Friday, June 26, 2009

My Greatest Adventure

I have recently been asked to write a column for the an awesome news site called Handmade News. Basically, is a website dedicated to keeping artisans up to date on the crafty world with topics ranging from craft techniques, marketing, business tips, crafty kids, and more. I will be writing for the "Inspiration" department.

I am really excited to be given this opportunity. I am as passionate about writing as I am crafting, so obviously this is my dream venue. To be truthful, I am a bit nervous about coming up with topics regarding artist inspiration. However, at this moment my head is reeling with ideas!

If you would like to share your thoughts on what inspires you, please leave me a comment or email me at

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Crafter Comradery

If there is one thing I love about being an artist, it's that all of us are in it together. The first year I did a craft show, I was ready for the competition. The "competition," however, noticed that I was a newbie, and invited himself over to my booth to show me a better method of closure on my jewelry. I still use that better method, and I think of him every time a customer comments on it.

You see, being an artisan isn't just about making the sale and having the upper hand. It's about belonging to a community of like-minded folks who just want to share their creativity and inspiration. It's about creating a beautiful world to live in, and leaving our fingerprints for the next generation. It's about being involved, and being remembered.

To all of you artists and crafters that I've met over the years in person or on Etsy, thank you. Thank you for your thoughts, ideas, and criticism. Thank you for your honesty. Thank you for your friendship. Thank you for helping to create the world around me. Thank you for showing me the depths of your soul.

Most importantly, thank you for BEING. Where would the world be without artists? It, for sure, would not be a world that I would want to live in.

Blue Plum Festival 2009

Yesterday was the kickoff of the 10th Annual Blue Plum Festival in Downtown Johnson City, Tennessee. This is a festival centered around arts, crafts, music, and BEER! All you have to do is purchase a wristband and you are free to roam the streets and peruse the crafty merchandise, beer in hand. :)

Year before last, I was lucky enough to set up and sell my wares at the festival. That weekend, I was living my dream. I met wonderful people and made lots of money. Unfortunately, this year and last, I was unable to open shop due to our financial struggle.

As I roamed the festival last year, it was clear to me that I wasn't the only one in this situation. There were less than half of the vendors that normally attend. And not only were there vendors missing, there were fewer customers as well. I was actually a bit glad I hadn't scrounged up enough money to attend as a vendor, because I almost certainly wouldn't have made it back.

This year, I was happily suprised to find that many of the previous year's vendors had returned. I haven't heard any numbers yet, but I'm sure there are more customers attending, as well. While it's a bummer that I wasn't able to set up as I planned, this still gives me a reason to be optimistic for next year!

How has the economy affected the craft shows and fairs in your area? I would love to hear from fellow crafters in this situtaion. :)

Friday, June 5, 2009

ACV, Day 3

Day 3 of my ACV diet is coming to a close. Have I lost any weight? Not likely. Am I full of energy? Um... No. However, I have noticed a dramatic loss of appetite. Yesterday I only ate once. Today, I realized that only eating once a day isn't very healthy, so even now as I type, I am forcing myself to stuff down some grilled turkey and some carrots...
The lack of appetite could honestly be due to the heat. I rarely feel like cooking when it's how outside. However, today was a mild day (mid 70's) and I have lean pockets and other microwavables on hand. Really all that I've had an appetite for is my apple cider vinegar. :)
This brings me to overcoming the taste. On day one, I mixed one glass of ACV water. I chugged down 1/4 of it, and couldn't take anymore. It was way too replusive. I couldn't even bring myself to attempt it in something else, and honey didn't help at all.
On day 2, I tried it straight. I loooove the taste of ACV on my fish, and on chips, so why not just take a teaspoon and get it over with? Whoa, was that a mistake! It burned worse than a shot of Bacardi 151! It did, however get rid of my heartburn. I can't figure that one out! lol
Then, last night I had a genius idea. I mixed my 3 tsp of ACV into a one liter bottle of lipton's lemon sweet tea. After a few sips, I couldn't even taste the vinegar! And now, it tastes wonderful to me. :) It gives the lemon a little extra kick. Today I mixed 2 tsp into 1/2 a liter, and it tasted even better.
So, how's it working for everyone else? Noticing any changes in your skin? Feeling less of an appetite? I would love to get comments, letting me know if this is doing anything for anyone else. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

No 'Poo, Week 2

So, today marks the 2nd week of no shampoo. I do notice that may hair is just a little bit oilier than normal, as it adjusts to not using shampoo. It's not so bad, though. I still wash my hair every other day, like I always did before. I expect that I'll be able to wash it less often as my hair no longer tries to overcompensate with oil.
I still love the way that washing my hair with baking soda and vinegar makes my hair feel! Then after my shower, I smooth the tiniest bit of coconut out on the ends to keep it smooth, and to make sure the baking soda doesn't dry it out. I also use my homemade gel concotion that I'm still trying to perfect.
Basically boil 1/2 cup water and stir in around 1 tsp of gelatin, and refrigerate. I've been experimenting with adding extra things to it. I originally tried adding coconut oil to it, but once you put it in the fridge the oil hardens and turns into flakes... I also added honey, which gives it extra hold, but if you put too much honey in, or use too much gel, your hair gets crunchy. lol. I also add orange extract because it smells yummy, and orange is supposed to be good for your hair. The gel comes out a little bit different every day as I toy around with it, but I'm always somewhat happy with the results!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Is it a weight loss miracle?

While I was searching for different household uses for vinegar (what can I say - I have a little free time on my hands.. lol), I found myself at This is the MECCA of home remedies. And what did I find? A weight loss secret that really seems to work (according to over 120 testimonials on the site). Other home rememdies they suggested had up to 8 or 9 success stories, but 126 for plain ol' apple cider vinegar is astounding! Basically you just add 2 teaspoons into 16oz of water, and sip it throughout the day.

I read 7 pages of these testimonials, and you evidently have a better chance of losing weight if you are obese. Those who only had a few pounds to lose had a hard time losing it. However, those who didn't lose weight DID notice that they had more energy, decreased appetite, lowered blood pressure, "glowing" skin, and were recieving complements that they looked years younger! See for yourself! :)

So, I will be beginning this diet today, and I really encourage others to start it with me. Anyone care for a little friendly competition?? ;)

Btw, before you run to walmart and grab a $0.50 bottle of ACV, you need to actually go to a health food store and get raw, organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, and make sure it has "the mother." I got mine from Earth Fare, and the only brand they had that had "the mother" was "Bragg" brand.

I don't know what "the mother" is exactly, except that the bottle says it "occurs naturally as connected strand-like chains of protein enzyme molecules..." It's supposed to be important, though.

Another thing you should know is that the vinegar can be harmful to the enamel on your teeth. Some people put a bit of baking soda with their vinegar to neutralize it, but earth clinic warns against this, stating that some people experience a bad effect with this. What you should do, though, is rinse with water after taking the vinegar. Don't brush your teeth immediately, though, because it can open the pores in your teeth, causing even more damage.

So, I guess that's that! I hope everyone that tries this has wonderful results! And if you do, please comment and let me know! Also, for those who want to join me in my diet, you may comment here, or email me at

Good luck!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Go green with handmade Soap Sacks!

We all want to do our part to help the environment. We try to recycle what we can, reuse what we can... But the #1 goal is really to REDUCE waste. That's why I like to buy handmade soap off of Most crafters are good about not over-packaging their products, and the boxes and envelopes can be reused. Body washes, conditioners, and shampoos all produce SO MUCH waste!
But, I lovelovelove body poufs that you use with body wash. Unfortunately, they don't work so well with bar soap. That's why I created the Soap Sack. Just throw your bar of soap it, and you're good to go until the soap is gone. Some I make with plain cotton, some are cotton on one side, hemp on the other. The hemp feels wonderful, exfoliating your whole body. :) What I like best about this is that there's not icky slimy soap dish. The soap and bag air dry, leaving your shower clean. Also, if you have several "slivers" of soap that you would normally just throw away, you can toss them all in the bag, and they "fuse" together as you use them. Another way to reduce waste!
These, along with original handcrafted hemp jewelry can be purchased in my Etsy shop!

Going green with No 'Poo!

Wow, well, I guess this is my new blog! I've had lots of inspiration and new projects lately, and I've really wanted to share all of my findings. For the last few weeks, I've been working very hard to become "greener." I've been finding new ideas every day, and I've very excited about it!

Today, I'm going to tell you about my favorite lifestlye change thus far: The "No 'Poo Method."

No, it's not what you're probably thinking! Basically, I've decided to give up shampoo and conditioner FOREVER! I'm only in my second week of it, so I can't say for sure how it will work out. But I'm definitely liking it so far! The chemicals they dump in shampoo strip all of the oils out of your hair, which makes your hair produce MORE oil. Then you have to wash it every day or every other day. Turns out if you clean it naturally, it doesn't produce oil nearly as quickly. Some people who are dedicated to the no 'poo method only have to wash their hair once or twice a week, or even as rarely as once a month! You will, of course, still need to rinse with warm water in the shower ever so often to get the debris out. When you forst begin, there may be a period often referred to as the "detox period." Basically, you're hair continues to over produce oil because it's not used to not being abused by the chemicals. Don't worry, though, this won't last forever. It's well worth it, too!

Here's what you'll need:

  • Baking soda

  • Vinegar (either kind will work, but apple cider smells better, I think)

  • Honey (optional)

Here's what you do with it:

  1. Mix baking the soda with water. You'll have to experiment with the ratio to find what best suits your hair. I started by using 1/4 cup of baking soda to about 1 cup of water. It feels pretty gritty. Now I use about 1/8 cup instead and it just feels like water. I think the more baking soda you use, the more it dries out your hair. So maybe use less if you have dry hair, and more if you have oily hair.

  2. Apply the mixture to your hair. I originally started out by wetting my hair and dumping it on, working it through the roots. Now, I make the mixture in a spray bottle and spritz it into my roots, then comb it through.

  3. Rinse.

  4. Mix 1 part vinegar with 3 parts water

  5. Pour or spray this all over your hair. Yes, it smells, but the smell rinses away. If there is a little bit of smell left after you rinse, it goes away as your hair dries. Also, some people say only to use it on the ends of your hair, but I find that it helps with my dandruff. It feels so good going on. :) Instant itch relief! WARNING: Do NOT pour the vinegar after you shave your legs!

  6. Rinse.

  7. (Optional) Coat your hair with honey. It is supposed to be a humectant, sealing moisture into your locks. The vinegar by itself is a wonderful conditioner, but my hair did seem a bit softer and shinier after using the honey. I will probably only use that occasionally, though.

  8. Rinse.

I have thick wavy/curly hair, and I just cannot go out without using some sort of product in my hair. I did discover, though, that using a little bit of coconut oil did WONDERS for controlling frizz and flyaways.

I also found a recipe for hair gel that's fantastic! A combination of the two is perfect. I'll post the hair gel recipe another time, or if you need it now, just google "Homemade Hair Gel."

I hope you found this helpful!