GIVEAWAY - Mary's Granddaughter Mixed Media Journal! CLOSED


Mary Steiler taught her granddaughter, Gainesville artist Cindy Steiler, how to sew and crochet as a young girl and really sparked her love for things made by hand. Cindy loves to paint, sew, embroider and crochet.

I have worked with Cindy (although we've never met) and she is an
artist with a passion for her work and brings out that passion in others! Her work is amazing and distinctive and her characters make me want to know more about them.

She has worked as a set and costume designer and scenic artist for the stage. Cindy is mom to a wonderful daughter and amazing French bulldog, Chihuahua and Jack Russel Terrier.


One lucky winner will receive this mary's granddaughter gorgeous girl and her goat moleskine cahier journal. It has the great little signature inner pocket and 64 acid-free pages of which the last 16 are detachable.

The image is done in pen and acrylic paint and has a little antique bisque arm from Germany attached. This journal comes with a sleeve made of a wool and rayon blend felt.


It's easy, peasy - just leave your contact information below!

For additional entries:

(5) Twitter this post
(5) Blog about this contest; linking to this post
(5) Follow my blog
(5) Facebook this post

Let me know if you have done these things so I can give you additional entries. This contest is open to everyone.

Enter by midnight, Sunday, June 12th! Good Luck!

The Bicycle Cap ... why the story behind our work matters

The Bicycle Cap by peSeta for the New Museum from casa peSeta on Vimeo.

I hope this video inspires us to tell our
own story

with our work - we are the only ones who can!

(also inspired me to get my bicycle tires aired up for this weekend)

Happy Memorial Day Weekend everyone!

xo all

15 Craft Shows Tips & Tricks to sell more, stress less and have more fun - part trois

11. Accept Credit Cards

With propay it's easy and inexpensive - paypal also has a virtual terminal that can be rented monthly as needed. I bought a card slider (aka knucklebuster) for about $20.00 on Amazon. I imprint the cards and then put them through after the show - this is a little risky, but I haven't had a problem. If you sell pricey stuff you probably need to be able to process the cards at the show. Google it - there are lots of options - you can even process cards with a slider attached to your phone.

Alot of people do buy with cash at shows, but I find customers with larger, multiple item orders pay with credit. Your average sale $ will increase when you accept them.

Make sure to put up signs that credit cards are accepted - it costs you money to accept credit cards so make sure you advertise it.

12. Get a cash bag - keep your eyes on your moulah.

My niece once had one customer distract her while their accomplice walked off with her cash box. She didn't notice until they were long gone - she lost hundreds of dollars. Alot is going on at a show and, especially if you are working alone, you need to know where your cash is.

I have an amazing traveler bag (this is so not a fanny pack!) from JennyNDesign that is perfect.

13. Be nice to your neighbors.

Say hello. Tell them your name. Don't encroach on their space. Be considerate. If you ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your booth so you can run to the restroom (something I don't really recommend, but it can happen) - realize their commitment is to their own booth, not yours, so make a run for it and be sure to thank them.

(at Art Star last weekend after setting up my tent I noticed my neighbor staring at my wall - on her side - and realized hubby had stuck an X made with duct tape on the outside to cover a hole - I rarely use the sides and hadn't noticed it - since my outside wall was about to become her interior wall I quickly ditched the tape - the hole BTW was about 1" and the duct tape a gigantic 6" X!)

14. Don't be afraid to do a show alone.

You can do it! I've done it many times. It's more fun with a partner, but don't let your inability to lasso a friend into helping you (I bribe people with free jewelry and cookies) stop you. The set-up and take-down is a little tiring solo, but no one knows your work like you do - it isn't that hard.

15. Try to offer a freebie.

When I'm offering up a little free something or other to someone (usually a cork stopper with my logo) every head near my booth whips around - people love freebies! You could give out a sticker, pin, etc - I once saw someone giving out free teabags with their logo - people drank it up!

16. Oops I have one more - After KJ reminded me yesterday that buyers like to tell people they know the artist it is a good idea to save a part of your display area for a little self promotion - set up newspaper stories, any articles you are in, any books you are in - you can put pictures of your work in a book (think Blurb) very inexpensively and it makes you look very impressive.

(I know I would be impressed or depressed since I've never done this)

Photos of your work being worn or used are a must; a photo of yourself with your own story - makes your handmade item even more personal. You can set up your laptop and flash pictures of your work and draw people in.

We could go overboard with this - remember we are not DaVinci - but we are the creators of our own amazing work and if we are not impressed with it no one else will be either!

Hope some of these tips help someone - I didn't focus on our displays since being the crafty mavens that we are, we can most likely come up with something amazing - just think staging areas (grouping things in different areas) and using various levels and especially having items or photos at the customer's eye level.

I made my first magazine ad yesterday directed to retail stores - whatcha' think? My brother, the artist, said "very nice - the only thing that is unreadable is your studio name in your logo" - ha!

* be nice typography print by tiny bungalow

15 Craft Shows Tips & Tricks to sell more, stress less and have more fun - part deux

7. Nothing Draws a Crowd Like a Crowd - when I had carts in the mall I always had my hubby and daughter come by and ooh and aah over my stuff and make it look popular.

(maybe it's human nature to want what you think other people want and I think sometimes people hesitate to approach a booth when the only person in sight is the seller)

8. Smile

(but not one of those big creepy smiles where you show your gums and everything)

Make eye contact. Say hello and ask people how they are doing. Don't pressure people looking around in your booth. Most people like to browse. It's great to tell people interesting info about something they are looking at, but choose your approach smartly and don't be pushy.

(note- most makers are not pushy, most makers are the opposite of pushy- most of us need a little 'push' in our delivery)

9. Talk about the benefit to the buyer.

When customers would approach my lockets, I used to say "these are made from a little recycled auto part" and they would usually go "wow" and get kind of glassy eyed -

(I still cannot understand why people do not see the benefit in having an auto part hanging around their neck)

then I would say the locket is magnetic and the lids are interchangeable - well that was when they perked up.

The problem was that in a busy show - I didn't always get to that part before their eyes wandered. It didn't take me long to realize that what I thought was the coolest part - the auto part that seemed so clever to me - was not the benefit for most customers - so I started talking about the magnetic lids first and putting them in people's hands

(the lids clicking off and on are somewhat irresistible to us fidgeters)

and my sales went way up.

I did a show with Vinnie (somethingwhimsical) who sells these little BOB (bunch of bolts) necklaces and everytime a customer approached and smiled at his necklaces he would say "they come with an instruction book".

(I heard this about a hundred times that day - I still hear it in my sleep)

Now this instruction book is really something else - it is cool and clever and witty, but maybe not the first benefit to the customer.

When his wife was nearby she would chirp in with - they are called BOB for bunch of bolts and also named as a homage to Vinnie's father BOB who made these for him as a child - well that was the grabber to people because it made it personal and a little story that they loved even more than the alien story in the instruction book and they would be hooked.

10. Make It Personal. You made it. Be proud of It.

I did a show with another maker (briefmoments) who sells these gorgeous kaleidoscope pendants.

Now as soon as a customer approached, Maribeth would immediately own her work. She would say "I make these from bits and pieces of my photographs" and then go on to explain her process. People were immediately intrigued and because she was so enthusiastic (and her work so gorgeous) she sold tons that day.

This was her first craft show and my 30th plus, but I learned something very important from watching her own her work.

So now instead of saying "these are made from a recycled auto part" (not the first thing I bring up but I do say it) - I say "I clean, drill and weld these from a recycled steel car part" - the "I" is the important part because the benefit is often the handmade part - why would the customer want my locket more than some China-made copycat necklace at their drugstore - well, because I am a talented, amazing artist (ack) and I made it! We have to own our work!

Back tomorrow to finish up these tips and tricks!

*fast crowd vinyl print by lori gordon

15 Craft Shows Tips & Tricks to sell more, stress less and have more fun

Craft shows are not for everyone - they are alot of work but if you have the right stuff at the right show you can make alot of moulah. Here are a few tips for making the most of them.

# 1 - My first tip would be to find the right shows for you.

The best shows book early so now is the time you should be booking for fall (and it is too late for some of those) - don't be afraid to ask other sellers for their favorite shows (ask people who have your same target market, but not a similar product - if you sell jewelry maybe don't ask a jewelry seller - although you can ask me, I don't mind - I think the more jewelry the better at the shows I do (kind of like the way those car dealers and furniture stores group themselves together along the highway- I think it's a good thing) but since show promoters limit people of the same genre - maybe talk to people with different items.

You can also search online - there are sites like festivalnet, smartfrogs,, your local newspaper, search google and there is a magazine called Sunshine Artist that has show listings and reviews.

# 2 - Make your prices easy to find - I use arrows so I don't have to string those little jewelry tags that just don't cooperate with my fingers - if people are asking you the price of things you have not marked your items clearly enough

# 3 - Set up your display prior to the show - I set up most of my display in my livingroom a couple days before, so I can see what I am missing and then I pack up right from there so I don't forget anything

# 4 - Use table covers (I use brown sheets) that go to the ground, so you can store your boxes underneath and still look neat - some people have been using risers to raise their tables and I do love the look and ease of having a counter/table, but since I once had a wonderful customer in a wheelchair bring to my attention that she was having trouble, I don't use them anymore

# 5 - Bring enough stuff! This is important because you want to appear full at all times.

(if you think people will see your near empty booth and think you must be selling something amazing that everyone just had to have - they won't - or they might - but they'll still just keep walking)

My friend who sells fruit and vegetables at a farmer's market will not display her deliciousness in half-empty baskets. Instead she heaps the remaining fruit and veggies into smaller and smaller baskets to make the baskets appear full and overflowing.

You can also do some manuevers with your display - removing shelves and even tables if you have to, to keep things looking full and inviting - think staging areas.

Also you need to bring enough stuff to make money - otherwise, why are you doing all this work in the first place. I have been near crafters who could probably sell everything on their table and not cover their booth fee - you need enough stuff!

I have also had people tell me happily that they sold out - well, you can't sell what you don't have - selling out is really not a good thing unless it is seasonal stuff, your last show of the season or the end of the day.

My goal is always to make 10X my booth fee and so I stock with 3X what I need to sell that much. For example if my booth fee is $100.00 - I want to make $1000.00 and so I bring at least $3000.00 retail of my work.

(which sounds like alot and it is - you may not need this much - and it brings us to #6)

# 6 - You're either in it or you're not. You can't do just one craft show because you need a certain amount of over-inventory as I explained before, the show could be a dog or get rained out, too many things could go wrong and you will have a start-up investment that you will want to recoup over several shows.

# 7 - Bring your product forward - customers sometimes hesitate to come into a 'cave-like' booth - the closer you can get your stuff to them when they are walking by the better. It will cost you space but trust me you want your stuff practically in the aisles.

(this is hard for me with 2 distinctive product lines that both take alot of space so although I have a table on each side of the booth, something I don't really recommend since we don't want to create a 'cave' feeling, I use the table ends - that I place as close to the customers walking past as possible - to display directly to the walkers by having merchandise on the ends face the walking aisle - I also have a vertical banner that catches their eye)

(back tomorrow with more tips and tricks)

* very cool - fox selling watches screenprint by neversleeping

Happy End of the World ... or maybe these 21 other things could just end instead

Dear God - maybe instead of the end of the world we could just get an end to:

1. war
2. foods that are bad for us tasting so good
3. clothes that shrink in the dryer
4. Crest white strips - they just don't work, let's get rid of them
5. unkindness
6. people who throw trash out their car windows

(well, maybe let's not get rid of the people, but maybe just lock up their windows when they go to toss their cigarette)

7. girls behaving as though they are less than boys
8. Olive's attempts to impregnate the beach towels or at least just let it work once
9. the pressure on small businesses to use social media
10. daughters who yell "MOM" in such a way as to take 10 years off your life just to let you know the dog is doing something cute
11. grocery carts with that one bad wheel and IKEA carts (why do they want to go sideways??)
12. pollution ... please
13. the sun's ability to cause skin cancer - I really miss the sun and I hate the consistency of zinc oxide and having my legs the color of poplar trees
14. mental illness (for example - thinking of some safety item as a gift then having to get it because, if you don't...)
15. poverty
16. hubby's referring to any agency of the government as the 'fed' - making me feel like we are on the lam from some kind of eco-terrorism
17. my search for that hair color and cut I had that one time - dammit when it looked just like Jennifer Anniston's hair for about 5 minutes ... sigh
18. drug commercials and political commercials - actually let's just get rid of commercials
19. TV shows or ads with doorbells, ringing phones or alarm clocks and radio ads with horns, sirens, or people yelling "watch out!"
20. people who need people

wait - scratch that - we need people who need people- for some reason Barbra Streisand's voice just popped into my head

20. business/personal coaches on the internet (I think we might have enough for everyone to have their own now)
21. blog posts with lists (this one doesn't count though)

xo all

oh and the saying "you've no need to worry if you're not doing anything wrong" - who are these people who never do anything wrong? am I the only one doing anything wrong ...

Happy Friday Everyone!

Still feeling a bit under the weather and have a fever now for some reason, but I wanted to pop in and announce the winner for the Jessica Alpern giveaway from last week and update my meditation series.

The winner is (chosen by
True Random Number Generator
Min: 1
Max: 310

Karina! Congrats Karina and thanks to everyone who took the time to enter!

I realized when rereading my meditation 'leaflet' last night that the only change in week 3 is the addition of 3 deep cleansing breaths after meditation - so for week 3 we will continue our week 2 practice of stilling our thoughts and add 3 deep cleansing breaths when our 15-30 minute practice is completed (I like to step outdoors for this ... and really inhale that pollen!).

Next week we add some intentions for our practice (the fun part) and you may be relaxing with the meditation so much by now that you want to add a second meditation at night - I know finding the time is a challenge - so just do what you are feeling drawn to and I will be back next week with the week 4 visualization exercises that you may or may not want to use to set some intentions for your meditation.

Wishing everyone a weekend of madness ....


*print available at cheeseboy products

Whining Wednesday - send the kids to their rooms folks, this is going to get gross

So ... I haven't actually had the head cold I was pretending to have - I actually had

(drumroll please)

an exploded ovarian cyst.

KAPOW Batman!

Yes, it sounds gross and it is gross and in fact when I hear the word cyst I can't help but think about fluid filled things hanging off people's necks and arms and other places too unmentionable to mention.

Apparently your body can grow all kinds of things that you are not aware of

(well, maybe you are a tiny bit aware of - in the form of symptoms that you ignore, but it is hard to tell if you are bloated from an about-to-explode ovarian cyst or just too much guacamole at Chipotle's, especially when your stomach's normal state is a wee bit, uhm, slack, sorry stomach muscles I promise to give you some attention ... soon)

until you are suddenly curled into a ball, wincing in pain and asking Jesus, Buddha and Allah to carry you home.

(not that I did this)

I am actually pretty good with pain ...

(I was planning to have my daughter without any meds and when I finally gave in and asked for something - the doctor told me it was too soon; that I wasn't far enough along - ack - I realized every child-bearing woman on the planet had gotten farther than I did -

of course I was only 6 months pregnant at the time ...

I have also been known to pass out after stubbing my toe - but only once ... maybe twice)

The doctor asked me if I had been carrying anything heavy and I had carried alot of heavy whatnots at the Brimfield Flea Market a few days earlier and I had carried alot of heavy stuff to and from the Art Star craft show hours before.

(although their wonderful staff did help me carry things in and Noelle from Xenotees did help me carry stuff out, but I will still find a way to somehow blame hubby for not going with me to help haul things and a little hubby guilt can go a long way when someone has something exploded inside them and needs to be waited on hand and foot for a couple days month or two)

I have been still getting my orders made and mailed - yes, I know I am amazing - but during high pain periods

(these exploding cysts hurt for a few days while your body absorbs the blood - this is straight from the doctor folks although he used the word ruptured - I prefer "exploded", you can't make this kind of stuff up and yes, I know it is gross, I warned you - please don't hate me)

I have been watching Court TV - the Casey Anthony trial's jury selection which is very interesting. I would love to be on a jury in a high profile case -

but only if I get to stand up and shout "You Can't Handle The Truth!" or something Elle Woods said in Legally Blonde and only if the lawyer looks like Matthew McConaughey.

I actually was on a jury once - I was actually the jury foreman forewoman

(because I was seated in seat number 1; the judge asked me a couple questions to make sure I could put a proper sentence together and wasn't a complete nitwit and pronounced me the foreman)

and I will confess that during jury deliberations -

the case was about a guy who had run from the police by driving his car on the sidewalk and we had to decide if he had endangered other people by doing this -

I brought up the fact that I had been at that very intersection many times and it was always very busy with pedestrians -

something that I can see from watching the Casey Anthony trial jury selection I should never have said - being evidence not introduced during the trial and all -

I hope that poor guy isn't still in jail.

Well, I am back to bed now with my Nook, hubby is being wonderful and is downstairs cooking us all eggs, so even though I am only feeling a bit bloated and sore at the moment ... I am going to see how long I can run with this breakfast/dinner in bed thing ...

xo all
(hoping there are no little time bombs in any of you, but maybe get any symptoms checked out with your doctor - yes, you I'm talking to you)

pain in the ---

home sick ... back in a bit ... have a great day all!


*adorable cold print by Stephan Britt

GIVEAWAY - Whimsy and Ink - Mustache Flask for Father's Day!

CLOSED - Winner will be announced on Friday!

Whimsy and Ink is the adorable little flask shop of partners Lisa Rios and Jon Cherry.

Lisa and Jon subscribe to the idea that a handmade life leads to a much simpler, more fulfilled existence.

They are dedicated to bringing their customers innovative and original flask designs, amazing service and are the home of the original Beard Love, Mustache Love and Wanderlust Map series of flasks.

I thought one of their mustache flasks personalized with any monogram would make a perfect gift for Father's Day!


One lucky winner will receive this mustache flask with any monogram from Whimsy and Ink!


It's easy, peasy - just leave your contact information below!

For additional entries:

(5) Twitter this post
(5) Blog about this contest; linking to this post
(5) Follow my blog
(5) Facebook this post

Let me know if you have done these things so I can give you additional entries. This contest is open to everyone.

Enter by midnight, Sunday, May 29th! Good Luck!

Blogger Trouble - is this Friday the 13th or April Fool's?

It looks like my last 2 posts have been eaten by Blogger's latest fiasco - hopefully they will pop back up here - AARGH!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone- I will be at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia for Art Star - stop by Booth 119 if you are in town!

xo all

Meditation - week 2 practice

After a week of the consistent practice of stilling your body - you should/may be able to sit still without twitching or itching for 15-30 minutes.

(if you can't do this yet my old teacher would have recommended another week of the week 1 practice shown HERE)

This week the practice is somewhat similar but with the added work of stilling our thoughts.

Our subconscious mind is what we are using when we do all those rote things that our conscious mind isn't thinking about - it never sleeps, it never rests - everything from our heart beating to our breathing to playing the piano and operating a typewriter are all subconscious processes. Our subconscious inspires us and warns us and pulls names and facts and pictures from our memory. You can see how there is great value in being able to work with your body's subconscious processes by working with your conscious ones (thoughts).

The conscious mind decides what is true for us - the subconsious just accepts - it is instinctive and the result of past reasoning and it connects us to everything - so by controlling the conscious mind - our own thoughts - we can work on controlling

(and 'control' is the wrong word here, but I am going blank on the right word - I think my subconscious memory storehouse doors are getting rusty these days - another reason I am meditating again)

our subconscious processes.

The following is the week 2 practice and I should say this part comes from an old paper I got from the YMCA camp - it has no authorship and is just a photocopy that I somehow managed to hang onto all these years.

Maybe your local YMCA has a class with a similar course, maybe not, the instructor was way out there in outer space and totally amazing. She was the only person at our Y I connected with at the time.

(I was once about to sign my daughter up for their daycare summer program when a cute little boy came up to the woman showing me around and asked him a question - I don't remember if she answered him or not - but I do remember her announcing loudly to me and the rest of the class, "his father is a lawyer that's why he asks alot of questions" -

my mind flashed ahead to my daughter's summer where this same woman would be announcing to the group - "her father is a truck mechanic that's why she has dirty fingernails".

We found another daycamp).

Week 2 Practice : select a room where you can be alone and a time when you will not be disturbed, sit erect, be comfortable but not too comfortable, sit perfectly still - start with 15 minutes and work up to a half hour (do this everyday at the same time) - clear your mind and just breathe - when a thought comes up, see it, but don't give it your focus, just let it float away from you and separate from you - work up to 30 minutes of being able to sit still and breathe without intruding thoughts (next week's exercise gets more interesting, but you have to master this one first - I shouldn't say master because of course, this is a process, but the YMCA says 'master' and I like the idea of mastering something with this practice, so we'll leave the word in here).


*calm waters print by elgarbo Art

Brimfield Flea Market 2011 - overwhelm, blisters, mac & cheese and morris

Brimfield Flea Market in Brimfield, MA is one of the largest fleas in the U.S. with over 5000 dealers (is that possible?). Kella & I decided at the last minute to drive the 200 miles to be there for Tuesday's opening day. We are both busy this week and only had one day to spare so tried to make the most of it.

(I would definitely recommend two days; more if you are a serious flea market shopper)

We -

(I should say she - thank you Kella for driving through our GPS nightmare - we heard RECALCULATING at least 50 times over the two days ..)

wandered the grounds from 7am to around 3pm. Brimfield has about a dozen, I think, different fields of sellers (not all were open on Tuesday).

PLUSES - what we liked - the Mac & Cheese food truck - super yummy, Morris the metalworker (more on him later), lots of industrial vintage, a guy carrying a 6 foot dragonfly around the fields all day - not sure what to make of that, easy cheap parking (maybe we got lucky), crowds but not super squishy annoying crowds, lots of stuff for sale, no pushy salespeople

MINUSES - hardly anything was priced - at least 90% of the stuff had no prices (we hate that), the sellers basically ignored us - which we are usually ok with, but without prices it was annoying to not be able to find the seller or get their attention, the size of the show meant that we ended up so far from our car that even with a cart and little red wagon it definitely discouraged us from buying heavy stuff and everything we liked was heavy stuff, very little clothing, very few vintage linens, too much of everything else - it was kind of just too much - like when Ebay came along and I realized I could get every Trixie Belden book I ever wanted if I was willing to pay for it - it took some of the fun out of it.

OUR FAVORITE - Our vote for best seller at Brimfield was 13 year old metalworker Morris from Cleveland who works in his dad's studio and created these amazing peace signs (we bought two) from his dad's scrap pieces.

(they are super awesome and very heavy duty - I have the sore shoulders to prove it - they will last forever)

He was one of the only sellers who approached us, he cut us a deal on the price (yay), he was super-friendly and went out of his way for us - I am certain he sold out and we will all know his name one day - you read about him here first, folks - have you heard of Etsy, Morris - you need your own shop!

Now, I am back in the studio getting ready for Art Star in Phillie this weekend (and Kella is shooting a wedding on Long Island) - both of us are crossing our fingers for sunny skies!


TGIF - Have a Wonderful Weekend!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend - I am getting things made and together for Art Star in Philadelphia May 14th and 15th!

The first 100 people in my booth will get a free cork wine stopper with Olive's little kisser on it this year!

xo all

Cause Related Marketing - merging our passion with our profit by volunteering (and other acts of bravery)

I would rather do business with a company that stands for more than just profits - I think everyone would.

If you have a crafty business - aligning yourself with a charity or cause that you passionately believe in can become a corner stone of your marketing plan.

There are many ways to create the type of partnerships that can get your company name out there and generate goodwill (plus good karma) for your biz.

It used to be when I would register as a volunteer I would use my name (beach clean ups, etc), but this year I have been registering as my company.

(yes, I sometimes have to drag Olive along or some of my human family posing as my "staff")

I made some great connections, would probably be doing the things anyway and who knows who might see my company name on the registry and look me up later.

I think it is important to be authentic with this and work with causes you believe in - people will sense your passion and see that you care - and they'll realize you will probably care just as much about your work.

When you fill out your name on those cardboard pink ribbons and shamrocks and hearts at the local store when donating your dollars - sign your company name instead of your own -

maybe a buyer from Anthropologie will be chowing down on her Happy Baconalia at Denny's

(yes, I just googled them and this week they have a Happy Baconalia breakfast pretty much guaranteed to send someone to the emergency room)

and see your little donation ribbon with your company name over her head and pull out her blackberry or ipad or smartphone or whatever techno doodad buyers from Anthropologie are carrying these days and check out your shop, get uber-excited over your awesome offerings, run out of the Denny's

(you probably just saved her life which I'm sure will be taken into consideration when she writes her order, another plus)

screaming your business name and call you the same day.

... or maybe your little donation ribbon will be taped up in such a haphazard manner that it will fall to the floor within minutes, be trampled by a gaggle of girl scouts (I forget what you call groups of them) and only be seen by the cleaning woman ...

... who will happen to be moonlighting from her real job as a reporter for People magazine where you will find your little gizmo next Christmas in the holiday gift guide ...

you can't go wrong with this stuff ... really.


*small acts transform the world print by Fresh Words Market

Meditation - trying this again - week 1 practice

I have tried to work meditation into my life as a daily practice a few times.

Several years ago when my mother was living with us and at the end of her life with emphysema (please, please don't smoke) things felt way out of control.

I had just lost a job and career I thought I would have forever -
and it was a good one, too - one that didn't require me to wear a name tag, use the words "would you like fries with that" or refer to my co-workers as my "Apple-buddies".

(this loss, OK firing, this firing turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me, but at the time I was lost in the injustice of it all and working my way through it)

My daughter was in one of those phases where a mother could do nothing wrong right, my husband was stressed out himself and always working and in a place where a wife could do nothing wrong right, I was getting strange rashes and headaches, my mother was bedridden, addicted to watching the food network and requesting daily Rachel Ray recipe sandwiches where the stuffings should be fluffed and not folded onto the bread (I spent alot of time muttering "fluff you ma" to myself) ... things were going from worse to worse.

I had meditated back in high school

(note- in a funny little freudian slip while typing this post I wrote- I was medicated back in high school :) which I wasn't but maybe should have been)

and thought I would give it another try along with daily affirmations and some lightweight law of attraction healing stuff with the books of Louise Hay.

I signed up for a local yoga class which I promptly quit, but the meditation portion was something that I really began to look forward to. I started meditating about 3 times a day.

One day while meditating I felt like I had jumped into the top of my head and could just jump right out of my body - I started crying and couldn't stop - now I would see this breakdown as a kind of breakthrough, but at the time I decided I just needed a break and stopped meditating.

Somehow I never got back to it.

Lately I have been feeling the need for some centering and a greater ability to control my thinking and emotions; all things meditation works miracles for, so I am back into it this week ... slowly ... the way I did it the first time.

I am going to publish my weekly practice in case anyone has an interest in any of this or has tried meditation and found it difficult to still your mind and difficult to stick with - maybe this way will work for you, too.

Week 1 practice : select a room where you can be alone and a time when you will not be disturbed, sit erect, be comfortable but not too comfortable, let your thoughts roam but sit perfectly still - start with 15 minutes and work up to a half hour (do this everyday at the same time) -the object of the first week is to get control of your physical body (we are not working on stilling our minds at this point) - it may take more than a week before you can sit without scratching or twitching or you may be able to do it the first time, but keep with it for 7 days anyway - the teacher I worked with felt it was essential to secure complete control of your body before you proceed with your thoughts. For this week, you can let your thoughts roam - next week we will work on the next step.

The Mother's Day Giveaway winner is (chosen by :

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*let go of your tears print by the amazing jess swift

GIVEAWAY - Jessica Alpern Cuts Paper - Short Stories Hand Cut on Paint Chips CLOSED

Jessica Alpern is an amazing hand cut paper artist. Her work will blow you away! I especially love her short stories on paint chip series.

Born in Rota, Spain - Jessica arrived in the U.S. a year later and grew up in 6 states and countless houses. She joined the Navy in 2000; serving as a photographer and stationed in Yokosuka, Japan onboard an aircraft carrier until she left to pursue "wackiness and shenanigans".

She settled down for awhile after graduating from the New England School of Photography, but eventually gave in to her nomadic tendencies and left her home to join the crew aboard a 36 foot catamaran that crossed the Atlantic and eventually landed in, of all places, Rota, Spain!

Jessica is currently wrecking havoc with her Xacto in Austin, Texas.

We are so lucky to have some of her amazing work for this week's giveaway!


One lucky winner will receive Jessica Alpern's four In Our Summer Skin hand cut paint chips (how cool is that - she cuts these intricate, amazing and original forms from paint chips) floating in plexi and ready for your 8X10 frame!


It's easy, peasy - just leave your contact information below!

For additional entries:

(5) Twitter this post
(5) Blog about this contest; linking to this post
(5) Follow my blog
(5) Facebook this post

Let me know if you have done these things so I can give you additional entries. This contest is open to everyone.

Enter by midnight, Sunday, May 15th! Good Luck! CLOSED- WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED 5/20!