Sunday, October 4, 2009

Trick or Treat!

Trick or Treat
Money or Eats

Smell My Feet or
Give Me Something Good to Eat

Are you all ready for Halloween! I still need to decorate the house. If you are like me, then check out these goodies for your house, your pup and you!

This set is from She makes the most adorable doggie clothing frequently using her two pups as models (this is not one of them). Check her out store and don't miss her great Christmas creations too.

Next on the list for your pup is a new collar from This is rather tame however it will certainly add fall and Halloween spirit to every pup. It is an orange collar with spirals in a softer orange and gold dots. Once you have your pups dressed in style, don't forget about decorating your house. There are many, many options and here are a couple of favorites.

First is an amazing Evil Queen crown by Perfect for that special Halloween event! Denise's shop is full of surprises from vintage Halloween decorations to custom banners for every occasion.

The spider web candleholder is by She is a glass artist and creates some of the most beautiful fused glass plates and jewelry. Next is a spirited sweater bottle cover which is nothing more than self promotion as it is from my other shop

Adding more fun with a little decor and cards are The roundies add festiveness without going over the top. Next up are cards from

Don't forget some decorations for yourself. First we have with a Black Cat and Jack O Lanterns - Halloween soldered Pendant. A little T to wear is an owl Tshirt by followed by beaded Pumpkin bracelet.

In my opinion I have saved the best for last! Do not miss stunning Halloween Quilt.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Apple Butter

One of the best things about living in New Jersey is the apples. We would go to a farm and pick them ourselves. Other times we would head down to Colts Neck to the produce store and buy them. Either way it was always fun.

Once home we would peel, peel and peel more apples. I would freeze 3-4 apple pies so when we wanted apple pie, just needed to bake one.

I also learned to make apple butter. I found a recipe in the canning and freezing section of the Betty Crocker cookbook. Of course I changed it. One thing is that I don't add any sugar. There is plenty in the apples. Apples also contain a natural pectin insuring they they will gel without any additional ingredients.

Apple Butter

4-1/2 pounds of apples, cored and quartered (about 14 medium)
Water to just barely cover the apples
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground allspice

In an 8-10 quart pot, combine apples and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat. Cover. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Process through a sieve, food press or blender till you have 9-1/2 cups. Return to the pot. Stir in spices and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook uncovered over very low heat for 1-1/2 hours or until very thick, stirring often.

Lade into hot, sterilized half-pint jars, leaving a 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims, adjust lids. Process in boiling water canner 5 minutes (start timing when water begins to boil.) Remove jars and cool ion racks. Makes 8 half pints.

I also found that using a combination of different types of apples made the best apple butter.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Vote for Cody!

I have had Cody for over 5 years and I am his third owner. He's a lab/weimaraner mix and he's a great dog! He is very smart, sometimes too smart; retired working dog and now he is trying to train Copper, a black and white springer, how to behave.

I grew up with labs so I was familiar with their behaviors. However I was not ready for the weimaraner. I did a lot of reading and Cody has many characteristics and you can see his dual personalities. He is energetic, wants to go, go, go. Prefers to sniff the beach, dog park, wherever for at least an hour before he will play or hang out. Cody has far too many qualities and stories for me to include here and I don't want to bore anyone.

I recently joined the Pets Jubilee Team on Etsy and we are having a Pet Talent Contest. Of course Cody is entered! He is contestant number 5. Please vote for Cody by leaving a message on the Pets Jubilee Blog under his video. If you want to vote anonymously, you must leave some type of name or store name, etc.

Here's the link and thanks for voting. You can vote every day too!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Help! A Friend's Father is Missing - Finality

My friend's dad has been found and unfortunately he has passed away of natural causes. My deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Korda. I read a brief bio of Mr. Korda and he was a concert violinist who played for 6 presidents. He talent and music will live on as will the memories for all.
My friend's father is missing and need help locating him. He lives in the Van Nuys area and left around 7:45 AM on July 9 and never made it to work. Major cross streets are Woodman & Victory heading towards Gower Studios in Hollywood on Sunset and Gower.

He was driving a 1993 white Geo Metro license plate number 3GPJ453. He would have taken Victory t the 170 to the 101 to Gower. He wouldn't disappear and if he went someplace else, he would have told someone or called work. This is very unusual.

Thanks for your help.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Christmas In July Sale

Tomorrow, which I guess it is already, begins my Christmas in July sale through July 23. All items in the Christmas in July section are discounted 35%. There is a nice selection of table runners and placemats and even a few pillows. More items will be added so check back frequently.
No other sale prior to the holiday will offer such a large discount. An added bonus is that shipping on the first item is $1.50 and each additional item is $1.00. By shopping now, you can save and be ready for the holidays.

This sale pertains only to the items in the Christmas in July section. Please include "CIJ" in notes to seller and a paypal refund will be promptly issues.

Shop and Christmas in July section.

Rhubarb Cream Pie

My mother is a fabulous cook, baker, pie maker, canner, etc. Just what you would expect for someone who grew up on a farm with a large garden and lots of fruit trees. She came across this recipe for a Rhubarb Cream Pie. It's delish! Here's the recipe:

Melt: 2 TBSP butter in saucepan
Add: 2 cups divided rhubarb
1 cup sugar

Cook slowly until rhubarb is tender.

Combine: 1/4 cup sugar
2 TBSP corn starch
2 egg yolks, well beaten
1/4 cup light cream
1/8 tsp salt

Add to rhubarb and cook until thick. Cool. Pour into 8 inch baked pie shell. Top with meringue. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-16 minutes.

Meringue is basically egg whites, NO yolks, 1/4 cup sugar with 1/8 tsp cream of tarter.

Oatmeal Pie Crust
1-1/3 cups oatmeal
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter

Mix ingredients together in mixing bowl. Then put in pie pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Cover while baking.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Never Stop Learning

When I started selling on Etsy, I thought it would be a good way to destash my fabric, sew up a few things and all would be well. Somewhere along the line, I decided to make it into a business. I didn't realize how much work it was going to take. First of all there is the creation of the product, the shopping, the sewing, listing and pictures. Then there's the advertising, marketing, pr, twitter, facebook, blog, wholesale, etc etc etc.

Then Etsy recently provided information on Web Analytics, SEO, tags and Google Base. Tags I pretty well understand but what is this other stuff. I am clueless and wasn't certain I wanted to learn. Would I understand, what if I had problems, do I really want to do this.

Fortunately I belong to CCCOE, which is a very strong team. After several discussions regarding SEO, I decided to actually read the storque article and did it with no problems and it was not nearly as difficult to understand as I thought. Web Analytics was easy as well. Then Google Base which I set up this morning. Once I went through it, resolved an issue and voila, it was done.

I don't know where I thought it was okay to stop learning. Maybe I just thought it was over my head. I am not stupid but there are certain things such as physics and a lot of techie things I don't understand. This is not physics and if I simply apply myself, ask questions and think things through, I can do this. By asking a question, I was able to help someone else who had the same problem.

Now if only I could get Copper to stop barking so much!

Monday, May 18, 2009

What does your jewelry say about you? Fun?

There are thousands of jewelry shops on Etsy and there are almost 1,000,000 pieces of jewelry for sale! I am fortunate that I belong to several teams with fabulous jewelry artisans. There will be several blogs about jewelry because there are many types and that many sellers I would like to showcase.

First and foremost, Kim of Kim is an amazing metalsmith. Her jewelry is elegant, very well crafted, simple and organic. She has stacker necklaces that are so cool.

They come in many different colors have great names such as life savers, Lil bit of sunshine and purple rain to name a few.

One of her latest is a custom Family bracelet. I am waiting for the K9 version featuring me, one large dog and one medium dog! I can't wait. is another shop which is a combination of beaded jewelry and a little destash. The Red Brick Gallery on Main Street in downtown Ventura also showcases Kim's fun, funky and really cool jewelry.
Also check out the for more great shops.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Bubbles, Suds and More

I love soaps, bubble baths and scrubs and all those other girly things! I am allergic to most floral scents and many natural ingredients so I have to be very careful. I tend to go towards fruit, coconut or peppermint scents. Here are just a couple that I have found to be intriguing or downright gorgeous!

The first one is Lemon Soap enriched and cocoa butter and shea butter from I have not tried this specific soap have tried the Dead Sea Salt Soak and the Whipped Hand and Body Butter with Cocoa Butter, Coconut Oil and Shea Butter. My skin tends to be dry so but body butter is perfect.

Look at this gorgeous soap! How fun is that. This is next on my list of soaps to try. It is from Carol of! This one is called Put da lime in da coconut. I cannot wait to try this. I think what intrigued me the most was while the scents were the same as other shops, the originality of the design and color combinations were striking. You look at one item and keep want to go deeper.

Lily of the Valley - This was my grandmother's favorite scent. Wouldn't this look gorgeous in your guest bathroom. Think of your guests being wowed! This beautiful soap is made by Soaps at Check out her store for many other fun and gorgeous soaps.

These are just three examples that I think stand out. There are also, who I would have included but her shop is on vacation. Very original combinations. has a watermelon cooler sugar body polish I am dying to try.

I have also purchased from and and I keep coming back for more.

Enjoy, experiment and be clean!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Lampwork Beads - I really do like them afterall!

I have never been fond of lampwork beads. All those dots around another bead seemed rather silly to me. About a month ago I shared a booth with Anita of Anita works mainly with lampwork beads. But there are beads and then there are beads. Anita used to make her own by now purchases from many artisans all over the world.

Check out this gorgeous necklace with a dog of course. See the different lampwork beads and some with paw prints! (You knew I was going to love this one!)

It struck me as being totally different and how much I really liked it.

Besides dogs, I really love the ocean, seashells, sand, dolphins. So imagine my delight when I spied a lampwork seashell bead!

I really enjoy Anita's jewelry. She has a love for glass, jewelry and design. Visit her shop and have a wonderful time!

Another fabulous lampwork artisan is Amy of FormFireGlassworks ( This heart is stunning and I never thought really understood it was a lampwork bead.

What is lampworking: It is a type of glasswork that uses a gas fueled torch to melt rods and tubes of clear and colored glass. Once in a molten state, the glass is formed by blowed and shaping with a variety of tools and hand movements. IT is also knows as flameworking or torchworking, as the moder practice no longer uses oil-fueled lamps. Althought hte art form has been practiced since ancient times, it became widely practiced in Murano, Italy in th 14th century. In the mid 19th centura lampwork technique was extended to the production of paperweights, primarily in France, where if become a popular art form, still collected today. Lampworking differs from glassblowing in that glassblowing utilizes a blowpipe to inflate a glass blob known as a gob or father, thereby inflating it by blowing air into the blowpipe, whereas, lampworking manipulates glass either by the use of tools, gravity or by blowing directly into the end of a glass tube.
Lampworking is used to create various artwork, including figurines, trinkets, curios, Christmas tree ornaments, beads and much more. It is also used to create many scientific instruments as well as glass models of animal and botanical models that so closely mimic the realy thing; they are virtually indiscernible from the actual thing, save the fact that they are not living.

This information was obtained through

Here is another example from Amy of Look how gorgeous these beads are! I am simply in awe.

The next time I see something I think I don't like, maybe I better investigate a little further.

This blog is a little different. I have been writing about personal beliefs, things happening in the world. I am going to change the tone some and feature some of my favorite sellers or themes.
This is also my first attempt at adding stores and pictures. I need to work on the links going directly to the stores. Baby steps. Never thought I would blog in the first place.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The cowards way!

Today has been overshadowed by everything that has happened in New York State. The horrendous deaths of at least 14 people and no one has any idea why.

I don't understand why killing others is the solution. You are hurting so you are going to make others hurt. Then to top it all off -- you kill yourself. Such a cowardly way to die.

Life takes twists and turns and unfortunately bad things do happen to good people. Words are easy to come by but actions or trying to dig yourself out of a situation can seem hopeless. But to walk into a place and kill people! Unconscienable.

I don't understand. My heart goes out to those affected by this very tragic event.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Kick in the Pants!

Recently a couple of CCCOE team members were posting about the number of items in shops, featured sellers, etc. They were mentioning how important it is to have your shop(s) fully stocked with as many items as possible. That seems basic enough. Discussion included having about 100 items. WOW! That's a lot and I don't know if I could ever do that.

The more I thought about it, I realized it was very important. With 3 shops, it will be difficult for me to have 100 items each. Within that context, my current goal is 35 in each and then 50 each. After that point, we shall see. Craft shows are upcoming so I will definitely need inventory. Lord knows I certainly have enough fabric and supplies.

I also need to stay focused. I keep saying I am going to do this and do that. Well I better get to it.

So I am on a mission to get my shops there and the sooner the better. So thanks for the kick in the pants. Who knows, maybe I will have an item in a gift guide and even be a featured seller. One can always dream.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What is your biggest fear?

I have often thought that my biggest fear would be to die alone, without the love of that special someone. This stemmed from the death of my first husband and the fact that I felt very, very alone for a long time. While I am still hunting for that special someone, I have friends and family so I will never be truly alone. Of course I have Cody and Copper too!

Recently there was a tragedy where an Etsy member's son died due to the result of a car accident. This little boy, Zachary, was 5 years old. Zachary's aunt is a team member of mine on both the Beagles and CCCOE teams. I do not personally know PineBlossoms.

As word spread through Etsy, many sellers decided to offer the proceeds from sales of their items to help defray the funeral expenses. A website was also established for monetary donations through paypal. Etsy has shut down the thread where items were posted but they are on the Beagle team blog and here is the link: If you are interested in making a donation directly through paypal, here is the link: I encourage you to look at the pictures of what a cute boy! The picture of him playing baseball is simply adorable!

I cannot imagine what or how the family is feeling; how they are coping. Many comments in the various threads mentioned that a parents biggest fear would be to lose a child. If I could waive a magic wand, no parent would EVER have to face this again. I wish it were that easy.

It made me think again of what is my biggest fear?

Monday, March 2, 2009

A labor of love!

I really enjoy working on the gift guide. The real work is done by Wrenay of as she puts together all the web stuff that I really don't understand. She also reconfigured the design from the holiday guide to give more exposure with 6 items instead of 2 or 3. Wendy of trades with Wren on curating the gorgeous front pages. Susan of is running the giveaway. Robyn of writes the press releases. May of deals with the chatterbox details and the spotlight segments. Marie of helps me with the press releases by researching advertising venues. There are a hundred things I left out of the above too.

All ideas are tossed around and around in weekly meetings. Numerous emails are also sent throughtout the wees. In writing this, it sounds very easy. I can assure you it takes an enormous commitment from everyone and it is a team that pulls it all together.

Please continue to promote and don't forget to
sign up for the free giveaway. A new item is given away each week so don't forget to come back each week.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Is It All Worth It?

Lately I have been doing lots of thinking - trying to decide if my Etsy businesses are really worth it. Most of my money is made during the winter holidays through the marketing of Christmas tree skirts. I could still do that and having an Etsy presence would not make a difference. I think having a website somewhere does make the difference.

I have three stores, AnnieKDesigns - home decor; CodysCloset - dog items and AnnieKClothing - fashions - mostly accessories. I am happy with the stores and having one store with all these items would be very disjointed. I am trying to expand my line by having lower priced items as well. Maybe I need to realize that I cannot be everything to everyone.

I belong to three teams on Etsy as well and am an active member in each. These teams assist my marketing, sales, etc. The time is well spent. I am significantly scaling back the time I spend on the forums though.

I find that in order to keep my shops full, I pretty much have to sew 4-5 weeknights, 3-4 hours per night and at least one full weekend day. I work a full time job and have two dogs and all the normal household chores. This leaves very little time for anything personal. Last year I had to decide if I wanted to sew or if I wanted to have fun. Therein lies the issue. I haven't found the right balance.

I am cutting back my sewing and trying to go out more and do things. The dogs take an enormous amount of time as they require lots of play time. Copper is still very much a puppy and has to be watched constantly. He still loves to toilet paper the house. Can't wait until that phase is overwith. Studying for my real estate license is also taking lots of time. I also find that the more I study, the more questions I have for my bosses.

As January folds into February, I have decided that yes, Etsy is worth it. Maybe not financially but through the friendship, business advice and fun. I would be lost without the friends I have made.