Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Snowy Days

Yippee! We just got our internet back. Yes, we were hit by a crazy winter storm here in Asheville which set a 10 year record for snow in our area.

Here are few of the best shots from our days and days and still going... snowbound isolation.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

It is what every good mom would do, right?

Grab the video camera? When you look over to see that your 18 month old has taken off her sock and is sloshing it around in her cereal.... naturally, you get the video camera. I mean, there she is, looking pleased as punch eating cereal off her milk-soaked sock. And really, who could resist capturing such a happy baby doing such a silly baby thing on film? If Gabe were here he would have absolutely fallen apart over the grossness of it all, but me, no! I found it rather cute and funny, for some reason. So here it is...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Our Christmas......tree?

This is a little embarrassing but, I am going to share anyways. I am not a huge fan of spending all that money on a tree that has been cut down and is now dead and will eventually be trashed so, I usually decorate one of my larger houseplants for Christmas. This year I asked for tree trimmings on freecycle. Someone actually responded with an armload of branches trimmed from their fresh norfolk pine. They have been in the trunk of my car and then my front porch for two weeks, as I have been too busy to figure what exactly I had in mind for them. Finally today, I got around to creating this....

I bound the branches, together stuck them in a vase, decorated and called it good. My sweeties love it so I am happy. Merry Christmas!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

I should be painting...

but I wanted to share some pics from some recent orders:

The two ladies and their goats ( Goat farmers from Australia)

Another super cute family from Australia.
Dad and son in their favorite football jerseys and Mom in her team's scarf.

A custom family from California....lots of little details in this one... little girl has a bicycle and a violin, son with his power drill and book, etc.

A nice and simple custom couple! They were really cute in pictures and as peg dolls.

My hand after painting. I hold the doll in my left hand and paint with my right.
So naturally, my left hand ends up being a paint palette.

 I will finish my last 8 orders this week, then I won't be painting until after the holidays are over. Yay!
I am looking forward to a little break to get my life back in order and to having some real quality time with the family during this precious time of year.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

My Sunday

This is the first Sunday that Gabe has worked in quite some time. Since the grand opening of the new restaurant, he has worked 14-15 hours a day; leaving before nine most mornings and getting home after midnight most nights.He is running on a mixture of adrenaline and determination.  Here, on the home front, I am beginning to feel like a single mom. A very fortunate single mom, who has a tall, dark and handsome sugar-daddy to pays all the bills.

We have been so graciously invited to join several good friends at their wonderful new church for Sunday services. I debate with myself about visiting. I want to be able to go. But frankly, the idea of subjecting myself to 2.5 hours of wrestling, yes, wrestling greatly, with my 18 month old and my 3 year old, alone,  is just not appealing to me. Gabe and I do well together: teaching the children about sitting and listening and worshiping at church. It takes skill and teamwork. Teamwork, being the operative word here. They both do wonderfully: sweet, well behaved, quiet and attentive for about 25-30 minutes, tops.

Now, I dread the idea of dragging them out into the cold, right at Adah's naptime to try to make them sit and listen and behave and be quiet, all so I can pretend that I am listening to the teaching. When really, I can't focus on a single word that is being said because I am wrestling greatly with my sweet toddlers.

So this morning, we had church at home. The fire roared and we snuggled under a blanket in our pjs. We prayed, sang praises, and read from the bible and several children's devotionals. I taught on the birth of Jesus. It was relaxed and comfortable and precious. When the attention spans were all tapped out, we prayed a little more and had some lunch. Ahhh, peace.

After lunch we decided to brave it alone and head to The Big Crafty, Asheville's giant Indie crafts show. It was a madhouse: packed full of people and very hard to maneuver through with two children.

 The primary reason I went was to cheer on my good friend Kelcey Loomer who was there selling her AMAZING art. I was so proud of her! She had an eye-poppingly gorgeous selection of original artwork, prints, ornaments and pendants. Honestly, her work was the most beautiful of anything else there today. Her goods were cut far above all of the other 99 vendors.  And it seemed to be evident, not just to me, but all the people who really mattered, the people who were there to shop (unlike me). She was so busy making sales that I was only able to give her a quick hug and tell her how incredible her paintings were before she needed to get back to her customers. Kelcey has always been one of my favorite artists and very, very talented. It is just so exciting to now see her successfully selling her work all while being a full time mom to one and half children.

After the Big Crafty,  we headed over to Piazza to spend a little time with Daddy and enjoy a delicious dinner. He was busy as usual, but were able to get a little face time with him.

Then home for bath, books, games, and snuggles.  All in all, it was a good day.  I won't lie though, I would have rather been at home with Gabe asleep on the couch, football blaring in the background. I have a feeling that he would've like that, too.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Gift Guide!!!!

Etsy has gift guides where they feature different sellers' work as suggestions for gifts!
Guess What?! 

My custom couple is on the front page of the Personalized Gift Guide!!

I just took this picture yesterday. Its really encouraging because I have been working on taking pictures that stand out. I guess this one stood out enough that I landed in a gift guide. Which, for the non-etsians out there, is a big deal!

I am learning the value of having really good photographs on etsy. I read an interesting article from a seller who makes a full time living on etsy. She said that "on etsy, your photos are your items." In other words, that's all people have to go on, so you have to make them eye catching, interesting, vivid and unique.

It takes a lot of work for me to get a half way decent photo. I am not a natural photographer. In fact, I flat out failed two classes in college, as in f-a-i-l-e-d, F's: Goddess Traditions and Photography.

I think I have an pretty good eye. So my biggest challenge is getting good, consistent lighting that shows the colors of the dolls and allows me to get them in focus without a flash, which reflects of the shellac finish. I built a little light box in an effort to address this challenge.  Also,  I've been experimenting with different backgrounds to help them stand out from the crowd of other peg dolls for sale on etsy.
I've had very little success, but I think I am getting closer to understanding what I need to do and what I want, though.

All of this experimenting is good but makes my shop look a little schizophrenic. The goal is to develop a standard method of photographing my peeps so that all my pics match and appear to belong together.

I think I am coming up against the limitations of my cheap, old digital camera and my knowledge. I admit I've been day dreaming about one of these. ( Ha! Maybe after a few hundred more dolls:)

And maybe I should have made a little more effort in my photog course. Or a lot.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I've received several new orders for my dolls lately. I am officially making a profit!  I keep setting deadlines and limits for what I can accomplish before Christmas and realizing that, no wait, I CAN take another order; I can do it, I'll get it done in time. At some point there has to be a limit to the orders I can finish before 25th. But for now, I am pushing that limit. I hate to miss any opportunity to make a sale right now:)

Oh, and my shop was mentioned in a children's toys feature this week on http://theamberlily.com/.  ( really exciting!)

In order to get them all done, I am working during the day, too. I have always painted at night after the children go to bed. Now I set up at the kitchen table right after breakfast with coffee, computer tuned to Pandora, paint, dolls, and camera.

Meanwhile, something has to give:

at least its folded....

The children still manage to entertain themselves.

Elijah wishing he could climb inside the light box to take picture with the peeps.

she keeps me laughing

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Another Hat

I am really tired of looking at the balloons. But life has been a bit too overwhelming to blog lately.

Gabe started his new job about 2 weeks ago. He works from 9-9 most days and has only had one day off since he started. So, its just me, the kids and the little wooden people. It has been going much better than I expected. For the most part, there has been realitive peace about the whole situation. We miss him, of course. I am learning to adjust to not having a break when Daddy gets home at 5pm. The children are adjusting, too. We go up to the restaurant to visit him once every day. Even Adah knows the place now and starts chanting "Daaa-deeee, Daaa-dee" when we pull into the parking lot.

Meanwhile, Elijah insisted that I knit a hat for him since I made Adah one. Well, of course!  We took a hilarious trip to the craft store where, after much deliberation, he choose the yarn for the hat. He requested that it have a ball on top and that it be "a crazy hat". I could manage the ball, but the crazy, well, I didn't know what to do with that. I told him he would have to bring the crazy to the hat.

Knitting for Elijah is much more rewarding than knitting for Adah. He's said many times, "You made this hat for meeee?! Thaaaank yoooou!"  And he wears it all day long.

Awwww.... thank you, buddy, thank you.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hot Air Balloon Festival

Every year, the small city where my parents live, Anderson, SC, hosts a hot air balloon festival. Elijah and I experienced it last year and were so excited to see it again this year.

It is such an amazing sight to see so many hot air balloons inflate and take flight at once. There were 25 at this year's event.  The children loved the breathtaking spectacle of colors: each balloon brightly and uniquely patterned; and of sounds: the roar of the fire as it fills the balloons, the cheers from the onlooking crowds as they take flight. Each part of the event is so neat to witness- the balloons slowly fill, and growing into massive rainbow orbs, gradually swelling off the ground, until the balloon handlers have to wrestle to keep it on the Earth for a few last moments until at last it is released, giddy (I imagine) passengers aboard, hover low initially, sometimes passing just overhead, then quickly climb into the sky and float away!

This is a bit picture heavy... I couldn't help myself:)



Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My First Paid Order

I am so happy to report that I am having a bit of success at selling my silly little painted people.

A friend who saw pics on of them on facebook ordered 36 dolls to match her entire family! And I just took another order for a custom family from someone who found me on etsy! Yippee!

Its not a flood of work, but it is a beginning and certainly enough to give me confidence to go on.

My first customers have not given my pictures to work with, just a few descriptive phrases, so there is a lot of guesswork involved and I hope that I've done well for them.

 Here are some pictures of the first of the customs:

 S plays golf

 P plays guitar, CS loves cooking, C love bikes and horse, L likes bugs.

the two cooks:

B. the hunter and S. likes to read

 R. loved motorcycles and M. (all I got for her was: brown, olive, cactus- so this what I did)


Saturday, October 31, 2009

A New Hat for Adah

The hats I made for Adah last winter (here and here) have long since been outgrown. The baby can't have a cold head, can she? So, I set to work on making her a new hat. My requirements for this hat were that it be:
1. simple-  I have very little free time for knitting
2. free- had to be made from yarn I already have stashed away
3. big enough that she won't outgrow it in a month's time.

I achieved all my goals with this extremely simple rolled brim cap. I crocheted a flower and attached it with a cute little button to dress it up. I also added a pair of crocheted straps in an attempt to keep it on her head. But, no such luck. I might as well give this hat to some other child who will use it, because I doubt Adah will ever wear it.

I managed to snap a couple of quick pics before she yanked it off and tossed it to the floor with disgust.

Will somebody please tell the child that this hat was made with love by her mommy using vintage Morino wool and its cute and  really practical?