Friday, November 27, 2009

It is All About the Ride

Thanksgiving dinner is tucked in the fridge into a myriad of plastic containers. The "good" dishes are all packed back into their boxes until Christmas dinner. We are on the verge of tipping into December. Christmas preparation time. For most, it is like a bobsled ride, high velocity, twisting and turning and 'tucking in' to maneuver the holiday sled faster and smoother. We plummet through the starting gate on Black Friday shoving into stores at 4 a.m. looking for the perfect Christmas gifts. We build up speed, writing out Christmas cards, reconnecting with friends we haven't heard from in a year. Half way through the month we shift ourselves once again, preparing for and attending parties, spending more time with our co-workers, friends and family than we have in months. As we get closer to the 25th we become more conscious of the time left...we need to increase the pace! Wrapping gifts, last minute shopping, stocking stuffers, baking, wrapping, shopping, cooking,...and is Christmas. We crossed the finish line in record time. With wrapping paper and ribbons in shreds around us and empty boxes stacked high, the day is over. I try to remember the days that led to Christmas. It went too fast. I didn't get to spend time with people I wanted to. I hardly had a moment to reflect or appreciate the beauty of the season. I was too busy! The last month is all a blur...the twinkling lights, the smiling faces, the dinners and family visits....they are a dull roar and blinking lights as I passed through it. It makes me sad.

I realize I need to change my mode of transportation. Maybe a sleigh ride would be more appropriate. I don't have to drive. I can sit in the sleigh with a warm blanket wrapped around me, sipping hot chocolate, singing carols to my heart's content and watching the landscape pass with an appreciative eye. I could even stop and visit a friend I haven't seen in months.

A sleigh ride. Not a bobsled race.

May your December be a wonderfully meaningful and pleasant ride.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Monday, October 5, 2009


As fall begins to change the natural world around me, I realize I , too, have begun a transition. Usually at this time of year I am gearing up for seven or eight craft shows over the next couple of months, making my life very busy and chaotic. This year I have one. My life has become more manageable and peaceful. I have taken time to stroll through fallen leaves and smell the crisp fall air. I am doing more volunteer work and trying to eke out as much time with my youngest child as he readies for graduation in the spring and college next fall. Even while I create, my focus isn't on what will sell, but on what I really want to make today. I have made a list of new skills I have determined to learn and I am working on some new projects that I intend to submit for publication. All new and exciting, but without all the stress and chaos of my usual fall itinerary. I am settling into a new season of my life. I think I really like this season.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Etsy Maine Team Supports Fundraiser

Jennifer Collins, the owner of Allsey on Etsy, orchestrated the Etsy Maine Team’s and’s sponsorship involvement in Ronald McDonald House (RMH) of Portland’s fourth annual “fun-raiser”, Purses with Purpose, etc.

Jennifer’s teammates rallied to help her with this off-line community effort to raise financial support, increase local community awareness and recruit volunteers for RMH. Shannon Hanley of The Clever Kitty, Jennifer Lisa of Quench Metalworks, and Kellie Smith of Wordysmith, worked together with Jennifer to create the Etsy Maine Team (EMT) promotional materials.
Heather Desimone, of Leetie Lovendale and The Beadin’ Path stuffed "eco friendly tote bags" that were donated by Etsy and given away to attendees.

An amazing number of EMT artists, fifty (50) to be exact, donated items they created for the silent auction. The list includes:
Allsey Apple Tree Jewelry Askey Illustration Ava-Loo's Backwoods Creations Beadin' PathBeads On Hand Beantree Pottery Blue Moose BunnyBeads Calobee / Six Hours Clever Kitty Coco & Milkweed Cozink Deb Donnelly Designs Dirt Girl Pottery DooDadSmith Earthly Girl Designs Fitz-U Folk Art TreeGood Quill Hunting Jamie Ribisi Art Judy B Junque Revival Karhu Moon Kari Herer Photography Kreatus Krista Sharp Pottery Lauren Kennedy Photography
Linda Layden Scrimshaw Louisiana1966 Lynne Forrest Pottery Oceanhouse One Woman Studio Paige's Beaded Designs Phoenix Farm Posy Studio Ps and Qs Purplebean Bindery Quench Metalworks Scire4 Silverdust Is… Suzee's Jublileez The Knitted Brow / Moebius Three Bridges Sewing Tuizui Veldie's Remakes Woodshed Designs Wordysmith Yummilicious

Angela Clark, a RMH staff member, designed the "Purses with Purpose, etc." Logo. Shannon Heckethorn, Community Manager of RMH, along with many other RMH volunteers also played key roles. The fundraiser was advertised in several publications and numerous radio spots, and formal invitations were sent to past guests and RDH donors.

Both the EMT and produced 5x7 sponsorship ads for the program, which were distributed to the 200 attendees. Those who came to the event had the chance to bid on a wide variety of one-of-a-kind handmade items crafted by Maine artists and artisans. The participating Etsy Artists enjoyed working together and having an impact on the community while sharing their artistic talents with a local audience.

Jennifer was impressed and grateful for the response of her teammates. She said, “I would like to thank all the Etsy artisans that participated in this year’s fundraiser especially during the current economic climate. I am speechless at the sheer generosity demonstrated by our team members. I’m already looking forward to 'Purses with Purpose, etc. 2010'.”

No grass is growing under Jennifer’s feet. Planning for the "2010 Purses with Purpose, etc." is already in the works. For more information about next years event, contact Jennifer by going to her Etsy Shop, Allsey, and clicking on her contact link. RMH is accepting donations and sponsorships now. If interested, please click on this link to email Shannon, the Ronald McDonald House Community Manager.
If your group is holding a promotion on or off line, email Coco the "scoop" at

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Etsy Maine team Artists featured in Bangor Daily News

Handcrafted in you one click away for a wealth of locally made, unique gifts or personal items
By Emily BurnhamBDN Staff

When you’re decorating your home, or you’re decorating yourself, you have two options when it comes to where to buy such things.
Option No. 1: Go to a big-box store and buy all of the mass-designed, mass-produced, made-in-China stuff you want. Option No. 2: Point your Web browser to, look around and buy a handmade, one-of-a-kind necklace, picture frame or set of thank-you cards made by someone in your backyard. Literally. It gives new meaning to “buy local.”

The Web site, which provides artists and artisans the world over a way to sell their wares to the public, was launched in 2005 and now boasts tens of thousands of sellers. Most items are priced between $10 and $30, but the selection runs the gamut from crocheted baby booties made by a grandmother to handblown glasswork from a professional artist.

There’s a plethora of folks from across Maine who sell their stuff on — too many to name here, though a visit to turns up a long, well-organized list of Etsy-ites working here in 207.

One of the items most available on Etsy is jewelry. In Bangor, the ironically named husband-and-wife design team of (1) Buy My Crap ( sells molded resin rings and earrings, such as the striking white-and-red ring, A Little Drop of Bella, inspired by the book and movie “Twilight,” which retails for $35. Gerry and Elaine Bard of By My Crap have been making resin jewelry out of their home for the past year, and it’s anything but crap.

Farther north, (2) Folk Art Tree maven Pamela McFarland sells her work at At her home in Ashland, McFarland uses found art, vintage materials and other unique items to make an assortment of accessories, including the Intense Earth Vintage Celluloid Button necklace ($22), made of glass beads, jasper, metal chains and a vintage celluloid button.

Moms and moms-to-be can find a wealth of baby stuff on Etsy, including wee things from (3) Coco and Milkweed ( out of Portland. Husband and wife Evan and Lila Maleah and their daughter Coco handmake bibs and blankets, including this sweet, funky gift set featuring Woodsy and L’il Hootie, two big-eyed owls, a soft but very durable bib and blanket, which retails for $52.

Niche markets find a home on Etsy. For example, the gaming community has a friend in Amy Provost of Cornish, whose (4) Broake and Thumb Studios ( makes nerd-tastic, Dungeons and Dragons and medieval-inspired crafts, such as this little drawstring bag, perfect for holding 20-sided dice — or other small items you might need to hold together. It sells for $11.

Unique is the name of the game on Etsy. Case in point: Mary Robbins of South Portland makes T-shirts, hats and bags inspired by her Moroccan family and years spent abroad. She sells them on her Etsy shop, (5) Moth Designs ( This T-shirt, which retails for $22, features an Arabic phrase meaning “Whales in love”— sweet, funny and a wonderful way to bring together East and West.

Personal care products are another big Etsy item, like the felted soaps from (6) Becky Rose Designs ( Rose, based in Bar Harbor, creates soaps mixed with felt, which works as a built-in washcloth, like this mango and cocoa butter soap that sells for $8.
(7)Long Winter Farms ( out of Alna is the brainchild of Amanda Nolan, and in addition to soaps and body creams, she sells luxurious lip balms, like this three-pack that sells for $8.50.

If you’re searching for the funniest, sweetest birthday, thank-you or holiday card, then surf over to (8) Sock Monkey Cards (, a line of hilarious prints and cards made by Laurie Jenson de Paolo of Cape Elizabeth. De Paolo takes your average sock monkey and puts it in interesting situations — going camping, getting a massage, going surfing or playing scrabble are just a few. The cards are $3 each.

You can decorate your fridge with handmade magnets by (9) Kristina Meyers of Auburn. Meyers, a teacher and mom of three, makes jewelry and magnets, including these cute dinosaur bottle cap magnets retailing for $7 on her Etsy site,

Jennifer Payson of Warren has seemingly mastered the art of origami. One look at her Etsy page, (10) Whimsidoodle (, reveals an assortment of handcrafted paper lanterns that are perfect for affixing to white string lights to hang indoors or out. A pack of 50 origami boxes sells for $50, but Payson sells packs of 20 for $20-$24.

If you’re buying gifts for others, or you’re just casually looking for a little something for yourself, you can support the work of people in Maine by buying on — and in these tough economic times, every little bit helps.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Haiku Monday on The Etsy Maine Team Forum Thread

Remember English class? Grammar, punctuation, haiku? The Maine Team has begun conversing in the Team Forum on Mondays in Haiku. Can you Haiku?

Here are the how-tos of Haiku:

Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry. It often centers around nature.
Haiku poems don’t rhyme; they follow a pattern.

Line 1: 5 syllables
Line 2: 7 syllables
Line 3: 5 syllables

Come on, try Haiku
Twist your mind around some words
Count your syllables

Leave your Haiku here
on this blog you must create
word picture Haikus

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Watching the Red Sox and Making Faces

I spend my evenings watching the Celtics and Red Sox, so in order to justify the "down time" I prepare things for the day to work on at night. This week it has been some more primitive ladies. I've been sewing them closed and making their faces with embroidery thread. I stop every once in a while when the game gets really intense, but the ladies gradually appear as a little audience in front of me. I know they are wanting my teams to win too.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

My Jewelry Making Space

For you, Peggy...
My jewelrymaking workspace I procured from a space in my hallway on the first floor. I have been so happy here in this warm part of the house, working on jewelry, scrapbooking and encaustic painting. It needs to get cleaned up before hubby gets home, though!
Encaustic paints and griddle and 20 cat foods cans are under the desk...My studio is in the cold upstairs, so I will photograph it later, on a warmer day.
My new shop has been filled with products made from this very spot.

Friday, April 3, 2009

New Etsy Shop

I have opened a new shop called Folk Art Tree Fandangle dedicated to my jewelry. I have found I am really enjoying making wearable art with old buttuns, charms and beads mixed with new findings for fabulous adornments. So come check it out!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

My First ACEO "Abandoned Ways"

The Etsy Maine Team has challenged it's members to create one (1) ACEO with a “Maine” theme using re-cycled or up-cycled materials. So in keeping with the challenge, I used a copier to resize an 8 x 10 image of a barrel I had photographed in 1982. I copied it onto scrap paper I had in my 'stash' and cut it down to an appropriate size. Using a paint chip card I had saved from earlier house renovation days, I used it as a mat for my photo and layered it atop a scrap of black cardstock. I used chalks to hand color the photo. Voila, my entry for the Maine team challenge..."Abandoned Ways".

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I finally tried Encaustics

Thanks to my friend Jamie Ribisi ( I have tried my hand at encaustics. (She sells a GREAT tutorial and has the paints you need to try it yourself!) I have wanted to explore this medium for a while now, and after my first efforts, I have to say, I'm pretty confident I'll play with them again. So much fun! Thanks Jamie, for your tutorial and paints!

I will be sealing these paintings with resin and making pendants out of them to sell in my Etsy shop.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Valentine's Day is Quickly Arriving

Valentine's a great day......

Love, country style.....

Bamboo tiles, decoupaged on both sides with LOVE....

I love this one with the soldiers on both sides...being a military wife, I know how bittersweet the partings and reunions can be....
For more Valentine jewelry, check out my Etsy shop:
Hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day with those you love.