Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Weekly Challenge

Last week's theme was 'RECYCLED'. Congratulations to Rebecca of KneeDeepOriginals who won with her fabulous recycled piano key scrimshaw pendant 'Birds and Poppies'.

Congratulations Rebecca!

Thank you to everyone who participated last week.
All entries can be found on our Weekly Challenge page.

Rebecca's choice for this week's theme ...

{{{Rebirth and Renewal}}}

If you would like to participate, then this is how it works:
1. Get busy creating.
2. List your item in your Etsy shop.
3. Contact me with your entries by next Monday (5th April) 12 midnight EST with a link to your listing.


I'll post all the entries as they come in on our Weekly Challenge page. Next Wednesday I will post the winner here on the team blog. The winner then gets to choose the following week's theme, and of course, it's winner!

Have fun ...
Thank you my lovelies!
Kim x

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Favourite Things

cityroad and cityroadvintage has come forward to share with us one of her favorite things...

Moleskine Cahier Notebooks--favourite because I love them, because I need them (or think I do!) and most definitely wouldn't be without them.

For years, I have made lists--what to get, what to do, where to go, etc., etc., etc. They used to be on bits of scrap paper or envelopes and, mostly, they got lost. I made a couple of attempts at using a Filofax, but ended up only using the diary bit, which wasn't great. I'm not good with diaries! I'm not sure why notebooks never really worked for me, but I never bothered to replace any until I came across the moleskine.

Coincidentally, as a teenager, my favourite author was
Bruce Chatwin. I remember him writing about his favourite notebooks and being impressed. I even recall looking at them, admiring the quality and truly coveting them. But his moleskine was a proper artist's or writer's notebook and I knew I'd never keep it going...

For me, the latest incarnation of the moleskine--the "cahier" (found in my local department store)--ticked all my boxes and won me over immediately. the cahier has a plain cardboard cover with 64 lined pages of which the last 16 are detachable. The spine is stitched together with exposed thread. There's even a handy pocket on the inside of the back cover for loose notes and ephemera. It measures 3.5" x 5.5"--the perfect pocket-size! I prefer the "kraft" or plain, old brown cardboard cover as it's perfect for doodling on.

Most days, I start a new list. Often, before bed, I'll start tomorrow's list in case I forget anything. I tick off items when I finish and transfer anything I don't do to the next day's. My daughters love to grab my pen and draw little pictures for me. I just love finding their little surprises! I don't throw my notebooks away--well, not yet, that is. 
They sit on the shelf above my desk, they make me smile...

Thank you, Sam, for sharing (and making me feel completely disorganized--ha!) I may have to investigate this novel idea you call list-making...

Here's hoping you all get everything crossed off your to-do list today! --Katie :D

Have a Favourite Thing you'd like to share with the team? Leave a comment and I'll get in touch or contact me via Etsy and next Tuesday's Favourite Thing could be yours. (It's either that, or I'll hunt you down and wrangle something out of you myself. Really. Kendra, I've got my eye on you.)

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Gift of Time

"Every moment in Time is a Gift and a Blessing, not a Threat."

I don't know about you but I am my own worst enemy when it comes to time. What I mean by this is that I am forever treating it like it's the traitor in my life, when in reality it is really all I have, and how much I have is a mystery. Perhaps that is why it is so easy to not live in the present time, but in the past or in the future. I read that 90% of our brain space is spent everywhere but in the "now", eclipsed by nagging feelings of regret and fears, resentments and questions, and the words "WHY" and "IF" are major contributors in this story called Time:
"If only I had done this instead of......."
"Why did this happen..........."
"If she would change, then I ......"
"Why can't I......."
"If I just had a little more time...."

WHY this.
IF that.
The 2 words that were put in people's vocabulary to drive them insane. These 2 words alone are enough to keep me out of the present tense of my life for decades. Those 2 words were paramount in the vocabulary of my thoughts until somewhat recently when they were banished, for the most part, by a lot of positive Present action on my own behalf.

The number one reason I needed to outlaw those words from my inner lexicon was not the obvious acumen of too much living in the past and the future, although that certainly was a part of it. The main impetus to remove these 2 words was part of a greater picture of how I was living in my Present time. These 2 words were indicators that I was spending a whole lot of wasted moments in the cacophony of trying to change things and asking questions about circumstances of which I had no control over. My head was a constant ticker tape parade of everything but myself, everything that was outside of me, and a veritable world full of people and situations in which I had no dominion. Of course the crowning achievement of all of this was that I would get upset at myself because I had wasted so much time........

Where are my feet?
Right Here.
Right Now.
One Step at a time. This is how I learned to stop the endless noise in my mind, look around and be present in my life. When I'm here in Today, I am most happy. The dark chanting of the "Why's" and the "If's" is no longer clouding my life with things that are none of my business. I can walk through my days with the sunshine of the spirit that is all of our positive energies and be in silence and not feel alone. And Time, once my enemy, has become my Best Friend.

I have come to believe that it is a blessing to be present on this earth and that every moment, every day, no matter how good or even how bad, is essential to everything that makes up who I am....who WE are. Interacting and contributing, laughing and loving, wide awake in the Now and receiving the invaluable Gift of Time, now that's what I call Living!

The amazing photo is actually an incredible necklace from our very own Jill at Moonlight Beadworks! You can find it in her wondrous Shop on Etsy:
My love to you all and have a wonderful week, right here, right now....

Friday, March 26, 2010

Member Interview

Who are you? Bre of btaylorquilts

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

Hi There. My name is Briana Taylor, and I am the owner of AND Obviously I chose the names of my shops by using my own name. Nothing like a little self promotion. As a fine artist, I find that you should associate any business you conduct using your own name. Anyway, that's what works for me. When showing in a gallery or exhibiting somewhere it's better to be known as yourself. I'd rather have someone say "that's a Briana Taylor painting" than "there's a painting by Oddball Oddities" (I'm sorry if there is a shop titled that, I just pulled it out of thin air :) I sell quilts and quilted home goods at btaylorquilts and paintings and prints at brianataylor.

I graduated from Mt. Holyoke College with a Bachelor's in Studio Art and English. Boy do I miss school ... I loved it!! Now, I split my time between quilting/sewing, painting, and working my full time job. I'm happy to say that my "real" job is within the arts world, I'm Coordinator for a local arts organization called Easthampton City Arts. A friend of mine and I have been awarded a grant through our local Cultural Council to paint a mural this summer and we are currently working on designs. All of this does not leave much time for a personal life, but I do manage to squeeze in socializing and going out for lunch and dinner a lot. I've just moved into a new home and am deep into remodeling and decorating, which I write about on my blog, I spend a lot of time writing about daily art/craft life and personal things that I really am into.

Recently I've been asked to exhibit at the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts here in Massachusetts. Turns out the curator came through my studio during December 2009 Open Studios and liked my work. She emailed me a few days later asking me to exhibit! The show is not until October 2011, but that gives me lots of time to produce about 18 new paintings for this show!

How did you learn about Etsy Project Embrace?

I had been friends with Laura Slocum (creativelytangled) before she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. When I first joined Etsy I made friends with Jenn Reese Robinson (jennreese7) and her niece Kelly (sweetnessjewelry) and was introduced to Laura through them (Laura being Jenn's sister). We collectively made lots of treasuries supporting each other's work and I consider them great friends, even though I've never met any of them in the flesh!

Personally, I've been involved with the American Cancer Society most of my life. My Uncle died from melanoma before he was even 40. I was 15 and he really was a surrogate father, taking me and my cousins on vacations and living right around the corner from us. It was a hard loss for me. Even harder, March 15 last year, my Mother died from melanoma as well. This month marks the one year anniversary on the Ides of March. She was only 71 and extremely active and healthy. My father passed away eight years ago from esophageal & lung cancer, and my maternal grandmother died from colon cancer. I, myself, have had skin cancer, but not the killer melanoma. Cancer has taken some very important people from me and I wholeheartedly support the ACS and the work they do.

What is your favorite item in your shop at the moment?

My green quilt. I'm making one for myself! I'm also making another one for the shop simultaneously because you will note that it says "made to order" right now.

What favorite vintage or antique item do you own, and why do you cherish it?

My Mother's antique Governor Winthrop slant front desk.

What is your favorite handmade possession?

My Father traveled to Africa a lot. He brought me back a handcarved wooden owl from Chegutu, Zimbabwe, by Boswell Petse. I cherish this owl.

What do you collect?

Firstly, I collect fabric. I also collect vintage chalkware religious statues of saints. I love religious iconography, like Russian and Greek golden icons of the Madonna and St. George and such. I'm not a religious person, I just love the artwork and the history.

Where would you like to be and what do you hope to be doing ten years from now?

Pretty much the same thing, maybe working more on my own art work. I'd like to be featured on the Etsy "quit your day job" series!! I'd also like to find a life partner.

Thank you Bre, for allowing us all this peek into your thoughts, your art and your life!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Finds 'n' Fancies

Top (l-r): Healing Cachet Tacks, Pebble Eraser, Tooth Mug
Middle: Chocolate Magnets, Ear Mug, Egg~g~g Salt+Pepper Shakers
Bottom: Tofu Cup/Wooden Tray, Shuriken Magnets, Happiness House Aromatic Burner

Hello Thursday! What have we found today? How about some clever lifestyle products made and designed in Taiwan by the creative geniuses at MEGAWING? Because you know you need a place to affix your earring when you're on that early morning office call.

Can't resist a mug with a set of teeth whiter than your own? Check out MollaSpace to purchase. Hey, it's cheaper than veneers!

Here's hoping you have plenty of reasons to show your teeth today! --Katie :D

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Weekly Challenge

Last week's theme was 'Bunnies'. Congratulations to Kendra of GreenPost who won with her fabulous Plantable Bunny Egg Tags.

Congratulations Kendra!

Thank you to everyone who participated last week.
All entries can be found on our Weekly Challenge page.

Kendra's choice for this week's theme ...


If you would like to participate, then this is how it works:
1. Get busy creating.
2. List your item in your Etsy shop.
3. Contact me with your entries by next Monday (29th) 12 midnight EST with a link to your listing.


I'll post all the entries as they come in on our Weekly Challenge page. Next Wednesday I will post the winner here on the team blog. The winner then gets to choose the following week's theme, and of course, it's winner!

Have fun ...
Thank you my lovelies!
Kim x

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Favourite Things

Morning, everyone! Today's original feature has been postponed till next week, so I'll be sharing some of my favorite Etsy purchases of the last year instead. You'll notice that I tend to go for bright and happy when I make my purchases. It's how I like my atmosphere.

First up, Introducing La Srta Pil from the ever-delightful Paola Zakimi of Holli. She was my first-ever original painting. It was instant infatuation. Look at that face! She currently resides in our dining room, but I've considered moving her to my daughter's nursery.

Next, Pinkytoast's Vintage Boxer Sings a Rainbow. I'm a long-time fan of Pinkytoast's work. It's the perfect mixture of sass and quirk. Since joining Etsy, I've collected several of her prints, but this is by far my favorite.

Now, more Pinkytoast goodness in the form of one of her charming fabric dolls. My mom (also a fan) purchased Happy Yellow Wood Worm for me as a birthday gift. She sits atop a shelf keeping an eye on a painting made for me by one of my many brothers.

Here's one I'm sure many of you will recognize as it's from one of our own members, the super-sweet jennreese
7 of Lickety Split. Jenn's was one of the first shops I ever patroned when I first signed up. She never disappoints! I bought Baby's Breath as much for the name as I did for the design.

And, finally, You are My Sunshine by Nancy Mungcal of prettylittlethieves. I could live in her shop, but then I want everything, so I have to stay away. I picked this up during one of her many generous fund-raising campaigns for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Mom would sing "You are My Sunshine" to my youngest brother when he was a baby so I look at this drawing and enjoy a smile as I think of him.

Here they all are--with the exception of Jenn's Baby's Breath--in their current dwelling places.

Hope you've enjoyed this glimpse at some of my favorites! May your Tuesday be full of sass and quirk--just like a pinkytoast print!

--Katie :D

Have a Favourite Thing you'd like to share with the team? Leave a comment and I'll get in touch or contact me via Etsy and next Tuesday's Favourite Thing could be yours. (It's either that, or I'll hunt you down and wrangle something out of you myself. I'm so serious.)

Monday, March 22, 2010

New Roads to Travel

“Let your mind start a journey thru a strange new world. Leave all thoughts of the world you knew before. Let your soul take you where you long to be...
Close your eyes let your spirit start to soar, and you'll live as you've never lived before.”
Erich Fromm, Philosopher

The incredible destination of any journey is not the place we come to, but the road we have traveled to get there. This concept has been written about, in many ways, by many different people, and yet whenever I see it somewhere or hear it spoken, it never ceases to amaze or to move me. And I found myself contemplating these words over and over as the miles passed underneath my car and the landscape of the West unfolded before my searching eyes.

When someone leaves to go on their next journey, the unknown one, the one spoken of in whispers and referred to more often than not as a "passing", they leave an empty place, an echo of themselves and a scent of someone missing. I do not know where they go. I only know that as I traveled the physical miles on my own road home I set out to discover some remote territory in my mind and in my soul.
I thought: "Why, I can be quite an exotic mystery even to myself." And I had to smile at that and wonder aloud...."Who am I? What words do I use to define myself?"

Woman. Artist. Wife. Daughter. Lover. Giver. Taker. Writer. Reader. Gardener. etc, etc, etc....
All nouns.
All cubbyholes.
Where are the glorious adjectives I use freely everywhere else, describing objects, scenery, other people?
I use the words "Awesome" and "Beautiful" and "Wondrous" often but I have never used them to define myself. And yet, why not? Am I not these adjectives personified on this planet? Aren't we all? Don't we all move through immeasurable and difficult periods in our lifetimes, do what is necessary to survive and come out the other side, still breathing, and with a larger understanding and appreciation of who we are? And if we don't, why not? I started to venture forth and look into the possibilities of defining myself with expansive and striking adjectives and I froze. I stopped as if on glacial ice because this self praise and seeming limitless celebration of ego was not only vast new territory but it had brought me to a place of fear.

And then I remembered. It came to me on the lightest of whispers, a sigh of my Father's voice: "Don't ever forget that you know no bounds except those you place on yourself. You are beautiful, talented and full of love. Just remember that sweetheart."

Aren't we all, in those unsung places of our souls, huge people overflowing with fearless and breathtaking passions, needs and an incredible desire to give, love and be loved? Traveling far and wide, sometimes through endless green fields covered in brightly colored flowers and other times on dark, desolate highways, aren't we all in search of something familiar, positive connections, people like ourselves? I think we are, and that this searching journey is how our spirit soars. This is how we move freely through the strange new world of who we are: by recognizing our strengths, our beauty and our endless capacity for love and being with others who see it as well. This is how the person who has passed and who now travels in mystery lives in us. And this is how we love, carry and live with them.

We are all on a fabulous new road, an uncharted, strange and astonishing new journey through the territory of ourselves.....and aren't we all wonderful?

My love to you all...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Member Interview

Happy Friday!  Here is the first of our weekly member interviews! 

I'm sure you’ll immediately recognize this avatar. 
Now, here is the wonderful and talented woman behind that infectious smile we all associate with GlazedOver!

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Jill and I'm a potter, mother, writer, and distracted academic willing to argue at length that the glass is indeed half full.

I live with my husband, our two daughters and our cat, a 10 minute walk away from the shoreline of the
Great South Bay. A salty, 15 minute ferry ride straight south takes us to Fire Island and after another 10 minute walk, we arrive to the shore of the Atantic Ocean. I love living so near to where I can better visualize the vastness of the planet.

I love the story about how I came to name my shop. A longtime fan of the English language, I was looking for a clever pun for my shop and was having trouble finding one that was still available. Then I had a conversation with my mother who was telling me about how annoyed with my father she was. She was trying to tell him something important but his eyes "glazed over" and he wasn't listening at all.
"THAT'S IT!!!" I shrieked.
"What's it?" she asked.
"I'll call it 'glazedOver'! Perfect!"
...and the funniest part was that I, too, hadn’t heard a word she had said. I did get a great shop name, though, even mom had to agree!

Several years ago, I was in graduate school at the
University of Chicago studying the archaeology and languages of the ancient Near East. My course load and work schedule were intense and oppressive, so I needed an outlet to release the tension. I found a pottery class at a local art studio and fell in love immediately. There was something about the clay that suited my hands and fed my soul. Today, I work from my home based studio and I make eclectic, colorful works of functional ceramic art.

How did you learn about Etsy Project Embrace?

The answer to that question has to start with the answer to a different question and that is: “How did you come to meet Laura Slocum?” I first noticed Laura while I was being a fly on the treasury walls. I was new to Etsy and was trying to learn the ins and outs so it was common for me to peruse the treasuries frequently. I couldn’t help but notice Laura. Not only were her treasuries spectacular, she was also clearly the belle of the ball! People would comment on her treasury and she’d comment back. She had a way of creating a community out of a collection of 12 listings. I was smitten. One thing led to another, I can’t even remember quite how any more, but soon we became fond friends. There was a gap of a few weeks during which we didn’t email each other and then I saw not one but several treasuries dedicated to Laura and filled with worried well wishes posted by her friends and family members. I could only imagine what was going on. I later learned that Laura was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

Etsy is a fascinating and odd place. Although most of us have never been within huggable distance from each other, it is still quite possible to develop a deep connection and affection. I felt that way about Laura. I was worried sick.

It turns out that Laura has a beautiful, positive, and healthy attitude. She spent more time comforting me than I did comforting her. She has taken all of us in to her life and keeps us posted as to her progress. She even lightens our loads by interjecting her very specific brand of hilarity here and there. She is a breath of fresh air. When Etsy Project Embrace was first forming, I knew I wanted to be a part of it not only to work towards the fight against cancer but also as a way to show a tangible manifestation of my love and support for Laura.

What is your favorite item in your shop at the moment?

I love my tiny dipping bowls. I throw them “off the hump” on the pottery wheel and they seem to come out of my fingers almost against my will, so I make gobs and gobs of them. They provide a compact canvas that handles glazes very well so I love to experiment with them.

What favorite vintage or antique item do you own, and why do you cherish it?

I have the brass Sabbath candlesticks my mother used that used to belong to her grandmother. According to family legend, my great grandmother brought them with her when she sailed from Europe to America. During the trip, one of them fell off a top shelf and was chipped in the process. The history of my great grandmother’s travels, frozen like that in the candlestick, is very dear to me as it was to my mother.

What is your favorite handmade possession?
I have a crocheted blanket that was started by my maternal great aunt but she passed away before completing it. My paternal aunt finished it for me and she and my mother gave it to me as a wedding shower gift. It is very special to me.

What do you collect?

People to love. Just that, nothing else. I have a humongous collection.

Where would you like to be and what do you hope to be doing ten years from now?

In ten years, my daughters will be 20 and 18 and I hope to be with my family doing what I love as close to where they are as possible.

Jill, thank you so very much for allowing us all a peek into your life, your art, your shop, and your thoughts!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Happy Weekend, Everybody! See you here next Friday with another interview.

With Hugs and Love, Mollie

Finds 'n' Fancies

Before this week, Rice was nothing more to me than a starch my husband consumes on a daily basis. But today, with spring looming in the near future, Rice means brightly patterned dishes, whimsical home decor and ridiculously sweet accessories to chase away winter blahs. This Danish company prides itself on social responsibility while providing cheery home goods to the masses. That's a lot of happiness. And I can really get down with some happy.

Below, you'll find just a few examples of the products they offer. If I could, I would have just copied/pasted the entire online catalog, but I had to prove that I am indeed capable of self-restraint.

Clockwise from top left:
Assorted Plastic Picnic Plates, Glass Vases
Old Style Plastic Cutlery, Red Hand-painted 3 Arm Metal Candle Holder with Birds

For those of us not residing in Denmark, Rice products are also available at
ABC Carpet and Home in New York, NY - USA
Huset in Malibu, CA - USA
KEK in Bellingen, New South Wales - Australia
All-over the United Kingdom, apparently
not to mention several other countries in Europe, as well as a few in Asia

Hope this find has brought some sunshine to your day! See you next week! --Katie :D

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Weekly Challenge

This week's challenge was themed 'Butterflies'.

Here are the fabulous entries:

A photograph 'First Song of Spring' by Rebecca of KneeDeepOriginals.

A painting 'Sights and Sounds of Spring' by Betty of brefour.

'Butterfly Buttercream', a handmade wedding card by Deanna of caelum.

The 'Love you back' brooch by Rasa of happyment.

... and the winner of our very first challenge is ...

Jenn of jennjohn with her fabulous Iron Butterfly bag.
Congratulations Jenn!

Thank you to everyone who participated this week.

Jenn decided to keep with 'asking the children' for a theme, and her four year old said "bunnies ... like George the bunny who lives in our yard". So there you have it my lovelies, next week's theme ...


If you would like to participate, then this is how it works:
1. Get busy creating ..... ha!
2. List your item in your Etsy shop.
3. Contact me with your entries by next Monday (22nd) 12 midnight EST with a link to your listing.


I'll post all the entries as they come in on our new Weekly Challenge page. Next Wednesday I will post the winner here on the team blog. The winner then gets to choose the following week's theme, and of course, it's winner!

Have fun ...
Thank you my lovelies!
Kim x

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Favourite Things

Hello, everyone! Thanks for stopping in! I hope this Tuesday finds you well and happy! As I snack on my early morning toast, I'm delighted to share with you a "Favourite Thing" belonging to Mollie of RoughMagicCreations and RoughMagicHolidays.

My most cherished possession? How to choose one item in a house bulging with beloved things? The answer jumped out at me: Look to those things I’ve carried with me all my life, toting them along from home to home, town to town, state to state. Those few possessions I’ve held onto long after they’ve lost their usefulness, monetary value, or ability to do anything except take up space and make me smile.

In my time I’ve called 23 different residences “home” – from the Arts & Crafts bungalow in Dallas where I grew up, to various houses, dorms, apartments and condos, until finally landing in this old jumble of rooms in Down East Maine. And for all my adult years I’ve tugged along the first piece of furniture I ever bought with my own money -- earned working for old Ma Bell. My little Lane Sweetheart chest has now settled itself comfortably in the bedroom, holding everything from my fake fur from 9th grade to Joe’s tasseled mortar board to my pink wedding dress. And way down at the bottom of that chest, under all the who-knows-what, sleeps a little cardboard box on which my mother wrote long ago: “Mollie’s Baby Clothes.” Inside, lovingly wrapped in ancient tissue paper, are two faded little bonnets, a tiny pair of white felt shoes, one crocheted bootie, and the item I’ve chosen to show you today.

My mother was a self-taught seamstress who, despite her natural talent, never earned a dime by sewing. The garments she created were for her own personal wardrobe, and for mine. Looking back at my childhood, I don’t remember ever owning a store bought dress, and even during my college years, Mother still kept me feeling chic and cheeky in her own often quirky interpretations of contemporary styles.

Mother collected dress patterns the way her friends collected souvenir spoons and antimacassars. Even today, just hearing the words “Butterick” and “Simplicity” sends me tumbling backward in time -- to the sewing notions department at Sears Roebuck, with its eye-tingling aroma of dyes.

Using only her thumb and forefinger, Mother could tie a knot at the very tip end of her thread, so nary a millimeter was wasted. And she could hand stitch a perfectly straight line through yards and yards of fabric on her lap, never once taking her eyes off the evening’s episode of “Father Knows Best.” When her scissors went wandering, she relied on her teeth; one of her incisors bore a permanent “J. & P. Coats” indentation.

Here then, is my cherished possession – a little cotton pinafore my mother made for me when I was about five years old. It’s still crisp with the starch she used the last time she ironed it, all those years ago, and the colors are as clear and bright as they were the day I first wore it so proudly.
It pleases me to think that my joy in creating handmade jewelry is a part of my mother’s legacy. I hope she would be proud of my efforts, even though I can’t so much as sew on a button without mishap.

A pattern similar to those my mother favored:

History of Simplicity Patterns:

Some info about Coats and Clark thread:

I don't know about you all, but I love Mollie's stories! Thanks so much for sharing your mother's fine work with us. I imagine she must've had fingers of steel after all that beautiful sewing.

--Katie :D
Have a Favourite Thing you'd like to share with the team? Leave a comment and I'll get in touch or contact me via Etsy and next Tuesday's Favourite Thing could be yours. (It's either that, or I'll hunt you down and wrangle something out of you myself.)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Silent Sentinels of Strength

The landscape stretches out before me, rugged, dry and desolate, an endless sea painted in the worn and rustic palette of washed out sage greens, warm reds and soft sand. The timeworn and stark beauty of the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico renew me. I have never looked upon this land with anything except absolute awe and respect mixed with a sense of wonder at it's tenacity and spirit. The desert embodies not loneliness to me, but a sense of solitude and stately pride in it's wondrous achievement of renewal in the face of what has always seemed to me like harsh adversity.

And standing watch over all of this is the regal and serene Saguaro cactus.

I never thought I would find comfort in the thoughts, meditations or sight of a cactus, but that is how I felt yesterday when I saw the first Saguaro ceremoniously rising up from the parched desert dunes, solemn and noble. A deliberate and silent sentinel of strength. A watcher and a record keeper of life in this seemingly barren land, as if it's outstretched arms held all the secrets in the world to survival in this arid wilderness of vivid light, low scrub brush and endless sand. And then I saw another and another and one more, until there were seeming hundreds, marching off into the shimmering desert horizon line of blinding sun and diluted blue sky miles and miles away.

A resilient and stalwart Survivor, the Saguaro endures an endless array of hardships with attentive dignity and a solitary majesty unsurpassed in the desert landscape. From extreme temperature changes on a daily basis, a pittance in water rations per year and a constant home to burrowing creatures of wing and antennae, the Saguaro thrives and grows, for many many decades, sometimes even reaching the ripe old age of 180 years and a height of 45 feet or so. The flowers of this glorious desert guardian bloom at night for safeties sake, and contain thousands of seeds in order to ensure survival in this uncompromising environment.

"That's US", I thought with a sudden smile as I gazed upon a veritable army of wondrous and courageous giants. "Those gallant and gracious cacti, each one, is a member of Etsy Project Embrace."

We are quiet and vigorous wellsprings of stability, determination and hope in the hard, relentless and seemingly endless desert that is cancer. We bloom and give forth seeds of light, energy and faith in the darkest hours of people's lives as they cope with this disease. We are a comfort and a secure home to those who have a family member or friend who are fighting this battle. We are the record keepers and long memories of those who have left the desert on a different and infinitely more beautiful journey.

In this unflinching, barren and arduous landscape no-one with cancer ever needs to be alone. All they need to do is walk awhile and they will eventually see one of us, rising tall, steady and sure above the desert floor, silent sentinels of strength.

I love all of you......


Friday, March 12, 2010

Happy Friday!

Hello Everybody!  I’m Mollie, the fourth of the team bloggers and the only M among the Ks!

Starting next week, Friday will be “Interview Day” here on the blog, when we’ll all get a peek into the life and work of one of our own team members. 

I’m excited and honored to be playing the role of interviewer, and I can hardly wait to introduce my first interviewee, who will be – but no … come back next week and find out!

Meanwhile, here’s a fish tale …

Some of you may know that my hubby “Prospero Joe” and I are the devoted servants of two aquariums of freshwater tropical fish.  Our first tank, a 20-gallon beauty, came into our lives and hearts four years ago, complete with eight young inhabitants, among them a lovely silver angel fish and a strange specimen called a paradise gourami. 

Early on the gourami, whom we named Missy, fell ill – shivering and trembling near the bottom of the tank and falling victim to bullying by six feisty little tetras.  Despite our best efforts, nothing we tried helped at all; Missy would soon die.  Then, out of nowhere came the little angel, and we expected her to join the tetras in the attack.  But no.  As we watched in astonishment, the angel took on the role of protector, constantly hovering about an inch above Missy and defending her from further assault. 

Whenever Missy struggled to the surface for the frequent gulp of air necessary to her species, the angel accompanied her; when Missy sank exhausted to the gravel, the angel drifted down to resume her watch.  For many days this ritual continued, Missy fighting bravely for her life, the angel guarding.  We named the angel Flo, for Florence Nightingale.

I should mention here that the angel fish is a cichlid, not normally a sociable creature with any species but its won.  The gourami is an anabantid, closely related to the infamous Siamese fighting fish (the betta) and known as a solitary and often aggressive tankmate. 

As far as Joe and I could tell, these two small creatures never met eye to eye, never touched so much as a fin, never communicated in any way their human observers could comprehend. 

And yet ... and yet …

While the tetras took to minding their own business in other parts of the aquarium, Missy began to gain strength.  Her shivering slowly abated, and she began to swim more freely, with Flo always close by. 

Then one fine spring morning, Missy won her long and arduous battle.  She sailed through the water, ate voraciously and declared herself recovered.  And Flo, her mission accomplished, turned her thoughts to … whatever angels turn their thoughts to.  

Both Missy and Flo are gone now, but their true story is one we’ll never forget.  And it’s a story I want to share here today with you, the members of this amazing and wonderful team.  Because I’ve come to see that at certain times in our lives we are all gouramis – ill, frightened, struggling for breath.  And at other times, we are all angels – protecting, defending, standing watch through the long dark night, until those in need are once again restored to health and strength.  

Until next week and the first interview … love and blessings to us all.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Finds 'n' Fancies

A couple of weeks ago, while skimming over some posts on Ohdeedoh, I found a great new time-waster (because I need another one) in Wordle, a word cloud generator designed by Jonathan Feinberg. Since then, I've taken advantage of the free and easy-to-use site by making word clouds for my daughter's nursery, but after reading Kristin's moving post and all the loving responses, I was moved to create one using those same beautiful words to share with you all. If you'd like to print one up, just go here. While you're there, you may find yourself unable to resist the urge to create one yourself. The program has a small collection of pre-set colors or you can create your own combinations. Hex Hub has a wide selection of color codes should you feel the need to exercise some creative freedom.

Hope you've enjoyed today's Finds 'n' Fancies. I'll return with more next week! --Katie :D

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Weekly Challenge

Welcome to our first weekly challenge!

As this is our first, I asked my six year old daughter to choose the theme!
Her choice ...



If you would like to participate, then this is how it works:
1. Get busy creating ..... ha!
2. List your item in your Etsy shop.
3. Contact me with your entries by next Monday (15th) 12 midnight EST with a link to your listing.


I'll post all the entries next Wednesday together with the winner. The winner will be chosen by all four team bloggers. The winner then gets to choose the following week's theme, and of course, it's winner!

Have fun ...
Thank you my lovelies!
Kim x

Favourite Things

Hi, everyone! Katie here. And this is the young lady who serves me earl grey at all hours. The look on her face would suggest she's not always happy about this task. Or maybe she just wishes I weren't right-handed. She is a piece of restaurant ware that I picked up at a yard sale several years ago and she's been a great companion these past few weeks while I nurse yet another head cold. I have plenty of others in different patterns, but this is the cup I grab as often as it is clean. There's just something about its shape and sturdiness that I find comforting and though the water inside may be boiling, I never get burned thanks to its ridiculously thick handle. I like to imagine all those who've been served by my vintage restaurant ware. Were they regulars in a small cafe or guests at a large hotel? I wonder at how this stuff has survived all the abuse of a commercial kitchen and yet it keeps on serving a purpose and looks great doing it.

Forgive me while I wax poetic over an inanimate object, but I think this particular style of china makes for a great symbol of the human spirit--breakable, but not easily broken.

I stumbled upon a flickr group for restaurant ware enthusiasts if you'd like to take a peek at some other fine examples of this humble china. There's also a good bit to be found on Etsy.

And now, I must ask, how do you like your tea? I'm in need of new ideas. Pregnancy has me missing the all-day consumption of caffeinated coffee and decaf earl grey with cream & sugar is bound to get old before I'm able to resume the coffee-drinking marathons.

Here's hoping your Tuesday is beautiful! --Katie :D
Have a Favourite Thing you'd like to share with the team? Leave a comment and I'll get in touch or contact me via Etsy and next Tuesday's Favourite Thing could be yours. (It's either that, or I'll hunt you down and wrangle something out of you myself.)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Hummingbird Soul

21 grams.

The weight of a hummingbird.

According to one scientist it is also the weight of the soul.

I thought of this when my Father passed away last Friday morning from complications due to his prostate cancer. My Father was a retired Marine Colonel and when I thought of him, I always pictured eagles soaring through lofty heights and majestic mountains. I never thought of the hummingbird, so fragile and small, wings beating a trillion times a minute. But the other morning I reached across the boundary of physical resemblance and thought about the symbolism of this tiny little bird and that if it rested on my hand I would barely even feel it. The hummingbird, so light and small, travels tens of thousands of miles in it's lifetime in migration patterns, moving from one place to the next, gathering energy and little nectar molecules from flowers everywhere and then redistributing them far and wide. My Father did that. He had an amazing and expansive life and it touched a vast array of people all over this big wide world.

We do that.

This is what Etsy Project Embrace Team is all about, reaching out to everyone who has been touched by cancer, into every corner of this planet. We are a REAL Team made up of beautiful individuals who are not focused on self serving motives and congratulatory fluff. The word "I" doesn't come into my thought patterns when thinking of Project Embrace, rather, it's the word "WE".

We move fast and we move strong when one of our members is in distress or has a family member or friend who needs our help. We do this by turning in, to our private reserves of strength and courage, love and serenity, and then sending them out to those in need through whatever means works for us as individuals: prayer, meditation, blessings, positive energy vibes, uplifting thought patterns. Cancer is a horrendous disease and it is spreading. Theories abound on why this is and what the causes could be, whether environmental toxins, chemicals in foods, genetics, a combination of any, all, none of these. It's a bit overwhelming and can be very negative so I turn instead to the positive side of the coin, the "Life-Full" side.

Like the little hummingbird, rapidly moving from here to there, across all the miles, WE, Team Etsy Project Embrace, move in unison with a common goal of Service and Hope . We nourish and bring light to those with cancer, like Laura and Cait, who stared it right in the eyes, moved through the fear and darkness, and came out the other side cancer FREE, and We Rejoice in this. We comfort and cherish those those who have family and friends struggling with this disease, and those who are left behind when someone passes to go on their next journey, like my Father, and We Celebrate the Triumphs of that person, living or deceased. New advances are being made every day in the fight against cancer and We Support and Revel in this. We do ALL of these things by reaching into the soul of who each of us is, gathering up our immense amounts of Hope, Compassion, Strength, Courage and Love and spreading them wide and unobstructed to all in need.

And that is what this is ultimately all about. The rest falls away, lightly, softly and gracefully, like the beating of hummingbird's wings across the Universe.

My love and gratitude to ALL of you for these gifts you have given me.....
And an especially huge Thank You to Kim for all the hard work you put forth to create this incredible Blog!
WE, of Etsy Project Embrace, are on a great and wondrous, hopeful, beautiful and loving journey together......{{{{{{{HUGS}}}}}}}}}.....

Friday, March 5, 2010


Hello and welcome to the Etsy Project Embrace Team Blog. This is a blog for you, the team - supporting, sharing and getting to know each other.

If you are a team member and have something you wish to share then we would like to hear from you, please get in touch. Also, if you are a member and not on the list to the right, or are there but wish to be placed in another category then please contact me.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who IS Etsy Project Embrace. It is an honour to be a member of such an amazing team and I look forward to getting to know you all better through this blog...

Thank you especially to Kristin for putting her heart and soul into this team. Kristin will be along on Monday; see you all then!

Thank you my lovelies!
Kim x