilaplace! Roger and Delila's jewelry is absolutely amazing, featuring gems, stones, and gorgeous sterling silver metalwork!

Here's a little more about Rodger and Delila in their own words:

The Lady Captain
Our names are Rodger and Delila Higgins we are from western Ky area, and we make and sell Jewelry. We do a lot of custom made items!

I started one day making something for my wife because she wanted a certain type of ring and could not find it so as a welder by trade I told her I could make it and it started from there.

My favorite part is making something and seeing the smile on someones face when they put it on. This is why i like the hand make my jewelry.
Sterling Silver and Turquoise Ring

My favorite item in my shop would have to be this item:

You can follow Rodger and Delila on Twitter:

And make sure to go check out their Etsy shop and add them to your circle!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sale at SecondSpringSoaps

Green Apple Bath Bombs
It's that time of year again... Black Friday weekend! Fill up on turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie, then go out and fight the crowds for deals! Whew... I am still leering from last year's fight over a $5 waffle maker (which I didnt get! Curses!).

Any who, this year, you can search for deals online, in the comfort and privacy of your own home! I'm happy to announce that this year I will be holding my own black friday weekend sale in my Etsy shop! From Thursday, November 22 - Tuesday, November 27, you can stock up on your favorite soaps, lip balms, and everything else in my shop at 10% off!! Awesome!

Hot Chocolate Soap
And, for being such amazing, wonderful, gracious blog readers, you can also use the coupon code "2012BLOG" and get additional free shipping! The coupon code is already live, and you can use it until December 19, which is my cut off date for holiday shipping!

I just wanted to take a moment and thank all of you guys for your love, support, and encouragement over the past year! My shop has done amazing things this year, and my readers, fans, and customers are a constant source of inspiration. Thank you so much, and have a wonderful holiday season!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Featured Post: Karyn from PinkMouse

One of my favorite Etsy shops to look through is PinkMouse, filled with the creations of Karyn Milner! I love to look through her shop at all of the beautiful colors and fantastic patterns! Her clothes really make me want to have another baby... maybe baby #2 will be a girl!

Enjoy learning more about Karyn and make sure to check out her shop!

Fun Headband for Fall!
Who are you and what do you sell?
My name is Karyn Milner, my etsy shop is Pink Mouse Boutique. I make and sell kids clothing.

What inspired you to get started in your craft?
I started sewing when I was young. I think it was an inherited gift as my great-grandmother, grandmother and mother were all seamstresses. I have even inherited their sewing machines!
I started making kids clothes to sell on etsy after I had a car accident in 2009. The accident left me unable to stand for any length of time so I couldn't cut out large pattern pieces but I could sit and cut out smaller kids clothes. Etsy became a life-line for me, giving me something to do besides watch TV and play farmville!
Beautiful Purple and Cream Set!

What is your favorite part of your process?
Combining fabrics into a finished piece of clothing. I love working with excellent quality cotton fabric in designer prints.

What inspires you the most while you create?
My mother. She made almost all of my clothing when I was younger, including my dance costumes, wedding dress and maternity clothes. She was a first class seamstress!

If you could pick, what is your most favorite item in your Etsy shop?
I love this little dress and pantaloons! I like the old school design and fabrics. My mother would have made this little outfit for me or my daughter.

Got any social media links?
Twitter - @thepinkmice
Facebook -

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fall/Winter Holiday Craft Shows

Man... A few months ago, selling at a craft show was a pipe dream. I had applied to one and had not heard anything back... Now look at me! I am booking craft shows all over East Tennessee!  I have been loving every minute of the show season... I really love connecting with folks who love my soaps!
My craft show set up!
I just wanted to give a quick update on where you can find me for the rest of the year:

Saturday, November 17
Christmas Stop and Shop
Townsend, TN

Sunday, November 18
Tinsel Town and Tasting
Newport Civic Center
Newport, TN
12:30pm - 5pm

Saturday, November 24, December 1, December 8
Johnson City Farmer's Market
Johnson City, TN
9am - 2pm

And remember, you can always find me on Etsy at my Etsy shop!

Come back by on Monday to see what my awesome Black Friday weekend sale will be!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Hot Process Goat's Milk Soap (In Pictures)

Here's a quick picture tutorial for my hot process goat's milk soap! Super easy... Just remember to stick by it and keep an extra eye on the soap as it cooks!

Oils melting! I used olive, castor, and tallow.
First, you will start off like normal, melting your oils in your crock pot or double boiler. When you make your lye solution, you will keep out part of your water to substitute with milk. (For example, if you are supposed to use 12 ounces of water, just 8 ounces instead, and keep 4 ounces of milk to the side) Please take loads of CAUTION with your lye solution, because it will be stronger than a normal batch! Put your milk in the fridge to chill it.
You can use a stick blender or a whisk. It will trace fast!
Once the oils are melted, add your lye solution (BE VERY CAREFUL! It will be extra strong!) and mix until traced. Your soap will trace faster than usual, because of the water discount.

Add your goat's milk!
Now, slowly add your chilled milk and mix together. Your soap may take on a neon yellow or neon orange color. This is normal, dont panic! As the soap cooks in your double boiler or crock pot, keep a very close eye on it and stir it often. Your soap will take on a natural tan color as it cooks. Remember, oil separation is normal in the beginning stages of hot process soap, so no worries!
Almost ready! It needs to cook a little longer...
Once the soap takes on a mashed potatoes-like consistency, you can add any fragrances or additives and toss the soap in your favorite mold. I added some ground oatmeal to this batch for some scrub!  Once cooled, your soap can be cut! Some folks like to use hot process soap right away, but I still let mine cure for 4-6 weeks.

Goat's Milk Soap with Oatmeal
Enjoy!! It may take a few times to get it right, but hot process goat's milk soap is fun, fantastic, and addictive!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Featured Post: Catherine of cwporche

Another great artist in our series of features Etsy artisans is Catherine from cwporche! Catherine hails from Erwin, TN; a small town nestled into the rich Appalachian Mountains. Catherine's shop boasts beautiful artwork and beautiful classic crafts, like handmade quilts and bunny rag dolls, as well as her famous felt mice! I could go on, but I will let Catherine take the wheel!

Quilt: The Christmas Garden
I am Catherine Porche of I am a passionate watercolor painter, quilter and crafter! I sew purses and little felt mouse figurines and sell any of it as well as accepting custom orders.
I have been sewing since the seventh grade and making and selling my mice since about the eighth grade (a long time ago!) My mom taught quilting classes, so naturally I learned traditional quilting. Rag quilts offer me more freedom and I've always loved the play of colors against one another.

For each of my artistic endeavors, even though they seem very different, my favorite part is being fully present in the portion in front of me. When I am imagining a mouse character I am dreaming up a back story and how to convey the costume well. If I am envisioning a painting, I let go of all my daily concerns and go where the paints take me. With formulating a quilt's color scheme I just mentally swim around in all the available fabrics until I am smitten with a collection I have made. That immersion in the process itself is such a joy to me; it is truly my favorite part!

Catherine's beautiful watercolor, "Led"
Being inspired to create isn't really how I feel about it. For me, it's more like a craving that must be satisfied. I yearn to make something beautiful or quirky or cute or comforting. I neeeed to make something, sometimes very small but I feel anxious until I can get to that part of my day. Beautiful photos and magazines of crafts, gardens and artwork are fuel for my fire but my favorite inspiration is the smile on the customer's face when they are loving getting it as much as I loved making it.

To pick one favorite item from my shop would be like picking a favorite child. My favorite painting right now is "Led".  It seems mysterious and thought provoking to me. My favorite quilt is The Christmas Garden.  I think its a fun useful way to make a room seem ready for the holidays. And my favorite mouse is Little Red Riding Hood. I just finished her and hope to have her posted soon-she's so cute!

You can find more about Catherine here:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Hot Process Goats Milk: mystery revealed!

Every soap maker, from the newbies to the seasoned soapers, either loves or loathes making goats milk soap. The milk can separate, curdle, cook, discolor, or stink! It is a big pain in the booty, but the outcome is so lovely! Goats milk soap is truly worth all of the sweat and tears!

After just a few craft shows under my belt, I began receiving more and more requests for these tricky suds. So, one evening, after apparently losing my mind, I attempted to make goats milk soap with disastrous results! My soap stank, looked bright orange, and was just a mess... So, bound and determined, I set out to perfect the art of making soap with milk, while hot processing!

Keep on the lookout for my tutorial!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Featured Post: Linda from SewUpscale

Every Friday through the holiday season, I will be featuring a different artist, craftsperson, or vintage collector from Etsy! I have met many wonderful people through Etsy, and I would like to take out some time to showcase their talents!

This week's feature is Linda from SewUpscale!

1.Who are you and what do you sell? Hi! My name is Linda Johnson and my shop is Sew Upscale. The main focus in my Etsy shop is quilted fabric postcards. I'm passionate about mountain landscape scenes. I also make small quilted wall hangings. I have a few vintage items and some destash craft supplies

2.What inspired you to get started in your craft/start collecting vintage? I've always loved to sew. I started out designing and making doll clothes when I was about 10 years old. I discovered quilted fabric postcards a few years back one day when I was searching the internet. I loved them and taught myself how to make one. Since I was still working full time outside the home at that time, it really fit me since they were small and relatively quick to finish. I hadn't actually seen any landscape postcards but that is what I started making. I have developed my own style which I think is fairly unique.

3.What is your favorite part of your process? Designing the card and choosing the fabric that creates that certain look.

4.What inspires you the most while you create? I would have to say it is the fabrics and remembering a scene. I see quilted postcards in everything.

5.If you could pick, what is your most favorite item in your Etsy shop? I actually sold my favorite postcard Monday but here is one I love also. It is a mountain scene with a hiking trail and a campsite with a campfire. It is so tranquil.
Linda's Postcard: Hiking and Camping

6.Got any social media links?

7.Anything else that you want to share? I can also take your favorite landscape photo and recreate it in fabric. Postcards are also sold at Mountain Made in the Grove Arcade in Asheville, NC. A new store opening in Black Mountain in March 2013, Faison O'Neil, will also be selling my mountain postcards.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Easy tent weights!

This week, I made my first tent weights! I thought I would share them with you...

You will need: 4 buckets, a small (read: 50 pound bag!) bag of Quikrete, Eye hooks, washers, and nuts.

What you will need!
Start by attaching the washer and nut tightly to the eye hook. This gives the eye hook something to hold on to, and your tent will not pull the hook right out of the concrete!
Next, fill your buckets about 3/4 of the way full of Quikrete. Make sure to wear eye protection and a face mask! Once the dust fades, bury your eye hooks in the Quikrete and just add water! No need to stir! (So easy, a toddler can do it!)
The Quikrete will dry in about an hour! Just add some strong nylon rope and voila! You have home made, fairly inexpensive tent weights for your craft shows!
I have about $16 in these weights, which is WAY cheaper than buying them for $40 at a big box store! I bought my buckets at the Dollar Tree for $1 each, the Quikrete was $5 at Lowes, and I bought 6 eye hooks for $6 at Lowes. I already had the nuts and washers on hand.
All in all, it was a fun, easy, fairly quick project! And best part: I will not have to borrow Jeri's tent weights any more! Ha!