Monday, September 29, 2008

Wall Calendar Bonanza!

Three months ago I visited my favorite shop, before heading to the super market. It was, of course, the dollar store.
I stop by almost every week and look for cool little do dads that maybe I can incorperate into my art work.

I went up one isle and down the next, checked out the cheap little photo albums and,there, right next to them, I found a huge pile of old wall calendars. There so many different ones, some with horses, some with flowers, others with beautiful country scenes. And they were priced at .35 each! So bought $20.00 worth and brought them home thinking that I surely would be able to figure out a cool use for them.

I was concerned about making items for sale that would violate the copy right of the companythat produced the calendars. I looked all over every inch of each type and found no trade mark,copy right mark or address. All I could find was "made in China". That was it. I tried to look them up on line but could not find a site for the company. So, I feel OK about using the images, cutting them up, mixing them together.

I made a bunch of credit card envelopes, did a little decopauge, and glued them on to card stock to make little gift cards. I'll list them on my Etsy shop, in a new section and see who bites.

I figure that the worst thing that can happen is that I'll have enough gift wrapping paper to last me a really, reallylong time! 80)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Empathy is two edged sword

My daughter turned 20 today. When she was a wee might I could knit sweaters for her and she wore them and loved them. Then adolescence came along and she told me not to knit for her anymore. Last year she asked me to knit her a sweater she saw in one of my knitting books. I was overjoyed! But after I was finished she never wore it. There it sits up in her closet. Oh well, I think she'll wear the wrist warmers I made her for Christmas.

She's a little slip of a girl, barely 100 pounds and as tough as nails. To look at her you'd think she was a gangbanger. She's "into" black and chains and doc martin high top boots. She wears a black bandana on her head like a gang member. But she's not in a gang. At least not in the usual sense. She calls her friends her "pack". They're all kind of scary looking too.

She goes to college now and her father and I hope she'll find a new catagory of friends. But she still seems pretty stuck on her old crowd.

They are all a needy bunch. Such problems! But that's why she likes them. She can mother them and worry about them to her heart's content. But she doesn't take good care of herself. She worries so! And she tries to fix them. They won't listen to her, so she worries some more.

She doesn't understand that it's possible to love and nurture others while still taking good care of herself. I was much the same when I was her age, although my friends were not as massively needy as hers. My "projects" were fewer in number and spaced apart, not all in one "pack".

We continue to pray for her and her friends. We hope she grows up soon. And maybe I'll live long enough to see it! ( If it doesn't take too long.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Unbelievable Blessing;Painting for Cancer Patients

Three years ago I was recovering from a serious illness. I suffered from chronic fatigue and intractable pain. But I had been making progress in my recovery and I had reached a point when I wondered if I could push myself to do more and not make myself sicker.

I decided to volunteer at my local hospital. During an orientation program I heard the Oncology Clinical Social Worker talk about an art program that she needed artists for. I am so grateful I decided to check it out.

Now when I go to the hospital I carry a tote bag with my paints, brushes, and volunteer name tag. I ride the elevator up to the fourth floor and head to Tracie’s office. She is the oncology ward social worker. She has a small list for me of patients who may enjoy having a painting done. I get the “art cart” which holds the rest of the supplies I need and head to a patient’s room.

That patient decides what kind of painting they would like. Usually it will be a painting of a favorite place, either a childhood memory or a well remembered vacation spot. I set up my equipment and start to ask questions. What kind of flowers are in the garden you remember? What color was the sand on the beach! Were the mountains snow capped? I try to get my patient to be as specific as possible. And while they are answering my questions, they remember all kinds of things they may have forgotten.

And we talk. And I ask more questions, and before we know it, they are smiling and talking in an animated way. They are happy recalling the events that took place and the people they love and, for a little while, the chemo therapy drip fades away. Their mind’s eye no longer sees the bed with the sterile white covers and maybe they forget that they’re old and bald and sick.

After an hour or so, they seem more relaxed and so glad that we had our talk. And I present their painting to them and they are so happy! I tape it to the wall and they have something to bring home that is a happy memory.

I pack up my kit, and stow it on the art cart. I go back into the room and shake their hand, and smile, and tell them I will be praying for them. And sometimes I’ll give them a wee kiss.

I don’t think I could feel better than I do as walk out of that room, knowing that I have made a difference in that person’s life.

I am blessed because they are blessed.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My Brain Must be Full of Holes!

Sometimes I really do wonder about myself! I have things to do on the internet and I say, "Next time on go online will do this, or that. And then, usually just after I sign off, I remember what I forgot to do! And I have no time to go back and do it! So I try to remember to write notes, and I forget! That's why I'm so happy with the Etsy forums. In the Promotion and ETC. and even in the Business Topic threads folks often ask, " Have you blogged today?" So I come hear, and write a little something and then I can go and say, "Why, yes! I Have blogged today!" And sometimes other will come and check out what I'm doing. It just feels good to promote my knitting and other arts.

Another thing that I often forget to do is mention in my blog, the name of my Etsy shop, my Personalized Custom Growth Chart website, and my music website.

So, today I remember;

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I have had several responses to whether I should sell my baskets as limited editions. Thanx to everyone who commented. I think, for now, I will just keep doing what I'm doing, let my imagination run free and keep myself engaged in my craft. That's what keeps me happiest and a happy crafter draws happy buyers! (Right??)

My niece is having a baby shower on October 11. She's carrying twin girls. My sister, her mother, has requested that I make a growth chart for them.

I started out to make one but decided after finishing the first one that they really do need one for each. The only stipulation was it had to have ladybugs. So here's what I came up with;

I really like the idea of designing Growth Charts that are pretty and/or whimsical, but that will be appropriate for an older child's room as well. And, if down the road, the lucky owner of these charts chooses to display them in their own homes, it isn't particularly babyish.

Of course, the desires and wishes of my customers are utmost and it is the greatest pleasure to work with an individual to produce a Growth Chart that is Just What They Wanted!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Question of Limited Editions

Yesterday I read a request for a photo and description of one of my newest shop items, from a woman who wants to highlight like minded artists in her blog. It sounded like a good idea to me. It still does and I'm glad for a chance to get that extra little bit of promotion.

But it got me thinking, again, about offering my baskets as "Limited Editions". I've been making, and refining these baskets for about three years now, so I've got a little stock saved up. But I'm also still developing new designs almost every day and I want to make them and list them right away!

I have only sold one basket since opening up my shop in April. But I truly do believe that sooner, rather than later, I will start to see orders for these works of art pick up.
So the question is, do I hold back on listing new designs so that I will have new designs for future seasons?

Should I announce that some of the seasonal designs, ala my Autumn Baskets, are indeed limited editions and after this season they will no longer be available?

Should I announce that they may be available in the future but when they are gone they are gone?

Does selling a limited edition mean that I should figure out some way to number them?

I probably should include a little label in each basket, Stating my name and the year

Maybe I should should wait to see if the baskets begin to sell before I start numbering and/or labeling them.

So many questions! So many paths!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fall at Last!

Finally! the weather is acting its age! The temps last night dipped into the 50s. Today should climb only up to the mid 70s. Yay! Summer has always been my least favorite season.

My friends know I like to say, " Come the end of May, I'm lookin' for October!

At my Etsy site I've listed Handknit Felted Baskets that celabrate the georgeous season.

Each of my designs is an original and, because of the nature of the artform, is its own unique piece of art.

Yellow Autumn Leaves Basket

Don't forget that Winter and the Holiday Season are right around the corner!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Custom Canvas Growth Charts!

Last year I started making growth charts. You know, you hang it on the wall and measure your child's growth, inch by inch, and then, one day if you move away, you can take the chart with you and leave the door frame behind!

I had made them years ago out of wood and was selling them on a website where stay at home moms could make some money. But, you know, wooden planks, 6 inches wide by 5 feet long, are not an easy thing to mail! So I didn't last long with that venture.

Now I paint the charts onto heavy cotton canvas, as if they were floor cloths. They are sturdy, well constructed and flexible. That way I can roll them up and mail them in a small box.

Here are the charts I have in stock in my Etsy store:

You can purchase one of these charts at

They are on my shop page as well as in the section called,

"Canvas Growth Charts"

I also make custom charts for folks.

If you think you might like me make a special chart for some special boy or girl, (orboth!) You can check out my other website; There you'll find several examples of custom charts that I've made. Either way, you can contact me and we'll figure out which personalized chart would be best for you!

You can go to my personal website to see examples of the custom charts I've

Thursday, September 11, 2008

It Was a Day Just Like Today

It was a day, just like today.

I got up early to get my daughter on the school bus and then went back to sleep. I was up again around 8:45 and turned on the tv, just in time to hear Matt Lauer declare that a plane had just hit the first tower. They didn't know what was happeneing. I was glued to my set.

Minutes later Matt Lauer, in undisguised shock told us the other tower had been hit and it was now confirmed as a terrorist attack. Next came the news from Washington DC, and lastly from central PA.

The events unrolled before my eyes and I could not look away. Horror upon horror. Evil after evil. So horrid that I could not believe my eyes. I remember thinking, sometime during that morning, that it was too aweful to be real. It had to be a movie I was watching. And as my eyes took in each new layer, I sunk deeper into myself and crying out to God. I prayed, and pleaded and suffered.

I remember going outside to look at the sky. On the tv, the sky was filled with the thick all enveloping smoke that poured into the blue cloudless sky. And when I stepped off the porch and looked up, all I could see was clear, pristine blue. I thought I would be able to see the billowing smoke. After all, I was only 25 miles away from Manhatten, as the crow flies. And I thought to myself, " But the sky is so blue!"

I am deeply thankful that no one I know was murdered that day. My dear friend Bob escaped from the second tower just in time to be smothered by the smoke. But he did survuve, only losing his job, and maybe a little of his sanity.
He talked about it all the time for about 6 months, and hasn't mentioned since. I'll be seeing him at scouts tonight. He's my daughter's Venture leader.

I'll have an extra big hug for him.

And when I wake up tomorrow,c it won't be 9/11 anymore. I'll start to heal all over again. Until about week before the next 9/11.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

My adventures in Prescription Land

My husband is a union mamber. (Bricklayers and Allied Craftspersons) and we have prescription insurance. Several times, in the past, our insurance cap was met way before January 1. Now, with my daughter being unwell this year, the prescriptions have mounted up and our coverage is almost over. By next month we will no longer have prescription coverage.
So, what can we do? A lot of our meds are generics, so I checked out the pharmacies in our area who have that wonderful $4 a month plan and guess what?? None of the meds we take are covered! My daughter's doctor does not give out samples. ( For what purpose I can't imagine.) Now I am checking out Canadian Pharmacies and I've found some good bargains, but it will still cost a pretty penny. But God is good, all the time, and he has ALWAYS met my needs.

It's a tight squeeze when you fall between the cracks! (Hmmm... that sounds like a song!)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Dog Walk for Cancer

Yesterday I participated in a charity function; The Annual Dog Walk for Cancer. I and most of the other voluteer artists from the hospital got together to do face painting and try to drum up more volunteers. We did pretty well.
We made over $90.00 and got three signatures of folks who want to join the pet therapy program.

It was a beautiful day, bright sonshine, good breezes fair temps, until around 2:00, when the wind droppped and it got really humid. I cam home with a fine sunburn and absolutely exhausted. Today I recover!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Ahhh... Someday.....

Some day I'll have enough money to go cable for my internet and not have to put up with dial up! Especially when we have the absolute worst problem with our telephone lines! Like today. At least today I have phone sometimes! Most of the time, when the phone goes out it's out for days, sometimes weeks. I kid you not!

Since December, 2007, we have lost phone service at least 7 times. Thank God for the public library!

But since ! have no saales this morning, I'm good.

I have three baskets to finish. Then ai will post them, both here, and at Etsy. I really like them. The latest is a design I like so much but has been a bear to develop. The firstrun through was a disaster becasue I used two different brands of wool and they felted differently.

Now I'm useing the same brand and I'm sure it will come out just right!

We are gearing up for Huricane Hanna this morning. Lots and lots of rain predicted. Our duaghter is named Hannah! And she is a "force to be reckoned with. But that's another blog entry! 80)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

What a cry baby I am!

So, I open my email yesterday morning and....
Ta da! I have sold a Handknit Felted Basket!! My very first one!

It's going all the way to Wagga Wagga, Australia!

Life IS good!

Yesterday was my 30th anniversary. I cannot believe I have lived long enough to celebate my 30th anniversary!
I love my husband! So much. For me, it really does get better with age. He's my very bestest friend.

So, now I'm caught up on my ETsy shop and now I've blogged, so now I can knit and felt the new baskets with my autumn theme.

Aaahhh....... good!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Sale? What sale?

I'm having a little trouble feeling ever so slightly lost in a sea of artists. I try to promote myself and I just don't seem to be able to make any sales. OK. I DID make three sales lately, for discouonted knitting needles. For a grand total of 12.00.

Woe is me!

As Christmas comes on I hope I'm not just getting myself more and more into a depression. It;s a bummer thinking that I have this really great product that everybody should love and yet not being able to sell any.

Folks in chat rooms tell me they think my art is good, great, wonderful, yada, yada, yada. And I think they're right. Of course, I have no money to spend on the art I find that I just love! I guess life just goes like that.

I'm trying to stay positive through the holidays.

I really, really like my felted baskets.


My photo
Manchester Township, New Jersey, United States
My nane is Judy and I've been a christian for more than 3/4 of my life. I believe in redemption through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, that God, the Spirit lives in me and gives me the power to do His will and to live a joyful life. I have a Godly husband, a grown son and daughter. I live on a farm with 3 goats, 2 chickens, 2 horses, a cat, a dog and a python. I am an artist and a singer. I was a full time stay at home mom, the hardest job you'll ever love! I have two handmade shops on Etsy. Leaning on the Promises (Hand Painted Walking Canes) and Beaver Creek Pottery and an Etsy shop for selling Vintage and Antiques. Jersey Pine Pickers I post about my relationship with God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, about the things He teaches me, delights me with and how He uses me.