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 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 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."



May 15, 2011

patience is a virtue

it's sunday afternoon.
i like sunday afternoons.
i think my heart beats slower.
in fact i know it does. did you know everyone's heart beats slower every 7th day?
well, it does. God is super cool like that.

i'm writing to tell you a bit of a recap of my last week.
well, my last two weeks in fact.

this past week was good.  good as in, i made it.
the busyness didn't kill me.  i didn't freak out. much.
last week on the other hand, was hard.
nothing in particular really, just a whole lot of little things all snowballed together, creating a big heartache/headache/questioning-God's realness/frustrating persona.
been there?  ya, no fun.

i think it all stemmed from a prayer i've been praying for months and have yet to hear an answer, or even a shred of one besides the heart's desire i feel so definitely and that will not subside.

see i'm not a very good waiter. patience is not my strong suit.
just ask my mom if you don't believe me.
i freaked out at age 4 because i couldn't draw a christmas tree in one try. 
i don't wait two full hours to paint a second coat.
i put up a "don't dawdle" sign for my boys, because i just can't stand it!

so when it comes to prayer, especially prayer based on something that my heart is so desiring for, i don't wait easily.  so two weeks ago, i let myself spin into a complete tailspin.  not on purpose, mind just happened.  i was short. crabby. not sleeping. not making a to-do list, *gasp!*. questioning God. asking Him if He was ever going to answer me.  if He cared.  asked Him for signs.

still nothing.

and still nothing this week.  but this week was different.
i decided to admit to something.  that God's word is just what it says it is. (even when i'm grumpy.) it is truth. complete truth.

so when i read things like:

Psalm 5:3-In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait in expectation.

i can cling to that word "expectation" and wait for something amazing. i know He'll deliver, He always does.

and when i so stubbornly question His realness, He leads me to this scripture:

John 20:26b-Stop doubting and believe.

ok, well that was straight forward.

and then when i wonder if He'll ever answer. if i'll have to wait forever. or worse yet, give up. He gives me this:

Mark 11:24- Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

and this:

Psalm 27:14- Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.

or this:

Psalm 20:4&5- May he give you the desire of your heart;
and make all your plans succeed.
We will shout for joy when you are victorious
and will lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the Lord grant all your requests.

just typing those out make my eyes sting with tears of joy that He gives us promises like that.  i wonder what we would do without His word?
starve? cry? panic? all of the above?

so i've been clinging to those promises, reminding myself of them soon as my mind starts to go back there, i open the Book to those highlighted words, transform them into a prayer just from me. and try to convince myself He knows what He's doing.  it's not always easy for me.
remember, i'm not patient.
i'm a do-er.  more accurately, a do-it-right-nower.
but i want to be different.
i want to be driven by my faith.  i want big faith.
bigger than i've got right now.

please know that even though i don't know you, i love you.
wierd? yes.
but still.
and if i was sitting down to coffee right now, i'd tell you the details, but i can't put them out on the www. not now. not yet.
but to tell you something, without really telling you anything, i'm praying about these things:

~a heart's desire that hasn't left me for years. a prayer in the "rock my world" category.
~a family member that i love is praying for something that we all want. God really needs to work it in this case too.
~my thoughts have a way of dragging me down to an icky place i don't like to be, praying for a transformation there too.

so that it.
are you waiting for answers?
how do you do it without going nuts?
or are we both nuts?  :)

thanks for listening to me.


ps: i wrote this post without caps. i'm feeling lazy. it is sunday, after all.

oh, and i know these photos have relatively nothing to do with this post, other than those cute chickies had to wait to come out of their shells.  they're just cute. that's why i used 'em.

May 11, 2011

art class wednesday: apple blossoms

Wednesday is Art Class.
This is what we did last week:
Apple Blossom Paintings.

Start with pink popcorn.

You can buy it the Unicorn and Glitter Aisle at the grocery store....
or you can squirt a little pink paint into a bucketful of popcorn and shake it up,
your choice.

Have your darlings paint a beautiful branch and leaves on thick paper.

Glue on the pink apple blossom popcorn.





Today's project: Flower Wreaths...I just know the boys will LOVE doing two flower projects in a row!


May 10, 2011

10 on 10: May

Ten on Ten...
I've wanted to do this for a while since April 10th when I found out about it.
You post ten pics of ten hours on the tenth.
I may have fudged a bit on the ten hour thing...but we did pretty good.

Oh, and I realize that I just did a post like this,
but that was when I forgot about 10 on 10 soooo you're stuck with another one :)

6:30am: time to move

8:00am: sweaty hugs...they love it, I know they do :)

9:00am: water plants...poor little things. I forget all the time. My mom gets mad at me...she really likes plants.

10:30am: play outside.  Beautiful day.

12:00pm: Lunch in the park.  Happy Meals...even though I swore we'd never eat there again.
But because I'm convinced McDonalds is healthier in the park....I folded.

2:00pm: Legos.  Have I ever expressed my love/hate relationship with Legos??
Love that my boys are occupied for hours.  Hate that they're so tiny and everywhere!

6:30pm: Game time...hmmm, we played a lot yesterday. 
I swear this boy is growing before my very eyes.
Isn't he just too cute? :)

Ok...that's my day.
10 on 10.
That was fun...I'll do it again, I think.

Have a good one, sistas :)


ten on ten button small

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