Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

 This will be short but totally sweet....

I came up with two new prints for Mother's Day.....

and I thought I would share them with you

For the mother who loves to read stories

For the Hands That Hold Me

I know Mother's Day is a long way of here in the US.
But its good to plan ahead right?

♥ Rachel

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Around The World :Treasures by Teala

 Week two of around the world....and we are off to Canada

Teala holds a special place in my heart .... she was the driving force behind the Undiscovered Artists of Etsy.

She is my right hand woman, and I just love what she does.

So what is it she does I hear you ask..... more like what doesnt she do.

Teala is one very busy Lady ....... So with out any more blabbing from me let me introduce Teala to you

Teala where do you live and what is it like...

  I had been sort of transient ever since I started my undergrad degree at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Studying biology, I did field courses in China and Costa Rica, and moved to London, England and Gainesville, Florida to complete my master's degree. Getting to experience different environments is inspiring as a biologist and an artist. The tropical plants, animals, and insects. Different sights, smells, and cultures.  I met friends from around the world. Those years were full of excitement and adventure. But the love of a wonderful man brought me back to the area I grew up in, the Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada (I live close to Niagara Falls).  Staying still has been an adjustment for my flighty personality, but I have my partner, my dog,  and my family here to keep me grounded. Through this last year, I've begun to rediscover and fall in love with the beauty of this area. We live on lake Erie, I can literally see the lake from my back door. And the changing seasons bring ever changing visitors to our yard. In the winter, the chickadees and an occasional woodpecker would visit the suet and bird feeder. I saw a lot of rabbit tracks too. Now that the weather is warming above 0 C, spring migration has started. These beautiful white swans have stopped to feed in the fields across the street. I'll try to get a picture, but they're shy. This morning I saw a fox run across the still-frozen lake, and soon you'll hear spring-peepers calling at night.  In the late spring and summer there will be bustling farmers markets selling local strawberries, peaches, potatoes, lettuce, cheese, eggs, you name it! The lake will be very different. Cottagers will come for vacation and we'll hear children laughing and playing. Fall is my favorite time of year. Birds and Monarch butterflies will be migrating south and squirrels will be in a mad rush to prepare for winter. The days will be warm, and the nights cool. Trees will be bursting with orange, yellow, and red leaves, and the asters will have purple blossoms. Even though I've come full circle, moving back to my childhood area, I feel like I've grown to appreciate  my unique home.

1: Lake Erie in the winter, with frozen queen Anne's lace
2: Teala's  front yard, the bird feeders & the shed.  
3: Sunset over lake Erie in the winter

What is your craft..where do you work from... workshop, home?

 I design and create handmade jewelry, using some very unique supplies. When I was a kid, my mom was a jewelry maker, selling her earrings, necklaces, and brooches at craft shows. I was delighted to recently find an old box of odd supplies hidden away in the basement of my parents house and was inspired to use these found materials as the bases for my new pendants. Giving new life to these very old (my guess is 15-20 years) pieces of copper plated metal, linoleum tile, and metal chains has given me a greater connection to my past & has inspired some very antique looking jewelry. I also use driftwood and recycled laminate flooring as the bases of my new pendants (since I'm having trouble finding more recycled linoleum). I make these pieces out of my home. I'm also a photographer...Mostly because I'm obsessed with nature. I started really getting into photography while in Gainesville, Florida as a grad student. Many of the photos on Etsy are from the Kanapaha Botanical Garden in Gainesville. I used to go for walks there to clear my head and de-stress. My newer photos explore the beauty of my own back yard as it changes with the seasons.

What inspires you?

 I like to see things in a way that most people wouldn't, then try to capture it. Sort of a 'stop and smell the roses' mentality, only visually. I love natural texture of leaves and wood, light and shadow, hidden surprises, and weird angles. It often means I'm lying in the dirt or half in the bushes taking a photograph, but it's fun! I think my love for nature comes through my jewelry, but I also am drawn to art deco fashion illustration. If you look carefully you'll see a lot of flora's, trees, birds....basically nature in these illustrations too. You just have to be looking for it.


Do you sell anywhere else other than Etsy?

 I sell pendants featuring birds at a local shop in Port Colborne called Yardbirds, and my hairdresser was nice enough to feature a few pendants as well. But my best sales are from family friends who drop by the house. I've made a few custom orders for friends as well. It's so much fun!

 What made you start your business?

When I graduated in the summer I found myself with all this free time that I never had before in my life. I was kind of sick of science (I wrote and defended my thesis in a whirlwind month) and decided to give some much needed attention to the creative side of my brain. When I discovered my mom's jewelry supplies I became a bit obsessed with making jewelry. It was so rewarding to have an idea and make something you could hold in your hand in a day. My friend told me about Etsy and I decided to give it a try.

Canadian Geese during fall migration on Lake Erie.
To visit Teala's Shop  Treasures by Teala 
Teala also has a blog which I recommend you to pay a visit A 21st Century Green Goddess
 And a Face Book Fan Page  

Teala thank you for this wonderful insight into your world...... 

♥ Rachel

Monday, March 28, 2011

The ABC : J is for Jayden

 Its ABC Monday ...... and this weeks I did play ahead.

J is for Jayden ..... My son ..... who will be turning 10 on Wednesday.
So J is in honor of his Birthday .......

I did a mini photo shot with my children some weeks ago ... and you may remember I posted a few of them

I also held one back its one of my favorites mainly because it captures his cheekiness, and he is (cause you know he had to) wearing his favorite tatty hat .....

When my mom saw this photo first thing she said was "He's got that flipping hat on again"

So a Big Happy Birthday  to Jayden ......


So like we always say ...Remember anyone can join in with ABC Monday .... just show a craft or a color or a photo that is the letter we are on for the week.

♥ Rachel

Thanks to Paint The Moon... the template that I use to show the ABC's is a download from Paint The Moon

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Around The World : BarSoap

 I promised you a new featured on the blog for today......

Well here it is.....
It is about Hand Made  from all over the world.

Over the months that I have been on Etsy I have meet some wonderful people, and I felt it was time to honor those people and the craft they do........

So to kick this awesome feature off ........... I would like you to meet Dan and Kate.

Dan and Kate are from my Beloved England and Dan is the hands behind this awesome shop and Kate (and I know Dan wont mind me saying this) is the driving force. Yes she drives Dan day after day to make more shop.

I first meet Dan and Kate while featuring them in a treasury I made........ They are now very valuable team mates.

So without further a do..... Let me introduce BarSoap.

So, an unexpected by-product of being a curmudgeonly, semi-professional soap-maker is, bizarrely, the amount of blogs and interviews I find myself writing. Apparently it’s not enough to merely create a saleable product; I must advertise and I must publicise. Much as I find this process bewildering (I don’t like talking about myself) I’m going to lay it all on the line in the name of commerce, baby! This is raw Soapmaking; uncut, uncensored and wild!

So, it’s a gracious thanks to TatterBeans for allowing me the floor for these few precious paragraphs where I’ll lay out a brief synopsis of BarSoap as it has come to be. As I write this I am currently in negotiations with a chemist about assessing new products (he wants more money I want to give less money, an age old struggle) and I‘m sitting in a suburban Manchester flat. For those who don’t know, Manchester is amongst the greyest cities in England (Seasonal Affective Disorder is like an actual punch in the crotch here) and we also gave the world the band Oasis (… I’m so sorry) Free space in our flat is being converted into soap and related accessories; it’s not practical but it does smell great. Such is the measure of my existence, cocktail themed soap is creeping up all around me and Kate and I desperately find new ways to sell it. 

Manchester By Day & Night

At the moment we don’t have anywhere we regularly sell in the Manchester area, though sites like Etsy have been great for helping us to track down Craft Fairs and one off Vintage and handmade sales around the country, that along with word of mouth with other traders. Fortunately, Kate chats with them too. She’s better at discussing necklaces and suchlike because she’s a girl; it seems a little disingenuous for me to have a lengthy discussion with people about bracelets (forced emasculation almost)

Basically, hand-made soap isn’t as ingrained into English culture as it is in the U.S and most of our internet sales have been to America. That said, we’ve managed to pique the interest of fair-goers in the U.K by intrinsically pairing our soap with alcohol (something that is very much ingrained in the U.K culture, I might be drunk whilst typing this) and this has led to BarSoap’s burlesque theme and, conceptually, has made expanding our range relatively easy. It’s also, frankly, terrific to tell people about the skin benefits that Guinness as an ingredient provides in a bar of soap.

TatterBean has asked about what support I’ve received for this enterprise… Hilarious. My parents constantly questioned the likelihood of ever being able to turn a profit on soap (it’s a world of bath salts and gels, apparently) they then questioned our pricing (supermarkets sell soap cheaper than us, apparently) and they’ve also yet to buy a bar. My friends mostly just reference Fight Club as there are no other notable Soap-makers in popular culture (that I’m aware of, feel free to correct me) 


Fortunately Kate has been a little trooper throughout, constantly networking and generating new sales opportunities (I wouldn’t say that’s support as such, more a division of labor) and remaining steadfastly positive; she generates ideas whereas I remain relentlessly (depressingly) in the real world (trying to buy cheap coconut oil is the hardest thing I’ve ever done with learning Japanese coming a distant second)

So, for the time being we’re building up stock and selling when we can – Kate works as a Lawyer and I do some kind of “work” at Manchester University… that is up until the point when BarSoap is profitable enough to allow us to quit. We’re trying to build it up to the point where can relocate the business to America (it’s a big country, they can’t defend all the borders all the time) as I think that’s a much larger customer base.

Anyhow, if you made it this far, thanks. Please feel free to browse our shop…
and my blog about Soap-making (everything you’ve ever wanted to know about making soap) here…
Confessions of an English SoapMaker

Love and hugs,


So there you have it..... Soap making in England.....
A big thanks to Dan for kicking of this new feature........ Dont forget to pop on over to their shop and blog.... and let me know if you know any handcrafters from around the world you would like to see featured

♥ Rachel

Monday, March 21, 2011

The ABC :I is for Ice

 Let me say first ... please excuses my lack of posts... its been a very difficult week... but we are back to normal...and strolling on...

So Happy Monday to you all...

ABC Monday .... and we are on the letter Ice... so in honor of the snow I have going on outside after 3 beautiful days of 50-60 degree weather... I thought I would bring you I is for Ice ...

I had so many ideas for I...but Ice won ...manly because it is snowing again.... and I couldn't take my mind of the fact that sooner or later that said snow would turn to ice ...

So like we always say ...Remember anyone can join in with ABC Monday .... just show a craft or a color or a photo that is the letter we are on for the week.

And just to make this Monday even more special I wanted to announce that tomorrow I am starting a new feature .... so make sure you check in with me .... to check it all out.

♥ Rachel

Thanks to Paint The Moon... the template that I use to show the ABC's is a download from Paint The Moon

Monday, March 14, 2011

The ABC : H is for Helmet

 H .... was going to be hat .. worn by my lovely daughter, but she really wasn't up for having her photo taken at all this weekend....

So my best friend said helmet.....

We have a very special helmet hanging in our dinning room ... its a firefighters helmet once worn by my husband .....

He was a volunteer firefighter for many years, and we have lots and I mean lots of firefighter memorabilia in or dinning room...but the helmet really stands out...

Because it has just like him been into many fires....

So in honor of my husband and all the firefighters out there that have and continue to risk there lives

H is in a way for you

So like we always say ...Remember anyone can join in with ABC Monday .... just show a craft or a color or a photo that is the letter we are on for the week.

♥ Rachel

Thanks to Paint The Moon... the template that I use to show the ABC's is a download from Paint The Moon

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday Stroll : Including One Sick Kid

 One of the shortest posts I could ever write would be ... One Sick Kid

Ye so no really stroll this evening.. we have spiking fevers and lots of nose bleeds and some throwing up going on...
Besides that its been an awesome week....

and ABC Monday is just a few hours away so Im saving myself for that ....
♥ Rachel

Friday, March 11, 2011

This week Im Grateful for : Being safe and sound

 Its funny you go to bed with not a care in the world ...and you wake up to disaster ....My heart really does go out to the people of Japan... 8.9 is one hell of an earth quake.

Its the aftermath that really got me ....when I went to Google it said this to me

Tsunami Alert for New Zealand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Hawaii, and others. Waves expected over the next few hours, caused by 8.9 earthquake in Japan.

We have a really good friend in New Zealand...and his girlfriend is from Japan... so we are waiting to hear if her family where effect and that they are ok....

I just read that the alert was lifted of New Zealand and Australia  ....

So I'm grateful for being safe and sound ..... there isn't much more you can say really is there.

This post is linked up to Maxabella Loves...

I wish you all a blessed and safe weekend ...

♥ Rachel

Thursday, March 10, 2011

2 Photographers 1 Inspiration : Blur

This weeks Photo Prompt over at A Life Through The lens is the word BLUR ....

Ideas, Ideas.... far to many of them, until we had a ice storm and I went outside in the middle of it (crazy I know) with my camera (wrapped in a plastic bag) and snapped away .......

It was freezing out there but the results I think were worth being extremely cold

There is something really beautiful about ice on trees.
Hop over to see Kristi and Melissa's work and their take on the work Blur.

♥ Rachel

Monday, March 7, 2011

The ABC :G is for Glass

 I may have said this before..... "I wish I could get myself more organized"

All week I knew what I wanted my G to be.... all week.
So on the day (yesterday) I think to myself lets get this photography done and its raining..... yes I wanted to take this one outside in sunlight, and we have had so many sunny nice days despite the fact that we still have snow on the ground. I think ok its raining Ill do it tomorrow and I get up this morning and low and behold its raining .....


Now if I had only .... comes to mind...but its to late for if only.

Its raining and I had to suck it up and take this photography indoors.... 

So here is my G .......(Indoors)

Do you like the G is for green to thrown in there ....

So like we always say ...Remember anyone can join in with ABC Monday .... just show a craft or a color or a photo that is the letter we are on for the week.

♥ Rachel

Thanks to Paint The Moon... the template that I use to show the ABC's is a download from Paint The Moon

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sunday Stroll : Including The Postman Arrived

 Well what  a week ..... Kids home all week... and for the most part we have had fun.....
My husband in his wisdom brought them Band Hero... can you hear my sigh .....

Ye I have a 3 person Rock Band in my house now...and every now and again they gang up on me to go sing ...and honestly I'm no great singer ... so its grab your ear plus time ....

I didn't get much work done this week... but that's ok they go back to school tomorrow....

One totally awesome thing happened this week... The postman arrived.... it was parcel I had been expecting .... looking forward to for what seems like ages...... but it came yesterday ...... look at me jumping around like a kid....

Look what he brought me and Bop .....(click to enlarge this picture)

 The wonderful Lelaine over at To Sew With Love  and Bundles of Joy 
sent me a wonderful parcel sometime ago... I do believe customs thought about keeping it .... mainly because it was all so cute... 

Not only is it so cute ...look at the detail... the little key the label .... the hair slides are so well made.... 
This is what makes handmade so special ..... that person touch.

I'm not ready to hand the owl over yet he is sitting on my bedside table.... and he is staying there for a while.... I'm in love with him.

Need a present for a toddle or a newborn.... Bundle of Joy is the place to go ...... after seeing her product up close and personal... I highly recommend Lelaine .... 

Lelaine from myself and Bop... Thank you so much .... hopefully the postman will be coming around to yours soon.

Here is to an awesome week 

♥ Rachel

Friday, March 4, 2011

This week Im Grateful for : A Supportive Family

 Life is everything if they have your back right?

I never really realized until a few days ago how much my family really did support what I do.

I have a husband who is willing to put up with my artistic temperament.....

Children who are willing to sit for hours while I take their photos... just because they know Mommy has to practice.

Parents who are really proud that I listened to them this summer after they said "You really have to do something with your photography", and then did something with all of this.

A Mother- in-law who again is very supportive and will always give me an honest answer.

A Best friend who...not only has my work all over her walls but if always enthusiastic about what Im working on  
And for that Im grateful.

Im also grateful for sunny days even if they are a bit chilly.
 If they sun is shinning it makes you feel so much better, and the sun has shinned this week

Im grateful for wildlife.... It means I get to take photographs of something that I love. (I love taking photographs of other stuff to but there is just something about wildlife that moves me)

And Im grateful awesome sunsets..... they amaze me

 Im join in with Maxabella ...... This Week I'm Grateful for blog hop.....

Have a wonderful weekend everyone
♥ Rachel

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Color Palette Blog Walk

First of all let me say .... I have had way to much fun doing this .... This much fun should not be allowed.

I signed up to take part in the color palette blog walk a few weeks ago... as a way to learn something new... I have never done a color palette before.. I have seen them done and always admired others work when doing them.
Brandi over at Brandi Girl A Life Inspired by Color has hosted a color pallete blog walk before... so this is the second one and Brandi I really hope you do another soon.

I have enjoyed looking at other peoples work... I know I don't say much... but honestly their work has been amazing.

I picked out two of my favorite photographs that I had taken recently .... I then took a new photography.
So here are my three color palettes....

I love this little guy....
My favorite print in my shop at the moment

 The new photography I took a few days ago
Makes me feel like there is hope for Spring coming soon

I am really happy with the results... and I feel like I could do this at lest once a week

A big thank you to Brandi for not only hosting this blog walk... but for suppling the palette already made up...

Here is a list of others taking part... you really should go look...

Full Schedule

Monday, Feb. 28th
Brandi at Brandi Girl Blog
Erin at Treasures Found
Jen at Jen Judd Rocks
Shari at Exploring the Wonders of Life

Tuesday, March 1st
Karen at Creative Thoughts and Inspirations
Julia at UlvDesign
Jessa at The ReArtingDotNet Blog
Lyn at Lyn Foley Jewelry Blog

Wednesday, March 2nd
Jescalyn at Peach Honey Love
Paige at Paige Maxim Designs
Katrina at Ma Joie Press
Jenni at Jenni's Beads

Thursday, March 3rd
Christie at Displaced Urbanite
Rachel at TatterBeans
Brittany at The Home Ground
Cindy at Sweet Bead Studio

Friday, March 4th
Rachel at Balanced Crafts
Wren at Each Day
Kelly at Mackin Art
Kristy at Simply Shiny Blog

♥ Rachel

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


 I know I normally pounce on a Tuesday..but really I just have not had time today.

Plus I felt I need a break from my pouncing ways...

I have two kids at home this week, February Vacation week .....

I had to get my imagination (kid style) in flow.... so this morning after making a few treasury's I told them to go get dressed... in anything they wanted ..and to get ready we were doing a photo shoot... 

So with the net curtains hanging over a shelve and a white sheet on the floor and two kids dressed..we went to work....

I have never really concentrated on taking photos of people/kids.... Its hard work.... but I'm happy with the results.... they where little models for the day ..... and I am really proud how they handled it ....

I think I should start to worry about this one.... he is becoming a little man now.... and quiet the ladies man at that

I think her Daddy is in shock... his little princess looks so grown up here

 Quiet proud of myself to :)

♥ Rachel