Saturday, April 26, 2008

Friday, April 25, 2008

Natural ingredients for Chemical-Free Cleaners

My super-savvy, trying-to-jump-on-the-green-wagon, husband sent me this article from Yahoo! Shine last night. I have condensed it for you, but here is the important stuff:

1. Baking soda: Acts as a scrub to remove hard water stains; polishes metal; deodorizes pretty much anything it touches (try stashing some in the fridge).

2. Borax
: Mixed with three parts water, it makes a paste for cleaning carpet stains; mixed with ¼ part lemon juice, it cleans stainless steel and porcelain. (Note: although borax is a natural substance, you still shouldn’t eat it—and neither should your kids or pets.)

3. Lemon:
Deodorizes and cuts grease on counter tops; rubbed on cutting boards, it bleaches stains and disinfects; combined with baking soda, it removes stains from plastic food storage containers.

4. Salt:
Another natural scrubber—sprinkle it on cookware or oven surfaces, then rub; add citrus juice to turn it into an effective rust remover.

5. White vinegar: Deodorizes and disinfects; combine with water (and a little liquid soap—I know, it feels like cheating) to clean windows, mirrors, and floors; use at full strength in a spray bottle to fight mold and mildew.

6. Olive Oil: Mix two parts oil with one part lemon juice and use as a natural wood polish. (Save the really good stuff for dinner.)

One added bonus of using natural cleaners: as part of your spring cleaning regimen, you can now clear out all those bottles of specialized (and possibly toxic) potions.

For more tips on rounding out your eco-friendly cleaning closet, see Christina Strutt’s cleaning-pantry-checklist from her new book, A Guide To Green Housekeeping; for a video demonstration of how to mix up some natural cleaning solutions with these ingredients, watch this clip from Decor It Yourself.

So you probably knew that those ingredients did some kind of cleaning, but it's nice to know what combines with what. So go empty all those spray bottles, thoroughly rinse them, soak off the labels, mix your green mixes and label your bottles with a Sharpie. I suggest also writing what it can be used for right on the bottle. Happy Spring Cleaning!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Max is going to COLLEGE!

I'm just a little freaked out, but my baby (my 14 year old baby) is going to college! We've been in the process for about a month now, but he took his placement test on Tuesday. He got into First Year English Comp, so he will do the first semester in a 5 week summer session and the second semester in the 2nd 5 week summer session. We are so psyched! His goal is to finish his Algebra II here at home by the end of the summer, go take the Math placement test and hopefully place in Pre-Calculus and Physics for the Fall Semester.

He is going to slowly work his way up to a full credit load - maybe by Spring, maybe not. He's not the best with deadlines, so this will be a whole new way of thinking for him. Keep him in your thoughts!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Weekly Giveaway!

It's time for the Weekly Giveaway, sponsored this week by Wanderlust Designs Photography! The prize will be an 8 x 10 print taken by Heather Kribbs in her various travels. It is titled "There Is Always Hope".

This time, there will be 2 components to your entry. First go to WDP and take a look around. Then come back here, and let me know:
1. What your favorite item is in Heather's shop
2. What the prize photo means to you, and
3. How to reach you if you are the winner

Photography can evoke so many different emotions from different people all viewing the same scene. I am fascinated to know how this photo speaks to you.

The contest ends on Friday, April 25, 2008 at 11:59pm ET. The winner will be selected, notified, and posted here on Saturday, April 26th. Thank you all for playing and GOOD LUCK!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Featured Artist - Wanderlust Designs Photography

Heather Kribbs over at Wanderlust Designs has been gracious enough to sponsor this week's Giveaway (which will start tomorrow)! So, get a nice, hot cuppa something and meet Heather....

1. Tell us a little bit about who you are and your life up to this point in time.
I'm 26 years old and I have two loves in life - travelling and photography. I've been lucky to indulge both of them as much as possible - I studied abroad in Australia for 4 months while in college, and more recently, I just returned from 8 months in Europe. I was working in Edinburgh, Scotland for six months, and then traveling around Europe. Now I'm back in the States, trying to decide how soon I can plan my next adventure! My love for travel definitely fuels my love for photography. I don't feel complete unless i have my camera with me, documenting all the cool and unusual stuff I see.

2. Besides your fantasy creative life, what else are doing currently?
I'm currenly planning my upcoming move to Colorado, and job hunting!! Besides trying to make that a reality, I'm working at a hotel, banquet and conference centre. I worked here for 3 years before moving to Scotland, and my employers were kind enough to let me come back as a temp. It's interesting because it's always varied - most of the time I work in the sales department, planning weddings and social events. But sometimes I fill in at the front desk, getting to meet people from around the world, and all walks of life. I just gave them my two week notice, so we'll see what happens next!!

3. What do you offer in your Etsy Shop?
I offer prints - both matted and unmatted, in sizes from 4x6 - 11x14, and i also make notecards.

4. Where do you create?
The good thing about photographhy is that you can create anywhere. I don't do studio or portrait photography, so I just carry my camera and equipment with me everywhere, and end up seeing the world through my lens. I use my laptop for my digital darkroom, so that's convenient, as well.

5. Where do you get your inspiration from?
I get my inspiration from the world around me. I love vibrant colors, unusual sights, anything that makes me smile, anything visual, anything that makes me look twice, anything that catches my eye. Photography for me is the representation of the world around me. A visual statement of my place in the world. My favorite quote is “The way to know life is to love many things” ~Vincent Van Gogh. I love this quote because it reflects my style of photography. I love many things, and I love to photograph everything I see, everything I enjoy.

6. How did you learn how to do your craft?
I took one photography class way back in high school, that opened my eyes to the joy of photography, but other than that, I'm basically self-taught. I bought a digital-SLR, and am still trying to learn everything I can do!

7. How do you promote your wares?
'Promotion' is still pretty new to me, since I've only opened my Etsy shop a couple of months ago. My signature on my email account announces for everyone: "I'd love if you'd check out my photography at That message goes to anyone I email. I also have a flickr account, and a business myspace, and I'll use my personal myspace and facebook to mention stuff. I've made up business cards, and try to pass them out whenever possible. I'm on Etsy all the time, in the forums and chatting.

8. What has been the most important lesson you've learned since you started selling your own creations?
The most important lesson is corny, but true - you need to believe in yourself. That kind of manifests itself in many different ways--you have to believe in your work enough to price it correctly, and to promote it, and to know that you can do anything you put your mind to.

9. Is there any advice you can give others who are just starting out?
Don't be afraid to ask for help! For me, the most amazing part of Etsy is the great community feeling. I'm constantly meeting new people, through the Forums, and my POE
(Photographers of Etsy) and CASTTEAM's (Christian Artists)Street Teams.

10.Do you have any favorite Etsy artists you'd like to promote here?
Oh, my! Too many!! And everyday while searching through the Treasuries, or Pounce, I find more! Some of the best items I've bought lately:
Insane Jellyfish has some great bracelets
PhriendlyK8 made me the best cell phone case
The cutest baby washcloths from Little Something Extra
Felt fortune cookies from Red Rover
Heather Future has the cutest paintings and stories about her characters
and in honor of upcoming earth day: Gnome Clothes sells great reusuable cloth snack bags and sandwhich bags. I'm about to go buy some from her now! :)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

And the WINNER is......


Thanks for playing everyone and check back on Tuesday when we start a new Giveaway!

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2008-04-19 21:24:26 UTC

Friday, April 18, 2008

Baby Wrap Sweater Finished!

Okay so it took me 2 months to finish a little tiny sweater, but it's because I have too many projects going on at the same time. A deadline always helps me finish. This little lavendar sweater is for Baby Cara Hollenbach who was born on Wednesday! I have been babysitting her big brother Noah since he was 5 months old. And this week is our 3 year anniversary together! My how the time flies! I can't wait to meet Baby Cara :) Please keep the Hollenbachs in your prayers as they bring home their littlest blessing today.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

My Ishmael by Daniel Quinn

Well, I finished the book last week. I've been so busy, this is the first chance I've had to sit down and write about it. I definitely think that was this was the best book from the fictional story perspective. It was very engaging and difficult to put down. The knowledge imparted however, was just as important as the other two. As a matter of fact, I would suggest that it is important to read them in the order they were written. It doesn't say that anywhere, that you should, but I think there is a natural progression of thoughts.

This book completes the equation of what has gone wrong with our society. Even as I type that, I know it conveys the wrong idea. It's difficult to say what the flavor of these books are because they really are so different from anything else. These were written to open your mind and help you see what our culture really looks like objectively. There are no answers here on how to fix it, just a history of how it got this way and where it's going if it doesn't change. And I think we all know that it's going to H-E-double hockey sticks in a handbasket.

My Ishmael focuses on the areas of business/capitalism and education of our young. Once the simple fact is laid out before you that if food weren't locked up, the world would be an entirely different place; you sort of shudder and say "Why didn't I realize that before?" Really, you must think about that - if food weren't locked up, would you work in a job you hate? would you be trudging through each day of your life? wouldn't your "hobby" actually become your life's work? Why is the food locked up? To benefit a few elite by getting what they want in exchange for the food so desperately needed by all. Sure, it started off small and has escalated into what it is today - 95% of the world's population dependent on commerce in order to live. I think this why Star Trek appeals to me so much. I watch every episode repeatedly, because I love to revel in the fantasy that human beings actually can elevate themselves to the point of eliminating money from the equation. There it is - a technologically advanced (warp drive capable) civilization that runs smoothly without currency. People excel in jobs they love because they are fulfilling their true calling in life and there is no stigma about some jobs being better than others - they are necessary and keep the wheels turning. And their food is given to them as they need it - no hoarding and no cost, freeing the mind to pursue its dreams instead of its survival.

The other topic is the education of our young. Everyone says that school systems need to be overhauled, no matter what country they're in - but the US in particular, definitely. As homeschoolers, we have already figured out that isn't the way to help children thrive. And private school is no better than public, simply more expensive. But here, in this book, homeschooling is also seen as an extension of a structured educational system if it is not unschooling. Four years ago, I would not have seen that as a true statement. These past few years of learning from my children about how they learn best, I have begun to see that unschooling really is the only way for children to learn well and permanently. And to let them learn what they are interested in - forcing boring subjects does not increase learning or make a person well-rounded. And really, why is "well-rounded" absolutely necessary? Look at the picture as a whole, every part of our knowledge will be passed down through generations by people who know it best to the people who want to know about it. Children only retain what's interesting to them, so why waste years trying to cram things in there that won't stick anyway.

The most important lessons learned from these books collectively is that there is no ONE right way to live for all people. This of course is completely contrary to central beliefs of technologically advanced, world power civilizations. I don't want to elaborate more here because I am trying to get you to read these books. You will learn so much more from them than from a summary by me. This shift in thinking can't come about by reading a summary - you have to have all the details, chew on it, swallow it, digest it - then you really know it and understand.

I really believe that if you have strong desire to change the world, you have to start here.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Mommy Gripe

Okay, so I just have to get this out there. Those of you with children, please let me know that I'm not out of my mind (more so than usual!).

When you can ask your kids what it is they KNOW they have to do each day to keep Mommy happy and not yelling, and they can answer perfectly, WHY do they not do it?!

I am like a freakin' broken record (yes, I'm old enough for vinyl)! I say the same thing day after day, minute after minute. If you haven't seen William Tell Mom on YouTube......

So, my kids have it pretty easy since they are homeschooled. We play on nice days, kickback when we feel overworked or sick. They don't have to go to school for 8 hours, then come home and do 5 hours of meaningless drudgery. They don't seem to get that their 4 hours of non-testing, learn what means something to you, watch educational videos kind of day is a dream come true for millions of kids educated outside the home.

After all my huffing, puffing, screaming, and having them list their chores and the subjects they are planning to work on; I thought "well, maybe the 1,542nd time will do it." Sadly, I was wrong.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Requirement for State Assistance Checks?

I got this in my email today from an old friend in Arizona. I just had to pass this along.

Like a lot of folks in this state, I have a job I work, they pay me. I pay my taxes and the government distributes my taxes as it sees fit. In order to get that paycheck, I am required to pass a random urine test with which I have no problem. What I do have a problem with is the distribution of my taxes to people who don't have to pass a urine test. Shouldn't one have to pass a urine test to get a welfare check because I have to pass one to earn it for them? Please understand, I have no problem with helping people get back on their feet. I do, on the other hand, have a problem with helping someone sitting on their BUTTS , doing drugs, while I work. . . . Can you imagine how much money the state would save if people had to pass a urine test to get a public assistance check?
I have never thought of this before, but I think it's a lovely idea. Who should we write to in order to have this implemented?

Weekly Giveaway - Earrings from Mia Beads!

This Giveaway Is Now CLOSED!

This week's giveaway is a pair of earrings from Mia Beads! Each pair is handcrafted by Mia. They are simple, feminine, and elegant. The winner will get to choose any pair they like valued up to $16.50!

How to play:
Go to Mia's shop, take a look around, come back here and leave a comment on this post. Be sure to leave a way to reach you if you win. No duplicate entries; they will be discarded. Entries will be accepted until 11:59pm ET Friday, April 18, 2008.

The winner will be drawn by on Saturday, April 19th. The winner will be posted here on Saturday. Good luck!

Thanks to Mia Beads for sponsoring this week's Giveaway!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Featured Artist of the Week - MiaBeads

1. Tell us a little bit about who you are and your life up to this point in time.

I was born "Michelle", named after my father, Michael (in french). My brother gave me the nickname "Mia" as a kid, and it stuck. I've always been a dreamer... but an ambitious one! I love art, music (especially classic rock), and all of the "Law & Order" shows. I wanted to be a lawyer when I was younger- or a teacher. I always did well in school, but was never into sports- I hated gym class with a passion! I danced for 18 years, and would love to start taking some classes for fun again this summer.

2. Besides your fantasy creative life, what else are doing currently?
Right now, my creative life is my life- although I wish it allowed more time for creating new things- I've been so inspired lately! My etsy shop keeps me very busy; making, packing, shipping, and of course the customer service and recordkeeping. I also run one location in a small chain of local bead stores and am working on my business administration degree.

3. What do you offer in your Etsy Shop?
My etsy shop, MiaBeads, sells jewelry in a variety of styles- focusing on quality pieces that are both trendy and timeless. I love delicate, feminine jewelry- and also bright, vibrant colors. Pearls, lockets, brass, oxidized silver and vintage glass are some of my favorite materials to work with at the moment.

4. Where do you create?
In a mess! My creative spirit refuses to allow time for cleaning!
Currently, I'm using one spare room in my house for the creating, and my office for paperwork and packaging. This summer, I'm going to be doing a bit of streamlining... setting up a larger studio space where I can do everything at once! I'm sure that will eventually end up just as cluttered though! :0)

5. Where do you get your inspiration from?
Mostly nature, and also the vintage components I find. Color is also a huge inspiration for me.

6. How did you learn how to do your craft?
I was always busy with some sort of project as a kid. I began making beaded jewelry at a young age and did my first craft show at the age of 12. I got a job at a local bead store a few years later. Working there, and interacting with so many talented people, taught me so much and helped me find my own style.

7. How do you promote your wares?
Word of mouth has been my best advertising! Keeping my shop updated and the lovely etsians that have featured me on their blogs also helps to bring in new customers.

8. What has been the most important lesson you've learned since you started selling your own creations?
If you want to run a successful business, you need to price your items correctly! This is especially important if you plan on wholesaling to shops and boutiques. The amount of time that goes into designing, creating, marketing, selling, and distributing must be taken into account.

9. Is there any advice you can give others who are just starting out?
Do what you love and be original; People can tell when you are passionate about your work! Don't get discouraged by a slow start... just keep improving your photos and descriptions, stop by the etsy forums for some great info/critiques, and find new ways to promote your wares. The Storque has some great articles on "Etsy Success Stories" that are inspiring to read!

10.Do you have any favorite Etsy artists you'd like to promote here?

Check back tomorrow when we start Mia's Giveaway!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I've been FEATURED!

A very lovely and detailed feature has been done on me and my work over at Mature Natural Blog!
And it comes along at a perfect time. This week I will be debuting my newly designed full apron Mother/Daughter sets! I've had several failed prototypes (which I wear anyway!), but have finally hit upon a design that I feel captures the spirit of Callidora - soft, feminie, uniquely you. Mother's Day will be here before you know it!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

And the WINNER Is.......

Sue Farrell!

And my thanks again to Soap Deli for offering such a delicious prize! Tune in on Monday to learn about another Etsy artist. On Tuesday, a new giveaway starts - come back and join the fun!

There is still time to enter the EAOC Giveaway ending tonight - see the post below!

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2008-04-12 20:30:20 UTC

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Weekly Giveaway at Team EAOC

There is a new Weekly Giveaway at my Etsy Artists of Color Team blog! A new one starts every Wednesday and ends every Saturday. No purchase necessary to win.

This week's shop is Handcrafted by LaMar! Win a 4-pack of beautiful handcrafted greeting cards!

Introducing Callidora Home!

I am happy to introduce an expansion of the Callidora line into Home Decor! Currently, these items will be sold exclusively through the Etsy Artists of Color Team Shop. I have one set of Bedside Pocket Organizers listed right now and will be adding more in the very near future. My mind is buzzing with new designs!

All items can be customized and are available for wholesale. Please feel free to contact me if you have an idea for an item and would like me to help you bring it to fruition.

Callidora Home available here.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Soap & Lotion Giveaway!

This Giveaway is now CLOSED!

This week's Giveaway is being sponsored by Soap Deli from Roanoke, Virginia! There is no purchase necessary to win - the giveaway is entirely FREE!

What do I have to do?
1. Go to Soap Deli and look at Rebecca's items for sale.
2. Choose a favorite and come back here to this blog.
3. Leave a comment here with:
a. A way to reach you in case you win
b. Your favorite item from the shop
4. Tell your friends, post this giveaway on your blog, let the world know!
5. As a bonus, everyone who subscribes to my newsletter (monthly, you won't be bombarded and your info won't be given or sold to anyone else) through the NotifyList box in the side bar, will be entered into my Monthly Drawing for a Giveaway from my shop. The drawing will be on the first of each month. Enter once thru NotifyList and be eligible each month thereafter.

What do I win?

Blackberry Sage bar soap
A favorite year round, this soap pleases not just with the delicious scent of blackberry and sage, but with skin loving ingredients like shea butter and rice bran oil as well. Great as a body or facial soap and for shaving as well. Liked by both men and women alike, each deliciously scented bar weighs at least 4 oz. 95% natural - only fragrance and scent are artificial - and 100% vegan.

Ingredients: coconut oil, distilled water, canola oil, olive oil, palm oil, sodium hydroxide, rice bran oil, shea butter, fragrance, and colorant.
Blackberry Sage Lotion
This fabulous lotion leaves your skin feeling moisturized, soft, and silky smooth. It contains a combination of Goat’s Milk, Honey and Shea Butter, all wonderful ingredients for hydrating your skin. It smells like delicious blackberry sage tea. It's nice and thick, and great all over. Each bottle contains at least 8.5oz. of lotion by weight.

Ingredients: Water, Glyceryl Stearate, Isopropyl Myristate, Caprylic/Capric Glyceride, Stearic Acid, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth 20, Soybean Oil, Shea Butter, Dimethicone, Sunflower Oil, Aloe Barbadensis, Goat Milk Extract, Hydroxypropyl Trimonium Honey, Benzophenone, Methylparaben, Propylparabaen, DMDM Hydantoin, Triethanolamine Disodium EDTA, and fragrance.
A retail value of $17!

When does the contest end?

Friday at 11:59 pm ET all entries must in. Each person can enter only once, duplicate entries will be discarded.

How is the winner chosen?
The winner will be chosen randomly by on Saturday. The winner will be notified by email or you can check back here on Saturday afternoon, as it will be posted.

Thanks for entering and good luck!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Featured Artist of the Week

Soap Deli, a fellow Virginian!

Rebecca of Soap Deli has agreed to be the first sponsor of my now Weekly Giveaway! Today you can get to know her and her products here through my interview. Come back tomorrow to find out about this week's prize in the Giveaway. It's very exciting and I'm so thankful to Rebecca for her sponsorship!

1. Tell us a little bit about who you are and your life up to this point in time.
Basically I'm a 32 wife and mother of one. I have a BA in Fine Art from Roanoke College where I studied a bit of everything including pottery, photography, and painting. I currently make lots of soap, which I sell primarily on my local farmer's market, and I love to read when there's time leftover.

2. Besides your fantasy creative life, what else are doing currently?
Actually my creative life is pretty much my life. I make and sell soap full time. I also created a site for my local farmer's market in my spare time and keep a little blog to go along with it. I take pics of new crafts, plants, and produce to let people know what we're offering. I also do restaurant reviews, and list special events. Additionally I also have a blog to promote my products at I post regular articles, how to's, bath & body recipes, and contests. In my free time I read. In between I do the normal household stuff which I'm always trying to put off a bit longer.

3. What do you offer in your Etsy Shop?
I sell shea butter soaps - all of which have an amazing lather - feel good lotions, sugar scrubs, and a little extra "other stuff" here and there.

4. Where do you create?
I mostly work out of my kitchen and my office.

5. Where do you get your inspiration from?
My inspiration comes from my sense of smell and of course input from other "smellers" I come in contact with.

6. How did you learn how to do your craft?
I am self taught and have been at my current craft since 2001.

7. How do you promote your wares?
I promote a lot through networking, my blog, and just seeing people face to face every week. I get a lot of new customers from recommendations made by my regular customers as well as from tourists who find me on the market downtown, like my stuff, and come back to etsy to order more.

8. What has been the most important lesson you've learned since you started selling your own creations?
That in order to get 100%, you must give 100%.

9. Is there any advice you can give others who are just starting out?
Just take the plunge. Give everything you can and you'll get back. Don't be shy about getting out there and talking to people about your products.

10.Do you have any favorite Etsy artists you'd like to promote here?
I have a ton of favorites but haven't had a chance to buy from them all. Here are a few I have purchased from and recommend.

I love the artwork at makes a great funky pet deodorizer. has the cutest patterns in the world. makes a great natural laundry detergent.
I've gotten some really cool lampwork beads from has some awesome felted bags.
My son loves his nightmare snatcher by always has beautiful jewelry.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Featured on Simply Sentimental!

I'm being featured on Simply Sentimental this week! You have another opportunity to win one of my headbands over there, so please go check it out and enter to win.

Thanks to Sydnei for the feature and the chance to giveaway another of my creations!

And The Winners Are.....

.... as picked by

1st prize of a $25 gift certificate goes to Kerry!

And since I made my goal of 25 comments, 3 headbands (one each) are being awarded to:

Soap Deli
Migoto Chou

Thanks to everyone who participated! I had great fun and will definitely be doing this on a regular basis. So please subscribe to this blog to keep up with upcoming giveaways.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

My Giveaway!

It's down to the last couple of hours in my giveaway! Will I make 25? I sure hope so! See the post below and make your comments.

Thanks to everyone who has participated so far!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Free Giveaway!

I want to run a contest in the very near future and I'm trying to decide what sort of thing people like to get for free. So here's your chance to shape a future contest! I want you to go to my shopand take a look around. Find one item you would love to win as a prize and come leave a comment here on my blog. In your comment tell me which item you would choose as a prize and why.

This Comment Contest ends at midnight ET on Saturday, April 5th. From the comment entries, I will randomly choose a winner and that person will receive a $25 gift certificate to my shop. The certificate can be used on any item or combination of items, can be used toward shipping or toward a custom order; but it has no cash value.

So go browse and tell me what you think! And be sure to leave a way for me to contact you if you are the winner!

As an extra bonus to those who leave their comments here on my blog, if there are over 25 comments, 3 will receive a FREE headband!

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Visit Callidora's

Put even the plainest woman into a beautiful dress and unconsciously she will try to live up to it. - Lady Duff-Gordon

Please visit my online shop, Callidora's, for clothing and accessories. I'm adding new items all the time and I'm always happy to do custom work in any price range. You can email me with any requests and we can create your unique, handmade item together.

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