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Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Weekly Favorite

We have had the honor of being featured on Jennifer White's blog, Jennifer White's Designs. Please take the time to check it out! I love her tag line, "Handmade happiness."


Friday, February 27, 2009


I am referring to tagging your items for sale on Etsy. Last night I stumbled upon two threads in the forums about searching/tagging. "Can you find what you are looking for on Etsy?" and "Sellers: Could you please tag your items correctly?" I see that there are more threads related to this that have either recently been created or bumped up the list.

I find this interesting, because I changed my tags on five cutting boards yesterday and placed them in the "weddings" category. They usually reside in the woodworking category. I did this to market to those shopping in the wedding section, to make them aware that a cutting board would be an excellent wedding or housewarming gift! I also purchased a Wedding Showcase for this Sunday. I guess I see tagging as a marketing tool.

I think that Etsy makes the suggestions for tagging so confusing. And if Etsy is going to have these rules, then why aren't they enforcing them? Many complaints have been made because high volume sellers/top sellers/sellers on the front page seem to be mistagged. You decide. Comment here. :)

Photo by
Everydotandtittle's shop on Etsy.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

New iPhone 3G

old iPhone The picture is of my broken iPhone, taken with my new iPhone.

I was a first generation iPhone user. I have had several issues with my iPhone, I even broke my screen. But nothing has deterred my fanaticism for the iPhone. A few days ago my volume down button quit working. It was stuck in the down position, keeping the speaker/volume icon open on the screen. This icon blocked my view of everything. That pesky speaker covered the screen while I texted, read emails, made calls, so I had to do something about it. I decided to attempt to open my iPhone and manually fix the button. I opened it. I didn't fix it. I broke it, worse than it was broken before... I now couldn't get my phone to close back up properly. I now couldn't turn the phone or screen off, and I couldn't put my SIM card back in the phone.

Sounds terrible, huh? Well, it was finally time to get the NEW iPhone 3G. No more excuses, I mean, my old phone was no longer functional, right? Perfect! On my break last night at work, I ran to the AT&T booth in the mall, and in less than 15 minutes spent over $250. Yikes! I got a handy little case that I really like too.

Now I am updating the software, syncing my contacts, downloading music, etc. I just LOVE my Crochet Red Flower{NEW} iPhone. And the old phone? Sold on eBay in less than an hour for Buy It Now Price of $100. Very cool.

Blog feature: Oh, and I'd like to mention that Jozie at Jewelry by Jozie featured my Crochet Red Flower Necklace in her blog today. Please take the time to visit her blog and her Etsy shop.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Inspired to List

New boardYesterday we sold a cutting board! It was our first cutting board sale on Etsy since before Christmas. This sale inspired me to list two new items. Michael created new cutting boards last week for a custom request/sale from a repeat customer. She only wanted one cutting board, but he made three. We intended to list the other two, but hadn't gotten around to it.

When this sale came through, Michael got the email notification onNew board his Blackberry Storm first, and texted me. I looked it up online from home on the laptop. That inspired me to pull out the poster board, camera, and new cutting boards. While Quinn was napping I photographed and listed these two new boards. I am very pleased with the photographs! One board is cherry with an ambrosia maple handle. The other board is cherry, with a beautiful knot and a mineral stained {by nature} curly maple handle. I think they are beautiful, but then again, I think ALL of my husband's work is beautiful!


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bagherra and Quinn

i see yougreeting from a distance
Last week we (Quinn and I) were in downtown Kingsport. We checked out a daycare, ate lunch, walked through the gallery, walked through the loft, and looked over blueprints at Urban Synergy.

Angela has a cat in the office with her, his name is Bagheera.Quinn was in total awe. Bagheera tolerated Quinn's curiousness. Their interactions were so entertaining. I snapped a few photos with my iPhone.

Quinn has his one year check up today! Off to the doctor...


Monday, February 23, 2009

Alpaca Farm

I was promoting our Etsy shop on Craig's List. While I was there, I decided to check out some local listings. I was so excited to find a listing for alpaca yarn. The family business/farm was local and within about 3 miles from our apartment! June was very friendly when we spoke on the phone, and was more than happy to have our family over to meet the alpaca. I was very excited! I had never seen alpaca. I never met anyone who raise, shear, spin and sell their alpaca yarn! AND to have to opportunity to buy the yarn and make my own crochet creations! I was thrilled!

June's daughter had the flu, so I, being the only one in my family having had the flu vaccination this year, went inside the house to check out the yarn, while June's husband, Ed, took Michael and the boys out to the barn. Ed put the boys to work and had them feed the alpaca! They also met two llamas, a pig, and a goat... Oh, and three dogs!

The yarn was beautiful and so soft! June had three colors left in her stash: a white, brown, and black-brown... Natural colors from the coat of the alpaca, undyed! After ooooing and aaahing over June's yarns and some creations she had, I accompanied June outside to find the boys. She pointed out which animals provided which color of yarn. She also has other colors of alpaca. She was anxious to get rid of her current stash, because they were going to be shearing again in late March/April.

I couldn't wait to get home and begin crocheting! This is my first creation from it... Creamy Natural Mini Cowl / Capelet / Shrug with Flower Crochet Alpaca. Please check it out and let me know what you think!


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Share the Love

We are enjoying meeting fellow crafters and artisans. Etsy is such a neat community of people with ecclectic talents. Melinda in her blog, Autumn Olive, featured our Center Cut Cutting Board, Mineral Stained Maple and Cherry Two-Handled. We appreciate the feature among talented Etsy sellers. Check out her blog post and her Etsy shop, after all, it's about sharing the love--the love for all things handmade. Thanks, Melinda!


Friday, February 20, 2009

Treasury West!!!

We have been featured in our second treasury and are so excited! Please, visit "Brrr Chilly Outside" leave a comment, and take the time to visit some of the other shops featured. A special thanks to Glenna, the curator of this treasury. Take the time to visit her Etsy shop as well, Vintage Embellishment.

Photo is from Glenna, Vintage Embellishment--WISH.


Less Than One Week Old

I stumbled across this Etsy shop on Wednesday night! I am so VERY impressed. The Clay Press has established a beautiful shop in less than a week! Actually, based on the listing dates and shop opening date--in two days! All of the basic requirements are there: An eye-catching banner and avatar, a shop full of listings (18 items!), concise item descriptions, nice photography of her pendants, shop policies, and most importantly, BEAUTIFUL work! I'd like to see more in her profile, but in her shop announcement she explains that all of her pendants are handmade and patterns are from pressings of vintage glass and silver patterns. Such a cool idea! Preserving the past on wearable clay art! In each individual listing, she includes in the last picture the pendant with the item she used to press the pattern in the clay! Ingenious! The item pictured here is the Green Burst Pottery Pendant. I'd like to thank The Clay Press for the inspiration to share the Etsy love!


Thursday, February 19, 2009

I (ok, WE) Won a Blog Award

This award was given to me (us) by Linda. It is called a Lemonade Award. It is for blogs with great gratitude or attitude! Awe, shucks! Please take the time to visit Linda's blog, surf around to all of the other blogs she nominated, and take a peek at her Etsy shop. Our first blog award! Yippeeee!


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My First Choker

I know, the jewelry market is over saturated on Etsy, but I couldn't help it! I love making crochet jewelry. As I create, more designs come to mind. I made this for my sister Cindi, who told me she liked the Crochet Red Flower Necklace, but didn't necessary like red. No, really, I saw this yarn, thought of her suggestion to use a "neutral" color... And now I am presenting the Shimmering Sand Crochet Choker Necklace. Cindi lives in St. Augustine, hence the name "Shimmering Sand." Thanks for the inspiration Cindi! For more pictures of this item and lots of other listings, check out our Etsy shop!


Monday, February 16, 2009


I just love Ruth's Allover Art's Etsy shop. She has beautiful, unique, fun, wearable art! She has a very fun, informative blog also:

To see details on her giveaway and what you need to do to enter, go to the February Giveaway post here. I visited her shop and picked my most recent favorite, Daisy Twins Art Pendant Necklace. Ruth also makes other wearable art such as rings, bobby pins, and brooches. She also sells prints and art cards, and is in the process of opening a separate Etsy shop for her fine art.

Happy Birthday Quinn!Another great giveaway, Fabulous Birdie Onesie Giveaway, I registered for is on Vanessa's blog Designs by Vanessa. This giveaway is from Olive and Ollie, who we are already customers of. Quinn wore their Custom Appliqued First 1 Birthday Shirt for Little Boys in Bright Stars when we celebrated his first birthday! Scroll down a little on Vanessa's blog and you can still register for Fabulous Print Giveaway, deadline to register is February 22. This print is by Sarah Cruse and really is FABULOUS! Vanessa has a cute Etsy shop herself.

Designs by Vanessa Designs by Vanessa

Take the time to visit these two blogs and four fellow Etsians! Best Etsy wishes to all this Tuesday!


Happy Birthday Quinn!

Quinn was born a year ago. Although I hate to see my baby grow up, we are blessed to have a happy, healthy, smart, and beautiful boy!

Quinn and daddyI just love the look of pure joy on my face in the above picture, as I look up to Michael, while I hold our newborn son in my arms for the first time. Compared to a picture of Michael holding Quinn's birthday cake as we sing "Happy Birthday."

Quinn and mommy There is my baby Quinn with "big eyes." Compared to my Quinn now who is "so big!"

Quinn with brothersAll of Quinn's brothers are in this picture, although Seth is behind Jacob's head. Seth is sitting on the loveseat with his girlfriend Megan. Compared to Aaron holding baby Quinn the night he was born.

Quinn in carseatAnd the ride home from the hospital... How Quinn looked so tiny in that huge carseat rear facing. Compared to now, when the carseat is just right and forward facing.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Meeting New Artists

I just love Etsy! Not only can I get lost browsing other artists' shops, but I can also get lost in the forums. While reading and posting in the forums last night, I met a young artist, Elizabeth, from Antioch, near Nashville, TN. She is a self taught glass artist. I love self taught artists, as I am one myself! Elizabeth also shares the birthdate of my second son, Aaron (September 13). How cool is that?

Elizabeth and I sent each other several "convos" which are like emails within Etsy last night. Elizabeth loves to create, and is very accommodating as far as custom requests. Her shop contains pendants, earrings, cuff links, hair accessories, and home decor. She also showed me some beautiful barrettes last night.

Unfamiliar with glass art, I had to do some research myself about fused glass and dichroic glass. Follow those links and learn more yourself. Please, take the time to visit Elizabeth's Etsy shop, Moon of Glass, and make a purchase to support this up-and-coming, self taught glass artist! She has several pieces under $10. Give the gift of handmade!


Thursday, February 12, 2009

He Who Loves to Create

Smile Jacob!

He is my son, Jacob. I showed both him and his brother how to crochet. Jacob just loves it! He is making something all of the time. I think Michael has four necklaces. I have two bracelets. We wear them, too, showing him how proud we are of his creation and thoughtfulness.

Yesterday, Jacob was home sick from school. Working 3-11, I almost always nap with Quinn in hands that createthe morning. So, I'm in bed and awakened by Jacob holding this (I'm not able to focus in on it yet, so I am not sure what IT is) in my face asking, "Mom, will you put this on your web site?" When I was a little more awake, I also noticed that he had my camera around his neck. He was ready to take pictures and put it up for sale.

And that is exactly what we did. I took some pictures. He decided to list the necklace at $1.25. I made the listing, and now it is for sale in our Etsy shop. Anyone care to make a little boy VERY happy and buy this necklace?


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Featured in our first Treasury!!!

We are so excited today! The Crochet Red Flower Necklace is featured in the Treasury! It is our first!!! For those of you who don't know, the Treasury is a big deal. From the Treasury, Etsy administration chooses items to feature on the Front Page of the site! This increases traffic to our shop and will hopefully bring a sale or two.

Please check out the Treasury here, so views will increase and make it a "hot" list! Also, we'd like to thank Golden Pear Art Studio for the feature in her Treasury called "Contrast." So check out her shop on Etsy too! Thank you Jodi!


Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Lauren HatLet me introduce you to Lauren. Lauren's mom, Lisa, is Quinn's caregiver while I work. Dana and Lisa have done an excellent job raising Lauren, who is three years old. Lauren is imaginative, always pretending. She is sweet and helpful, very protective of Quinn. I can tell that Quinn loves her and loves going to their house. Michael and I are very thankful that Lisa takes the time and effort being very active with Quinn. Pumpkin PatchWhen the weather is nice they often get out of the house to go on walks, to take trips to the park, or to go feed the ducks. We feel truly blessed that they are a part of our life.

When creating this hat, I had Lauren in mind. Not having measurements, I was lucky that the hat was just the right size. I asked Lisa if Lauren could model my hat. For weeks I had the Halloweenhat completed, but couldn't get my act together to get over to their house early before work to take pictures. Finally, Lisa offered to take the pictures herself. I left my camera with her one day when I dropped Quinn off and went to work... Voila! Pictures of Lauren in her hat! Thank you Lisa for the pictures and Lauren for modeling! I hope you enjoy the hat!

This hat is available in our Etsy shop. It is made to order and shipped within 7 days.

"There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again."~Elizabeth Lawrence


Monday, February 9, 2009

First Time Playing Disc Golf

Disc Golf... Frisbee Golf... Whatever you'd like to call it. Obviously, I am not very educated about this sport! Michael enjoys it and used to play often. He has even helped a friend build a course, including making the baskets himself. If you want to learn more about disc golf, read this entry in Wikipedia.

Anyway, it was gorgeous outside yesterday, and we LOVE being outdoors! So, we loaded up and headed over to the the closest disc golf course at a local park. I wore Quinn in my baby wrap, bought for me by Michael and made by a fellow Etsian, bronwenhandcrafted (see photo). I didn't play, but followed the boys with Quinn and camera in tow.

Seth had played disc golf before, but it was also Aaron and Jacob's first time on a disc golf course too. They did great. We all had a lot of fun! Even Quinn, who was deliriously sleepy, laughed at the boys every time they threw their disc. I had to rush off to work my evening shift, arriving to work sweaty and exhausted. Carrying around a 25 pound baby was a great workout! I just love family time outdoors! For more pictures, visit our Flickr site here. Mosaic created using Big Huge Labs' Mosaic Maker.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Found on Facebook!

We've all heard the saying, "It's a small world." Well, the Internet makes it so much smaller. A childhood friend, Kristen, sent a friend request via Facebook last night. Honestly, I couldn't place her immediately. We lived across the street from each other, and I moved when I was 9 years old. Kristen has a baby, close to my youngest in age. She is a registered nurse, as am I. It sure is a small world!

BUY AT AMAZONI don't remember much in my early childhood. Both of my parents are alcoholics. My dad is recovering. Neither my sisters nor I have seen or heard from our mother in over 10 years. My parents divorced when I was 9. I do remember one of Kristen's sisters had a Spirograph that I enjoyed drawing with (at least I think I remember...). And I vaguely remember playing in Kristen's backyard. Maybe Kristen can help me remember more. I wonder how much of my dysfunctional family life they were aware of. Not that I am embarrassed. I once was, but through Al-Anon and therapy I realized that I was a mere child, who can't be held responsible for the actions of her parents. Sure, I suffered the consequences of their actions, but I did the best I could with what was given to me, considering...SISTERS

Anyway, my new motto, which I have been reciting to my boys for the last several weeks here around the house is...

YOU are responsible for YOUR own actions.

Oh, and on a side note, I had to dig out the external hard drive to post this ADORABLE picture of me and my sisters. I am the oldest of three.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Our Latest Purchase

GudonyaMichael and I have made the commitment to buy handmade, to start supporting small businesses the AMERICAN economy. So, as we get low on shampoo, I am not running to Wal-Mart as I once did to pick up Suave or Herbal Essences shampoo. Instead, I ordered some handmade shampoo and conditioner today from Gudonya (pronounced good-on-ya). I have purchased some handmade soap already from Besem Natural Scents which I am still waiting to receive in the mail. {I got this as I was typing...}

Besem Natural Scents

We are making an honest effort to become smart consumers. We are not looking to buy cheap. Sure, buying handmade is more expensive. But we believe by supporting small business, buying quality products, we are being SMART. We hope WHERE we spend our money has a "trickle up" effect, then supporting the AMERICIAN economy as a whole. We want to live the American dream, and help others do the same. Oh, and not to mention, that what we are buying is all-natural, good for our family and good for our environment.

Why don't you support handmade?


Monday, February 2, 2009

Two Eventful Weekends

Having four boys with ages ranging from 17 years old to 11 months, I live the cliche "They grow up so fast." I have not taken the time to introduce you to our family here on our blog. If you don't know us, let me take a moment to introduce ourselves.

We are Michael and Talina, two soul mates that found each other/fate brought together, {however you see it} via the Internet. Don't laugh, it's true. Ours is a blended family, with Seth (17) pictured with his girlfriend Megan, Aaron (8) and Jacob (7) being my three sons from my first marriage, and Quinn (11 mo) being my fourth son from this, my second, marriage. Michael had never been married before, nor did he have any biological children before Quinn. Michael and I have been married now for going on three years. Our storybook romance was closed and placed on the bookshelf for almost a year, but we have taken it down, dusted it off, and opened the book again re-writing our fairytale.

Our family minus me, as I am often photograhing. :)

We thoroughly enjoy our time together as a family, and prefer to be outdoors hiking, fishing, swimming, and enjoying nature. Indoors we like bowling, watching movies, and playing PS3. The three oldest are active in sports, so depending on the season you can find us indoors or out, cheering them on from the bleachers, whether it be football, basketball, track, or baseball. I am blessed to have an amazing husband that spends quality time with my children, our child, and helps in every way possible to make my life a little easier.

As far as work goes, Michael works full time in a gallery's wood shop making custom furniture. His pieces are either made for the floor of the gallery or are special commissions for customers. He has over an hour commute into the mountains of NC to work one way. I work full time as a registered nurse in a call center. I answer nurse calls for a free service provided by the health system I work for. I also facilitate transfers between hospitals, so patients can receive the care they need. Prior to this job, I had 11 years in women's and children's nursing working on the floor, unit, and as a charge nurse in pediatrics, pediatric intensive care, neonatal intensive care, and LDRP(labor/delivery/recovery/postpartum).

So, onto the events! We celebrated Jacob's 7th birthday by going snow tubing at Hawksnest, the largest snow tubing venue on the East Coast. We also ate cake, had a special dinner, and Jacob even lost a tooth! This weekend, Quinn got the hang of walking. He has been cruising for months, and he had even taken a few steps now and then without holding on, but he preferred crawling as his main mode of transportation. Suddenly, yesterday, he was in the middle of the floor, went from crawling, onto his knees, placed his left foot forward and lunged into a standing position and took off! He was full of energy and excitement as Michael and I cheered him on... He fell down, got back up, walked, and repeated the cycle again and again until he was exhausted. We also turned his car seat forward facing, for a trip to NC to visit Grandma Jean (Michael's Mom}.

Of course, many other things have occurred , maybe not as noteworthy, but it is what makes a family a family, and life, well, just life: trips to the oral surgeon, a parent-teacher confernce, implementing a new rewards/punishment system {banning all electronic games, but allowing boys to "earn" time playing video games, reinforcing positive behavior}, juggling childcare because our usual sitter has been sick, basketball practices, basketball games, homework, etc.

Please support handmade. Help us to achieve our dream/goal of "living our art." Visit our Etsy shop. I hope you enjoy our blog.


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Affordable Handmade Solid Hardwood Cutting Boards

Perfectly priced! These cutting boards are only $20-25! Great as a housewarming gift or a wedding gift. Buy a cutting board, some cheese, crackers, fruit, wrap in cellophane add ribbon and voila!

WALNUT CUTTING BOARDHandmade by Michael, the first board in solid black walnut finished only with exotic nut oil, as are ALL of our boards, and is 100% food safe.
CHERRY CUTTING BOARDThis second board is made from solid cherry hardwood. It has a lovely curved top edge and is very thick. Nice cutting area.
MAPLE CUTTING BOARDI saved my favorite for last. This wormy, solid maple cutting board has a unique ribbon of color through it left behind from the worm who used to reside in it.

Please read "Why Wood?" Support the arts! Buy handmade! Use functional art in your home!


The Basics

Michael and Talina Ripper met online and when they met in person, they knew they had found something special, a once in a lifetime love. Michael obtained BFAs in both Wood Design and Ceramics from ECU. Talina has always been a creative/artistic spirit, but has her BSN from ETSU and still works as an RN. Talina has three sons, Seth (17), Aaron (8), and Jacob (7). Michael and Talina have a son together, Quinn, who is 17 months. They are getting settled in their downtown loft just around the corner from Michael's studio and the gallery. Their dream of living their art is coming true!


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