Friday, December 25, 2009

Light of the World

In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God.
God created everything through him,
and nothing was created except through him.
The Word gave life to everything that was created,
and his life brought light to everyone.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never extinguish it.

God sent a man, John the Baptist, to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.

So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

John testified about him when he shouted to the crowds, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’”

From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ.

John 1:1-17 NIV


Merry Christmas and God's richest blessings on you and your family.




Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Family Attic Giveaway

Family Attic is a great Etsy shop that makes handcrafted cottage style signs that can be personalized for a variety of purposes and occasions.

Nana, the proprietor is also a Handmade for Life artist.

She is sponsoring a great giveaway to promote a new line of children's signs. The profits from this new line will go to the Life Care Center. This center offers diapers, bottles, medical care and other necessities to young, single mothers.

Here is a sample of one of her great signs:



To enter the giveaway, see the prize and find out how you can get extra entries, go to the Family Attic Giveaway at HFL.

Thanks Nana for supporting the HFL cause and for this wonderful giveaway!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fingerprint Friday - Wildflower "Weed"

There is a song by Steven Curtis Chapman that says:
I can see the fingerprints of God
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of God
And I know its true
You're a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you're covered with the fingerprints of G
od
So look around you and see where YOU can see God's fingerprints. Is it in nature? Kids? Animals? Where do you see them?
To participate in Fingerprint Friday find your own photograph that demonstrates where you see God's fingerprint then visit the blog PamperingBeki's Fingerprint Friday post and read the instructions. Be sure to visit all of the blogs that are participating and I'm sure they will return the favor.



In early July, I planted some scraps of plantable wildflower paper in a large barrel in my container garden.
It first sprouted in early August, I almost pulled it up because it looked a bit like a weed but a pretty weed.
By early September it had grown to about 5 feet and was beginning to look pretty bad around the bottom.
One night when I couldn't sleep, I was making a mental check list of things I needed to do. One of the things was to cut down "the weed."
Imagine my surprise the next morning when I went out to find that "the weed" had turned into a beautiful wildflower with these gorgeous lavendar blooms and lots of little buds. Needless to say, I didn't cut it down.
I don't know what it is but have seen them planted in the median along the highway. I am hoping that it is a perennial so that it will appear again next year. I am collecting seeds in case it's not.
If anyone can identify this most beautiful wildflower, please leave a comment or email me and let me know. I just call it the beautiful wildflower weed and a lovely Fingerprint of God!
Happy Fingerprint Friday!

Beautiful in rain....

Posted by Picasa

or the sun...
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Friday, October 16, 2009

Autumn Nostagia and American Folk Art Paintings

If you know me, you know that I love art of all kinds. I love making it, studying it and writing about it! However, when it comes to my favorite artist or genre or period of art, I fear that I am far too fickle to narrow my love down to only one or even two or three favorites. My favorites change with the seasons, with the discovery of something new or with revisiting old favorites and then bouncing back again to the new....constantly updating my brain with the art "flavor" of the day, month, year!

My favorite art genre of this particular day is folk art. Specifically, I am passionate about American folk art paintings done in the naive or primitive tradition where traditional rules of proportion and perspective are not used or are slightly askew. My favorite paintings of the moment are works done in the style or tradition of Charles Wisocki or Anna Mary Robertson Moses, better known as "Grandma Moses" (because she started her prolific painting career at age 73. When she died at age 101, I believe, she had painted over 3,000 paintings.) This uniquely American style of folk art paintings portray what appears to be a simple and uncomplicated life of tranquility, joy, community and faith complete with rolling hills, fertile farmland, colorful quilts, livestock, a quaint little Main Street, watering holes and/or lovely old houses and always with luminous color.

These paintings evoke in me a nostalgia for a place or time that I may have experienced only in books, movies and paintings. They elicit a familiarity with a place of which I have no distinct personal memory. They create a desire to step into the painting and become a part of the scene; to visit the quaint little toy maker's shop on the corner, sit on the picnic blanket by the stream, talk with the blacksmith, share a bit of news at a quilting bee, ride to market in a horse drawn carriage or stand with the town folk and watch the lighting of the community's Christmas tree on the town square.

My passion for these paintings usually arrives along with the first chill of autumn air. There is something in this season that calls forth a nostalgia for something like a dream. A sort of homesickness or longing for a place that I have never been but seem to know quite well. A memory, perhaps, just a bit out of my reach? Simply stated in my little rhyme:

Sometimes in the fall
When the leaves have changed their hue,
I long for times long past and
People I never knew.

It's the kind of place where a cool breeze drifts through an open kitchen window where the heavenly aroma of a just baked apple pie is rapidly spreading throughout the house. The woman of the house is sweeping fallen leaves from the front porch steps, as she looks up to see her neighbors riding by in their horse drawn carriage. Their heads turn in the direction of the wonderful fragrance of the cooling pie and they call out a greeting and wave. Kids are playing in the side yard after a morning of helping to bring in the fall harvest. A long shadow from the old oak tree is stretching across the yard from the sun that now sits in the southern sky. Everything is frozen in time and that momentary glimpse into the life of a family, a street, a farm, a community is captured and all is perfect and innocent and right with the world.

This is my art passion of the moment. I hope the lovely art that follows, evokes in you, a bit of that nostalgia of which I speak. These are just a few of the amazing folk art paintings and prints available from the many talented folk artists who have shops at Etsy.com. Take time to savor the moment captured in each of these delightful paintings...let your senses take you away to each lovely and wistful moment in time....can you feel the breeze...smell the pie...?

Pumpkin Apple Village Autumn Artist:Cheryl Bartley (used with permission of the artist)
Cheryl lives and works in New England where she has her own gallery and studio. You can view and purchase Cheryl's beautiful artwork at her Etsy shop, Folk Art Spirit, and at her website, Cheryl Bartley Designs.


Hometown America by Catherine Holman (used with permission of the artist)
Catherine's beautiful work can be viewed and purchased at her Etsy shop, Catherine Holman. For more information about Catherine and her work, please visit her blog, Catherine Holman Folk Art. Be sure to check out her lovely cupcake paintings when you visit!


Autumn Fun by Wendy Presseisen (used with permission of artist.)
Wendy's whimsical paintings of cats, animals, landscapes and portraits are delightful. You can view, purchase and learn more about her work at her Etsy shop, Pop Art Cafe, or at her website, Wendy Presseisen.

Here are a few of the many folk artists whose work can be be viewed and purchased at the following Etsy shops:

I also put together an Etsy treasury at Treasury West as a tribute to some of these artists, the treasury expires October 20, 2009 at 9 p.m. You can see it here until that time.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Art Survives in the Worst of Times

It has been quite awhile since my last post. I'm thinking my posts need to be shorter and more frequent. I'll work on that.

I was reading my April 2009 (blogging is not the only area in which I am falling behind) edition of The Artist's Magazine last night and came across an article about surviving as an artist in rough economic times. It's a good article with lots of helpful advice. What really caught my attention was this encouraging quote that was attributed to Louis M. Salerno, the owner of Questroyal Fine Art, New York City: "Through the Dark Ages, the great famines, the plagues, world wars and the Great Depression, art has been shown, sold, stolen, collected, criticized, condemned and cherished. In 2003, worldwide art sales were estimated at $5 billion. Nothing is certain but death, taxes, and art - the third certainty."

So, if art's not going anywhere and will survive even in the toughest of times, the key is to make sure our own art is not still sitting in our studios or gathering dust in a dead venue when the recession is finally over. Basically, the article talked about finding low cost ways of expanding marketing, adding new, different and unconventional venues and downsizing your art so that it is more affordable. All very good ideas, in my humble opinion. If you already have an internet presence and blog, twitter and use facebook, you are way ahead of the game. I don't twitter but I do blog and am beginning to use facebook so I am looking at downsizing my art.

A couple of things I'm working on are original ACEOs. I already offer a number of ACEOs in my shop but they are primarily prints of my larger artworks. I'm planning a series of original ACEOs to offer. Additionally, I've decided to do some smaller paintings. Simple paintings (some with quotations or scripture) that measure 5"x5" or 8"x8" to easily fit in popular frames that come with pre-cut matting with 5x5 or 8x8 openings (such as this one or this one from Target.com or this one available at Michaels.) While I was shopping around on the internet for these frames, I ran across an unusual but fun frame that would be perfect for those who love contemporary furnishings. Round art...I like it...I'm envisioning a series of three or five of these over a long, low table...hmmm.

Anyway, these smaller paintings below and other diminutive originals will soon be available in my Etsy shop, Ellielee at affordable pricing. I'll be sure to let you know when my shop is stocked!


"Yellow Rose of Friendship"


"Those Ever Popular Poppies"

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thinking of Miss Potter

The charming Miss Beatrix Potter has been on my mind of late. I recently stumbled across the movie, "Miss Potter", that is based on her life. I had seen the movie before but couldn't resist watching it again. I have always loved her delicate watercolors that brought her delightful characters to life. I particularly loved the moments in the movie when her paints would become animated as if they were indeed, very much alive. The movie is a beautiful love story and an inspiring tribute to a strong willed and determined artist who has delighted millions of children and adults with her lovely stories and beautiful artwork.

As my own tribute to Miss Potter, I put together a Treasury on Etsy of some of the many wonderful Beatrix Potter items that can be found there. Until sometime tomorrow, you can view the treasury on Etsy. Clicking on the pictures in the treasury will take you to the description page for each item. After the treasury is gone, you can click on the shop names below and be linked to the items included in the treasury. I hope you'll visit these Etsy shops and browse through all the great items they have to offer.

I've also inserted a lovely video below that shows scenes from the movie, "Miss Potter" and has the charming voice of Katie Melua singing "When You Taught Me How to Dance." This is the hauntingly beautiful song played during the closing credits of the movie. Dreamy!

Note: Before you watch the video, you might will want to scroll to the end of the page and silence my Playlist.

























Saturday, August 22, 2009

Home Renovation Project

If you like home renovation projects and interior design, you should make yourself a note to visit The Old Painted Cottage on Monday, August 24, 2009. Jennifer is going to reveal the cottage that she and her husband have been renovating since last year. This is their very first home and they have been working really hard to make it exactly what they want. I'm really curious (I'm just nosey like that.) Aren't you? If so, just click on the link and visit her blog and find out what it's all about!

You might want to visit her website too. It is also named The Old Painted Cottage. Jennifer has great vintage finds and some incredible gift ideas, too....some that even make you go, "Yum!"




This is my photo...hydrangeas and old crocheted tablecloths always make me think Cottage. This was just to get you in the mood! See you Monday.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Fab Giveaway at V and Co

I love pillows. I love them so much that my dear husband has requested that I restrain myself and not bring any more into our house. I love pillows of all shapes and sizes. If I get tired of a pillow, no problem. I make a new cover for it.

So, you can see why I'm excited about the giveaway at V and Co. This giveaway is for a gorgeous blue decorator pillow.

So get yourself over to V and Co. to find out how you can enter. But remember that I saw it first, so I should win!!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Fingerprint Friday

There is a song by Steven Curtis Chapman that says:

I can see the fingerprints of god
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of god
And I know its true
You're a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you're covered with the fingerprints of god
So look around you and see where YOU can see God's fingerprints. Is it in nature? Kids? Animals? Where do you see them? Want to particpate in Fingerprint Friday? Visit
PamperingBeki's


Remember my Sunflower photo a few weeks ago?
The evening that I took it, I headed out for the specific purpose of taking beautiful photos of beautiful sunflowers.
Well, I was really disappointed when I arrived at the sunflower field.
The sun was shining behind all of their little drooping heads and it was really difficult to get a good shot.
Feeling rather frustrated on my way back to the car, I noticed this little thistle bush.
Well, I think it was a thistle. Not the kind I sometimes find in our pasture, but still it seemed to be some sort of thistle.
It looked pretty much like a weed, but I stopped to check it out anyway.
I leaned in close and saw this beautiful bud. It looked like a crown.
Really beautiful.
Photograph turned out great.
To think I almost overlooked it because I was frustrated with my original mission.
I'm going to try to keep that in mind.
Take the time to look at all the details in God's world.
Not just the ones that I assume are beautiful, but the ones that don't look so great at first glance.




Sunday, July 26, 2009

I Love Winning!

I am thrilled to be one of three winners in Centsational Girl's recent Art Photography Giveaway. The other two winners were Liz at It's Great To be Home and Lacey at Inspired Lately?. Each of us will receive one of Tim Irving's beautiful photographs. I am truly excited to win because I am a big fan of Tim's beautiful work.

I used this photo of Tim's, "Carousel 1970", in my Ferris Wheels and Carousels treasury at Etsy.com in May 2009.




















It was a difficult task for me to choose a favorite among his lovely works. I finally chose Devotion to the Ocean because I love the colors and the nostalgic mood of this photograph and I am hopelessly in love with the ocean.



























Here's a big, "Thank You!", to Kate for hosting this great giveaway and to Tim for donating his amazing art photograhy. I am really looking forward to the arrival of my gift!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Fingerprint Friday

There is a song by Steven Curtis Chapman that says:
I can see the fingerprints of god
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of god
And I know its true
You're a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you're covered with the fingerprints of god
So look around you and see where YOU can see God's fingerprints. Is it in nature? Kids? Animals? Where do you see them?

To participate in Fingerprint Friday. Just click on the title of my post above or click here and it will take you to PamperingBeki's blog. Follow the instructions!























This is one of the wild rabbits that lives on our farm. How do you tell the difference between male and female rabbits? I don't know. I like to think of this one as a female. I don't know why. She's brave and curious. She knows she is fast and can easily outrun me and the Toy Poodle (who is old and quite blind and has no interest in a rabbit at all) so she lingers when she sees us. She sits very still and you can barely see her brown coat in the grass and clover. I am thrilled each time she appears. She is a bit camera shy but is becoming very patient with me. She lets me get fairly close and then I simply have to take that one extra step too many and off she goes. She can fairly fly. Her huge cotton tail bouncing as she speeds across the pasture and slides into the growth along the fence. I suspect there is a rabbit hole under there leading to her nice little home. I think her home has several doors. One leads to our flower bed along our pool fence and I believe there might be one under the brush by the front pasture. I think her name is Rhianna. Rhianna Cotton Tail. She is one of God's amazing fingerprints and I hope she will make her home here for many years to come.

Look around you at all the wonders He has made!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Honoring a Real National Hero

There was a surge of 4,000 Marines against the Taliban in Afghanistan on Thursday, July 2, 2009.
Most of the Taliban fled into the hills.
One American soldier gave his life.
Lance Corporal Seth Sharp of the U.S. Marine Corps died last Thursday in Afghanistan.
Seth was 20.
He had already served 7 months in Iraq.
He has been in the Marines since age 17.
He was an infantryman with Company E of the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines.
He is a hometown hero.
He is also a national hero.

He will come home to Georgia tomorrow.
We will honor him.
People will line the streets with American Flags.
The Patriot Guard Riders, local Policy Officers, Sheriff's Office officials and the Fire Department will be on hand to honor him.
His young, war-torn body will pass under an American flag displayed between two ladder trucks during his escort to the church.
He will lie in-state with a Marine Corps guard until his funeral on Saturday.
He will be honored locally as the national hero that he is.

He was young.
He was handsome.
He never recorded a song.
He never entertained millions.
The paparazzi didn't follow his every move.
His funeral will not be televised.
The nation will not hover around their television sets to see his family and friends.

But here in Adairsville, Georgia, he will be honored.
People will pay tribute to him in words and film.
His family will grieve for the loss of him.
Love and compassion will be poured out on them.

He was a soldier.
He died for the freedom of others.
He died serving his country.
His job was to go anywhere they sent him.
He was a Marine.
He made the ultimate sacrifice.
He is gone to a far better place than this.
He will live in the memory of those who knew him and those who now know of him.

A soldier, a Marine, a local hero, a national hero.
Semper Fi, Lance Corporal Seth Sharp.
Thank you for your service.
Thank you for laying your life down for your brothers and your country.
Semper Fi.
May you rest in peace.




NOTE: This post will remain as the main post on my blog until July 15,2009 so that family members and friends have an opportunity to view it as originally posted.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Let Freedom Ring

If you aren't familiar with the story of the Star Spangled Banner, please take the time and listen...






















...Happy 4th of July, Patriots...

There are so many things going wrong in our country this Independence Day. For today at least, I am trying to concentrate on only those things that are right about our country and I just pray that the freedoms that our forefathers desired for the citizens of this country and the freedoms that our men and women have fought for, for more than 233 years, will remain for our children and their children. I am thinking today of those freedoms and thanking God for them.


If you are spending part of your day visiting blogs, like I have been and you happened upon mine, I present for your viewing enjoyment, some backyard fireworks from last year's celebration at our house. They are small fireworks. We're only allowed the sparkly, small ones in Georgia. Just the right size to celebrate with a bit of noise and some nice pops and bangs and bit of color. I think the photos came out pretty good...they don't really look like they were only four or five feet off the ground, do they? I know. They do. But it's all I've got!

Happy Birthday, America!





















Friday, July 3, 2009

Fingerprint Friday

There is a song by Steven Curtis Chapman that says:
I can see the fingerprints of god
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of god
And I know its true
You're a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you're covered with the fingerprints of god
So look around you and see where YOU can see God's fingerprints. Is it in nature? Kids? Animals? Where do you see them?
To participate in Fingerprint Friday. Just click on the title of my post and it will take you to PamperingBeki's blog. Follow the instructions!



Sunflowers.
Gentle giants of the flower world.
You just have to love them.
Who can look at a sunflower and not smile.
Giant heads so large and heavy that their tall, thin stalks should fall over.
But they stand up straight and strong anyway.
All of those heavy seeds make their heads tip over.
They look like they're praying.
I think they are.

Bumblebees.
Gentle giants of the bee world.
You just have to love them.
Working so hard (busy as a bee) pollinating flowers.
They shouldn't be able to fly.
Their fat little bodies too heavy for their delicate little wings.
But they fly anyway.
They sound like they're singing praises for the pollen.
I think they are.

His fingerprint all over them...keeping sunflowers standing tall and bumblebees buzzing through the air...

God, the gentle giant of fathers.



Sorry the photo isn't better. I was shooting into the sun and had to play with it on Photoshop to even get this...but wanted to share it anyway.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Fingerprint Friday

There is a song by Steven Curtis Chapman that says:
I can see the fingerprints of God
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of God
And I know its true
You're a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you're covered with the fingerprints of God
So look around you and see where YOU can see God's fingerprints. Is it in nature? Kids? Animals?
To participate in Fingerprint Friday, simply click the title of my blog and you will be whisked away to PamperingBeki's blog and all of the details on how to participate.
Go ahead, click the title...it's easy! Well, you should actually wait until you've read my post and then click the title. Thank you!


Today I was thinking of the beach.
I would love to be there right now but that's just not going to happen.
So, I did the next best thing and started browsing through my photos from last year's trip to Jekyll Island

We were there during a tropical depression.
It was a bit depressing to us at first but then we realized how absolutely beautiful a tropical depression can be...especially if it's not a really bad one that produces hurricanes and all that. There were so many gorgeous photo ops, it was difficult to pick a Fingerprint photo from all that I had.

I chose this one because

1) it has the ocean in it and the ocean is so big and the sky is so huge and it always puts me into the right perspective...God is God and I am not, that sort of thing. The ocean makes me think of Psalm 8:3-4 (you'll have to look it up, the link wouldn't work.)

2) the clouds are a bit stormy looking which represents how life often can be and

3) there's blue sky peaking through, reminding me that if you trust in Him, you know that the dark times will pass and the light will come shining through.
Plus, He will be there with you through the dark times, which makes them seem not so dark after all!

Don't forget to visit PamperingBeki's.

From there you can visit all the other Fingerprint Friday posts...which is where I'm headed right now!

Hope you have a blessed Friday.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dixie Highway Yard Sale



Living close to US Highway 41 in Northwest Georgia makes it very convenient to take advantage of the fabulous 90 mile yard sale that is known as the Dixie Highway Yard Sale

This event started in 2006 and runs from Ringgold, Georgia to Marietta, Georgia, along much of what used to be the original Dixie Highway.

During the 1950's (I was only a baby) and 1960's we often travelled a portion of the Dixie Highway to visit relatives. I have great memories of passing fruit and vegetable stands with peaches, tomatoes and boiled peanuts and the colorful chenille bedspreads displayed on clotheslines near the old highway to attract buyers. The area not too far north of where I now live was known as Peacock Alley and was the home of the handmade chenille cottage industry from the late 1800's to to mid-century and later to machine made chenille products.

During this year's 90 mile yard sale (always the first weekend in June) we enjoyed making new memories while much of what we saw invoked memories of those simpler times. We have "done" the sale each of the three years it has been in existence and we always find a treasure or two along the way. Sometimes those treasures come in the form of vintage goodies and sometimes in the form of new friends we meet and the old ones we bump into along the way! All in all, a great way to spend a weekend in early summer!

Among the treasures I found this year was a vintage Pentax K1000 SLR film camera. It has the same lens mount as my old and broken Pentax ME and was a bargain to me at $10.00! The only other thing I bought this year were some old wallpaper books...3 for $5.00. Hopefully, I will get off this computer soon and use them to create some art or something!





Lots of old country antiques...tools to glassware...not many bargains here...the sellers knew what they had and it was priced accordingly!















This would make a nice project. Beautiful old wooden door with original hardware.























Advertising signs...from days when gas prices were more like 50 cents a gallon!


















Lots of bargains on clothes and baby items everywhere we went!












This is Cass Grocery and Hardware. In addition to groceries, hardware and feed, this is a great place to find hand dipped ice cream and great deli sandwiches while traveling the Dixie Highway.












A beautiful friend I met along the way with gorgeous ice blue eyes.
















In the Bible belt and proud of it!


















Beautiful pastures abound.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

One Lovely Blog Award! How Sweet!

What a nice surprise! My very first blog award! Thank you so much, Crochethoughts. for choosing me for the One Lovely Blog Award! Please visit her lovely blog.

Everyone likes to be noticed...
To receive applause...
To get a "you go girl" every once in awhile!
Well, I do anyway, and now it is my pleasure to pass this on to the 15 lovely blogs listed below. Each is lovely for its own unique reason...content or appearance or both! Hope you will take the time to visit them.

Wordz of Life
The Coffeehouse
Ginabee's
The Rose Journal
Cherry's Creations
Random Rambling
Like I Have Time For This
The B-Line
The Life Journey of a Crafting Freak
The Good Old Days
Jeanne Winters Inspiring Ideas
Kara Annis Jewelry
NewCreatioNZ
Cloud9 Design
Clay In The Hands

Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Better Dog Harness and Other "Must Haves"

....all from Annie's Sweatshop.

Most vets suggest using harnesses instead of collars for all dog breeds but urge their use for toy breeds. Harnesses can help prevent neck injuries and pressure on the esophagus that can worsen certain conditions in these little breeds such as collapsing trachea.

I have tried several harness styles. None of them made me happy for one reason or another. I finally settled on one of those harnesses made of woven nylon straps that you can find at your local discount store. Ellie, my Yorkie, and I both hated it because it was difficult and time consuming to get on. Half the time, I would get it on backwards or wrong side out or both and have to take it off and start over. My vet suggested I leave it on all the time to make life easier but it was too uncomfortable and irritated her. Did I mention she's a Yorkie? If she's not happy, we're not happy.

I had almost given up hope for a better harness when I happened upon Annie's Sweatshop. Oh, happy day! Not only did she have a much superior design for a dog harness, they were beautiful too! Ellie can now be safe and beautiful at the same time. Joy!

Ellie modeling herAnnie's Sweatshop Harness


The design of this harness is great because it takes all of the pressure off of the neck and esophagus and distributes it around the chest. It's also great for me because it's a snap to put on her. It slips over her head and wraps around her tummy, quickly closes with Velcro and she's set to go. It's so soft and comfortable that I can leave it on her all day and she doesn't mind a bit! One of my vet's said that this was the best design for a harness that she had ever seen!

According to her Etsy profile: "The mission of Annie's Sweatshop is simple: to provide smart and sustainable handcrafted fashions. Owned and operated out of her home sewing room in Waterloo, ON the "sweatshop" is the cultivation of Annie's DIY (Do It Yourself) passion, environmental ethic, and sewing skills. Although she does work long hours and for seemingly low wages, do not be alarmed by the "sweatshop" moniker. It is a term of endearment that captures Annie's current predicament with her two mini-dachshunds, Porter and Stout. "



Annie's Sweatshop is a fabulous place to shop, not only for harnesses but for all of your best friend's needs. Her products are well designed, extremely well made and attractive! Plus, she is happy to do custom orders and her service is excellent.

Annie, is also committed to being a responsible guardian of the environment! For example, you won't find a newly printed business card in your package. Instead you'll find a piece of cardboard recycled from packaging with her shop information stamped on the back. It serves the purpose perfectly and saves the trees at the same time!
Here are a couple of the practical and uniquely designed products available at Annie's Sweatshop

This fabulous and reversible Hooded Coat will keep your dog friend toasty warm and dry in cold weather!






This Eco Friendly Dog Bed is great for those dogs that like to snuggle under the blankies. It's definitely on my wish list for the girls:


Check out this great Etsy shop...you best friend will love you for it!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

PamperingBeki's 1000th Blog Post Giveaway!

I cannot imagine 1000 posts. It takes me a couple of days to get my Fingerprint Friday post ready. I think this is because I have not yet learned the art of pithiness (brief, direct and full of expression!) I seem to be in love with words and tend to use many, where only a few would do.

I've decided that a few of the reasons that I like to read PamperingBeki's blog are that her posts are usually pithy. She's not afraid of showing the good, the bad and the ugly side of her day to day life in very brief and quite often, humorous, posts and she has lots of photos! And we all love looking at the pictures, now don't we? The other thing I absolutely love about it, is that she's random...and being a bit on the A.D.D side, I absolutely adore random...it totally fits with the way my mind works!

In honor of PamperingBeki's 1000th post, I thought I would try my hand at pithiness in my post about her giveaway. So here goes:

Yea! Congratulations PamperingBeki on 1000 posts! WOW!

This is a fabulous giveaway, people!

To see the lovely prize, click here.
To enter, click here.
Easy to enter, plus ways to earn extra chances to win!

There. Pithiness. I like it!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

You Just Never Know...

...what will happen when you a shop (add it to your favorite sellers list) on Etsy. About a week ago, I selected Ever so Dear as a favorite shop and became the 500th person to heart her shop! Unknown to me, she was waiting eagerly for that 500th heart so that she could bless their heart with a little gift.

Well, my little gift arrived yesterday in this sweet golden (and recycled) box with deep rose ribbon


I eagerly opened it to find this lovely presentation...


of these gorgeous earrings with beautiful millefiori beads.


Diane, the creative force behind Ever So Dear, carefully and beautifully handcrafts her jewelry into lovely and unique works of art. These one of a kind pieces have a decidedly vintage look and feel and often are made from vintage materials. This lovely Nesting Necklace

has a quote from a beautiful hymn on the reverse side and would be a treasured gift for a friend or daughter who is expecting a little someone.

One of the things that I find most appealing about the jewelry that Diane crafts is the thoughtfulness that goes into each element of each piece. Another is that Diane's love of her own Creator is very often reflected in her creations in either a subtle or overt way.

If vintage and one of a kind are not your particular cup of tea, you might want to visit Twirling Vine, Diane's newest shop on Etsy, where you will find a selection of fresh and funky jewelry that just screams FUN, like these simple yet bold Green Girl earrings:


Whatever your style, I am sure you will find something that you love in one of Diane's shops. Diane, thanks so much for the lovely earrings and I am sure that with your fine reputation for beautiful and finely crafted jewelry, Twirling Vine, will soon have its own 500th before too long!

Now go out and an Etsy shop ...you never know what might happen when you do!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Happy Birthday to A Special Princess of the High King!

One of my favorite Etsian's is having a birthday today! We affectionately call her Miss (or Mama or Princess) Daffy, a name given to her by a sweet child who was unable to say "Miss Cathy." She is better known to her fellow CAST (Christian Artists Street Team) members and Etsians as Abbasgirl. She is indeed, our Daddy's girl. She never misses an opportunity to tell everyone how divine and great our heavenly Father is!

In recognition of her birthday, I wanted to share some of the lovely items from her shop.

I am the proud owner of one of these Pixie Kiss magnets. I gave it to my husband for Valentine's Day to remind him that I had to kiss a lot of frogs before I finally found my own sweet prince. He loved it!


These lovely pendants are available with various
Words of Life and if your particular word is not listed in her shop, Catherine is always happy to make custom orders.



This might be my favorite: An adorable ABC Blocks plaque designed for the room of that sweet little darling in your life...child or grandchild, niece or nephew...actually lights up! How creative is that?


Okay, one last item. Memorial Day is coming up soon. In addition to honoring those who have given their lives for our country, we should also recognize those who have served and are serving still. What better way to say "Thank You!" to that very special soldier or veteran than with this beautiful American Eagle magnet.


Abbasgirl's pendants and magnets come beautifully packaged and ready for gift giving.

There are so many more lovely things in her shop, I hope that you stop by Abbasgirl and view them all.
She's a delight to know and a truly talented artist!

Happy Birthday, Princess Daffy!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Fingerprint Friday

Fingerprint Friday

There is a song by Steven Curtis Chapman that says:
I can see the fingerprints of God
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of God
And I know its true
You're a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you're covered with the fingerprints of God.
So look around you and see where YOU can see God's fingerprints. Is it in nature? Kids? Animals? Where do you see them? To join in, visit
PamperingBeki

These beautiful pink peonies were grown by a dear friend, Mrs. Betty. I can see God's Fingerprint all over these beautiful peonies and all over my sweet friend!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mynee's Dream

The song, Dream, by Priscilla Ahn reminds me so much of my mom. It inspired me to do this slideshow of her life. She lost her mom at eleven during the Great Depression and her father had to travel a lot to earn a living. She boarded with family and friends and I know that she was often in her own little world, dreaming of a little home. I know she had a dream to have a loving family. She got one. Four daughters, 9 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren and 3 great,great grandchildren. Her life may not have gone exactly the way she dreamed it but she was happy with it. She had a good life...and many tales to tell. She was ready to leave us. She was tired and she was ill and...she knew where she was going. She will be missed this Mother's Day and all the Mother's Days to come.

Update: The slideshow has been moved to the end of this section.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Yummy Strawberry Bread

I love making quick breads. They are easy to make and so yummy. Most freeze well and they're handy to have on hand when a friend drops by or to give as a gift. Plus, there are a hundred variations so I never get bored with them and most of the recipes can make two large loaves or 2 small loaves with minor adjustments.
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I tend to experiment with recipes. Sometimes because I don't have a particular ingredient on hand and have to improvise or because I don't care for a particular ingredient and think something else will taste better. So, it helps if I can make two loaves...one for the taste test (just in case it I need to feed it to the birds) and one to share (in case it's really good!)

Last week I tried Lemon Banana Bread. Very good, with just a touch of lemon. Today it was Strawberry Walnut Bread. This may be my all time personal favorite. Very simple, very yummy, very moist and actually pretty healthy if you forget about the sugar and concentrate on the walnuts and strawberries instead.

The original recipe called for 20 ounces of frozen strawberries, thawed. It was probably referring to those frozen, sliced strawberries that come in the little cardboard packages and are packed with syrup. I don't know, but I didn't have any 20 ounce packages of anything or anything that I could add together to make 20 ounces, so I improvised. I had a large bag of frozen, whole strawberries, so that's what I used. I chopped up enough frozen strawberries to fill up a 1 quart mixing bowl. I sprinkled them with about a half cup of sugar and let them defrost overnight in the refrigerator. You could also put them into a plastic storage bag and sit them in cold water for a couple of hours to speed up the process.

The next day or whenever the strawberries are thawed:


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Prepare 2 large loaf pans (8.5" x 4.5") by spraying with cooking spray. Then cut a piece of parchment paper or wax paper to fit into the bottom of each pan and spray top of paper to coat.

Place 1 cup vegetable oil and 2 cups sugar (I used 1 cup of brown sugar and 1 cup of white sugar) in a mixing bowl and mix until fluffy. Add 4 large eggs and mix well. Add the strawberries and mix again.

In a separate, medium sized bowl sift together 3 cups all purpose flour, 3 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt.

Gradually, add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix just enough to blend.
Stir in 1 cup of chopped walnuts.

Divide batter between the two loaf pans and bake for about 1 hour or until a cake tester or a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for about 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges. Invert onto another rack and let cool completely before cutting. Wrap in plastic wrap to store.

Eat one loaf and give the other to a friend! Enjoy the compliments! They will probably ask for the recipe. You could send them here!


Notes: You can also use a tube pan but then you should probably call this cake instead of bread. Hmmm...I'm thinking strawberry, powdered sugar glaze dripping down the sides....I'll have to work on that. You could also add raisins, pecans or maybe leave out the walnuts and add a little almond extract. See, that's what's so much fun about quick breads

Thursday, April 30, 2009

These Are Some Cutie Kids!

Our twin grandchildren just turned two a couple of weeks ago. Their birthday came while I was still traveling to the strange planet for 12 hours daily, which did not lend itself too well to shopping and shipping. My dear spouse is very handy and helpful but was at a complete loss about what to do, so the twins had only a card from us on their big day. Fortunately,I have now found the perfect gift and I'm pretty sure they will agree that it was worth the wait.

One of my friends mentioned some really cute handmade dolls she had found on Etsy, so I checked them out. What I found turned out to be the perfect gift for our grandtwins. In fact, these dolls are the perfect gift for kids of any age, adults, collectors, anyone really. They are truly adorable. So cute and so very well made. A boy and girl doll are included in each order. A great match for our grandtwins because they also came in a boy and a girl set.

You can find these adorable dolls at CutieKidsDolls.etsy.com. Each pair comes with an official Cutie Kids Club membership certificate. They come in matching and removable outfits that coordinate beautifully with the different hair colors that are available.

I had a hard time choosing but finally decided on the Bandstand Kids because their hair color is dark brown like our little twins.



I think we'll be back in good graces with the kids in just a few days!