Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Wonder of Fall

Fall entered quietly this year.

Because of our two week spell of super cold nights and cloudy dreary days...the leaves didn't give us the breathtaking show we have become accustomed to here in the North Wood.
We went from the green of summer...to the golds and light oranges...to brown and on the ground in a heartbeat.

Frank and I spent the day raking all those leaves and had a glorious bonfire to prevent them from blowing back into the yard. The fall perfume of the burning leaves was hypnotic........

.............we had to take a moment to enjoy it.

While we were outside raking... this wonderful soup from my friends at Gooseberry Patch, was simmering on the stove.

I had timed it just right! When we finished and collapsed inside...we cuddled in a warm quilt.... enjoyed a huge bowl of warm soup with some home made bread I made the night before. 
We looked up at each other and at the same time said, "Does it get any better than this?".
Yes it did...because Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone had just started.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Split Personalities

I have been away for a while organizing my businesses. Last April I split Cottontail Kids from Cottontail Quilts on Etsy. It was quite an experience...but after 18 month things have settled down and they are two growing entities.

This week I decided it was time to split the two all across the cyberverse. Being soooo computer un-savvy I sat at the keyboard all week .....with my red-head determination.... and created a facebook page and blog for Cottontail Kids. wheeeeeeewwwww!

At this time I'd like to introduce you to Cottontail Kids.

Now that my kids are grown and out of the nest, I thought I'd make Cottontail Kids a blog that looks at the experience of child raising from a grandmothers perspective. This will most definitely include "spoiling them 101", toys and games, articles stories, time management and of course..the cutest little duds I can find in on the web.

I invite you to take a peek and follow Cottontail Kids.

Thank you for visiting :-D Cindi

Monday, July 11, 2011

Cross Merchandising Can Seal the Deal

Several years ago I had a Brick and Mortar store in a suburban shopping mall. I carried hand crafted items from over 50 local artisans. Dressing the displays and windows was my favorite task. I just loved to take a scarf from one artist, pair it with a dress from another and add the bling with a necklace or fabulous pin from a third.
After a while, I couldn't help but notice that when I paired these vignettes together...they all sold together. It was great business for me and for all the artists.

When I opened my Etsy shop and joined some teams...I did the same thing. Here is one story and my customers note to me.

I'd had a bumble bee halter sundress in my shop for quite a while...it was my best seller! One afternoon a fellow Estian and EtsyKids tem member stopped by my facebook page to say; "Hi". We got to chatting and checking out each others shop and I saw that TK had some bumble bee MaryJane's that would go PERFECTLY with my dress. After I got the OK, I added a link to the bottom of the bumble bee dress listing taking potential buyers to TK's shoes and a possible expanded sale.

This is the note I recieved from a customer:

"Hi. I was searching Etsy for bumble bee party items for my daughter's first birthday party. I happened across your bumble bee sundress and took a look just for fun. As I was about to close out the page I notice the shoes to match from you EtsyKids Friend TK. After I clicked that link and saw those precious bumble bee shoes, I just HAD to have the whole ensemble for my daughters special day. Thank you so much for putting it all together. I may not have purchased at all without it."

Now if that's not an incentive for us all to do some cross merchandising......I don't know what is !!!!

Thankx TK! This was a winner for us both ♥ ♥ ♥

The dress

The shoes

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Finding Joy by Simply..... Answering Mail!

I was checking my messages one afternoon and found the most delightful note from a fellow Etsian.... a bubbly mom from Nevada so full of joy I had to *meet* her. Her note said that my halter dresses were wonderful and she'd like one (or two) for her daughter Kiley. I visited her shop DesignsByAutumn and fell in LOVE with a beautiful necklace.
It was called "Gothic Garden".

Here is the stunning piece...and her listing description. Her beautiful prose....sealed the deal!!!

I'm completely obsessed with the dramatic beauty of heavily oxidized blackened silver!♥ This striking design will make you feel as if you are wearing something ancient yet modern ♥
This distinctive design features a beautiful Karen Hill Tribe flower draped with oodles of Goshenite micro faceted rondelles. All are meticulously wire wrapped to a knurled Sterling Silver chain & finished with a Sterling Silver Tear Drop Lobster Clasp♥ All silver has been heavily oxidized black♥

I made up three dresses for Kiley and in return I received my beautiful necklace.
A new forever friend was the best part of all. ♥ ♥ ♥ Thank you Autumn.

Here I am ready for a special evening out on the town with my fantastic new necklace...and earrings, too.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It's Almost National Cherry Festival Time!

Traverse City, Michigan hosts the National Cherry Festival every year over the Fourth of July Holiday. This year it will be held July 2ed through the 9th. Because of our unique weather and the cool breezes comming off Lake Michigan, we have the sweetest cherries you've ever had!

To celebrate and promote the beloved cherry, I've found some cherry themed treasures to share.

Cherries aren't just for pies anymore.......Enjoy!

This is a delicious Dupioni silk bag in cherry red by Mermaid Dreams. I love the contemporary flair of the huge bow!

A sweet thank you card by Jen Aitchison based on on her original watercolor. Who wouldn't LOVE to recieve this beautiful card?!?

A new sundress from my Cottontail Kids collection. The shirred bodice make it comfy and the cherries make it perfect for a walk through the Festival.

Stunning petite hair clips by WoodlandBelle are the perfect accessory to ANY spring outfit.

I love the new trend of using wall decals! What a fun way to add some spring style to your room. This cherry tree with butterflies is by Simple Shapes.

I hope you've enjoyed my Cherry-licious finds.

If you find youself looking for a holiday destination over the Fourth...please consider a drive to Traverse City for the Cherry Festival. A wonderful time will be had by the entire family.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Thank You Mom!

I know Mother's Day has passed and I hope everyone had a wonderful day of celebrating.

I tried to write this post all last week but found it just to hard. You see.... I lost my mom 25 years ago last week. Twenty-five years had passed so quickly. I spent last week remembering and missing those days sooooo much.

Mom...Sally to all her friends.... was a wonderful woman with a huge heart, loving soul and a crazy sense of humor.

She was a single mom in the 60's and it never showed. There were home made dinners on the table every night and she was there for all my brother's games and my concerts and plays.
She taught me to sew when I was 10 years old. Some of my fondest memories are sitting at the old Singer machine..........

Mom guiding me over my shoulder...making my first skirt. Next was a pair of pants then a blouse which evolved to an array of dresses.
I thought at the time, sewing was rather old fashioned...but I'm so glad that I listened to my mother because it has made my life so full to sit at my own machine...and sew.

In my retirement where I have a world of possibilities to choose from, I have chosen to spend my time.. like my mother...at the sewing machine.
I'm so blessed to have two businesses that allow me to use the gift my mother gave me. Whether piecing an heirloom quilt or making a pair of whimsical knickers...I truly LOVE what I do.

Thank you Mom for your loving guidance so many years ago...and for your continued *over the shoulder* guidance these last 25 years. You always new what was best.

Your loving Daughter, Cindi

Saturday, April 30, 2011

What Excites You?

I'm asking the DIYers..crafters..and artisans.

What excites your creative muses? Is it nature, an article, a blog post or something yummy you found on Etsy?

After the loooooong hard Northern Michigan winter, my spread you wings program was frozen. It was spring and time to clean house. Yes.. the windows are sparkling and winter has been washed away. The spring pillows and curtains are up and in place. But my creative house was a mess.

No matter what I did... I just couldn't get in a creative groove. I have two king sized quilts to make and the little just for me projects are what get me through such long and involved quilting projects. But nothing was comming to me.

I sat down in my studio and watched a pair of robins build a nest in the pine tree. I've never seen one there before....and that got me thinking. If the robins can spread their wings and fly so far, build nests in places they have never been before...maybe that's what I should do.

I've always wanted to draw and paint. I can't even draw a good stick figure so I didn't know where to begin. I went on line and found some simple shapes and silhouettes and trace..trace...traced. As I watched the pencil float over the original figure, I found there was a flow to the movements I was making. After a few very poor attempts to wing it, I looked down at my sketch pad and I had a butterfly....and it really looked like a butterfly!

Being the fabric junkie that I admittedly am, I had to put my butterfly on fabric rather than canvas.

 Butterflies on a little swing dress PLUS the little girls name!

This is the result! I had so much fun when I stopped forcing myself and looked within... to what excited me.

Give it a try youself and watch magic happen :-)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

When Did the Handmade Bug Bite You?

I think we all have a creative spirit! The handmade Valentine or the tie-dyed tee shirt. Getting bit by the handmade bug is taking that creativity to the next level....where creating something is what makes your day.... smile.

I have been a crafter all my life.
My brother and I were raised by a single mother and money was tight.

Left to right: Mom, my brother Scott, Me, Grandma and Grandpa in the back

Every Christmas we created handmade treasures for the family with the loving tutelage of my mom..the seamstress and my grandpa... the woodworker.
We made note holders that looked like chickens with clothes pin beaks, cross stitched dish towels and an ever growing collection of felt ornaments. I took such pride in knowing my gift was unique and made from my own hands and heart.

In my teenage years...I was embarrassed to admit I made anything by hand. Store bought was much more chic! Oh...I was a dopey teenager.

As a young mother, I created patterns to make "name pillows" for my babies nursery walls. They became such a hit with my friends that in 6 months I had a booming business right in my dining room. This was my wake up call that handmade was not only cool...but soooo profitable!

The handmade bug bit me hard.

From that point on, my handmade journey has taken me to some amazing places... in my life and in my heart.
Let me shar that journey with you in the next few posts.

Thank you for stopping by today!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

New Years Resolution

Bunny Rescue Fundraiser

I hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday and a joyful New Year.

I love the New  Year. It gives me an opportunity to do the things I had on a *to do* list the year before. I also stop and reflect on how I can make a difference in the coming year.

 This year I have decided to work more extensively with rabbit rescue. West Michigan Critter Haven was the rescue that helped our little Romeo when he had no forever home. He was fostered by a wonderful young woman that gave him lots of love. Because of WMCH commitment to placing their bunnies, we have the perfect hus-bun for Harriet.

Valentine's Day is just around the corner and everyone buys a card, right? Instead of giving your money to big business, please consider supporting rabbits rescues by purchasing one of these handmade cards. ALL of the proceed will be donated to the rabbit rescue of your choice. Don't have one in your area? Then the donation will go to the West Michigan Critter Haven.

Each card is featured in my Etsy shop.
If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment and I'll get back to you right away!

Thank you in advance, for supporting the little bunnies.

Have a Happy and Healthy New Year!