A Few of My Favorites from Etsy

Saturday, February 28, 2009


During the busy-ness of the holidays, I thought often of all the things I would accomplish during the post-holiday "down time" of January and February. Boy, was I wrong!

February 2009, despite being only 28 days in length, proved to be a month with a veritable lifetime's worth of ups and downs. It started and ended with birthdays - my daughter's on February 4, mine on February 27. In between we had illnesses, deaths and my older daughter's jaw surgery.

The story is too long to tell, but in the end, my newly minted 9 year old is getting her birthday wish of a "friend" party tomorrow, long delayed, but better late than never, and yesterday I got my birthday wish of a few hours of blessed silence, and a year's worth of gratitude for our good health and well-being.

Friday, January 30, 2009


Today was errand day...I went to:

WalgreensTheMallCostcoHomeforlunch and Kroger.

I still have to go to the bank.

...catching my breath...

Thursday, January 29, 2009


I've been done in by the paper monster and so busy with "life" stuff that I haven't had time to craft, list or even keep up with my blog.

I can sum up today's fun in 4 short terms: FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), taxes, spreadsheets, filing.

In doing all that I unearthed some business, either unfinished or needs to get started: Senior pictures, cap and gown, college applications fees, graduation party.

For my younger daughter: swim meet tomorrow, 9th birthday next week, party sometime after that but before the 23rd of February.

As for my older daughter: the 23rd is surgery day. She is having orthognathic jaw surgery. They need to close her open bite and will make a slight adjustment in the alignment of her upper jaw - it's hard to see unless you know what you are looking for but her upper jaw is just slightly canted. They (at the surgeon's office) said she would be in the hospital for one night but home from school for 10 days to 2 weeks.

Forgot to mention, I am the treasurer for the high school band booster group, which is a worthwhile thing to do but also a time hog.

Where does crafting fit in? I'm trying to figure that out!

Thank the gods my dear 5 year old son has no extracurriculars to speak of... yet.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Lessons Learned

Ever start something for one reason and have it become about something else entirely?

I recently posted an entry about the inauguration that was controversial in nature. I had read a number comments and posts on the web with a recurring theme concerning the nature of race and politics (specifically, the future of racism and politics), and felt the need to write a commentary which was rather critical of that sentiment. In my desire not to cause anyone any hard feelings, I published a portion of a sentence, verbatim, from another blog without properly citing it. At the time I composed the post I felt that the subject matter was a tad incendiary in nature (as race and politics often are) and so made the judgment call to not link or cite the quote (which was an iteration of many just like it). Well, I was wrong. The author of the quote saw it and called me on my error. I apologized in the comments section, quickly changed the post to properly cite the author -- and then, after giving it some thought, opted to delete the post altogether (I did re-save it as a draft so it is not lost forever, but unless there is some kind of popular demand to see it, I will not republish it).

This is how a post about one thing became a lesson on something else. This incident was almost certainly designed to teach me something. What is primary here, however, is not the basics of citation, which in itself is important, but that the journey through life is not predictable and it is ultimately up to us to decide whether or not the risks we take in publishing an opinion are worth incurring the emnity of someone who might take issue with what was written. For me, at this time, in this blog, it was not. I say this because based on the comment I received, it wasn't so much that I pulled the quote at all, an act which, again, was wrong in itself, but that in that person's opinion, I had taken it out of context and portrayed the author in a negative light.

And so, the second lesson is the nature of posts in a blog that I designed to discuss and promote my creative life. Although I enjoy politics and try very hard to discuss it with others without making it about the other person, it clearly does not have a place here. Or does it? I invite your comments.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Six Random Things

I was tagged by Yesterday's Glitter to tell six random things about myself. Well, here goes:

1. I went to the National Spelling Bee in 1985 and came in 103rd place. The word I missed? "Knurl." I was only 14 and had never heard of such a thing.

2. My blood type is B+.

3. I am terrified of flying, severe storms and cockroaches.

4. I was once bitten by a squirrel. I now view squirrels as cute but somewhat freaky.

5. I can't clean or do anything mundane without listening to music.

6. I have a talent for efficiency. I can look at any task and automatically figure out the fastest way to do it, with the exception of thinking up 6 random things about myself.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

2 Weeks on Twitter...What I've Learned

Sometime around the holidays I thought I would give Twitter a whirl because I heard it was great for generating sales. Twitter is a free "micro blog" that gives you 140 characters to answer the question, "What are you doing?" People post anything from "yawn" to links to interesting news stories, blogs and Youtube clips. Etsy people (including myself) are discovering its value in promoting their shops, blogs and items. I've found some great shops and follow people I would never have gotten to know otherwise. After just two weeks, I learned one big "don't" along with a few "do's" for Etsy people:

When I first joined, I followed people from Etsy and quickly realized the biggest "don't" of Twitter: Don't incessantly promote! At best it is boring, and at worst it is irritating. After a few days of wading through promo posts to try to find other, more interesting tweets, and finding none, I no longer hesitate to unfollow people.

Here are a few do's: Do answer questions. Do engage people. Do offer content, not just products or self-promotion. Tell them "great job" if they are excited about an accomplishment, to have fun if they are going to dinner. If you know the answer to a question, post it. Thank them for posting a helpful or interesting link. Post helpful or interesting links yourself.

In just two short weeks, I've had people tell me they like my jewelry because they visited my profile. If someone is interested, they will do just that, visit your profile. How do I know this? Because I do it! People want to get to know you. Going a little farther, I would recommend putting links to your blog, Flickr, Facebook, etc. along with a touch of personal information in your profile on Etsy. They will read it and check out links (again, I know this because I do it).

As for Twitter, I do promote my items, but try to keep it occasional, not more than 2 or 3 at a time. I'm still very new, but I am curious to see if Twitter will help generate sales. I'll let you know if it does!

(You can follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/CLKcreative)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Philosopher Cat

The Philosopher Cat
Originally uploaded by CLKcreative
My cat has taken to watching shadows as opposed to looking at the birds out of the window right behind him. When he does this, I often think of Plato and the "cave allegory" in his Republic. To the cat, it seems the mere shadow of a bird, is still a bird.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Lentils With Rice

One of the great things about living in the metropolitan Detroit area is the number of Middle Eastern restaurants. I've had the pleasure of trying dishes I might never have considered before. One of my favorite meatless dishes is Moujadara with Rice. (Some prefer moujadara with bulgur but this recipe calls for rice.) I found a cookbook at Borders years ago titled "A Taste of Lebanon" by Mary Salloum. The recipes are quite simple and pretty close to what I've had in restaurants - from this book I've made tabouli, hummous, baba ghannouj... and moujadara. Here is the recipe (my notes are in parentheses):

1-1/2 cups dry lentils (washed, drained and picked over)
8 cups water
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup rice (I use regular long grain brown rice)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 medium onion, julienned

Place lentils in saucepan (I use a Dutch oven - at least 4 quarts). Add water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until lentils are tender (an hour does it for me).

Add salt, pepper and rice to the lentils. Cook at a steady boil on low heat for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Saute onions in oil until onions are golden brown (this step is critical - you won't get the flavor unless the onions are brown and caramelized - it takes a while! Watch so they don't burn!). Add to cooking lentil mixture, stir, and remove from heat.

Serve hot or cold. (I think it tastes best warm with a dollop of cold plain yogurt and a squeeze of lemon.)

(1) 1 cup rice may be used instead of 1/2 cup. This will make the recipe thicker.
(2) 1 cup coarse crushed wheat (bulgur) may be substituted for rice.

Monday, January 12, 2009

View from my window

View from my window
Originally uploaded by CLKcreative
Yes, it is winter, but I am reminded of the "spring" story of the beggar who was observed by the great writer Goethe. He was collecting the most money and Goethe went over to see why. The beggar had a sign that read: "It is spring, and I am blind." As the story goes, Goethe was then filled with gratitude for all he had.

Even though it is winter in Michigan, both literally and figuratively, I am grateful for the glorious sunrise that greeted my eyes this morning.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Amazonite Memory Wire Bracelet

I was looking for a way to use those speckled aqua Czech glass beads and found it. This is a "tempted to keep" bracelet. Amazonite is one of my very favorite gemstones and being from Michigan, copper is special to me as well. Enjoy and thanks for looking!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Etsy Freethinkers on Blockhead Radio!

Tune in on Saturday, January 17 at 1:00 p.m. to learn more about the Etsy Freethinkers Street Team! For for information, check out this link: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/blockheadrod/ .

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Etsy Freethinkers Street Team

I belong to an Etsy street team called the "Etsy Freethinkers" (for a listing of their stores, check out www.etsyfreethinkers.blogspot.com) and thought I would share the origins of this wonderful group. The team formed as the result of a thread in the Etsy forums titled "What about atheists?" where the original poster mused about the possibilities of forming an atheist street team. You might imagine just how long and... interesting... that thread became before it was closed (and subsequently deleted, since I cannot find it in my posting history) by the Etsy admins.

Originally, the Freethinkers team called itself The Unherded Cats (see the Unherded Cats Flickr group at www.flickr.com/groups/etsyfreethinkers/), since some atheists refer to themselves as such due to the seeming inability to define just what makes one an atheist.

During subsequent discussions about the whens, wheres, hows, and ifs of forming a street team, a number of agnostics, Christians, pagans, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists... you name it... expressed an interest in joining, and if the team was dedicated to just to atheists, it would exclude a number of people who not solely defined by their beliefs (or lack thereof) and who were interested in joining with other like-minded individuals in promoting peace and harmony with others regardless of their belief system.

Thus, the Freethinkers Street Team was born.

(The atheists formed their own street team, called "SANE" (secularist, atheist, naturalist Etsy street team). You can find more information here: http://team.etsy.com/profilest/secular.shtml .)

The Freethinkers' motto is as follows: "The Freethinkers will be open to anyone who is respectful of the beliefs of other people. This is the place for those who feel we should live and let live. We don't try to change anyone's minds and we try not to be judgmental. We have Atheists, Agnostics, Christians, Jews, Pagans and, I think, one Buddhist. We are here to promote our shops and tolerance."

For more information on the Freethinkers Street team, check out this link: http://team.etsy.com/profilest/freethinkers.shtml . Convo our fearless leaders, Martha Horman (http://marthahorman.etsy.com) and Chatnoirstudios (http://chatnoirstudios.etsy.com) at Etsy to join this friendly and supportive group.

The group has a regular monthly thread in the Etsy Teams and Events forum at Etsy.com. Right now the group is enjoying its January thread: http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=5978448 Stop in and eavesdrop, or better yet, introduce yourself!

This team collects annual dues of $20 ($5 for additonal shops) to cover the cost of team promotions in various venues, including print and web media, and even radio.

The Freethinkers will be featured on Blockhead Radio (http://www.blogtalkradio.com) on January 17 at 1 p.m! Be sure to tune in for more info about the fabulous Freethinkers!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Green Bracelet

Green Bracelet
Originally uploaded by CLKcreative
Just made this today. The dark green matte bells arrived yesterday and I could barely wait to use them.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Goals for the New Year

Of course it's not too late, the year is only a week old...

-Craft 15 hours a week (that means sitting at my table doing something)
-List 7 items a week
-Make $5,000 in gross sales this year, via the Internet and craft shows ($5,000 doesn't sound like much but it would be double last year's take. I'm a fan of attainable goals.)
-Marketing and promotion: Look for ways to do these while maintaining some semblance of dignity. Do I need to say more? I have some thoughts about Internet social networking that I might share later.

-Lose some poundage (see post below).
-Better overall time management, which ties in with my business goals.
-Organize house. Last year I purged the kids' rooms and either sold off or donated the excess/unneeded toys. That was a good start. We're not big buyers of "stuff," but somehow it manages to accumulate anyway.
-Continue paying off those pesky bills. Last year we made a budget, which was painful at first, but it's working. I found I don't mind cooking vs. dining out, going to the library vs. the bookstore... things of that nature.

Let's see how this all turns out!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Weight Loss

If you're reading this, you're probably thinking, "cripes, ANOTHER weight loss blog entry?" Well, yes!

It's that time of year... the holidays are over (as I sit and stare at the still-fully-decorated tree) and the New Years' resolutioneers are clogging up the gyms and Weight Watchers centers. And here I sit.

About 15 years ago, when my oldest child was 3, I lost weight successfully on Weight Watchers, and kept it off... until I became pregnant with my second child, in 2000. Since then I've gained and lost the same 30 pounds. And now, I'm getting ever closer to age 40 and each day, the spectres of diabetes and heart disease (both of which run on both sides of my family) loom just a bit larger.

So my "annual" appointment is coming up along with a new lecture on how much weight I've gained since the last one. I know I need to lose weight, but why is it so damn hard?

I bought this book last year:
The Beck Diet Solution by Judith Beck, Ph.D.

I really have not given this book its due, but since I have the time this January, I think I will. No resolution, just a willingness to try.

Maybe this year will be the charm

As you can see, I promised to clean up my blog for the new year... in 2008. It is nice and clean, being my only post from that year. So... here's hoping for more offerings in 2009.


From CLK's Garden