Thursday, November 26, 2009

101 Things To Do With Bubble Wrap - #2 Thanksgiving Decor

Yes, I’m still trying to burn through all the packing material I brought home from the stockroom a month ago. You’ll recall from my last post – assuming, of course that you avidly follow my blog and did indeed read my last post, that two of my Etsy Sisters, ReallyBadKitty and DRyan327 took all the bubble wrap. However, they left me with a HUGE bag of foam sheeting. So, what to do? What to do? I don’t know!

Well, a week ago, while I was successfully avoiding all the things I should have been doing by catching up on my blog reading, I ran across this little gem of a Thanksgiving project. Hand Turkeys! How stinkin’ cute are these?! The grandparents usually get some kind of something from the kiddos on every holiday (Hallmark holidays included.) I thought this was pretty darn perfect.

We made sets for ourselves and both sets of grandparents. I think they’re so cute, and we had a lot of fun making them. Of course, I did the sewing, but the kiddos stuffed them and glued the feathers on (with a tiny bit of direction from me.)

Now just what do these turkeys have to do with all that packing material, you’re asking? Well, guess what those perky little turkey fingers are stuffed with. G’head! Guess!! That’s right! Foam sheeting! We cut the foam sheets into little pieces, rolled them up and stuffed the fingers with them. It was the perfect stuffing material – faster and easier than batting. I even ran some floral wire through the sheeting so you can bend the fingers this way and that. We stuffed the bodies with those beanie baby beads so they’ve got good heavy bottoms. They sit very nicely on the mantle.

So, that used up a quarter of a sheet. Now what do I do with the other 100 sheets of foam I have? I’m still fishing for ideas!

Have a very happy and safe Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

101 Things To Do With Bubble Wrap - #1 Pawn it off on your Etsy friends

Actually, it’s the Etsy friends that got me into the bubble wrap mess to begin with. OK, ok, I can’t blame my inability to fill landfills w/packing material entirely on my Etsy friends. Hmmm…or can I? Last I checked, this was MY blog and I could do with it what I want. Yeah! So there ya have it!

It’s all ReallyBadKitty’s fault. With a shop name like “ReallyBadKitty”, could it be anyone’s fault but hers?!?!?

Sure, she makes pretty little bouquets... d├ęcor ...

...and cute hair clips out of buttons, but don’t let that fool you. She’s bad news!

And then there’s that Purple Toes Jewelry chick (aka: DRyan327) – she was a witting accomplice.

Those smoking rabbit earrings should’ve been a dead give away that this gal was nuthin’ but trouble. Poor bunnies!

And just look what she does to watches!!

Grandpa's pocket watch never saw this coming!

All joking aside, I met these talented ladies when I joined the North Dallas Etsy team earlier this year. They’re both jewels and I’ve had such a great time getting to know them and the other Team members. And yes, they took all the bubble wrap and will be using it to package up their wares. So when you buy stuff from their shops, you’re not just getting a great handmade treasure – you’re helping save the planet one bubble at a time. How much better can you feel about buying something?!

So the bubble wrap’s gone, but I’ve still got a ton of foam sheeting. I’m still looking for ideas on what to do with that. I have to admit, I really like Haptree’s suggestion of turning a room in the house into a padded cell. Goodness knows I could use a room like that!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bear Hugs: Tree Of Life Designs

It's early. The house is silent except for the rain on the roof. I'm all cozy with my coffee and I've got a little time on my hands. I feel like passing out some bear hugs this morning.

Today I’m featuring Michelle, aka TreeOfLifeDesigns. Last summer, Michelle bought a sample of my Muddah Buddah belly butter as a surprise for a pregnant friend. It was sent anonymously. It was fun to be involved in the conspiracy. Michelle lives in Denver and makes jewelry. Her pieces are beautiful, and her photography (not to mention her collection of ceramics that she uses as props) is awesome. So, meet Michelle….

I love hearing the stories behind shop names, tell me about yours.

I have always had a strange love for trees and the tree symbol. I had a tree embossed on my wedding invites. In doing research about the “Tree of Life”, I found that it is a symbol that crosses many, many cultures and is found in art all over the world throughout history. The tree, to me, symbolizes the need to reach for the sky while at the same time keeping yourself firmly planted to the ground.

How'd you start doing what you do?

I moved to Denver form the east coast where I grew up, and was lucky enough to land a job and a little mom-and-pop-jewelry store. I have always been somewhat creative, and LOVE jewelry, so it did not surprise me (or any of my friends and family) that I ended up working where I did. Over the 9 years I worked there, the owners taught me almost everything I know about making jewelry.

Your Tara earrings are my current favorite in your shop. I love the asymmetry and the length. What's your favorite item right now, and why?

It is so hard to pick a favorite! But I love the Blythe earrings. I always love the green and blue combination, and the stones in these earrings are really yummy. They also are a great length and dangle really nicely on the ear; I love the way they move when you wear them.

Tell me about your most memorable Etsy moment.

Recently, someone ordered a necklace from me…to wear on her wedding day! What a compliment!

Do you have any secrets of success to share?

The support of my girlfriends throughout my jewelry career has been such a tremendous help to me. Not only did they tell me that I was doing great work, but as they wear my jewelry out and about, they are constantly asked about the pieces and get to tell other people about my work. They give me great feedback about particular designs….when they all respond well to a piece, I know it will be a popular design!

What's your favorite "Tip"? (Doesn't have to be shop-related, it can be life-related, a cleaning tip, etc.)

“Do what you love, the rest will come”(–Walt Whitman, I think?)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

I have a part time job at Pottery Barn. One of my favorite things to do there is work in the stock room. It's quiet in the stock room, and fairly orderly -- nothing like my day to day life as a stay-at-home-mom. In the stock room, I'm in control. I get to decide what box gets opened and where the contents get put. I get to line everything up all perfectly straight. Oooooo...I just love perfectly straight.

One of the things I don't love about working in the stock room is the realization that big retail = big trash. Seriously, the amount of trash that is generated is scary. The cardboard gets recycled, so that’s OK. But everything else...all the bubble wrap, the foam blankets, the styrofoam, all the packing material goes straight into the landfills. And I’m talking MOUNTAINS of packing material. It’s bad…really bad.

I’m a firm believer that everything ought to be used at least twice, so I’m always trying to find something to do with all this packaging. I’m forever bringing home huge sheets of styrofoam and bags of bubble wrap. It makes The Man more than just a little crazy, but the kids usually love it. Last week I came home with two big bags of bubble wrap and foam blanketing. Now I’m trying to figure out what to do with it all. Ladybug was more than happy to help me out. 

After using the bags as lounge chairs for a while, we emptied them and made a nice big moutain to play in. It was great for jumping on, hiding in, crawling through and kicking all over the place.

Of course, we popped plenty of it -- with our fingers, our feet...our bottoms (hee, hee, hee.)  We also practiced our scissor skills by cutting some of it up.  Cutting the foamy blankets was so much fun, Ladybug decided to see if it was just as much fun to cut up her skirt.  Fun for her.  For me, not so much.  Oh and learn. 

So we've lounged on it, played in it, popped it and cut it, but now what?  I just don't think it's trash yet.  I'm keeping some of it for packaging up my Etsy products, but I'd have to be making hundreds of sales a week to go through this stuff.  And while that would be nice, I don't think it's going to happen any time soon.  So I'm looking for ideas.  What would you do with all this stuff???

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bear Hugs: Aunt Cindy's Attic

Time for another installment of Bear Hugs.  (Bear Hugs is my Etsy customer appreciation feature.  It's trying to become a regular feature, but hey, I'm not a regular kinda gal.)

I became acquainted with AuntCindysAttic on Twitter, and she’s the one responsible for the brilliant idea of customizing the labels on my Monster Repellant. I really owe her a debt of gratitude (and probably some royalties.) She's full of great ideas -- like turning your favorite T-shirts into keepsake quilts. She's also fun to tweet with. So, without further ado, meet Aunt Cindy!

I love hearing the stories behind shop names, tell me about yours.

Aunt Cindy's Attic is the name of my quilt shop – the one I plan to open when I win an obscene amount of money in the lottery I didn't have kids when I thought up the name, but had recently been around my niece & nephews and I liked the sound of "Aunt Cindy". I figured I could use the name for my Etsy shop until I win those millions.

How'd you start doing what you do?

A few years ago, I gave my niece a doll bed for Christmas…or her 3rd birthday -- she was born December 21st, so it's tough to remember which one it was. I painted an unfinished bed, crocheted a little afghan, and thought it needed a quilt. I had recently inherited my grandmother-in-law's sewing machine and some of her quilting tools. I thought, "Thousands of grandmas do this, how hard can it be?" I checked out some books on quilting from the library and got started. I finished the little quilt and, amazingly, had some hair left. I didn't touch fabric for another 6 months. I took a machine quilting class right before we relocated. After the moved, I was unemployed for a year. I had no children at the time. I checked out more library books, was invited to join the quilt guild by one of the quilting librarians & the rest is history. This year I'm guild president. LOL!

What's your favorite item in your shop right now, and why?

This one is so hard! I love my reversible purses because I designed them. I love the Nuzzle Me blankets because they're soooo soft. I also love my sock babies. I had one that my grandma made when I was little. I LOVED it & figured other little ones would love them, too! I'm really liking the t-shirt quilts right now, too. I like that people trust me with their memories. At first I didn't think I'd like them (they seemed boring). I love fitting the pieces together to get something that my customers love. I'm not a pattern person anyway, so this is great for me!

Tell me about your most memorable Etsy moment.

I loved selling hairbows to a mom in Norway. I loved it more when she ordered a second time. It was really cool.

Do you have any secrets of success to share?

Take time off when you need to take a break. We all need those sometimes.

What's your favorite "Tip"? (Doesn't have to be shop-related, it can be life-related, a cleaning tip, etc.)

If you're changing a baby boy's diaper, tear off a small square from the corner of your wipe BEFORE opening the dirty diaper. Place it strategically to prevent any "diaper fountains".

BTW, Aunt Cindy, I'm still trying to find that stack of my son's t-shirts I want to send you. I must have one of these quilts!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Number 12's a Winner (and a special offer)

Ok, I've fallen behind again. This seems to be a recurring theme for me these days. It's those end-of-summer "vacations" which aren't really vacations at all. We take two every year: one to the West Coast to visit family & friends, one to the East Coast for the same purpose. Don't get me wrong! I love these trips -- I miss my friends and family -- but they're grueling! We never spend more than two nights in the same place. So much time in the car running here, there, everywhere. Ugh! And schlepping all that luggage! And the toll it takes on the kiddos. It takes quite a while to recover from trips like that. But I'm back. The suitcases are empty and back in storage. The laundry's done and put away. Sleep schedules have returned to normal. And now I'm playing catch-up at my desk.

So, how 'bout that give away from last month?! The winner is #12, and was chosen by means of

Aik is a student in Malaysia and loves the piano. She has a blog were she features a lot of sheet music...downloadable sheet music. So, for you pianists out there, check it out: She recently passed her piano exam, so if you stop by be sure to say congratulations. She has another blog,, where she holds give aways, writes book reviews and muses on life in general. She's currently giving away a signed copy of Lee Moylan’s "Once Upon a Nightmare" - which sounds really scary. Perfect for this Halloween season.

OK, now for the special offer part. To make up for my tardiness in announcing the winner, I'm going to extend a special offer on my pendants: 1/2 off to anyone who entered the give away; and 1/2 off to the first 12 non-participants who make a purchase. I've been working like a fool getting pictures of my newest pendants, so hopefully there will be lots of new stuff in the shop in the upcoming days.  Pendants come packaged pretty and ready to give.

**Credit where credit is due:  The cheeky little ducks introducing this post are compliments of Dan over at WoodandPixels.  Check out his Etsy shop.  He's got some amazing photography on display.