Saturday, August 16, 2008

Blog Giveaway!

How cool is this? I've paired up with Amanda from Alayna's Closet and we're doing a giveaway. You can go to her blog, submit a comment with your favorite item from my shop, A Lily In The Garden , and win a pair of these earrings -

They're made from recycled soda cans and are super lightweight so they're as easy on your ears as they are the environment. You can find them here. I can make them as studs or even clip on if preferred. Don't like the colors? I have dozens to choose from!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Busy, busy weekend.

Wow, where to start? A good chunk of the fence is up and the deck is completely torn out. We have a crew coming to do some more clearing and haul away the debris tomorrow. It will be nice to see all that gone. Of course, I had to get some "in work" shots. My favorite is of Em wielding the drill.

My designer's block has lifted. I did a new optician's lens called Song of Persephone. A comment by a friend triggered a second piece - Lament of Demeter. I don't have pictures of the latter, but here is Song of Persephone. I'll get pics of the Demeter piece tomorrow weather permitting.

It felt good to do another piece. The optician's lens necklaces are perhaps my favorite thing to make. Each one has its own story, character. I don't think I could replicate one if I wanted to.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What a racket!

OK, so we're redoing our deck and fence in the backyard. Being responsible citizens, we're following proper procedure and getting the right permits. What this means is we need paperwork from the county, the city, and WSSC (I think). No problem, wait... yes problem, each of these entities carries a fee and requires an inspection at various points in the project. What a stinking rip-off. I swear Maryland is one of the most money-grubbing states in the country. We're getting nickle and dimed at every turn in this project. Ridiculous. What really burns me is they're trying to bring in slots because there is no money for the schools. (Brilliant, create a gambling problem in a struggling economy. Great plan, huh?) How about we get rid of these nonsensical bureaucrats and channel THAT money into the schools? There would be more than enough to go around.

Ok, had to get that off my chest. In spite of governmental regulation the project is going very well. We even had some company out there today.

One of the reasons the deck got so bad is for the last five or six years we have had tenants. Usually a family of rabbits and for the last two years a family of groundhogs. Needless to say, I wouldn't let my husband tear up with deck with babies under it. This was the first year we had no wildlife. I'm pretty sure it has something to do with the new family and the Lab they let run loose. I would be more upset about it but this is also the first time in a while I didn't have to call out animal control to deal with skunks under the shed. But I digress. This little guy hopped over pretty close and was gracious enough to wait until I got my camera.

I'm a sucker for the local animals. Two years ago a robin built her nest in our crabapple tree. Unfortunately for her, they were replacing the gutters on our street right around the time the eggs were hatching and the tree was very close to the street. It took some effort and some threats to contact the media but I was able to convince them to save us for last and that gave the babies time to grow enough to fly away. My husband thought I was nuts. I'm sure the city felt the same way. Whatever. Those three little birds at least got a chance.

The upgrade to the steampunk pictures is going well. I now know green isn't really that good of a background color. Oh well, sometimes you just have to try things and see how they'll work.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Part of the reason I opened A Lily In The Garden is I wanted to give my youngest an outlet for her art. Obviously being her mother, my opinion is somewhat biased. But anyone who knows me well knows I set the bar higher for family, not lower. Little did I know however, that ultimately I would prove to be the obstacle. Nonetheless, what are obstacles anyway but something to overcome.

So what am I babbling about? Cards, or more precisely, making them. It's a learning process for sure. More adhesives to master, paper types to learn, new tools, and totally different shipping techniques. We're getting there though, bit by bit. So far we've created little more cards featuring the art she did for the shop banner. See for yourself -

They're small, about business card sized. They're good for thank yous, gift tags, or even little notes dropped into lunches and briefcases. As we refine our technique, they're getting more and more plausible. Right now it takes too long to make them but we are getting faster. Currently I'm using the samples as little gifts with purchase for the shop. I haven't had any feedback on them, but I also haven't asked. This is the next design, I think -

I love the watercolor effect of her work. She also has an expansiveness to her pieces that I find very visually appealing. They give me the feeling of being able to breathe.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Wow am I tired!

We got the lumber for the deck delivered today, all two pallets of it. The guy showed up late and Mr. Lily had to leave for work so the girls and I put on our game faces and moved one of the pallets ourselves, a couple of boards at a time. It took us awhile and got tougher than expected as the wood was wet but we did it. A few bruises, couple of splinters, and a mosquito bite or two, not bad really. I can't wait until this is done and we have a new deck. I might actually learn to enjoy the backyard.

It was a busy work day too. Started out off with a great sale. Let me give other sellers some advice, don't be afraid to ship to an alternate address. Shipping to the confirmed PayPal address doesn't offer you as much protection as you think but making things easier for your customers (ie. shipping directly to the recipient rather than shipping to them so they have to ship to the recipient themselves) increases sales. I doubt I would have had the sale in the first place without working with the customer, much less a multiple item purchase without the offer of free upgraded shipping. Risk is an inherent part of business, all you can do in manage it. Just don't manage it so tightly you alienate potential regular customers.

I've been reworking my pictures in Bits & Bobs & Things Inbetween. It's unreal how far my jewelry photography has come. It was a real struggle for me. I mean, I can take pictures of people without an issue! But jewelry? Forget it! Ugh, talk about an Achilles heel. But perseverance pays off. They're still not exactly where I want them to be but see for yourself how they've improved -

Big difference, huh? I also took the time to go through the descriptions and tags and really tighten things up. It's like having new merchandise!

Speaking of new merchandise, I've got the coolest earrings to list in A Lily In The Garden. They're clear quartz and labradorite on sterling silver. The flash on the labradorite beads is just gorgeous! They're not listed yet but will be very soon. (Part of me is not ready to let them go.) Here -

I'm expanding my repertoire and starting to work with sterling silver and gold filled with gemstones. It really opens up new possibilities. It's more work but I'm glad I opened the second shop. I love steampunk, but I want to be able to dabble in anything.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


I can't believe I haven't mentioned Molly yet! Who's Molly? Here -

She's a six year old tortie-tabby shelter rescue. My youngest and I were at PetSmart earlier this week and decided to go over to the adoption center to see the kittens. All summer we've been trying to get a new kitten and it's just never worked out. While we were there, the grumpiest looking kitty ever made eye contact. She just sat there are stared at me. When I got close enough she reached through the bars of the cage to bat at my fingers and tried to pull my hand in to scratch her ears. Something about Molly's facial feature and coloring make her look likes she's always scowling.

It was love at first sight.

Despite her appearance, she is very mellow and fairly affectionate. She adjusted to Emily and I right away. She even tolerates my husband, something the other cats won't do. He's nice enough just a big guy. I took her to the vet for a check up Wednesday and it only took her about six hours to stop hating me. I'm supposed to put drops in her ears for the next two weeks but boy, that isn't going well. She lets me do it but won't come near me for the rest of the day. It's hard. She needs the drops but I don't want her getting an established routine of avoiding me. I'm ready to resort to bribery.

All in all, she's a wonderful kitty. Of course I don't know her story and I try not to jump to conclusions, there's no telling why she ended up in the shelter. It just makes me sick to think had they gotten there a day later, Molly might have been put down. From what I heard the shelters and rescues in my area are overwhelmed. This is the first time in a while they've had trouble placing the kittens. Spay and neuter, folks. A quick google search brought up this list of low/no cost spay and neuter programs - . Let's not have any more like Molly.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Meet Jesse Janes!

Every now and then I hang out on Etsy's Promotions forums. It's an extremely fast paced board about, well, promotions. There are threads to talk about your new items, your blog, to show items in certain colors, themes, all sorts of topics. About a week ago, I opened a giveaway thread and just happened to be the 500th heart.
The thread was started by Jesse Janes, you can see her shop here. As my prize she sent me one of her gorgeous tile pendants. The one I picked is just like the one below, but in red. This one is a sweet combination of pink and blue and is available in her shop here. The craftsmanship on mine is wonderful and I've received many compliments wearing it.

In addition to the bamboo style, she has lots of other tile pendants. Some are whimsical like this Rainbow Hearts piece.

I really like this keychain as well! You can find it here. Tell me this isn't perfect for those long car trips!

The shipping was fast, the pendant very well packed, and JJ is very friendly. So if you're looking for something for yourself or a gift for someone else, I can't recommend her shop enough! Stop by and pay her a visit.

photos used with permission

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Poor Flufferbutt

Our big orange and white bicolor felt left out after Spider and Tallis got their blog debut, so here is His Fraidycatness and all his chickeny glory hiding under the pool table -

He's a big cat but also a very big chicken. And talk about a drama queen! This one won't eat without company half the time. If one of the other cats isn't eating he'll whine at one of us to stand there and keep him company. He also expects ice cubes in his water dish. What a diva.
He loves to be brushed though and will come over and sit still like a good boy while we do it.

His name is actually Grendel but that's such a misnomer, we usually call him Flufferbutt.

I joined a new Etsy team today, the Etsy Freethinkers. Very interesting group of people, so many wonderfully talented artists. Here's the team blog -
Etsy Freethinkers. Tough group if you're on a diet, though. The chat thread frequently turns to food, very tasty food.

I finally sold a Christmas in July piece! I've had sales since it started but this is the first marked down item. I think I have a sales jinx, they never seem to work. Maybe it means people love my work SO much, they can't bear to pay less than full price. Bahahahahahahaha! Riiiiight. (Hush. You pretend in your world your way, and I'll pretend my way in mine. :p )

Friday, July 25, 2008

Meet Kris

I'd like you all to meet a friend of mine, Kris of Lisianblue. We met through Flickr (I think, maybe it was MySpace), chatted a few times, got to know each other, and exchanged goodies. Kris is an artist, photographer, and grandma to one of the cutest kids out there.

Anyway, she sent me a gorgeous 8 by 10 of one of her pictures for my birthday.

used with permission

It's called A Rose For Lily and yep, you guessed it, I'm the Lily. Cool, huh? I have a niece, an fine art photograph, and a car named after me. (Seriously, another friend named her car Silverlily.) You can see more of Kris's work in the right sidebar. She just recently added wonderful ornaments to her shop. This one, Ocean Blue is my favorite.

used with permission

Many of her ornaments comes wonderfully gift wrapped, perfect for gift-giving. Just the thing for your handmade holiday! She's running a Christmas in July sale right now, stop by and get yours before someone else does.

Why are you still here? Go!

Cats and cans

We have three cats, two males (Spider and Grendel) and a female (Tallis). For the most part they get along alright but they're not especially chummy. So you can imagine my surprise when I walked into the family room and saw -

No way those were my cats! Tallis (the chunky washed out tortie) usually doesn't let Spider (the black one) anywhere near her without hissing and swatting at him. Spider however feels the chair is his and was going to sleep on it even if it meant sharing. I can only guess Tallis was cold.

Now about the cans. I'm working on a trashion line as I've mentioned. Well I finally have a picture of one of the brooches.

It's made from a recycled soda can, a shell bead, and a few findings. I'm really excited about this line. So far I have earrings, necklaces, and a few of the brooches. I talked to a friend tonight and got information about scarf pins and plan to add those too.

We haven't given up on the cards. They're just proving trickier than expected. Glue is not my friend. Double sided tape isn't much better. Still in the end, they didn't come out too badly. Practice, practice, practice. We're going to try the bigger cards next.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cheesecake and warm fuzzies

Yesterday we went over to my in-laws for my birthday dinner. Quick note - my in-laws are wonderful people. I have a better relationship with my father-in-law than I ever did my own father. This is NOT a monster-in-law post.

Anyway, we had cheesecake! Let me rephrase that, I had cheesecake. I'm the only one who likes it. Not that I really wanted to eat a whole one, but *le sigh* I do what I must. ;) I got my #10 Troy Smith away jersey (it's white) too. Now I have two home, one away, and one alternate. Three more and I can forget Purple Friday and make it Purple Everyday.

The real warm fuzzy moment though was the card from my girls. It was just a normal card, but I didn't have to pick it out. It's kind of strange having a child old enough to go to the store without mom. It was even stranger having someone else (other than my FIL) remember it. I love my husband but he has to head for dates. He'd forget his own birthday if it wasn't on his license.

The super yummy soap I ordered arrived today. I bought it from Soothing Rituals and it was Lemon Pucker. It smells SOOOOO good. She included a very handy wooden soap dish. I'm still finishing up a bar of Grapefruit Granita so the soap is in my office leaving a nice, lemony scent.

I could easily become addicted to soap.


(I feel like an idiot. I just now noticed this thing has spell check.)

Sunday, July 20, 2008


I took the girls to the movies today. Now I will be the first to admit, I'm not much of a movie goer. It really takes a lot to get me to stay in one place that long. The last movie I saw that I felt was worth it was Stardust. (LOVED it! If you haven't seen it, you should.)

Anyway, we saw WALL-E. We had planned on seeing Journey to the Center of the Earth but traffic was hideous and we didn't get there in time. Both of my girls had alreadys seen WALL-E though neither minding seeing it again. It was a cute movie. Like every other movie I've seen I felt they could have sped it up a bit, but all in all I give it an A-. I was very impressed with how they did the characters, especially the Captain. The play between WALL-E and EVE was very cute. It made me very happy that the female character was the strong one without making the male wimpy and helpless. The interaction between the "awakened" people made a nice little counterpoint too.

Definitely worth the $24.

On an unrelated note - I finally did a pair of earings with these fabulous green glass beads I have.

They're in my shop -

Sea Green Glass Squares earrings

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Christmas In July sale

Well it's finally here! The Etsy wide Christmas In July sale, running from July 20 to July 31. Over 200 artists and crafters offering all sorts of goodies, not just holiday items. Get a jump on your shopping or pikc up a little something for your self.

My shop - will be offering 20% off plus free shipping on select items. Just look in the Christmas In July section of my shop. Sale prices are already entered, no waiting for a revised invoice!

You can find many more goodies by searching christmasinjuly (all one word) on

Some of my personal favorites who are participating -






Don't miss this!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Birthday and business plans

My 39th birthday is coming up. As fate would have it, the day after is the first day the Raven's training camp is open to the public. Any guesses what I'll be doing that day? Getting up at the crack of dawn to drive halfway across the state to McDaniel College to watch my favorite team practice. No, I'm not crazy... well not completely. It's certainly better than what we did last year - a scrimmage between the Ravens and the Redskins in 110 degree heat. THAT was something.

I know my in-laws are getting me a #10 Troy Smith away jersey. Very nice and much better than the usual dark purple in the hot July sun. I'm hoping to get it signed. Considering it had to be custom ordered, I'm guessing it will be the only one there. Silly as I'm pretty sure Smith will be our starting quarterback. I like Boller but I just don't see it. Smith is making terrific progress if you believe the paper. If Cam Cameron can get him up to speed, I'll forgive him for ever being associated with the Dolphins. Heh, I might even send Wayne Huizenga a thank you card for firing him.

(I wonder if I use one of the cards we're making would it be considered marketing?)

Speaking of cards, Em's done a few designs for me. This is my favorite.
I'm really looking forward to getting these cards made. Em's got some incredible ideas. She's a good business partner (even if she does try to stop me from buying beads).