Monday, May 24, 2010

A Passion for Giving

I admit it...I'm a closet drooler of anything baby related. My boys are long past the darling hats and booties; more like black and skulls now; but I still will wander aimlessly through the rows of tiny outfits and pick up the little mini shoes in the department stores. This secret admiration for all things baby is the reason I am introducing you to Sandi; a woman with a passion for all things tiny from Utah and proud owner of iKnitQuiltSew on Etsy.

I met Sandi when she joined us on the HandmadeArtistsForum not long ago and fell in love with her old fashioned style of baby hats, blankets and dolls. She states in her profile that she was taught many years ago to knit using her grandmothers patterns...which came from her mother! Guess you can say they have stood the test of time? Her work is all individually created, so you will not find hundreds of items in her shop; instead, you will find work that is created stitch by stitch with love and caring.

Not into knit? Ok, what about dolls? Remember rag dolls? I had some and they were the best for cuddling and squishing!

No dolls? Well, what about bears? I mean seriously...who can resist a teddy face especially one that is handmade!

Not done yet! Quilting is a passion that Sandi taught herself using a book...woman after my own heart. Sweet crib quilts that would look amazing on a nursery wall as padded artwork!

Now, I know that you are dying to check out this talented lady for yourself. You can find her on Etsy or check out her blog and read up on her passions as well as her love of all things handmade. After all, isn't that half the fun of buying handmade? Getting to know the artist behind the art?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Invisible Mother

I normally hate to be forwarded the mass emails full of corny jokes or info that does not apply to me. I cringe at the long list of email addresses that I don't recognize or those that only email me their junk mail...this one, however, is very different. I was originally written by Mary Lynn Plaisance and can be found here . After having a very rough day with my kids, it really touched a chord with me and I just had to share.

Invisible Mother.....

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'

Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible.. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more! Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this??

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

Some days I'm a crystal ball; 'Where's my other sock?, Where's my phone?, What's for dinner?'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history, music and literature but now, they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!?

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England . She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when she turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription:'With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devoured - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: 1) No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. 2) These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. 3) They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. 4) The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A story of legend in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, No one will ever see it And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.

No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, no Cub Scout meeting, no last minute errand is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for 3 hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, he'd say, 'You're gonna love it there...'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers.

Great Job, MOM!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

More than just Socks!

Ok, I admit it, I never thought much about socks! I buy basic socks, love the "new" feel of them, put them on my feet and forget about them...until now! I would like to introduce you to a lady that has taken socks and made me think twice. Twiddletoes asks you "Do you tie random bands of fabric across your head, glance furtively around, and slide across the floors when you're home alone? Do you give a fierce howl and karate chop household pests before disposal? Well, you're in the right place, and you're not alone!" Has she been peaking in my window?

Twiddletoes began about 6 years ago by Stacy, a crafty lady in Atlanta, Georgia, that was tired of watching her husband try to jam his feet into flip flops wearing regular socks! Not being happy with the designs she was finding, she modified various patterns to create her own pattern. She uses luxury fibers that just sound so lush and is now adding a line of vegan alternatives in order to service a new line of customers. I would have never known about these amazing socks except that Stacy joined us as a handmade supporter on the HandmadeArtistsForum and has jumped in with both feet...sorry, couldn't resist!

Got you thinking? Well, keep in mind that Stacy does more than just socks with toes, she also has a luxury line of traditional socks in rich colors that I am dying to try! Want to find out more? You can find Twiddletoes on Etsy, 1000Markets and check out her blog and get to know the artist behind these lush footies!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Better Late than Never!

Can you believe it? After years of work, tears, frustration who knows how many pounds of paper and ink, I finally graduated from college! The ceremony was wonderful but long! My poor family sat outside from 7am until 2pm with 22,000 other proud family members just to see me make my walk. Now what do I do? Back to making things and craft shows, which is where my main passion will always be. In the mean time, here is a few shots of my big day.

Thanks Andrew, for all the support and love and patience for the past few years!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What is in the Australian Water?

Picture yourself as an Australian mom of 5, Guildmaster for the ArtFire Chainmaille Guild, a member of the Polymer Clay Smooshers Guild, The ArtFire Cafemom Team, Australians on Fire Guild and the We Love ArtFire Guild and a columnist for the Craft Techniques Department of, administrator of Alundra's Conundrum, Moderator on the Handmade Artists Forum and a member of Tired yet? I am!Jennifer, better known as Haffina is such a multitalented lady; in addition to all those groups she is a chainmailler that works in traditional sizes as well as micromaille (can you say tiny!). She is also a clay artist that has mastered the art of creating clay pieces that look like glass! Not enough for you? Well, she is a jewelry artist that works with beadweaving and gemstones and she knits! I know she is human and has to sleep some time, I just haven't figured out when...

Now, I don't want to you to take my word for run off and check out some of Haffina's various shops! You can find her on ArtFire here or here, Etsy and Zibbet as well as read her Blog.

Monday, May 3, 2010

NaLa - Talent and Passion

I know that there are many talented jewelry designers out there on the web, but few have captured my heart like NaLa! She lives in Chicago and has a passion for creating jewelry that reflects her customers own personal style. She is always willing to stretch herself in order to make that special piece for her customers.

NaLa's pieces are simple upon first glance, but look closer! Her workmanship is perfection and each piece has a little something that makes it stand out, whether it is a surprising color or the way the piece is presented.

NaLa is a member of the HandmadeArtistsForum and a firm supporter of all things handmade. She actively promotes other artists on her blog and twitter, getting the word out that handmade is special!

Now that I have you drooling, head over to her Etsy shop and drool over her amazing pieces.