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Monday, February 28, 2011

New Items Added to Giveaway

When I announced my Three Winners Giveaway, I hadn't finished all the "prizes." You could chalk it up to being super excited about it that I couldn't wait! If you wish to enter the giveaway, you need to comment on the original giveaway post - just mentioned in the last sentence.

Anyhoo, I'm also giving away a rag quilt (twin size) to the grand prize winner - should s/he choose it:


You can also choose either of the other two rag quilts available on my Etsy shop.

Edited to add: I was too enthusiastic when I mentioned the rag quilt giveaway. I have to admit to being disappointed at the lack of response to this giveaway. Not sure what I'm doing wrong. I added some prim things. I added a quilt. :( This is getting to be an expensive giveaway to me!

So the quilt will go to the grand prize winner - should s/he choose - if I collectively get 100 "leads" that I can use on the two blogs I mentioned in my giveaway post - i.e., amongst all the entries, it has to total up 100 or more "leads"
.



I'm also adding some prim things, namely some primmed up Easter eggs, as well as burlap "framed" vintage photos.




As you can see in the first photo of the burlap pictures, in the lower right hand corner, the burlap is slightly darker. If you'd like the others to be darker as well, just let me know, and I'll do that. :)

I also painted some more paper mache boxes, which will be put into the pot for the winners to choose from:



Now, as to the division of presents, I still need to figure that out. The grand prize winner can choose either a rag quilt or a combination of the other prizes. I'll try to sit down and figure it out - if I don't end up making more presents for the giveaway, thereby making it even more difficult to divvy it up - lol!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Giggling Over Cuteness

Every now and then you'll find something so cute that you have to giggle. While posting for Handmade Teddy bears and Raggedies blog, I ran across these little bundles of sweetness:

Miniature Bunny

and
miniature puppy.

They're soooo tiny - only around an inch! There are plenty of other adorable goodies on that blog that I don't mean to single this artisan out. But these are sooooo tiny! I can't imagine putting that much attention to detail in something so tiny. I get frustrated when I'm trying to untie a big knot!

Interview: Living History with Pamela of Shadetree Primitives

Most of us want to have the latest and greatest gadgets in the kitchen, what with our hurried lifestyles and trying to pack as much into every moment. Some people are in such a hurry to get to the next project or chore that being in the kitchen is a burden merely to be endured. They might even wish their microwave would hurry up! Conversely, other people are at the other end of the spectrum, preferring a slower pace in life. Pamela and her husband, Frank, are two such people who celebrate simplicity in their lives by what they call "Living History."
As soon as you see their kitchen, you know something is definitely different. You won’t see a microwave or even an electric stove. Instead, you’ll see a wood cook stove prominently displayed amongst all sorts of antique goodies! You’ll feel you’ve stepped back in time and, in some ways, you have. Back to a time when every moment was lived and nothing was taken for granted.

Pamela started her "Living History" journey back in the early 1970s when she got married to Frank, who came with quite the antique collection. Since she grew up with parents who also collected antiques, she had a respect and appreciation for them. A bridal shower gift – an oil burner "Wedding Lamp" – was Pamela and Frank’s first antique item as a couple, and that started their collaborative collection.

Pretty much content in just collecting antiques, the push for going beyond mere collectors to "Living History”" occurred in 2005 when Frank had a major health scare – six bypasses! Realizing that life is too precious to take anything for granted, Pamela and Frank decided to immerse themselves in their passion for the days of yesteryear by taking a keen interest in reenacting. Living near enough to a Civil War mansion in Macon, Georgia, they found kindred spirits who shared their love and appreciation for that era, eventually leading to "Living History" on a genuine Southern plantation.

Luckily, throughout their years of collecting primitive and colonial items, they also collected clothing, oftentimes dressing up in their period pieces and going to schools and churches to educate people on how our ancestors lived.

It was during this period Pamela cooked on a woodstove for the very first time, and she was hooked. It took her over two years, but she finally found a woodstove just like the one she used at the plantation. This stove was pretty much the first "official" purchase for the cookhouse. Other things before and after came piecemeal, acquiring dinnerware, eating utensils, drinking vessels, etc. In true "olden" days fashion, it’s all mismatched, which adds even more realism and quaintness to the cookhouse.
Often Pamela and Frank prepare period foods and serve them to their friends for dinner parties. They research recipes (called "receipts" back then) and prepare the food as authentically as possible. One of their favorite recipes is Sweet Potato Pie. Notice the spelling errors, which are in the original "receipt."

Sweet Potato Pie.

Two pounds of potatoes will make two pies. Boil the potatoes soft; peel and mash fine through a cullender while hot; one tablespoonful of butter to be mashed in with the potato. Take five eggs and beat the yelks and whites separate and add one gill of milk; sweeten to taste; squeeze the juice of one orange, and grate one-half of the peel into the liquid. One half teaspoonful of salt in the potatoes. Have only one crust and that at the bottom of the plate. Bake quickly.

From: Abby Fisher. What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking. Women's Co-operative Printing Office:San Francisco, 1881.

(Note: Pamela uses enough milk to make a slightly moist center before baking - about 1/2 cup. Additionally, she also uses their favorite, Butternut Squash, as a substitute. Any kind of squash would be suited to this "receipt," though).

Pamela and Frank enjoy "Living History" so they don’t sweat the small stuff in worrying about if the best glasses and china are out. They use all their mismatched finery, making their guests truly feel like they’ve stepped back in time – a simpler time when camaraderie and good conversation was much more important than having the linen napkins match the pattern in the china.

As a fine example, on one such occasion, a dinner guest commented that she had a snuff jar instead of a drinking glass. To which Frank replied: "No, honey, that is your glass!" She was a bit taken aback, but soon realized this was how things were done in the olden days. She also realized that company was far more important than protocol, appreciative of being included in such a wonderful glimpse into history and what our ancestors’ daily lives were like.

Of course, there are challenges to living in what some would consider a "primitive" way. Pamela can’t flip a switch on the oven and have things ready in short order. It takes time to chop the wood, store it, and then build the fire. It takes not only effort, but also planning and foresight. It can be particularly challenging to go out to the cookhouse on a cold day and build and tend to the fire. Once that fire is going, it’s often 30 degrees hotter near the stove than it is in the rest of the room. That might be pleasant during winter time, but in the warmer months, it can be very uncomfortable. Our ancestors, however, had no choice, so they made the best of it.

There are benefits to woodstove cooking; in the words of Pamela: "slightly smoky food that tastes wonderful and homemade, warmth of the fire, faces of folks who watch me perform my magic, [and] watching children compete for the opportunity to work in the kitchen." The woodstove may bring physical warmth but, as you can see, it also brings an emotional warmth that lasts a lot longer than a belly full of good food!

The woodstove isn’t the only low tech item in the cookhouse, by the way. There are plenty of other gadgets popular during the Civil War era that Pamela has. She discovered along the way that if she needs a certain gadget, they had it 150 years ago, or at least some reasonable facsimile or way to get the job done. She has vintage can openers, graters, wood spoons and bowls, spice box, old flour sacks for towels, iron cookware, etc. Of all the items she has, her nutmeg grater is her favorite. She calls it the "perfect kitchen gadget."
Did you know that nutmeg was actually used quite a bit during that time period to season many of the dishes – much more so than it is today?

Pamela spends a lot of time in the cookhouse during the spring and fall seasons. As you can imagine since it gets pretty hot near the stove, she cuts down on time spent out there during the summer. Winter is just as challenging due to the cold, so Pamela does have the luxury of a modern kitchen in her home. Despite all the modern conveniences, though, her heart belongs to the cookhouse.

While most people would consider this lifestyle hobby a challenge, Pamela never felt overwhelmed by committing to using the cookhouse as much as possible. She realizes her "Living History" isn’t for everyone, but it suits her personality and Frank's very well. Their "Living History" also extends to more than just the kitchen, despite living in a modern home. They raised their children in a 160 year old farmhouse, all sleeping on feather mattresses with rope "springs." They even did their home studies by candlelight. For entertainment, there wasn’t the usual TV; rather, they played in the yard or the fields. Pamela and Frank are proud of their children, each having a strength of character birthed, in part, from the simple way in which they were raised. They learned to appreciate what’s real in life, instead of the transitory pleasures of electrical gadgets and mind numbing media.

After my interview with her, Pamela shared with me she had suffered a double brain aneurysm in 1997 that has left her with severe short-term memory loss. She finds herself working through fifteen minutes of time, and if she survives that, she can go on to the next fifteen minutes. She lovingly credits her husband, Frank, as her memory. The cookhouse helps her with her memory challenges as it tends to free her mind and brings her a joy that most people may not understand.

This brought to mind a line from "Star Trek: Insurrection." Daniel Hugh Kelly’s character said something to the effect of when you allow a machine to do the work of a human, you take something away from the human. I haven’t seen that movie in several years, but that line has always stayed with me. I think it’s because there’s some truth to it. Pamela has found some truth to it, too, in the way her cookhouse is a much simpler setting without any high tech machinery. When I’m hand washing and air drying my clothes, I feel a certain sense of well being and simplicity. It’s a certain feeling of connection to my clothing. When you use machines, you’re more removed from your food, clothes, and what have you. In a sense, it takes away just a little bit what it’s like to be human and to be doing – to have joy and connection in the utter simplicity of doing.

For more information about Pamela’s life, please see: Shade Tree Primitives, Shadetree Primitives Picture Trail, and Civil Folks.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Giveaway with Three Winners and Multiple Chances to Win!

As I mentioned previously, I'm having another giveaway. This one will run until the first day of Spring, March 20th. I haven't decided how the prizes will be divided up yet amongst the three winners, but the 1st and 2nd place will get more of a choice.

Here are a few of the giveaway prizes:

A wooden tissue box holder that's been painted to look old. Also, the rag quilt table top under it:
A better picture of the table top:
Easter eggs! I'll be primming some up. Some are like foil, and some are a funky alcohol ink design that I'll have a tutorial on All Thumbs Crafts soon.

Crow candle in chocolate brownie scent. It's been rubbed with coffee. (I'll put a wick in it before I send it - lol)!
Painted paper mache boxes (one to each winner - at least I know how I'll be splitting that one up)!
A painted to look old frame with scrapbooking easter eggs inside:

And decorative grubby Spiced Cranberry "candles" with twigs as wicks:


I also have rag balls and waxed Spiced Cranberry scented rag balls. I'll take pictures of them shortly and update this post.

Anyone can join, even internationally. If I have an international winner(s), I will pay $15 towards the postage. You will have to cover the difference.

Okay, sooooo...what's this all about with three winners and multiple chances to win?? First of all, you must be a follower of this blog to qualify, as well as leave a comment in this post only regarding the giveaway.

Multiple chances come in various forms:

1. An extra chance if you're a follower of Craft Supplies Sales and Resources.

2. Another chance if you're a follower of All Thumbs Crafts.

3. Another chance if you're a follower of Sunburnt Cow Handmade Shop.

4. Another chance if you're a follower of Handmade Teddy Bears and Raggedies.

5. Another chance is you subscribe to North Pole Diaries.

6. Another chance is to link this giveaway into your sidebar.

Now here's where multiple, multiple chances to win come into play. I'd like to make my Craft Supplies Sales and Resources blog a good resource for those of us who are creative, so I need help with that. If you know of any places that you order craft supplies from, leave a comment for that. I'll check them out, and if they have a newsletter or affiliate opportunities, I'll give you credit for that. But it's on a first come, first basis. Additionally, I may also have them listed on the blog already, so that won't count as a chance. The blog is relatively new, though, so it's fairly wide open when it comes to these chances.

Also, I want tutorials, so it's your chance to show off your stuff on that blog! Comment here leaving a link to any of your tutorials, and I'll compile a list about them and also make a blog post regarding them on the craft supplies/resources blog. I will, of course, link back to your tutorial(s), so you'll not only be getting an extra chance to win, you'll also be getting a blog link which will bring traffic to you!

If you know of a website that contains a bunch of tutorials, let me know, and if I haven't posted it on the crafts supplies blog, I'll give you credit for that. If you know of someone who has a great tutorial, I won't count that until that person gives me permission to post their tutorial on my crafts blog. They will have to come here and comment (or email me). Please make sure they know that they'll have to mention that you sent them here, and I will give you both an extra chance (or just you if s/he doesn't want to enter).

Another blog I need help with is my North Pole Diaries. If you can leave a comment suggesting a possible subject for me to write about (as Mrs. Claus, Santa, or even an elf), I'm all ears. I also need kid friendly crafts and simple recipes that kids can make with an adult. These need to be geared towards children who are at the age where they believe in Santa, so nothing too complicated or anything that involves cooking over a stove. I know some crafts have the adult boiling something, but I'm not interested in that. More baked things because an adult can just pop it in the oven without worrying about a child running around and maybe spilling the boiling pot. (I hope that makes sense)!

Whew...I hope I explained this in a coherent fashion. It sounded good in my head...maybe it won't translate so well in written form. I'll probably have to edit this several times to be clearer as questions are asked!

Okay, so how the winners will be picked is the person with the most usable suggestions ("leads") for one or both blogs wins. The second place winner will have the second most usable suggestions. The third winner will be picked via random number. EDITED: I won't be deleting the comments with the leads. I was thinking that'd help me better with the random number pick, but that doesn't make sense as I have to keep a separate tally of all the multiple chances you already had for following my various blogs and/or posting it on your sidebar. So I'll leave the comments as they stand, but I will put a tally at the end of this post for the extra chances from "leads."

So to recap...multiple chances to win. Make one post to let me know you're a follower of this or any of the other blogs. Also in that same comment, let me know if you've linked about this giveaway in your sidebar.

Then post your suggestions ("leads") in separate comments. If you have more than one, you can post them all in one comment. Comment as many times as you'd like, whenever you find a "lead."

Okay...any questions - lol! I'm sure this is clear as mud!

Deb - 1 extra chance
Trish - 1 extra (I already follow Factory Direct)
Lori - 1 extra

Another edit: whatever link(s) you suggest for various resources or tutorials, I will also make a post about it on my craft supplies and resource blog and give you credit for letting me know about them! More chances for links back to your blog!

Edited again to add: In some ways, you could say that you're getting a little bit of a win with each lead you provide, due to the fact that I'll be linking to your blog on the craft and, where feasible, the north pole blog.

Additionally, I will add more prim items for the winners to choose from. I'll post pics of these as soon as I get them finished!

More prizes added to the giveaway
- rag quilt up for grabs if this giveaway collectively generates 100+ leads amongst all the entrants.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ten on Tuesdays

Last week, for the Ten on Tuesdays' installment, I wrote about ten jobs I have had. This week I'm going to write about ten things I wanted to be when I grew up.

1. Neurosurgeon
2. Veterinarian
3. Forensic psychologist
4. Medical examiner. When I was a legal assistant/secretary, I got to read a lot of trial testimony and outline it for my boss. The parts of the testimony that never failed to interest me was when the medical examiners were testifying as to the cause of death, what each wound did, etc. Amazing stuff!
5. FBI agent
6. Political scientist
7. Sovietologist
8. Screenwriter (Wrote a script for "Magnum PI" when I was 18. Usually when a script is sent, some junior office staff member sends the writer a form letter stating "thanks, but no thanks." I actually received a personal letter from one of the producers praising it in specific areas, but he said it wasn't what they were looking for at the present time. I was gutted. Since I never received any support or self esteem at home, I kinda gave up, though I did write a killer "Riptide" and half a "Moonlighting" script afterwards; neither one was submitted. Anyhoo, I shouldn't have taken it so personally because my script was indeed not what they were looking for at that time. Mine was in the usual light hearted somewhat comedic style they had, and the season I submitted it for had a lot more gritty drama to it. The next season they went back to their more light hearted style, and they even had a character similar to mine as a recurring character, so it was flattering, as I later realized).
9. Oceanographer
10. Sociology professor. (Actually went back to school in the mid-1990s to become either a constitutional lawyer or a sociology prof. Instead, I met a lawyer in Detroit, moved there and derailed my plans. Ugh! But life is good now).

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Crow-ful Tuesday

There's another new link party, and the theme this week is all about crows. I don't have much in the way of prim stuff yet, though I'm slowly building up a collection. There is one crow item that I made, so yay! I can participate!
I have a couple in my home and have sent a couple as gifts. I myself won't be burning it. It's hard to want to burn decorative candles like this. Or maybe it's just me - lol!

In other news, today is warming up, and we're in the 20s, though we'll be plunging back to below zero again as the high tomorrow. Yesterday my son threw out some water for me that I had in my candle making pan. (I don't put that water down the drain, since it might have some wax in it). Anyway, the water froze by the time it hit the snow, so it didn't make a single divet or dent. It just slicked on as a sheet of ice. Yep, that's cold!

I'm really happy with all the support of my first link party, and my oh my, what goodies people have and are sharing. It's so much fun to see everyone's stuff! Thank you so much for joining in on the fun!

I'll be having another giveaway soon. It'll have three winners with multiple chances to win. Stay tuned. I have to finish a few things before I can show off what the prizes will be. Would anyone be interested in a rag quilt as a prize?

Well, I need to skedaddle. My shoulder is hurting big time. It's easier to type than to mouse with my right arm. Last night I thought I was going to go through a phase where I would lose the use of my right arm again, so I need to baby it. The trouble is, I just can't. I have soooo much to do! I don't make a very good patient - lol!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Prairie Patch's First Ever Perfectly Prim Link Party!

Let's have some link party fun!!  For the first Prairie Patch Perfectly Prim Link Party, please link up anything prim you have - whether it/they be something you made or something you've purchased or had given to you. These photos that you'll be sharing will have to come from one of your blog posts. It doesn't matter how old or new the post is; we just wanna "ooooh" and "aaaah" over all the primtastic things out there in the whole wide world!  The following weeks might have various themes, but since this is the first one, I want as many people to participate as possible, so anything prim goes!

Prairie Patch
<div align="center"><a href="http://prairiepatch.blogspot.com/" title="Prairie Patch" target="_blank"><img src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-fKTBZUPdCUQ/TWAXEAZd30I/AAAAAAAAAeQ/q8uEdstDGRc/s220/PerfectlyPrimPartyBtn.jpg" alt="Prairie Patch" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

I'll go first. Since I devoted a whole post to the prim swap goodies I got recently, I go to that post. Click on the title, and that will give me the url address to that particular post up in the website address bar. I copy that. Then I click on the "Add your link" button. Up will pop three boxes, one for adding your url to that particular blog post, (which I just explained how to find it and copy it), what you want the title of the entry to be, and your email address. Click on "next step," which will bring you to another page that pulls up all the photos associated with that blog post. Select the one you want to represent the thumbnail in this link party, and there you have it! Easy peasy!



Saturday, February 19, 2011

Snowy, Sweet Saturday

When did the weather forecast snow here? Today? Ugh. This is what our sidewalk looked like after the blizzard of a couple days ago. I guess the question is...where is that sidewalk!?!
My son did shovel the sidewalk yesterday - just a tiny little path the width of the shovel. It's one of those cheap plastic shovels, so it doesn't really do the job all that well. We now have a path amongst snow that's over our knees in height. Ah, the joys of drifting snow. At least today's snow isn't drifting so much. It's actually quite pretty. It's the kind of snow that's real powdery and glittery; it almost looks fake.

I put up another tutorial on my All Thumbs Craft blog: how to make dessert looking soy tarts. I kinda wish they were edible - lol!

In other news, it looks like the linking party will be a go tomorrow. The coding still looks wonky in draft mode, and since I put the link party to begin tomorrow morning, it's not showing how it will look exactly. We shall see! At least Deb of Paxton Valley Folk Art made a pretty button for it - just as she did for the Sunburnt Cow.

Speaking of Deb...wow, what can I say! She made the sweetest post about me, which touched me tremendously. Thank you, Deb. You have been so sweet, kind, and supportive of me. :)

Trish over at Me 2 U Primitiveseven wrote about my blog, mentioning how helpful the seo tips have been. She's new to this blogging world, and I'm really excited at how enthused she is in getting her name out there.

Stay tuned tomorrow...hopefully this linky party will come along nicely!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Getting Exposure: My New Found Love of Link Parties

This week's installment of getting traffic for your blog is going to focus more about linking with others. I've briefly written about how writing comments on other blogs will get your blog noticed, as well as writing articles for other sources. Today I'm going to write about link parties - sometimes known as blog hopping.

I recently participated in a link party for my ragged flower tutorial, having no idea what to expect. Oh my, I LOVE link parties! They're soooo much fun. Not only do you get to see some awesome creative craft projects, diy projects, and recipes, you also get your blog noticed. Many of the participants also share the "linky love" by commenting on other participants' blogs, perhaps even becoming a follower.

How a link party works is you link up one of your specific blog posts on what you've created recently. There's a linking tool on these link parties where it's simply a matter of pasting your blog post url, naming your project/link, and then choosing a picture. (The link program gives you a choice of choosing a picture from your particular post or uploading a picture from your computer). And that's it! You do have to grab the website's button and place it on your blog post so as to share the linky love and give back to the host for doing the work to set up the party.

In less than a week, I've received well over 500 page views - a large part of the hits coming from link parties. With my new blog, All Thumbs Crafts, the sole traffic (aside from ten hits from this blog) has been all from link parties. (I've had around 150 views thus far). That's pretty good considering the blog is less than a week old! Now you can see why I'm so excited about these link parties and how they can get traffic. In order to have a successful website, you need to combine both SEO and linking with others.

All of the link parties I've seen don't have anything to do with prim, so I figured I'd start up a regular link party here. Once I figure out the backstage stuff, which doesn't look too hard, I'll begin! (The hard part will be creating a button for it). It'll probably be within the next few days - perhaps even this weekend. Each week will have a theme of some sort, like prim kitchen wooden utensils, enamelware, crocks, ornies, dolls, etc. Then we can all drool over each other's perfectly prim items!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Snowing and My Goofball

I've been busy the last few days tending to my various blogs and compiling some Q and A's for an article I'm doing, as well as writing up some blog posts for featured artisans over at the Sunburnt Cow. I don't like doing the usual Q and A, cuz that can be boring when you see the same questions over and over again. Thankfully, one of the participants said it was nice to be asked questions that were different from the norm. (And being an Aquarian, I am different from the norm - lol).

Oh, speaking of which, my son and I had wonderful birthdays. This year was certainly better than last year's b-day for me. Last year for my b-day, I spent all day crying. Just one of those "Ick, what a waste my life has been" moments. But since discovering an attitude of gratitude, which is still with me, I'm a lot more content. Sure, this confounded computer still takes a long time to load a page (upwards of ten minutes if I want to click the follow a blog option), which makes my work go soooo much slower. But hey, at least I have a computer! Anyway, last year's b-day was one of the worst, especially since the only people (aside from my son) who wished me a happy b-day on the actual day were my ex-fiance (the lawyer) and an ex-boyfriend who turned out to be a cad.

This year, I was happy, and while we couldn't really do anything special like going out (lack of car and lack of civilization), it was still fun. I did get to do something special and immerse myself in about eleven hours of the last season of "24." Another tear jerker, as they always are. I didn't even do any work, so that was a plus.

Lately, the weather here - up until today - has been very pleasant, with highs in the upper 30s and lower 40s. About a foot of snow melted, which was nice, though it does make things slippery. Last weekend, we had 72 mph gusts of wind, and today we're getting pretty windy, too, though not as bad as last weekend. We're also getting a few inches of snow. Probably an inch has fallen in the past hour. Temps with wind chill are below zero again. This inclement weather is supposed to last only for a couple days, then we'll get back up to the 30s. Yay!

A client of mine wondered if I might like to ghost write a book with her. I initially said yes, but I'll have to see. I've been a ghost writer for others, without any credit, which is kinda sorta what I don't want to do any more. If I can have some credit, using a nom de plume, that'd be much better. I used to blog for a couple guys who were regular fixtures on CNN financial news. They loved my work, but since I'm a total ditz whenever you start mentioning numbers, I had to quit that project. I couldn't figure out if I was re-writing their interviews in a coherent fashion since anything to do with financial stuff in incoherent to me! Then I wrote for one of those overnight millionaires about positive thinking, but you can only repeat certain mantras over and over without it becoming boring or me feeling like I wasn't adding anything more. I tend to want to write succinctly, and I kept thinking: "Okay, I just wrote about this last week. Why do I have to keep writing about the same stuff over and over again?" That's why I'm so excited about my various blog projects because it's always something new and different! Anyhoo, I guess I just have to see what the project is all about that my client/friend is asking me to do.

Well, I have the package already to send off to the giveaway winner. It's too slippery to walk to the post office today and tomorrow, so hopefully by Monday the roads will be in better shape. I'll be able to send Deb's package off then, too.

Here's a few pictures to tickle your funny bone. I wonder if you can tell what it is from the very first picture.








It's Tessa having one of her many "zen moments." She usually gets right up when she hears me getting up, but in this instance, she was really zoning out, and I was finally able to take some pictures of her. I was so surprised that she let me.

Got any funny captions for the above photos? I'd love to hear them!

Sweet Shot Day

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

Here's another fun installment of Ten on Tuesdays. This week, I'm listing ten things I've done for a living, mostly in chronological order.

1. Paper carrier. Had my first job as a paper carrier when I was nine years old. Rode my little bike and delivered the papers. Fast forward a couple decades, and I had a motor paper route as an adult. It was the perfect job for a single mom with a toddler.

2. Fast food restaurant. Icky job that a lot of teens have to suffer through - lol!

3. Travel agent. It was a fun job, and I probably would've done it longer, but the owner of the company I worked for got arrested for fraud. I saw what she was doing and quit before the shtf.

4. Various secretarial/data entry jobs when I was going back to college as an older than average student.

5. Legal assistant. Worked for a prominent defense attorney in Detroit (even engaged to him. Got smart and dumped him - lol). Rubbed elbows with a lot of "famous" people in the legal profession there (some even went on to DC and NY). One attorney I dated was interviewed by Tom Brokaw for his nightly news show before he (Tom Brokaw) retired. Alas, I found out that 99% of the lawyers I met are kinda...odd...to put it nicely. (Gads, I just realized I dated five lawyers...shudder).

6. Copywriter for a radio station. That was probably the funnest job I ever had. The words just flowed, and I received positive feedback from the radio station and their advertisers whenever I came in to work. Unfortunately it was an internship during college, so the job wasn't permanent.

7. Voice over actress. Nothing national, just local.

8. Webmistress. Unfortunately, this is a case of use it or lose it, and I barely remember the html to put in links.

9. Cafe owner. I would've continued with this since I enjoy cooking and baking, but since it was for this town full of penal colony inbred stock, it proved difficult dealing with all the politics and the backbiting that went on.

10. Freelance writer. Been doing this since around 2003.

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Giveaway Goodies Received

I had previously mentioned about the giveaway I won late last year. The goodies finally arrived, and they were sure worth the wait.



JD Wolfe Pottery sent me a couple extra since I had to wait a bit. That was very sweet of her. She didn't have to, but I'm sure glad she did. I LOVE the blue - simply beautiful!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Giveaway Winner!

I want to first say thank you for entering and supporting my first blog giveaway! I enjoyed all your comments, especially when you shared about your first loves. I started out with 22 followers when I announced my giveaway, and now 50 followers later, we come to the end of this giveaway. Wow! I'm so honored to have received that many more followers. I truly wasn't expecting it. I'll be adding another goody since there was another increment of ten followers.

Anyhoo, I'll be having another giveaway soon - within the next week or so - because I've enjoyed this so much. The next one will include unlimited chances of winning. So if you didn't win this time, you might next time.

And the winner is...Jody at Tumbleweed Trails.

I'm also sending another gift to Deb of Paxton Valley for being my very first follower ever and for continuing to visit my blog and support me with all her sweet comments.

So my dear ladies, please email me with your snail mail addresses.

Edited to add: Oops, I forgot to mention how the winner was chosen. As the comments came in and the chances they had, I tallied them in a notebook. For example, Sheila was the first commenter and she had a total of 6 chances, so she was numbered one through six in my notebook, and so on with the rest of the commenters. Then when midnight came here on the prairie, I had my son draw a number out of a box.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Funky Fabric Wreath Tutorial

I started up a new blog to feature some easy craft tutorials. I like to think of the new blog as a place for the un-Martha: where those of us who are all thumbs and don't have a big budget can still create some nice craft projects.

My first is a Funky Fabric Wreath Tutorial.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Only One More Day Left on the Giveaway

There's only one more day left on my very first giveaway. The time has definitely flown by. I'll be having another one shortly because I've enjoyed this so much

I wanted to share with you why I made those fabric flowers. I'm taking a series of great art classes over at Roses on My Table. The latest project is a heart make-do. Oh my, all the pretty hearts that Zinnia and the other artisans have made! Mine felt kind of plain, but I was coming at it from the homespun kind of way. Plus, I didn't have all the embellishments and such to use with the make-do. I was kind of hesitant in showing off my make-do hearts because of the huge amount of talent over there, but as big as their talent is, they're as big on encouragement. I'd say they're the most supportive online group I've ever encountered.


I also included a couple of the small ornies I got from my recent Valentine swap. One of them (the polka dotted one) will be a pin keep; the other one holds some jewelry I have. I don't much wear jewelry nowadays, so I might as well display some of it, even a little pin my son made me when he was very young. I couldn't put too much of my jewelry on the heart since it was going to fall over - lol! The other one is just kinda homespun, which is actually my favorite.

I didn't have any candlesticks, so I textured and painted some tin cans. Then I mod podged the inside and stuck a bunch of fabric scraps in there. Mod podged a stick and stuck it in there. And voila - a make-do in every sense of the word. :)

The hearts are even fabric scrap stuffed. I'm not entirely through with them as I want to print off a "Love Grows" sentiment, since it's in keeping with the "blooming" hearts in their little pots. (The top layer of the fabric scraps is green, so it symbolizes a heart "plant" growing).

Friday, February 11, 2011

SEO Tips, Part 5: Content is King

Please see Part One; Part Two; Part Three; and Part Four.

As they say in the blogging circles, content is king. Why? Because readers go to your blog to read...content! Of course, there are some blogs that mainly feature drool worthy pictures, but having a blog of mostly photos doesn’t help with search engines. Here are a few tips to help your blog get noticed by the search engines:

- Write often and regularly. A rule of thumb is to write at least two posts a day on your blog for a couple months. I know that sounds difficult, and indeed it is, but if you’re trying to jump start a new blog and get it noticed by those search engines, you have to work it. The mantra of "If I build it, they will come" is very na├»ve nowadays with so many selling sites and blogs. Perhaps ten years ago, you’d have more success with such a passive attitude, but it doesn’t help now when there are literally millions of sites and blogs on the web. After writing two posts a day for a couple months, you can decrease it to one post a day, thereafter decreasing it to a few times a week.

- Good writing. Make sure you proofread and correct any mistakes or typos. Having shorter paragraphs is also easier on your readers' eyes. It’s difficult reading a long entry when there’s only a couple paragraphs.

- Write about what you love or have an interest in. When I started Sunburnt Cow, I did it – and am doing it – as a labor of love. I love looking at the wares of the various artisans whom I’ve invited to take part in my SEO experiment over there. I have to say it’s difficult remembering to post twice a day, and soon I’ll be running out of content. After all, these talented ladies can only make so much product! So, I’m making an offer to my readers. I tried making this offer to a couple forums, but for some reason it was ignored. It may have had to do with the audience. You're reading this because you have an interest in getting your handmade shop noticed; therefore, I should've made this offer to those of you reading my SEO tips. :)

Thus, if you have an etsy or ebay shop and would like me to blog about your handmade items for sale on the Sunburnt Cow, please email me for more info. (My email addy is in my profile). All I would ask in return is a link back to the site on your blog. I certainly wouldn't require anything more than that. To do so would be onerous, even if I was bringing you 90% of your sales. (This offer will stand until probably April or May when I kick it up to the next level). If you make raggedies or teddies, you can be featured on Handmade Teddy Bears and Raggedies

Bottom line: writing about something you enjoy will help you get through the two posts a day guideline.

- Stand out from the crowd. Do something a little different from your peers. I hope to be adding more tutorials and some interviews on my blog. I’d also like to add some link parties, though I’m not sure how much those widget linky thingies cost.

- Write elsewhere in order to get your blog noticed. There are various sites online where you can submit articles, if you're a writer. In lieu of payment, you’ll get your blog noticed. This type of promoting will get “new blood” into your site or blog, and if you’re trying to sell something, you need a steady source of new traffic as much as possible. (I just may try to start writing for She Knows again, now that I have a mission to get my selling blogs noticed)!

- Be yourself. Don’t try to be like another blogger/writer. When you do, your readers will see right through you or, at the very least, sense something is amiss. That something is your trying to be someone you’re not. Plus, when you aren’t yourself when blogging, you’re not going to enjoy the writing experience, which will definitely show.

Most of the above tips are for SEO purposes only. SEO is important in gaining new traffic, but linking up with other bloggers who are in your niche can be just important. I'll be writing about that soon. It all boils down to work it, and you'll get results. Case in point: in the past few days, I've gotten over 500 page views alone. Work it, work it!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

Just found this cute blog where she has a Top Ten on Tuesday link party. Basically you think of the top ten things you like or ten random things that are going through your mind right now. For those who are looking for something to write about on their blog, these type of fun activities are a great!

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I think I'll just do something random this time since I just discovered the blog.

1. The song "Come on Eileen" by Dexy's Midnight Runners will always make me smile. I have no idea why. I think it's the tune - it's just so upbeat and skippy happy!

2. "Coupling" is one of the funniest shows I've ever seen - in large part due to Jeffrey. Here's a classic scene...the utter goof!

3. I love tiramisu, but since I live in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of penal colony inbred stock, I don't get to indulge in it much. I've had it once in the past two and half years.

4. I love really gritty, dark TV shows like "Wire in the Blood;" "Cracker" (the UK version, of course); and "Millennium." It might have something to do with wanting to be a forensic psychologist.

5. I'm a huge tennis fan. (Go, Roger Federer. I miss Marat Safin).

6. I miss the old comics like Foster Brooks, the Dean Martin Roasts, and Johnny Carson.

7. I miss LOST and 24.

8. I've lived in eight different states.

9. Goats make me laugh. They're just so cute and have a "So" expression. Don't they look like they're saying "So?" or "...and your point is?"

10. I want to live on a farm in the hills of West Virginia.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Busy, Busy, and Oh My Goodness! I Have Over 60 Followers!

I have been busy, busy, busy the past couple days. I received a big writing job over the weekend(15 pages single spaced), but I finished it up this afternoon. Only took a few hours, which was really cool, since I made my weekly income goal. If more writing work comes in, all the better!!

Worked a lot on my other blogs this weekend: Sunburnt Cow, Handmade Teddy Bears and Raggedies, and Craft Supplies Sales and Resources. Busy, busy, busy looking around for content and trying to make at least two posts a day on each one, especially the selling blogs. I'll be starting more selling blogs soon because I like challenging myself and helping people get their products noticed. If I can help in any way to drive more traffic to their shops, all the better!

And oh, I have over 60 followers! Whoot! As promised for every increments of 10 followers I get, I'll add another goody to the giveaway.

A bar of prim soap in the winner's choice of fragrances and colors that I have.

I'll also be having another giveaway within a week after this one ends because I'm having so much fun meeting all of you! The waiting time won't be as long - maybe a couple weeks. Ideally, I'd like it to be an Easter theme, so I want to get the winner her goodies well before Easter!

Well, we had some nice weather for awhile - up in the 30s and over 40 one day last week. Now we're down to 50 below zero tonight with the wind chill. I don't believe it got up over zero today - without the wind chill. Had a big ol' snow drift we had to wade through this morning to get to the dogs' bathroom area. Wasn't expecting that, although I knew we had snow overnight.

So, will Hawaii Five-O or won't Hawaii Five-O have a new episode on tonight? It's getting really ridiculous with their constant repeats. As much as I love looking at Alex O'Loughlin, I won't sit through watching an episode they just aired a couple weeks ago. Grrrrrrr. I do like the show for sentimental reasons and started watching the reboot because of that. I remember when it first aired. I lived in Hawaii at the time as a wee little girl. We'd run in to the cast members all the time in the store. Even spent the night at Al Harrington's house with my mom and his family. I vividly remember watching through the chain link fence a scene being shot in the intersection in front of my daycare. That was really cool; I remember Jack Lord was there. In his off time, we'd always see him running around with a Panama hat on. I miss Hawaii sometimes.

I Feel so Over the Moooooonnnn!

My ragged fabric flowers were featured over at Whipperberry! How cool is that. I think I'm getting the hang of being creative after all!

I'll be working on other tutorials soon. I had so much fun doing the first one, and you all have given me such sweet and encouraging feedback. THANKS!!!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

How to Make Fabric Flowers

Based on a Handmade Paper Flower Tutorial, I decided to make some fabric flowers.


The first thing you need to do is cut up some circles. The size of the largest circle depends upon how big you want your flower. Since I'm "ragging" these like I do with rag quilts, I cut a little larger than what I want. Then I cut slightly smaller and smaller circles. They don't have to be perfectly circular. In fact, I couldn't cut a perfectly circular round thingie, even if I had a big black line to cut around!


Plus, when you "rag quilt" something, your imperfections are covered up. Neat, huh! For extra interest, I added a couple different fabrics and/or turned the jeans fabric upside down.

Next, cut slits into each circle. These I made about 1/2 to 1 inch in and about 1/4 inch apart. That's the measurement for the largest circle. You'll have to adjust according to size, especially on the smaller circles. You don't want to clip too closely together because, since these are circles, the cuts are going to be closer together towards the center. If they get too close together, they'll just rip right off.


Then stack 'em up, going from the largest size on the bottom to the smallest on the top.


Since you're going to throw these in the washer and dryer to rag like you would rag quilts, you can't use glue to hold them together. I decided to sew a button in the middle instead. You do have to watch, though, if you work with thicker fabrics like denim. If you're going through 6 or more thicknesses...oh boy! Watch your fingers, cuz that's gonna be a toughie fighting to get that needle through all the fabric.


The final step is putting them in the washer and dryer once or twice. I would put them in one of those protective lingerie bags since they're a bit on the delicate side.

And voila!



For the above, I actually couldn't put these in the washer and dryer since my friends returned from their travels, so I no longer had access to a washer and dryer. I just wet these, hung them up by my heater vent, and they still turned out pretty good!

This tutorial has been shared with Today's Creative Blog, A Little Knick Knack, as well as the following link parties:

UndertheTableandDreaming Photobucket

Keeping It Simple linkparty

Photobucket handmade projects Making
Keeping It Simple
Make it Yours @ My Backyard Eden

http://www.thethriftyhome.com NightOwlCrafting
Beyond The Picket FenceTransformation Thursday

Spunky JunkyFunky Junk's Sat Nite Special Lovely Crafty Home
Punkin Seed ProductionsShow and Tell Green