Delete! Delete! Delete!

Halloween is finally over. And I got the costumes made. More or less. I probably made Ali's one size too small, so she won't be able to wear it much longer. And we couldn't brave the SW-PA Halloween temps without covering up the costume, instead of wearing an extra layer underneath. The hardest part of her costume was finding a stuffed animal suitable to be Toto.

Now EJ's costume?  A completely different story.  I think this is the hardest costume I have ever constructed.  It took several near-sleepless nights, an almost all-nighter, and it still wasn't as finished as I wanted it to be by today (let alone the school parade last Thursday).  I never did get the belt made.  And the mask could have been bigger.  And the boot covers were a little too small for his huge feet, so they didn't stay on correctly, and he kind of trampled them.  All in all, it turned out pretty well.  Too bad nobody around here knows what Cybermen are, but they still appreciated the costume.

I realized after I started making it that maybe I should have taken pictures along the way of the construction, but I didn't.  I used a pattern for a man's super hero costume (in XS) for the basic top/pants, which I made out of crushed panne.  I altered other pieces from the same pattern for the metal "plating" parts, and they're made from two layers of baroque satin, with a layer of fleece in between.  I used my machine quilting skills to make all the details, including the Cyber-C.  For the hood, I used a boy's super hero costume, and took the idea for the mask from that.  But the mask is based on a print-out of an actual Cyber-head, and was made from two layers of the satin with two layers of sew-in interfacing between, and has a piece of elastic to hold it on under the hood.  Then I took some sparkly silver "chenille stems" (because we can't say "pipe cleaners" anymore), doubled them up, and stitched them to the shoulder and thigh pieces, as well as the hood and the back of the mask.  I used the one on the mask to attach it to the hood piece after it was put on, and to sort of keep things in place.  I couldn't find any silver ski gloves (go figure!), so we just used stretchy gray gloves.  Never did get the joy buzzer, either.
Here's EJ trying to "delete" his sister before heading out for Trick-or-Treating.  And her playing her part with a "terrified" look on her face.

So, do I earn my "Geek Badge" for this one?

I have asked EJ to PLEASE pick something next year that has a pattern readily available and that I don't have to alter significantly.  Or else he needs to decide in July want he wants to be, and I have to not wait until two weeks before Halloween to start working on it.  And he can't change his mind once I do start working on it.  The same goes for Ali.  (Yeah, right.  Who am I kidding?  I'll make whatever they ask for...)


Today's Listing: Black, Hematite, Silver, Gray and Crystal with a Dragon Charm

Today's new listing in my Etsy shop:

Tons of beads in black, hematite, silver, gray and crystal. I added a metal dragon charm on the end. Doing such a monochromatic combination is always tricky, so I tried to throw in as many different shapes and sizes of beads as I could fit. I think the combination still lends a masculine feel to the bookmark.

Beaded Bookmark in Black Hematite Silver Gray with Dragon Charm BK-059-KSU


Finally adding some new things to my shop

Since the Holiday Shopping Season is upon us, I've been trying to make a ton of new bookmarks. I've got the middle pieces for almost 40 new ideas started, in every color of the rainbow. From fairies, wizards, and dragons, to ladybugs, butterflies, and flowers, to snowmen, trees, and snowflakes, there should be something to appeal to everyone. (If not, contact me, and I'll create something special for you!)

I've been adding dangles and charms whenever I have a free moment at swim lessons or dance practice. So far, I have 5 completed bookmarks that have been listed in my Etsy shop. Two of them are for Breast Cancer Awareness and feature "Hope" Ribbons. $1 from the sale of any bookmarks in my Pink Ribbon section will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF).

Two more bookmarks are "girly-girly," all pink and sparkly with charms that have Swarovski crystals on them.

The fifth one if my tribute to the Black 'n Gold fans of The Burgh.  It features the standard black and gold beads, with some white, red, blue, and yellow from the Steelers emblem thrown in.

Stay tuned for what I hope to be many, many more bookmarks in the coming weeks!


This year's Halloween costume challenge...a Cyberman!

Somehow in the past few months, the kids have become HUGE "Doctor Who" fans. Completely supported (and enabled) by me, their geeky/dorky mom. But it also creates something of a challenge for me, because E.J. has decided he wants to be a Cyberman for Halloween this year.

Ali always seems to "go easy" on me. "I want to be Alice." "I want to be Tinker Bell." "I want to be Princess Leia."

And this year, "I want to be Dorothy." Of course Mom can't just do a Dorothy version of the Alice costume from before. I got the "official" Wizard of Oz pattern. Not really challenging to sew, just more pieces.

E.J. isn't necessarily always so complex, like the shaggy brown dog year (except for sewing fake fur--it was everywhere). Or the Abraham Lincoln year. We already had the black suit from tap dance; Mom just had to make the hat and bow tie.

Or Captain Hook the year everyone else was Captain Jack. But then there was "I want to be an orange mouse." "I want to be a race car driver, and it has to look just like Jeff Gordan's."

"I want to be Anakin Skywalker, Episode III."

Now it's "I want to be a Cyberman."

I have a few ideas of how to approach it, because I can't just send away to the UK for one. That wouldn't be sporting. ;) I took E.J. to Joann's yesterday to look at fabric. Shiny, gray or silver without using the very nice, expensive, shiny, silver pleather or (shudder) tissue lame'. (After Captain Hook's hook, I vowed no more lame'. Just like after the shaggy brown dog, I vowed no more fake fur. So far I've stuck to my vows.)

E.J. gave some input while at Joann's, but admitted he knows nothing about shopping for fabric. He did say something like, "I know in the end, it will be amazing." (Okay, I can't remember his exact words, but bless his little 9-year-old heart.)

After praise like that, how can I NOT take up the challenge of creating a Cyberman. You'll just have to wait for the results. Think I'll tackle Dorothy first, though.

"Give me candy, or you will be deleted!"


How I'm helping to celebrate World Toilet Day

Yes, that's right. World Toilet Day, held every November 19, to help raise awareness for the 2.5 billion people who don't have access to proper sanitation. Until a few months ago, I didn't know there was such a day. But then I heard about a Global Quilt Project through @PieceMama on Twitter. The project is being sponsored by GlobalChange.Me, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide safe, clean water and sanitation to people living in extreme poverty throughout the World.

GlobalChange.Me is collecting 12x12 and 9.5x9.5 quilt sqaures. Their plan is to put the collected squares together into a quilt that will be auctioned off on November 19, 2010, World Toilet Day. Proceeds from the auction will be used to build two latrines for a school in the Central Africa Republic.

Any quilter knows we don't need an excuse to create with fabric, but sometimes it's nice to have something extra motivating you. I learned about the project months ago, and squares are due by July 31. Of course I put it off until the last minute to create something, but I finished a square this afternoon. I was really hoping to have more than one to donate, but at least I have the one! It will be in the mail tomorrow.

I really had no plan going in to making the block. I grabbed a box of scraps, pulled out some of the biggest pieces, and sat down in front of the machine. Somewhere along the way I figured I'd do something of a crazy quilt block. I managed to do this one without any backing/stabilizer. There's really no rhyme or reason to the fabric placement, but I guess if you turn it one way, it could look like grass, a tall red building, and rays of sunshine. Or it could just be a bunch of scraps I stitched together until I had a 12x12 block.


A new bookmark: Blood Red, Jolly Roger Black, and Pirate Gold! With a gold-tone treasure map charm.

Argh! There be treasure ahead!

I'd like to think of each one of my bookmarks as a little treasure for the reader, but this one takes that idea literally! (Plus I'm trying out some new listing text.)

Beaded Bookmark/Book Bling with glass beads, tiny seed beads, and metal charm by Suzie’s Armoire. Item #BK-054-RKD

This great looking Suzie’s Armoire Beaded Bookmark is a stylish way to add a little bling to your books. Tiny seed beads will not damage book bindings. Middle is long enough to fit inside most books—from paperbacks to best sellers. Charm and dangles add flair, like jewelry for your favorite novel.

Fun and functional. Pretty and practical. Perfect for marking your place while reading at the pool or beach this summer. More stylish than that scrap of paper you always reach for! It’s hard to capture the sparkle in a photograph, so it is even prettier in real life.

Shades of blood red, jolly roger black, cross bones white, and pirate gold. Gold-toned metal charm on the end has a treasure map on one side, and reads “Property of Davy Jones” on the reverse. X marks the spot!

* Fit inside most books, from trade paperbacks to hardcover best sellers.
* Measures approx. 15” overall, with approx. 11” of TINY seed beads along the middle.
* Each has 3 to 5 dangles on one end, ranging from about 1” to 1.75”.
* Come with a metal charm on the other end.
* I primarily use glass beads and base metal findings. Sometimes a resin or acrylic bead will find its way in.
* Handmade one-at-a-time in my smokefree/petfree home.
* Like snowflakes, each one is unique; I have never made the same design twice.
* Care instructions: beaded items are very delicate. Do not yank/pull on the bookmarks. Not intended for small children.

* teachers
* students / graduates
* babysitters
* friends
* co-workers
* stocking stuffers / Secret Santa
* book clubs / bible study groups (ask about custom orders and special pricing for larger orders)
* your favorite reader
* yourself!

Want something completely different? Check out my listing for a custom design. You pick the colors and the charm, and I’ll do the rest! http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=35200769


Teacher Gifts 2010

I planned to write an entry about the gifts I gave the kids' teachers last year. I may still do that, but for now I'll write about what I came up with for this year. As usual, I waited until the last minute to get things together. I try to get everyone to buy my wares to give as gifts, but then I drag my feet putting my own together. What's that line about the shoemaker's kids?

I've had this idea for a gift set for a while now. I just haven't acted upon it. Partly because it was missing one last thing. Then Starbucks came out with their Via coffee packs and the lightbulb went off! The idea was to package up a store bought mug with one of my handmade bookmarks (the shepherd's hook type) and one of my quilted coasters. But it just needed "something." I had thought about a packet of gourmet hot chocolate, but that didn't pan out. I thought about tea, but that didn't work out, either. (I may still use them in the future.) Somehow instant coffee just didn't seem right, until Starbucks made one my husband would consider "worthy" of being consumed. Enter Via coffee packs! I decided to include one of each flavor in the gift set.

I put some shredded paper in the bottom, stuck the coaster, bookmark, and coffee packs in the mug, along with a business card (and a coupon for 10% off an online order), and wrapped it all up with clear cellophane and some curling ribbon in colors to match the coaster. I created a product card for the bookmark that includes information about the whole set. I think the tag taped to the mug will have to be "flashier" for future versions.
I have about 8 more mugs on hand for future gift sets. I just need to get more coasters made. I'd love to have some of these to sell before Christmas shopping season, with hot chocolate packets instead of the coffee. (Guess what next year's teachers are geting for Christmas!)
And now, a few more pictures...


No time for the dust to settle

Just back in January we formed our new Etsy Team: Creative Handmade Artisans. And we had a happy, little home on Ning. Then Ning decided to stop offering free accounts this summer, so we(I) decided to move our base of operations to a new forum site on Spruz. After being in existence only a few, short months. So now you can find us at CHArtisans on Spruz. Heather shut the Ning site down this past weekend, so the site is no more. It is an ex-site.

So far, so good on Spruz. I've set up a number of forums, and have done the best I can to get members to move along with us. Plus we've got some new members that have joined. I'm really looking forward to working with everyone on the new site, and growing our little team slowly into the best it can be!

If you have a few moments to spare, stop by our new site, and let us know what you think!


A couple unconventional Creative Handmade Artisans

It's been a while since I've featured any Creative Handmade Artisans. Today I thought I'd highlight two of our members that take a different approach to their art.

Stacey, whose beads I've featured from her Storm Flights Designs shop, also has a second Etsy shop called Keyed Up that recycles computer parts into unique jewelry. One of my favorites is her OMG necklace, but you should also visit her shop and check out her Circuit Board necklace.

Today's other artist is Rachel from Lipstattoo Designs. She paints, draws, designs and sews some pretty unique, ghoulish delights. Being a Disney fan, though, I have a bit of a soft spot for Maleficent. Plus I love the green and purple color combination. If zombies are your thing, you should check out the rest of her shop.

For more from members of the Creative Handmade Artisans team, please visit our Etsy page or our new Spruz forum.


Recognizing Evan Matters

My 9-year-old son has Asperger's Syndrome (an Autism Spectrum Disorder). Every summer we participate in an autism walk, and our team is called: The REMers (Recognizing Evan Matters). Since April is Autism Awareness month, I have created this treasury in his honor.

Please visit the treasury and leave a comment (and remember to click on all the awesome Etsy items). Thanks!


Featuring a few more Creative Handmade Artisans

Trying to find a little time to breathe again, and feature a few more shops from the wonderful Creative Handmade Artisans Team on Etsy.

The first artist is Heather from Heather's Haven. Heather is my "kindred spirit" of Etsy artists, and probably my "bestest" online crafty friend. We often joke that we share a brain, because we think so much alike when it comes to opinions on crafting, selling, and promoting online. While we both work with tiny, little seed beads, Heather uses them to create amazing beaded work and art dolls. Her beautiful work has encouraged me to branch out and try to learn more beading techniques. (I plan to work on some things over the summer, while relaxing at the pool.)

The next CHArtisan is Dusty from Inverness Studios. She makes a variety of products, including imaginative reading pillows. But one of my favorite items was this recycled/upcycled map necklace, featuring 221b Baker Street. Truly a one-of-a-kind idea.

Another talented artist is Charon (Curtis) from Stygian Chains. Those of you familiar with Greek Mythology will recognize Charon as the ferryman of Hades who carries souls of the newly deceased across the rivers Styx and Acheron, that divided the world of the living from the world of the dead. This Charon's chainmaille is definately for the living, from basic pieces to beyond.

Laura da Goddess from Totally Unique Treasures is an artist working on "saving the planet, one accessory at a time" by using vintage and upcycled materials in her work. You never know what unique creations you'll find in Laura's shop!

My final shop for this feature is Cards & More by Terri. Besides some very, pretty greeting cards, Terri also creates items such as quilted bags, journals, and boxes. All worth checking out.

My next feature will include the remaining members of the Creative Handmade Artisans Team.


Time to feature a few more CHA shops...

Last week I featured seven shops from the CHA Team. Today I'm going to feature seven more!

Whenever I look in ColettesBoutique, I always have a hard time choosing just one thing to feature. Some of the neatest wire wrapping I've seen.

I've always liked this pendant from IcedAdornments.  Beautifully crafted, delicate, feminine.

The creations coming from Lynwood Jewelrey are nothing short of amazing.

Here's a terrific set from ToraJewelry. I love this color combination.

TwoCheesePlease specializes in custom rubber stamps, like this cute set of angel wings.

If you're looking for something with a more classic, Victorain feel, you have to check out ArtistryJewelry.

For something completely different, and incredible, check-out the tattoo-inspired art by VickiDeath.

Keep watching for more member features in the near future.


I am ready for Spring!

I never thought of myself as someone that gets SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)--goodness knows I've got enough other mental health issues. But yesterday as I was driving home and the sun was shining, and the temps were well above freezing, and the 3 feet of snow from last month was all but gone, I couldn't believe how light my mood was. I am sooooo ready for Spring to be here. I'd almost say I was ready for Summer to be here, because I love sitting by the pool, being creative or reading, while the kids swim, but I don't want to get ahead of myself. For now, I'll settle for that crisp, clean feeling in the air as the spring rains wash away the winter snow. I just need a little more sun to dry up the wetlands that have formed in my yard from the previsouly mentioned 3 feet of melted snow...

In the meantime, I thought I would share some spring-colored lovelies from some of my team mates on the Creative Handmade Artisans Team (CHAteam or CHArtisans) on Etsy.

First, some quilted coasters from my shop. These were made from fabric leftover from a baby quilt I made for my cousin's daughter 7 years ago. I loved the combination of lilac and pale yellow, sprinkled with some orange. I have a bunch of different quilted coasters planned--just need some time by the pool to stitch them up!

I decided to wander through team mates' shops, and choose some bright and cheerful, or floral-themed items. Who can resist the turquoise and tangerine beads on this bracelet from StormFlightDesigns?

I can't wait to see the daffodils blooming, like on this suncatcher from CherishedStainedGlas.

I miss the lilac bush we had in our yard growing up. Although ours were purple, just looking at this white lilac print from FrawgzDezignz, I can almost smell the wonderful scent of the lilacs in bloom.

This cute daisy ring from TanyaW85 is sure to bring a smile to your face.

And these colorful crocheted catchalls from SusanNeedlehands would certainly come in handy for a little Spring cleaning and organzing.

Here in the Northeast, we know that Winter has a way of coming back, even after Spring has made an appearance, so this mystic blue scarf from TheLandlockedSailor might be the perfect thing to finally send Jack Frost packing!

There are so many wonderful things from CHAteam members, but I'll start with these seven items. Watch this space for more products and shops from the Creative Handmade Artisans. I'm only one-fourth of the way through all of them! For a complete list of member shops, visit or team shop on Etsy: http://www.chartisansteam.etsy.com/.

Here's to Spring!


Bringing Out the Green

Anyone that knows me, knows that my favorite color is green.  I have a weakness for just about anything in that earthy shade.  So when it's time for St. Patrick's Day, I love making some emerald colored items.  (And as far as I know, there's no Irish blood in me!)
Today I finally finished a bookmark in shades of green and gold to go with the golden Celtic Circle charm on the end.

I've also created some earrings in three shades of green glass beads, along with the same golden Celtic Circle charms.

With all this crazy winter weather lately, I was inspired by these subtle olivine and amethyst crackled glass beads to create some earrings ready for Spring with little gold butterfly beads.

I've got plenty more green to create.  And some pictures of already made items to track down on my laptop.  In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed these cheerful green beaded items.