May 31, 2011

etsy spotlight: sew much 2 luv

Ok,'s day 2 of my little series of Etsy seller spotlights.

Meet Karen, from Sew Much 2 Luv.
She's got such a fun style.
She makes a little bit of everything, kind of like moi.
She has a great choice of colors and on for more about Karen.

Your shop name and web address:

Blog: Sew Much 2 Luv

How long have you been in business and did you start on etsy or somewhere else? (craft show, etc.)

I opened my etsy shop in January of this year. I've been crafting since I was a little girl and with a professional seamstress for a mom, I ended up sewing on my own full sized Singer by the time I was 8. Over the years I've dabbled in jewelry making, painting, macrame, cross stitch, embroidery, sewing baby clothes, scrapbooking. Pretty much anything except knitting. I gave that a whirl but decided for the safety and well-being of myself and others, I needed to walk away from the knitting needles :) I've done a few holiday craft shows, and I've sold my crafts as far back as I can remember. My mom actually loves to tell the story about how when I was 6 I took seeds from wilted flowers in her garden and then made envelopes and drew detailed pictures of the flowers on them. Then I went around the neighborhood with my doll stroller filled with seed packets and sold them :)

What books, blogs, etc have you found helpful in running your Etsy business?

There are so many fantastic blogs and wonderful information online that it's hard to say that there is any one blog that inspired me, but rather the entire network of crafting women who continue to inspire me daily with their blogs and their willingness to share their talents and ideas. It's like an never ending library of craft books that gets updated daily. I love it!

Did someone inspire you to start a shop? (family, other bloggers/etsians, etc.)

I think my family have to be my biggest supporters and they definitely encouraged me to open my shop. My daughter and her hubby had my shop logo framed for my 50th birthday and it hangs in my craft room as a reminder of their love and support :)

Do you stock your shop with the same items or does it differ by the season, etc?

What I love about having the etsy shop is that my attention span is short and I don't enjoy making the same things over and over again, so I can add items as the mood strikes me and as inspiration hits me :)

What are your plans for the future of your shop...where do you hope to be in 3 years? 5 years?

I'd really love to see my shop business grow in the coming years to allow me to contribute to our household income while still being a stay at home wife. We have 4 grandsons, and 2 granddaughters and it's nice when Nana can spoil them a little every now and then. Fibromyalgia "retired" me 11 years ago and a successful etsy store would be a perfect fit because it would allow me to work when I feel up to it and rest when I need it. I think I've done some of my best work in my pajamas!

What's your favorite crafting snack?

I have to say that right now I'm loving Moose Tracks ice cream. The vanilla with swirls of fudge and tiny peanut butter cups. I mean, can you go wrong with that?

What's your favorite crafting music?

I love listening to Mercy Me, Phil Wickham, Lifehouse, Jeremy Camp, and Brandon Heath. Contemporary Christian music just always puts me in a great mood!

Is there anything else my readers should know about you and your Etsy biz?

I tend to give away most of what I make. It's hard to attach a price to things I loved making. I guess in the end, I just want to know that whoever ends up with one of my creations, will enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it.


Well, Karen, I'm totally with you on that Moose Track ice cream and I just might have to get myself one of those little business card handy!

Thanks for joining us today!

Go check out Karen's adorable shop, Sew Much 2 Luv and come back tomorrow for another spotlight :)

May 30, 2011

etsy spotlight: three birds jewelry

Hello, Lovelies :)
This is day 1 of 5 fabulous Etsian features.

Today I'm featuring Anna, creator of Three Birds Jewelry.

I love her style and her beautiful creations.
I asked Anna some questions about her and her business.
SO, here's a little bit more about Anna.

Etsy Site:


How long have you been in business and did you start on etsy or somewhere else? (craft show, etc.)

I have been metalsmithing for about 7 years, but I only opened my Etsy shop about a year ago. Etsy was the start of a lot of things for me- my blog, craft shows, and selling on consignment. This spring was my first craft show, I had so much fun I definitely plan to do more! I also started selling at Blue House Ann Arbor, which is so much more than a store front. There they host (free!) monthly crafter meet-ups and offer a bunch of classes, it is a great way to connect with local artists/crafters.

Explain what you sell and how you get inspiration for new items.

I design and hand-make jewelry primarily at my home studio. I primarily use sterling silver, and love to set stones. I also use copper, brass and bronze metals. My most used pieces of equipment are my jewelers coping saw and my acetylene torch.

My inspiration can come from a walk in the woods or from a stone's shape, color, or texture. I often like to incorporate raw materials into my work, like a piece of washed up coral or a beach shell. Depending on the piece, I may incorporate a cut-out on the silver back of a set stone.

What books, blogs, etc have you found helpful in running your Etsy business?

I signed up for Google Analytics and use this to monitor shop traffic, as well as traffic to my homepage. One blog I've followed called copyblogger offers a lot of insight on how to be a better, writer which I try to use in blog posts. Copyblogger also has many posts that focus on marketing and targeting your audience. I'm still getting my bearings on the whole marketing thing, especially when it comes to Etsy.

There is a wealth of info on Etsy, especially the shop make-over series and photography sections in the Seller's handbook. I participate in Etsy forums and teams and have gotten some great feedback from Etsians on how to improve my shop. I think connecting with other crafters and being open to constructive criticism can go a long way. It has helped me vastly improve my shop over the last year.

With all the adjustments I've made I feel my shop is in much better shape, I'm hoping 2011 will be a successful year for my Etsy shop.

Did someone inspire you to start a shop? (family, other bloggers/etsians, etc.)

Well, I probably have my brother Dan (who actually told me about Etsy way back when) and my significant other Brian to thank the most. They've been really supportive and have helped me in countless ways (Brian designed my logo, my brother helped me with my homepage)! Of course I also have to give my friend Olivia ( a shout-out because she encouraged me to apply to craft shows...and this is actually why I first opened my Etsy shop!

Do you stock your shop with the same items or does it differ by the season, etc?

I create a lot of one of a kind pieces, as well as some production items (like earrings). I wouldn't say my jewelry offerings change with the season, but I am definitely inspired by Michigan's ever changing landscape! I am continually making new, one of a kind pieces inspired by my Michigan adventures and travels.

What are your plans for the future of your shop...where do you hope to be in 3 years? 5 years?

One of my goals for this year is to focus on marketing and sales. I have started to accomplish this by selling at craft fairs, but this still remains a goal for my Etsy shop as well. One way I am doing this is by having promotions and sales. Since I am celebrating my 1 year anniversary on Etsy, I am having a 10% sale right now by offering a coupon code "1YearHandmade".

As for down the road, I plan to offer more types of jewelry in my Etsy shop, including cast jewelry made from natural found items. I also plan to focus more on getting the word out about my work and what I do. To do this, I hope to host a giveaway this year on my blog and have promotions for my facebook fans. I am also planning to participate in more craft shows. I recently applied to sell at the Rust Belt Market in Ferndale in the fall, so I'm looking forward to this new venue.

It would be a dream to work my day job only part time and focus more on my art.

What's your favorite crafting snack?

I'm usually sipping on tea or coffee since my studio is in the basement and it's a bit cooler. I love dried pineapple or a an English muffin with my mom's homemade raspberry jam. If I'm outside of my studio (i.e. no torch in hand) you will likely find me enjoying an evening glass of Cabernet and paper crafting or blogging.

What's your favorite crafting music?

In my studio, I usually tune my radio to NPR (I love this American life, wait wait don't tell me, car talk, radio lab, and snap judgement). But if I'm not listening to talk radio, I tune into American Roots or turn on my iPod.

Is there anything else my readers should know about you and your Etsy biz?

I love custom work! Creating a piece for a special occasion or out of something that holds sentimental value to a customer is so much fun for me. Not only does it include creative collaboration, I get to learn about or be a part of a special gift, which means so much to me! I have connected with a lot of costumers through doing custom work and it's been very rewarding.

I am also very environmentally conscious. I buy recycled silver whenever it's available and use recycled packaging and mailers whenever possible. Green living is a way of life for me!


Thanks so much, Anna!
Go check out Anna's beautiful shop, Three Birds Jewelry
and come back tomorrow to meet another talented Etsian.

May 29, 2011

just cause

Do you ever do a project or chore around your house and think,
"No one will ever notice I did this except me?"
and then think,
"I should take pictures and blog about this, because at least then my blog friends will know."
Just me? K.

Friday morning we had a field trip with our homeschool group,
and in the afternoon I had a lot to get done.
Straightening, primping, and photographing my living room was not one of those things.

But I had this great big vase of gorgeous lilacs and I thought they deserved to look at a straightened living room, so I did it.

Then it looked too pretty not to share with you.

Those lilacs are sitting behind me now, and do love me some lilacs.
Their smell...just glorious.

Before I go, just wanted to remind you to come back this week.
I've got five days of etsian interviews lined up.
They're all super sweet and talented.
You're not going to want to miss this!


May 28, 2011

seed is growing {and trusting}

I'm back.
I told you Monday I was taking a break from blogging this week.
You can read my post why HERE.
 But basically, I was just coming off of a great weekend, feeling rejuvenated and full of great seeds from a great bible teacher and I was worried about letting those seeds get plucked up by distraction of the everyday.

Dare I say those seeds weren't plucked away?

I made a conscious decision this week to limit my phone, tv, and computer time.
I wanted to focus.

Lately my mind has been anything but at ease.
Not a lot of peace.
Just a lot of mixed up feelings/emotions/thoughts.

Not. A lot. Of. Peace.

The lack of beeping and checking and interruptions left way for something I was so in need of, a word.
And boy, did He deliver.


May 24th, Alicia's Journal:
God, my mind right now is in tangles.
I'm mixed up.
I'm so focused on ---------, I've lost sight of everything else.
I'm so distracted.


Sometimes when I need a word, I'll journal...sometimes writing will get me to realize things,
then I'll look up certain words that stick out from my entry to look up in my concordance.
For whatever reason, mind stuck out to me.

He showed me this:
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast,
because he trusts you.
Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord is the rock eternal.
Isaiah 26: 3-4

I don't know if this ever happens to you, but I almost got a shiver when I read that word trust.
I had never realized it before, but
when you're a list-maker extraordinaire, organization freak deluxe, planner, do-er, concluder, closure-seeker,
you don't leave a lot of room for trust.
Trust means letting someone else take care of somethings that you would very well like to do yourself.
Make sense?
Well, I had never really realized it, but I knew He was right.

I don't trust enough.

And according to that scripture,
Trust = Peace = Steadfast Mind.

What a word indeed.

Next day, I searched every scripture I could find on trust.
I read about 50.
The last one on my list said this:

In repentance and rest is your salvation;
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it.

Isaiah 30:15

See her hair?
That's pretty much what I felt like mine did.
Like God was speaking these words to me so intensely, my hair blew back.

be quiet.

And then a few lines down:

Yet YOU long to be gracious to ME.
YOU rise to show ME compassion.
For YOU are a GOD of justice.
Blessed am I, who waits for YOU.

Isaiah 30:18 (a bit paraphrased to take a little ownership, if you know what i mean)

Oh, my sweet friends, I cannot tell you how much hope these words have given me.
God is so sovereign.
So worthy of trust.

I can honestly say last weekend's message made a lasting impression.
Seeds planted are not meant to be plucked away, but watered so they can grow new branches.

And I have to be honest,

growing feels good.


May 25, 2011

guest blogging today

Good morning, friends.

Today I'm sharing my craft room redo over at
Craftaholics Anonymous.
If you're new here, you might want to go check it out...
it was a fun one :)

May 23, 2011

feed that seed

This weekend was a beautiful thing.
I got away with my sweetest friend, Robin....just happened to meet up with two other friends that I didn't even know were going, and got to sit with and enjoy my other sweet friend, Becky, who I never get to see.

There's something about being with your girlfriends, worshipping together, receiving a good word, and enjoying good laughs.
I loved it.
It doesn't happen enough.

The other girl I love that was there was Ms. Beth.
Beth and I go way back ;)
Her study, Breaking Free, was the first bible study I ever did...back when I was a baby, like 9 years ago.

Through her studies, I have learned so much.
I've learned to love the Word of God like nothing else.
She has a way of teach that makes you want to stand up and give a big, fat "AMEN, SISTA!"

This weekend, the Lord did not disappoint,
by giving us some awesome teaching through her.

Her message was on being tangled.
In our thoughts.
In sin.
In our hearts.

And in distractions.

This spoke to my core being.

See lately, I've been waiting.
And that wait has caused me to be focused only on that one thing.
Has caused me tunnel vision in a tunnel I shouldn't be in.
I've let everything and more distract me.

I've let my emails, texts, calls, incoming comments, and thoughts distract me to a point
of missing what God could be saying to me.

Even in the quiet, I've not really been quiet.
My mind is a tangled mess.
My thoughts are getting the best of me.

Yes she was, and you may as well rename me Martha.

But there's nothing that bugs me more than walking away from a great sermon like this
and falling right back into my old ways.
I want to be different than I was yesterday.
I don't want that bird to come and pluck away that seed before it can take root.
So I'm going to feed that seed.
I'm going to make a few little changes in my life.
Cut out a little distraction.

On the way to the conference, I disabled my email account on my phone to avoid the $700 cell phone bill that comes when you check your email on your phone when you're roaming. (not that that's EVER happened to me...just in case it did :))
I've decided not to turn it on again.
Everytime my phone beeps, I dive for it, wondering what it is going to tell me.
Why do I care so much?

Also, this blog.
I love it.  I love reading blogs.
But lets face it, they are distracting.
I need to be more careful about this.
Sometimes I feel like after I read 5 or 6 posts out there, I need to get my brain off the hamster wheel, it's going so many directions.
I know right now that's not healthy for me.
So I'm taking a few days off from blogging.
And believe me, it's not for lack of things to share...I just finished the CUTEST bookshelf for Sophie's room, and I cannot wait to share.
But for now, it can wait.

That's what I need...
I need to be quiet, and quiet my mind long enough so I can hear His voice.
If He was trying to say something to me, would I be off my computer long enough to hear Him?
I hope so.

The art of meditation.
I love that.
I needed that.

Weekend, well worth it.

I'll see you in a few.


May 20, 2011

flying the coop

I'm excited.
I'm taking off this morning...ready for some girl time.

Heading out early with this chick.....

Meeting up with this chick....

To see what this chick has to say to us.


Cannot wait....girl time doesn't happen often enough!
See you in a few days :)


PS: have fun Jarrod!! :)
did that sound evil? i didn't mean it to ;)

May 19, 2011

the boy can cook; the boy can play

When my kids get into something...they get INTO it.
Like, our whole basement has basically been converted into a Lego war zone. And my daughter, obsessed with princesses, never lets a day pass without putting on her Cinderella dress...or at the very least, petting it like a cat and cuddling it.

So when my eldest discovered that the local library was housing a Star Wars cookbook (another obsession), he was hooked.  To cooking, that is.

The cookbook was great.
It had all kind of yummy foods with clever names, like Storm Trooper Smoothies or Yoda Soda.

He made us all breakfast one day.

These are Princess Laia Buns. Get it?
I thought it was pretty clever.

He wants to own this cookbook.
He's been making lists and planning menus.
I love it :)

In my last post, I mentioned it's the time of year to sum everything up.
That happened last week in piano.

Noah's been practicing all year and has been playing better and better,
so Friday night we got to see all the kids show their stuff.
They had their show in a local coffee house, which was a really cool place to have a recital.

(My kid, taking pictures of other kids she doesn't know.)

I'm so proud of this boy.
He's getting so big and growing so much.
He did great at his recital, introducing himself to the audience, playing The Mickey Mouse March and Tchaikovsky...chords and all.
  He makes Mama proud :)

On the way home, Noah mentioned he wanted to try playing some Jack Johnson songs.
I'm all for this.  How fun would that be?!
Plus it gives me an excuse to put in another Amazon order...any excuse to buy a book, and I'm game.
I read once that when your child has a strong interest in something, you should help fuel that interest and help them learn more.
I think that sounds good...cookbooks and Jack Johnson song books.
I can help you out, N.

This was our little gift for Noah's teacher.
Idea compliments of Eighteen25 (I love those girls over there).

Jack took my camera a snapped a few shots.
I think he was using the rule of thirds here...what do you think?
And check our Ms. Piano gorgeous and so so sweet.
I love that she's Noah's teacher.
She's so kind and encouraging.

xo Jen :)

I may have several more of the end-of-year posts for you.
I hope you don't mind my virtual scrapbook.

We're getting ready for another busy day...and Mama's getting ready to hit the road!
Have a great Thursday, my friends!


May 17, 2011

virtual coffee: summing it up

Good morning, girlies :)
I'm glad you joined me for coffee today.
I had a bit of a breakdown last night when I sat down to type this post and realized
my modem had completely bit the dust.
How dependent we've become on being on-line!
I felt so abandoned, so deserted.  I may be stretching it a bit...I just read instead.
I survived.
But you can bet your bottom dollar that Mr. Fix-It was here at 8am this morning to replace our pooped out modem.
Now I'm back...yeah!

Now on to the coffee....

if you walked through my door right now, I'd give you a big hug and tell you how thankful I am to have you as a friend.  My last post was straight from the heart, and it's always a little scary putting something like that out there.  But your words of wisdom and encouragement blessed me over and over.
I've read through all your words over again and again and I'm just humbled by your faith and strength.
Thank you for being a friend to me.

After that conversation, I'd show you my May calendar and you would probably pass out
 you'd show me your blacked out squares and we'd laugh together, maybe adding a little something stronger to our coffee cups ;)

Yes, May is a crazy one....
and in our school, spring makes us all a little silly.

We're ready for the great outdoors.
We're ready for Popsicles and sprinklers.
We're ready to be done with fact sheets and grammar for a while.

Even though it's busy, there's something beautiful about the end of the school year as well.
May is "sum it all up" time.
May is time to show off our stuff...speaking from a school kid's point of view.

It's time for...

piano recitals
dance recitals
art shows
last report cards
final tests
school plays
end-of-the-year field trips
class picnics
track and field day
awards night
spring baseball tournament

Did I forget anything?

Not all those things are applicable to our life, but many of them are.
I love seeing all the year's hard work pay off in the form of a round of applause or a big gold star.
Last week was piano recital.
This week is baseball tourney, dance recital (a friend's daughter), and track and field day.
Next week is our Hutchinson School Annual Art Show and the end-of-the year field trip with our homeschool group.

Doesn't it look like she's just going to bite it in the picture? Well, she doesn't...this girl is a wild woman!

It's busy, but it's beautiful.
As mamas, we also work hard all year long, and watching our kids smile with delight and take their bows is our reward.
And that's good enough for me.

I hope you're enjoying your that it's over half-way over. :)
An end to a school year, a beginning to a summer.
What a sweet transition.
Have a great day, my sweet friends.

Me: "Don't touch that Sophie, it's a dead bird"  Her: "Ok, I'll just get as close as I can...I like my foot on the line, Mama."


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